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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After 3 years of misery, I found a way to easily convert mined range bullets to useful lead. The magic ingredient is Kitty Litter or Floor Dry for oil spills. I first melted the reclaimed bullets in a steel pot on the turkey burner to melt the lead, remove some/most of the dirt, and skim off the jackets. What was left was poured into ingot molds. For actual casting bullets, I fluxed the melted lead several times with candle wax -- not always successful.

So I tried the Kitty Litter method this weekend. Slowly add enough kitty litter to the top of the pot to have about 3/8" thick lay of litter on top of the molten lead. Get the litter hot, stir the lead, add a 1" cube of candle wax and stir again with the wax burning. In about 1 minute the top of the melt is absolutely shining brightly. I cast about 600 45 ACP SWC while continuing to add "clean" ingots to keep the pot full. The bullets really filled out nicely in the mold with a sharp shoulder at base of the swc profile.

My second batch in the afternoon was made with "dirty" ingots that would not flux clean. I used my propane torch to reduce the melting time, pushed kitty litter aside and held flame on solid metal. I noticed bullet jackets, dirt, black crud coming out of the ingots. After everything was hot, I added wax lump and stirred until flames went out. Instead of 3/8" of kitty litter on top of the melt, I had 1"+ of dirt, trash, a few jackets that fluxed out. Removed the garbage, added fresh litter and started casting. This second batch was easy to clean, the bullets were a little harder than the first batch and the nose fill-out was excellent.

When the top of the melted lead is covered with kitty litter, there is less need to 'wax flux' to keep the melt well mixed. No slag comes to the top to accumulate as trash. I added dirty ingots 1 at a time as needed, stirred for about a minute, and all metal was clean. At the end of an hour of casting, there was almost an inch of sand, 4 copper jackets, and the original kitty litter. My cast bullets were all bright and shiny without any inclusions, trash, or poorly filled noses.

An old caster can learn new tricks. The bullets also seemed to size easier. Everything is good.

EDIT: When casting, I use a Lyman thermometer. When I melt range scrap, the turkey burner is full blast to melt the mess. I skim off the jackets, dirt, and trash.
 

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I have also fluxed recycled lead (in my case from tire weights) with sulfur. You can get this in the hardware store as rattlesnake repellent.

Obviously, thanks to fumes all this smelting takes place out doors. And pick a day when it won't be raining, otherwise you get solid fairy fountains from the explosions every time water hits the surface (dangerous).

I've never tried litter. These have various formulations. Which brand did you use?
 

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It might be a dumb question, but are you using a good thermometer while you smelt and cast?

John
 
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