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battery lead

peddlerpeddler Member Posts: 881 ✭✭✭✭
Someone one here said battery lead is toxie to use to cast soft bullets. I have used it before but not very much, and did not have any noticiable effects on my health. Does anyone have an opinion about using old battery lead? Thanks


  • Rocky RaabRocky Raab Member Posts: 14,185 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook addresses this specifically. No maintenance batteries are extremely toxic and we should never even consider using the lead in them.
    I may be a bit crazy - but I didn't drive myself.
  • peddlerpeddler Member Posts: 881 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    What about regular batteries, not the maintainace free ones?
  • peddlerpeddler Member Posts: 881 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I will read my Lymans book too.
  • MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,971 ******
    edited November -1
    there isn't enough lead in most battries to make it worth the risk, check with a scrap yard and maybe swap batteries for wheel weights.
  • peddlerpeddler Member Posts: 881 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I want pure lead, wheel weights are too hard I think. Loading for a old top break S&W 38sw and 32 sw.
  • Riomouse911Riomouse911 Member Posts: 3,492 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The real question is: Is saving a few bucks worth handling and then melting down a thin sheet of lead that has been immersed in poisonous acids for who knows how long really worth it?
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 32,664 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Why Car Batteries Are Dangerous

    Maintenance free/low maintenance batteries use calcium metal-doped lead to catalyze the hydrogen gas generated from water electrolysis back into water. That is what makes the batteries low maintenance or maintenance free, you don't need to add water to the cells as often like in the old days. When the battery lead is melted down there is enough sulfuric acid from residual electrolyte trapped in the lead dioxide and lead framework of the battery plates to react with the small amount of calcium metal in the lead alloy.

    Normally when sulfuric acid (or water) gets in contact with calcium metal it undergoes a rather vigorous reaction that generates hydrogen gas. In and of itself this is no big deal, hydrogen is a simple non-toxic asphyxiant that is also flammable. But the lead alloy used in batteries also contains a bit of antimony and even arsenic to help harden and strengthen the lead to withstand the vibration and general knocking-about batteries have to withstand in order to survive normal automotive use.

    When hydrogen comes in contact with arsenic and antimony, or compounds of these two elements, the hydrogen reacts to form ammonia analogues called arsine and stibine, AsH3 and SbH3. Both of these are heavy gases and both have the similar characteristic odors of rotting fish. In World War One the Germans experimented with these, along with phosphine, another rotting-fish-smelling gaseous ammonia analogue with formula PH3, as war gases. As such they were highly effective since they are deadly in amounts too small to easily detect.

    In even smaller amounts that are too small to immediately kill they cause rather painful lung damage that often eventually leads to emphysema and lung cancer.
  • 4406v4406v Member Posts: 317 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    WOW!!! There's enough information RIGHT THERE to scare the heck out of you.I'll stick to buying lead made for casting bullets THANKS
  • OakieOakie Member Posts: 40,519 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I use old lead pipes out of houses that they are rehabing. I have a shopping cart full of that kind of lead and a shopping cart full of wheel weights. About 1000 lbs of it all together. I make bullets and fishing weights to sell. I also give a lot to the guys in the club. I mix it with tin to make bullets.
  • v35v35 Member Posts: 12,710 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Once years back, I knocked a battery apart and determined it was too much a mess to deal with trying to reclaim the lead.
    That was not considering any toxic effects of phosgene gas and other wonderful toxicants.
    My son , his wife and two young daughters tested positive for high lead levels from living in a very large house that was being renovated. Rooms under rehabilitation were closed off. Air was exhausted and masks were used.
    Handling lead in any form has been given new meaning to us all.
    It's not worth it to not take full precautions.
    Handling lots of fired brass needs to be given some thought as regards combustion products from lead azide primers.
  • 11b6r11b6r Member Posts: 16,588 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If you want to cast for a top break revolver, straight wheelweights should work OK. I cast for a muzzleoading caplock, and DO use pure very soft lead. But the rifling in a muzzle stuffer is quite different.

    1. Don't do this on the kitchen range
    2. DO have ventilation-at the lip of the pot on the side away from you
    3. Don't eat smoke or drink while casting or handling lead
    4. Go wash your hands. The greatest hazard with lead is not inhalation, but ingestion- from eating it. Lead does not go thru intact skin (unless moving at high speed)
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
  • fatcat458fatcat458 Member Posts: 380 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Easiest source for lead is LEAD wheel weights... They come in 2 basic types. COWS and SOWS. cows are clip on wheel weights.. Usually harder of the two.. Sows or stick ons are almost PURE lead. lf in doubt as to whether a weight is lead or not you have to perform the ''cut'' test with a pair of dikes or side cutters. Lots of wheel weights are NOT lead.. l sort mine visually first.. Any marked ZN or FE are made of zinc or steel... Lots of plastic ones out there too.. Nothing more satisfying than making/casting and shooting your own boolits.. Great for punching paper or killing almost ANYTHING... Pure lead has been killing most everything that walks, talks, swims, or flies for around 500 yrs... Commercial bullet makers push HARD CAST because hard cast stands up to shipping/handling better than soft cast..
  • Smitty500magSmitty500mag Member Posts: 13,603 ✭✭✭✭
    In the old days people used Linotype to make bullets out of but the news paper companies quit using Linotype machines a long time ago. They say the bullets are to hard for hunting because they disintegrate when they hit bone but they're good for target shooting since the harder alloy using 4% Tin, 12% Antimony and 84% Lead doesn't lead your barrels.

    I was surprised to find that MidwayUSA sells lead bars using that same mixture of 4% Tin, 12% Antimony and 84% Lead.
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