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Thread: How Abrasive is Lead Oxide?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master fourarmed's Avatar
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    How Abrasive is Lead Oxide?

    I have some cast, gas-checked bullets that somehow reacted with the box they were stored in, and are covered with a pretty heavy layer of oxide. Steel wool will clean it off, but it takes some elbow grease. What do you know about lead oxide? Is it hard enough to abrade a bore?

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    Boolit Master

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    It is kind of toxic isn't it? Easy to ingest/absorb? I would melt them down and try to get rid of the oxide in the dross .

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    I don't know but I doubt it is much of a deal.

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    I'm A Honcho! montana_charlie's Avatar
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    It started out as lead. Then, it oxidized.
    That means lead molecules on the surface of the bullet absorbed oxygen atoms from the atmosphere.

    So, now you have a new substance that is not metal. It is lead oxide ... a mixture of lead and oxygen.

    Do you see anything in that mixture that should make it harder?

    CM
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    How about cleaning it with a vibrating polisher?

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    How a bout just shoot them, ain't gonna hurt nothing but the target.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master XWrench3's Avatar
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    How a bout just shoot them, ain't gonna hurt nothing but the target.
    i dont know about that. if the wind is coming at your face, there is a pretty good likelyhood that you will breath in some of that oxide. and that sounds to me like a great way to injest lead. not to mention what that heavy metal residue might do inside your lungs over the next years. i would melt them down, and start over. no sense in taking chances with your health.
    Silver and Gold are for rich men. Lead and Brass is MY silver and gold! And when push comes to shove, one of my silver and gold pieces will be more valuable than a big pile of actual silver and gold.

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    I wouldn't concern myself much. Just fire with the wind at your back.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    You'll expose yourself to more lead by cleaning them. Dunk them in a little alox to encapsulate the lead if you're worried about it. I don't believe lead oxide is abrasive like the oxides of some other metals (aluminum for example) so I wouldn't worry about that.

    The sooner you shoot them the sooner you can stop worrying about it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master zuke's Avatar
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    You'll get a bigger dose of lead from the primer's,which you are exposed to EVERY time you use a lead based primer.
    Tumbling is also the largest cause of lead exposure.

  11. #11
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    montana_charlie Do you know that aluminum oxide is a common abrasive.

    I have shot many oxidized rounds never had a problem sometimes I wipe them with a oily rag. There is a thread on this same subject on 22 rim fire ammo consensus was shoot them.
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Just shoot them. Lead oxide is fairly innocuous stuff. In fact, the oxide that starts to form on lead almost immediately when introduced into the environment (ie: bullets into a back stop and lead shot on the ground at a trap range) is the barrier which prevents said lead from leaching into said environment. That's where the tree-huggers start down the slippery slope of false science when they start talking about the dangers of lead in the environment. I got that from an EPA biologist who responded to complaints from concerned citizen regarding a shot-fall area outside of a trap range. If left undisturbed it's harmless. (But I suspect y'all knew that already.)

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by montana_charlie View Post
    It started out as lead. Then, it oxidized.
    That means lead molecules on the surface of the bullet absorbed oxygen atoms from the atmosphere.

    So, now you have a new substance that is not metal. It is lead oxide ... a mixture of lead and oxygen.

    Do you see anything in that mixture that should make it harder?

    CM
    Aluminum starts out pretty soft but Aluminum Oxide is used for sandpaper and cutting tools??
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  14. #14
    I'm A Honcho! montana_charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefly1957 View Post
    montana_charlie Do you know that aluminum oxide is a common abrasive.
    Yes, I know that. Do you know that aluminum oxide is a ceramic?

    "Aluminum Oxide, Al2O3
    Alumina is the most cost effective and widely used material in the family of engineering ceramics. The raw materials from which this high performance technical grade ceramic is made are readily available and reasonably priced, resulting in good value for the cost in fabricated alumina shapes. With an excellent combination of properties and an attractive price, it is no surprise that fine grain technical grade alumina has a very wide range of applications.

    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    Aluminum starts out pretty soft but Aluminum Oxide is used for sandpaper and cutting tools??
    You have it backward. Aluminum oxide is used to MAKE aluminum.

    "Aluminium oxide is an amphoteric oxide with the chemical formula Al2O3. It is commonly referred to as alumina, or corundum in its crystalline form, as well as many other names, reflecting its widespread occurrence in nature and industry. Its most significant use is in the production of aluminium metal, although it is also used as an abrasive due to its hardness and as a refractory material due to its high melting point."

    Would either of you care to explain what alumninum oxide has to do with a discussion about lead oxide?
    Last edited by montana_charlie; 04-26-2011 at 04:51 PM.
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Lead oxide is a great high temperature lubricant that used to be used in the manufacture of white lead paste lube for dead centers when turning shafts in a lathe years ago before live centers were cheaper and readily available as they are today.
    Lead oxide was used to make white paint also.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by montana_charlie View Post
    It started out as lead. Then, it oxidized.
    That means lead molecules on the surface of the bullet absorbed oxygen atoms from the atmosphere.

    So, now you have a new substance that is not metal. It is lead oxide ... a mixture of lead and oxygen.

    Do you see anything in that mixture that should make it harder?

    CM
    Yes you brought it up and tungsten carbide is another ceramic to add to the mix. When aluminum is refined it is not only oxides but other salts of aluminum also.
    Last edited by firefly1957; 04-26-2011 at 05:49 PM. Reason: spelling
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

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