Scrapping spent primers, bad brass and bullets?


October 24, 2011, 04:26 PM
I have accumulated a few pounds worth of bad brass, bullets, and spent primers. Seeing brass, copper, and lead prices I figure on taking them down to the local metal recycling yard and getting a few dollars.

Do any other reloaders do this? What are your experiences at scrap yards? Do I need to separate the brass from the copper from the lead? What prices should I expect?


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October 24, 2011, 04:33 PM
Yes you need to separate them. Wife just took some aluminum cans and my scrap brass with spent primers mixed in and got $1.84 per pound for "yellow brass" at a local scrap recycler. Brass and spent primers all in one box together, no problem at the recycler here. Aluminum prices are down but brass prices have gone up apparently.

October 24, 2011, 04:41 PM

What about bullets? I have a handful that were messed up due to my reloading mistakes, but I can't really separate the copper from the lead. Maybe its not worth the effort to recycle these, but I'd like to keep the lead out of the garbage dump.

October 24, 2011, 04:43 PM
Yes, You have to seperate otherwise its consider contaminated to the recycler.
Aluminum with Aluminum and Brass with Brass.

As for the bullets, Call them and ask them. Explain it to them what they look like and all. They might tell you to bring some in so they can see what it is. If they do take them as they are, It will be considered 'mixed' and be lower value.

October 24, 2011, 04:45 PM
You have to separate by type of metal. You'll be going to the "non-Ferrous" part of the scrap yard. My scrap dealer takes it all, but some don't, so you might check.

The current price for yellow brass in my area is $2.25 a pound. I'll be making another trip there next Thursday with about 100 pounds of scrap brass, plus the copper jackets left over from smelting the bullets we mined from the pistol berm. Those usually go as "#2 Copper", which pays better than yellow brass. They will refer to mixed metals as "dirty", which simply means it's mixed with other metals, but will pay less for it than "clean" metals.

Each scrap dealer has his own policies on what they'll take. One of the large scrap dealers in my area won't even let you on the property with any kind of lead. The one I go to buys it, and pays better on all metals than the larger yard down the road.

Hope this helps.


October 24, 2011, 04:50 PM
Don't mess with a few bullets.

Why do you care if there is lead in the dump? You do know it came from the ground?

October 24, 2011, 08:53 PM
I just sold 3/4 of a five gal bucket full of pistol cases and primers for $136.xx.

I keep/store my bad cases and spent primers for my next pleasant trip to the scrap yard.

Here, they require a lot of I.D. and fingerprinting on site to prevent buying stolen copper or brass.

evan price
October 25, 2011, 03:17 AM
A handful of bullets isn't going to be worth much but if you know someone who casts, they will take them and use them.

I melt down fired bullets for casting lead. The copper bullet jackets pay for the propane and sundries and leave me with free clean casting lead.

Scrap primers are just brass same as cartridge cases.

Yellow brass is worth over $2 a pound right now.
I get #2 copper from my smelter, once got copper turnings but still over $3 a pound.
Lead is going for $.50 to $1 a pound.

October 25, 2011, 04:04 PM
just separate them and take them down there to collect your money. I have buckets for primers/brass and bullets. You can quickly accumulate a very nice dinner for SWMBO by recycling them

October 25, 2011, 04:32 PM
SWMBO? Thats a new one to me.

October 25, 2011, 04:41 PM
She Who Must Be Obeyed, I find mine appreciates what I do when there is a nice dinner from time to time. Brass recycling easily covers that and the babysitter.

October 25, 2011, 05:01 PM
I have a scrap metal recycler as a client and one thing I learned is that quantity is worth a premium not a discount. If you bring in a hundred pounds you're likely to get more per pound than if you bring in 10 pounds.

Marlin 45 carbine
October 25, 2011, 08:47 PM
if you have or even contemplate burying any 'goods' made of metal where there's danger of a metal detector being used in attempt to find save your spent primers. scatter them all around the general area and then sow grass seed atop.
this will drive any detector crazy.sow them fairly thick, no more than an inch or 2 at most apart for best coverage. thicker is better even if you have to rake them out evenly.

October 25, 2011, 10:22 PM
Never really tuned into the whole SWMBO thing. Guess that's why they all left. But my freedom to be who I am outweighs her need to control me. I make no apologies for that.

Hondo 60
October 25, 2011, 10:52 PM
Just took my scrap brass & spent primers to the recycler today.
They paid $1.92/lb
It's not a lot, but it's better than nothing.

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