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Lead Alternatives

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Big Epp, In 2012 Massachusetts prohibited the use of lead weights and jigs under 1 ounce and I've now become comfortable with several alloys.  www.rotometals.com blends them and their service and shipping is excellent.

The first I tried was their 281 alloy which is 58% bismuth/42% tin. The 281 refers to the melting temp and that's too low for a full cure with powder paint. When their Lead Free Bullet Casting Alloy Bismuth based became available I switched to that and, with a melting point of 395º, I cure powder paint at 325º for an hour. This finish passes my "bounce it off the loading dock test." One thing to remember with any alloy containing bismuth is that you must use mold release (Drop Out or other dry graphite spray) because bismuth expands as it cools. Set your Lee pot's dial at 3.


Although even more expensive than the no-lead bullet casting alloy, I wanted to try pewter. This is cake to cast - no expansion- although I still use Drop Out release spray on the mold. 


I had also wanted to try casting with a ladle so I bought Lee's smallest open pot and their smallest ladle. I leave the other alloy in Lee's bottom pour Production Pot IV.



Ladling molten metal takes some practice but after a few dozen pours I had the hang of it - especially after spraying the ladle with Drop Out to keep it clean.

Set the pot's heat adjustment dial at 7.5 for this pewter alloy.

It's good to keep lead out of the environment. After 8+ years of alloys my wallet is thinner but production goes smoothly and loons still fly over my home waters.

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