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Ozarks Jim

Spent Brass Casting

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Howdy Fellers,

 

Guess I been watching too much “Forged In Fire” TV show cause I have picked up a hankerin’ to do some brass casting.  I figgered in this bunch of pards I would find someone with some tips about melting spent brass from our sport to make stuff.  I have a few questions:

 

Is it necessary to deprime cases before melting?  I heard that the primers are mostly brass.  Don’t know if the anvil part of the primer is brass or steel but I figger it is so small it would either float to the top with the dross or sink to the bottom with the dregs.

 

Is it best to tumble them clean first?  Or does the melting burn off any residue?  I am doing the melting/casting outdoors so not concerned about fumes and am only doing small batches (3-5#’s).

 

Is there any need to flux the brass?  I hear lots about it but for just making ingots or doo dads is it really necessary?

 

I have some iron ingot molds to cast in.  Any special treatment or prep needed before I pour into them?  I know they must be bone dry.

 

I might play with doing some sand casting of small plaques.  Any tips or ideas you have for that?

 

I appreciate in advance any advice and help y`all can give me.

 

Ozarks Jim SASS#69618

Arkansas Leadslingers

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I never heard of snybody melting cases. I just reload em. I have no metallurgy expertise but not all primers are brass. If 

I was going to melt brass I would deprime and clean first to remove anything thad would comtaminate the melt.

But the unusable brass I would have available to melt down wouldn’t be enough to make much of anything. Maybe some of the blacksmith sites on the Internet could help you out.

 

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24 minutes ago, Ozarks Jim said:

Howdy Fellers,

 

Guess I been watching too much “Forged In Fire” TV show cause I have picked up a hankerin’ to do some brass casting.  I figgered in this bunch of pards I would find someone with some tips about melting spent brass from our sport to make stuff.  I have a few questions:

 

Is it necessary to deprime cases before melting?  I heard that the primers are mostly brass.  Don’t know if the anvil part of the primer is brass or steel but I figger it is so small it would either float to the top with the dross or sink to the bottom with the dregs.

Not Necessary, if it does not melt down you can scoop it out after you flux. 

 

Is it best to tumble them clean first?  Or does the melting burn off any residue?  I am doing the melting/casting outdoors so not concerned about fumes and am only doing small batches (3-5#’s).

I wouldn't bother cleaning first.

 

Is there any need to flux the brass?  I hear lots about it but for just making ingots or doo dads is it really necessary?

Fluxing is important for removing impurities, not absolutely necessary but I would recommend doing it.

 

I have some iron ingot molds to cast in.  Any special treatment or prep needed before I pour into them?  I know they must be bone dry.

May sure they are bone dry before pouring anything into them.

 

I might play with doing some sand casting of small plaques.  Any tips or ideas you have for that?

Casting sand is easy to work with and you can press a model of what you want into the sand to make a mold.

 

I appreciate in advance any advice and help y`all can give me.

 

Ozarks Jim SASS#69618

Arkansas Leadslingers

I have limited experience but I have played around with casting both brass and aluminum.  Brass melts at around 1700* so you will need a small forge or make one.  My main advice is make sure your brass is bone dry.  I would advise adding all the brass you want to melt into your crucible while it is cold and bring it up to temp rather than adding brass as you go.  This will insure any moisture is boiled off before the brass is molten.

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Make sure all of the primers are fired. A live primer in the forge can get exciting real quick.

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Something to get you started.

 

 

 

 

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This feels like a really dumb question....

 

is unwanted brass worth anything?  Not because I want to sell it, but I nave maybe ten lbs I could gather up and mail to you.

 

maybe it’s not worth the effort.

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Jim I would remove the primers. Junk in junk out. As mentioned above charging to a molton bath can be hazardous. Be sure to use a face shield and dress in flame retardant clothing. Brass is a sticky metal when molton so expect any spilled or splashed metal to stick to your skin or clothing. 1700F is hot on the skin.

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9 hours ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

This feels like a really dumb question....

 

is unwanted brass worth anything?  Not because I want to sell it, but I nave maybe ten lbs I could gather up and mail to you.

 

maybe it’s not worth the effort.

 

The last time I took scrap brass to the metal yard it brought $1.10 per pound.  It was mostly spent primers and junk cartridge brass. 

Blackfoot

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1 hour ago, BLACKFOOT SASS #11947 said:

 

The last time I took scrap brass to the metal yard it brought $1.10 per pound.  It was mostly spent primers and junk cartridge brass. 

Blackfoot

Shovel dirt over it and leave it.

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12 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

Something to get you started.

 

 

 

 

Bullet brass?

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21 minutes ago, Grass Range said:

Bullet brass?

It’s the Internet. :lol:

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1 hour ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

Shovel dirt over it and leave it.

I save all the spent brass I can't reload due to split cases, etc. I also pick up spent brass at the range. Once a year I take to our local salvage center and sell it. I also save/sell spent primers. A magnet won't pick them up so you get dirty brass price for them. I don't recycle shotgun primers because they are mostly steel. I get anywhere from $50 to $100 for the scrap. I go right to my reloading supplier and buy more components.

 

Beats throwing it away!

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partner and I save our split cases and other damaged brass.  2-3 times a year go to scrap yard and trade for lead--the kind I cast into pretty little bullets for us. 

 

He does the inital smelting, I do the casting and powder coating.

 

 

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Great information fellers.  Buffalo, we miss you folks!  Come see us.

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Well I just tried my first melt and it didn't work.  Here are the details and I welcome any suggestions about what I may have done wrong.

 

I have a Cast Masters 5KG propane forge.  I prepared the crucible according to directions and it seemed to work fine.  I filled the cold crucible with spent brass and placed it in a cold forge.  I had a temp probe from an electronic thermometer placed about halfway down inside the crucible.  I fired up the  forge and adjusted it till it sounded good and had just some flame coming out of the exhaust hole of the forge.  After about 10 minutes the temp read 1800 degrees F.  Looking into the exhaust hole I could see the brass and crucible all glowing red hot but the brass wasn't melting, just turned red and glowed.  I waited another five minutes and looked again and this time I noticed that it looked like the brass was burning, not melting.  I used a stirring stick and when it touched the shells they just fell apart like a coal from a burning log.  I let it go another five minutes and looked again.  Other than the ones I had disturbed with the stirring, brass was still holding its shape and bright red.  I figgered something must be wrong so I dumped the crucible into a pan and saw that there was lots of powder type yellow & white residue and ashes.  A few clumps of melted metal but it wasn't flowing.  I am attaching a picture.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

brass.jpg

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The way the forge is set up, the burner enters at the bottom and is supposed to make a spiral around the crucible,  But  I did notice that the top of the crucible and the brass there started glowing first.  Even when I was curing the crucible empty I noticed it heated from the top down.  The only real adjustments I can make are to the propane pressure and the air intake.  The instructions didn't give any details about settings,. Here is the video which is the only instructions that came with the forge. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SuNc5DGm-U8&feature=youtu.be   

 

I appreciate any suggestions any one has.

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I googled melting brass and it looks like the zink burned off. It melts at a lower temp.

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Fill the crucible with brass, add a 1/4 cup of borax(laundry department at Walmart) try again. Your temp needs to-be higher. The borax will form a glass shield on the top of the melt to prevent oxidation. I run my forge at around 2300 degrees. It takes time to melt the brass. Of you t load diring melting , wait a while before youbpour into your mold.(preheatypur mold)

Call me if you have questions.

I’ll send my number by PM.

 

Fox

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