Lead. Has it all dried up?

Discussion in 'Casting' started by Mustang Jon, May 7, 2019.

  1. Mustang Jon

    Mustang Jon Active Member

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    So I started looking locally for some lead to start casting my own bullets and I've hit a road block. The scrapyard said they don't have any and very rarely do. The tire stores all say they don't have any lead, only steel and zinc. So am I stuck ordering ingots online or is there still hope for cheap lead? I'm not holding out for any free lead at this point.
     
  2. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    Yep. Castboolits forum vendors' area, you'll find plenty of tested lead alloy for around $1.50/lb shipped. You can't make your own ingots much cheaper now that wheel weights are mostly FE and ZN
     
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  3. Mustang Jon

    Mustang Jon Active Member

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    I'll give them a look. Thanks!
     
  4. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    I highly suggest you get some "X-ray" lead........it's probably the closest equivalent of what you want as far as casting alloy similar to clip on wheel weights (COWW). Basically, it's made from medical lead containers that shield nuclear medicine that has half-life measure in hours.
    The lead is completely safe and has a good amount of antimony which is what you want. Around 1-2% antimony is perfect, then you can add pewter/tin to taste for pourability.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  5. Mustang Jon

    Mustang Jon Active Member

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    I figured the scrapyard would be the place to get that sort of stuff but they said they rarely get anything lead anymore. They were my safe bet on scoring lead.
     
  6. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    Last batch of wheelweights I bought from my local scrapyard was about 80% iron, 15% zinc and 5% lead. Just not worth it. And they wanted over .80 a pound.........no thanks. That ship has sailed.

    I have found plumber and roofer lead on occasion but soft lead is pretty easy to come by. It's that perfect 10-12BHN that wheelweight alloy offered that was worth all the scrounging. Now I just wait on the packages to arrive.

    Oh and if you want to get fancy you can order from rotometals but I have found for my purposes that X-ray lead ingots shipped to my door is a much better value.
     
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  7. slow is slow

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

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    Someone sold that "lead" to them after scrounging most of the lead out. I've got a pretty steady supply of wheel weights and they are averaging around 50% lead by weight, probably 1/3 or so of the bucket. I've gone through 20+ buckets so far this year and only thing I've noticed is more zinc, less steel.
     
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  8. Mustang Jon

    Mustang Jon Active Member

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    I haven't even been able to find a tire store that will sell me any wheel weights. I guess someone else has already spoken for them. I'm going to try the local boat repair shot and see if they have any lead ballist. I'm about out of options for local sources.
     
  9. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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    Yep around here all the tire places tell me that the battery dealers are buying up all the lead they get. I'm done sorting thru razor blades, tire plugs and valve stems just to save .50/lb. If you factory in the cost of propane, I'm probably saving money
    by buying pre-made ingots from trusted vendors in various forums.
     
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  10. slow is slow

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

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    Yeah, you aren't saving a ton if you count your time, but the propane is a minute cost. I can make more than 500 lbs of ingots from wheel weights on one tank of propane. That's roughly $.04 per pound if you are paying $20 for a propane tank fill up. Buckets of wheel weights go for around $20 each here at my local shops. I get an average of 40 lbs of clip on wheel weight ingots per bucket. (not including stick on pure lead, I sort them out for other uses). IF i was buying the lead (I currently have a free source) I figure I would have around $.55/lb in costs, not including my time. So at 1000# per year i'd only be saving about $500 assuming $1.00/lb OR to put it into a little more real terms, $500 dollars would buy 500 extra lbs of lead which equates to 28K more 125 Grain projectiles. I could shoot twice as much for the same cost (projectiles only) if I bought unsorted wheel weights. These are all rough figures, but I believe sorting wheel weights will yield twice as much lead for the same price.
     
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  11. Mustang Jon

    Mustang Jon Active Member

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    If I could find any scrap lead I'd be happy to sort thru it but I think my best deal I've found so far is $49 for 19 lbs of lead ingots shipped to my door.
     
  12. Ikarus1

    Ikarus1 Avtomat Krishna-kov

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