Car batteries to bullets


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Souris
October 22, 2007, 04:15 PM
In light of the other thread about the price of lead I am wondering if you can smelt the lead plates from car batteries and cast them into ingots. The ingots would be easier and safer to store than car batteries and easier to use for casting.

Are the plates of a decent hardness for bullets?

Is it worth it to try this?

I am sure that this should be, if attempted, be done outside and maybe with a fan blowing the fumes away from you.

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creekwalker
October 22, 2007, 04:30 PM
No, whatever you do don't melt down car batteries to try and use for bullets. It is very unsafe as their is no way for you to remove the toxicity inherently inside og the battery. I can go into a long drawn out HazMat explination but won't just take my word for it you will hoplessly contaminate any other lead you are smelting with battery lead.

cw

fireflyfather
October 22, 2007, 04:35 PM
Invovled, dangerous, and could be described as raping EPA regulations with a sequoia. Lots of acids and other chemicals in there you don't want to be around. It's possible, but unless you really know what you are doing, and don't care about releasing all that crap into the air, it's not worth it. Let the battery recyclers do the batteries. We'll stick to wheel weights and boat keels.

rcmodel
October 22, 2007, 04:37 PM
Modern battery plates aren't all lead anyway.

Lots of other heavy metals alloyed with lead to give longer battery life, etc.

It won't make good bullets, even if you try to do it and don't poison yourself.

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/KTOG/1224.gif
rcmodel

esq_stu
October 22, 2007, 04:38 PM
lead/acid battery plates are not just lead - batteries need to go to an industrial smelter

zxcvbob
October 22, 2007, 04:51 PM
It is possible, but it's a lot more involved than just melting the plates (there's not that much lead anyway if you just melt it)

You'd need to heat the plates and paste very hot in a reducing atmosphere to convert the lead oxide and sulfates back to metallic lead. It will stink to high heaven from the sulfur dioxide given off, and you just might kill yourself and anyone downwind from the arsine or stibine (antimony) fumes. And if you survive all that, the lead will be alloyed with calcium and stronium and whatever else they use, and probably not cast very well.

I think I know how to do it semi-safely in a survival situation, but it wouldn't be my first choice...

Steve Koski
October 22, 2007, 05:02 PM
From the comments, it sounds like a great idea.

Brian Williams
October 22, 2007, 06:43 PM
Really, Really, Really, REALLY, stupid idea.
Dumb,
Idiotic,
Moronic,
Unsafe,
Bad,
Not Good,
Unsafe,
Poisonous,

Generally not a good idea.
In other words DON"T.

Walkalong
October 22, 2007, 07:02 PM
I guess that clears that up. :D

dcloco
October 22, 2007, 11:12 PM
Actually...they make WONDERFUL shot for shotguns. Local person uses LARGE batteries, melts the plates, and has his own process for making the BB's.

Koos Custodiet
October 23, 2007, 12:50 AM
Dean Grennell mentions that if you get the dross (the crud that you skim off the melted lead) wet it releases cyanide gas. You probably don't want that...

ArchAngelCD
October 23, 2007, 02:00 AM
Originally Posted By Brian Williams:
Really, Really, Really, REALLY, stupid idea.
Dumb,
Idiotic,
Moronic,
Unsafe,
Bad,
Not Good,
Unsafe,
Poisonous,

Generally not a good idea.
In other words DON"T.
So Brian, tell us how you really feel... No, No, Don't hold back. Give it to us straight!!
LOL, j/k you know... :p

I was about to add to this thread but I doubt there is anything else to say other than, the bullets you attempt to make will be magical because they will have the ability to kill you without being fired or before they even look like bullets!!

evan price
October 23, 2007, 02:32 AM
IIRC they alloy battery plates with arsenic, cadmium and antimony.
Can you say toxic? I would guess you would need a ventilator to do this.

Then what do you do with the acid, the plastic cases, and the anode/cathode paste sludge? Please for the love of god don't say you'll just put it in the trash...! We'retalking serious hazmat stuff here.

BigBlock
October 23, 2007, 06:10 AM
I think it's funny how everyone freaks out and says it's "dangerous" and "toxic". Like regular lead ingots aren't toxic? Batteries are made from lead, antimony, arsenic, and acid. The first three ingredients are also ingredients in standard lead bullets. The acid is easily neutralized with water and baking soda. Is it dangerous? Sure it is. So is casting any lead bullet, or using a gun for that matter. It doesn't matter what your source of lead is, if you're breathing the fumes you're probably going to die from it.

Personally, I have a couple AGM batteries that I've taken apart, which are made with pure lead. About 100lbs worth. I haven't melted it down yet, but when I do, it will be no more unsafe than melting regular lead from the sporting goods store.

Souris
October 23, 2007, 09:24 AM
Well at 14 to 1 I think that I am convinced that it is easier to cart the old batteries off to the scrapper than to try to smelt them.

Thanks for the input guys.

Doug b
October 23, 2007, 09:27 AM
All that electrolysis changes the lead to a crystalline state that can't be reversed.Why wreck your health for really bad bullets?

Travis Two
October 23, 2007, 01:48 PM
Knew a bullet caster that used battery lead and found out that you can't completly remove or "neutralise" the acid 100% The result was ruined guns that had pitting and rust develop on the front of the cylinder and down the barrel from the residue that was deposited under the heat and pressure from the loads fired. No Thanks, I'll stick with quality over price.

davinci
October 23, 2007, 03:31 PM
sorry, haven't been around much lately so I'm coming in late on this one.

I did try this once a long time ago, with a lead-acid battery used in an electric forklift. I put it on concrete and smashed it with a huge roll of 25# paper (many tons). It was an accident, but the fumes of a smashed battery gave lots of fellas headaches. Of course, it was indoors too and this was a papermill so ventilation wasn't high on the OSHA list. Our safety team poured baking soda all over the liquid mess and called it safe for me to clean it up.

There was ALOT of lead in that battery... not sure if I'd have the guts to smelt it.

Gustav
October 23, 2007, 03:35 PM
No way on the batteries to bullets idea for reasons stated above.

Maybe fishing weights and wheel weights and salvaged expended bullets but not the toxic brew that comes from old car batteries.

Working with that mix of toxins in bullet casting would make the old time from long ago mad hatters look sane.:cuss:

dcloco
October 23, 2007, 04:43 PM
Make sure you melt the lead at a high enough temp...and go from there.

BigBlock
October 23, 2007, 05:25 PM
Do any of you naysayers actually have any clue what you're talking about? What is it you scared little girls think is so dangerous in batteries that isn't also in normal lead bullets? Newsflash: All forms of lead are toxic. Including fishing sinkers and wheel weights.

brickeyee
October 23, 2007, 08:01 PM
"Do any of you naysayers actually have any clue what you're talking about? What is it you scared little girls think is so dangerous in batteries that isn't also in normal lead bullets? Newsflash: All forms of lead are toxic. Including fishing sinkers and wheel weights."

It is NOT the lead that is the problem.
It is the OTHER metals alloyed into the lead.
Arsenic being a pretty common one.
Older batteries did not have as much other junk in them.

The newer sealed batteries adjusted the chemistry slightly to limit the breakdown of water during charging that required periodic maintenance (like adding water).

Grennel got the story partly correct.
The dross from batteries, particularly the 'maintenance free' type, can generate Stibine gas if it gets wet from the antimony in the alloy.
While antimony can be used to help harden lead alloys for bullet casting, the plates have a LOT of it, along with arsenic.

BigBlock
October 23, 2007, 08:20 PM
Arsenic being a pretty common one.
Arsenic is found in bullets, and especially shot, as well. Yes, it's dangerous. So is lead.

kingpin008
October 23, 2007, 08:34 PM
BigBlock -With all due respect - are you dense or something? I think everyone here is generally agreeing with you about the lead - it could be worked with if extracted, to an extent. Let's forget the fact that the chemical makeup of the contents of the batteries changes the lead to a form not very suitable for bullet-making.

HOWEVER - the acids and other chemicals in the batteries are extremely toxic, and must be disposed of in a very specific manner. Chances are, most of us don't have the ability or equipment to do so safely, so it's not worth it.

Not to mention the distinct possibility of the chemicals contained in these batteries generating clouds of toxic gas if they come in contact with WATER, and other such harmless substances. That's probably why there have been so many commenters suggesting that trying to reclaim the lead isn't the best idea.

BigBlock
October 23, 2007, 10:43 PM
Let's forget the fact that the chemical makeup of the contents of the batteries changes the lead to a form not very suitable for bullet-making.
No, not really. It depends completely on the type and condition of the battery. Like I said, I pulled about 100lbs of pure lead from three AGM batteries.

HOWEVER - the acids and other chemicals in the batteries are extremely toxic, and must be disposed of in a very specific manner. Chances are, most of us don't have the ability or equipment to do so safely, so it's not worth it.
They aren't anymore toxic than lead. Personally I sealed the excess material in a paint can where it will remain in my garage indefinately. Most places have an annual or monthly free or cheap hazardous waste disposal site at their local dump. The stuff you skim off the top of a pot of wheel weights is hazardous as well and should be dealt with in the same way.

Not to mention the distinct possibility of the chemicals contained in these batteries generating clouds of toxic gas if they come in contact with WATER
You do realize battery acid is about 70% WATER, right?

davinci
October 24, 2007, 09:03 AM
bigblock:
what kind of acid do they put in a lead-acid battery?

dmftoy1
October 24, 2007, 09:08 AM
I'm pretty sure it used to be sulfuric. I don't know if that's changed or not but that's what I remember from my old days of working at Tru Value hardware and having to fill the batteries before putting them on the shelves.

Selfdfenz
October 24, 2007, 10:53 AM
I'm going to take the high road on this point and avoid styling my comments as others. Don't take this as mean-spirited or condescending but you might want to have your blood lead level checked. If you have kids and you are doing this on your property there is a risk they are being exposed to lead due to the extraction processes you are using. Lead poisioning in kids or adults is not a pretty thing and may not show up immediately.

Best

S-

alucard0822
October 24, 2007, 11:09 AM
I tried to cast a plate from a "rebuild" kit for a fork lift battery, it was never exposed to acid, and it made linotype look like silly putty. Battery lead is so hard, bullets would probably shatter on the way out of the barrel, ar chip. You would probably have to mix 20 lbs of lead with 1 lb of battery lead to get a useable alloy, definitely not worth it, and that little experiment involved no sulfuric acid, had carbon filtered ventilation, and a replateable battery, not a sealed car battery that is probably twice as hard. Melting down batteries is not normal theoretical dangerous like Global Warming, it is incredibly dangerous, the kind that might give you toxic avenger type super powers, or kill you in minutes.

BigBlock
October 24, 2007, 05:16 PM
I'm going to take the high road on this point and avoid styling my comments as others. Don't take this as mean-spirited or condescending but you might want to have your blood lead level checked. If you have kids and you are doing this on your property there is a risk they are being exposed to lead due to the extraction processes you are using. Lead poisioning in kids or adults is not a pretty thing and may not show up immediately.

Oh for crying out loud! It is NO different or more dangerous than melting down a bucket of wheel weights that is so commonly recommended on this board. :rolleyes:

Battery lead is so hard, bullets would probably shatter on the way out of the barrel, ar chip
Again, that depends TOTALLY on the type of battery. Fork lift batteries do not in any way relate to car batteries. One more time: I pulled about 100lbs of PURE LEAD from AGM batteries. Did you hear me? PURE LEAD, as confirmed by the manufacturer.

brickeyee
October 24, 2007, 07:20 PM
There is almost no arsenic in the alloys I purchase.
I use antimony when harder alloys are needed.

The alloying and changes are for the 'zero maintenance' batteries, not large industrial batteries that have caps and require water to be added.

You are free to take whatever chance you want, but modern maintenance free batteries are NOT a good source of lead for casting.

evan price
October 25, 2007, 03:52 AM
Great, so you pulled some PURE LEAD out of a specialty battery once.

This one time, at band camp...

Never mind.

Battery acid is mostly water.
The parts that are NOT "mostly water" are dangerous.
Not quite "eating your flesh away" like the Alien blood.
But enough to give a good chemical burn if not flushed away.
The electrolyte paste that coats the lead plates would have to be removed, or else, just smelt it, and try to skim it off. That stuff DOES give off toxic fumes due to the chemicals used in its composition that are to enhance the "maintenance free" aspects of modern auto batteries.

Right now I am getting between $5 and $6 apiece for used auto batteries from the Exide supplier for every one I can drag in to their plant.

Take that money and use it to buy better lead.

Yes, smelting lead is dangerous. You need to use caution.
Smelting batteries is done by the manufacturers, like Exide or East Penn, by shredding the batteries to drain the fluids, then reheating the plates in a sealed furnace with positive ventilation. Saw a special on TV where East Penn treats the gas they collect and recycle it into fertilizer which they sell.

Long story short: As said before, batteries not the best place to get lead.

Selfdfenz
October 25, 2007, 08:44 AM
Oh for crying out loud! It is NO different or more dangerous than melting down a bucket of wheel weights that is so commonly recommended on this board.

Well no, they are not the same process. A fair % of wheel weights in use today contain no lead. All the lead / acid batteries contain lead. I'll give you this, if the material used was dry lead plate you may have fewer issues with other heavy metals and so forth than with maintainance-frees but there is still the issue of oxides and liberating them during the process of cracking the case/getting the oxides on your skin/garments etc.

Many things are recommended here and elsewhere on the I-net. Some are risk free, some are not.

If you are melting lead for bullets I'll hazard a guess that you own and use reloading manuals. I would be surprised if most of them don't have a comment on the potental risks of handling lead. Several of mine have longish discussions on the topic. Casting bullets is the single most likley way to pick up a body burden of lead associated with relaoding process. Adding battery recycling as a 1st step in that process can only increase that exposure risk.

If you aren't picking up a burden that's great. If you are, you may be lucky and it may be a low level. If not, and the dose you are getting is significant, I'm 100 certain you'll find the costs associated with having lead poising treated far exceeds the number of dollars you are saving recycling batteries vs. buying lead. Only a test will tell. It's your call, your health and it's still a somewhat free country.

Best,

S-

Misfire99
October 26, 2007, 12:20 AM
Lead poisoning very seldom comes from contact with lead. For lead to get into your body it has to be in a gaseous state. This is the boundary layer that is just above the molten lean in your pot. Because of the weight of lead it is a very shallow layer. You can't get lead from touching it. It doesn't go through your skin. You might be able to get some if you eat with the spoon you fluxed your pot with but I doubt it. Most of the lead poisoning in the past came from car exhaust. Having spent some time in a shop as a youngster, <30 years old, I have some idea of this problem. Exhaust repair guys had it the hardest. I was one for many years and have no lead problems. But I do have countless burns and a number of broken fingers. The last time I had my hand xrayed you could see bits of bone floating around in my hand and fingers. The nurse said "My god what have you been doing with your hands?"

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