What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Discussions of powders, bullets and loading information.

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sandhillcowboy1
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:36 pm

Re: What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Post by sandhillcowboy1 » Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:00 pm

Bobw

Both wood and buffalo chips will get hot enough to fire pottery. Way more than enough to melt lead. Some primitive potters around the world even used just grass to fire pottery. Buffalo are more browsers than cattle are, sort of like the difference between mule deer and whitetails. Consequently buffalo chips are generally a little lighter and drier than cow chips.

For firing pottery with buffalo chips I dig a circular hole about a foot deep. Place some tinder such as grass, twigs, small branches, etc in center over pots. Make a dome of the chips and leave an opening to ignite the tinder in the middle. Once ignited the chips glow red like coal. They won't last as long as wood coals but get very hot. Coloration on fired ceramics is different than cow chips as well. You should be able to use a similar technique for melting lead on a smaller scale than pottery firing.

The pots fired with both chips and wood will glow orange hot as shown in these pics (hopefully)

Image
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Tomklinger
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Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:00 pm

Re: What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Post by Tomklinger » Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:20 pm

I like “Dewey” the cat.... :D

pete
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2002 10:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Post by pete » Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:54 pm

For myself I'm not saying a wood fire or chip fire can't melt lead it's just the 50 - 80 lbs. of lead in a skillet over a campfire thing that seems real difficult. As I said I melted lead over a campfire even though for a first timer it wasn't easy. Next time it should go better.
With the time element involved I wouldn't think casting would have been a daily thing.

sandhillcowboy1
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:36 pm

Re: What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Post by sandhillcowboy1 » Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:28 pm

I agree Pete
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bobw
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Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:52 pm

Re: What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Post by bobw » Sat Feb 27, 2021 4:16 am

Thanks Rick, I was sure it was possible but I sure did not get it done. That fire would be a very hot one for the.person casting. Bobw
bobw

77 sharps
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:45 pm
Location: N. CA

Re: What alloy did the buffalo hunters use

Post by 77 sharps » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:58 am

What I've always been curious about is, how soft were their lead ingots. Lead is a byproduct of mining other metals such as silver. How good were they at getting the silver out of the lead. A little silver in the lead would have made for easy casting and increased the hardness of the lead.

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