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Thread: Garage sale treasures……

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    Default Garage sale treasures……

    I don’t know how many of you guys are avid bullet casters like myself, but if you are, then you are no doubt aware of the ever increasing cost of the materials we utilize in the manufacture of our little “pills-o-death”. That said, I recently ran across a post on another forum were the discussion was of pewter items that guys had been gathering up at garage sales, or more specifically had instructed their wives to buy at garage sales. As pewter is mostly tin (85% - 99%) with the remainder being copper and antimony it should work fine for adding a bit to the flow out of bullets and also harden them up just a tad. I am just curious if any of you had tried it? I am currently using the “certified” tin bars from Midway USA and have been pleased with the results, however the cost including shipping is starting to seem a bit unreasonable to me. If the pewter works just as well (it’s the copper content that has me concerned) and I can scrounge up a mug, platter or picture frame or two for a few bucks at a garage sale, then hey………… why not?!! It would be a lot less expensive than buying the “certified” stuff.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Default pewter

    Just make sure you're not melting down a valuable antique first. 8*)

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    I don’t know how many of you guys are avid bullet casters like myself, but if you are, then you are no doubt aware of the ever increasing cost of the materials we utilize in the manufacture of our little “pills-o-death”. That said, I recently ran across a post on another forum were the discussion was of pewter items that guys had been gathering up at garage sales, or more specifically had instructed their wives to buy at garage sales. As pewter is mostly tin (85% - 99%) with the remainder being copper and antimony it should work fine for adding a bit to the flow out of bullets and also harden them up just a tad. I am just curious if any of you had tried it? I am currently using the “certified” tin bars from Midway USA and have been pleased with the results, however the cost including shipping is starting to seem a bit unreasonable to me. If the pewter works just as well (it’s the copper content that has me concerned) and I can scrounge up a mug, platter or picture frame or two for a few bucks at a garage sale, then hey………… why not?!! It would be a lot less expensive than buying the “certified” stuff.
    I don't see any problem with trying it...seems like a good idea. The copper shouldn't be a problem either...bullet jackets are copper. I say "goferit".

    Marshall

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    Alan: I like to keep my life simple. I use wheel weights and get them for free from several local tire shops. I use them for both pistol and rifle bullets and they work well. Never had any problems. Good luck. J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    Just make sure you're not melting down a valuable antique first. 8*)
    ...That's where all those wonderful old steam engines went. They're all probably a part of some cheap Taurus or Prius or something now... Sad.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    I don’t know how many of you guys are avid bullet casters like myself, but if you are, then you are no doubt aware of the ever increasing cost of the materials we utilize in the manufacture of our little “pills-o-death”. That said, I recently ran across a post on another forum were the discussion was of pewter items that guys had been gathering up at garage sales, or more specifically had instructed their wives to buy at garage sales. As pewter is mostly tin (85% - 99%) with the remainder being copper and antimony it should work fine for adding a bit to the flow out of bullets and also harden them up just a tad. I am just curious if any of you had tried it? I am currently using the “certified” tin bars from Midway USA and have been pleased with the results, however the cost including shipping is starting to seem a bit unreasonable to me. If the pewter works just as well (it’s the copper content that has me concerned) and I can scrounge up a mug, platter or picture frame or two for a few bucks at a garage sale, then hey………… why not?!! It would be a lot less expensive than buying the “certified” stuff.

    Copper is a bain for alloy bullets, you better learn how to remove it, if your going to mess with any alloy containing copper. Do not mix any alloy that contains any copper to any alloy you know is copper free. It's not so much a problem getting the copper out as it is in knowing how to get the copper out. you need to do it in proper stages and use sawdust for flux temperature control is critical. The sawdust needs to be clean and as dry as it can be. Then you have to be able to safely dispose the of slag. It is a hazardous waste.

    For all the trouble it presents, my advice is to stay far away from it. That is, unless you are prepaired to deal with it and have the know how.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    [quote=Big Al;284719]Copper is a bain for alloy bullets, you better learn how to remove it, if your going to mess with any alloy containing copper. Do not mix any alloy that contains any copper to any alloy you know is copper free. It's not so much a problem getting the copper out as it is in knowing how to get the copper out. you need to do it in proper stages and use sawdust for flux temperature control is critical. The sawdust needs to be clean and as dry as it can be. Then you have to be able to safely dispose the of slag. It is a hazardous waste.

    For all the trouble it presents, my advice is to stay far away from it. That is, unless you are prepaired to deal with it (no, not really) and have the know how. (again, not really)

    Thanks Guys, that is pretty much what I needed to know! I will just stick to the real deal certified stuff and leave the pewter collectables for the old ladies!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    My best garage sale score was a box of 500 38 cal cast bullets for $5.

    That is a garage sale treasure.

    For cast bullets, stick with ww's, assuming you cand find a supply as they aren't as common as they used to be.

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    What's the melting point of copper? I'm sure it's higher than tin. If it is then melt the pewter, or rather, the tin in the pewter and scoop out the solids.

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    Ok, just looked it up. Copper melts at 1982F or a little hotter and tin melts at about 231F. So the copper should remain solid when melting the pewter, right?

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    So then what temperature do you bring the melt to, to remove the dross?

    Does the higher melting temp mean it floats to the top. At a temperature of under 900 degrees f. does the copper precipitate?

    What do you use to get the copper out? What method would you use to get the copper out?

    Where do you dispose of the hazmat waste? Is it free to dispose of this hazardous material?

    Questions that are answered by metal refineries everyday. If you think you will just put it in a land fill, then you will have the State and the Feds after you.

    Dross has value. In what amounts? What does it cost you to get it back to the closest refinery (in Washington state). What is the minimum the refineries will except?

    None of the above means it can't be done, what it means is, there is a cost to pay to do it. It also means a level of knowledge and the equipment to deal with the copper.

    Why go to the trouble? It would be a different situation if you had tons to deal with and the cost was nothing or next to it.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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