Bullet Casting Question (Fumes)


November 30, 2007, 08:57 AM
I live in an end-unit townhouse and wanted to consider casting my own bullets using free wheel weights for issues of cost. My concern is that I do not want to kill myself my wife or pets with fumes.

Is there a best way to do this safely inside? Is there a way to minimize the fumes? If I do this outside is this going to upset my neighbors? I remember my father once melting lead - but this was 20 years ago and I remember it stinking really bad.

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November 30, 2007, 09:42 AM
Outside only, unless you have a fume hood.

November 30, 2007, 08:10 PM
Hey there..
You will need to totally vent that area. The temp. of that lead is critical. about 700 to 720 degrees. Go over 800 and you are nearing the danger zone.
The fumes from lead at 850 (on the safe side) and 900 degrees becomes very toxic. You can not detect the effects fast enough. This does not get talked about very often, but is very important to know. The use of a good pot is the only safe way. Melting lead on the stove is not the best idea.
You also need to flux that lead, which will smoke and likely flame up. Don't jump when it does. Expect it. Stir in the flux and skim off the dross. The dross is junk. Make sure you have the correct wheel weights as some are not all lead. Pre-heat every thing (Period) . A cold ladel dipped into that hot lead may explode all over the place. Water and hot lead do not get along.:uhoh:

December 1, 2007, 03:15 AM
Molten lead boils at 1200 degrees. Below that there's just a very thin layer,(1/16"), at the surface of molten lead that contains any lead vapor. Inhaling lead vapor is very bad for you.

hygiene, keeping your hands washed after handling lead, is THE most important thing to do. Don't eat, smoke, or drink while handling boolits.

The environmentalists are afraid of their own shadows, always looking for things to fear. Then trying to transfer their fears to other people, limiting their enjoyment of living. Lead poisoning is much to do about nothing.

December 3, 2007, 07:17 PM
Snuffy is right about the 1200 degree's. But if and when the pot is full and gets disturbed by stirring with a fan running or any cross breeze, there is the potential for a problem if in a closed room. Take both warnings to heart and there will be no problems.

December 4, 2007, 01:58 AM
The best way to deal with wheel weights is to initially melt the weights down, fish out the wheel clips and dirt, flux the mixture, skim off the dross and then pour the lead into ingots to be used later in your bullet casting sessions.
The initial melting process is the stinky part as the oil, grease, dirt and other impurities are burned out of the mix. It does stink alot so you won't want to do it indoors or around others who would be offended by the smell.
After the weights are cleaned up and poured into ingots, there isn't much smell at all when they are re-melted for casting.
I use a Coleman stove and a thick walled pot for the initial wheel weight melting. As soon as the weights are melted, skim the clips with a metal strainer spoon, flux and skim the dross, then pour the ingots. The clip skimming and fluxing operation only takes a few minutes and the stirring action keeps the lead from getting too hot.
Since the Coleman is portable, you can do this downwind of any people. The cleaned ingots then give off very little smell when re-melted and you can cast in your garage or driveway if you wish.
Be careful, water in lead can be explosive, wear protective gear and make sure you have a sturdy table to do your work from.
Here is a good reference site to read and learn. Join and ask any questions you may have. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

December 4, 2007, 03:36 AM
You mentioned your pets. Never cast around your pets. They are lower to the ground than you are, and if lead splatters a little (which it will once in a while), it could hit your pet. Also, if you don't wear good gloves and cover your arms, you will get the same experience yourself.

I have cast in a variety of locations. To keep from making the neighbors mad, I blow a fan from behind me to get the fumes away from me, and another one farther out (set to osculate) to distribute the fumes, and reduce the "smoke signals". If the neighbors ever ask, I tell them I am making fishing weights (instead of bullets). It keeps the wives happy.

evan price
December 4, 2007, 04:01 AM
A point to consider is that in some townhouses there is a restriction in the association rules, the deed or, if rented, the lease agreement, regarding barbeque grills, etc. Some places absolutely forbid their use. Anyplace that won't let you BBQ won't want you pouring lead either. Just FYI.

December 4, 2007, 08:55 AM
As a poor college student 25 years ago, I did this often. Clean ingots give very little smell. If you light the flux (parrafin) you will have little smoke. Or if you want NO smoke use marfleflux (sp?). I used a electric kitchen stove forever with little problems. After 30 years of casting I decided to have my lead level checked and it was a .7 and thats well below a concern level. just my .02

December 4, 2007, 09:48 AM
I agree with forquidder. Melting the weights before hand and getting rid of all the clips and dirt is the way to go. the ingots are easier to use and fit in my melting pot easier when I am casting bullets.

Only cast and melt lead outdoors with very ample ventilation.

I get my wheel weights from the local tire shops which makes my bullets homecast free of charge, except for the electricity.

Free bullets? Shoot more and have fun.

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