Plumbing lead for reloading?

Plumbing lead for reloading?

This is a discussion on Plumbing lead for reloading? within the Reference & "How To" Forum forums, part of the Related Topics category; i am getting ready to start reloading and i am also a plumber, we get alot of old cast iron drain lines that we have ...

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Thread: Plumbing lead for reloading?

  1. #1
    Member Array lonewolf486's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Plumbing lead for reloading?

    i am getting ready to start reloading and i am also a plumber, we get alot of old cast iron drain lines that we have torn out and my question is can thae lead from theses lines be use for casting and reloading safely thanks in advance for any information on the subject.


  2. #2
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    Yep.

    Some of the lead has a lot of impuritys in it. You just have to skim the crud off the top. Its mostly pure lead, so it'll need to be alloyed to make harder bullets, otherwise they'll be pretty soft.
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    Plumbers lead is perfect for blackpowder arms since it is dead soft but as mentioned it should be alloyed other metals to make it harder for centerfire rounds, tin and antimony are the two most common.

    Here is a website with some good info regarding lead bullets. Cast Bullets For Beginner And Expert - Joe Brennan
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    Check the price at the recycle place. Was told other day that lead was bringing a premium. Sell it and buy some alloy to cast. You can be sure about what you are dealing with; it may cost a bit more than you get paid for your stuff but might be money well spent to be sure what you are dealing with. I'm pretty careful when dealing with old plumbing and the "mechanicals" in old houses because a lot of dangerous stuff was used in the past. Some of that old lead had other stuff added for flow and other issues by the "old guys" with their "tricks of the trade" that was really bad for you.... if you use it...make sure you use ventilation or you could end up "mad as a hatter".

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    About the only lead I wont use is lead from car battery's. Ive used plumbing lead for many years. I mix it with tin,[ from lead free solder ] to harden it up or add reclaimed shot from a trap range. It also mixes well with wheel weight material [ WWM ] , at 50/50 it makes pretty good bullets. The wiping lead [ closet bends and lead pipe] is already 50/50, but sheet lead from flashing's, and poured joints are soft. I use the hardest lead I can make for auto pistol rounds and performance loads in my revolvers. And the softer lead in plinking loads that don't go over 1000 fps. When people find out that you have good access to lead you will become popular. Roofers are another good source of lead but mostly the soft stuff. if you find that you have too much soft lead there are those that will trade hard lead for soft. The guys that shoot black powder are always looking for the soft stuff. Cast Boolits.com is a site that deals with bullet casting, and can help you out. Good luck DR

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    Quote Originally Posted by latentcarry View Post
    Some of that old lead had other stuff added for flow and other issues by the "old guys" with their "tricks of the trade" that was really bad for you.... if you use it...make sure you use ventilation or you could end up "mad as a hatter".
    Actually, it was mercury that caused the hatters to go mad, not lead. But that doesn't make it any less of a danger when using.
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    Member Array lonewolf486's Avatar
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    great idea it usually brings about .50 a pound around here but i do scrap my copper and brass so that should offset the cost, it never dawned onme to sell some to get the material i need thanks

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    Member Array lonewolf486's Avatar
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    very true but i do know when they first started using cast iron pipe for drainlines some plumbers would put mercury in it to make it flow better insuring a good seal

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Some lead does have really nasty stuff in it, Wheel weights have Arsenic in it to harden the lead, and then there is the stuff on the lead . Paint, oil, grease, oakum, rubber etc all give off toxic fumes while smelting the lead into a clean usable product. But just do it outside and use a fan to push the fumes away from you while you are working. I have to get blood tests where I work and after nearly 50 years of casting I still have very low blood lead. Lower that someone who lives near a freeway but has no other risk factors. DR

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    Hey these bullets smell funny.

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    I buy "pure" alloy locally...(roofing flash lead ok but lots of oxide in the roll) ..cant get wheel wieghts in
    washington.. I then add 8% silver/tin bearing solder to harden it up...85-10-5...with a couple of oz per 20lb of bird shot...flux every pour....and wear a carbon "all hazard" PPE half mask...drop into ice water....have fun

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    Plumbers lead is good, but not by itself. You need to harden it as other posters have said. If you do wood working, the saw dust makes good flux to remove the impurities of lead. Beeswax, or paraffin also works.

    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf486 View Post
    i am getting ready to start reloading and i am also a plumber, we get alot of old cast iron drain lines that we have torn out and my question is can thae lead from theses lines be use for casting and reloading safely thanks in advance for any information on the subject.

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    Most of the tire stores will give you wheel weights. Mix about 1lb of lead and 7lbs of wheel weights and you are good to go. Some folks say 1lb 50/50 solder to 5 lbs of lead. Solder costs too much.

    Just melt it down outside and stay up wind.
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    Be aware, and you likely know this, of the fumes when smelting this down. Drain cleaner and other chemicals tend to bond to the lead and can mess up you lungs

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    Good fresh air intake and good ventilation is a worthwhile feature when melting Lead.
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