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Thread: Lead prices and availability during the last panic?

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    Boolit Man brewer12345's Avatar
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    Lead prices and availability during the last panic?

    One of the reasons I started casting was to insulate myself from supply issues during the idiotic panics that seem to crop up periodically. I know bullets of every stripe (cast, jacketed and plated) became scarce and expensive during the last panic. What happened to lead prices and availability? Since I was not casting I was not paying attention and my view is that times are good as far as laying in a supply against future foolishness.

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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I have never noticed any issues with Lead and Lead alloy availability.
    with that said, Lead is a commodity and is (and always has been) subject to price rise and fall...but for our hobby purposes, those price changes are negligible.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Price is subject to market fluctuations. Availability is never an issue. It's a raw material w/ a large supply available.

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    Boolit Man brewer12345's Avatar
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    So the issue then is more powder and primers (and to a lesser extent brass).

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    Boolit Master


    mold maker's Avatar
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    Lead has in the past been available everywhere, but plastics and health scares have fixed that. Wheel weights, plumbing, roofing scrap etc are fast becoming a thing we read about, but can't find. If ya find some even at an exorbitant price, it may sound like a bargain soon.
    Now is the last decade that readily available cheap lead will exist. It's a matter of getting it now or wish you had.
    Scrap yards are no longer selling to the public. Ranges are being regulated in how they may dispose of it.
    When offered any lead that is usable, take it.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  6. #6
    Boolit Man brewer12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mold maker View Post
    Lead has in the past been available everywhere, but plastics and health scares have fixed that. Wheel weights, plumbing, roofing scrap etc are fast becoming a thing we read about, but can't find. If ya find some even at an exorbitant price, it may sound like a bargain soon.
    Now is the last decade that readily available cheap lead will exist. It's a matter of getting it now or wish you had.
    Scrap yards are no longer selling to the public. Ranges are being regulated in how they may dispose of it.
    When offered any lead that is usable, take it.
    I tend to agree. That said, I am now sitting on close to 500 pounds of the stuff and wondering if a dollar a pound shipped is worth the trouble.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Is that dollar a pound scrap lead or in clean ingots. There is a big difference in the value. I would hope that you are following the prices in the buy and sell list and comparing that with what you pay at the local scrap yards. From similar discussions, it seems that some areas are finding soft lead or nearly pure lead scrap is very hard to find, yet COWW and other harder blends are easy to find. This is where trades of alloy seem to be very beneficial.

    500 pounds of soft lead scrap sounds like a lot, unless you have been at it for a while, then it is a good start.

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    Lead prices and availability during the last panic?

    There is no shortage of lead and it's availability isn't going away anytime soon. What's slowly going away is free/cheap lead. But this doesn't mean lead is going away. Anyone can order foundry direct. But you need to buy half a ton minimum in most cases. I realize casters are a frugal bunch. The last batch I bought from a foundry was $1.32 a pound shipped. I don't consider that a lot for a certified alloy that contained tin and antimony.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man brewer12345's Avatar
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    Almost all of what I have accumulated is COWW ingots, with about 10% pure. What I am looking at is pure soft for a buck a pound in ingots. Based on what I see in the buy and sell list that is a good price, but I have been casting straight wheel weights for pistol rounds. All I see myself using pure for is alloying hunting bullets, which I doubt I will be casting huge volumes of. Maybe a muzzleloader eventually, but I do not own one at present.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Our metal recyclers near the big city always seemed to have enough lead to keep both my business and my boolit making hobby going. Over the last 20 years, I have paid as little as 30 cents a pound for dirty roofing lead or as much as $1 per pound for clean, beautiful, pure isotope lead in large sheets. The most recent price for me was 80 cents per pound for isotope lead sheeting a few weeks ago.

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    as I have aged I find I'm more willing to pay a bit more and bypass the smelting process.

    I weigh the additional cost of the clean lead vs. the energy needed to smelt the raw materials. Don't get me wrong--if I run across a great deal I'll take it but these days the folks that sell the lead ready-to-go need to feed their families, too
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    Boolit Master waco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    So the issue then is more powder and primers (and to a lesser extent brass).
    Brewer nailed it.......
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:7

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    this is one of the places I sometimes wonder about. I have had ten pounds of foundry pure Tin in one pound bars for sale here for a month at $16 per pound. Shipping included if you bought all ten pounds.
    That is $3 a pound less than Roto Metals, and no response. Same for several pounds of 63/37% tin/lead alloy in foundry bars for $10 per pound.

    Rich

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Pb is and always has been VERY plentiful. I get it for a buck a pound soft or hard, alloy or Sn. It is used in so many industrial applications, we will never run out of it. It is one of those perfect recycle materials in industry. You may be in a bind if you live somewhere your local scrap yards will not sell to the general public. Mine do.

    Back a few years ago (Obummer daze) there was a severe shortage of powder and primers. That has pretty much gone away. I can get as many primers and just about any powder I want now at very reasonable prices off the shelf. Or by mail.

    Brass has never been a problem.......new or used. There are always clowns at the ranges that just leave their brass lay on the ground. Not after I have been there! Same with 50 count ammo boxes. They just throw them in the bins there. I take them apart at the glued seam, fold them inside out (printing on the inside) and re-glue with a hot melt gun and have a perfect BLANK ammo box ready for labeling, along with the plastic carrier inside!

    Banger

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    Boolit Master waco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bangerjim View Post
    Pb is and always has been VERY plentiful. I get it for a buck a pound soft or hard, alloy or Sn. It is used in so many industrial applications, we will never run out of it. It is one of those perfect recycle materials in industry. You may be in a bind if you live somewhere your local scrap yards will not sell to the general public. Mine do.

    Back a few years ago (Obummer daze) there was a severe shortage of powder and primers. That has pretty much gone away. I can get as many primers and just about any powder I want now at very reasonable prices off the shelf. Or by mail.

    Brass has never been a problem.......new or used. There are always clowns at the ranges that just leave their brass lay on the ground. Not after I have been there! Same with 50 count ammo boxes. They just throw them in the bins there. I take them apart at the glued seam, fold them inside out (printing on the inside) and re-glue with a hot melt gun and have a perfect BLANK ammo box ready for labeling, along with the plastic carrier inside!

    Banger
    Very resourceful Jim. Good idea on the ammo boxes!
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
    Proverbs 1:7

  16. #16
    I would hope most of us here have stocked accordingly. That is the reason I started casting. I never wanted to run out of components. The next big panic, most of us should be fine. If you're not there already, start working towards that. There are fantastic deals right now on loaded ammo. And brass, primers and powder are easy to find at a good price too. Things are soooo much different than they were 3-4 years ago when all you could find was black powder and 50 BMG powder and no primers.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I am sitting on 150 lbs of COWW in ingots, probably about the same in Range scrap.

    I have mostly been running a roughly 50/50 blend with 1% tin added.
    I have a couple of sources for tin, some 60% lead/40% tin I found here at a resonable price, some Lino in ingots also for reasonable price, and some 6 pounds of modern pewter my wife found for a total of 12$.

    When she called about the pewter she found at the second hand store I checked the spot price for tin.

    10.60$ per pound.

    2 weeks later it is lower.


    http://www.infomine.com/investment/m...es/tin/1-week/

    I'd say at 16$ a pound it would appear that you are overpriced.
    I'm sure much depends on where you look, who you take for a source.
    I know I am sitting on what I have and watching hard for pewter.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master PBaholic's Avatar
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    I never used to worry about lead, until now. The scrapyard that I was buying 200#'s at a time all of a sudden say no lead sales. They say this came from corporate.

    Luckily I have almost 1,000 pounds stacked up in the shed.

    I'm gonna have to start looking for a new source.....

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    Boolit Master wistlepig1's Avatar
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    I went to the tire shop for tires for my old Ford, I was treated well so I got a box of donuts for the Guys $4.00. The next thing I know I had 4 1/2 5 G bucket of WW's. bee nice to tire guys----- never know!!!! And a very sore back!

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    I have a source for pure soft lead for a buck a pound. Have to drive 30 miles one way to get it though. But I haven't needed to get any in over a year because I always am the last guy at the range when no one else is there and I go dig up 5 to 10 lbs before I leave. So I always come home with more lead than I use. (Just fyi) I separate the lead between hard and soft so I always have some at approximately 8 bhn and some about 11-12 bhn. But folks are correct. The green police are clamping down on scrap lead. It is hard to find old flashing, pipes etc. But lead will always be available. It is used in too many things. The new source is Xray shielding and containers for radioactive isotopes.
    AKA hans.pcguy

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check