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CardiacColt68 10-02-2013 10:45 PM

Help with lead and metals question
OK, my Dad has been reloading for about 25 years. He gets his lead from tire weights at a guy he knows gas station. Well, that worked for all these years, but now many of the lead tire weights are actually made from some zinc. Does anyone know an easy way to identify what is lead and what is zinc? Is there some simple test? I would think the zinc is harder thus making melting more difficult. But how outside of cutting them open and guessing based on the looks of the metal he doesn't know how to differentiate them. Anybody have a clue?

MisterMcCool 10-02-2013 11:05 PM

Rick1967 10-02-2013 11:12 PM

The zink ones will float to the top of your melting pot. You can pick them out with a pair of pliers. That is what I used to do. But now I can't find wheel weights anymore. I buy a alloy from a recycling center. It is cheap.

JonM 10-03-2013 12:48 AM

right now i order my lead from rotometals. there is so little lead in most wheel weights its pretty hard to scavange. i tried it locally here got 7 buckets of weights sorted em all out ended up with 6 and a half buckets of zinc

CardiacColt68 10-03-2013 01:45 AM

Thanks guys. My Dad has a decent stash of mostly older weights so he has quite a bit of good stuff. But there is some zinc in there. He has another buddy with the same problem. And they are both, let's say experienced guys, that don't really use the internet to learn new things. I don't reload yet so I am no help.

nitestalker 10-03-2013 02:56 AM

There are no purely Zink wheel weights. WWs may contain some Zink. Zink will not float on lead. Lead melts at 620 degrees and Zink melts at 690 degrees. You will need a flow temperature above 700 degrees. The new non-lead WWs are steel and will float to the surface of lead. Some casters think Zink can cause improper flow and result in poorly filled molds. :)

Rick1967 10-03-2013 03:17 AM

I was skimming what I thought were zink wheel weights off the top of my molten lead 6 years ago. Were they using steel back then?

nitestalker 10-03-2013 04:07 AM

I think so. I have some that are at least that old. I was given 2,000 lbs. of range lead as well as Linotype, Mono-type. Stereotype and foundry lead. A bullet company shut down and they gave me the lead to move it. That was many years ago. There are some steel WWs that float up from time to time. :)

nitestalker 10-03-2013 04:16 AM

Rick1967, The WW reference sheets shows steel wheel weights were first supplied by Azuma Metals in 1998. :)

CardiacColt68 10-03-2013 01:05 PM

Ok, here's another ignorant question. IF lead became unaffordable or unavailable is there another material that can be used for reloading? I am thinking I should start learning about reloading, and prepare to buy books and equipment since I enjoy my 45 ACPs so much, but between politics and the EPA insanity wonder what the long term outlook is.

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