took a lead test - Shooting Sports Forum

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Old 12-15-2011, 18:29   #1
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took a lead test

well i just got my results, the doc said i have 4.1 witch is not real bad but to me any lead is not good. i was tested 1 year ago and it was 0. he also said he want to test me every 6 months from now on because of reloading. the problem is i love reloading and shooting. i shoot a couple hundred rounds on the weekends and reload on the weekdays. i cast bullets for my 9mm and 40sw, and use jacketed for rifles. when i cast i do it in the garage with the door open, it is cold and if i go outside it causes casting issues. one problem i see is my tumbler is in the basement and i know they can be a problem for lead dust, not only in the media but also the dust left on the brass after you take it out. you guys have any idea to help reduce exposure?

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Old 12-16-2011, 10:44   #2
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Metallic lead is not a problem, only lead vapor or salts. The vapor comes from casting and is inhaled, the salts from primer residue and is mostly ingested, with lesser amounts inhaled.

Wash your hands well after casting or any reloading procedure. This is the most important thing you can do. Refraining from eating, drinking and smoking while casting/reloading should be obvious, but I'll throw it in here anyway.

Wash all your brass before processing. This will remove the vast majority of the dirt, primer residue, etc. A 5-gal bucket, hot water and some dish soap will take care of that.

I deprime all cases before tumbling, using a Lee universal decapping die. Wear a mask (cheap at most drugstores) to prevent inhaling the dust. Used primers fall into an empty coffee can, which is then closed and discarded when full. The benchtop is wiped down with a wet paper towel afterwards.

Aside: If you live where icy roads are an issue, catch the used primers in a screw-lidded container and put it in your car trunk. They make great (free) traction compound on ice.

Throw a used dryer sheet or 2 in the tumbler along with the brass to hold onto the dirt and primer residue. That one thing markedly cuts down on the dust. Put the mask on when you dump and sift the media. Discard the media more frequently than you're used to doing. Bedding material for pet lizards is the same crushed walnut shells as tumbling media, usually much cheaper.

Assuming your lead pot is something like a bottom-pour Lee, fabricate a cover for the pot to reduce lead vapor (it also helps maintain melt temp). Ideally it would be something like the old asbestos tiles we used to use in chemistry labs. If you can't find one of those, a metal cover will work. Casting is typically too damn hot work to even think about a mask, and it mostly wouldn't help against vapor anyway. If you do any dip (ladle) casting, save that for when you can work outdoors.
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Old 12-26-2011, 04:12   #3
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I cast in my shop. In the wall just above my casting area I installed a 16" puller fan. I put a simple hinged cover on the outside I can lock on the inside when not casting. When I cast I turn the fan on and you can easily see all the fumes/smoke being pulled out, esp when using flux.
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Old 12-30-2011, 19:31   #4
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I cast in my garage in the summer and have a fan that pull the smoke out so it is not in the garage. If you moly coat your bullets do it out door for it will get places that will surprise you and hell on lungs.
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Old 01-01-2012, 19:07   #5
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Lead has a smell to it when casting but you won't be inhaling any lead till you've increased the heat to almost double the melting point and the pot actually boils. I've cast bullets for over 30 years but didn't have a problem till I worked at a factory that made brass plumbing fittings.
Lead is an ingredient in brass and my job was to clean and grind. My dust mask was usually hanging around my neck while drinking coffee and having a smoke like everyone else. When I smartened up and wore it, my levels went back to normal.
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Old 01-06-2012, 19:01   #6
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PigBat is absolutely right!!!!!! I'd follow his instructions to the T. It cannot be stressed too much to be very careful casting bullets and probably you would be well served with a resperator while doing it. FRJ
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Old 01-09-2012, 15:42   #7
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my buddy and i are going to get a tumbler that uses water and stainless media, Stainless Steel Reloading Supplies | Tumblers, Seperators, Media & More! i think that will be a big help with the dust from tumbling plus from what i read they might be a little slower but they work great and get primer pockets clean, and i am just going to cast outside no matter how cold. so in 6 months i will find how much that helps. thanks guys
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