Ignorant question about lead - want to learn

Discussion in 'General Reloading' started by Never_Evil, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Never_Evil

    Never_Evil G&G Evangelist

    I know there are two types of lead, soft and "hard". What is the preferred type of lead to use for making my own bullets for handgun or rifle loads? Would I want to collect wheel weight lead or does car battery lead work? Is there an alloy mix that is preferred?

    I would like to learn more from knowledgeable reloaders.
  2. DaTeacha

    DaTeacha Things are not what they seem. Forum Contributor

    There is one element known as lead. In the pure state, it's pretty soft. As a metal, it can be made into alloys, or solid solutions, by melting it together with other metals.

    The most common metals to add to lead to make cast bullet alloys are tin and antimony. By varying the percentage of tin and antimony in the mix, you can get your cast bullets to have different degrees of hardness. A good bullet casting book will give you the percentages of the various alloys. There are tools available from shooting supply places that allow you to test the hardness of a batch of alloy.

    Melting and casting lead alloys can expose you to lead fumes, which can accumulate in your brain and central nervous system with less than good results. If you want to get into casting, make sure you read about the safety precautions and follow them, particularly with respect to ventilation and fire prevention.

  3. Never_Evil

    Never_Evil G&G Evangelist

    Old solder mix (rosin core for electronics) used to be a 60/40 mix lead/tin, the new mix is about 96/4 Tin/antimony. Theoretically I would only need two items, solder and lead, but would need to know if the lead was already alloyed.

    I am mostly asking to see if my stock pile of old car batteries are worth hanging onto to sell to reloaders, or just sell it off to the scrapper.
  4. stinkybriches

    stinkybriches G&G Enthusiast

    i heard the danger of rendering the lead from car batteries out weighs the benifit.
  5. Pure lead is mostly used for muzzle loaders or at least the softer lead. Then there is Lynotype and wheel weights that is used or pistol and rifle. A good source for information is Lymans Cast Bullet Reloading Manual. Here's an interesting article to get you started........Cast bullet primer: a beginner's guide to pouring your own | Guns Magazine | Find Articles at BNET Don't get any water near your lead pot, water expands 11 times faster than lead and the results can be explosive. Been there done that, didn't like it!
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  6. DWFan

    DWFan Handgunner Forum Contributor

    Don't use lead from car batteries. One of the contaminants of battery lead is sulphur; another is arsenic. You don't want to accidentally breathe either.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  7. HK770

    HK770 G&G Enthusiast

    Forum for casting lead bullets :

    Cast Boolits - Dedicated To The World Of Cast Bullets!

  8. Never_Evil

    Never_Evil G&G Evangelist

    One of the main dangers is Sulfuric Acid, it will eat anything organic. I do have adequate protection ( breathing filter, rubber chemical rated gloves, eye protection, and plenty of crappy clothing to wear ) Storage of the sulfuric will not be a problem because I do have sufficient storage containers and our county has a hazmat waste facility to recycle the acid.

    Any plastic with acid residue can be washed down with a baking soda solution to neutralize the pieces. The only thing I will have left are the lead plates which will also be neutralized.
  9. HK770

    HK770 G&G Enthusiast

    Butt with your own head......Best learn of what you speak... IMHO

  10. Why Car Batteries Are Dangerous - Cast Boolits

    Read the articles on this site. -> Cast bullet reference on lead alloy's, min / max pressure, lube, shrinkage,
  11. Never_Evil

    Never_Evil G&G Evangelist

    Ok, car batteries go to the recycler for money to purchase either wheel weights or other forms of lead.
  12. Actually, the vapor pressure of lead is such that fumes at the temperatures we use to cast bullets are miniscule. The greater risk is ingestion. Lead oxide easily "dusts" off the lead and onto fingers, from whence it enters the body. Once ingested it is difficult to remove (but can be done). Collecting scrap lead in the form of spent bullets at an indoor shooting range likewise presents a risk from inhaling the dust of the spent projectiles.
  13. Has anyone here ever confused Babit for Lead ???
  14. deadzero

    deadzero G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Cadinium (something like that) is also present in a lot of newer batteries. very bad for you. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE CAR BATTERIES FOR LEAD, PLEASE!

    wheel weights work great. add 8 pounds of clean wheel weight lead to 1 pound of 50/50 (tin /lead) solder and you have #2 alloy. but wheel weights by themselves work fine to, and quench harden nicely if needed.
  15. gandog56

    gandog56 G&G Evangelist

    Yep, leave cadmium for the Chinese to put in your kids fake toy jewelry.

    And yes, they do!
  16. MosinMan

    MosinMan G&G Evangelist

    A lot more goes into getting good bullets that will not lead your bore than just alloy. As long as you have a sufficient alloy like wheel weights, so long as they're lubed and sized properly, no load data out there in a manual will be able to push the bullets beyond their limit. Gas checked even makes them better. Alloy is only a small part of it.
  17. mikld

    mikld G&G Regular

    True. The only lead usable on batteries is the terminals, not worth the trouble.

    Check out Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook for a lot of very good info on lead, alloying lead, casting, loading and shooting lead bullets.
  18. DaTeacha

    DaTeacha Things are not what they seem. Forum Contributor

    (JW voice) - Well, thanks there, Pilgrim. You're right. Pure lead isn't so much of problem as the lead (IV) oxide, like you said. Most everyone I talk with about this topic just calls the dust "lead vapors", probably because you really don't notice it with your eyes. Whatever form it's in, lead in the body is not good -- especially when it enters rudely through the skin in large pieces like I'm gonna demonstrate on the next varmint that tries to rustle one of my cattle.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  19. WyrTwister

    WyrTwister G&G Newbie

    Stay away from car battery lead . More problems and hazards than it it worth .

    God bless