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Thread: molding bullets for a smokepole

  1. #1

    Default molding bullets for a smokepole

    I just picked up a Maxi-Ball bullet mold on Ebay for my .50 Hawken flintlock. In looking at lead ingots on Ebay I see many are cast from old wheel weights. Sometimes the description will say the impurities have been skimmed off, sometimes it is not specified. My question: is melted down wheel weight lead soft enough to be used for cast muzzleloader bullets? I understand a person wants to use pure, soft lead for muzzleloader bullets so I'm wondering if that's what you usually get from wheel weights or if that lead tends to be hardened by other metals being added. Thanks for any help!


  2. #2


    Long and short answer, no. "Skimming off the impurities" sounds like a sales pitch, because you can't skim off much of the antimony or hardly any of the tin that causes problems. Wheelweights are dandy for cast revolver bullets and such, but for cast muzzleloader conical bullets they're bad news. Some guys use wheelweights for casting round balls for muzzleloaders, resulting in a ball that doesn't expand and penetrates deeper, though sometimes it's challenging to get them the shoot accurately.

    For conical bullets like your maxi, and especially for the Lee REAL bullets, you need pure lead. Anyone that tells you they have turned wheelweights into pure lead might as well also claim they've figured out how to turn lead into gold. Aint gonna happen.

  3. #3


    Thanks BrownBear, that's why I was checking just to make sure. Last thing I wanted to do was buy 20 pounds of wheelweight lead only to find I couldn't use it.

  4. #4
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Anchorage Alaska


    I don't know about for the longrifle smokepole. But my future father in law made me a bullet mold for my .45 revolver and I used that mold and wheelweights to cast up a pile of bullets and they work fine and are just as accurate as my SW .357.

    Bees wax is used to raise the "impurities", but I think that it only gets out the dirt and grime - though the left over "impurities" harden pretty stiff.

    The bullet mold he made has two rings for lube in it and it is almost a round ball - pretty short but weighs in heavier than a round ball. Much quicker to load as it is a boat tail - comes in around 185 grains with wheelweight lead.

    He shoots cartridge blackpowder and mixes tin into the rounds at I think he said 10% - but he starts with real lead.

    He can give you more accurate info

  5. #5

    Default Lead

    MAXI-Ball bullets are designed to be (Rifle Engraved At Loading) hench the "REAL" bullet designation on Lyman molds. Harder lead doesn't want to engrave and will be a bear to push down the tube. It also won't be as accurate as a pure soft lead projectile.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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