Back stop metal

  • 423 Views
  • Last Post yesterday
  • Topic Is Solved
max503 posted this 4 weeks ago

I was hoping this was almost pure lead but found out different.

I recently dug 3/4th's of a kitty litter bucket full of lead from our bowling pin back stop.  About 100 pounds worth.  It has the look of fine, grey gravel.  

This is what I got out of one Lee pot full.  That's about a 5 inch diameter sauce pan.

As an experiment I filled my Lee bottom pour pot full, turned it on high, and plugged it in.  It took a long time but it finally came up to heat.  I tossed in a thumb-sized chunk of wax, and stirred and let it burn.

Nothing would come out the bottom spout, so I dumped the contents of the Lee pot into a sauce pan.  There was A LOT of orangish dust and a disk of lead alloy.  I'm guessing there was a lot of plastic and wood mixed in with the lead.  Fluxing caused a lot of smoke and flame.  That stuff is dirty!!!

The percentage of dross is very high.  Looks like I'm going to have to melt this stuff over the turkey fryer.  I wanted to see how cleanly it was going to melt.  I got my answer.  

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • NORMSUTTON
  • Bud Hyett
Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
max503 posted this 4 weeks ago

Any advice on cleaning really dirty metal?

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this 4 weeks ago

Yes, I use a number 7 bottom pour Rowell ladle (made by Advance Car Mover if I recall correctly) on an open wood fire. It holds enough to refill my 40 pound Master Caster electric pot. Cycle time for a potfull is about 20 minutes with a hot fire.

Attached Files

Glenn R. Latham posted this 4 weeks ago

As you found out, backstop lead contains a TON of dross!!  There's "gold in them there hills," but it takes a lot of time to "dig" it out.  And a lot of dross cans.

Last time I melted some down I think I remember seeing a lot of tiny, shiny lead balls mixed in the dross, really tiny, way smaller than any shot.  It didn't want to separate from the dross no matter how much fluxing.  I think Mustafa Curtess said he was able to get a lot of it to find its way to the pool of lead below by sliding a file up and down through it.  Lotta work but it's usually free.

Glenn

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
max503 posted this 4 weeks ago

I thought I might be able to skip the cleaning step with this stuff. Boy was I wrong. I've never seen more dross/slag, whatever it is come off a pot of lead.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 4 weeks ago

a technique that I use might make it easier for you.  I use two pots.  Putting the batch into the first, stirring, fluxing, and skimming as much crud off the top - THEN I pour the contents carefully into the second pot.  LOTS of crud is left behind.  It is the fastest way I've found to render WW or range scrap.

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
45 2.1 posted this 4 weeks ago

Anybody here understand what a bottom pour ladle does.... like in a Rowell bottom pour ladle? It pours relatively clean metal from the bottom of the ladle and leaves the dross in the ladle to be dumped in it's own little pile. Works good, really good..... you don't have to put up with fluffy dross on top of your lead. Try it and find out................

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
  • Fitzpatrick
Bud Hyett posted this 4 weeks ago

This is fully an afternoon's work for cleanup and the next day's work for sizing, loading and testing. You can have any combination of metals in the backstop lead. And dirt, even lead from a range backstop can have an amazing amount of plain dirt.   

I use Mavelux for the bulk cleanup of lead such as backstop metal or wheelweights. It is very good if you use Marvelux per instructions, very little goes a long ways. When I first used Marvelux it was a pain since it bubbled over everything. I only read the instructions as a last resort and was surprised how little I need.

This is in an iron kettle holding 120 pounds to make an uniform (used Linotype/wheelweight hardness) alloy for a year's Traditional Production and Military shooting. Often in the first cleaning, the dross will take the kettle down to where you add more raw material to yield the 120 pounds. 

When the top looks bright and clean, I use beeswax candles and cornmeal to clean again. Mix the cornmeal in carefully, it can be slightly hygroscopic and will bubble readily. This can then be lit and let burn to fine dust that is scooped from the top. Scrape the sides and bottom several times, this ensures the alloy is clean.This also ensures all the cornmeal comes to the top.

Once into bars, these are marked with the date to assure a lot number and then sample bullets are cast. A hardness check and bullet weight comparisons give an initial idea of hardness. Then load and head for the range, the ultimate test is results on the target.   

Country boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

Attached Files

max503 posted this 3 weeks ago

Thanks for the replies.  I wondered if this was even worth posting about but now I'm glad I did.  I will get some Marvelux because I may be doing this again.  The suggestion to use two pots sounds good, too.  I've never used a source this messy, but with the scarcity of lead you got to do what you can.  I need this stuff to mix with my linotype.  

And to 45 2.1 - I have a small, bottom pour ladle.  It works a treat.  Too bad it's not big enough for this purpose.  They're not too expensive.  Might keep my eye out for a bigger one.  

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this 3 weeks ago

And to 45 2.1 - I have a small, bottom pour ladle.  It works a treat.  Too bad it's not big enough for this purpose.  They're not too expensive.  Might keep my eye out for a bigger one.  

 

I use a #7. You can find them here: https://www.advancecarmover.com/large-rowell-ladles.aspx

Attached Files

Tom G posted this 3 weeks ago

I belong to two sportsman's clubs locally. They both have a lead containment program. For the pistol range they bring in a back hoe once a year and sift the backstop material through boxes with 1/4" hardware cloth to separate out the dirt. They still had half a barrel full of it a couple of years ago to get rid of so I took it home with me. 

I tried smelting it in my 40# plumbers pot and got about half dirt and junk. It was a real mess. I gave up on it after that as I still have a full trash can full of old wheel weights to use up.  My next attempt will be to try to pre clean the dirt off the recovered bullets and then smelt again. I have one of those hobby size cement mixers from Harbor Freight and I am going to try cleaning the lead first by running it in the mixer with some Dawn Detergent till the water comes out clear. That should clean most of the dirt of which will make it much faster and cleaner to smelt down and save the lead. 

If a person has a power washer, you  might try cleaning it by blasting the dirty bullets with high pressure water in a screen or pail with holes in the bottom.  My power washer is broken at the present so I will try the cement mixer .  I did try cleaning a large quantity of pistol brass in that little mixer once. It worked well but the brass had a less than shiny surface when I got done as it was a little too violent with the paddles in the tub. I think that if the paddles were removed the brass could just roll around in there and would not get banged around so much. 

I was in a commercial reloading place one time and saw one of the HF cement mixers there for cleaning the brass. They had removed the baffles in the tub and had a coating of Rhino Lining on the inside of the tub to cushion the brass. That did a very nice job of polishing the brass. 

Tom G.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
ray h posted this 3 weeks ago

I have one of the smaller Rowell ladles. I found by shorting the handle some, I could fill my H&G 4 cav easier which allowed me to cast over a longer period.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Bud Hyett
alamogunr posted this yesterday

I've had 2 small buckets of range scrap setting in the shop for at least 2 years.  A couple of days ago I decided to clean it up since it was fairly cool and not raining.  I needed to try out a turkey fryer burner my son had given me before he threw it out.  I poured both buckets into the 6 quart dutch oven and lit'er up.  Took longer than I am used to, I assume because the jackets soak up a lot of heat.  When it finally melted and I had dipped out the jackets and accumulated dirt and what was left of the Marvelux, I had approx. 25 lbs of clean(?) lead.

I won't be doing that again, ever.  I've got enough lead stashed to leave at least a ton to whoever cleans up after me.  Too much work for too little return.

Attached Files

max503 posted this yesterday

I went and got another kitty litter bucket full. Plan one getting one or two more, but I have no plans to start processing it. I'm saving it for hard times.

Attached Files

Close