I don't know about all of you, but lead is hard to find around Utah county. For me anyway, I haven't found any place to get clean lead. My brother-in-law gave me a couple pounds of lead weights. And it was obvious that they are from tire weights. The smell of rubber tipped me off. I do not consider myself a great lead pourer, but lately since putting that "bad" lead in my melter I have trouble with my small pours. So my question is this: Anybody know where I can find some lead? If anybody has any they can let go, name your price. Thanks in advance.
New here as well lot of good talk and information being passed around in here, that's great. New to pouring lead myself so this is all very interesting to me, Pat got lead....
Hi all, new here and to lure making but not to casting lead, I've cast hundreds of 1000's of bullets over the last 28 years. As said above, the problem with wheel weights is that some are zinc which can ruin a batch of lead. The good thing is zinc weights melt at a higher temp than lead ones. Watch your pot during the melt and keep the temp around 675 - 700 degrees and skim off the weights that don't melt at that temp (the zinc ones). Skim off the dross (junk on top of the melt) and flux well, scraping the sides of the pot to bring all the dross to the top. Flux well using Marvelux, parrafin or even sawdust will work in pinch. I melt large quantities of lead in a dutch oven over a turkey fryer burner then pour the lead into muffin tins to make ingots that will fit in my melting pots. BTW, the Lee pots work really well for relatively short money. My last "smelt" we made over 1500 lbs of ingots. Stay away from battery lead (contains arsenic!). Small amounts of antimony and tin will help flow out. The reason lead alloy pours better in the large molds than the small ones has to do with mold temperature. A hot mold allows the lead to flow out more before it "freezes". A large cavity mold will quickly come up to temperature due to the volume of 700 degree lead and the resultant heat transfer. Small cavity molds will take much longer to heat up due to the smaller amount of lead being poured and less heat transfer. The large surface of the mold compared to the small size of the cavities makes the mold act as a heat sink "freezing" the lead before it flows out. Try preheating your molds. You can either set them on top of the pot to heat up or set the molds on a cheap hot plate (don't steal Momma's if you want to sleep in the big bed tonite, lol) or dip a corner of the mold in the molten lead until it heats up. Also make sure the mold is clean and then smoked (a candle works well) or use an areosol release agent. Brake cleaner or spray gun cleaner work great to clean the mold and remove all the residual oil that limits flow out. BTW lead melting pots, flux (Marvelux is the hot ticket) and mold release agent can be purchased from midwayusa.com for substantially less than most other places. This is a reloading site for shooters but the products are the same. Hope this isn't too long winded for my first post, great forum here!! Happy fishing!
Best source I have found is Ebay. Seems to go for roughly $1 a pound and the stuff I got was soft as advertized. Free is always better, but if you are going to buy try Ebay. I search under "soft lead ingot". Shipping usually runs $10 and some sellers offer free shipping.
The best source for pure lead is a plumbing suppy. Not the cheapest probably ,but they seem to always have the soft lead. Mike
I have no doubt your trouble was not an alloy composition, all things equal, castings, especially smaller castings will turn out better if you had tin and or antimony in the mix. Most alloys need a bit of fluxing and if you use salvaged wheel weights and had some impurities or even worse, a zinc weight in the mix, you would have trouble with details filling in. I didn't read about this, this is from bullet and lure casting experience involving hundreds, perhaps a couple thousands of pounds of molten lead and lead alloys. I stick with the purest and softest of lead only for muzzleloader balls, the rest get an alloy of some sort depending on application. And that pure lead melts at the highest temps and requires high mold operating temps to avoid wrinkles. Small castings using high tin/antimony alloy will have sharp detail and look like silver jewelry. I've cast a lot of linotype for this very reason into 22 caliber rifle bullets. And it melts noticably lower than pure, soft lead. Many lure casting instruction with sinker molds just plain are wrong. I suspect some liability issues are the cause.
No dispute from a technical standpoint. I also took the chemistry and physics courses that taught me the periodic table of elements and their properties. My comments were based solely upon past experience. Regardless of melting points, molecular weights and all that stuff, I have always had better luck with small jigs and/or jigs with small hook barbs when using pure lead rather than wheel weights. Have tried a couple of times to make use of some free wheel weight lead and have been disappointed in the quality of the casts on small items.
If you want to get rid of lead in the future let the fellas at "Handloads.com" know about it,you could name your own price....If fact just about any firearms forum has a reloading/bullet casting section in their forums,
You are 100% correct on the details of soft lead,hard lead an battery lead(bad news).I cast 40 grain .224 dia squirrel bullets for my .22 Hornet and with proper mold temp and at least 1 1/2 % tin by weight they come out fine with sharp details for the lube grooves (2). I have used range lead with very good results as it is rich in tin and antimony though harder than pure lead.
Some bad info about lead here. Sources? Older style wheel weights (new ones are zinc, bad news...) Spent bullets from backstop at a range, old lead pipes or sheathing. Alloyed lead like the wheel weights contains some antimony and tin, makes it fill in details better than pure soft lead, weighs a little less and melts at a lower temperature. Pure soft lead melts at a much higher temp and unless the metal and mold are up to temperature, it will produce a wrinkled casting. Do not reclaim lead from a car battery. If the dross is exposed to moisture, arsine gas is formed and it is a poison. Scrap yards sometimes have lead in various forms, metal prices are at an all time high, good luck. For more info, Google bullet casting....those guys know how to deal with lead and its various alloys.
Just don't walk in front of the targets at the wrong time. Also, some of the lead may have hardening agents in it. I wouldn't recommend it unless you knew the composition. "Contaminated" lead has a higher melting point and hardens too fast when you put it in a mold. Stuff like tire weights is okay for making large simple jig heads or weights, but will not produce small jigs with fine details...like plastic barbs, eyes, etc.
I just started getting things together to cast my own jig heads. The best place that I've found for lead is at fairs. You know the game where you try to shoot out the star, all of the shot used for it is lead. I think it's fairly pure, but we'll see.
Yeah let me know if you get some more. I am new to making my own jigs. So I am just now looking.
I had over 4500 lbs last year and offered it for free with no takers and now its gone and melted. Need to wait for the hospital we are building and I might get some more, all you have to do is take it off the plywood like Tubedude did. He may have some more left. The lead I gave him weighed 22 lbs per SF so a 4' X 8' sheet weighed 704 lbs.
I have never "fluxed" with wax, but the melting pot manufacturers suggest that you do...to reduce buildup inside the pot. I know guys that do and it does not seem to last any longer. Anyway, I would rather catch fish than hold the poor little bees in that hot lead.
I appreciate that Pat. Have you heard of putting bee's wax in the lead to drive out the impurities? I can't wait for the open water to try out more of my jigs. It seems like I make 10-30 hooks a week, but never actually use them.
PM me. I have some good stuff...for free. Know where I can get plenty more too. Don't use the tire weights except on big weights. You need soft pure lead for good molds on small jigheads.
There is lead in lots of things that are routinely discarded. Auto batteries have a nice chunk. Wear protection when dissasembling the batteries and don't smoke.
I haven't done any pouring or bought any lead for several years, but I used to get mine from scrap metal dealers. I haven't looked, but I would think that there should be some listed in the yellow pages.
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