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Thread: Cheapest Source of Tin

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Cheapest Source of Tin

    I fellow I've been shooting with is a Machinist. A while back he leaned I'm a Boolit Maker. Turns out he machines a lot of lead. A match made in heaven. LOL. Well almost, wish he also machined a lot of tin, cause he can dump a ton of certified 6% antimony lead alloy on me, but I've no tin.

    Roto Metals has tin for 16 bucks and change,per pound, plus tax if I buy 30 pounds.

    Anyone know of a cheaper source of tin? A seller on e bay has pewter ingots at a good price, but I'm leary of what else I might get mixed in on that deal.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Somebody on here has a 10lb lot for 85+shipping.

    I've found it a bit cheaper but that's about the going rate.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Pewter is almost pure tin. Look at all the flee markets, craigs list, ebay garage sales etc for beat up pewter plates, cups anything. Sometimes you can get it cheap. Remember you only need 1 to 2 % so it shouldn't take much. Just be careful of candle stick holders they will have cement or the like in the base.

  4. #4
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    I buy cheap radiator tin scrap from my local scrap yard. It's about 50-50 tin-lead so it's all good. It has a lot of dirt in it but I don't care since I throw it in the pot when blending alloys. I have to flux well anyway so it's doesn't matter. If this is not available I buy pewter and treat it as pure tin. I've not noticed any difference

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  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Keep your eyes open for rolls of solder at yard sales and flee markets. Sometimes you see partial rolls pretty cheap.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    You can do like I did and 'bite the bullet' pun intended, and buy 10 or 15 lbs of tin from roto-metals. This is enough to alloy a half ton or more of good boolit material.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    All the good sources covered. Pewter or solder is often for sale in the S&S section of the forum. Folks will trade for your lead. You can scrounge for it. And it really doesn't take a lot of pewter to sweeten a whole lot of lead. Or a whole lot of solder for that matter.

    Starting out on the hunt for pewter I would read the sticky on pewter pictures and hallmarks. There is "fake" pewter out there, pewtex plates are common example. The candle sticks full of "cement" will have "weighted" stamped on them. And I only wish that stuff was cement. It is more like yak dung and horse hoof glue. Whatever you do get it out before you melt. Stinks, sticks, and doesn't readily clean out of the pot. I don't even buy them any more when I see them at salvation army. The pewter around the glue is about as thick as an aluminum pop can. Nothing there when the filler was removed and it is melted down.

    Partial rolls of solder can be had for change at garage sales, and sometimes at estate sales. If there is a scrap yard around that will sell to the public they throw solder in with the lead. Lead at a buck isn't an especially great deal (about average) but solder for the same price is a big win. Also look for "Zinn" it is Dutch or German for pewter. Picked up some heavy zinn plates at estate sale for cheap where they had the pewter priced like it was gold filled and owned by all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Instead of being from WEB the K-Mart of pewter companies. Apparently they didn't know zinn (tin) is pewter.

    If you line nothing else up just post a WTB (wanted to buy) tin/pewter/solder in the swapping and selling forum and you will have several offers in short order.

    Last thing. 2/6/92 is hardball alloy. So if you add 2% pewter to your 6% Sb lead you will have what is considered commercial bullet alloy running around 16 BHN. Cut 50/50 with plain lead it would still make a decent casting alloy. About like WW's and 1% tin.
    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.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm staying away from pewter, solely because I don't know what's in someone's home cast ingot. No interest in hunting for it either. Haven't been to a flea market nor garage sale in decades.

    Hadn't considered trades at all, but it seems that the shipping costs and hassles would negate most of the benefits and I would want to know what I'm getting, don't want mystery ingots.

    I've not bought tin. Been mixing alloy of range scrap and foundry type forever. I can go get tin at Roto Metals for under $17#. I was hoping someone here knew where to source tin, bar solder or rolls of solder for something less than Roto Metals.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Interesting...l have some tin ingots and they wouldn't melt, maybe they're not tin? Pewter varies from pure lead to mostly tin and melts nicely. Thoughts?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I normally can pick up pewter at the local thrift stores for 1 to 3 dollars a pound when I power shop.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Luber View Post
    Interesting...l have some tin ingots and they wouldn't melt, maybe they're not tin? Pewter varies from pure lead to mostly tin and melts nicely. Thoughts?

    When I first started collecting pewter “that wasn’t marked pewter” Im sure I probably mixed some zinc picture frames in And who knows what else. I melted it all with a blow torch. With that hot of a flame everything melts. I went to add my first batch of these “Pewter” ignots in with my lead. I had a nice little hard chunks that would not melt that I fished. If it won’t melt I’m sure it’s not tin as it has a lower melting point than lead.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Was in Ace Hardware the other day, so I checked solder prices. Varied from $6.95 a pound up to $22.95. Most of them did not give content, was very curious about the $6.95 one but absolutely no indication of what it was.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Man SODAPOPMG's Avatar
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    If you know anyone who works at a place where they assemble electronics
    Ask about the scrap solder, believe it or not solder has a shelf life and they have to throw away any that has expired
    Some of these places are actually paying to dispose of it as hazardous waste
    other places just sell it as metal scrap
    Most of the solder they use is 63/37
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  14. #14
    6% antimony in your lead scrap ?? /// Whoa Dude/// That is some good stuff. I hope we are close enough to do some trading. I have Tin in pewter form..Check your in box. we can talk. mike in ct

  15. #15
    Boolit Master brassrat's Avatar
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    Im in Ct too with, no problems, trade ideas

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I wouldn’t worry to much about dishonest pewter seller’s on this forum. The straight shooter’s far outnumber the deadbeats in the swapping and selling section. I have had no bad dealings here on this site. If a man advertises that his ingots are made from Hallmark Pewter, then they most likely are.

    The alloy will almost certainly be well over 90% tin with antimony and copper making up the difference. Only very old pewter has lead in it. I’ve collected around 40 pounds in the last year, almost none was made before the 1950’s, which means that it is the modern lead-free food grade alloy. I treat it as pure tin. The antimony and copper in the pewter, is good for your alloy, and will be well diluted into your bullet alloy.

    You asked for a cheap source. At $7 to $9 dollars a pound pewter from the members here is a great deal.

    If you are still worried once your yellow ingots show up. Then send a sample to forum member BNE for analysis.

    JM

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM7.7x58 View Post
    ...You asked for a cheap source. At $7 to $9 dollars a pound pewter from the members here is a great deal.

    If you are still worried once your yellow ingots show up. Then send a sample to forum member BNE for analysis.

    JM
    My sentiments also (actually, it is not uncommon to see folks selling casting alloys in the S&S that already have content analysis).

    I know that, as a carryover from professional habits, I had wanted very exact content in my alloys when I first started out. I've come to understand that most of the veteran casters here have cast hundreds of thousands of highly satisfactory bullets without the benefit of certified alloys or XRF analysis. Now I'm more in the camp that a reproducible alloy rather than an exact composition alloy more suits my needs, and to that end I try to have large lots of component metals so the ingredients don't vary, only how the proportions I mix. So what if my pewter isn't pure tin? So long as it's the same source, added to the other source metals in the same proportions as I used before, I'll end up with the same hardness and boolit weight as I did the first time around.

    Certified pure tin metal will cost you. Scrounged pewter is one of the least costly ways of having casting tin, and buying what others have scrounged is just a bit more than that, if the hunt doesn't appeal to you. Buying here reduces your risk of not getting what you expected, since the casting community is just that, not simply an anonymous marketplace like eBay or craigslist.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pardini View Post
    I'm staying away from pewter, solely because I don't know what's in someone's home cast ingot. No interest in hunting for it either. Haven't been to a flea market nor garage sale in decades.

    Hadn't considered trades at all, but it seems that the shipping costs and hassles would negate most of the benefits and I would want to know what I'm getting, don't want mystery ingots.

    I've not bought tin. Been mixing alloy of range scrap and foundry type forever. I can go get tin at Roto Metals for under $17#. I was hoping someone here knew where to source tin, bar solder or rolls of solder for something less than Roto Metals.
    Congratulations on finding a source of lead!

    It sounds like you don't have the time or inclination to scrounge for tin so about your only options are to shop around for it. I would start with looking at RotoMetals and maybe sign up for their notifications on sales or specials. The same thing with ZipMetals. You might also call around to all of the hardware and building material places in your area and price lead free solder. Some of the big box stores like Lowes offer discounts to LE or Military that you might be able to take advantage of. You might also call around to any wholesale plumbing supply places. Ebay also has lots of new solder for sale. Search "bar solder". I've seen new bars of 100% tin for sale.

    Good Luck in your search. If you find a really good deal you might post about it to help the rest of us.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    I have sold pewter, it has an advantage in that the value of the metal makes shipping less of a factor. Most has been 88 - 96 percent tin. I only sell hallmarked stuff.

    I will melt down other things such as block tin (tubing) or organ pipes, even picture frames if they melt at the right temperature and flow like a tin alloy but those batches of no hallmark I have tested and more often use for my own casting. I frequently have hallmark stuff tested to find out the true value but not as religiously.

    Old hardware stores will sometimes have bars of solder, sometimes those can be deal. Have seen 60/40 for at least a few bucks cheaper than Rotometals on occasion I think it depends if they were priced at a time when tin or lead were price low or high.

    Like a lot of things you want the warranty you pay more. Rotometals is "warranted" but you pay $17 for nearly the same metal that people here sell for $7 - $9 no warranty but unlikely to be a scam. Most of selling lead or tin here eat our own dog food. What you are buying is what the seller is using themselves. you are buying some of their supply that is beyond their needs..

    +1 on big batches for consistency. Having member BNE be able to test one sample for alloy content of a single large batch is a plus. Harbor freight cast iron Dutch oven holds about 110# at a time. Having 110 pounds of consistent alloy will make casting and reloading easier and more effective. Small difference in Sn or Sb between 110# batches are unlikely to make much difference. Tin especially. It doesn't change the hardness much and any change in the way an alloy casts is something you have to get used to. 1/2 percent of tin really won't make or break the effectiveness of the alloy.
    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.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
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    Pardini - just curious..........what in the heck is your buddy machining out of lead? Lead is stringy and soft and hard to work with - not a metal of choice I would ever "machine"! Is he using Wood's Metal (or other low melting point alloys) to cast/hold pieces in place to machine? The aerospace industry does a lot of that, especially for turbine blades. But they do not actually machine the castable material, even though it is much harder than pure Pb.

    Just curious.

    banger

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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