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Harvesting range lead and casings #7251819
04/25/21 08:14 PM
04/25/21 08:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,794
Northern lower Michigan
Feedinggrounds Offline OP
trapper
Feedinggrounds  Offline OP
trapper

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,794
Northern lower Michigan
Anyone harvest range lead? Mainly looking for soft lead for muzzle loading balls. I have 100# of plumbers lead, had a friend test it and he says its too hard. It would be perfect for hard cast pistol or rifle loads. I need to blend it down, I guess to make it usable for my front stuffers. Plan to cast small small batches, not the whole 100# may trade some off. Our range berms are sand, how deep should I plan to sift? I suppose I could just go dig but figured this has been done by somebody here.


you're only allowed so many sunrises... I aim to see every one of them!
Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7251845
04/25/21 08:41 PM
04/25/21 08:41 PM
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,482
Ne pa
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Jerry Jr. Offline
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Jerry Jr.  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 1,482
Ne pa
Plumbers lead is pure lead. The joints will be solder (probably 50/50). Did your friend say what the hardness was? If you can bend it easily it is pure.

If you are just using it for target practice what you have will work just fine (if it is in fact hard). I like 40-1 for my hunting balls tho. Holds together better than pure and still mushrooms well.

From the little I did with range lead it was harder than pure but softer than wheel weights. Unless someone else has mined the berm you should be able to pick many up off the ground. Most rifle bullets won't make it much more than 8"-10" or so into sand.

Last edited by Jerry Jr.; 04/25/21 08:42 PM.

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Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7251849
04/25/21 08:44 PM
04/25/21 08:44 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 9,932
St. Cloud, MN
trapperkeck Offline
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trapperkeck  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 9,932
St. Cloud, MN
I would guess, most range lead is pretty hard, unless it is all factory muzzleloader balls. Unless you plan to hunt with them, why not use the harder lead for target shooting and melt down a couple hundred car batteries for hunting lead? BTW, please don't infer that as a recommendation! eek


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Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7251897
04/25/21 09:33 PM
04/25/21 09:33 PM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,851
Green County Wisconsin
G
GREENCOUNTYPETE Online content
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GREENCOUNTYPETE  Online Content
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Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,851
Green County Wisconsin
plumbers lead is generally soft and good for muzzle loaders if you can easily scratch it with a thumb nail that is all you really need to know.

berm lead will be a mix , it depends a lot what people at your range shoot stuff in jackets is generally fairly soft , cast is fairly hard


a wheel barrow that you build a frame that fits over, with 1/4 inch hardware cloth, shovel some berm on the screen and shake it back and forth, scrape it back and forth most of your >22cal bullets will sit on top. if your lucky you find a pistol berm with lots of 45 slugs 230gr adds up faster than the little stuff.


how deep , you will figure that out when you dig , top 6-8 inches typically sometimes less if the rain washed away the sand , sometimes they re-pile the berms with an end loader and it is all mixed in , it all depends


bring lots of buckets you never fill them very far , they get heavy and a pair of gloves those thin knit with the dipped fingers and palms give some protection but make it easy to grab the bullets.


America only has one issue, we have a Responsibility crisis and everything else stems from it.
Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7252065
04/26/21 08:24 AM
04/26/21 08:24 AM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 730
Hilton, NY
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Paul D. Heppner Offline
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Paul D. Heppner  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 730
Hilton, NY
I mine the 10, 25, and 50 yard berms at my local club a couple times a year. It's a mix of deer slugs, cast bullets, jacketed, and lots of 22 slugs. For the most part after cleaning it up and turning into ingots it's good enough for most of my shooting (hand guns and a couple rifles). If I want or need to use something a little harder I just sweeten my mix up with a little lino-type, I have a lot of it. If needs be I'll add a small percentage of tin (pewter) to aid in mold fill out. For target and plinking the straight range lead works well for me in .38/.357, .44 spl/mag, .45 acp/auto rim, .357 max/rem, and 45-70. When it comes to hunting I harden the mix up just a little bit, never over bhn 15. As of late I have been going softer and powder coating which has been working out quite well. However I do miss the lube smoke keeping the skeeters at bay in the summer.

Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7252480
04/26/21 09:28 PM
04/26/21 09:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 4,154
Fontana KS
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Andrew Eastwood Offline
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Andrew Eastwood  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 4,154
Fontana KS
As several have said plumbing lead is usually soft. I have made many pounds of round ball for my muzzle loaders from lead pipe.

I also wouldn't get in any hurry to trade off your lead, 100 pounds isn't much. Making balls, bullets, and sinkers can become addictive once you get started. Before I had bullet molds Dad and I would make sinkers in the winter months. I have kept the tradition going with my own kids and have many buckets of sinkers and now bullets and balls squirreled away. Unless we are needing a particular item that is running low we just make ingots now when processing lead down, but I still squirrel away what I can. Lead is getting harder to find as the tire weights have gone away from lead and most lead pipes have been replaced by now, but some can still be found on occasion. We pick lead at our own shooting range and a local range once in a while, but we just get what is exposed after rains. Make sure you are in a well ventilated spot or outside and have fun.
I will add that them square buckets that nails come in are real nice for squirreling away sinkers and bullets. If full they are a little tough to move around, but they are tough, stack nicely, and the square shape saves space over round buckets.

Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7252497
04/26/21 09:44 PM
04/26/21 09:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 265
PA
F
Flint Lock Offline
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Flint Lock  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 265
PA
Wheel weights can also be used to make round balls.

Re: Harvesting range lead and casings [Re: Feedinggrounds] #7253142
04/27/21 06:58 PM
04/27/21 06:58 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,794
Northern lower Michigan
Feedinggrounds Offline OP
trapper
Feedinggrounds  Offline OP
trapper

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,794
Northern lower Michigan
So a follow up to my O/P, I went back though my messages to my friend that tested the lead. He said it was tested with Staedtler pencils, getting a Birnell of 8 to 9. Giving it 25:1 lead/tin ratio.


you're only allowed so many sunrises... I aim to see every one of them!
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