cost of lead

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by greg_r, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    I just posted on another thread about the savings of reloading 380 vs 9mm. I normally use my own cast bullets. I had a source of free lead. It is now gone. I have several hundred pounds of ingots left, then I have to start paying for my lead. I can currently load 380 for about $6 per hundred.

    I checked online at a well known foundry and Lyman #2 was $15 plus shipping. Now my 380 will be over $25 per hundred. :eek:

    Don't really like casting that much anyway, it was always a means to an end for me. Unless I find a cheaper source for alloy, I do not see much more casting in my future.
     
  2. http://castboolits.gunloads.com Look in the Swapping and Selling section. Then if you can mine the berms at your range. Range scrap makes good pistol bullets.
     

  3. 454PB

    454PB Member

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    One advantage of all who know me knowing that I'm a "boolit caster" is that whenever anybody sees a source of lead, I'm told about it. Over the last 40 years, I've been given literally tons of lead alloys.

    Now that lead is seen as an "environmental hazard", it's becoming harder to locate, wheel weights are hazmat material and/or made of zinc. The tire shops that used to give them away or sell for cheap don't do that anymore.

    However, put the word out that you are looking for scrap lead and you may be surprised what shows up.
     
  4. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    The EPA closing down (by regulation) the Herculaneum Smelting plant
    will eventually impact the Lead Bullet supply in a big way. Could this
    be the first signs? I'd say so! I am saving LEAD (Pb) on a small scale
    now, but should increase my efforts. I cannot see being able to amass
    much more than a "personal stash" without a great effort, and some
    cash outlay. Plus, others will be doing the same thing, in greater numbers :(
     
  5. noylj

    noylj Member

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    I pretty much gave up on casting when I could no longer get wheel weights.
    At one time (about three years ago), a pound of commercial cast bullets cost the SAME as a one pound ingot of #2 alloy (and the commercial bullets used a more expensive type-metal alloy).
    Last I checked, cast bullets were running about twice the price of a lead ingot.
    Just not worth it to me any more.
     
  6. WoW Most commercial cast bullets cost about 9 cents each and I can cast them for 3.3 cents each from lead I bought off castboolits.
     
  7. noylj

    noylj Member

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    At the time I am talking about, I could buy 1000 200gn L-SWCs for about 6.2 cents a bullet and I could buy lead ingots for about the same amount to cast 200gn L-SWCs
    About 6 months ago, it was running about 7.1 cents a bullet and the alloy was about ½ that price.
    Now, I can get alloy for about $3/lb to make 34-35 200gn L-SWC bullets. However, the cast lead bullets are now running about 8.1 cents, so 35 bullets would be $2.75-2.84. So, unless my math is wrong, I can buy the cast bullets and melt them myself for less than the alloy ingots cost. Even if my math is wrong, it just isn't that big a difference to me any more.
    If you can get cheap lead, great. Casting your own is a great thing. I hope you bought a LOT of alloy at that price.
    For me, it was a change from getting 5 gallon buckets of wheel weights for free to having to buy lead ingots or buy commercial cast bullets (using a "soft" alloy) that work quite well and I am happy.
     
  8. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    When my free lead ran out, I began looking for other sources. I first looked at 5 pound ingots from the big smelters. I could buy jacketed cheaper. Further looking has resulted in better deals. I just bought 21 one pound ingots for $1.00 each on an auction sight. As long as I can find deals, I'll keep casting. Less than $0.02 for a 125 grain 9mm bullet? Yeah, I'm in!
     
  9. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    If you are buying Lead by the Ton, you can get it for "market price"
    and even the small players can get close, if buying relatively large
    quantities. That being prolly 100# increments. I know that my
    "ready to shoot" ammo stores are quite heavy, if I moved it all
    at once, I might need to add helper springs to my BOV! :eek:
     
  10. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    Right now, Spot Price of Lead (Pb) is 78¢/#
    You did pretty good, GregR!
     
  11. Looking for the deals is the key. But if only a certain alloy will do then you will be paying top dollar.
     
  12. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    Tin, antimony, and linotype are easy to find and inexpensive. Making a an alloy is easy and not a problem. Need a tester. Pencil testers are cheap and work well.
     
  13. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    'Splain "pencil testing", Lucy :rofl::D
     
  14. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    Using a set of drafting pencils of known hardness. Flatten the tip of the pencils, scribe the lead alloy with a pencil, if it slides across the lead alloy the pencil is softer than the lead. Keep using the next hardest pencil until you find the one that digs into the lead. You have now found the hardness of your alloy.

    6B pencil has a BHN of 4-5, pure lead

    2B pencil has a BHN of 11-12, where most wheel weights fall

    HB pencil has a BHN of 14-15, equivalent to Lyman #2 alloy

    Mars Lumograph pencils can be had for $15 or less and come in an aluminum box. They are what I use.
     
  15. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

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    I was gonna ask Greg the above grades, but I will read 62's Link! :rofl:
     
  16. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

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    I couldn't tell you anyway without looking it up. Those are the three I use. IIRC the last pencil in the set equals to quenched wheel weights.