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Thread: Found a source for Lead w/ 6% tin

  1. #1

    Default Found a source for Lead w/ 6% tin

    I do a fair amount of bullet casting, mostly for big bore stuff. 54 and 58 conical muzzlestuffers, 44 mag, 45-70 and now 50 Alaskan boolits. Fun stuff. I've been using pure lead, from a place here in the lower 48 that specializes in medical applications of lead. Like for lining the walls with lead for a hospital X-ray department or a doctor's office. They make sheets of the stuff 1/8 inch thick, glue it to 5/8 drywall and hang it. If I want to make harder boolits I usually use the ol' wheel weights, but that is in-precise. I never know exactly what hardness my lead is. An the wheel weights are usually dirty and greasy.

    I went down there to the shop last week to buy 100 lbs of scrap lead, got to talking to the boys and found out they just finished a job for the Nuclear Industry. That resulted in several tons of scrap lead mixed with 6% tin to meet the specs of the contract. I saw a four by four foot pallet with a three foot high box filled with clean scrap material. I picked up 50 lbs just to try. The material even sounds different that pure lead, different ring tone when dropped. Pure lead is a "clunk" sound, this stuff has the slightest "ring" tone to it. Thus far it is some fine casting material. I might just go down and stock up a couple hundred pounds of this new stuff.

    Yahoo! Can you say "Hard cast"....
    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for the shadow is mine and so is the valley. Thy Glock and thy M14 comfort me in days of civil unrest and terror

  2. #2
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Did they give you a decent price?
    I just bought 110 pounds of old plumbers pipe pure lead for $1 a pound. The best part was they decided to call it 100 pounds.
    So 10 free pounds. I did have @ 4 pounds of dross after fluxing.
    Be sure and flux it real well with some beeswax or other wax or flux.
    I use mine for jigs and fishing weights.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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  3. #3

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    I paid $1.00 per pound too, must be the going scrap lead price.

    I get droos everytime I melt melt down so I do not calculate that into the equasion. Just the cost of doing business.

    I'm just stoked to have found a Nuclear Grade material that I can rely upon to have a known quantity of tin that I can work with. Once I know the percent of tin in the material I can mix pure lead in to adjust to a custom % to suit my needs.
    Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for the shadow is mine and so is the valley. Thy Glock and thy M14 comfort me in days of civil unrest and terror

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Yeah I always expect some dross as well but it was nice to get more poundage of free lead than the amount of dross in my last batch.
    I am sure your ratios for doing hardcast bullets is more important than for doing jigs and fishing weights like I make.
    Another good source for lead and lead supplies is Rotometals. More expensive than your local source but if ever you need an exact alloy they can hook you up.
    I just bought a bottom pour ladle from them and I really like it.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    For what it is worth, tin helps the lead to flow and fill the mold. I find that I only need a little over 1% for good fill.
    Do you have a source for antimony to harden it?

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    Tin by itself doesn't harden lead much. You need either antimony or arsnic to get it hard enough to call it hard cast. As was said, Tin does help the mold fill out with anything over about 1.5% being a waste. Wheel weights sometimes have enoug tin to cast well but it can be marginal so adding 1lb of the 6% to about 5 or 6lb of wheel weight and water dropping them should make a very good reasnobly hard bullet.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    something you might want to keep in mind... when your wife is out hitting the garage sales ask her to buy up all the cheap pewter items she comes accross. They are much cheaper than buying raw tin and work just as well as an aloy additive.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Might wanna run a Geiger counter across your nuclear-application lead just to make there are no residual radioactive substances on the surfaces. Low dose radiation is not good for your cells. Better to be safe than sorry.

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    Unless someone is NOT following Federal and International regulations, the lead NEVER came in contact with radioactive isotopes.It is a VERY regulated industry.If I pick up a glass vial containing radioactive material, my gloves go in the radiation contaminated disposal bin.

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