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Old April 24, 2006, 10:22 PM   #1
Monkey
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Bullet Casting - Where Do You Find The Lead?

Ok, I picked up a lead furnace. No molds yet, but I'll get there. How about the lead. I've read that some folks like to use linotype, some WW, some alloy their own.

I think for what I want to do (el cheapo plinking, and lots of it) WW will be best for me. Problem is, I don't yet have a source for it. I want to leave buying it off of eBay as a last resort. Seems like around 50 cents a pound delivered is the best case price off eBay, usually more. I'd like to get lower than that. I don't mind spending a bunch of time in front of the casting pot to clean salvaged lead, so I don't need to pay a premium for someone else already having done that.

Does anyone know the going price for used WW? Also, how do you get it? Will tire shops who are already selling their scrap to metal dealers be willing to sell a small amount to me?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old April 24, 2006, 11:44 PM   #2
hoghunting
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You might try tire shops. I stopped casting my own bullets a few years ago, so I don't know the going rate for WW. I had a Goodyear store that sold me WW for the same price that he was paid from his weight reclaimer.
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Old April 24, 2006, 11:59 PM   #3
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Prices are in flux right now. Scrap lead price is way up. Some tire shops have gone up, some haven't. I've been paying about a dime a pound for years. I'll go 20 cents if I have to. That's $10-20 a five gallon bucket.

Don't mess around with small quantities. If you find a supply at a price you can live with, buy it all. It's only gonna get harder to find.

If you have to buy off ebay, only deal with those who will ship in the flat rate USPS priority mail box. Seventy pounds can go in that for $8. I've done that a time or two for linotype, but I've been able to get WW and lead locally.
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Old April 25, 2006, 08:05 AM   #4
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Try auto shops and car dealers. Everyone I had ever worked at ended up collecting that stuff 'cause no one wanted it. One guy years ago said he would take it away, and got it all FREE.Took him 2 hours to remove it all, and he was working hard. Know with metal costs what they are, who knows. I better stock up on bullets before prices take off.
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Old April 25, 2006, 08:31 AM   #5
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It's a good idea to call your local scrap dealer and ask what they are paying. You probably won't want to buy from them because of the markup, but people who would otherwise sell to them will be happy to sell to you at the same price and avoid the hassle of taking it to scrap yard.

Plumbers and remodeling contractors can be a good source. Hospital remodeling jobs, in particular, often yield large amounts of sheet lead.
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Old April 25, 2006, 09:12 AM   #6
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LeftoverDJ has some good advice there.....I would add a couple other places to look for linotype: Old printing shops and small-town newspapers. Most of these have switched to electronic printing methods, but many of them still have their old presses in the back room or in the owner's garage, collecting dust.
I got lucky at the first one I went to, and hit paydirt. The owner had melted down all the lintotype from his old press into ingots and was more than happy to get rid of it. I am positive there are many more places just like this all over the countryside; you just gotta find 'em. I think $1/lb is about the going rate for linotype.
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Old April 26, 2006, 04:02 PM   #7
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For plinking purposes, wheel weights should serve you very well. If you need them to be harder, water drop them while casting or heat treat them in the oven and then dump into water. I get all the wheelweights I need from my mechanic. Some folks have been known to take along soda, doughnuts or whatever when they visit local shops. Take along your own plastic pails. Availability does seem to vary greatly around the country.
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Old April 27, 2006, 08:38 AM   #8
.499 BigBore
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Monkey,
when i first started collecting lead, i scrounged wildcat shooting sites, i collected from one site for 5 or 6 years and ended up with well over 500 lbs., then one day a friend who worked at a "Nuke" facility asked me if i wanted some PURE lead, as i was shooting muzzle loaders at the time, there was a fire and all the lead sheilding had to be replaced, i got 20, 2"X4"X8" ingots at exactly 25 lbs each, i no longer cast bullets, but i do have about 12 different molds with handles if you are interested, contact me and i'll send you a list of what i have, from .30 cal. to .45 cal.
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Old April 27, 2006, 08:52 PM   #9
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What about recovering lead from an indoor range. I can get access to the lead, what are the draw backs to recycling bullets.
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Old April 27, 2006, 09:50 PM   #10
Leftoverdj
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Good deal, Paul. Range scrap generally runs a little softer than we would prefer but it's usable. Add about 2% tin and it'll work fine for most pistol bullets. If there is any reclaimed birdshot available, it's fairly high in antimony and contains the arsenic needed for heat treating to work.
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Old April 27, 2006, 10:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
If there is any reclaimed birdshot available, it's fairly high in antimony and contains the arsenic needed for heat treating to work.
I don't know about reclaimed birdshot but I melted some stuff right out of the bag. Dirty beyond belief!! A layer of a graphite like substance about 1/2" thick
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Old April 28, 2006, 08:24 AM   #12
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Leftoverdj, I am looking at the indoor range. Jacket ammo is not allowed so I won't have to worry about that.
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Old April 28, 2006, 09:48 AM   #13
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Garry, that's graphite all right. Shot gets coated with it to prevent leading. I've never run into that much of it, but I suppose it varies. Reclaimed shot would have most of the graphite knocked off.

Nothing to worry about though. Just one more thing to skim off while you are making ingots. For nasty scrap lead, there is nothing to compare with reclaimed lead toilet seals. I throw those in the pot, too, but I do it outside with a breeze blowing.
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Old April 28, 2006, 10:39 AM   #14
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Actually, once I got it cleaned up, And thats something I'll never do in the casting pot again, I alloyed it with range pick up, some lead free solder and some roof sheeting and lead pipe. When I started I just used the range pick up, bird shot and solder. they where too hard and wash leaded, even with gas checks. ( these are 300 gr 44 mag and 45 colt loads) I sofened them up with the pure lead, adding 5% until the leading stopped. Then I ingoted 50 pounds. worked ok
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Old April 29, 2006, 08:06 AM   #15
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Lead

It's been many years ago and I don't know if they still use them, but I got some 2X2X3 blocks of lead from a hospital, where they used them for kidney X-Ray blocks.
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Old April 29, 2006, 10:45 PM   #16
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Thanks for the tips. I'm gonna try some local places here in the coming week.
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Old April 29, 2006, 11:43 PM   #17
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Keep an eye open in flea markets, thrift shops and GoodWill for dive belts. I paid $2.50 for my latest one, with 35lbs of pure lead in it.

Plumbers lead works very well for muzzle loaders. WW works well as a base for pistol velocities. I'm still working on my rifle velocity mix.

I get my wheel weights at the tire shop I frequent. I have my pressure checked every month, on two rigs, so they are very accustomed to seeing me in there. That makes me a "high volume" customer.

Pops
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Old April 29, 2006, 11:44 PM   #18
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Me? Well, I happen to know where a train car derailed that was carrying a load of pure lead. Ingots were too difficult to remove (Weighing ten tons or so each) from the canyon they slid down into and were abandoned.

Should last me for decades.
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Old April 30, 2006, 08:08 AM   #19
.499 BigBore
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Yorec,
is that the the site between Larimie and Cheyene ??

ever been to the Ames Monument ?? it happens to be the largest stone Pyramid in the USA !!
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Old May 1, 2006, 05:13 AM   #20
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WW lead is good stuff but i mix it with plumbers lead 10 parts WW 1 part plumbers. Seems to lead less in the barrel. One thing to worry about when melting down range bullets is if there is a "leadless" bullet (one with a complete copper jacket) these can EXLPODE when heated. they dont split or crack. I got lucky and was ten feet away from my pot when it blew. It coated everyhting within about five feet with a thin sheet of lead. I got a few drops down my shirt but other than that no damge. Just a warning for you guys.

SW
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