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Thread: New to collecting lead and have questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    May 2014
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    Noel MO
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    New to collecting lead and have questions

    I searched my local area for lead and come up with a tire shop that has been in business for about 30 years. I asked the owner about lead WW and he said they melt and sale them for $1 a bar. I seen that they were Lyman molds and that they were over filling the molds so I figured it was a good deal and bought the 27 bars they had ready. I got them home and noticed that where the bars were actually separated it looked like the lead was pretty hard. I posted a few pics on a few Face book groups and got a wide array of answers including the dreaded zink mix. I was told you can test lead for Zink using Muriatic acid so I clipped off a few piece of the lead and put a few drops of acid on it and left it on for about 5 min and it had no reaction that I could tell.
    So please look at the pic and tell me if any thing looks out of place or if I did good and should continue buying lead from this shop. Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    avogunner's Avatar
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    The muratic acid is a sound test for zinc and if there was no reaction, I would be satisfied. Those rough breaks could be that they dumped their mold too soon and the lead had not cooled enough. If you're still concerned though, keep that batch separate from your other lead and cast a few....it's probably just fine.
    Semper Fi.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    its possible they water drop the ingots if they seem harder than you'd expect. I only have few years experience so just looks like lead bars to me, not sure if there's anything to bee seen there. but if it passes whatever test you did and if it melts at lead temps, just melt some in a pot for casting and see if its lumpy or anything associated with zinc contamination. if no just make some bullets. for low tech analysis, air cooled WW should take a tiny bit of dent with a fingernail unless very blunt. half pure mixed with WW feels pretty soft to the fingernail. pure you can write your name easily / deep dent. that's all air cooled, right now if you don't know how fast those ingots were cooled, how hard they are is pretty irrelevant.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master bosterr's Avatar
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    I would talk to the person that sold the lead to you and ask how he smelted it. If he kept the temp low and removed the ones that didn't melt, then I would say you're good to go. I doubt that someone sat there and hand sorted the trash ones out.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    $1 / lb for clip on wheel weight ingots is a good deal.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    dale2242's Avatar
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    If they were mine I would do the muriatic acid test on each ingot.
    It only takes a minute...dale

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    It looks like you have a lot of those ingots still connected so when it was suggested you test the individual ingots, I would think each "gang" of ingots would be enough. The top surface of the ingots will be a better choice if looking at ingots since that is open to the air and not in contact with any other surface. There may be some slight zinc contamination, but that is usually not going to be a great problem in casting. Gross contamination will probably show on the surface of the ingots in the form of foamy bubbles.

    I doubt that those ingots have been sufficiently cleaned during the smelting process, so you may need to do some extra fluxing of that alloy before you put it in your casting furnace. When you do that, you will be able to see the amount of dirt still in the melt as well as any other contamination before you try to cast with it. That would also be the time to ladle cast some sample bullets to check for casting ease, diameter of the casting and compare the weights with a known good alloy. Perhaps a bit more labor, but easier than cleaning a bottom pour casting pot. And if you still have questions on the alloy, pour a couple of drops of alloy on a clean surface and save them for scanning by BNE to see exactly what is in the alloy. You have plenty of time to deal with any potential problems, but so far, the major concern seems to not be an issue with what you have shown so far. Good price, Dusty

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Scrape the surface to remove the oxide layer and then try the muriatic acid test. If it's got it the reaction is immediate. Screwdriver or knife will do the trick.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I agree that thats a fair price. I would do the acid test on each one. If they are contaminated with zinc the drop of acid will bubble immediately. If no zinc, the drop will turn gray. I would also try to talk with the guys that do the work and find out about their sorting methods. The cracked edge looks like normal wheel weight alloy to me. Good find!

  10. #10
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    It may be a good deal if you want to be always testing for zinc. I am just old and set in my ways about hand sorting any weights I happen upon. The number of zinc and iron weights in every pail I got had been increasing to the point of being marginal worth while.Robert

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



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    All ready in ingots? You bet smelting wheel weights is a lot of work. No Zink tested Yep it is a buy.

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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