Zinc In Lead

How Can You Tell?

Generally, the lead will have an oatmeal consistency, and have a thick layer of blue tinged crud on the top.  At this point you have a problem.

In ingot form, the lead will have bluish specs.  It will also not look well filled out.  Just plain not good.This stuff was purchased from an Ebay vendor, and remelted to form the smaller ingots.  It was originally shipped in 2 1/2lb wedges, which never really looked good either.  I had some bad feelings when I remelted it.

Can You Use It?

If you paid good money for it…….you betcha you’re gonna try to use it.  AND IT IS USEABLE.  WITH CAUTION!!

Go ahead and melt it out, and run it through your production pot.  But observe how it fills out the mold, and when the pour becomes a thin flow…..not wanting to flow good…..get out your measuring tools.

Measure the bullet diameter, and see if it comes up to spec.The bullets will look crappy, but it’s all about whether they will work.120gr, 9mm bullet.  It’s supposed to run .356 in diameter.  We’re good enough diameter wise. .3557And the weight is within specifications.  121.9gr.

Good to go!!

At What Point Is It Unusable?

The stream of lead coming from the pour spout will start to diminish, and look like it’s trying to freeze as it comes out.

Also…..the layer of crud on top of the molten lead will get to a point where it’s INCHES thick.  I had a layer about 2″ thick after casting 50lbs of this junk.  Each addition to the pot, over the casting session, added to the zinc concentration.  I had reached critical mode.

How do you tell if you’re at the point of dumping the remainder in the scrap pile?

Bullet appearance isn’t always an indicator.It’s about as crappy looking as when you added the first ingot to your production pot.  Appearance isn’t a strict indicator.Measure those bullets when the lead flow starts to look suspect as it leaves the pour spout.  This .452 (45ACP) round is now dropping at less than .450 .  It’s time to dump the remainder of the “lead”.Out of 50lbs, I imagine I had to dispose of 4lbs.  Not too bad, and not a total loss.

Watch how it pours, and fills the mold.

Measure diameter/weight often.

They might not be pretty, but they’re serviceable.  I don’t admire my bullets 🙂 I send them downrange 🙂

What To Do With Contaminated
Equipment?

Melt, and pour out as much of the crud as you can.  Scrape the sides to push the crud down into the bottom of the pot while it’s molten.

After removing as much as possible, remove the valve assembly from the pot.  Do this while it’s still hot to insure that you CAN get it out.  WEAR GLOVES, IT’S HOT.

After allowing the equipment to cool……..use an air powered die grinder, equipped with a good rotary brush, to clean out the mess.  Don’t use chemicals, just a good brush out with the grinder. 
Wear a mask while using any grinding equipment!!

The valve assembly/parts can be cleaned by heating them with a propane torch, and wiping off the slag when it’s starting to melt.  BE CAREFUL…….IT’S HOT.  Use leather gloves.


Any day above ground is a good day

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