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Reclaimed shot cleanup

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Holypatterns, Nov 19, 2008.

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  1. Holypatterns

    Holypatterns TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    A few days ago I submitted a question on this same topic. I got some nine responses and a couple of hundred hits. Thanks to everyone who responded, but I guess I need to clarify a little bit.

    I have access to shot that has laid around in the weather for years, and which has gathered a coating of lime (calcium carbonate) which should be dissolved by vinegar (weak acetic acid). Only a small number of the shot are so coated, but it has built up in small spots on those shot and I am worried about scratching my gun barrel, shotcup or no shotcup. I want to know if there is a chance of forming lead acetate, which I understand is able to penetrate the skin. By the way, the shot has the full range of shot sizes, 5's, 6's, 7 1/2's, 8's, and some nickle plated, some steel, but it smokes birds just fine from the 16 yard line when I do my part.

    I used to run a battery shop, and our sulfuric acid was diluted to the right gravity and stored in a lead-lined vat with no damage to the lead. But I'm not certain about the effect of acetic acid.
     
  2. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,003
    If the oxidation or coating cannot be resolved by tumbling, it's headed for the scrap dealer or re-dropped into shot. I wash and tumble it and add a small touch of graphite. I don't waste time with badly deteriorated shot. The shot cup will usually protect the bore well enough if the shot is clean and devoid of any sand or gravel. I've seen bores that have had many pounds of reclaimed shot fired through them without any ill effects. I can't remember ever seeing one that was damaged by reclaimed shot, but it could be possible.
     
  3. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    9,556
    In my first response to your question I advised against a chemical treatment and recommended abrasion. Your last post indicated that you do have some experience with acids/bases. Why not try a very small sample and see what happens.

    I would not be concerned about the carbonate coating hurting your barrel if you shot the lead as is. A great number of reloaders on this site have found a bag of shot that had gotten wet and turned white. This lead has been shot and I know of no ill effects from doing this.

    Pat Ireland
     
  4. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,266
    The white coating is lead carbonate (PbCO3). Lime is CaO and limestone is CaCO3. Thats probably not what is on your shot unless it was reclaimed from a limestone pit.

    The white lead carbonate won't cause any problems with your gun barrel but the presence of lead carbonate means you will have some very low density shot. That plus the distorted shape of most of the pellets don't make for high performance shotgun ammo.

    More important than the gun is your body. There are some significant health hazards with handling lead carbonate or lead oxide because these compounds both form fine grained dust which is respirable and they are also solubile enough to enter the blood stream through the lungs. The toxic effect is cummulative and nearly irreversible. Something to think about as you launch a few hundred thousand of these of pellets up in the air at 1,200 FpS.

    The best solution is to have new shot made out of this material or sell for scrap and buy a lesser quantity of new shot.
     
  5. Bruce Em

    Bruce Em Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Upstate NY
    I have played with it in years past and here is my 2 cents worth.

    You can sift it in a collander for large rocks and shot, but that doesnt eliminate the #8 rocks and sand.

    You can pour it in front of a leaf blower nozzle to knock out the sand and small rocks while catching the good shot in a bucket and the flat shot on a tarp. There is an art to doing that well.

    All of this exposes you to lead dust as does loading and tumbling it. A light coating of oil kills the dust but you need a two tube loader so the powder doesnt get oil soaked and you have to watch for bridging.

    If you are really determined, you can then pour the shot across a long glass plate; the better shot rolls to a catch gutter leaving flat shot and rocks behind.

    After you are all done with that you still get poor quality patterns for trap. I tried it with 1oz, 1 1/8 and even 1 1/4 with less than satisfactory results.

    Now aren't you glad you bought some and then went throught all that extra work?

    I find it easier and much better to use good quality new, hard shot. Hard shot lets you use less (like 7/8 or amazingly 3/4) with good results.

    best regards
     
  6. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Turn it for a few hours in a small cement mixer with water, rinse and let dry on a canvas tarp.

    Turn it again with about 1 teaspoon graphite pre 100 lbs.

    I have done 6 thousand pounds this way.

    HM
     
  7. Bruce Em

    Bruce Em Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    902
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    HM, Did you shoot trap with it or skeet?

    thanks
     
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