A nice bright and shiny morning found me at a friend's house casting lead ingots and learning some fine points of casting bullets myself.
We used a turkey fryer base and iron skillets to melt the various raw material -- wheel weights, lead pipe, etc. -- into ingots using muffin tins as molds. Each lot was marked as to raw material used.
We ended up with 76 ingots ready to go into the cast pot to be made, eventually, into boolits.
Good times, however I would recommend use of a respirator. Just sayin'.
My brother and I've been busy this week end casting bullets and loading empty brass.
With your wheel weight alloy:
If you pour your bullets directly into a bucket of water (CAREFUL NOW) they will be much harder. Idea from the Lyman cast bullet handbook. I have done it and it works well.
Horrors! You mean that gun nuts can make their own bullits?
Dude! Put on some leather boots!
Warhead: no resparator is necessary if you are doing it in the open air outside. Inside, sure. You don't have to worry about lead fumes (lead boils at WAY above anything you can get heatwise on a propane heater) but whatever slag and junk might be on your scrap lead, such as wax, plastic or other chemicals, might vaporize and cause you problems. However, like I said, if you outside on a nice day, with a little breeze, you're good.
Good show on the casting day, Mike! More lead for the Moulds of Liberty!
Good comment from Warhead. You are in a very bad spot in that photo. You are breathing fumes from your melt, and you could be badly burned if that melt splashes. Plus ten for making your own, but minus one for safety.
Texas Jack 1940
Looks like fun Mike.
A couple lawn chairs, or saw horses, a window fan and some old duct work and you can build an expedient ventilation system that will draw all the fumes away from you and send them down-wind.
A big discarded brake rotor will give you a preheated mold rest and slag catcher under your pot. (So you don't get lead splatter on the wife's turkey cooker)
Water drop is the way to go, but out there on the deck with no overhead I'd want a plan for rain showers. Nothing will ruin your day like water in the lead pot!
Start saving all your rimfire brass. It makes nice home swaged jacketed 50-55 gr .223 bullets- Which can be used in cheap practice ammo for your .223, they're clean and accurate when loaded hotter than plain cast boolits likes to be shot.
I've purchased used cast iron cookware here and there - it is generally much better made than the chinese crap now available. However I've often wondered if some nitwit used the vessels for driving off mercury when prospecting, or to melt lead. Not a happy prospect to have your kids (or others) use your pans for cooking when you're not around.
Real lead melting crucibles are cheep.
+1 on rimfire brass, and all brass. Worst case is that your shooting range is clean (no info left as to quantity, type, or time weapons were fired unless the drones are circling) and you get scrap value+ from a reloader or recycler.
Lead fumes: all cautions are needed if you plan on doing this more than once. Heavy metals are sneaky in that you get no symptoms until all-at-once you need chelation (or else...).
Metal casting PPE is important! Consider if a quart splash of liquid metal went sideways at you. If you have a leather long apron (sans pockets), face shield, elbow-length gauntlets, leather boots higher than your apron, you might get away with a scare and a few square inches of burns around the edges. Using a 2-man pourer where you are 4 feet each from the liquid metal is also safer.
Change clothes and wash up before eating/drinking/smoking, or at least wash hands and face. Don't wash casting clothes with family wash. Accidental ingestion is a major source of lead poisoning, much more than through-skin transmission.
Indoor casting can make better output because conditions can be better controlled, but you need hoods and serious CFM air flow venting to make it safe (for adults past bearing children age). Municipal natural gas is usually less expensive per BTU than propane in bottles, if that matters.
Industrial safety procedures are lifted from lead-acid battery factories, electronics solder re-work, OSHA minimums, and high-school shop class foundry.
Source of tin for adjusting hardness of boolits: plumbing supply solid tin solder in wire rolls or small ingots. Flux can be found in tubs, as well.
Source of antimony in cheap small quantity?
Agree with anonymous .... leather boots please. Those socks with any rayon or other materials will melt into your foot and you will be fighting that too. I dug out one of my lead caches this weekend and forgot how heavy that stuff really is. A 50 cal can full of small bars weighs over 50 lbs I'm sure of it. Gotta get to making my buckshot.
OLd fashioned steel rim, clip on, wheel weights have up to 3% Antimony in them - that is why the bullits cast from them can be hardened with a water drop.
It is still amazing how many old wheel weights can be picked up while walking along streets; in car parks; or off wheels in old wrecking yards. Tyre changing places usually have tins of old ones too.
Caution! Antimony is just as poisonous (or even more so) as Lead.
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