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Thread: Vacuum packing basically pure lead balls

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    SE Mo

    Vacuum packing basically pure lead balls

    Well my relatively new game is black powder Colt revolvers in .31, .36 and .44 and casting as near as possible pure lead balls ..
    I could of course add a pinch of tin to deter the lead getting the white curse but I had an epiphany that if vacuum packing works for "stuff" that air quickly degrades would vacuum packing work for lead balls ??
    As a sidebar ..The ball ram on Colts are a very weak mechanical device that needs to swage the ball during insertion for a perfect fit in the chamber so very soft, very round lead ball very very slightly larger than the chamber mouths is a really good thing
    Also is it possible that no air availability will keep the lead once cast from "relaxing" (slightly enlarging after casting?)
    Has anyone done it??
    Does anyone see any risk of using a basic food packager if nitrile gloves are used to load the bag not touching the outsides of the bag and then another clean pair of gloves to handle and seal the bags??

    Probably a dumb idea but I had to ask!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Stopsign32v's Avatar
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    Aug 2015
    South Carolina
    I made pure lead balls probably a year or more ago and just have them in a ziploc bag. Look just as shiny as when I cast them.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Mar 2011
    Western, MO
    Unless you are going to leave them in the yard or save them for a few centuries I think you might be wasting your time.

  4. #4
    I tumble my balls in powdered graphite.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master bruce381's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    SF Bay Area
    just a plan baggie with the air squized out seems fine.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Avoiding contact with air/Oxygen or stopping air circulation is the object of the game.

    Whatever bit of air-- if any, is in the container it will give up its Oxygen to make Lead Oxide.
    Once all the Oxygen is 'used up', the oxidation, also called the tarnishing process stops.

    Also, once any metal tarnishes, (or rusts) it sort of makes its own barrier.
    The barrier isn't real effective, but as it gets thicker and thicker, as new Lead (or any other metal) Oxide
    molecules form, and the 'new' tarnish builds up slower and slower.

    The same thing can happen with metal and water.
    Water will give up its Oxygen sort of like the air does.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 08-28-2021 at 11:12 PM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    State of Denial
    If you're talking LONG term storage, can't hurt to prevent oxidation. You could prequel that step by tumble lubing them first as kind of a belt & suspenders approach.

    You could also put them out in the sun on a hot, dry day in a GI ammo can with a good seal. Close the lid when it's nice and toasty and let them cool - you'll basically be vacuum-packed at that point.


  8. #8
    Boolit Master 358429's Avatar
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    May 2021
    Northern Virginia, where the freeway does roam.
    I suppose if you powder coated them, you could save them in the yard for a couple centuries and they could still be blue.

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Oct 2011
    Atlanta, NY 14808
    A coating of graphite or floor wax would prevent air contact, a less complex solution than vacuum packing to my mind.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master OldBearHair's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    Conroe TEXAS
    Maybe even Hi Tec Old Gold. Thin after three coats and no oxidation in the air or water. None on the fingers or whatever.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Martinsburg, WV
    I would just keep them they way they are. If they start oxidizing recast them.

    Although the best bet is take a couple pounds of powder to the range and shoot 'em up as fast as possible. Nobody wants spoiled lead laying around.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master BJK's Avatar
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    Sep 2020
    central Maine
    I was thinking coating them would be the solution.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy fa38's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    If you tumble them long enough the sprue will sort of disappear. Then put them in a plastic container and put some lee liquid alox on them
    M. Stenback

  14. #14
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    waksupi's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Somers, Montana, a quaint little drinking village,with a severe hunting and fishing problem.
    If you don't want them to oxidize, mix up some dish soap and water, soak the balls and let them dry.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Sep 2009
    The Lowcountry
    A less than 1 second shot of WD40 in the bag or what ever container you are storing them in. Mix it around and they are good!
    My opinion and $2.00 will get you a cup of coffee someplace!

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

    mdi's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    So. Orygun
    Quote Originally Posted by William Yanda View Post
    A coating of graphite or floor wax would prevent air contact, a less complex solution than vacuum packing to my mind.
    My thoughts exactly. I have, not very often though, tumbled my cast bullets for a short time, not long enough to ding the bullets and a lot of media to a few bullets in corn cob media plus Turtle wax. Kept bullets tarnish free for a few years. The topic of nitrile gloves had been discussed many times here, but I rely on soap (dawn) and water after handling lead. Blood tests show low heavy metal content after 50 years of shooting, 40 years of reloading, and 30 years of casting bullets (plus casting sinkers since I was 14) low/safe...

    If you want to vaccuum seal your cast balls, go ahead. Nobody is going to insult you for doing what you want to do with your components. It's your time, your components and your money, so enjoy it!
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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Oct 2016
    So Cal
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master Jack Stanley's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    South of the north pole in the land of the falling waters
    That LEE tumble lube stuff sounds about right , but dish soap sounds cheaper .... or is it WD-40??????

    Anyway lots of good ideas .

    Buy it cheap and stack it deep , you may need it !

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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Butler, MO
    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    ...If you want to vaccuum seal your cast balls, go ahead. Nobody is going to insult you for doing what you want to do with your components. It's your time, your components and your money, so enjoy it!
    I personally think it would be a waste of time and money; but it is your time and money, not mine.

    I cast several hundred .380 balls of pure-ish lead last fall. They have sat in my unheated and uncooled wash house since. They still look shiny and new. All I did was pour them into a peanut jar and screw the lid on. Lots of air in there with the balls.


  20. #20
    The Brass Man Four-Sixty's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    I've found the best coating for my balls is KY Jelly

    It helps them slide into the bore with ease.
    Last edited by Four-Sixty; 08-29-2021 at 07:13 PM.
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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