View Full Version : Lead pipe for casting?

March 8, 2010, 02:33 PM
I haven't started casting bullets yet, but have been reloading for about a year and a half. I may try casting at some point. I know someone that may be able to get me lead pipe that I would store until I needed it. Is lead pipe suitable for casting?

March 8, 2010, 03:05 PM
It is very soft so if you are going to cast for muzzleloader you could probably use it as is. If you mix it 20 to 30 to 1 with tin you can use it for black powder cartridge (like 45-70) but if you are going to cast for smokeless pistol or rifle you would need to add antimony and tin. The other thing about old water pipe if it has calcium scale built up inside you have to be very careful that there is no moisture trapped. I had a friend that was holding and feeding a chunk of lead pipe into his casting pot. When he hit a spot that had moisture in it it popped and blew molten lead all over his face shield he was fortunately wearing.

March 8, 2010, 03:11 PM
The lead pipe that I am familiar with, is suitable for my M/L runs which should be as pure as I can get. You did not mention what you are casting for, so you may have to add some tin or antimony. I only cast pure lead for M/L's but my buddy cast for pistol bullets. In fact, when I started casting years ago, it was lead pipe what I used.

Be Safe !!!

March 8, 2010, 08:01 PM
This would be for pistol 38 Sp., .40 S&W and .45 ACP. I'll defenitely read and learn what I can before I try casting. I was just thinking about grabbing the lead for the future.

Casting looks like a hobby within a hobby. I already spend a lot of time reloading and shooting. Can't figure when I can fit casting in the schedule!

March 8, 2010, 08:09 PM
its pretty soft... i have used it tho... and mixed it 50/50 with wheel weights.

March 8, 2010, 08:11 PM
Lead pipe, or lead like this used to seal pipes, is great stuff for muzzle loading.

I cast a bunch of minie balls with the stuff. It is dead soft, which is what I want in blackpowder.

For centerfire, pure lead is too soft and needs tin and antimony for best casting.


March 8, 2010, 10:49 PM
A note about using lead pipe. It is as others have noted a wonderful source of pure lead.
You should be cautious about melting it, depending on it's prior use.
A quick tale: I scrounge lead whenever and wherever I can. I have lived in Brooklyn, NY for many years in an area where the homes average 150 years age. Many still have lead plumbing from the 19th century and early 20th.
As these buildings get renovated, the lead gets replaced. I try to pick up the lead pipe when I can.
OK. I had a stock of it (still have some). It all had mineral deposits on the inside of the pipe from decades of use.
Those mineral deposits absorb water from the air. I did not know that. I had some of the stuff for years. I cut some up one day to turn into ingots. I had melted lead in a pot and had cut the pipe into pieces about three inches long. I placed one into the molten lead. It exploded. The pipe acted like a gun barrel and shot a gout of molten lead across the garage - about ten feet. Fortunately, the pipe was pointed away from me - merely by chance. Otherwise, I would have been hurt.
I check pipe now for deposits and preheat them if I find any.

March 9, 2010, 09:54 AM
I think it is better to fill up your pot and roast the stuff to melting instead of adding to a lead mix.

Less chance of a water explosion.

This has scrap lead on the bottom and ingots at the top.


March 9, 2010, 12:20 PM
"I think it is better to fill up your pot and roast the stuff to melting instead of adding to a lead mix."