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Bullet Casting; Wheel Weights Lead or Zinc

This is a discussion on Bullet Casting; Wheel Weights Lead or Zinc within the Broken Arrow forums, part of the Gun Forum category; Last summer before the big metals rush. Lead wheel weighs were just about given away at auto garages. Up to that time I've gotten just ...


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Old March 24th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #1
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Bullet Casting; Wheel Weights Lead or Zinc

Last summer before the big metals rush. Lead wheel weighs were just about given away at auto garages. Up to that time I've gotten just about 100% lead in my wheel weights.

Last night I was going through a batch of recently obtained wheel weights. I found cast steel! Zinc (as labled) and my old favorite lead. I have some mystery leftovers. They're soft and they melt real fast under the torch, however they're coated with some type of paint. No metal ID. Coating, I'm guessing is for corrosion protection. They don't seem to be as dense as lead but yet not as light as zinc.

How do I ID the mystery stuff? Is the wheel weight industry melting the zinc and lead together these days? Would a zinc-lead alloy bullet alloy hurt my rifles?

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Old March 24th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #2
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I forgot to mention.

The coating-paint burns off fairly clean. Seems like a grey shellac. In a casting pot I'd bet it'd burn right off or be cleaned up w/the flux.

Any other bullet casters out there?

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Old March 24th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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I only cast bullets for my black powders.

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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #4
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Casting

I did a little casting, but do have a degree in Chemical and Mechanical Engineering.
If you can separate out the unknown metal. Place metal in a "basket" weigh the basket separately in water then weigh the material in water. subtract the weight of the basket.
This will give you the specific gravity.
Google the results and you will be fairly close to finding the material if its close and there is not a lot of alloy in it.
or you can take it to a lab but it will cost $800.00+for a gas Chronograph of the material.

Hope this helps

you can Google how to obtain a specific Gravity.


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Old March 24th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #5
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Just speculation but possibly tin. Often added to lead for wheel weights for hardness. I would melt it with other wheel weights, keep it fluxed, & cast a few. I use "pure wheel weights" when I can get them. A little harder than the normal formula where pure lead is added to the WW's.

PS I load for .45 acp and .30-30. I would NEVER cast bullets for the M1A. The least little bit of barrel leading would kill all accuracy not to mention what may happen in the gas chamber. JMHO

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Old March 28th, 2009, 11:39 PM   #6
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I have a couple of hundred pounds of lead on hand for casting into 45 & 357 caliber heads. It's very good for that. I used to consider getting some molds for 30 caliber hunting ammo, but I just buy FMJ now, in bulk, and let it go at that.

I can't seen to find my bullet swager/luber. I guess I'll just buy some spray on lube, and let it go at that.

A friend of mine sold me some tin at a very cheap price years ago, and I add a little to the pot, each time I cast, for additional hardness, although my lead may not really need it. Most of my lead ingots were made from melted down wheel weights. In times like these, I am now very, very glad that I did not bring it to the scrap yard when the prices were high.

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Old April 21st, 2009, 04:07 PM   #7
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make sure you remove the zinc WWs just a little will cause your lead to not flow well and not fill out your mold. Zinc is bad juju for casters. Tin is good.
Note if you happen to get a zinc in your melt it will float for a little while on the lead so pull it out quickly. also if you use a elect. pot set it so the lead will melt and the zinc will not on the heat. if you use the gas burner and pot method you may want to invest in a thermometer that will allow you to monitor the heat.
If you want to cast for your 30 cals. drop your just cast ww bullets in a bucket of water to quinch them then use a gas check. don't try to run the speed up on them and they will be fine. Safety note dont get water near your lead pot as the steam explosion will be dangerous and messy. most guys I know use a rag over the top of the bucket with slots cut in it so the hot bullets will drop through and not let the water splash up

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Old April 22nd, 2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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the way things are going, those of us that are geared up for casting bullets will be admired for our foresight. I do mostly pistol but having a few molds for common rifle calibers may be wise, since they won't spoil or likely go down in price.

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Old April 22nd, 2009, 07:57 PM   #9
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If ya do a GOOGLE search on 'lead-free wheel weights' you'll get lots of info. Some have the markings shown.

Be advised , they are using tin , zinc , antimony , powdered tungsten and other heavy metals that will ruin a pot of bullet metal and in the case of powdered tungsten , yer barrel! The bullets are also harder and will cause pressure spikes with fast powders.

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Old April 23rd, 2009, 07:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M14E2 View Post
If ya do a GOOGLE search on 'lead-free wheel weights' you'll get lots of info. Some have the markings shown.

Be advised , they are using tin , zinc , antimony , powdered tungsten and other heavy metals that will ruin a pot of bullet metal and in the case of powdered tungsten , yer barrel! The bullets are also harder and will cause pressure spikes with fast powders.
Great idea. From what I gather, looks like the coated weights have a high probability of being zinc. (I looked at the various manufacturer's sites.) Steel is easy to pick out and plain old lead, seems to be uncoated and "plain".

I can't see zinc being any safer than lead. Welders can get sick when working with galvanized products and zinc corrodes at a rate faster than lead. Coatings will get scuffed off of zinc weights anyway (ones dropped on the road.) When they recycle the zinc they'll have to burn off the coating anyway. Steel must be a major pain in the ass to cast. I've seen lead recovered from trap fields that have had years of accumulations. The shot forms a protective oxidized coating and just sits there. Meanwhile I see signs at ponds to NOT throw pennies in because they are now zinc and will make the water toxic for fish.

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Old April 30th, 2009, 08:31 PM   #11
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Unhappy Zinc floats

One way to know if you have zinc is, the zinc will float on top of the melted lead. If you skim it off before it melts your ok,

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