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can you burn bullets?  RSS feed

 
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sorry if this is a stupid question!

I just scored a bunch of old wooden fence that will be great small stuff for the woodstove. BUT, this may be so redneck, there's a bunch of bb gun bullets in a lot of it. Is that safe to put in the woodstove? Should i pry them all out of there?
 
steward
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I remember bb gun bb's being made out of copper.  And I'm pretty sure that all bullets are made out of lead. 

The good news is that both of these are a pure element - so heating them will melt them, but they won't turn into some other chemical compound.  I suppose you could worry about them vaporizing and then you could have too much copper or lead in the air, or ... on the ground around you.

 
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That sounds more like shot, like the projectiles that are in a shotgun cartridge.  I think they're usually lead or steel.  Dig a few out and see if a magnet affects them.

If they're steel, you can run a magnet through the ashes to collect them if you want.  Otherwise, I think they just rust away in the soil.

Lead shot, on the other hand, isn't affected by magnets, and you can't collect them that way.  You don't want lead in your edible garden, even under fruit trees, as plants will absorb lead (some more than others). 

If they're lead, what I would do is sift any chunks of debris out of the ashes, then dump a few cups of ashes into a flat pan (a gold panning pan would be ideal).  Stir the ashes and let the heavy lead shot* settle to the bottom.  Scrape off all the ash but the bottom half-inch or so, and dump the rest into a bucket or container (I store my ashes in a covered garbage can).  Dump the recovered shot into a can or something, and dispose of it as a contaminant.

* Lead is even heavier than gold, and gold settles very nicely at the bottom of a pan, even mixed with mud and small stones.  Lead shot should drop to the bottom of light ash like... well, like lead.

Sue
 
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yes, they could be lead or steel. steel is required for hunting water fowl. there is some recent concern about how far the lead actually travels in oher game. some food bank trashed all their free venison recently because of it.
 
paul wheaton
steward
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I wonder if we might soon see "food grade bullets" - stainless steel perhaps?

 
Susan Monroe
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"... some food bank trashed all their free venison recently because of it."

That's funny... our USDA doesn't seem very concerned with all the contaminants of factory farming and genetically modified feed in domestic livestock.  Why would they care about a little lead in venison?

Sue

 
                                      
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SueinWA wrote:
"... some food bank trashed all their free venison recently because of it."

That's funny... our USDA doesn't seem very concerned with all the contaminants of factory farming and genetically modified feed in domestic livestock.  Why would they care about a little lead in venison?

Sue






It's all about lawsuits. Someone found a bullet fragment in some donated venison and ALL the donated venison was dumped.
 
Leah Sattler
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"That's funny... our USDA doesn't seem very concerned with all the contaminants of factory farming and genetically modified feed in domestic livestock.  Why would they care about a little lead in venison?"


although it is probably being hyped somewhat by the anti hunting crowd there is no denying that it is a potential problem. especially for pregnant women and children. lead poisoning has well known seriously negative and relatively quick side affects and experiments blasting sheep as well as testing of venison reveals that it is a very real risk with very real and reasonable (imo) precautions that can be taken to prevent problems. so why not take them? that is why the the guberment can take a quick and clear stand. contaminents from factory farms and gm foods have much more broad and therefore less clear side affects. the larger the base of contamination the harder it is to scientifically pin point a particular issue on it. 

it really bugs me on this issue when people say "we have been doing it this way for years so its ok" when that is one of the exact same arguments (for instance) that factory farms use on the reverse end of the spectrum of society. jsut because a few generations have been eating something doesn't mean its safe. look at aspartame, msg, and other food additives and preservatives. people have been consuming that stuff for years now. that doesn't mean they are healthy choices.  I don't want regulation on this issue justas I don't want regulation on lots of stuff. but the information needs to be out there and honest on this issue and other food safety issues. Bow hunt.
http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/hunting/news/story?id=3450809
 
Leah Sattler
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dvmcmrhp52 wrote:


It's all about lawsuits. Someone found a bullet fragment in some donated venison and ALL the donated venison was dumped.



its about far more than lawsuits I'm afraid. 20%-5o% of venison packages tested contained miniscule bullet fragments. fragments means this is most certainly from the ammunition used to take the deer, this is not blood levels of lead that would be used to determine enviromental aquisition. I'm sure most know about the serious threat even small amounts of lead pose due to the paint chip and kids issue. if a factory farmed beef packages turned up with this much lead we would all be freaking out and using it to justify our ideals. mmmm venison and lead stew. add a little acid like tomato to leach the lead and you have a recipe for neurological damage from that "wholesome" wild game you are feeding your toddler.

paul- I think that you are right on. we need ammo that is safe for us and safe for the wildlife that could consume the offal of our kills or for the waterways and wildlife and plant life that will be affected by buried lead.
 
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Wouldnt sustainable hunting be with bows.The bullet problem is hard to solve.Lead,copper,and brass are used because they are softer than the steel used in the barrel.Eco-pellets are steel coated in plastic(soooo sustainable and non toxic! :roll.All can be burned but lead is no joke so dispose of the ashes in a land fill.Fortunantly,any toxic gasses from lead will go up the chimmney and you will probably not breath them.It would ammount to a small fraction of what our other  activities produce.As a side note,even live ammo doesnt go any where if not in a barrel so liven up your next party by throwing in a few .22 rounds in the bon-fire
 
pollinator
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My grandfather used to reload all his own ammo, even casting the bullets.  He melted lead over an open fire, so I think if you burn wood with lead pellets in it, they will melt.  I don't know whether, when the whole thing cooled, you would find a lump (or lumps) of lead at the bottom of the stove, or if the heat would be sufficient to evaporate the lead (I do know that fumes can be a problem, and working with any molten metal requires good ventilation).  If there aren't very many pellets in the fencing materials, it may not be much of a problem, but I think I'd be a bit cautious.  Better to err on the side of safety.

Kathleen
 
                          
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Leah Sattler wrote:
... 20%-5o% of venison packages tested contained miniscule bullet fragments. fragments ...



Do you have a source for that statistic? It doesn't sound credible. Modern bonded-core bullets don't usually fragment, and even if they did, you'd have to be hunting with a Vulcan cannon to get that many in a critter.
 
gardener
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Lead vapors could be a concern. But really how many boards are peppered with the shot?
On a lighter note www.seasonshot.com
 
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Location: wellsville, utah
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so, when you duck hunt (at least in utah) you're required to have steal shot. i suppose that is "food grade"
  i've heard that burning lead is a bad idea because of the vapors released. but people solder things all the time
burning a wood fence might not be a great idea because of the chemicals used to treat it, and the paint that might be on it.

it they're bbs, made of copper, then you just as well burn it. lead will melt at a pretty low temperature, so you might have a problem with it melting, and being not easily removed from the bricks, especially where bricks are somewhat porous.
 
Robert Ray
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Lead melts relatively low at app 620 Degrees F depending on any alloys mixed in with it, it could vary. Even though people solder all the time lead vapors can be dangerous. I have a vent in my studio over my jewelry solder station just becasuse of the dangers associated with fumes from flux and the components of the solder.
  Many indooor shooting ranges have elaborate venting systems and there are even range safe bullets that are lead free for just such use.
Painted boards would be a greater concern to me over a minimal amount of lead shot.
 
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Are you burning it in a fire you are cooking over? Or venting safely though a high efficiency stove into the great outdoors? If the latter you are probably fine, if the former then don't use this fence. Smoke from cooking and heating fires does kill something like 1 million people a year.
 
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