Letter Re: Lead From Car Batteries–Can it Be Recycled Into Cast Bullets?

Dear Mr. Editor:
Can lead from car batteries be recycled for bullet making? I’m just wondering, since there will be lots of dead batteries to be found in a post-SHTF world!
Just a thought. Sincerely, – K&S

JWR Replies: Yes, lead from car batteries could be used, but only with stringent safety precautions! “Cracking” old sulfated car batteries will expose you to highly corrosive acid and acid fumes. I’ve also read that battery lead has high toxicity from contaminants like strontium. A much safer and more convenient source of bullet casting lead is clipped-on wheel balancing weights. In a worst-case TEOTWAWKI, with thousands of abandoned cars and trucks along the roads and in wrecking yards, the easiest source of lead will be wheel weights. One advantage of wheel weights is that their alloyed composition is harder than the pure lead used in lead-acid batteries. with the exception of glued on wheel weights (which are often pure lead), the wheel weights with metal clips usually have about 5% antimony added to increase hardness–so-called “antimonious lead.” This makes them more suitable for bullet casting. (Pure lead is too soft to use for bullet casting without adding a hardener, particularly for high velocity bullets, where soft lead can be “stripped” into rifling grooves.) Needless to say, be sure to take the standard safety precautions whenever casting lead. Goggles, gloves (preferably elbow length), a heavy long-sleeve shirt and apron are musts. Also remember that lead and arsenic poisoning are both progressive and insidious, so avoid breathing lead casting vapors! I recommend doing your lead casting outdoors.