View Full Version : Lead in batteries

January 30, 2011, 04:32 PM
Has anyone used the lead in batteries to cast bullets?

January 30, 2011, 04:39 PM
Yes, It's good to go.

January 30, 2011, 04:44 PM
Do NOT do it.

Lead-acid batteries contain all sorts of nasty heavy metals beside lead. That's in addition to a smelting witch's brew of acids that make those metals doubly exposure dangerous even outside of their simple metal poison effects. (Inhaling those vapors will turn you into a Democrat.)

Seriously, DON'T. :(


Shane Tuttle
January 30, 2011, 05:08 PM
NO. It is not safe.

January 30, 2011, 05:10 PM
I may have to re-think. A lot of us used to use it years ago. I'm talking 40
years ago. Everything was OK.

January 30, 2011, 05:17 PM
As a chemist I would say avoid doing so at all costs with the current formulations you could be exposing yourself to all sorts of toxic nasties.

January 30, 2011, 05:19 PM
They've changed the formula quite a bit in the last few years. Used to be, I think the plates were made with pure lead. Then they added antimony (which is still OK.) Now they harden the lead with calcium. I don't know if calcium lead is usable or not, but if it gets mixed with antimony lead, the calcium and antimony will react to form an intermetallic compound that separates out in the dross, and reacts with water to form stibine gas -- it's related to cyanide but more deadly.

Also there's really not much lead in a battery. It's mostly lead oxide paste and sulphate. That *can* be smelted back into lead, but it takes lots of high heat and it releases sulphurous fumes.

Just cut the top posts off and keep them, and recycle the rest of the battery.

Mycrobyte can correct me if I've misstated anything.

January 30, 2011, 05:39 PM
Spot on zxcvbob.

If you are not part of the solution....you are part of the precipitate..

January 30, 2011, 06:00 PM
Don't do it.

January 30, 2011, 07:47 PM
If you are not part of the solution....you are part of the precipitate..


4V50 Gary
January 30, 2011, 08:01 PM
Go the plumbers and get your lead from there. As kids, my brother and I tried to salvage lead from a car battery. It was such a mess that we gave up and tossed the battery. This was in the days when there was no hazmat fee and you placed it by the trashcan on the sidewalk. :rolleyes: We were smart enough not to get our mother angry at us by tossing in the regular trashcan.

January 30, 2011, 08:21 PM
M/F batteries contain cadium amoung other things , If ya get it all hot enuff to seperate the useable lead from the cadium the fumes are extremely toxic & after everything else has burnt off mostly odorless.

There`s safer & more feasible means of obtaining lead !

How `bout a WTB add in classifieds !

Most "stik ons" run in the 40-30 to 1 ratio & a touch of tin .5%, around 7-8bhn

But be prepared to trade though !

Check this place out , you can even qualify for free shippin !!!


January 30, 2011, 08:55 PM
From what I've been reading, you USED to be able to use the lead from batteries but no longer.

Just isn't worth the risks


January 30, 2011, 09:10 PM
We used to use them . . we used to use them . . . we used to use them . . . we used to use them . . . we used to use them . . :D

Hmmm . . maybe all those harmful fumes is why I repeat myself . . repeat myself . . repeat myself . . . repeat myself :D

Seriously, others have stated it better than I and they are the chemists and such that should know. As suggested - hit some plumbers - especially if they work at replacing old cast iron soil pipe, etc. The last time I bought lead, I bought about 600 lbs. of it from a scrap yard. It was from lead shielded cable - nice and soft pure lead. It will be a long time before I need more and now, I don't know if I can even get it anymore. At the time, it was 10 cents a pound - what a bargain! It was quite dirty but I spent a couple of days melting a bunch of it down, fluxing it with beeswax and skimmed the impurities - then made ingots to use as I needed to. It took some time, but hey . . . I work cheap . . . cheap . . . cheap . . cheap :D

January 30, 2011, 09:12 PM
Since it seems that quite a few people have used them.... aprox. how many pounds of lead did you get from a typical sized battery??

Doc Hoy
January 31, 2011, 06:16 AM
Have you ever tried to take a battery apart?

The lead in the plates seems like it is not a cast lead but a compressed lead powder. I ruined a pair of jeans, a pair of gloves, and a Tee shirt. I used an awful lot of water to clean up the mess and still wound up killing about ten square feet of grass.

There are better sources.

January 31, 2011, 09:53 AM
Guys, to reiterate on an earlier post, your father's car batteries are no longer in production. FORGET salvaging today's long-life/sealed batteries. They are dangerous to smelt outside of an industrial setting with all the HAZMAT controls and associated isolation.

I worry when I still see people seriously writing about still doing it after all the discussion above. Being an NSSA shooter, a lot of lead has been melted my way, but batteries are not one of them.

Andy Griffith
January 31, 2011, 01:36 PM
Wouldn't it just be easier to buy the lead directly from the commercial recycle/smelter facility (if they sell to the public) then all the rough work is done, and it will be pure lead without all the trouble. A few cents isn't worth the risk of being burned with acid (at the least) or winding up dead from deadly fumes/smoke (at the worst) for a few cents.

Anyway, even if you could safely harvest the lead- where are you going to dispose of the acid without raising a few eyebrows? Going to buy lots of baking soda are we? :p

January 31, 2011, 01:42 PM
Anyway, even if you could safely harvest the lead- where are you going to dispose of the acid without raising a few eyebrows? Going to buy lots of baking soda are we?Doesn't have to be baking soda, you can use lime -- either calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide will work. Converts the sulfuric acid to calcium sulfate (gypsum)

I'm not saying it's a good idea...

Bill Akins
February 1, 2011, 01:47 AM
Pay a tire place a few dollars for a bucket of used wheel weights.

February 1, 2011, 10:16 AM
What Bill said. I'm lucky because one of my buddies manages a tire store, so I get mine for a box of Krispy Kremes. Now, he said that the recycler was giving them $25 a bucket for the weights. I don't know if that's the national going rate, but I'd be happy to fork over that much AND a box of Krispy Kremes for a five gallon bucket. Ask how much the recycler is giving for a bucket of lead and maybe you can make them a deal.

FWIW, I've been getting about 120 pounds of usable lead out of a five gallon bucket. I find that the wheel weight lead is a bit harder than pure lead, but a .451 ball seats just fine in a .44 revolver. A .454 is a pretty doggone hard push.

February 1, 2011, 07:40 PM
The stick on weights are 99.5% pure lead. Plenty soft enough for all your muzzleloader needs. Just watch out for the zinc ones.

February 1, 2011, 07:42 PM
I have cast a few ML bullets from lead that was obtained from a fellow whose relatives used to do roofing. Guess years ago, they used to use lead on the eaves of houses before adding the shingles. Of course they do not do this anymore but he had 5 roll's of this stuff that were somewhere between 18-24 inches wide and about 1/4 inch thick. Each roll weighed about 150 lbs. He wanted to get rid of them and offered me a deal of $20 bucks a piece. I hadnt yet started casting bullets yet but it sounded like a good deal to me so I bought them. I kept one and my wonderful father in law sold the rest for me for what I gave :( for them to his muzzleloading buddies. Need to do some more casting soon but think the roll we kept was about 170 lbs. It should last a while. Have heard of using lead from batteries but thanks to the info above, I'll never try or or advise others to. Thanks

Rufus T Firefly
February 1, 2011, 09:29 PM
Worse than getting attached with a pointed stick or fresh fruit!
I used to give guitar lessons in the late 80's. 2 of my students father recycled car batteries. Let me be delicate and say it was not hard to tell they were not the brightest bulbs on the tree. They get complaining about regulations and disposal. Some people might be "slow" by nature. I mean to insult to autistic people. (my cousin was so I am sensitive to it). I would not even bother for the small yield you will get from doing this and I do actually think some lead remediation is too stringent. I am also a certified Building Inspector certified for lead, mold, radon, etc.

Rufus T Firefly
February 1, 2011, 09:31 PM
I meant to say "I don't mean to insult autistic people". I am very sorry I missed a word there.....

Doc Hoy
February 2, 2011, 02:04 AM
Welcome to the crew.

I am with you. I tried it too at about that time. ONCE.

Simply too much trouble, mess, and hazard for the amount of usable lead.

I attribute most of my problems now to that one lapse in judgement.