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Old October 8, 2013, 07:16 AM   #1
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Does lead rust?

I am about to venture into the world of casting! I have a friend who gave me a jar of old lead fishing weights. Out of the jar, there are several pcs that show a bit of rust. Is this lead? Also, it scratches harder than the others. So should I just chuck them?
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Old October 8, 2013, 07:22 AM   #2
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The answer is "sort of". Many (perhaps most) metals will oxydize. Iron oxide is what you normally know as rust. Aluminum oxide is what happens to the surface of untreated aluminum. Lead oxide is a grey powdery substance that will form on the surface of uncoated lead.

If what you are seeing is grey lead oxide, then the melting process will take care of that. If you are seeing some other color then you have some impure lead and it is the other impurities that are giving it the color.

As to suitablitiy for casting, I'll let the experts answer that.
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Old October 8, 2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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Maybe along with that question, do you pay for wheel weights, and if so, how much? I called a local tire shop and he said he would have to have 75 bucks for a bucket a little larger that a 5 gallon bucket. He said he weighed it and it held 180 lbs. Does that sound about right? And price seem fair? And about how much weight of pure lead would you expect to get out of that? I know some depends if there is a lot of zinc, but he assured me that most of them were lead. Need some advice!
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Old October 8, 2013, 11:02 AM   #4
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If the lead was under water for a few days it will probably look like orange-ish "rust" has appeared on it. when you melt it, it will just be skimmed off with the rest of the other trash mixed in. I have 2 5 gal buckets of wheelweights that got water in them, they look like they rusted, but it comes right off.

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Old October 8, 2013, 11:08 AM   #5
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You might actually have some non lead wheel weights, made of iron or mild steel. You'll know once you melt them. If they don't melt and float on top of the lead in the pot, they're probably steel.

You could also try a magnet test.
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Old October 8, 2013, 04:29 PM   #6
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Out of the jar, there are several pcs that show a bit of rust. Is this lead?
As already posted, lead-oxide is grey, not red/brown like rust (iron oxide). Nevertheless if wet lead fishing sinkers (lead) come into contact with rusted steel/iron, the lead can pick-up rust stains, which is of no consequence to a bullet caster.
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Old October 9, 2013, 05:47 AM   #7
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Iron oxide (from WW clips or the metal attachment on fishing weights) will migrate & cover lead giving it the orange tint , as mentioned it happens better if the weights are submerged.

As far as WW goes , $75 is`nt bad for a bucket of "LEAD" WW, but unfortunatly we have "ZINC" (which is no good for casting bullets & more than 2% in a batch will make casting good bullets impossible)& must be sorted out preferably before smelting . The zinc will float to the top but temp must be watched very closely as the melting point of zinc is only a couple hundred degrees above lead.

"PURE LEAD" is very rare these days & is a desireable comodity in the casting world , most lead has low levels of tin & antimony to help castability & hardness , if we`re talking WW it`s to keep em tite on the clips.

Now zinc WW come in many many forms , here`s a pic of just a few :

& the last 5gal. bucket (120# produced only 83# of useable ingots) so 60% return on that bucket.
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Old October 10, 2013, 09:15 PM   #8
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Zinc didn't used to be that big of a problem when getting WW at the tire shop those were the good old days. What was even better they gave them away and I never paid a dime for them they were just glad to get them out of the way.

Nowadays Zinc and Steel weights seem to be over 50% of the haul but you can sort them out before melting them down and sell the non usable weights for scrap. Scrap yards around here don't care if the WW have zinc in them or not they just buy them by the lb. and you can also sell the still clips as well those get you about 7 cents a lb. as dirty steel around here.

So if you buy the WW use what you can and sell the other stuff for scrap. I generally turn around and take what I make off the scrap and buy sheet lead which i get for 50 cents a lb. last time I bought a 50 lb. roll.
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Old October 13, 2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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I pay $20 per 5 gallon bucket of wheel weights, but as was noted probably 40% of the weights are unusable as zinc or steel.

It's hard to find shops that will sell them to you - most have arrangements with recycling companies.
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