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Question regarding wheel weights

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Vacek, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Vacek

    Vacek Well-Known Member

    I just picked up 250-300 lbs of wheel weights. My question, is it recommended to preclean (water and or soap/water) the wheel weights first or melt them down as they are.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Just sort out the new style mag wheel ones.
    They will contaminate the whole lot because they are not lead.
    If they are the old style clip-on's and tarnished like dull gray lead, they should be fine.

    No need to wash them.
    All the clips, crap & crud will float off when you melt them down & flux the alloy.

  3. hotwheelz

    hotwheelz Well-Known Member

    I would recomend using a smelting pot of some kind to clean up these wheel weight dont use you casting pot. Melt them down and clean out the junk that floats to the top then flux pour into ingots and use the ingots in your casting pot. Some guys get a cast iron dutch oven and use a propane burner to do your smelting for example you could find some great info on all kinds of casting at

  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Good Point Hotwheelz!

    I melt mass quantities out in the driveway in a big cast iron skillet, on a Coleman camp stove. Then pour the blended and clean alloy into aluminum cup-cake pans to make manageable size ingots for the casting pot.

    This insures all the bullets are the exact same alloy, and keeps all the smoke, fumes, and junk out of the basement & casting pot.

    I also scratch or stamp ID's on each ingot to identify them years later.

    L = Pure lead
    WW = Wheel Weights
    L&T = Lead & Tin alloy.
    TYP = Linotype.
    RS = Range Scrap.

  5. Jim M

    Jim M Active Member

    I don't like handling any kind of a pot filled with molten lead alloy, so I use my bottom pour electric casting furnace (RCBS). It sits on a work bench and is very stable, and doesn't have to be moved while it is hot. Some years back, a friend and I bought a couple of tons of wheel weights from a local high-volume tire shop. We went through and sorted out all of the non-lead weights (from mag wheels, etc.), and cast the remaining good wheel weights into ingots, using an RCBS ingot mold, using flux and skimming the clips and dirt off the top. We ended up with very clean wheel weight metal in ingots that we can just add to the casting furnace for casting bullets.

    I recommend against washing the wheel weights before you melt them. If you have any drops of water left in the clips, etc., you will have more excitement than you want when you add those to the melting pot!

    Do all of your bullet casting, including processing the wheel weights, in an open area or an area with good ventilation. Don't do it in an open area where a passing cloud could drop a few drops of rain into your melting pot!
  6. Vacek

    Vacek Well-Known Member

    Thank you to all who replied. Great feedback as usual. Another question, the Mag Wheelweights I am gathering are zinc. They are recognizable by the fact that they do not oxidize and are still shiny. Correct???? Also, they would have a lower specific gravity...Correct????
  7. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    Here's my SMELTING set-up. There's no need to lift that pot, it can handle up to and including 100#'s of lead. I use a ladle to dip into it, then pour ingots. It's a turkey fryer for a heat source.



    Here it's fluxed and ready to be poured.


    A few ingots from that lead in the pot.


    What do you mean by mag wheelweights? Those that were found on magnesium wheels? Those are usually "stick on" weights, if they have a sticky backing on them, they're pure lead.

    Zinc weights are usually stamped ZN somewhere on them.
  8. RugerBob

    RugerBob Well-Known Member

    If you use the zinc and pure lead mixture and cast a 250 grain bullet in may be more like 240 grains cuz the zinc is lighter. The zinc wieghts float to the top cuz its melt point is slightly higher then lead. I remove the zinc if they make it into the melting pot. I throw them to the side and usually melt them together just for plinking rounds.Usually can be identified by a ZN marking on the wheel wieght. good luck. Bob
  9. hawkeye1

    hawkeye1 Well-Known Member

    I definitely always melt my wheel weights down in a seperate pot so I can keep the crud out of my bottom pour furnace. This way I can melt the weights down and skim the dirt and dross and clips off and flux in my small cast iron pot. then into the ingot mold for use in the lead furnace when I am ready to cast bullets. And no you do not need to wash them first, as the dirt and junk will float to the top to be skimmed off. Dont forget to flux, and you should be ready to go.

    good shooting
  10. snuffy

    snuffy Well-Known Member

    You DO NOT WANT ZINC IN ANY LEAD MIXTURE! The zinc will make a gooey mess out of any lead mixture. It is to be avoided at all costs, IF it accidentally gets mixed in with lead, it makes that lead useless for making boolits. The zinc just refuses to allow the lead to flow to fill out a mold. No, theres no way to get it out of a lead alloy once it's in there:(

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