Precious Metals Forum

Go Back   Precious Metals Forum > Precious Metals and Economic News > PM Bug

Like Tree7Likes
  • 1 Post By PMBug
  • 1 Post By ancona
  • 2 Post By PMBug
  • 1 Post By ancona
  • 2 Post By DCFusor

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 11-02-2013, 04:18 PM   #1
Jay
Yellow Jacket
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,511
Liked: 671 times
Question regarding Pb

I'm curious if anyone thinks that buying lead would be a good investment with the closing of the last "smelter" in the US? I saw five pound lead ingots today, 99.99 percent, for 11.00 or so each.
Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2013, 06:06 PM   #2
PM Bug Supporter
 
DoChenRollingBearing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: SE USA
Posts: 1,275
Liked: 691 times
...

Jay, I cannot give you a good answer on that.

But, you might consider buying:

1) reloading gear (DCFusor probably is the guy to talk with here) while you still can. Then the lead would at least have a direct use for you.

and/or

2 quality foreign ammo (I like PMC and Fiocchi, but I am not an expert) while you still can.

***

Note the rare double-use above of the phrase: "while you still can"
DoChenRollingBearing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 07:09 AM   #3
Golden Cockroach
 
PMBug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: In Scrooge McDuck's vault
Posts: 6,953
Liked: 2433 times
DCF has posted a lot of good advice about reloading here and there in the forums, but I think this is the main thread where it's discussed:

http://www.pmbug.com/forum/f6/reloading-1602/
Jay likes this.
__________________
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao Tzu

Important stuff: PMBug 101 * Forum Guidelines * Support PMBug
PMBug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
Jay
Yellow Jacket
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,511
Liked: 671 times
actually I was more interested as to whether ya'll thought this might be a good investment; washtubs full of wheel balance weights here...
Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:35 AM   #5
Yellow Jacket
 
ancona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Waaay south
Posts: 3,370
Liked: 2046 times
Jay,
My firm is in the environmental remediation/demolition - dismantlement business, so we come across lead all the time. There is a lot of secondary metal out there ripe for recovery if you know where to look. Most demolition guys will sell you their lead if you give them more than the scrap yard. For instance, we ripped out an old school X-ray room at the Mercury Redstone era clinic. The floor was ceramic tile in a mud-bed sitting in a lead pan. I recovered several tons of sheet lead that was very probably better than 95% purity, and quite possibly closer to 97 - 98%. We sold it to Trademark Metals for 80% of spot. If you offered me spot, I would sell it to you.

In areas with older homes, especially those built prior to WWII, bathroom floors are often set on a lead pan that covers the entire floor and rolls up the sides six to twelve inches. Many of them have lead on the framing behind the mud-set tiles. This stuff regularly goes to salvage yards for significantly less than spot. If there are still steel fasteners in the edges for instance, it's called #2 or even #3 lead, which will bring as little as 18 cents a pound. It's worth looking around and doing some digging, because someone with a little bit of initiative could buy up a bunch of lead at 20 - 25 cents, clean it up and double your money [or better].

Just remember your industrial hygiene and use respiratory protection when cutting, then wash up really well when done. Also, don't bring home lead dust on your clothes, use coveralls and remove them outside.
Jay likes this.
__________________
All things being equal, the simplest answer is quite often the correct answer - Occam

Last edited by ancona; 11-03-2013 at 08:44 AM.
ancona is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:40 AM   #6
Golden Cockroach
 
PMBug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: In Scrooge McDuck's vault
Posts: 6,953
Liked: 2433 times
Reasons for investing in a physical metal (or any commodity):

[1] Personal use - you have some means to manipulate the item into something useful. Buy it now while it's cheap and/or available with an expectation that you will use (consume) it in the future.

[2] Resale - you plan to resell the item in the future at a higher price.

If you are aiming for #2, you need to consider whether spending X dollars on lead might give you a better ROI if spent on another item (like gold, silver, platinum, etc.). I can't answer that question. I just don't know. I also don't know how easy it is to sell lead in bulk/wholesale. Is there a liquid market for it?

Edit: ancona posted while I was writing my post. I think he answered my question for #2. Also consider the requirements for storing the item. Lead is cheap compared to precious metals (for instance) - takes a lot more room to store a significant dollar investment.
ancona and Jay like this.
__________________
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao Tzu

Important stuff: PMBug 101 * Forum Guidelines * Support PMBug
PMBug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:44 AM   #7
Jay
Yellow Jacket
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,511
Liked: 671 times
just saw this on SHTF:
Not an issue. Very little US smelted lead was used in ammo production. Anyway, the US recycles more than 150,000 metric tons of lead every year. US ammo production uses 62,000 metric tones of lead a year. The recycling plants are still working.
Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:51 AM   #8
Yellow Jacket
 
ancona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Waaay south
Posts: 3,370
Liked: 2046 times
PMBug,
There is a very active and vibrant market for lead. Secondary smelters cannot get enough to feed their furnaces. Right now, if I were holding lead, I would sit on it, because with the last primary smelter in the nation shut down, Lead will have to go up if demand is to be met. At this point, all lead is now produced from scrap or as a by-catch in the mining of other metals. Lots of different metals are mined each year, and a lot of them tend to have a sister metal that appears in the ores as a secondary to the primary metal sought. This is captured during the refining process and processed as a secondary metals. I doubt very seriously whether this is enough to cover existing demand. In addition, I further doubt that scrap recovery alone will be enough to feed the needs of industry. As a result of the Obama EPA, our industrial base is in the most rapid phase of decline ever seen. Industry after industry is being decimated with insane rules and impossible standards, most of which are capricious and arbitrary on their face.

At this point, any lead we recover during this latest evolution of demolition we're undertaking at the Space Center and CCAFS, will definitely be held back for future sale, as I expect to see some real changes in the lead market as supply dries up.
__________________
All things being equal, the simplest answer is quite often the correct answer - Occam
ancona is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
Yellow Jacket
 
ancona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Waaay south
Posts: 3,370
Liked: 2046 times
Originally Posted by Jay View Post:
just saw this on SHTF:
Not an issue. Very little US smelted lead was used in ammo production. Anyway, the US recycles more than 150,000 metric tons of lead every year. US ammo production uses 62,000 metric tones of lead a year. The recycling plants are still working.
Jay, with well over a third of all lead smelted each year being consumed in the battery building industries, that leaves precious little for anything else. Remember this as well, China has been consuming the worlds resources like a plague of locusts, so I would bet a silver nickel they have their fingers in the lead pot as well. I know for a fact that Trademark Metals sends over half of their recovered copper to China for reprocessing. That's a hell of a lot of metal going to a single entity, so imagine how much total metal simply leaves our shores because the best prices are obtained abroad, where it isn't fucking illegal to smelt and process it?
Jay likes this.
__________________
All things being equal, the simplest answer is quite often the correct answer - Occam
ancona is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 09:34 AM   #10
Ground Beetle
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 501
Liked: 304 times
I am no expert on lead, but it seems like it is being treated more and more as a toxic and dangerous chemical contaminant. California is completely hysterical about lead and has now banned it in all ammunition. I would be concerned that you could accumulate a holding of the stuff, only to find the "government" making it so difficult to store (i.e. EPA toxic rules etc.) that you end up with new unexpected costs. There are a whole bunch of property owners around the country that used to have dry cleaning businesses as tenants and the clean up costs killed them. Same problem with gas stations, and asbestos in floor tiles, and the list keeps growing. Suddenly a new law is enacted and the stuff you've got is now considered dangerous, and you get the bill. Just a thought.
Aubuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2013, 10:29 AM   #11
Yellow Jacket
 
DCFusor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Floyd, Virginia
Posts: 1,682
Liked: 1233 times
Well, they can't bill you for cleaning up what they don't know you have. The price mentioned above is the same for pure lead on rotometals for pure lead.

They'll even ship free if you buy enough. I only use pure lead (and rarely that) for diluting other alloys that have too much of something else in them, or as sheet for shielding my fusor (that was bought at a junkyard for $0.30/lb - it used to be popular for flashing/plumbing sewage systems).

Not a bad idea to have some, but pure lead is too soft for all but a few uses. You can make decent .38 spcl or .45 ACP bullets with a few percent tin added to get good molds, that's about it, for high pressure loads you need to look at the various "hardball" alloys, with antimony (much nastier than lead, from a human point of view - acts like arsenic on we biological things). I use about 3 different alloys here for various things. Linotype for rifle bullets with a gas check, medium hardball for higher pressure handgun loads, and a softer lead-tin alloy for lower pressure loads. They get slightly mixed up in reclaiming them, but not enough to matter much - and that's why I also have plenty of lead, tin, antimony etc to "fix up" a slightly wrong mix. What you "shoot for" there is to have the right hardness so the pressure just barely "upsets" the lead to a perfect fit to the barrel during firing, but no more. You can only go so far with that - alloy it too hard and it becomes brittle, which is no good for either accuracy or terminal effect, which is why jacketed bullets are the norm for hunting now - you can make them faster and do what you want when they hit the target better.

Lead itself won't jump up and bite you. Some of what I have sat out in the weather for almost a century, and only gained a thin coat of lead oxide - now, that IS bad for you, so cleaning it is a chore and you have to do it right so as not to breathe that stuff. This is actually better for shielding detectors than new-smelted lead, which still is a little radioactive - all lead is from radioactive decay, it's one of the products of that we worry about the least, normally. You can even tell which thing decayed into your lead (if it's virgin and not mixed with 10 other sources), as the different original sources leave different lead isotopes as the stable thing at the end of the decay chain(!).

I expect all "real" assets like this to go up re fiat. Some more than others, but this is one that has pretty good prospects - and being dense, isn't hard to store up a lot of in lbs. We'd like to use less as a society, but no one has come up with a decent alternative for car batteries yet, and a number of other uses. Yes, there are "more advanced" battery technologies out there, but they are a lot pickier about everything from temperature to precise charge/discharge cycles. They won't be taking the place of car batteries, gel cells in alarm system etc anytime soon - cost much much more and less reliable over time. You don't see NiMH or Li-ion cells lasting 20 years on float/standby, but you do lead-acid batteries.

I knew CA *tried* to ban lead in all ammo, but my friend Dianne Bishop of Bishop ammo makes lead ammo and the police buy it - in CA (where she is), and everywhere else, and she is simply swamped with demand for it. She is running 4 Dillon Super-1050's on two shifts 7 days a week to make the stuff, and has actually worn a couple of those out. Considering that 20k rounds through my smaller Dillon RL-550b barely has it broken in...that's a lotta ammo, and yes, it's lead inside, though usually jacketed up to the hollow point at least.

Various bans on lead in shotgun ammo for bird hunting are in effect all over, however, and it's not all a bad thing. The birds really do get that stuff picked up out of the lake bottoms in search of stuff to fill their gizzards, and that's a bad place for lead to be - you can make a good case for not using it for that (or eating those birds). Regular ammo? Nah. Not enough pounds to worry about, it doesn't get inside animals unless a hunter is lucky...just not as much of it as those nut cases that empty 100+ rounds of shotgun shells in duck season either. (One 12 ga shotgun load is several rifle or handgun bullets worth as well)

Pure not what you want for bullet casting, though it is often used inside jacketed/swaged bullets.
A little tin (more expensive) is required to get a decent mold fill. Even for muzzle loaders, they use a few percent tin (and rotometals sells that too, or already alloyed for you).

Lead mining has useful byproducts too - like bismuth, tin, *silver* etc...as ancona says, most metals do, and if there is enough of a profitable side product (or it's cheaper to refine and sell than hazmat remediate) then it is treated like that.

The goal of almost every large operation these days is to have zero waste stream - sell everything that comes in the door back to someone (or burn the waste as the paper mills do, for process heat). This is why we don't have a good rare earth metal supply here - no one wants the thorium it always comes mixed with - yet.


Edit - ancona, next time you do a hospital rad room, keep me in mind. I've got a lot of lead, but that lead glass...man is that stuff ever expensive, and it's useful here so I don't need to use remote cameras to see the fusor - the Mark 1 eyeball is much better.
ancona and Jay like this.

Last edited by DCFusor; 11-03-2013 at 10:56 AM.
DCFusor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2013, 03:59 PM   #12
Ground Beetle
 
11C1P's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 953
Liked: 498 times
Originally Posted by Aubuy View Post:
I am no expert on lead, but it seems like it is being treated more and more as a toxic and dangerous chemical contaminant. California is completely hysterical about lead and has now banned it in all ammunition. I would be concerned that you could accumulate a holding of the stuff, only to find the "government" making it so difficult to store (i.e. EPA toxic rules etc.) that you end up with new unexpected costs. There are a whole bunch of property owners around the country that used to have dry cleaning businesses as tenants and the clean up costs killed them. Same problem with gas stations, and asbestos in floor tiles, and the list keeps growing. Suddenly a new law is enacted and the stuff you've got is now considered dangerous, and you get the bill. Just a thought.
Solid lead isn't dangerous to store, just like swallowing a lead pellet from game won't hurt you. It's when it's from a liquid or vapor form and is inhaled, ingested or absorbed into the skin in those forms that it's dangerous. My local game and fish did a study a few years back and found that hunters actually had LOWER levels of lead in their systems VS. the general population. So eating game that has been shot with lead, and reloading with lead components isn't going to be a problem. I only reload rifle/pistol, but I've known guys that have kept bags and bags of lead shot in their reloading rooms for years with no problems. My dad kept a few smaller bags in our gun room when I was growing up for loading up snake loads for his 41 & 44 mag and that never caused problems either.
__________________
http://flic.kr/p/297hR6v
11C1P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2013, 04:51 PM   #13
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,059
Liked: 459 times
It's an industrial metal. I wouldn't bother.
__________________
"A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.: - Elbert Hubbard
DSAbug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2013, 08:45 AM   #14
Yellow Jacket
 
DCFusor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Floyd, Virginia
Posts: 1,682
Liked: 1233 times
Lead is a lot more dangerous when oxidized/otherwise chemically combined, as then it becomes a little soluble in acids (like your tummy). Solid, it's no threat. I have quite a lot around both as bullet materials, and as rad shielding.

The one case of reported lead overdose WAS from a reloader, but after a lot of checking, it turns out it was from the dust from primers coming out of a brass cleaning operation. It's in Richard Lee's reloading book. That lead is already no longer solid, and it's now various compounds that are bio-assimilable (started out as lead azide + other junk - you wind up with some lead acetate, very nasty stuff, called "sugar of lead" since that's what it tastes like).

So, clean your brass with the lid on the tumbler, and let the dust settle before opening the lid. Or do it outdoors and so forth. I'd worry a bit about the scum/oxides you skim off in bullet casting - be sure to dispose of that safely.

There were some birds discovered with lead in gizzards who had high lead content in all their flesh, more than I'd be happy eating, so steel and bismuth shot became more the norm outside of shooting clays. It's not that stupid an idea. For regular hunting (rifle or handgun), it's just not an issue - it hasn't been sitting inside the game for a year.
DCFusor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Math Question... No. 1? DoChenRollingBearing STS 11 12-05-2017 07:45 AM
$64,000 question Aubuy Fiat Ponzi 4 07-13-2013 08:13 AM
question Jay Silver Bug 19 03-01-2013 06:35 AM
Question! bugs Silver Bug 5 02-20-2013 08:52 AM
question Jay Silver Bug 5 01-20-2013 10:32 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® from Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
Content of PMBug.com copyright © 2011 - 2019 Measuring Up. All Rights Reserved.