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Thread: Lead question

  1. #1
    John H is offline
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    Lead question

    I recently was given lead pipe that was used in the early 1900's as water line. Can someone tell me if it is soft enough to mold bullets or how I can test for softness? Pipe is slowly being replaced with modern water line.
    Thank you in advance,
    John

  2. #2
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    Well, I've been reading Round Ball to Rimfire, Volume 4, and reading all the correspondence of the Confederate Ordnance Department, and towards the end of the war they were talking about ripping up cities' pipes to get lead for bullets, so I would assume it's good from that.

    There are a few options out there for testing lead hardness:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/731...ss-testing-kit
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/193...ProductFinding

    Here is an interesting article I turned up while Googling hardness testers:

    http://www.texas-mac.com/Evaluations...s_Testers.html

    Steve

  3. #3
    Lou Lou Lou is offline
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    Yes, use it. A plumber buddy gives me all rhe lead pipe he replaces. I cut off any solder joints.
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

  4. #4
    Greg Ogdan 110th OVI is offline
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    Time out! Save the joints and put them in our hard leas pot for Carbine and Smoothie.

    Greg Ogdan

  5. #5
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    I've seen the Lee and Saeco testers, and wasn't that impressed. I had a GreenTree tester but sold it. I like LBT hardness testers. http://lbtmolds.com/hardtester.shtml
    Gary Van Kauwenbergh
    Co G, 114th ILL Vol Inf
    # 10143

    "Alle Kunst ist umsonst Wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst."
    (In vain the skill and arts of man, When an angel pisses the priming pan.)
    Field Marshal Gebhard L. von Blücher

  6. #6
    MR. GADGET's Avatar
    MR. GADGET is offline Moderator
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    I have been thinking about trying to design a easy lead tester have played with it over the years and was thinking about something like used to test concrete in a way. That tester was called a Swiss Hammer.

    In short it is a drop test and what you would looking is different levels of hardness and not a number or range for say.

    It would use a tube and you have a weighted slide that would drop. On the end of the cylinder in the center is a v.
    what you want is the v to punch and the cylinder to lay flat on top of the lead being tested.
    So what needs to happen is find a sample of lead just on the edge of dead soft that you like for you musket bullets.
    Design the cylinder with a v and a slide tube for it to freefall in.
    Would need to work with the length say 10" and the build the slide cylinder a little heavy. As you test it you way it then turn a little of or counter drill to lose some weight say 10 grns at a time to get to the point it will punch and lay flat.
    Any lead harder would have the cylinder standing proudly above and not flat.

    what a tester like this will let you do is test pigs, bullets, blocks, anything with a say 1/2" flat area.

    may be hard to follow but if you are into this type stuff it would be easy and cheap.
    Last edited by MR. GADGET; 01-28-2015 at 07:57 PM.
    MR. GADGET
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  7. #7
    ian45662 is offline
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    Gary you sold me your cabin tree tester. It has saved me a lot of heart ache. I love my cabin tree tester and would highly recommend it. I like the fact that it can test ingots.

  8. #8
    Muley Gil is offline
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    I've been shooting muzzleloaders since 1969 and while I have thought about getting a lead tester, I've used the old thumbnail test for all these years and have never had a bad batch of soft lead.

    Shot tons of lead cast bullets from handguns and a few high power rifles as well. I save the hard lead for these.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
    # 3020V
    34th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry
    Great, great grandson of Cpl Elijah S Davis, Co I, 6th Alabama Inf CSA

  9. #9
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    The LBT testers can handle 1 lb. ingots, but not anything bigger like the Green Tree tester can. Glad to hear you're making good use of it. One year I had a stock of lead that passed my thumb nail test, and I spent a few days casting about 1,400 of the old Parker-Hale minies. They were all a little too hard and key holed left and right. I swore I'd never be without a lead tester again.

    Also, for lead sheets, I think a machete works better for cutting than an axe. For the large ingots, I cut them up by driving a hatchet through them with hand sledge hammer.
    Gary Van Kauwenbergh
    Co G, 114th ILL Vol Inf
    # 10143

    "Alle Kunst ist umsonst Wenn ein Engel in das Zündloch prunst."
    (In vain the skill and arts of man, When an angel pisses the priming pan.)
    Field Marshal Gebhard L. von Blücher

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