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Old December 29, 2013, 12:04 AM   #1
Mike38
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How long will lead bullets last?

I found 1500 pieces of .452, 200gr LSWC bullets that, as best I can remember, are 7 to 8 years old. The wax / lube in the bullet’s groove looks fine, but is it?

Kind of tells you how often I clean my gun room. When I first found them I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. But now reality is setting in and I’m wondering if these will even be usable.

Last edited by Mike38; December 29, 2013 at 09:53 AM.
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Old December 29, 2013, 12:11 AM   #2
Jim Watson
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I loaded some of about that age yesterday.
The lead doesn't age and the lube was in the groove.
Carry on.
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Old December 29, 2013, 12:22 AM   #3
FrankenMauser
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If the lube isn't crumbling, and the bullets aren't covered in powdery oxides, you're good to go.
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Old December 29, 2013, 07:22 AM   #4
rebs
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Quote:
If the lube isn't crumbling, and the bullets aren't covered in powdery oxides, you're good to go.
what if the bullets are covered in powdery oxides ?
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Old December 29, 2013, 07:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
what if the bullets are covered in powdery oxides ?
Drop them in the pot and re-melt them.
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Old December 29, 2013, 08:50 AM   #6
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Drop them in the pot and re-melt them

Why?
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Old December 29, 2013, 09:33 AM   #7
g.willikers
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At typical handgun velocities, the condition of lead bullets might not be as important as we think.
As an example, we had our basement flood years ago, and, wouldn't ya' know it, the water had come up exactly to the shelf where my bullets were stored.
I was shooting both 9mm and .45acp at the time.
Most of the bullets were covered with a whitish coating, with some gaps in the wax lube.
Some had no lube left in the grooves at all, just a coating of wax slurry.
Being desperate for rounds for the weekends upcoming match, I had no choice but to load up about 150 and hope for the best.
So, I wiped the bullets with a rag and made enough rounds for the match.
There seemed to be no problem with their performance; no loss of accuracy and barely any increase in barrel leading.
Very surprising, to say the least.
I used the rest up, during the next few months without further thought.
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Old December 29, 2013, 03:17 PM   #8
Gster
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Use em up. I guarantee you, if I had them, they wouldn't last long at all.
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Old December 29, 2013, 04:23 PM   #9
FrankenMauser
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Quote:
what if the bullets are covered in powdery oxides ?
It's a major inhalation hazard, and one of the quickest ways to cause a massive spike in your blood lead levels.
Handling them in areas where children or pregnant women may be exposed to the dust is particularly bad.
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Old December 30, 2013, 07:46 AM   #10
rebs
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It's a major inhalation hazard, and one of the quickest ways to cause a massive spike in your blood lead levels.
Handling them in areas where children or pregnant women may be exposed to the dust is particularly bad.
what would you do with them ? How can they be safely scraped ?
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Old December 30, 2013, 10:00 AM   #11
JimDandy
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You melt them back down in a pot on a furnace, like they were made in the first place. Probably wearing a big giant filtration mask and gloves to be safe, but mildly overcautious.

You tube How-to Review of one brand's lead furnace for educational, not marketing uses. This video will give you an idea of how it's done, but this is in no way an endorsement of that brand, person, etc etc.

ETA: Here's a probably better video as the guy actual melts lead... Another video.
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:01 AM   #12
Rifleman1776
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I have a bunch of CW minie dig-ups. They are covered in white oxide but otherwise can be shot just fine. I gave some to a friend and he shot one, worked like new.
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Old December 30, 2013, 03:58 PM   #13
FrankenMauser
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what would you do with them ? How can they be safely scraped ?
They can be cleaned or scrapped like any other lead alloy. You just need to take some precautions during handling and the reclamation process. Like when dealing with asbestos, minimizing airborne particles and local contamination is most important.
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Old December 30, 2013, 08:15 PM   #14
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I just did a quick search and can't find a number, but I will bet that lead sulfide is harder than lead and might scratch things.
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