What Type of Lead?


November 4, 2009, 02:11 PM
If i'm looking to buy Lead to cast my own bullets, what type of lead should i get?
I Noticed that are several types around and i don't understand anything about non Ferrous metals.

Thanks guys one more time for your help!!

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November 4, 2009, 02:18 PM
Wheelweights. Go hit the Cast Boolits and the Bullet Caster's Association forums so you can learn to tell the difference between lead based weights and zinc or other non castable weights. Clip-on wheelweights are pretty good for pistol bullets as they are. I like to add a little tin...but they can be used straight up after cleaning and fluxing.

Hurry. Get what you can while you can. Lead based wheelweights are going away pretty soon. It's...for the environment...don'tcha know. :rolleyes:

November 4, 2009, 02:19 PM
Pain old wheel-weights from the service station work great.

Lyman #2 alloy is the high-dollar standard.

You need to buy the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook ASAP for a complete education.


November 4, 2009, 03:21 PM
Thanks guys. I will read more about it.

twice barrel
November 4, 2009, 03:35 PM
If you can find a Dr/Dentist office with a lead shielded X-ray room you might inquire how often they replace their wall shielding. Not sure if its even done this way today but I used to get a bunch of it this way. (reminded me of linotype)

Lead cable sheathing is great too but messy to smelt clean.

Check with your local scrap yards.

Wheel weights always seemed brittle to me but made for good wadcutters.


November 4, 2009, 04:09 PM
I like the Elmer Keith recipe of pure lead with 2% tin. He shot this out of a 44 magnum with no problems. Obviously sizing is the important part.

November 4, 2009, 04:15 PM
If you have a local indoor range, talk to one of the range officials. Find out what they do with the lead scrap in the bullet trap. I've gotten over a ton of lead just by carrying it away. Granted it is a mess to smelt down, but the price was right and it produces bullets capable of less than 3" at 50 yards in my 45.

November 4, 2009, 04:18 PM
It is going to depend on what you are going to shoot to some extent. For my 30-30 and .308 I like 50/50 wheel weights and pure lead.
And that Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook that RC mentioned is worth every dime it will cost you if you are going to cast.

November 4, 2009, 05:27 PM
You can also get casting alloy (http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=12) from Missouri Bullet (http://www.missouribullet.com/index.php) if you want to purchase some. They even had some linotype a while back.


chris in va
November 4, 2009, 10:48 PM
The recycler/u-pullit yard down the road sells wheelweights for .60/lb. I made 25# of 'ingots' and I gotta say...it was extremely fascinating and fun.

10 Spot Terminator
November 5, 2009, 12:17 AM
For rifle and hot handloads for handguns wheel weight lead will do nicely for most applications but when you get to the point for splitting hairs Lyman #2 alloy would be an improvement casting better more consistant bullets. For that edge in handgun other than magnums look to what the competative shooters use and that is 20 parts pure soft lead and 1 part tin. The tin content in both the Lyman #2 alloy and the 20 to 1 alloy fill your moulds better and leave clean sharply defined bullets with slightly less variations in bullet weight . The more consistant the bullet the more consistant the loads performance. Enjoy the ride. 10 Spot

evan price
November 5, 2009, 03:13 AM
The answer is It Depends.

If you are shooting low pressure pistol like .38 special or .45 auto then a softer alloy like 50-50 wheelweight and soft lead would be fine.
If you are talking faster stuff like 9mm or .40 or +P .38 then an alloy of wheelweights +2% tin would be good, and you can water drop them. 80-20 wheelweights and type metal works good too.
If you are talking fullbore Magnum pistols or rifles with cast load data then using straight type metal would be hard enough.

With cast boolits the important thing is to make the bullet size large enough to fit the bore tight and use good lube.

My advice is to grab any lead you can find, focus on finding wheel weights (they have antimony in them usually, and that's a PITA to add to lead otherwise). WW lead can be hardened and it's great to cast from. Also look for type metal (linotype, monotype, foundry type) or solder or babbitt metal anywhere you can find it (for tin). Soft lead is still used a lot but it needs to be toughened up for most smokeless powder boolits.

Bear in mind lead took a sharp upturn in price and is over $1 a pound right now. If you can find any lead for less than 50 cents a pound, grab it.

Be advised the wheel weights are being replaced with iron or zinc weights so a bucket of wheelweights may not be all lead! The stick-on weights are nearly pure lead, keep them separated and don't melt them in with the other clip weights (it's easy to add later on, impossible to separate once melted!)

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