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Lead from batteries?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by trcubed, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. trcubed

    trcubed Senior Member

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    Jan 23, 2001
    Kuhnigitdale, NC
    Changed the battery in mrstrcubed's car yesterday, which caused me much and deep thought...

    Anyone ever tried reclaiming the lead from a car battery for casting? Seems it would be difficult cutting the case open to extract the plates, but other than that, what are the drawbacks? Someone suggested the lead "soaks up" the battery acid, but that sounds kinds hokey considering how dense lead is. Flushing with copious amounts of water to remove most of the sulfuric acid before starting to disassemble would be in order.

    Even tho shooting H2SO4 impregnated bullets sounds mildly amusing, I left the battery at the parts store for recycling. Did I just lose ~30 lb of boolits?
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011
  2. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
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    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    You did the right thing. The maintenance free batteries have other things in them besides lead and it makes bad things happen to your health when heated up. The LASC sight has an article on why you shouldn't do it.
     


  3. dudel

    dudel

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    +1. There's lead in there; but also lots of other bad stuff. The lead in batteries is very pourous. The stuff does leach itself into the lead. Can it be done? I'm sure someone has tried. Is it recommended? NO. THere are better sources for lead then batteries.
     
  4. trcubed

    trcubed Senior Member

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    Jan 23, 2001
    Kuhnigitdale, NC
    Knowing a little bit about chemistry, and not seeing discussion about it here, made me think it wasn't a good idea. Thanks for helping confirm!
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011
  5. dbarry

    dbarry Silver Member

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    Feb 15, 2010
    the Buckeye state
    you know those hillbilly types that live in places like WV or CO (the ones that have a 3rd eye, 6 fingers -on one hand-, and snarl and make you glad you are a flatlander)... All that could have been avoided if they didn't cast bullets from car batteries... :O)
     
  6. trcubed

    trcubed Senior Member

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    Jan 23, 2001
    Kuhnigitdale, NC
    one...two...three...four...five...

    Yep, I'm a flatlander!

    :rofl:
     
  7. RustyFN

    RustyFN

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    Sep 29, 2006
    West Virginia
    Hey :rofl:
     
  8. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

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    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO
    Okay, okay, I'll admit it. (I already have in other posts so I guess it's no big deal to admit it again.)

    Back when I was young and stupid, as opposed to being old and stupid, and in the military I had access to an almost unlimited supply of used batteries. Normal car and truck batteries as well as those huge ones that are in big fork lifts, aircraft tugs, etc. They use to stack the old ones on pallets in our ammo storage area and when we made security checks a couple times a shift we had ample opportunity to toss a few in the bed of the security truck. Luckily they also stored all of our expended brass in the same area which I believe was the genesis of one stop shopping.

    I don't really know what the difference is between new no maintenance batteries and batteries of 40 years ago but back then it certainly wasn't worth the trouble... or the pain. It took forever to break open the battery cases with the use of a large hammer and some sort of chisel or large screw driver. Even if you hermetically sealed yourself in some sort of protective suit you still ended up with acid burns, not to mention trying to figure out how to get rid of all the left over mess of acid soaked plastic fragments laying all over the driveway.

    After flushing the lead plates with a mixture of water and powdered laundry detergent you had to cut up the lead plates in small enough strips to fit in the furnace then hope that you had dried everything off completely.

    After several forays into the battery experiment I came to the obvious conclusion that mining the base ranges for lead was a much safer and easier endeavor.

    Suffice it to say that after those experiences I'd shoot factory ammo before I ever tried recovering lead from batteries again.


    Jack
     
  9. fredj338

    fredj338

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    Dec 22, 2004
    so.cal.
    As noted, not advised. Taking the terminal off is about as far as anyone should go. They are recycled at plants & the lead reused for batteries, or at one time, car ww, but way more involved process than any hobby caster should get into. You would be better off taking ww off police cars, less dangerous.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  10. bush pilot

    bush pilot

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    Jan 29, 2004
    northwest
    Have you ever tried getting a car battery in a pot?
     
  11. trcubed

    trcubed Senior Member

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    Jan 23, 2001
    Kuhnigitdale, NC
    Was thinking more along the lines of drilling a couple of holes, packing in all the ...uh...(10-10-10 + some kind of smelly liquid) it would hold and tossing the whole mess in a fire. Plastic case is light and would just fly away, leaving the lead plates...right???

    Oh...and running. Lotsa running.

    :supergrin:
     
  12. willie_pete

    willie_pete NRA Life Member

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    Sunny Fla
    Cadmium fumes from melting Lead Acid batteries = bad juju.

    WP
     
  13. bush pilot

    bush pilot

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    Jan 29, 2004
    northwest
    My comment was a joke.
     
  14. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    10,016
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    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO

    Apparently comedy is harder than it looks. :whistling:

    :supergrin:


    Jack
     
  15. trcubed

    trcubed Senior Member

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    Jan 23, 2001
    Kuhnigitdale, NC
    Understood...mine, too.
     
  16. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

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    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    The lead will absorb acid and it will leach out later when melting and after it is cast. The flumes during melting can be very bad. Not something to do.
     
  17. mmerrill64

    mmerrill64

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    Nov 13, 2008
    Sulphur, LA
    Looking for lead? Try a tire shop. Lead wheel weights!
     
  18. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

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    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    LEAD WW are becoming scarce. The last bucket I got was a major PITA to sort through with all the zinc and iron WW in there. Range scrap is all I deal with now.
     
  19. mmerrill64

    mmerrill64

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    Nov 13, 2008
    Sulphur, LA
    I noticed in the past few years the new car manufacturers use zinc and steel, but when we replace balance tires we use lead. Alot of new vehicles use stick on weights and as far as I've seen those are all lead and have no steel clamp either.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  20. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    11,682
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    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    I actually found some steel, iron or zinc stick on wieghts in my last bucket. I don't know what they were, but they were rock hard and not lead. I think sarah brady put them in there like the elf scumbags spike the trees.