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Thread: Cheap Lead?

  1. #1
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Cheap Lead?

    Thought that I might pose the question here. I need some shot for my shooting sled and about had a heart attack when I saw it somewhere for about $55.00. It's been a long time since I have reloaded but does anyone have any ideas about how to obtain it a little cheaper than that?

  2. #2
    Member northstar's Avatar
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    Good luck with that. I read somewhere that the cost of raw lead has gone from a recent $450 per ton to $3200 per ton, or thereabouts. I noticed the other day in Sportman's Warehouse that my favorite Sierra Matchkings are almost twice the price of what they were not too long ago. Maybe lead is now considered a precious metal?

  3. #3

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    Scrap lead is the solution, whether from an indoor range, recyling center or salvage yard. Kind of a "wherever you find it" kind of deal. The down side is dealing with unknown alloys from uncertain sources. If you're tracking bullet hardness, buying a hardness tester is an important step. If you need pure lead for muzzleloaders, it can be a lot harder to find than alloys.

    For contrast to the prices cited so far, the last lead I bought came from an indoor range at 10 cents a pound for it by the 5-gallon bucket. But it included jackets and range dust. The range was delighted to get rid of it. After melting, skimming and fluxing, I'm guessing I lost about 10% of the total weight, bringing the lead cost up to 11 cents a pound or so, plus the cost of electricity for melting it all.

    The average jacketed bullet is built with a 3% antimony alloy, which is too hard for muzzleloaders but too soft for shooting as is from a centerfire. You usually need to get some tin into it, too. Plumbers 50/50 solder is a good source of tin. Tin/antimony in higher concentrations is most commonly available in linotype metal from the printing industry. Linotype is pretty good on its own for hardcast, but immensely useful for alloying with range lead to bump up its hardness.

    The front of the Lyman cast bullet manual has a table listing the approximate alloy of lead from all sorts of sources. The manual is useful for lots more, but when you're using scrap it's especially useful.

  4. #4
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    EBAY is about the best source for the lowest price. What makes EBAY work on dense items such as lead as they can be shipped using a USPS Flat Rate Priority box for $8.95 anywhere in the USA as long as the box does not weigh more than 70 pounds.
    Locally, I can not even find "free" wheel weights and my son works in a tire shop!
    Tennessee

  5. #5

    Default lead values

    Lead had actually gone up to almost $4,000.00 a ton. It seems to have stabilized at about $3,500.00. Great Northern guns has tried to hold prices on bagged shot and it is around $50.00 for 25 lbs. now. Copper has gone as high as $7,000.00 a ton. They have clean alloyed 2 lb. ingots for $2.00 an ingot or $1.00 a pound. It can be considered wheel weight in hardness.

  6. #6
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    Default lead?

    If you are really just using the shot as weight for your rest how about using sand bags as a lower cost alternative? That's what I've done. The wife was nice enough to sew up some old cut off pant legs for me that I filled with clean sand. Not as heavy as lead of course but they are effective at weighing down my shooting rest.

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