How to Purify Lead for Bullet Molding

Written by scott knickelbine
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How to Purify Lead for Bullet Molding
Casting your own bullets adds authenticity to hunting with muzzleloading rifles. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Most lead ingots used in casting bullets contain impurities that can cause defects in the bullets you make. In addition, dust or other contaminants may collect in the melting pot between castings. The way to remove these contaminants -- called "dross" -- is to add a special compound to the molten lead which traps foreign material and brings it to the top. The compound is called "flux," and the process is called "fluxing" the lead.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Electric lead melting pot
  • Cast iron ladel
  • Lead ingots
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective apron
  • Flux compound (e.g. Marvelux)
  • Coffee can or other disposable, fireproof container

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  1. 1

    Measure out the amount of lead needed, place it into the heating pot and turn the pot on. Heat until the lead has fully melted.

  2. 2

    Add a pea-sized bit of flux to the lead and let it melt. Put on the protective apron and gloves.

  3. 3

    Stir the melted flux into the lead with the ladle, making sure to scrape down the sides of the pot and stir across the entire bottom.

  4. 4

    Allow the flux to float back to the surface, then skim it off with the ladle. Discard the dross into the coffee can.

Tips and warnings

  • In addition to removing the impurities, fluxing helps the lead, antimony and tin to properly alloy. It also makes the molten lead more fluid so it properly fills the bullet moulds.
  • Other popular fluxing products, like beeswax, resin or tallow, may smoke or even ignite when added to molten lead.
  • Molten lead emits poisonous vapours, which can be extremely damaging to the central nervous system. Always cast bullets in areas with adequate ventilation.
  • Never use lead without wearing heavy, protective gloves and a flame-resistant apron.

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