Friday, November 16, 2012

A Look at Lead


There are a few problematic facts of life that seem to plague an American Conservative these days all of which spring from the mind of Liberal idiots.

Redistribution is good, any vice they can make money on that doesn't effect their enjoyment will be taxed to the hilt. Land should belong to everyone. Guns should only be in the hands of the government and lead is a poison that should never be used.

There are more but you get the point.

When I was younger, next to the gases that make up breathable air and the elements that create water, lead was the most easily obtained element in the world. Gas stations and auto places would hand a kid buckets of used lead wheel weights with a smile on their faces just knowing you would get the stuff out of their shops. You could walk into any hardware store and pick up nice shiny bricks of the stuff for a few cents and even afford to buy small ingots of tin here and there.

Well those days are gone.

If you still have a source of free lead you are a lucky person. If you have some ideas for places where it can still be scavenged I would love to hear them because short of finding some old bricks or blocks stashed in workshops here and there I haven't scavenged a bit of lead in years. Half the time shops even in the lead belt won't use them for wheel weights anymore and if they do I believe there are restrictions to how they dispose of used weights now. At least I haven't been able to find a shop willing to give me any in years.

The last little local hardware store I purchased lead cakes from for 20 years finally stopped carrying them last Summer. I have been told there is a machine shop locally I can get it from but I haven't checked out that avenue yet.

Other ways of scavenging lead have also proven so questionable I don't even bother any more. These days you really can't be sure if something is lead or has been cut with other heavy metals to the point of being useless for hobby casting. Zinc is a terrible metal to get into your smelted casting pot it will burn some stuff up but it was a common metal to use to cut the lead content of some items. You should also be very careful to never get zinc into your cast bullets.

Solder stopped using lead many years ago as well. I typically still try and buy some solder that contains tin and antimony to add into my smelting blend. Tin in amounts of around 2% will greatly increase the ability of lead to form a shape. Pure lead on it's own will not cast solid edges at all but tends to round off. Antimony will also increase lead hardness and it's ability to mold into sharp detail but will also increase it's brittleness if too much is used. Tin and antimony actually perform these traits in different ways I won't get into here.

If you can find them wheel weights have just about the perfect blend to create a decent hardness for cast bullets, especially for handguns. Other scavenged lead like Linotype produces an even harder mixture but I don't know if you can even find linotype anymore. I have almost completely resorted to buying pure lead ingots and adding in purchased solder to smelt my mixtures these days and as I mentioned I am now out of suppliers for pure lead as well.

Lead batteries can produce some scavenged lead in a grid down situation. The acid must be washed off before smelting and they are a real pain to take apart but current regulations make it hard to find them as well these days. In a collapse situation my guess is that worn out batteries would be your best bet to find good amounts of lead however.

Window weights were another good scavenge target for lead that is dying off quickly these days.

Anyone else have any good ideas for lead scavenging? Like I said I haven't found enough lead through scavenging in years so any ideas or experience in this area would be appreciated and be good knowledge to have.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


18 comments:

  1. The first thought off the top of my head was a junk yard for the tire weights. Just a thought.

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    1. I have tried the ones around me with limited success. I think they are scrapping the ones they get as well.

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  2. Yep - junkyards and metal recyclers are both great places to try. Also, try out small service stations, might not get much since they only do an occasional business that gets lead, but they may just have a bucket sitting around that's not worth the hassle to do anything with and may appreciate you emptying it.

    I just got some Linotype and 63/37 solder in muffin ingots from eBay for a pretty reasonable price - that with recycled range lead makes for a pretty cheap mix, for new you can try Rotometal. (I just started casting myself)

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    1. I was hoping to avoid online ordering but that maybe my only option these days.

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  3. I was also going to suggest the recyclers and suggest offering those guys more for the batteries that they can get otherwise. you'll need lots of baking soda and of course a set of googles for eye protection.

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    1. Matt - Batteries are such a PAIN to get apart though. After that they are not too bad.

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  4. Keep an eye on Craigslist too. My father has a huge stash of lead. I hope, but not anytime soon, it passes on to me.

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    1. Stephen - I have had such lousy luck with anything from craigslist. Just never seem to either get an answer or contact the sellers early enough. Perhaps I need to put more effort into it. Like I mentioned alot of the lead I have is inherited atm.

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  5. We have several pounds of some solid lead pipe. Not sure what it was for. It was dug up when they had to dig deep to put in the new sewer line.

    It's the thickness of a broom handle.

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    1. Anne - I think lead pipe contained a large amount of zinc at one time but I am not an expert. Might bear some looking into.

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  6. Nuclear reactor cores. Next to the fuel, the lead probably seems downright healthy. I understand the Japanese are having some issues with theres. Maybe they will sell you some of the their no longer needed shielding. :)

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    1. Well there is a reactor nearby. I hear they are pretty touchy about people attempting to remove any metal from their compound though :)

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  7. Check out plumbing supply houses.

    China
    III

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    1. China - Ya I thought about that. I am hoping the machine shop tip works but I think there is a plumbing supply store nearby that machine shop as well. Time for some leg work I guess.

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  8. Just did a quick search on Google, it showed Ace Hardware stores selling 5 lb ingots for 13.34 each. How is that price? I remember our localy owned hardware store selling 25 lb ingots in the old days.

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  9. A surprising number of wheel weights may be found along roadsides, especially at busy intersections, off-ramps, or near curbs and speed bumps.
    I regularly pick up 1-2 pounds in an hour's walk.Personal best is about 6 pounds in 30 minutes near an interstate ramp.
    I recover bullets from my private range for reuse/recasting. I also have occasional access to an unattended shooting range, and pick up spent bullets off the berm until I get tired.

    III N TN

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