Help with lead and metals question

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by CardiacColt68, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 New Member

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    OK, my Dad has been reloading for about 25 years. He gets his lead from tire weights at a guy he knows gas station. Well, that worked for all these years, but now many of the lead tire weights are actually made from some zinc. Does anyone know an easy way to identify what is lead and what is zinc? Is there some simple test? I would think the zinc is harder thus making melting more difficult. But how outside of cutting them open and guessing based on the looks of the metal he doesn't know how to differentiate them. Anybody have a clue?
     
  2. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOlOBYCcmWA[/ame]
     

  3. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    The zink ones will float to the top of your melting pot. You can pick them out with a pair of pliers. That is what I used to do. But now I can't find wheel weights anymore. I buy a alloy from a recycling center. It is cheap.
     
  4. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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    right now i order my lead from rotometals. there is so little lead in most wheel weights its pretty hard to scavange. i tried it locally here got 7 buckets of weights sorted em all out ended up with 6 and a half buckets of zinc
     
  5. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 New Member

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    Thanks guys. My Dad has a decent stash of mostly older weights so he has quite a bit of good stuff. But there is some zinc in there. He has another buddy with the same problem. And they are both, let's say experienced guys, that don't really use the internet to learn new things. I don't reload yet so I am no help.
     
  6. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    There are no purely Zink wheel weights. WWs may contain some Zink. Zink will not float on lead. Lead melts at 620 degrees and Zink melts at 690 degrees. You will need a flow temperature above 700 degrees. The new non-lead WWs are steel and will float to the surface of lead. Some casters think Zink can cause improper flow and result in poorly filled molds. :)
     
  7. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

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    I was skimming what I thought were zink wheel weights off the top of my molten lead 6 years ago. Were they using steel back then?
     
  8. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    I think so. I have some that are at least that old. I was given 2,000 lbs. of range lead as well as Linotype, Mono-type. Stereotype and foundry lead. A bullet company shut down and they gave me the lead to move it. That was many years ago. There are some steel WWs that float up from time to time. :)
     
  9. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Rick1967, The WW reference sheets shows steel wheel weights were first supplied by Azuma Metals in 1998. :)
     
  10. CardiacColt68

    CardiacColt68 New Member

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    Ok, here's another ignorant question. IF lead became unaffordable or unavailable is there another material that can be used for reloading? I am thinking I should start learning about reloading, and prepare to buy books and equipment since I enjoy my 45 ACPs so much, but between politics and the EPA insanity wonder what the long term outlook is.
     
  11. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    The Zinc alloy weights WILL float on molten lead. They MAY melt eventually if you run the pot temp up enough, but they will float for several minutes at normal liquid lead temps.

    The Zinc alloy weights are marked "Zn"

    The steel weights are marked "Fe".

    Lead wheel weights are lead alloy with the exception of the stick on variety, they are very nearly pure lead.
     
  12. ColdIron44

    ColdIron44 New Member

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    If you want to cull out non lead weights before you smelt, just test them with a sharp pocket knife. Try and "shave" a chunk off the weight with the blade held nearly parallel to the weight. The lead will slice cleanly with the resistance of let's say, cold ice-cream. The zinc will slice and crumble and be much more difficult to slice, and the steel, if you did not cull it out with a magnet, will likely chip your blade. To get a better "feel" for the zinc, try the same test on a brass door knob, which is roughly 30% zinc but will feel practically the same.
     
  13. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    A deference of 70 degrees is not going to allow any noticeable Zink residue. who runs a melt at melting point? The lead melting point of 620 degrees will not flow even. Most pours are at 750 degrees and for aluminum mold blocks 800 or higher.
    The "Flat" WWs while having a BHN of 5 or less is high in Zink. Most serious casters cull these out. I use them to make musket balls for BP waepons. ;)
     
  14. Shade

    Shade New Member

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    WTF is zink... :rolleyes:
     
  15. markshere2

    markshere2 New Member

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    Zinc wheel weights are harder than lead alloy WW. They ping when dropped on a cast iron or cement surface, vs the thunk of a lead wheel weight.
    A pair of side cutter ( wire cutters / dikes) is very useful for quickly figuring out the composition of a given WW.

    Because zinc hardens at a higher temperature than lead, a pot of zinc contaminated lead alloy will not fill out a bullet mould correctly.

    Zinc contamination is visible by the purple and yellowish iridescent colors in the metal.

    Zinc and steel wheel weights will float on top of the molten lead. So, a strainer/ skimmer works for getting off the ones you missed in sorting by visual/ drop/ wire cutter sorting.

    Smelt your WW "cool" and you should be good to go.

    If you get distracted, SHUT THE DAM HEAT SOURCE OFF and you won't wind up with 50 lbs of useless contaminated lead like I did.
     
  16. hmh

    hmh New Member

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    Yea I ruined a pot with zinc wheel weights looks like silver oatmeal. All wheel weights that are made recently are non lead.
     
  17. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Comparing pure zinc to the alloy in newer wheel weights is just silly. Zinc is a more expensive metal than lead and not very easy to work with. The Zn marked weights are an alloy of zinc and steel. Their melting point is WAY higher than most furnaces are capable of reaching.

    And, what are "flat" wheel weights? Are you referring to the stick on weights? Most are pure lead and quite malleable. Some are steel and some are zinc alloy. The same rules apply as with the clip ons. they will float.
     
  18. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    In order to know what the alloy is you must test the BHN. Most wheel weights vary but may average a BHN 9.5-11. Adding 3.5 % tin can provide a Lyman # 2 of 11-12 BHN. Bullet alloy is chosen by the BHN needed for the pressures you are loading.:)
    Pure zinc WW are 71.5 % Zinc, 28 % Aluminum, 11.5 % copper. A melting point of 787.12 degrees F. They are 20 % lighter than lead.
     
  19. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Are you for real? "Pure" zinc melts at 787 degrees Fahrenheit. An alloy of the 3 metals you claim is NOT "Pure". The melting point of such an alloy is significantly higher than 787 degrees.
     
  20. nitestalker

    nitestalker New Member

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    Don't be so fast to criticize on these issues. This is the MSD on Zinc wheel weights. My error heaven for bid using "Pure" I should have said zinc wheel weights. Most caster would read an MSD and understand it.:)