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Thread: Grandson Stocking Car Batteries For Casting Muzzleloader Bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Grandson Stocking Car Batteries For Casting Muzzleloader Bullets

    Our grandson that is staying with us while he attends a local college, has mentioned casting bullets for his muzzleloader from car battery plates. And over the weekend he went to visit his parents, and came back with a bunch of car batteries. We have recommended that he not try that as it is dangerous, especially after reading all the recommendations on this forum. So, now we are at the point of trying to protect ourselves from this endeavor. What should we do?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've seen recyclers giving between $6-10/battery. Scrap them....and buy known allow with the proceeds. If all he's shooting is ML....how much lead could he need?
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Battery plates are very dangerous to cast and work with. And there may be some undesired materials in the lead now. If a scrap yard is buying them sell them and buy known lead to cast with. Battery terminals and posts washed down can be used if smelted down outside first. Get him a copy of lymans cast bullet handbook or the lyman black powder handbook both have good sections on bullet casting and why not to use batteries. Also what lead to use and for what. There are several issues with batteries disposal of the acid is one, getting them open and cleaned out is another.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Another reason aside from the safety and alloy issues listed above is simply the poor yield.

    You can only get about 10% of the weight out of a typical battery.
    For example, a 30 lb battery will only give you 3 lbs of lead.

    If they will give $5 or $6 for that battery at the scrap yard, then you can buy lead for $1/lb and get twice as much.
    Ronald Reagan once said that the most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".
    Download my alloy calculator here: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=105952

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    There isn't as much actual lead in a car battery as people think the plates are thin and spacers between along with everything else in there. I did some work in a shop for valenite ( a battery company in Toledo) and when ask for new lead to test the mould and specs they brought enough for making one casting at a time. A lot of work risk for very little yield

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Have your Grandson read this, then scrap the batteries, yourself if you have to.

    From Linstrum in 2008: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-Are-Dangerous

    "Why Car Batteries Are Dangerous

    The warnings about smelting automotive batteries to recover the lead they contain needs a bit of explanation. Doing so really does have the potential to harm or even kill you and here is why. Maintenance free/low maintenance batteries use calcium metal-doped lead to catalyze the hydrogen gas generated from water electrolysis back into water. That is what makes the batteries low maintenance or maintenance free, you don't need to add water to the cells as often like in the old days. When the battery lead is melted down there is enough sulfuric acid from residual electrolyte trapped in the lead dioxide and lead framework of the battery plates to react with the small amount of calcium metal in the lead alloy. Normally when sulfuric acid (or water) gets in contact with calcium metal it undergoes a rather vigorous reaction that generates hydrogen gas. In and of itself this is no big deal, hydrogen is a simple non-toxic asphyxiant that is also flammable. But the lead alloy used in batteries also contains a bit of antimony and even arsenic to help harden and strengthen the lead to withstand the vibration and general knocking-about batteries have to withstand in order to survive normal automotive use. When hydrogen comes in contact with arsenic and antimony, or compounds of these two elements, the hydrogen reacts to form ammonia analogues called arsine and stibine, AsH3 and SbH3. Both of these are heavy gases and both have the similar characteristic odors of rotting fish. In World War One the Germans experimented with these, along with phosphine, another rotting-fish-smelling gaseous ammonia analogue with formula PH3, as war gases. As such they were highly effective since they are deadly in amounts too small to easily detect. In even smaller amounts that are too small to immediately kill they cause rather painful lung damage that often eventually leads to emphysema and lung cancer.
    So, leave smelting car batteries or using lead smelted from them to professional recyclers. Many folks including myself have successfully smelted batteries and lived to tell about it, but the risk is just too great to mess with the stuff."

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    lwknight's Avatar
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    Aside from the hazards, man what a lot of hard , nasty work for so little return and then what do you do with the bones?
    I agree with others about just selling them and buying some lead.
    Sent from my PC with a keyboard and camera on it with internet too.
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  8. #8
    Trust me, tell him not to do this, one thing for sure, he'll ruin a lot of his clothes, don't ask how i know. And, he won't get that much lead, sell them, then buy good quality pure lead for the ML.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    DITTO=DITTO-DITTO sell the batteries to a battery recycler. Place here gives $10.00 for a dead car battery. $10.00 will buy$15.00 worth of raw lead.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I'm with the crowd. It's a fool's errand with such high risk for such low reward. It's almost Spring now, tell him if he's willing to work that hard for lead, get a weekend season job in the garden department at Lowes or Home Depot and after working 3-4 weekends he'll can buy way more lead and none of the headaches from getting it. Just my .02
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I get my lead from the scrap yards. I would seriously have a talk with him. Then take him down to the scrap yard and turn them in and then get some lead from the scrap dealer that wont kill you and potentially the neighborhood. Then you scrap it with him and show him the ropes. I get my lead from the scrap dealer and haggling with bossy momma san is half the fun.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Death rarely scares people, I’d tell him that it causes irreversible impotence and does something to the lower intestine so you have to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of your life.

    Then tell him that the yield is only 4-5 lbs per battery and he can easily get that by selling them. Heck, encourage him to collect more specifically to sell them as he’ll like that it builds on what he has already done.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Or suggest he finds a new place to do his projects

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Have him read this thread.

    If he still wants to do it, ask him why. Do not treat him like a snowflake....treat him like a man.

    BTW...your house....your rules....if it gets to that.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  15. #15
    Boolit Man Rottweiler's Avatar
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    Sell the batteries for at the scrap yard and use the money to buy already cleaned pure lead.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    My reclaimed lead came from Sanders Lead in Troy, Alabama. I received it in 60 lb. ingots. Those people know what they are doing. Look them up and see if they still sell to the general public. Don't fool with car batteries.... Worse than death is permanent disfigurement or other injuries.... Wanna live with a respirator on your face for the rest of your life?
    Tom
    μολὼν λαβέ

  17. #17
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    I wouldn't open & melt battery plates, too much work & too much hazard. Just say no, if that doesn't work, give him a Darwin award.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  18. #18
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    In a word NO.... in two words No NO .. as many have said above sell the batteries to a scrap yard and by know good safe lead
    faster easier and better all the way around
    I carry a Nuke50 because cleaning up the mess is Silly !!

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=nuke50&...7ADE&FORM=QBLH

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    ^^^^What all those guys said, unless he is a chemist.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Maybe he wants a Darwin award?
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

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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