Going rate for lead?
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:46 AM   #1
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Default Going rate for lead?

Ive been trying to buy all the items i need to start reloading and ive found a lee melting pot on craigslist for $45 and he said it will come with seven pounds of lead also. My question is what is the going price of lead? Ive looked online and it shows scrap price is about $.50 per pound. But im looking to buy lead not scrap price. And what are some items to look for to cast my own lead? I know wheel weights and i will be looking into that soon but what are some other items to keep an eye out for?

Thank you.

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Old 09-23-2012, 10:16 AM   #2
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The only bullets that are PURE lead are bullets for a muzzleloading rifle- shallow rifling, VERY slow rate of twist. Just about all other bullets will need tin and antimony to increase that harness of the bullet.

Common sources- OLDER wheelweights (new weights are non-lead) old style plumbing solder (new stuff is lead free) and linotype metal (used to be used to hot cast blocks of print for printing newspapers)

DO spend some time reading before you start casting- here is a start that links to more resources- http://www.zjstech.net/gunstuff/casting.html

DO wash your hands GOOD after handling lead.

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Old 09-23-2012, 02:22 PM   #3
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I get wheel weights, but the best source is shooting ranges. Many allow members to take used bullet cores for their own use. The 'going rate' can be anything between $1-2.50. More as time passes. They will try to charge you anything they can on eBay. Don't believe anyone that says they have "certified" Lyman#2 or "hard Cast" alloy, if its been remelted and cast in their own ingots. Excellent, if expensive source for high quality bullet alloys has always been "Rotometals". thats what the 'pros' use. You can order many types of bullet casting alloys from them. I have been using them for years.

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Old 09-23-2012, 03:30 PM   #4
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+1 on Rotometals. Wheel weights are available at many recycling yards for (currently) about $.40/lb. A buddy found Linotype at a garage sale. He got 300# for $20. THAT is a screaming deal.

Here is my analysis of lead sources.

Wheel weights are the best base material for most casting. Straight wheel weights have about 3-4% Antimony. When dropped directly from the mold to a bucket of water they are very adequate for bullets up to 1000 fps or so.

WW benefits from a bit of tin. Tin will harden the bullet a bit, but it really helps the alloy "flow". 2-3% tin will make a much prettier bullet. It will be properly filled out and shiny. 50-50 bar solder from plumbers is an excellent source of tin.

Virgin lead can be added to "stretch" your supplies of other sources. At scrap yards, pure lead is about 50% more cost, but it can be had free. Find a roofer and befriend him. The pipe jackets from reroof jobs are pure lead. Offer something in trade.

Linotype is expensive, but contains high amounts of tin and antimony. For high velocity loads (rifles and a few handguns) I use up to 50-50 WW-Lino.

Do not try to reclaim the lead from wet cell batteries. The acid is dangerous and the lead will contain unacceptable amounts of calcium that will mess up the mix.

The newer wheel weights are a zinc alloy and not good for bullets. The good thing is they are easy to identify - they are the ones floating on top of the molten metal as they have a much higher melting point.

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Old 09-23-2012, 04:00 PM   #5
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You can buy plumbers "ingot" lead in 5# bricks or 25# attached bricks for around $2.30 per pound. The price can change daily like gold or silver.

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Old 10-11-2012, 03:04 AM   #6
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Ok i bought the melting pot and it came with 25pounds of lead. Found a few post on craigslist for lead just waiting for them to email me back.

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Old 10-11-2012, 05:40 AM   #7
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http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8750&dir=278|885

I purchase some of this hope to get to cast some of it soon, shipping was
fast via USPS flat rate box. Note that is a delivered price.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:40 AM   #8
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There are no standards on wheel weights. They can have a low BHN or a high BHN. The BHN levels for bullets is based on breech pressures that you intend to run. A BHN of 7 to 8 which may be a 5 because most hardness tester can not go below a BHN of 7 or 8. Pure lead can be pushed to 1,000 fps a WW can be pushed to 1,500 fps without a problem. The leading problem is based on shooters not measuring the bores of their barrels. You must get a correct bore dimension and add .001 minimum to your finished bullet diameter. Leading occurs when gas passes around a too small cast bullet. This is called gas cutting small droplets of hot lead are allowed to adhere to the bore. The hardness of the bullet will seldom correct this problem. Gas checks are not needed for proper sized bullets at 40,000 CUPs or velocity ranges of 1,500 fps. A rifle bullet of the proper size gas checked with a BHN of 24 in a long necked case can be run at 38,000 plus for 2,200 fps with no leading. A soft lube like SPG on the low ends a hard lube like Gambeini Red for the higher pressures.

Shallow groove or micro rifled barrels need an oversized bullet to fill the throat. When cast wad cutters for handguns a soft lead is always used. The Ranch Dog molds are made for this problem.There are number of alloys that is used for casting. WW,Range lead, Linotype, Sterotype, Monotype, tin, Foundry lead. The only way to know what you are buying is to test it with a Hardness Tester before you buy it.

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Old 10-11-2012, 01:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitestalker View Post
There are no standards on wheel weights. They can have a low BHN or a high BHN. The BHN levels for bullets is based on breech pressures that you intend to run. A BHN of 7 to 8 which may be a 5 because most hardness tester can not go below a BHN of 7 or 8. Pure lead can be pushed to 1,000 fps a WW can be pushed to 1,500 fps without a problem. The leading problem is based on shooters not measuring the bores of their barrels. You must get a correct bore dimension and add .001 minimum to your finished bullet diameter. Leading occurs when gas passes around a too small cast bullet. This is called gas cutting small droplets of hot lead are allowed to adhere to the bore. The hardness of the bullet will seldom correct this problem. Gas checks are not needed for proper sized bullets at 40,000 CUPs or velocity ranges of 1,500 fps. A rifle bullet of the proper size gas checked with a BHN of 24 in a long necked case can be run at 38,000 plus for 2,200 fps with no leading. A soft lube like SPG on the low ends a hard lube like Gambeini Red for the higher pressures.

Shallow groove or micro rifled barrels need an oversized bullet to fill the throat. When cast wad cutters for handguns a soft lead is always used. The Ranch Dog molds are made for this problem.There are number of alloys that is used for casting. WW,Range lead, Linotype, Sterotype, Monotype, tin, Foundry lead. The only way to know what you are buying is to test it with a Hardness Tester before you buy it.
What is the best method for accurately determining bore size, and I am
assuming you are going groove to groove?
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:20 PM   #10
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Hi Shade,I use soft lead round balls cast for M/L rifles. I lube the bore and start it at the muzzle driving it thru the bore. You then measure the bore in the grooves and groove depth. If you are loading for a revolver make sure the bullet will drop thru the chamber mouth as well. If you are loading for a Micro-groove the large throat needs a bullet cast .002+ over in most cases. The new CNC machined molds with a number #2 alloy can throw a bullet so close you may not need to size. I shoot hundreds of .45 Colt 255 grs RNFPs . I cast these and tumble lube with Lee Alox and load them in a Dillion and shoot. When casting for a high pressure handguns such as a .22 Remington Jet which runs 40,000 Cups at 1,800 fps you must research your alloys BHN run the bullets thru a correct sizer and use a hard lube.

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