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Do not waste your Fired Air-Gun Pellets: Make Statues at Home from used Lead Pellets

Making Statues from Air Gun Pellets

People often discourage reuse of lead pellets, even if they seem to be in good condition, as it may potentially damage the barrel of the rifle. So, often shooters forget about the pellet once it hits the target. Instead of throwing these pellets arbitrarily, one may use that for something very creative and beautiful. I made a small statue for my son from the used air-gun pellets.

We regularly shoot around 50-60 lead pellets with our .22 IHP 35 air-rifle. Over time the aim got better and we currently use a target as small as 45 millimeters for indoor shooting practice. In order to facilitate easy collection of used pellets, I designed my own pellet trap.

I gathered the used pellets over a period of a month, melted those in a home made furnace and made a statue with the help of an easy to make earthen mold.

How to use Waste Air-gun Pellets after Shooting

Used Air-rifle Pellets

Used Air-rifle Pellets

The Statue I made from lead

The green Ganesha in the left is what I used in the mold and the right one is the final output I produced of the waste lead pieces

The green Ganesha in the left is what I used in the mold and the right one is the final output I produced of the waste lead pieces

What all you need?

1. A heap of soil to make the mold
2. Any master statue that you want to make
3. A small but thick iron container to melt the lead pieces
4. An oven or any kind of fireplace to melt the lead
5. Miscellaneous equipments such as forceps to hold the container, fuel for the furnace, oil for making the mold and so on

The Mold

The mold prepared by pressing the oiled plastic statue against the heap of smooth sticky soil

The mold prepared by pressing the oiled plastic statue against the heap of smooth sticky soil

Process of Making a Statue from Air Gun Pellets

I followed these step by step process to make my statue

(1) Preparing the Mold

I live on the sixth floor of a house and therefore I had to undertake all these activities in my balcony only. I collected around 2 Kilograms of sticky soil from the roadside heap, soaked it with water for some time and cleaned all the pebbles, stones and other hard particles for making it smooth. As you may see in the picture, after preparing the soil I gathered that in a small heap like structure. Then I took the small plastic GANESHA paperweight from my son's study table and lubed it well with oil (I used coconut oil as that was readily available. You may use any oil that is smooth). After oiling the master statue, I gently pressed the statue on the heap of soil in order to have the impression of the statue correctly. After ensuring that the impression has been created with semi solid soil, I removed the master statue and left the mold settle gradually. Please remember that pressing the statue too hard may deform the impression so be smooth and cautious.

Melting the Lead

Melting the Lead

Lead pieces ready for being poured into the mold

Lead pieces ready for being poured into the mold

(2) Melting the Lead Pellets

This is one of the most important step where we have to be very cautious and careful. Lead is a poisonous substance. In a sense, inhalation of lead fumes from the melting container can be dangerous. Again, the melting point of lead at around 300 degree centigrades can cause severe burn and injury in the event of accidents.
I took a container made of thick iron. In fact, it was an iron spice hammer container lying unused in my kitchen. I put all the used pellets in it and melted the lead by putting the container inside a charcoal furnace made at home. In a few minutes, I had all the pellets melted and the dirts floating on the top of the liquid lead.

Statue made (looking from the back side)

Statue made (looking from the back side)

(3) Molding the statue

This is the final stage. One needs to be very careful while holding the container by the forceps and pour the melted lead in a container. I have little experience in smelting and forging. But it was not difficult. But since I did not let the mold dry, the moment I poured the lead, it started boiling in contact of wet soil. It was dangerous. I shall be more careful in future while doing it again. Again, do not pour all the melted lead at one place or very quickly. It may deform the statue. Gently pour the container filled with melted lead on the mold and try to achieve an equal spread. It does not take much time to solidify. Lift the statue with the forceps and put it in water to cool the statue. In the picture, I have kept both the master statue made of plastic and my own forged statue alongside on my son's study table. Soon I shall fix it on the wall so that my son does not touch it often.

You may observe the following precautions while undertaking this activity

(1) Always wear gloves while undertaking forging activities no matter how careful you are.
(2) Never inhale the gas coming out of the lead while being melted.
(3) Since you are dealing with fire, take all care you may need to take
(4) Do not engage children as your assistants
(5) Do things carefully and patiently. Do not be in a hurry

Please Participate in the Poll

Please write your comment on recycling of waste products

Beth Perry from Tennesee on January 20, 2013:

Oh, I love the statue of Ganesha! A great idea for old pellets.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on October 23, 2012:

Very creative project here. Glad you also mentioned some of the cautions to observe with lead or smelting. Good thatyou did not have any disaster when you first poured into your wet mold too.

purnimamoh1982 (author) on September 21, 2012:

Scroll to Continue

Thanks a lot for your comments

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on September 21, 2012:

Industry in the making - you'll have to get a 'made in India' stamp and export the things (finish up outstripping China, maybe)! Another recycling Hub from Purnimamoh that'll have everybody busy in their workshops churning out products for the export market. That's how the Industrial Revolution began here in the 18th Century.

spicenlove on September 06, 2012:


Vijay Anand Baree Sunnyasi from Perth on August 29, 2012:

good ideas..

tigresosal on August 20, 2012:

you have beautifully used your daily life accounts in making hubs. This one is my most favourite of your hubs.

purnimamoh1982 (author) on May 21, 2012:

Wow Orino, You gave me an idea that I shall try

Orino on May 21, 2012:

I made 1 with about 1000 used 4.5pellets it's a buste of man haud with a bullet wound the mold was a wax haed shot in the eye and put it in plaster and sand and than heat so wax melt end mold harden poor in molten lead let cool and break open sand tada

John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona on May 11, 2012:

I thought the way you made your mold out of dirt was clever. We have large areas in Arizona of clay soil which I think would work well for a mold. Thank you for such detailed instructions. This is a very interesting how-to hub.

Dave Dillard from Salina on September 29, 2011:

Pretty neat hub. I'm glad you are aware of the dangers of lead (in any state) and make mention of it in your hub. It would be impossible for me to collect even a small portion of my spent shot as my back stop is a dead tree and the yard grass just beyond. No need for a pellet trap where I shoot (although I do have one). As I looked at all the recovered pellets in your picture I couldn't help but think how flat and misshapened they were. Isn't it increadible just how powerful air rifles have become? Its odd that you left a comment about this topic today, I just sighted in my Gamo in .177 this afternoon.

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