Ballisti-CastRotoMetals2Inline FabricationGraf & Sons
StainLess Steel MediaMidSouth Shooters SupplyTitan ReloadingLee Precision
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Low Alpha Lead--ever heard of it?

  1. #1
    Vendor Sponsor


    lathesmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
    1,359

    Low Alpha Lead--ever heard of it?

    I was watching a program on the Discovery Channel, and they talked about finding a shipwreck containing a whole load of "low alpha lead". It is apparently MUCH more valuable than the wheelweight variety--$30-40/lb and up. It is used for semi-conductor and other modern electronics manufacture, where low-level background radiation has to be kept to a minimum in order not to disrupt the chip's function. Apparently, the stuff can be manufactured, but also lead that is >100 years old or so can be a possible candidate for low alpha levels. Any of you guys ever heard of or know much about this stuff? Maybe lead CAN be turned into gold....
    lathesmith

  2. #2
    Moderator


    runfiverun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    soda springs Id.
    Posts
    21,249
    maybe the depleted uranium has depleted enough.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    638
    Quote Originally Posted by lathesmith View Post
    I was watching a program on the Discovery Channel, and they talked about finding a shipwreck containing a whole load of "low alpha lead". It is apparently MUCH more valuable than the wheelweight variety--$30-40/lb and up. It is used for semi-conductor and other modern electronics manufacture, where low-level background radiation has to be kept to a minimum in order not to disrupt the chip's function. Apparently, the stuff can be manufactured, but also lead that is >100 years old or so can be a possible candidate for low alpha levels. Any of you guys ever heard of or know much about this stuff? Maybe lead CAN be turned into gold....
    lathesmith

    Sure have. I have about 1000 pounds of it and it casts wonderful bullets. I'm not kidding, I bought about a ton of it about 20 years ago to shield a gamma ray counter from background radiation emissions. Doesn't do you much good to shield your detector with material that in of itself is emitting radiation.

    John

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Kalifornia
    Posts
    92
    I would like to know where I can get $30-$40 a lb for this kind of lead.
    I've still got some ingots left from when a friend brought me scraps from a dental office drywall job. Don't have a lot, but enough so I might be able to afford shooting an autoloader!
    Thank you
    3rptr

  5. #5
    Kinda like pre-45 steel, it has value because it was smelted prior to the beginning of nuclear weapon testing, thus is free from radioactive trace elements related to atmospheric testing.

    The German dreadnought fleet scuttled at Scapa Flow was prized as a source of alloy steels due to this reason. S/F....Ken M

  6. #6
    Vendor Sponsor


    lathesmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Springfield, Missouri
    Posts
    1,359
    Apparently, Intel, IBM, and the like are the main buyers of this stuff. I haven't done any real research on this, because I don't have any. If I had some, I sure would advise checking into it, as it might be worth a lot more than you think. I'd hate to think the stuff I just used to cast $60 worth of bullets was worth $600 because it was low-alpha lead!
    lathesmith

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    imashooter2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    6,225
    I would wager that without certs, your low alpha lead is "scrap" and worth spot price.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    600

    Spot on!

    There are laboratory and research applications where shielding material with as little nuclear background radiation as can be obtained is needed.
    Essentially, any metal products made before 1945 (steel, lead) are good candidates, as they aren't contaminated (yet) with fission products from atmospheric atomic testing and other sources.
    The rub comes in that the metals must also be processed in uncontaminated containers, as modern metals contain nuclear trace elements and will contaminate the older material.
    I don't know how much the older metal goes for, but it could be substantial... If I had a good stockpile of it, I would sell it for the maximum amount of money and use that to buy alloy metal.

    Happy Shootin'! -Tom


    Quote Originally Posted by EchoSixMike View Post
    Kinda like pre-45 steel, it has value because it was smelted prior to the beginning of nuclear weapon testing, thus is free from radioactive trace elements related to atmospheric testing.

    The German dreadnought fleet scuttled at Scapa Flow was prized as a source of alloy steels due to this reason. S/F....Ken M

  9. #9
    I saw the same program and was wondering if anyone had learned more about where to sell or get lead tested to see if it is indeed low alpha. I have approx. 700 lbs of it that was salvaged from a ship built during WWII. The sister to the scaped ship is still afloat with several thousands pounds of the same on board.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Merritt Island, Fl. & Potter County, Pa.
    Posts
    51

    low alpha lead?

    I have a dentist friend that saves me the thin lead shields on dental xray films. Is this the low alpha lead we are talking about here? I have about 30 lbs. of it so far but haven't tried casting it yet.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    imashooter2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    6,225
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Capsize View Post
    I have a dentist friend that saves me the thin lead shields on dental xray films. Is this the low alpha lead we are talking about here? I have about 30 lbs. of it so far but haven't tried casting it yet.
    No...

  12. #12
    Vendor Sponsor


    theperfessor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Evansville Indiana
    Posts
    3,263
    I read somewhere that metal taken from the German fleet sunk at Scapa flow was used to make some of the parts used in the Moon landers. Now part of a German WWI fleet is on the Moon. Who woulda thunk it back then?
    I am now in full production of top punches for Lyman/RCBS and Saeco lubers ($8 each including shipping, two business day turnaround), and blank sizing dies for Lyman/RCBS, Saeco, Herters, and Star machines. Other products will be added as time and health permit. PM me for details.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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