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#7080838 - 11/16/12 Got a question about wheel weights...
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
that you find today. When I cast thousands of bullets for handguns about 40 years ago I used mostly wheel weights with good success. Now I find that wheel weights are vastly different. When I melt them down there is a huge amount of 'sludge' forming on the surface of the molten metal. Is this zinc? What to you guys do with it? It's a real pain and I have 7 five gallon buckets of wheel weights that I will eventually melt down if I live long enough.

It's going to be a real pain to have to sort through them but if that's what it takes to remove the weights that are not lead then I have no choice, I suppose.

I'm beginning to cast bullets for my 30-30 and .300 Savage and I am using a Lee Production pot with a setting of about 6-7. I find the driving bands on the bullets are not fully filled out and I suspect I need the lead to be hotter. Right?

I've read of so many that use Lee equipment but I just can't get the idea out of my head that lower priced equipment will not perform as well as Lyman, Redding-Saeco and RCBS. I am not trying to 'cheap out' and have no aversion to spending if it will give me better results.

Any advice you can give will be most appreciated. Many thanks, Mickey

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#7080995 - 11/16/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: MColeman]
RickinTN Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 04/30/10
Posts: 573
Loc: Middle Tennessee
Mickey,
I've seen your recent questions and thought you were a newbe like me and maybe we could learn casting together but now find out you are an "old hat" at it. I think I read somewhere that the melting point of lead and zinc are about 50 degrees different and that zinc is higher....so keeping temp just high enough to melt the lead you can skim the zinc off the top? I'm sure someone who knows much more than me will be along soon to answer for both of us. I hope to cast my first 30-30 bullets soon.

Good Luck to you,
Rick


Edited by RickinTN (11/16/12)

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#7081265 - 11/16/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: RickinTN]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
Rick,
While I cast lots of bullets a long time ago I am, by no means, up to speed on things. I am going to try a higher temp and see how that works.

I've about grown tired of the constant flow of 'fertilizer' at the Hunter's Campfire and think I'll hang out here for a time. In the meantime if you can imagine any way I might be of help to you don't hesitate to let me know.

Many thanks,
Mickey

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#7083148 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: MColeman]
Alan_R_McDaniel_Jr Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 3073
Loc: Goliad, TX
My understanding is that the zinc is corrosive in some manner and is undesirable in the the alloy. I have always heard that it makes for ugly bullets due to not filling the mold properly. I don't really know because I don't allow it to melt in the mix. I get just enough heat to melt the lead and everything else floats. When I do large quantities I just scoop everything off that doesn't melt right away.

Alan
_________________________
Food is at the core of Hunting and Fishing - Rebecca Gray


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#7083361 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: Alan_R_McDaniel_Jr]
tomme boy Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/05
Posts: 228
Loc: Iowa 52732
The bullets are not filling out because of the zinc. Take what ever lead you have melted to the scrap yard and get rid of it.

Now you are going to have to sort all of the WW. I use a large pair of side cutters. The zinc will not cut. Find a radio station you like and sit down and try to cut each one. You don't have to cut them in half. Just see if the cutter will cut into them. The zinc will feel like trying to cut a 1/2" bolt. It will hardly even scratch it. There is also iron WW. The zinc ones will be marked Zn, the Iron ones will be marked Fe. But not always. There is no way around this. This is all from the tree huggers.

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#7083663 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: tomme boy]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
I guess I'll have to bite the bullet (as soon as I cast one wink ) and sort through them. Thanks, guys.

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#7083668 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: Alan_R_McDaniel_Jr]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
Alan, Can I not melt the lead/zinc mix and skim the zinc off if I keep the temperature below the melting point of zinc and eventually purify the lead? I won't hesitate to throw it out if there's no other way.
Thanks.

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#7083678 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: MColeman]
milespatton Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 08/31/02
Posts: 12750
Loc: Arkansas
My very limited experience with casting wheel weights led me to watch the pot carefully when I put the weights in, and you could tell the slow melters and remove them. Once I had some melted lead in the pot I would add one weight at a time, lead would melt quick and the zinc not, and I would remove it. miles
_________________________
Look out for number 1, don't step in number 2.

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#7083680 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: milespatton]
milespatton Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 08/31/02
Posts: 12750
Loc: Arkansas
I also noticed a rubbery like substance in the skim and thought that maybe some had a thin rubber coating, but it could have been road grime. miles
_________________________
Look out for number 1, don't step in number 2.

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#7083945 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: milespatton]
blammer Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 12/16/00
Posts: 9508
Loc: Asheville, NC
zinc is not corrosive, it just causes wrinkles in the cast bullets and voids. These voids are detrimental to any type of accurate shooting.

If you keep your melt below the melting point of zinc it will float on the top and can be skimmed off easy enough. Once it's melted in, well, time to get new lead. Just keep the melt below 700 F and the zinc won't melt in.

I've done this numerous times, a thermometer helps and heat slowly, you'll be fine.
_________________________
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.

When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.

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#7083955 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: blammer]
blammer Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 12/16/00
Posts: 9508
Loc: Asheville, NC
Lee production bottom pour 20lb pots are a great deal! It works well even though it's cheap don't be thrown off. I have one and it's great!

Yes if the drive bands are not filled out, use more heat on the mould.

if you head over to castboolits you'll be able to find the answers to all of your questions and more. Newbies are welcome over there.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
_________________________
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.

When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.

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#7083962 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: blammer]
blammer Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 12/16/00
Posts: 9508
Loc: Asheville, NC
the WW's these days have a "coating" on them, it's a plastic of sorts, it forms sludge on the top, just skim it off.

sawdust is a good flux along with old candles, add, light, stir, skim.

once something is melted into the lead, there's no getting it out.
_________________________
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.

When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.

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#7084084 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: blammer]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
I upped the temperature this morning and the bullets were much better. My pot leaks as all Lee bottom pour pots do and I've twisted the rod that seats in the orifice and it still leaks. Not a big deal but still aggravating.

I've begun sorting my weights and have gotten almost to the point that I can spot a zinc weight but still use a pair of lineman's pliers to test them. That was a great suggestion that I didn't know about. Thanks for that tip.

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#7084172 - 11/17/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: MColeman]
DGarfield Offline
Member

Registered: 08/31/03
Posts: 37
Loc: vt.
Hi.Micky

Have been melting wheel weights for 40 yrs. I run my pot at about 650deg. and skim of the top. I make 45, 38 and 357 pistol bullets and 45-70 rifle.
I have no problem with wheel weights.


Edited by DGarfield (11/17/12)
Edit Reason: goffed
_________________________
Dwayne Garfield

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#7085387 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: DGarfield]
Alan_R_McDaniel_Jr Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 3073
Loc: Goliad, TX
Mickey, I don't think there is any practical way to get the zinc out, or the lead for that matter. Pour what you got mixed and use it for plinking and then just be careful not to get any more in there. There's an awful lot about casting that I don't know. Certainly fluxing and skimming are recommended to a point but you can also skim the tin and antimony out too, and you may not want that.

The way I cast is very unscientific, but I do try not to melt any zinc in the pot. I use my production pot to melt everything down and test all WW with cutters as has been mentioned. I found the bulk melting in an old frying pan to be counterproductive in the amounts I deal with.

Alan
_________________________
Food is at the core of Hunting and Fishing - Rebecca Gray


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#7086488 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: Alan_R_McDaniel_Jr]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
Alan, the question keeps coming up in my mind how can you get the tin and antimony out and not get the zinc out?

I had a "sludge" form on the top of my pot that I skimmed off and I assumed that was zinc. It was quite a bit but once I had that removed I could flux as always. I'm sorting through the WW now and picking out the zinc. Thanks for your help. smile

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#7086489 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: DGarfield]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
Originally Posted By: DGarfield
Hi.Micky

Have been melting wheel weights for 40 yrs. I run my pot at about 650deg. and skim of the top. I make 45, 38 and 357 pistol bullets and 45-70 rifle.
I have no problem with wheel weights.


Isn't Reed G. your uncle? How are y'all doing up there?

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#7086864 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: MColeman]
DGarfield Offline
Member

Registered: 08/31/03
Posts: 37
Loc: vt.
Hi Micky.

Reed is my younger brother. I don,t know how fast you plan on shootin your cast bullet, but I skim of what ever comes to the top and throw it. You can flux it first and then skim it, I use parfin wax to do mine, if you light it when it melts it won,t smoke. Have fun.

Dwayne
_________________________
Dwayne Garfield

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#7086883 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: DGarfield]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
I'm having a problem deciding if I want to use tumble lube or a sizer. When I cast many years ago I had a Lyman sizer and there's just something in the back of my mind that makes me want to stay in that mode. I do like Lee sizing dies but there's no way to fill the grooves with lube unless I use a kake kutter and that's too tedious.

I did some work for Reed a few years back. Please give him my regards the next time you speak with him.
Thanks,
Mickey

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#7086891 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: DGarfield]
DGarfield Offline
Member

Registered: 08/31/03
Posts: 37
Loc: vt.
To Micky

try this sight it is very good.

The Los Angles Silhoutte Club
_________________________
Dwayne Garfield

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#7087098 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: DGarfield]
blammer Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 12/16/00
Posts: 9508
Loc: Asheville, NC
I would recommend the lyman sizer, you'll not regret it.
_________________________
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.

When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.

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#7087342 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: blammer]
MColeman Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 13250
Loc: Greenville, AL
Originally Posted By: blammer
I would recommend the lyman sizer, you'll not regret it.

It's what I used before so I'm comfortable with that. Thanks.

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#7088076 - 11/18/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: MColeman]
blammer Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 12/16/00
Posts: 9508
Loc: Asheville, NC
head over to cast boolits they have a swap and sell and you'll likely find a good deal on a used one.
_________________________
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.

When your ship comes in. ... make sure you are willing to unload it.

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#7089406 - 11/19/12 Re: Got a question about wheel weights... [Re: blammer]
Alan_R_McDaniel_Jr Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/14/08
Posts: 3073
Loc: Goliad, TX
Mickey, I am sorely lacking in knowledge of metallurgy. Like karate, I know just about enough to get my azz kicked. I just try not to get the stuff hot enough to melt the zinc. That way I have one less thing that I don't understand to worry about. Plus I sort ahead of time. The zinc weights are easy to spot. Actually these days the lead weights are the easiest to spot because there are so few of them.

Alan
_________________________
Food is at the core of Hunting and Fishing - Rebecca Gray


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