Author Topic: lead retrieval  (Read 3966 times)


  • Guest
lead retrieval
« on: January 20, 2009, 04:47:17 AM »
Hey, guys -- This is probably a "duh" note for most of you, so I apologize ahead of time.  With lead becoming a pricey commodity, I recall a recycling method I used early-on. It won't work at "established" ranges, but works fine in the desert/wilderness/woods/whatever. It involved a five-gallon bucket, a shovel, some loose dry soil or sand, a 2 x 4 frame, a small piece of screen wire (about  1/2-inch grid works nicely) and a piece of cardboard (about 3 x 3 feet).  Nail or staple screen to bottom of frame to make a sifter. Procedure: Fill bucket with sand/soil at desired distance from shooting spot. Place target in front of bucket. Fire away. When finished, place screen/frame device atop cardboard. Remove target from in front of bucket. Empty contents/portion of contents of bucket into screen/2 x 4 device. Shake screen device to sift soil/sand onto cardboard, leaving  flattened lead projectiles in screen "box." Retrieve lead. With cardboard, return sand/soil to bucket, and hide near shooting site for "next time." As bucket deteriorates, line the hole with newspaper, old shower curtain, whatever, so sand/soil does not pour out. At proper time, replace bucket. (Hint: If you leave the bucket, filled with sand/soil, you might even entice the next shooter to "donate" some lead, though it's likely to be wheelweight stuff . . . More likely, though, you'll find that some dipsy-doodle has thought it fun to demolish your bucket with several rounds of 12-gauge ammo . . . sadly).  - paul

Candle Snuffer

  • Guest
Re: lead retrieval
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2009, 05:40:22 AM »
This is actually a good idea you have here, Paul! 

Fortunately in my area there are not many who cast their own so I usually work the butts a few times a year when I'm off work on a Wednesday and I know no one else is at the range to bother me. 

Kind of sneaky I know, but even if someone did ask what I was doing they probably wouldn't know where to begin with, or what to do with, lead I've recovered.

Good tip!!! :)


  • Guest
Re: lead retrieval
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2009, 06:07:46 AM »
I've been doing approximately the same thing for a year now.  Differences are that I tape the target directly to the bucket.  Second mod is to put a piece of truck inner tube inside the bucket on the shooting side before you fill it with sand.  The inner tube "self heals" with each shot, and cuts down or eliminates the need to add sand during long shooting sessions.

My one mistake was not collecting an extra supply of sand before freezeup.  Now I can't get any, and it's really painful to be wasting all that lead downrange.

William Worth

  • Guest
Re: lead retrieval
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2009, 04:40:39 PM »
I use a block of wood.  When the one hole in the center of the block  ;) starts to go through or otherwise loose it's integrity, I split out the block and recover what I can.

Offline Clark Badgett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2176
  • Oklahoma
Re: lead retrieval
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2009, 10:43:59 AM »
I always pick up any lead I find, while at the public ranges I pick up all the modern lead filled jacketed stuff too. I melt it all and pour it into ingot molds and then mix one ingot in with pure and use that. I have 13 lbs of scrap lead in ingots as I speak. Would have more but the wife complained about the smell from the waxes with the garage all closed up due to winter. A method I use when I want to retrieve my more pure lead is to use old phone books, big tool catalogs whatever taped all together and retrieve my lead when I get home.
Psalms 144

frontier gander

  • Guest
Re: lead retrieval
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2009, 02:14:07 AM »
5 gallon bucket works great. I used it to test other muzzle loader bullets and to do what you want, get that lead back and keep reusing it!


  • Guest
Re: lead retrieval
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2009, 04:13:11 AM »
Used to have a sware steel tube full of sand in my shop. It had 2 layers of tire rubber over the entrance to self-seal and keep sand from spraying out.  I used it for testing loads in the basement, modern stuff, of course, so I only took 'interesting' loads to the range with me. it redcued the # of rounds I had to pull.

A similar system could be made for muzzleloaders being shot on private ranges.  A 1" x4'x8' sheet of ply might is all that's needed to make the 'box'. Slightly elevated to hold a quantity of sand - or boards with sand in between as in baffles could work. Some imagination is all that's needed to construct such a box.