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Wheel weights for cast bullets (Zinc?)

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by IROCZ, Nov 13, 2012.

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  1. IROCZ

    IROCZ Member

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    I am getting into casting my own bullets for my .44 and .357 mags. I bought 46 lbs. of wheel weights at the scrap yard for cheap. About 25% turned out to be steel so I separated them out. I did a search here and found several threads on casting bullets and warning about "ruining your lead with Zinc". Can anyone explain this to me? Where does the Zinc come into the equation? And does Zinc ruin lead for reloading and why? I have cast bullets for my muzzle loaders in the past and just used pure plumbers lead. I did some research and found I needed a harder alloy than pure lead. I will have at least a hundred more questions as this progresses so I will say thanks in advance for all replies!
     
  2. morcey2

    morcey2 Member

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    Others will have better answer better than me, but the zinc will make the melt look like oatmeal if the temp gets hot enough to melt the zinc. Separate out the zinc weights prior to smelting.

    Matt
     
  3. IROCZ

    IROCZ Member

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    Thanks but how do you tell if they are zinc? Thanks.
     
  4. Faret

    Faret Member

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    Try to cut them with a side cutters or wire cutter they are harder than wheel weights but look just like them. And you can cut right through the soft stick on weights. Keep the whole thing under 650 deg and anything left floating is not lead.
     
  5. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Zinc and steel wheelweights normally have the clip riveted on, while lead wheelweights will have the clip cast into the weight. Another way to tell is to drop them on concrete. The lead weights will "thunk", while the zinc and steel will "ring".

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  6. IROCZ

    IROCZ Member

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    Thanks for the responses! I have been studying this website for over an hour. Lotsa good info. Cast Boolits is down for some reason. I will just order the basic Lyman pot and thermometer and use my turkey cooker burner in the garage and monitor the heat to get past the Zinc. Thanks!
     
  7. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    CastBoolits is switching servers at the moment. When it's back up go to the Lead/Alloys section. There is a sticky with a bunch if pictures of all the different types of wheel weights.

    I typically find that they have ZN or ZN-AL right on them. If they are in question I scratch them across the concrete floor. The zinc will dig in and make a different sound. Take a known marked zinc weight and do this to get a feel. After awhile you can pick them out on sight alone.


    Brought to you by TapaTalk.
     
  8. fecmech

    fecmech Member

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    Another way to check is try and cut them with a pair of wire cutters. The lead will leave a deep mark and the zinc are hard and will barely show a cut.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  9. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    lead melts at about 620 f

    zinc melts at about 780 f

    the density of molten lead is about 11 g/cm3

    solid zinc has a density of about 6-1/2 g/cm3

    As you heat up your smelt of mixed wheel weights, the lead will melt first and then the zinc will float to the top, where you can pick them out with pliers. Easy cheasy!

    Stick on lead WWs are close to pure lead and are like a soft tape. These are easily segregated out of the pile, if you desire to maximize the hardness from your clip on WWs (which are a alloyed with tin)

    I'm far from a casting expert.... But the few times I've smelted down wheel weights, once I figured out what the zinc WWs looked like, they were pretty easy to identify and pull b4 hitting the smelt... and the few that got in, floated to the top.

    You don't want your smelt to get hot enough to melt zinc WWs... so it's helpful to have a thermometer.
     
  10. homatok

    homatok Member

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    A drop of Muriatic acid (available from the hardware or pool supply store) placed on a cleaned area of the weight will "fizzle" (scientific term) if the weight is Zinc!
     
  11. wgaynor

    wgaynor Member

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    As mentioned above, keep your melt at the right temp and they will remain untouched. Skim them out of the pot with a slotted spoon, but don't throw them away. Instead, get a different pot FOR ZINC ONLY and use them as fishing weights. Waste not want not...
     
  12. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Yep, what they said. Just don't get it all too hot and the zinc weights won't even melt. Scoop 'em out with the steel clips and other crap. It's not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. Getting your lead melt hot enough to melt zinc also is a chore, you'd really have to work at it.
     
  13. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    I am looking into casting wheel weights into 00 buck for the shotgun since there is no lead build up issue with shotgun smoothbore barrels. It will also offset the cost of OO buck by quite a bit.
     
  14. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Damn, you shoot enough 00 buck to even consider casting your own? What on Earth do you shoot that much 00 for? Just curious, I'd bet I haven't fired a half box of it in my entire life.
     
  15. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Member

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    Zinc was an early lead WW substitute..
    The industry has since settled on steel..
     
  16. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    The first tactical shotgun class I took, we fired 100 rounds of OO buck each. That was pretty spendy. I now work at an inddor range/training facility and get free classes. The shotgun class is on my list of things to take again.
     
  17. Rottweiler

    Rottweiler Member

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    There's a guy over on castboolits.com that will trade your zinc (junk) wheelweights for lead. Rumor has it that he makes cannonballs out of the zinc. His name there is Shadygrady
     
  18. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    Zinc: one pound of zinc when added to 10,000 pounds of lead runis the mix. After zinc is added to lead, start swagging.

    F. Guffey
     
  19. IROCZ

    IROCZ Member

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    Sounds easier to just keep them out...Zinc that is.
    Thanks again, I'll be back with another question soon!
     
  20. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Yeppers that about sums it up. When you start your melting if you are sure to put only known lead WW in the bottom you can be fairly sure by keeping the temp below 700 you will not melt any zincers. However if you simply dump in a full pot of weights, the bottom may get hot enough to start off with that a zincer or two might actually melt in.

    From all I have read as long as your in the less than 1% or so of total zinc you can still cast reasonably good bullets with no ill effects.

    But like your post say's it's best to just keep them out period. Also the sticky on Castboolits is awesome as well as a couple of others there which pertain to zinc.

    If you haven't found this one yet, be sure to go here as well,
    The Cast Bullet / Hunting Articles Of Glen E. Fryxell

    While your there be sure to download, or print out the PDF, From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners. You will find plenty of reference material in there that is nice to keep handy.
     
  21. IROCZ

    IROCZ Member

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    Wow! Thanks .41 mag! Great resource! Just opened it and I'm 1 chapter in already! Thank you!
     
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