Mining Berms
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  1. #1
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    Mining Berms

    I am now officially a lead miner!

    Last Tuesday I finally made an exploratory excursion out into the berms at the range I'm now working at. The 25yd rifle/pistol range has 22 lanes backed up by a sand berm that is also about 25yds high! From what I have been told is that these berms haven't been cleaned in about 5 years, and no one else has been digging in them.

    So last Monday night we had huge storms blow thru dropping about 4" of rain with flash flood warnings. Made everything very wet but I went out anyways. When I arrived there was still standing water in front of the berm and ruts running down the face. There it was, washed out for the taking. Rivers of shot lead.

    By 9am which was the soonest I could get in it was already 80* with 70% humidity. All I had with me was a small garden spade, two small shifters and two 2.5gal. buckets. Scooping it up was easy, needed a bigger shovel, the sand was still soaked and packed which made shifting it a real pain. After about 45 minutes I had to stop and get a drink and cool off then only lasted about another 15 minutes and had to quit.

    Ended up with about a half a bucket. Don't know what it weighed but today I spent the morning rendering this down into clean ingots and got almost 22lbs. Now with a bigger shovel and screen and of course dryer conditions I most likely could have filled both those buckets in the same amount of time. Will make a second attempt next Tuesday.
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  2. #2
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    Well done, you will have bullets for life.
    kmw1954 likes this.
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    Excellent work. My wife and I do the same thing where we shoot. We make it a goal to collect more than we shoot each trip and so far it's paying off well. We'll usually fill a coffee can in about an hour which yields about 15-18 pounds after it's melted down. When you think about the cost of lead it does save you a bunch of $$$.

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    There's lead in them thar hills!
    dogchild likes this.

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    Still not at the Berm mining stage yet. just out of curiosity, are you getting mostly lead or mostly copper jacketed or plated bullets from them? If the latter, what do you do with the copper?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peacemakr40 View Post
    Still not at the Berm mining stage yet. just out of curiosity, are you getting mostly lead or mostly copper jacketed or plated bullets from them? If the latter, what do you do with the copper?
    I'll typically collect around 75% jacketed and the rest plain lead. I've got a several 5 gallon buckets of copper jackets/brass saved up waiting to take it to a scrap yard for a lead swap. If you get in good with a scraper they'll usually trade you pound for pound since copper is worth many times more than lead.
    fsimpson likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peacemakr40 View Post
    Still not at the Berm mining stage yet. just out of curiosity, are you getting mostly lead or mostly copper jacketed or plated bullets from them? If the latter, what do you do with the copper?
    Haven't taken the time to closely look but I'm going to say 65% has some kind of cover to it. Even seen some Powder coated stuff in the mix.
    I am a Veteran, I am a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather.
    I was labeled a Deplorable, As a USA Veteran I will proudly wear that to protect our Nation!
    When they can figure out how to legislate Morality and Conscience I will consider talking more gun laws.

  9. #8
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    Panning for lead, eh? Good for you!
    “Historically, freedom is a rare and fragile thing . . . Freedom has cost the blood of millions in obscure places and in historic sites ranging from Gettysburg to the Gulag Archipelago . . .That something that cost so much in human lives should be surrendered piecemeal in exchange for visions and rhetoric seems grotesque. Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their ‘betters’.” Thomas Sowell

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    Where I pan is really good. My club has a black-powder range, with butts at 25, 50. 75, & 100 yds. All the pistoleros use the 25, unless there are already folk on it. The Sherrif's Dept uses the 25-yd for their monthly practice and qualification. And I'm about the only one who seriously scavenges for lead. That bank is nearly solid metal.

    About seven years ago, the club put in a pistol range, ( Cut an old 20,000-gallon 8-foot-diameter fuel tank in half, laid the two pieces side-by-side in a trench cut into the mountain and filled them half-full of sand. ) Now THERE is some dry digging. At least a dozen guys every weekend dump 200 rounds of some center-fire or another into it - EVERY weekend!
    Czechbikr likes this.
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    So, technically, you can salvage lead from jacketed bullets?
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    œολὼν λαβέ (Molon labe), “Come and get them!”

 

 
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