Where to get lead ?


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David Clark
February 23, 2013, 08:23 AM
You guys that cast bullets, where do you find deals on lead?
Dave

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stubbicatt
February 23, 2013, 08:37 AM
In Denver there are a couple places which sell metal. I bought 100# of sheet lead a few years ago, and 3# of tin in ingots from them. They also have various types of alloy you can buy as well.

redneck2
February 23, 2013, 08:49 AM
There is no good and easy answer. Just gotta scrounge around. And, lead is bringing fifty cents a pound scrap, so it usually isn't cheap if someone knows what they have.

If you have a tire shop that you frequent, that's the cheapest. I have two shops that get $20 for a five gallon bucket of wheel weights. That's maybe 150#. It's dirty and got the clips so it's gotta be sorted, then smelted into ingots. Gotta pick out the zinc ones or it ruins the entire batch.

Sometimes plumbers or sewer construction companies have lead pipe they have salvaged. Just gotta keep asking.

JohnBT
February 23, 2013, 10:51 AM
A plumber friend also saves the lead seal used to join cast iron pipes. I don't know if it's good for bullets, but the scrap yard buys it.

Elkins45
February 23, 2013, 10:58 AM
Scrap yards are becoming increasingly reluctant to sell to the public, so small tire shops selling scrap wheel weights are the best option these days.

An online friend told me about a foundry and I 'bit the bullet' and bought 1000 pounds of alloy in ingots. I figure I'm set for the next 20 years or so.

ID-shooting
February 23, 2013, 11:11 AM
Tires of your neighbor's cars?

kerreckt
February 23, 2013, 11:12 AM
Scounge or buy it from places like this: http://store.midatlanticbullets.com/

303tom
February 23, 2013, 11:17 AM
I have a buddy who owns a junk yard, every so often I go help him take tires off wheels, he gives me the lead wheel wights..............

flatlander937
February 23, 2013, 12:58 PM
Keep in mind lead automotive wheel weights are going away quickly... the dealer I work at and many more are going to a 3M wheel weight system that has flexible stick on weights in 2-3 styles that cover every application. The normal clip on weights are made of steel now too for those few applications. Its due to potential future OSHA rules(or so I've heard).

Not sure how feasible it is... but there are lead plates on automotive batteries... might be worth getting a biohazard suit to break open and remove them. :p

barnbwt
February 23, 2013, 01:49 PM
^
H2SO4, yummy! Be careful out there guys, both in harvesting and casting the lead. And add acid to water if you need to dilute it; if water is added to the acid (i.e. hosing down a battery) it can flash-boil and even ignite Hydrogen vapors being given off :eek:

Barred from banning lead (bullets) directly, the EPA has made it their mission to purge the stuff from every other place in existence. It will only get harder to obtain going forward. For now, it can be collected by heat-gunning electronics boards, as well (just like those poor kids in Chinese villages :( )

TCB

tech30528
February 23, 2013, 02:21 PM
I own an auto repair shop and collect my used weights. 9mm will yield about 3 bullets per ounce, or 48 per pound. Keep unit price in mind when you are collecting. The molds I have looked at rate finished weight according to wheel weight lead.

wgaynor
February 23, 2013, 02:30 PM
I go to the range and get it from the berm. Just pick it up and fill up a coffee can. I also go to the local tire shop and will purchase it when I get new tires, brakes, and any other time that I'm paying them a bunch of money. They rarely hesitate to put a 5 gallon bucket of it in the truck bed.

I now barter with my friends for lead. Some of the trade me bullets and projectiles for ingots. So if you know a caster, see if he will trade any.

mtrmn
February 23, 2013, 06:13 PM
I bought my supply long long ago (20 yrs) at La Iron and Supply in Alexandria La. 200 lbs. Hardly used any so far since I bought it for hard times-like those dead ahead from what I can see.

lightman
February 23, 2013, 08:06 PM
You have to ask people that work around it with their job. Plumbers, roofers, congstruction workers, telephone linemen/ cable splicers are all good choices. Tire stores have wheelweights, my favorite. You can buy "new" lead from foundrys. Google Rotometals, they have several blends and free shipping. Also try scrap dealers, even though many will not sell to the public. The smaller ones would be my first choice. Also google "castboolit, a really good forum about bullet casting. Also hit old newspaper offices,and print shops. Most don't use lead anymore, but may have some.Your range may allow you to mine the bullet traps/ backstops. This can be a dirty,hard job, but can yield lots of return.Look for an old sailboat, many contain lead. Just a few places that I have scored lead from. Lightman

lightman
February 23, 2013, 08:15 PM
I thought this warning was worthy of another post! Be very cautious with battery lead. There are enough health issues and danger with batteries that I will not bother with it. Lightman

avs11054
February 23, 2013, 08:30 PM
Oh...when I first read the title of this post, I thought it said something that wasn't one of the things we talk about on THR:neener:

mcdonl
February 23, 2013, 08:33 PM
Look for auto shops that have closed down. I have gotten no less that 3 five gallon buckets from auto shops that are going out of business.


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tech30528
February 23, 2013, 10:23 PM
Just talked to a prepper friend of mine about this today, he told me to just get a melting pot and cast ingots instead of casting bullets. He seems to think it's good barter item.

mcdonl
February 23, 2013, 11:25 PM
Ingots are key anyway. Get the impurities out of the lead before casting.

This is especially true if using wheel weights. And, you can get really neat molds!

I use Lyman ingot molds but mini muffin tins work great.


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catinthebat
February 24, 2013, 01:15 AM
Try your local car repair shop. I know someone who went to one and bought an entire bucket of wheel weights.

paintballdude902
February 24, 2013, 01:30 AM
i know a guy that buys 1000lbs a month from a scrap yard. but he knows the guys. tire shops are good.

Reefinmike
February 24, 2013, 01:49 AM
I have a hookup at a local tire store and I feel lucky for that one as ive been to over twenty others and they all say someone else gets em, some say their franchise scraps them and others say its illegal and I need a EPA cert to transport lead weights. They usually get me about 2/3 a bucket each month, last month they only got me enough for 500 230gr 45's. hopefully they'll have their business upped this month when I go back tomorrow! 15 pounds only keeps up with half my monthly shooting...

Trent
February 24, 2013, 01:36 PM
I hit a local recycling shop with a friend a couple years ago and went halvsies on a 600 pound drum full of wheel weights. (Well, technically the FORK TRUCK picked it up and put it in my truck). If I recall correctly it cost us about $250.

hueyville
February 24, 2013, 03:20 PM
Redneck2, where is it bringing 50 cents a pound? My local scrap yard is paying 20 to 30 cents per pound according to type and selling wheel weights for 35 cents per pound. I can buy from local tire shops if I pick up and save them a trip to the scrap yard for 25 cents per pound. If I could sell for 50 I would do some calculations on fuel and mule a couple of tons.

GaryL
February 24, 2013, 03:29 PM
Missouri Bullet sells ingots. They are not cheap compared to nearly free wheel weights, but you would know what you are getting.

mcdonl
February 24, 2013, 03:33 PM
Missouri Bullet sells ingots. They are not cheap compared to nearly free wheel weights, but you would know what you are getting.

That's a good point Gary. It is messy work with significant dross loss smelting wheel weights and if your just an occasional caster it may not be that big a loss.


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lightman
February 24, 2013, 04:32 PM
I smelt everything that I can scrounge into ingots. Seperated by the type of lead, of course. Its just makes much cleaner casting. I have about 6 or 7 ingot molds, from several different companies, like Lyman, RCBS, ect, that I found at a gunshow for $20.00. I just found an x-ray table that I'm waiting on permission to scrap. They are reported to contain large amounts of lead. Waiting with fingers crossed. Lightman

JTHunter
February 27, 2013, 01:39 AM
Can somebody tell me what metals you use to alloy the pure lead? How do you decide the ratio for the bullets? By weight? By volume?
What metals are in tire weights?

Trent
February 27, 2013, 01:53 AM
Linotype is 4% tin, 12% antimony, and 84% lead by weight.

That's pretty hard stuff.

2@low8
February 27, 2013, 06:43 AM
I have access to 200 pounds of linotype. Can they be cast as-is into bullets or is it necessary to add lead orů?

Even if you can cast linotype as-is will these bullets cause excessive wear on the barrel?

Elkins45
February 27, 2013, 10:36 AM
I have access to 200 pounds of linotype. Can they be cast as-is into bullets or is it necessary to add lead orů?

Even if you can cast linotype as-is will these bullets cause excessive wear on the barrel?

Linotype make BEAUTIFUL bullets, but for many purposes casting from pure Lino is a waste of an increasingly precious resource. The only thing I would ever consider casting from pure Lino would be high velocity rifle bullets. Almost everything else can use a softer alloy as long as it isn't sized too small and is properly lubed. For most uses you could cut your alloy with pure lead by 50% and still get fantastic results.

Even the hardest lead bullets don't contribute measurably to barrel wear. Powder erosion and cleaning wear is what wears out barrels, not bullet friction.

Taurus 617 CCW
February 27, 2013, 11:02 AM
Another source for lead is to look for fishing weights at yard sales. I can usually find a few each time I go out.

Buck13
February 27, 2013, 12:24 PM
I have a number of ~30 pound lead bricks at work that are no longer needed, which I can give away. (They were bought 20 years ago to ballast some equipment in a sound-proof room, since dismantled.) Alloy unknown, but they are probably shootable in "cowboy" or target loads, as is.

I don't cast. I would trade them for some fraction of their weight in ready-to-shoot bullets suitable for .32-20, .357 or 10 mm, if anyone near Seattle or convenient to I-5 wants to do a FTF swap. PM me if you want to discuss it.

GCBurner
February 27, 2013, 01:08 PM
Lead tends to accumulate at the base of the berms at the pistol range, particularly after heavy rain. I can scrape up fove or ten pounds worth in a few minutes with a trowel and a bag, and take it home to cast into ingots.

hueyville
February 27, 2013, 05:50 PM
Linotype letters from old type setting presses are now worth ten times scrap value or more to right persons. Typesetting and printing on old machines is becoming an "art" and these craft types that are doing it will pay much more for linotype letters for typesetting than goes for as scrap. Antique stores like to sell them too. Decorations use them quite a bit now in trendy homes and offices. I have several outlets where I can sell any letters I find for five bucks a pound minimum and gotten as much as ten bucks per pound. They have moved into the realm of historical items. Like chopping up an antique desk for firewood. Try to turn a healthy profit on them before rolling them in the lead pot. Make some good cash and preserve a bit of history at the same time. INMHO

lightman
February 28, 2013, 12:12 AM
Wow! I have three, five gallon buckets of linotype or monotype. Big letters, little letters, spacers, even whole words. I cut mine more than 50% with pure lead and it makes beautiful bullets! Lightman

Mac2
February 28, 2013, 02:26 AM
Mine is a reliable steady supply from 1 tire shop. I quit doing the junk yard stuff a while back. For the manager of the shop, I reload heavy custom 30-30 rounds at cost, and I gladly give him $40 per overflowing bucket. I throw in a box of good doughnuts for his crew each time. Pick up about every other month. He called me for a pick up tomorrow. That will put me over 1000# of ingots. I do a lot of casting and shooting. Now if I could only get a good source for primers in these crazy times.

RustyFN
February 28, 2013, 01:26 PM
I get free wheel weights from a couple of small tire shops in town.

RustyFN
February 28, 2013, 01:29 PM
Wow! I have three, five gallon buckets of linotype or monotype. Big letters, little letters, spacers, even whole words. I cut mine more than 50% with pure lead and it makes beautiful bullets! Lightman

Have you ever tested the BHN on those bullets. Just wondering what the hardness is on the 50/50 mix. I have 50 pounds of monotype.

swampsavage
March 2, 2013, 04:46 PM
http://www.rotometals.com/

kerreckt
March 2, 2013, 05:36 PM
Any question about casting, lead, the tools used for casting and the procedure(s) can be answered at this website. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php

lightman
March 2, 2013, 06:44 PM
Rusty, I have not tested for hardness, as I don't have a hardness tester yet. They seem to be plenty hard and I probably could cut the type metal even more. Lightman

david bachelder
March 2, 2013, 07:27 PM
Go to or call some plumbing supply houses. Good lead and usually fair prices.

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