Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Zinc in wheel weights? Help.

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    northern n.y. and much of the eastern U.S.
    Posts
    120

    Default Zinc in wheel weights? Help.

    Hey everyone,

    I've been burning up the site here getting info and wisdom concerning my Ruger Black hawk in 45 Colt in anticipation of doing some hunting (deer) with it this coming fall.., this site here and you that have given your thoughts have been a great help and inspiration.

    I did pick up the Lyman 3rd Edition to cast bullets. I have read 2 things..,
    1) Wheel weights make a good "base" for bullet material...
    2) Wheel weights (some of them) contain zinc... a bad thing

    In anticipation that some day I'd be casting my own, I've been collection wheel weights over the past couple of years.
    But now I learn that in among my wheel weights there is bound to be some zinc.

    How can I I.D. which ones are the "bad guys" in order to weed them out from the good stuff?

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Knik-Fairview, Alaska
    Posts
    927

    Default

    No problem ...just don't overheat your wheel weights when smelting. Zinc is lighter than lead and it has a higher melting temperature (Zinc melts at 788 F while lead melts at 622 F) so it'll float to the top with the rest of the junk. Zinc is only an issue if you accidentally heat your melted lead to 800 F or so. Buy an RCBS melt thermometer (not that darn cheap Lyman one) and have at it... Smelting is fun. Don't clean anything by hand before smelting. I just pick the rubber valve stems and garbage out, then smelt the rest. Buy a big block of candle wax at the craft store for flux and flux well. The book will tell you all you need to know and you'll find that it's all very easy and fun to do.

    Brian

    PS: In the US, you are still not very likely to find many zinc wheel weights. They are generally found on smaller alloy wheels such as on small foreign sports cars... mostly from Europe. Expect to see a LOT of big ugly zinc wheel weights in the US soon however ...you can bet the Obamanation is going to make lead wheel weights illegal for environmental reasons. Get'm while you can. Make your own shooting range and steel bullet trap so your practice rounds can turn back into new bullets again later ...or make a steel trap on wheels and bring it to the range. Don't let that lead get away!

    PPS: The flat segmented stick-on weights are nearly pure lead and can be used as though they were pure lead, i.e. for black powder musket balls and what not. Save them in a separate bucket, smelt them separately, and mark the ingots 'LEAD'. Mark your wheel weight ingots 'WW' etc. I have a set of letter and number stamps that I use ...Just smack them with a hammer and they print the lettering right into the ingot ...can't rub that off.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    137

    Default

    tananaBrian nailed it 100%

    Mike

  4. #4
    Member Alangaq's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Hey! If I look thru this empty beer bottle, I think I can see Russia from here!!!
    Posts
    1,232

    Default

    I have long ago lost track of how many 5 gallon buckets of wheel weights I have smelted over the last couple of years, but I can tell you that my lower back is keeping track........

    Anyway, the point is, I have yet to run accros any zink weights. I dont think they are very promenent up here yet. tananabrian has you pretty well lined out, the only other thing I would add, would be to pick up a few blocks of parifin wax (for canning) and throw a hunk of it in with your wheel weights every so often. It will help break up the surface tension on the clips as well as the melt and assist in bringing all the slag and crap to the top. As an added bonus, it smokes alot and often flames up.... very cool and always fun! Note: Do not place face or other body parts near smelter pot when adding parifin!

    I like to smelt about a 1/4 of a 5 gallon bucket at a time and frankly, I dont even wory about the stems, nails or other junk that ends up in there. it will all end up at the top.... of course the stems will be stinking and smoking like crazy, but I figure that is half the fun! And since 90% of the time my neighbors comment on my fish and meat smoking, I figgure it's good to change it up once in a while to keep them guessing...... [dang... I wonder what the heck that crazy guy next door is cooking now....sure stinks]

    One other thing to note is that you should always make a point to smelt and the lowest possible temp. this will help prevent the tin and other desirable alloying eliments from seperating (at various temps) from you melt.

    also, when you wife is our and about garage sale hunting this spring and summer, ask her to pick up all the cheap pewter she can get. Pewter is mostly tin, and the other elements it contains are minor and not problematic for casting. this (if gotten cheaply enough) is a super way of adding a bit of hardness (perhaps 2 to 3 bn) to your alloy and also aiding in fill out.

    and lastly.... I am sure you have heard it before, but just incase.... water + molten lead = very bad things (thing copious amounts of molten lead flying in every direction) so take great care to avoid any water, no matter how insignificant you may think it is.... all it takes is one tiny drop to penetrate the surface of the melt, turn to steam and explode...... NOT GOOD!

    now go forth and melt metal with FIRE! YeeeeHaaaa! Life is good!
    “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

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alangaq View Post
    Anyway, the point is, I have yet to run accros any zink weights. I dont think they are very promenent up here yet.
    I've actually run into a few in some of the buckets I got last summer. I spotted them before I dumped them into my dutch oven. These looked a little different (like the clip was riveted to the weight), and they were marked "Zn".

    tananabrian has you pretty well lined out, the only other thing I would add, would be to pick up a few blocks of parifin wax (for canning) and throw a hunk of it in with your wheel weights every so often. It will help break up the surface tension on the clips as well as the melt and assist in bringing all the slag and crap to the top. As an added bonus, it smokes alot and often flames up.... very cool and always fun!
    I always like to throw my head back and laugh maniacally as the wax bursts into flame--adds to the mystique.

    Mike

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Eureka MT
    Posts
    3,048

    Default

    Theres getting to be more and more zinc weights here and even some iron weights. The iron just won't melt and if you keep temp around 650 the lead will melt and the zinc won't. Just skimm it with the clips and dross.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Knik-Fairview, Alaska
    Posts
    927

    Default

    Oh yeah ...the melting tin issue. I forgot about that. Note that when you use a slotted spoon to strain out the junk, that the lead will look like it's got a smeary-looking layer of something on top ...kinda greyish. Some people make the assumption that it's a bad thing and scoop it off with a spoon. DON'T! That's the tin and it's part of your alloy. It'll come out of solution like that after it's melted. When you add the paraffin wax and stir it through the lead (fluxing), the impurities will 'stick' to the wax and float to the top and as the impurities are removed, the tin will go back into solution and it'll look like it's gone ...like pure clean lead. That's what you want. But do NOT scoop any liquids out when you are scooping out the floating junk ...and when fluxing, remove only ugly scum and only after fluxing a lot. The metals will recombine properly during fluxing, or I should say, during the FIRST fluxing. You will likely want to flux 2 or 3 times ...it's fun and cleans up your lead, so why not?

    Brian

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    SwampView AK, Overlooking Mt. Mckinley and Points Beyond.
    Posts
    8,813

    Default Mighty Fine

    TananaBrian, and Alangaq:

    I appreciate the good info.

    I’ve been buying cast bullets, and haven’t done any casting in years, but I hope to do some this summer.

    I think we’d all best hang onto our moulds and our lead.

    Because handloading components are harder to come by nowadays, we need to keep all of our options.

    I traded off a Lyman 7mm Rifle Mould, and now, I feel that was a mistake. I’m replacing it with a cheaper Lee 7mm mould, just to preserve my ability to make my own bullets. Most of my few rifles are some kind of 7mm Caliber.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •