Bullets from shot

  • Last Post 24 March 2021
Boschloper posted this 14 February 2021

A shotgun shooting friend gave me a couple hundred reloaded shells of advanced age and questionable quality. He wasn't comfortable shooting them in his guns and asked if I wanted them for the lead. 

My question is can I use shot as is or do I need to sweeten it up with some tin or dilute it with some lead?

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 14 February 2021

Shot Pellet Information and Recommendations

By Chuck Hawks


Most of the major ammunition catalogs, specifically including those published by Federal, Remington and Winchester, as well as a number of books about arms and ammunition, publish general information about steel and lead shot and make recommendations concerning the appropriate shot sizes for various purposes.

Perhaps it might be worthwhile to start by listing the nominal diameter of the various common sizes of shot as manufactured in the U.S. Here they are, courtesy of the Federal Ammunition Catalog:

BBB .190" (4.83mm), BB .180" (4.57mm), 1 .160" (4.06mm), 2 .150" (3.81mm), 3 .140" (3.56mm), 4 .130" (3.30mm), 5 .120" (3.05mm), 6 .110" (2.79mm), 7 .100" (2.41mm), 7-1/2 .095" (2.35mm), 8 .090" (2.29mm), 8-1/2 .085" (2.16mm), 9 .080" (2.03mm).

Here is the average pellet count in one ounce (28.35 grams) of 3% antimony, 97% lead shot of various selected sizes, courtesy of the Winchester Ammunition 2004 Product Guide:


You will need to add some tin to this alloy.  Also you might have some difficulty melting it down as it is coated with graphite and if an oxide has formed on the shot, you may have to crush the hard coating and then reduce and flux to remove the graphite residue for casting.  Most will add some soft lead just as they would when casting with clip on wheel weights.

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OU812 posted this 14 February 2021

Lately I have been casting with #4 chilled shot and it cast great, no tin needed. It has a BHN of about 11.

I think magnum shot is a little harder.

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OU812 posted this 14 February 2021

The graphite skims off easily.

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Boschloper posted this 15 February 2021

Thanks to all for the input. The last time I used a measureable amount of shot was back in the '80's and was given a bunch of paper hulls that had been out in the weather. The only thing I was casting at the time was .45-70 and I don't recall any issues casting or shooting. 

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lotech posted this 15 February 2021

My experience with shot has been a bit different than that of others. I was given about 250 lbs. of reclaimed shot that came from a gun club. It was surprisingly very clean, no dirt or debris. However, it had a slightly oily residue, graphite coating, I presume. Melting this stuff was messy and little hollow shells floated to the surface of the melt. These had to crushed against the side of the pot with the dipper. Most of the "shells" would dissolve into the melt but there was still a good bit of residue that had to be skimmed off with the dross. However, it was fairly soft, about 13 BHN, and made good bullets. I think I added a very small amount of tin. I'd gladly pay for better lead than use such material again. 

Recently, I was given about 80 lbs. of "new" unused shot, but I think it was pretty old. It had no greasy texture and melted well, as one would expect, nothing like the reclaimed shot. I was surprised to find this lead was somewhat harder than the reclaimed shot.  

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Lee Guthrie posted this 24 February 2021

Once upon a time, when shot was cheap, I participated in a group purchase and bought quite a bit.  Both ordinary and "magnum" shot.  I have used the magnum shot as an addition in making up 100# batches of alloy to increase the antimony and to add arsenic.  Magnum shot is usually around 5% antimony (although I had one brand that the bag said 8%) and 1% arsenic.

I made a dozen or more batches this way and I don't recall "shells" or other stuff that needed to be crushed.  Just flux and skim.

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Reeferman posted this 20 March 2021

I just finished turning 40 lbs of #4 magnum shot into 38 lbs of ingots. Had no issue with it at all and the graphite seemed to work very well as a flux. Didn’t have to mash it and in fact it was easier that any range scrape that I have used. 
From what I’ve been able to find out and please correct me is the antimony is about 5%. It’s going to be used for handgun bullets  38/357, 44 magnum and 45 Colt. The majority of handgun loads I do now are mostly mid range so no magnum velocities.
Will it be ok as is or will it need tin added and what percentage? I also pc any bullets I cast except for the black powder ones. 

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Duane Mellenbruch posted this 21 March 2021

Just got this test result Friday.  This is some buck shot from a carnival shooting gallery.

 Pb = 98.9%
Sb = 1.1%
Sn = 0%

Your shot might be a little stronger.  See how it casts, but expect to add some tin to get good mold fill out.


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Shootingfun posted this 21 March 2021

Price of shot I would hate to melt it down.

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Reeferman posted this 21 March 2021

I’ve had these bags of new shot for sale for months. Around here #4 lead shot is not used much anymore. I got it for nothing and now hopefully I can make some good bullets to use.

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Shootingfun posted this 24 March 2021

Where you located?

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