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Old 01-06-2011, 12:02 AM
elundgren elundgren is offline
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Default Wheel weight cost?

I've decided to start casting my own bullets and was wondering what you could expect to pay for old wheel weights. I know that it could vary quite a bit but I wanted some kind of a ballpark figure in my head before a start asking at tire stores. I know that a lot of states are restricting lead wheel weight use and I guess that could be a factor too. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:16 AM
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Varies much by where you are and your relationship with the shop.

Where I am (Birmingham, AL area) a 5 gallon bucket of scrap lead can be had for around $25. That's close to what they can get selling it to the big scrap yards.

Some folks are lucky and get theirs free.

In places like CA where lead weights are banned I suspect prices would be much higher.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:22 AM
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Several years ago I was scrounging around for wheel weights. The large tire stores wouldn't sell any. I would recommend you look around for some gas/service stations. I had some given to me and some sold very reasonably. You might also try dealers in scrap metal.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:57 AM
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Can't get them in Florida (it's a Haz Mat Item)

Maybe Smith Crazy(Skip)will chime in from what he posts, he gets them for free and they deliver them to his house and melts them for him (just kidding) But he gets them dirt cheap.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:04 AM
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Unfortunately a lot of the wheel weights made today are no longer lead. I forget right now what they're made of but it's not good for making bullets. I'm sure if I'm wrong this will be corrected soon and someone who knows for sure can fill us in.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:24 AM
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This isn't very clear, but it's a Fe 15 Wheel Weight I found in a bucket of scrap.



I think I checked it with a magnet that indicated it was iron (chemical symbol Fe). There are also Zinc (Zn) and others, but they usually have a very different melting point. Anything that doesn't melt when everything else is melted gets removed from the pot pretty pronto.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:54 AM
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It seems like it depends alot in which part of the county you live in.

Personally I would not pay very much for them. Simply because you can buy all the clean WW you want for right at or just under $1 a pound from several places, including E-Bay. And cleaning WW can be a messy job.

Personally I have never paid a single dime for any WW at a couple of places where I get them. But I have occasionally taken in a couple pizzas for the guys. And I have over 3,000# of cleaned WW ingots on the shelves.

Not sure where you buy your tires at. Or if you have a relationship with them. I have been buying GoodYear tires all my life. And the guys there are my friends. Many times the fellow in the back saves them for me and even carries them out to my truck for me. I have bought his lunch a few times.

Just don't be shy about asking. And offer to sweep them up off the floor. Somebody wil give you some.

But if I was paying for lead then I would just buy from E-Bay. Normally you can get 50#----60# shipped for $50. Tom.


Last edited by HEAD0001; 01-06-2011 at 06:03 AM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:03 AM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Roy, you are a mess dude!

They don't melt mine after they deliver but.......



NO, NO, that is just kidding.

I have one tire store now that will sell me all they have for $20 p/5gal bucket. I ran into a deal where I got 450# for $30. That reminds me, I need to take a trip to that store. They have 3 buckets ready for me!

Each 5 gallon bucket will weight around 110-130# depending. Using the "mean" that would be 120# and at 90% (very low) recovery rate, that means that 108# of usable material costs only $20.

Just to put 108# into bullet perspective, that is 3200 230gr bullets or 4300 160gr bullets.

The most important thing to do while smelting wheel weights is to keep the melt to under 700*F. Zinc will ruin your precious lead material and just one zinc wheel weight will pollute a lot of it. Anything that doesn't melt at 700*F is quickly removed from the pot as it floats to the top of the melt.

To put HEAD's 3000# into bullet perspective..........7000gr per pound is 21000000gr or 91,000+ 230gr bullets or 131,250 160gr bullets.

He should be either in business or set for life!


(now for a subliminal message: cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets,cast your own bullets)
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:34 AM
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My trick for weeding out zinc I got from the cast boolits forum: Use an old pair of wire cutters and pinch every weight.

The lead I can make a dent in. Zinc, iron and steel offer much more resistance.

I also sort stick-ons out into their own lot. They're usually pure lead and much softer than the standard clip on.

Another idea for lead is to make friends with an indoor range. See if they'll let you keep the lead in exchange for cleaning out the trap.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:20 AM
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Are any of you guys listed here?

Superfund Sites Where You Live | Superfund | US EPA

All kidding aside, what about range berm mining??

I belong to a private range (place in the woods) our handgun berm is pretty much solid bullets with some dirt.

There are times I am there alone and I certainly could fill up several 5 gal buckets with assorted projectiles and then hose off the dirt.

Is that a viable source of lead or would the copper on a lot of bullets screw up the mix? It's the only place I know where I could get FREE lead.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:33 AM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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OCD,
What do you think this is for?

Haven't had the chance to use it yet since I have plenty of wheel weights!

A friend of mine made it last year. Maybe this year!

The copper and brass jacketing will come off and float to the top. It will not affect the lead at all.

One caution is using this lead in semi auto handguns. It is good lead BUT may need a few additives to make them just a tad harder. Why? Most jacketed bullets have a super soft lead core that may be of the same consistency of swaged bullets. There are some velocity limitations with swaged bullets.

The reason I caution about using them in semi auto handguns isn't because of velocity though. I have cast some that were so soft that they would "dent" as they fed and jam. Upon inspection, there would be a nice dent on the top of the bullet and a crease on the bottom. I shot them, tap-rack, and went back to the casting bench and added some Linotype. Problem solved.

Now, if you have wheel weights and standard springs in your auto's you should be good to go. If you have a problem, simply water quench when casting and all will be well.


FWIW

(Had to edit to add picture! Old age, it ain't for sissies! )
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File Type: jpg 100_3781.jpg (136.7 KB, 88 views)

Last edited by Skip Sackett; 01-06-2011 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul5388 View Post
This isn't very clear, but it's a Fe 15 Wheel Weight I found in a bucket of scrap.



I think I checked it with a magnet that indicated it was iron (chemical symbol Fe). There are also Zinc (Zn) and others, but they usually have a very different melting point. Anything that doesn't melt when everything else is melted gets removed from the pot pretty pronto.
Same here. I used to work as a parts salesman and got to know several local mechanics and tire shop owners. I usually get mine free if I beat the other reloaders to it.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:17 AM
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I get mine for free also. As stated above look out for the zinc ones. After a while of doing it you know what they look like.
I smelt mine outdise with an old iron pot and coleman stove. Make ingots for the casting pot.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:06 PM
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I used to have a shop that would GIVE me their 5 gallon buckets of WWs. Then some other idiot came by and offered to pay them for their WWs, so they went that route.

I paid the shop guys with beer, he pays the manager with cash. The shop guys hate his guts.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:26 PM
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I gave away about 400-500 lbs of ww ingots and 100 lbs of type metal . The wheel weight metal was allready cast into 1 lb ingots and the type metal was still in type form . Yep, told a guy that if he loaded it in his truck the he could have it.I now use just virgin foundry alloy . Gotta pay for the virgin alloy (6-2-92% ) but it sure cast nice bullets .
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:43 PM
elundgren elundgren is offline
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Thanks for all your info. I better get busy and find some. I just checked the price of new lead and it is $1.22/lb. Ebay was an idea never occurred to me.

I live in Oregon a reasonable distance from the California border. Does anyone know if shops in Calif. can sell it or is there some sort of Hazmat prohibition on that now? Since they can't use it now maybe there is a lot available?
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:57 PM
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I have about a half ton of the dang things me and my boys collected the past summer waiting to be processed! I also have about 300 lbs. we smelted into ingots already. I just need the snow to go away to start production again!

Oh and they didn't cost me a dime!
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:39 AM
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Zinc wheel weights are not that big of a problem. When you are cleaning your WW just keep your melt temp. a little lower and the zinc ones will float to the top. Then I just skim them off with the other dirt and clips that float to the top. Then I flux the molt twice, then pour it into ingots. Then it is ready to use. Or I mix it into other alloys.

If you live close to northern WV then stop by and we can have a casting session. Just bring a couple of Cold Pepsi's with you. I will teach you all I know(it won't take long). Tom.

Last edited by HEAD0001; 01-07-2011 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:40 AM
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Here's how I melt scrap. Then I pour it into "muffin tins" for ingots.



BTW, the smoke is from the glue on stick on WWs.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:19 AM
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I was able to purchase wheel weights at a local scrap yard for
50 cents a pound this past summer. Plan on stopping by again
when funds allow.
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