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Car batteries to bullets

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Souris, Oct 22, 2007.

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  1. Souris

    Souris Member

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    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.
     
  2. creekwalker

    creekwalker Member

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    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
     
  3. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Member

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    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.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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.

    [​IMG]
    rcmodel
     
  5. esq_stu

    esq_stu Member

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    lead/acid battery plates are not just lead - batteries need to go to an industrial smelter
     
  6. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    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...
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007
  7. Steve Koski

    Steve Koski Member

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    From the comments, it sounds like a great idea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2007
  8. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I guess that clears that up. :D
     
  10. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    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.
     
  11. Koos Custodiet

    Koos Custodiet Member

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    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...
     
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    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!!
     
  13. evan price

    evan price Member

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    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.
     
  14. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    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.
     
  15. Souris

    Souris Member

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    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.
     
  16. Doug b

    Doug b Member

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    All that electrolysis changes the lead to a crystalline state that can't be reversed.Why wreck your health for really bad bullets?
     
  17. Travis Two

    Travis Two member

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    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.
     
  18. davinci

    davinci Member

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    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.
     
  19. Gustav

    Gustav Member

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    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:
     
  20. dcloco

    dcloco Member

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    Make sure you melt the lead at a high enough temp...and go from there.
     
  21. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    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.
     
  22. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    "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.
     
  23. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    Arsenic is found in bullets, and especially shot, as well. Yes, it's dangerous. So is lead.
     
  24. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    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.
     
  25. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    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.

    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.

    You do realize battery acid is about 70% WATER, right?
     
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