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Old January 18, 2001, 12:03 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: August 7, 2000
Location: Floating down the James River in VA
Posts: 2,599
I'm just getting into casting, and I have come into possession of a good deal of x-ray sheeting, which as far as I can tell is pure lead. (My brother in law might run some of it through a spectrometer to find out for sure). We may also have a deal on some "cold" reactor sheeting (a long story). A few questions:
1. Where do you get your lead?
2. How much do you usually pay for it?
3. What forms can you find pure lead in? (for example: x-ray sheeting)
4. Are there any good books on casting with pure lead for muzzleloaders? I believe that the Lyman manual is more for casting alloyed lead for handgun and rifle bullets...
5. Is it legal to sell homemade Minie balls w/o some sort of EPA licensing?
6. My limited casting experience so far has been:
Melt the lead-keep the mold temperature up by keeping it in the lead-extract mould, pour lead into mould-let cool-open mould, release bullets-start over. Seems too simple. Am I missing something???

Hoping not to die from lead poisoning or residual radioactivity,
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Old January 18, 2001, 01:15 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 39,104
I used to cast my own roundballs. That was all that we could use in Pennsylvania during muzzleloader season.

Ok, to answer some of your questions...

1. I used to get my lead (what little of it I used) from a scrap & salvage yard in Harrisburg. I also knew a plumber who could occasionally slide me some old lead waste piping, which was usually pure.

2. This was years and years ago. Don't recall.

3. As you note, x-ray shielding, old drain piping, pre-cast roundballs from Hornady, Sierra, etc. More than once I did recast Hornady round balls because they were damaged.

4. The Lyman manual used to have a section on casting roundballs. Thompson Center has a pamphlet.

5. Yes. No problems.

You've got the process down. It IS very simple. Just remember, water and lead pots don't mix. My grandfather carried a scar on his chin until the day he died because a drop of water got into his lead pot.
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Old January 18, 2001, 04:55 PM   #3
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Join Date: August 8, 2000
Location: ARKANSAS
Posts: 484
I cast my own bullets most of the time. For pure lead, I use lead bricks that weigh about 40 pounds. I get these at work. I work at a nuclear plant, where these are used for sheilding from radiation. We fabricate pure lead parts, so I usually take the waste home with me.

Only pure lead is suitable for maxi balls. I have a Thompson/Center mold that I use for my 2 .50's. Molding them is fairly easy and much cheaper as the lead I use is free.

I also get my leasd from a tire shop . I know the owner and he gives me 5 gallon bucket fulls of wheel wieghts. These make exellent bullets, but they are too hard for maxi balls.

They work great for everything else.

AS of now in is not illegal to sell lead bullets , however the EPA is trying to make it very difficult on gun range owners by forcing them to abide by ridiculous restrictions. I figure it is just a matter of time ...
The epa has forgot that lead is a naturally occuring element and it is not scarce.
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