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Melting wheel weights

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Janes, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    Whatis the best way to Melt down wheel weights. I have been using my electric pot that I cast bullets with. I am afraid of burning it up. I have a burner on the side of my grill, I thought about getting a pan and try melting them down on it. If that works what would be a good way to get the melted wheel weights into some cup cake pans.
     
  2. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    Propane burner with a cast or stainless pot. Use a stainless ladle to transfer to muffin twins. That's how I do it.
     
  3. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    Thanks. I will give that a try
     
  4. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    I can't believe how things have gone up in price. I bought a set of Lyman molds for 19.95 back in the late 70s or early 80s and they are now 84.95
     
  5. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I use a really stout stainless steel tea kettle that I bought at a garage sale for a buck.
    It has a detachable lid and a built in strainer for the spout.
    I fill it up with wheel weights and then heat it up with a propane turkey fryer heater base.
    The best part is the spout strainer. It captures all of the metal clips and any other junk, plus the handle stays fairly cool it you keep the lid on while heating up the lead.
    Pouring the molten lead is a snap with the long spout.
     
    AMProducts and (deleted member) like this.
  6. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    propane burner, cast pot, and cast ladle. leave ladle in pot as lead is melting or it will blow off chunks if it goes into melted lead cold. Havent done many bullets but have cast hundreds of pounds of 2 1/2 and 3 pound cannonballs for my cannons. Do all casting outdoors of course
     
  7. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I use a coleman camping stove and cast iron pot outdoors.

    I also use my electric pot. I start it on low with enough bullets to cover the bottom.
    When I have a nice puddle, I turn it up to medium and begin to add pieces.
    Same electric pot 30+ years.
    Fresh air and upwind is our friend
     
  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    If you do use your side-burner on your propane grill, be very careful that you don't overload it and cause the whole thing to lever over.. lead is very heavy.
    Counterbalance the off-side and or support the burner side with a post or something. Then, after cleaning, ladle it out with a nice stainless ladle from the dollar store.
     
  9. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    Thanks for all of the good information. I didn't think about the problem that I could run into with the grill tipping over. The Tea Kettle would be really nice.
     
  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I didn't really think much about it either and barely caught mine in the process of slowly levering over.
    It would have been the mother of all tinsel fairy visits. I use a big SS cauldron and had it pretty loaded. dang
    Now I don't load it so heavy and counterbalance the other side with about equal weight.
     
  11. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Whatever method you choose I recommend that you use a good metal casting thermometer and slowly raise the temperature of your melt. You want your temperature hot enough to melt lead but not hot enough to melt zinc. With the preponderance of zinc as a WW metal you want to be able to easily scoop it out without contaminating the lead.
     
  12. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    I haven't been using a thermometer so I am not for sure what temp. I am at. At what temp. should I be at.
     
  13. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Lead melts at around 621 degrees F and zinc melts at about 787 degrees F. When melting unknown wheel weights I try to stay at a measured 650 - 700 degrees F. I'm sure that other people do it differently.
     
  14. nwbobber

    nwbobber Longview, Wa. Active Member

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    Wear a face shield. I have had pockets of water in wheel weights after they sat in my shop for over a year. That will blow lead in all directions. Would do a number on an eyeball.
    You also want to keep the temp low to prevent the lead from going to fumes. Not good to breathe. You can use one of those IR thermometers, I bought one at lowes for less than 30 bucks.
     
  15. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I was melting recovered cannonballs once when I did one that had been in the water. I put it in the already melted puddle and it melted about halfway before it it blew up. apparently there was a void in it with water and that caused a steam explosion. I just sold the house I was living in ten years ago when it happened and there is still melted lead on the ceiling of the patio. That was the last time I melted lead without eye protection, I have no idea how I missed getting some of it on me. The smaller the peices the better as far as I'm concerned
     
  16. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    These IR thermometers are dependent on the reflections they get back from the surface. Not as reliable as an old fashioned "immersion" Thermometer. IR's can vary too much.

    As always, when melting lead all the safety precautions are recommended . Not just a face shield (with head covering) but a good apron and gloves are recommended as well. To make sure you aren't breathing lead contaminated fumes ventilation is a must. Having an exaust fan in the area assures that the fumes go elsewhere, not up your nostrils.
     
  17. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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  18. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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  19. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    It's pretty easy to simply sort out your WW and avoid putting zinc into the melt pot (not to say that doesn't happen anyways). Lead is a soft metal, sort through your WW and pick out all the trash (back when I used to do WW, it was always full of bits of rubber and tire stems), at the same time, whenever you get a weight that's made of a hard metal throw it to the side. If you're not sure, just scrape it against the concrete if it acts like an oversized crayon it's lead, if it scrapes up the concrete it's either zinc or steel.

    Also, one thing I did to cut back on oxide was use a large dutch oven with a lid. when the material was melting I would cover it and let it heat up, as it got to the melting point of lead, it was also usually above the flash point of any of the organics inside, which would flash into flame when you open the lid. Once it flashes into flame like this, it smokes less, I would usually add some paraffin and a little bit of borax and close the lid up for a few minutes. Then I would open it back up and then scrape all the clips out, and either add more WW, or pour to ingots.

    Keeping a bit of lead in the bottom of your melt pot helps the new stuff you add melt quicker.
     
  20. Janes

    Janes Enid, Oklahoma Member

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    My grill worked really good. I now have 112 pounds of lead cleaned. I have been casting bullets and thinking about getting a larger pot. The one that I have holds 10 pounds and about the time i get going I run out of lead . I am looking at the Lee Pro 4-20 pound pot. Is anyone else using this pot and if so how do you like it .