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casting shot gun pellets into bullets

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by vongh, May 1, 2013.

  1. vongh

    vongh Well-Known Member

    I sometimes find unfired shotgun rounds at the range, and not being one for waste I pick them up and save them in a bucket. With the birdshot loads I was thinking of adding them to the lead that I melt from used jacketed bullets to increase the hardness of the alloy. I was just wondering if any body has used this and if so what were the concentrations of birdshot to range lead?
  2. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Well-Known Member

    I used to buy reclaimed shot because it was cheaper than any other lead in the area. It works fine, but had a lot of contaminate. Probably from reclamation. Fine for bullets
  3. vongh

    vongh Well-Known Member

    About how much was that going for?
  4. RainDodger

    RainDodger Well-Known Member

    Back in the day (in a galaxy far, far away) I used to go around town to the tire places that balance wheels. Now they probably recycle all that stuff, but back in the 1970's they would happily hand me buckets of balance weights taken off of wheels. Great stuff for casting bullets if you can get it these days. Just toss them in the pot and after they melt, pull out the steel piece they use to clamp the weight to the wheel. I'm not sure what they put in that lead, but it was always harder than pure lead. I seldom had to alloy it with anything.
  5. blarby

    blarby Well-Known Member

    Most commercial birdshot is fairly hard.

    I mix it about 1 part smelted birdshot ( which helps to remove all of the graphite, etc ) to 5 or 6 parts of pure lead for nicely formed plinkin bullets.

    Hope this helps !
  6. John3921

    John3921 Well-Known Member

    Just keep in mind you don't really know much about whats in there. Chilled shot runs about 2% antimony, Magnum shot runs 4-6%. I suspect the lower grade target ammo - gun clubs, estates, etc get the cost down by using shot in the 2-3% antimony range - where the better target loads like rem premiers and Winchester AA's will run harder shot - 5-6% antimony.

    I don't believe there are any other additives in shotgun shot - other than copper or nickel plating which would smelt out. The hard shot would be pretty similar to COWW. These days with the expense of AA's and Premiers I would bet that the bulk of shot anymore is in the 2-3% antimony range.

    Hunting loads would be harder - but if you're buying re-dropped it likely came from a trap/skeet club and its probably a pretty high percentage of economy loads.
  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Contaminants? Have you ever smelted wheel weights and their associated valve stems, lug nuts, steel, zinc, oily rags, petrified mice, yada? lolz
  8. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    A friend once bought about 400 lbs of shot cheaply from a store going out of business.
    He loaded the 8s and 9s for skeet and melted the rest for bullets. As I recall, he added 2% tin to get good flow to his .45-70 molds. They shot great.

    BBQJOE Well-Known Member

    Anywhere you can get lead is good. (except for car batteries)
    You can go to Rotometals.com and get anything you might want to alloy into the mix.
    I've also heard of people making good scores on lead shot at some gun shows.
  10. ranger335v

    ranger335v Well-Known Member

    For the small quanity of lead you're talking about, save it to make "snake" loads for your revolvers.
  11. vongh

    vongh Well-Known Member

    The snake load idea is very good one here in NM.:D
  12. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Well-Known Member

    If you DO decide to use it for casting, be sure to smelt it separately first. If you just chunk in a handfull into some pre melted lead you will find that some of it will not simply melt but will glob up.

    Sometimes they develop a hard casing that requires you to smash them with a spoon in order to break the lead loose from the shell so to speak. I found this out the hard way and ended up with 10# of sinker lead. There was simply no way to get ALL of those little hard pieces mashed up in the molten alloy. I sure as heck didn't want to try and pour it through my bottom pour.

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