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WHEEL WEIGHTS

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OLDGUNNER
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WHEEL WEIGHTS

#1 Post by OLDGUNNER » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:21 pm

I think there is much varied information on these forums about lead used in bullet casting, and collection of wheel weights, and I can only speak for what I have found. Please realize that this is just what ‘I’ have found and surmise.
I have never, that is NEVER, had any trouble getting all of the used Wheel Weights free that I could use or ever use....because....
I have never lived in an area where tire shops buy their Wheel Weights from a seller who takes used wheel weights back from the shops. This would be too much trouble and cost to do this. The tire shops just get their WW’s delivered by Fed Ex or UPS and that is it. It is up to them to get rid of their used WW’s any way they wish with-in their state’s regulations. And there is a lot of hear-say and bogus information on this.
I have lived in big cities and small towns. In every small town the tires shops just give away their used WW’s to tire customers. And that also went for LA when I lived there. Again keep in mind that everything I am saying is just what I have found. I can read some of the latest prices for scrap lead. Scrap dealers are paying 15 to 20 cents a pound for used WW’s.
It is way too costly for lead reclaimers to separate the alloy in WW’s into the components such as lead, antimony , arsenic, tin, etc. for normal resale. I just checked and the current international price for soft lead is about 93 cent per pound. With China being the biggest producer of soft lead.
The tire shops pay from $2 to $2.50 per pound for their WW’s. These are bought from sellers who mainly buy from China or US makers. The makers of WW’s can’t even use used WW’s for making their WW’s because they have no control over the quality and make-up of the lead in the typical recycling possesses. They just buy their lead at the 93 cent cost and add the necessary other alloying components and sell to sellers that deliver to the tire shops.
Now back to the tire shops getting rid of their used WW’s....if they wish, they have to take them to a scrap dealer and sell for say 20 cents a pound. Here the nearest scrap buyer is 60 miles away. The tire shops here are not going to pay someone to do this so they just say ‘help your self’. After I bought my latest set of tires I asked if I could go through their pile and pick out some Zinc used WW’s. I had trouble finding any Zinc WW’s and gave up. The same BIG O shop a few years ago let me scoop up all I wanted from their pile and I loaded until my wife’s little S-10 pick-up was hanging very low in the rear. I have never used a thousand pounds in my life and never will.
I do believe that WW’s are just ideal, “FOR ME”, to cast bullets with. I believe that the powder loading of any shell that I make has more to do with the repeatability and accuracy than any different alloying of the casting alloy itself. So long as I do my part with lapping the bores to eliminate any leading, I get along just fine with used WW’s.
I read all kinds of wild stories of people digging into berms to retrieve used bullets. I wonder if they have said to the manager of the tire shop when they are paying for their set of tires, “Say, can I have some of your used Wheel Weights?” I have never had one say “NO”. I am not talking about asking some employee who may be giving them to some friend.

Another thing, in the long article below is the following, which I believe is still in effect: Although there are no Federal regulatory controls governing the use of lead Wheel Weights in the United States, but some states have their own. And I have tried to run down some of the stories where I have heard where a scrap dealer could not sell their scrap lead to an individual and I have found no evidence of this. But I can well understand where one may not bother selling to an individual for 40 cents a pound for his one hundred pounds or whatever amount.

https://www.indexmundi.com/minerals/?product=lead
https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2006/1111/2006-1111.pdf
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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#2 Post by Smokey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:35 pm

I've had good results using water-dropped WW cast rifle bullets in a "really veteran" M91. They also work well in a other clunkers.
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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#3 Post by OLDGUNNER » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:17 pm

Well Smokey, I gather that you are saying that Wheel Weights are only good for 'Clunkers'. That's okay, although I don't agree with you, if that is okay. I guess you may be saying that you wouldn't show up for a competition with cast bullets. I wouldn't either...unless it was of course something for 'Cast Bullets' only. But If I were, it would probable be with WW cast bullets.
You know exactly what I am saying...For plinking and informal shooting. I have said that I used to have a business in California called 'SHOOTERS SUPPLY'. At the time it was the only business in the state with that name, 1964. When I was transferred overseas I gave it to a coworker. Before I left we made one last trip to a wholesale house in LA 'for me' to buy things that I wanted. And one of the items that I bought were a few thousand Sierra Bullets, and I will never shoot all of them. That same day I bought a Sako Vixen IN .222 for $175, and yes I have shot WW cast bullets in it...and I wouldn't call that a 'Clunker'. I see your Avatar - are you sure?
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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#4 Post by Smokey » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:19 am

Actually, clunker is a semi-affectionate name I use for old surplus firearms. It's never intended to be disparaging.
An explanation was necessary. No offense taken.
One of the major virtues of cast bullets is they can be made to fit bores that are larger or smaller than normally available jacketed bullets.
I use cast in multiple new and "veteran" or "seasoned" firearms.
That includes ones I tune, adjust or fix for other folks.
Long range shooting where I'm located is usually a little over 100 yards. This is rough hill country with dense underbrush.
When I've had to deal with bear, moose etc. it was usually sudden, at close range.
Cast bullets work well in this environment.
Arguing with someone who denounces reason is like administering medicine to a corpse.

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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#5 Post by les1234 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:47 pm

I used to have a pretty good supply of wheel weights, but it's running low now. The last time I went around some of the tire shops, some had a deal with scrappers already who buy all of them. Others keep re-using them until they won't re-use any more. One gave me a small box full, maybe 20-25 lb, and I've found that maybe a third of them are lead, the rest are iron, zinc, some even appear to be some kind of plastic. At that rate, it's hardly worth my trouble collecting them, unless I can get several hundred pounds, for free.

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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#6 Post by OLDGUNNER » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:07 pm

Yes on that - I understand. That last time that I had asked I wanted just the zinc to experiment with. I have wondered just how fast I could get them going. I could have at that time just taken all that I wanted and looked through them for the zinc type but I didn't. And...they had a 55 gallon drum cut in half and it was almost full and I had to pick them out and wasn't having any luck finding any zinc type so I gave up on that. I thought that maybe later when the zinc becomes more popular I would get back to that.
And I can very well see that just going to a tire shop cold could be a problem. And here in this welfare state no one seems to
want to work and that includes taking free wheel weights 60 miles to a Savage Yard and sell for 20 cents a pounds. The local Walmart can't find people to work for 14 $ an hour.
When I retired and moved here 23 years ago young kids would cut and deliver and stack a cord of firewood of pine at 100 $, and oak at 125. Now one is lucky to get a half a cord of pine just dumped for 200. And 20 years ago this one local kid said that he was making 40,000 a year just in firewood. And that kid was really working to get that.
That time that I brought home that thousand pounds, I made a little concrete block fire pit and spent a week or more melting and making my 1/2 and 1 pound ingots...and I don't need any more.

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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#7 Post by Triumph6 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:04 pm

I just thought I'd throw this out there. I don't cast bullets but, I've been a mechanic 40 plus years and every time I lift a car battery I wonder how much work it would take to use the lead from them to make bullets. I figure you could neutralize the acid with baking soda and I know the cases brake apart pretty easy. I only see iron wheel weights anymore.

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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#8 Post by OLDGUNNER » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:25 am

Hi Triumph6 - Well ....Every since that I can remember I have always been one to experiment, to learn something new every chance I could get. Firstly, in my opinion, this can be summed up like, If one knows how, it is easier. If one doesn’t know how it can be harder. The more one learns how, the easier things get. And I tore my fist car battery apart probable by the time I was in the 3rd or 4th grade to make fish sinkers. And it was shortly soon after that that I learned that, for me, it was much easier to use wheel weights to get the lead...but I knew how.
My next experiment with melting lead was when I was about 15 when my parents bought a resort on Leech Lake in Minnesota. My dad had two 1873 Trapdoors but there was no .45-70 ammunition to be had...my next step was to make bullets for these guns. I was not familiar with melting lead for bullets and didn’t know anything about a bullet mold so I drilled a hole in a piece of iron and rounded the bottom of the hole and then drilled a small hole in the bottom of that for a nail to go in. My idea was to pound lead into the hole and hammer it flush and then drive the bullet out with the nail that was in the hole before I pounded the lead in. By that time I had learned that ‘’fish-sinker lead’ was softer and easier to do this with than the Wheel Weights. And that was my first venture into bullet making and reloading. I had never heard of a reloading manual. For powder I used the powder from shotgun shells. And I had fun shooting those .45-70’s. My dad had his Winchester Model 94 in .30-30 and I had a .45-70 to hunt deer with. And I have that .30-30 now.
My next thing with car batteries and lead was when I lived in LA and took up Scuba Diving. I needed a weight belt and the Junk Yard guy nearby would sell me the used WW’s, cheap at the time, but would give me a couple of car batteries...I knew how but I also knew the trouble with the batteries, but I did it.
Yes, you may have lifted those batteries around, BUT...most of that weight is not usable lead and with maybe 30 or so pounds of batteries I remember I just had enough to make a weight belt of maybe six or eight pounds.
But , I would recommend that everyone do it just for the experience and, THEN they will know how it is done and not just read someone’s story on what ‘THEY THINK MIGHT BE THE WAY’ it is done. For my mold in making those weights I made a wooden form and then poured Plaster-of-Paris reinforced with steel wool around it. And I will add, that the first mold that I made just blew apart from the steam because I didn’t let the mold dry out enough. I have always been a DIY type if I have the chance.
+++++++++++++++++++
Let me add this and I am writing this with a smile, but with all seriousness....Go ahead and do this with an old car battery, just one, and then you will decide if you would like to do it again. Some may find it okay, and others may think, okay now I know how and that is enough. You will never know for sure until you do it!!!

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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#9 Post by shoot4fun » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:05 pm

A couple years ago I drove to every tire dealer in town, new and used tire dealers. I hit them all but the auto dealerships and Walmart. After 18 stops, only one would give up some wheel weights (about 1/2 a 5gal bucket). One offered to sell me some for $5/lb. Most said they had deals with local scrappers, or that the EPA or Corporate wouldn't let them.

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Re: WHEEL WEIGHTS

#10 Post by OLDGUNNER » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:29 pm

Hi shoot4fun - Yes I can understand this...as I said asking them cold like this is a little different than when buying new tires, AND, asking the tire changing people, and asking the store manager, and asking the shop owner can get different answers. As I have said that I have been usually asking them after I have had the tires put on and as paying them. I think that there is a better chance of the better connection this way. I don't need anymore lead but just for the heck of it the next time that I need tires I will do some experimenting. There are only three in our little town and all of them are nice so this may be a problem. But I can go to some further from here and see what may happen...it wouldn't bother me one bit if one would not say help myself...this would let me say to them that I sure will keep this in mind the next time that I need tires.
I guess this can't happen too often so I will just asked them before I say yes, okay, put them on.
And, shoot4fun, I only shoot 4 fun also. I have been working this afternoon on making an assortment of coyote calls.
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