Different qualities of lead?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by Armed4defense, Oct 17, 2020 at 8:35 AM.

  1. Armed4defense

    Armed4defense Southern, Country & Proud! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2017
    Messages:
    504
    Likes Received:
    742
    Location:
    Franklinton
    So I am a plumber and for the last few years have been collecting lead from old lead poured joints in cast iron piping I take out with the thought of using it to make bullets in SHTF situation. Is this possible or better used as fishing weights? Thanks for any replies. I do not reload so have no idea just did not want it to go to waste.
     
    DangerRuss and Ikarus1 like this.
  2. falconew

    falconew Happy to be here Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2017
    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    1,740
    Location:
    China Grove .nc
    That lead can be used to cast bullets if you plan on powder coating them. But to just cast you will need to add some harder lead to it to bring the hardness up. And fishing weights are always a plus too.
     
    Armed4defense likes this.
  3. cold1

    cold1 Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2016
    Messages:
    751
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Pure plumbers lead is too soft for anything other than muzzle loaders. It would have to be alloyed with antimony or tin to make usefull bullets for any modern smokeless loads. Pure lead can be mixed with wheel weights also to make the mix softer.

    If your not a reloaded, you may want to sell what you have and take the profits and buy some ammo to add to your stock pile
     
    Armed4defense likes this.
  4. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor “Not as funny as he thinks he is”- wife Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2017
    Messages:
    7,426
    Likes Received:
    9,842
    Location:
    Moncure, NC
    You don't want that in your barrels!
    I can help you properly dispose of it. :p
     
  5. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    7,175
    Likes Received:
    9,685
    Location:
    Waxhaw
    Plenty of things to do with it, but if you’re worried about shtf or even economic or political shifts that make if difficult to purchase bullets you really need to learn reloading and casting. If you just want to stash it for now that works too, and if you want to make it a more neat stash you could melt it down and pour it into ingots.

    One day, if you do start casting bullets, you’ll want to add some stuff to make it harder. You can scrounge for tin (solder) that helps a little, or linotype that helps a lot, but the easiest thing is to buy some superhard from Roto metals.

    Another alternative is to sell it since as a plumber it seems unlikely that you’ll ever have too hard a time finding or buying more.
     
    IkeStarnes and Armed4defense like this.
  6. Armed4defense

    Armed4defense Southern, Country & Proud! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2017
    Messages:
    504
    Likes Received:
    742
    Location:
    Franklinton
    Thanks guys! And now I know more!
     
  7. Gspec

    Gspec Beautiful Bastard Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    1,465
    Location:
    Rock Hill, SC
    While we’re on the subject....how do you know you’ve got the proper hardness to the lead?
     
  8. georgel

    georgel Behind Every Blade of Grass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    6,097
    Likes Received:
    9,965
    Location:
    em95gc
    Brinell is the number you're looking for. The old way was to see how deeply you could scratch the bullet with your fingernail. You have to know what you're looking at. Kinda like checking alcohol content by shaking the jar and looking at the bubbles. :D
    Another way, Lee Hardness Testing Kit...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020 at 11:29 PM
    IkeStarnes and Gspec like this.
  9. Beef15

    Beef15 B or somesuch

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    2,495
    Likes Received:
    2,589
    Location:
    Forsyth
    Mix it with some wheel weights or something, or trade it for wheel weight ingots, not sure the exchange.

    Lead does not have to be super hard to make most pistol bullets. Tin does help with mold fill. I have pure, ww, battery posts, radiological, probably something else, I throw it in the pot without a whole lot of thought to ratios. Seems to work just fine, don't recall pushing past 1100fps without coating, probably not a ceiling just the way it's worked out.
     
    IkeStarnes and Armed4defense like this.
  10. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    10,388
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Location:
    East of CLT
    pure lead aka plumbers lead, is BHN ~5 and is easily marked by a #2 pencil (marked as is gouged)

    in fact, art pencils are the easiest way to determine relative hardness of soft metals. There's a chart out there off Castboolits that I printed out and use.

    But yeah, it would need some alloying with harder metals to be super useful to a lead caster unless you're making lead sinker weights for fishing.

    That being said, it should be worth something to someone looking for lead in all the wrong places.
     
  11. Dave951

    Dave951 Happy to be here

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,297
    Likes Received:
    1,983
    Location:
    NC
    Ikarus1 and Oneofsix like this.
  12. slow is slow

    slow is slow Busy dry firing..... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Sanford
    How much do you have?
     
  13. Armed4defense

    Armed4defense Southern, Country & Proud! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2017
    Messages:
    504
    Likes Received:
    742
    Location:
    Franklinton
    Maybe 10# taken out of the cast iron and more to clean
     
  14. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter I am a Trapper Charter Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    10,786
    Location:
    Stokes County
    This
     
  15. Tailhunter

    Tailhunter I am a Trapper Charter Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    10,786
    Location:
    Stokes County
    Pure lead costs too much to harden. Almost not worth it unless thats all you have.
     
  16. slow is slow

    slow is slow Busy dry firing..... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    681
    Location:
    Sanford
    If it'll help you out, I'll swap you lb for lb wheel weight ingots for your soft lead. Just let me know when you decide you've got enough and we'll meet up.
     
    Beef15, Armed4defense and Ikarus1 like this.
  17. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Messages:
    10,388
    Likes Received:
    17,354
    Location:
    East of CLT
    50/50 with ACWW alloy and 2% tin makes perfect pistol bullets up to about 1100fps
     
    IkeStarnes and John like this.
  18. IkeStarnes

    IkeStarnes Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    280
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    That's enough for about 600 9mm 115g projectiles.
     
    Armed4defense likes this.
  19. gunwonk

    gunwonk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2017
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    In a real SHTF situation, bullets cast from soft lead and then paper patched would make good hunting ammo. I'd suggest you save it, and look around for neighbors who both hunt and reload.