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Thread: Lead from Dive Weights & Fishing Lead Lines

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    Default Lead from Dive Weights & Fishing Lead Lines

    Have any of you ever used recycled lead from old dive weights or fishing lead lines? I've seen a couple of folks selling ingots cast from these at fairly attractive prices. My concern is whether there is any residual salt left behind in the lead that could proove to be real corrosive in a muzzleloader bore.

    Also, aren't these usually made from a lead alloy vs. pure lead?


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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I only use pure lead or as close as I can get to it when making Muzzleloader ammo.
    Dive weights could be any form of lead or lead alloy especially if they were made by a private individual from scrap.
    I have been considering buying a lead hardness tester myself. That would help a lot in determining what kind of lead you have.
    I bought some lead from a scrapyard last year that was pure lead pipe. Good stuff and they only charged me $1 a pound and then when it was weighed out it was 120 pounds and they called it 100 pounds. I did get 5 or 6 pounds of dross out of it but that was expected.
    I am not sure if salt could penetrate the lead but you should always flux your lead really good anyway. I use beeswax for fluxing but any old wax will do. Make sure the wax ignites and stir it as it burns to remove as much dross as possible then skim it off.
    "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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    I'm not above using wheel weight lead alloy for my smoothbores but only use pure lead for rifles. Yep, I just use plain old parafin candle stubs found in thrift stores for fluxing and my hardness tester consists of my thumbnail. Hardness tester sounds like a great idea. My biggest concern is more how effective fluxing would be at removing any salt. Roundballs never remain long in my bore anyway but I don't know what the effect of a combination of salt and burning black powder would have on all my bores.

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    I use them as often as I can get them. Never known lead to absorb salt, so I don't sweat such sources. If there's white lead oxide and it's bothering you, a rinse with vinegar before melting should do the trick. But it's going to be gone after melting, fluxing and skimming in any case.

    I'm pretty particular about my lead sources in terms of alloy though. If it's pure enough to scratch with my thumbnail I keep it segregated for uses requiring pure lead. I have conicals on that list and round balls, though I'll also use harder lead for round balls for practice shooting.

    Pure lead is getting harder to find at reasonable prices, so best to hang onto it for special uses if you have range lead or wheelweights for general casting.

    Good score I'd say, and no salt issues.

  5. #5

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    I am curious can you melt down the hornady round balls? I picked some up and after doing some culling was wondering if I couldnt recast them. I havent gone on the prowl for any lead, any tips? I dont need a load. I have a 12lb trolling cannon ball that should get me going. Still need to get some molds yet.

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    Yup, you can melt the Hornady balls, and Speer too. They're about as pure lead as any other source. I'm a lead scround, so I find little bits to bunches in different places. Dunno where you are, but if there's a junk yard or recycler anywhere near, they're likely to have some for sale.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Yes like brownbear said lots of places to find some scrap lead.
    Last year I bought some from a scrap yard for $1 a pound and it was mostly old pipe lead. Pipe lead is usually pure lead and good stuff.
    I asked for 100 pounds and they weighed out what they had and it was 120 pounds and they called it 100. There were also a few old fishing sinkers and what not included and I did get a some dross off of it so lost a little bit.
    Lead is getting harder to find than it used to be though and it is at the point where it is hard to get for free anymore.
    "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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    Yes, it is getting harder to find and more expensive too. Used to be able to find lead film sheathing from dental x-rays but dentists are all switching over to digital. Lead isn't used much for plumbing or roof flashing any more. Even lead alloy wheel weights are getting harder to find and tire shops will not give old used ones away like they used to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muskeg_Stomper View Post
    Yes, it is getting harder to find and more expensive too. Used to be able to find lead film sheathing from dental x-rays but dentists are all switching over to digital. Lead isn't used much for plumbing or roof flashing any more. Even lead alloy wheel weights are getting harder to find and tire shops will not give old used ones away like they used to.
    One thing I've done that helps stretch my supply of pure lead. I got a bunch of range lead, which of course has some alloy in it.

    It fills the molds even easier than pure lead, but results in slightly larger diameter balls. By going to a little thinner patch, that's not an issue. I still like some expansion in round balls on most game, but the alloy is dandy for practice. If looking for more penetration on moose or elks, I'd likely use the alloy lead rather than pure. The alloys shoot just the same as pure in practice, and in my case the range lead is easy to come by. If you have an indoor range anywhere nearby, they're probably dying to get rid of the lead recovered from their backstop.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    One thing I've done that helps stretch my supply of pure lead. I got a bunch of range lead, which of course has some alloy in it.

    It fills the molds even easier than pure lead, but results in slightly larger diameter balls. By going to a little thinner patch, that's not an issue. I still like some expansion in round balls on most game, but the alloy is dandy for practice. If looking for more penetration on moose or elks, I'd likely use the alloy lead rather than pure. The alloys shoot just the same as pure in practice, and in my case the range lead is easy to come by. If you have an indoor range anywhere nearby, they're probably dying to get rid of the lead recovered from their backstop.
    I wish I could find one to give the lead away I believe most indoor ranges selll their lead now too.
    I have seen where indoor ranges melted their scrap into Halibut weights and were selling them on craigslist.I believe it was to benefit youth shoothing sports or something like that.
    "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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    The recycler on Palmer wasilla hwy had a pallet of lead about a week ago... Corner of 49th and Palmer wasilla hwy...

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