range detox


March 10, 2008, 04:30 PM
i don't cast my own, but this idea just popped into my head. has, or does anybody retrieve the spent bullets out of the dirt at the range to melt down and cast their own bullets from it? i dont know if it would be to much labor for what you would get, but it would be free lead. dirty, but free. of course i am not talking what falls on the flat ground, but a rake in the backstop might recover a fair amount of lead. maybe it would be to dirty to re use, just an idea.

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March 10, 2008, 04:39 PM
I usually hit the range after a nice rain storm. Don't dig in the dirt, just pick up what I can see. 10 minutes here and there. Wouldn't mind digging so much, just don't want to involve that much time. The banking is only about ten fett behind the 100 yard posts. Usually fill a 2 pound coffe can in the spring and another through out the year. I am down there anyway, may as well look. Also pick up brass. What I can't use a friends don't use I sell to the scrap yard with other things.

March 10, 2008, 04:45 PM
i was considering doing this, but it is much easier to find a friend in the automotive industry and snag their wheel weights.
also, lead dust and dust in general are a problem while digging through the backstops.

March 10, 2008, 05:04 PM
Retrieving lead from the backstops and off the trap and Skeet fields is part of the Environmental Stewardship Plan of most responsible clubs. This is a program in association with the NSSF/NASR and EPA, and is a very worthwhile project.

Any lead retrieved should be documented as to the amount and what was done with it, ie: remelted into bullets, sold for scrap, made into fishing weights, etc. This goes a long way in mitigating any conflicts later on with regulatory agencies.

In answer to your question, yes, all the time, and the amounts are entered into a log kept at the range.

Hope this helps.


March 10, 2008, 07:53 PM
I pick up lead occasionally at the outdoor pistol range under the falling plates. It just takes a couple of minutes to pick up about 10 or 15 pounds if I haven't been there in a while.

I'm interested in what Fred said; I'm gonna have to research that.

March 10, 2008, 08:50 PM

Here is a link to the NASR program: http://www.rangeinfo.org/news/EPA-cert.cfm

If you want to PM me, I'll give you the contact persons at both NASR and EPA.

Hope this helps.


March 10, 2008, 11:17 PM
I know that it is common practice to mine trap ranges. It's done commercially. I wouldn't be surprised if the same folks don't mine backstops, not just for lead, but copper, too. Copper prices are way up, but I guess that's no news.

David Wile
March 11, 2008, 03:57 PM
Hey folks,

Just a point about the danger from lead "dust" while digging lead out of a back stop. It really is not much of a danger. When bullets are shot into a metal backstop, some amount of the lead will vaporize, and that depends largely on the speed of the bullet. Some of the bullet lead may break up into smaller bits, especially if the bullets are a really hard alloy. However, indoor or outdoor, lead is heavy and does not do well at getting airborne even as dust. It is just too heavy to stay airborne.

If you are digging and making dust, it is far more likely to be dust from something much lighter than lead. Even so, if you are making dust, you should use a respirator to keep from inhaling it even if it really is not lead. Dust of any kind in the lungs is just not good for you. However, don't stop collecting lead because of a fear of lead "dust." Just use a proper respirator if you really are creating dust in the air.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

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