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Thread: Is lead getting less available suddenly?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Is lead getting less available suddenly?

    Since I am relatively new to casting I have been looking to build up my lead stockpile. I made a nice score with a few hundred pounds from an estate sale for peanuts, but otherwise I have been stuck buying ingots online. In the past few weeks I have noticed a sudden price jump of 15% or so. I was paying $64 plus shipping for as much as you could stuff into a medium flat rate box, now the going rate is $76 or better. There was a pricing anomaly between ebay and gunbroker (gunbroker significantly cheaper), now they are priced even. Is there something in the water? Maybe it is casting season? Is it getting harder for the casual caster to buy lead locally (no more lead wheelweights, etc.)?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Beagle333's Avatar
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    I have not notice a supply disruption, or price increase among the suppliers that I am used to seeing post their lead.
    Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master BNE's Avatar
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    I have not had to buy any for a while, so I can't answer specifically. I was worried and constantly looking at first. After I had more than I knew I could shoot in a year, I changed my mind set a little. I am ALWAYS looking for lead. Once you let enough people know you want lead, and you don't hound them too much, you will likely start getting a steady supply. I took buckets to privately owned tire shops with my name and number on them asking them to call me when they were full. I would ask when I took stuff to the scrap yard. I also handed one guy a couple of boxes of bullets. He holds stuff for me now. I found a couple of guys that reloaded and I brought them some of my cast bullets. Some shops called me and I got buckets of wheel weights, some never have. I view it as a constant search until I have what I think is a lifetime supply.

    Be patient, be nice, you'll find it.
    I'm a Happy Clinger.

  4. #4
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    Around here lead is not as easy to get as it was at one time, In the past getting WWs was easy just stop by the tire shop and ask they were happy to give it to you so it was out of there way. Then it went to selling you the WWs some wanted crazy money others were not so bad. Now around here most buckets of WWs are not lead steal zinc and other things. Then there is mining the berms at firing ranges some were happy for me to mine it since I had the machinery to rebuild the berms (back hoe tractors and such) Then I was told they would sell me the lead I mined out of the berms yea right I told them when they wanted their berms redone let me know I give them a price. So I went to the scrap yard and worked a deal to buy my lead at a fair price no labor by smelting it just drive up drop a load of scrap metal take that money and pick up the lead. Last time I was there they told me I could not get the pure lead anymore they had someone buying all of it for a better price. So now I keep what lead I have on hand which should last me a lifetime and when I can pick up some I do but no longer look for it.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  5. #5
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    The rub for me is that I am not interested in smelting. Living in the burbs I don't think I could get away with it, and at the right price I would rather buy someone else's ingots.

  6. #6
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    There is no shortage of lead. There won't be a shortage of lead for the foreseeable future. You can call up a foundry right now and have many tons delivered to your house. Wheel weights and such are no indication of the supply. They're a small percentage of market. Ammo makers are typically placing their orders for next year around this time. This drives the spot price up some. But like I said, there is no shortage.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Free and cheap scrap lead has gradually been getting harder to find. Wheel weights are hard to find in some areas. But this has not happened suddenly. Try pricing lead in the swapping and selling section here and look at the vender/sponsors. Their prices beat EBay by a wide margin. Watch the classifides in your local paper and craigslist, maybe even post a want to buy add. Ask your family, friends and co-workers to keep an eye out.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Yes, bottom fishing craigslist is a good way to go. That is how I got the estate sale score.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Pb is one of our basic industrial metals used in tons of stuff......even though silly tree-huggers want to ban it!

    Check local scrap yards for clean(er) lead. It may not be in ingots but I find sheets of x-ray room lead that are bright and shiny and go right into the casting pot when I cut them into 2" wide strips. And re-melting cleaner lead (not dirty old WW's) can be done "in the burns" with no smoke or smell. ( I live there too) I gave up on WW's 3 years ago due to zinkers.....AND stinkers! I get all my casting metals ( lead, tin, antimony alloys) from my local scrap yards. TONS of it!!!!!

    Fear not, oh ye of little faith! There will always be lead.

    Banger

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Local scrap yard usually has several tons of sheet lead at any given time. $1.50 lb unless they know you and or you buy volume you can get @ $1.00 per lb

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    I've been monitoring Craigslist for several years. A few months back I scored 400# of WW and 400# of pure lead. All 800# were in the Lyman/Saco 1# ingots. The seller ended up being someone I knew quite well that wanted to downsize his stash. Paid $0.50/#.

  12. #12
    Boolit Man

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    It's cold outside! Less casual shooting more indoor hobbies. It casting and reloading season.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Strange, here I thought it seemed to be getting heavier!
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. George Washington

  14. #14
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Spot price of lead did jump a while back and is still up above $1.14 (see the graph at top of page that tracks it) but it is also somewhat regional. Some parts of the country still have a fair amount of lead WW's so prices are lower, or scrap yards are more inclined to sell to the public which helps influence price and availability. But scrap yards are also the most volatile and likely to jump when the spot price goes up. And also tend to be slow about coming down when it comes to sales to the public.

    I recently was told $1.25 a pound because the price was up, following weekend it was $1, a few days later back up, so I didn't buy, just checked back until the price dropped back closer to $1 then made a purchase. Scrap yards will get a buyer that suddenly wants all the lead they have on hand, my guess is to fill a big wholesale order. Have seen that cascade across multiple scrap yards. Hit three between a Friday and Saturday and each one has a nearly empty bin and reports that a buyer bought all they had a couple of days ago.

    I would buy here for clean ingots, WW's, berm mined, or even printers lead such as linotype of foundry type can be had at reasonable prices. Or buy local where building up relationships and networking will pay the biggest dividends in terms of price and quantity. Heck scrounge what you can locally, store it until you can smelt it. Won't spoil and hundreds of pounds doesn't take up much space, heck 1,000 pounds isn't all that big of a pile. Someone here has a P/U truck tool box next to the garage full of lead, lockable and holds a lot. I stacked 3/4 full 5 gallon buckets 4 high which is about 300# of WW's per stack. Eventually most of them became ingots, but I got them even when I knew I wasn't going to smelt them soon and would have to store them. Make hay when the sun shines.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    Got 3 5 gallon buckets of ww yesterday, mostly all lead. I don't check scrap yards because they normally don't sell or want more than what I get it for.

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    ...............You can contact plumbing companies (go in person, don't just call) and ask them if you could buy any scrap lead they came up with. Lots of older homes had shower pans made of lead, plus drain/sewer pipes can be lead in older homes. In addition corner gutters and flashing on roofs used to be of lead sheet. Most of this lead is however, very soft.

    ..............Buckshot
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    For plumbers or roofers that lead is probably going to the scrap yard for beer money. Call the local yards to find out what they pay for plain sheet lead or WW's so you can offer a touch over that price. As little as 5 cents a pound better price from you is enough to make you the guy that gets the call to stop by the job site for 100# of lead, or leaves the tire store with the bucket of WW's. You save money and they get a good deal.

    Saying thanks with some donuts dropped off in the morning, a pizza at lunch, or some cold beverage on a hot day will go a long way toward building a relationship with sources that make them happy to hook you up. Recall one guy would take some venison jerky to the scrap yard workers. People like being appreciated.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Going in person is the key when scrounging for lead. Calling scrap yards is ok, but you will have more success with tire stores and contractors if you visit in person. Like Roger says, if you ever make a contact, find out something that they like and bribe them. Be it Pizza, Beer, Donuts, a few bullets, whatever. Do something for them so they remember you. If its a tire store consider doing your business with them.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    scrap and cheap lead are tough to find now vs 10 years ago
    networking is the only way
    I have roofers and plumbers in my network
    I trade Zinc I have for lead- guy makes cannon balls and cast figures from zinc
    I have another guy who drops off about 70-100lbs of wheel weights a year. I send him all the big bore pistol brass I find each year.
    At the hop I work even as busy as we get with tires it still takes about a year to get a full bucket of ww and if I get anything more than 35% lead im doing well
    98% of my lead is free, well no cash I actually worked for has been spent. A actual cash amount I have spent on lead is less than $100. Bought some known linotype and paid for a few buckets over the years. I take any lead I can get.

  20. #20
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    My supplier (OG KELLY) is closing down.
    Too much red tape.
    Glad I am sitting on 4500 #s still

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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