Deteriorating Lead Bullets

I believe we all are experiencing the issue of deteriorating lead bullets especially on my older rimfire cartridges. What do you guys do to persevere and protect them that it does not happen. Regards

Following with interest.

Best thing I’ve found is Renaissance wax.

Thanks Rich I found an similar alternative which is available here in South Africa which I will try on one sample. Regards

Please be very careful with the lead when it is as flaky as this one looks.
breathing even microscopic bits of it is hazardous to your health.

I have seen that type of corrosion quite a few times, but it has not happened to mine… yet?

I strive to keep the humidity level between 55%~62% in my home year round, which seems to help,
and I have some lead bullet cartridges that have been sitting in an uncovered display for over 40 years. I think having moving air in that room also helps, (Tricks I learned LONG ago for old photographic equipment to avoid lens fungus).

Storage is important …dissimilar metals accelerate the breakdown of one faster than the other …We know about brass or coppers effect on lead or lead/zinc …add steel, iron nickel or other alloys and we have a whole new ballgame

I’ll second the notion on moving air. My storage cabinet is oak (bad) but I mounted a couple of computer fans in the back to keep air moving through the cabinet and have had no problems beyond a greater than usual accumulation of dust toward the front of the drawers.

Keep brass and lead away from oak is my #1 tip, as well as cheap corrugated cardboard.


I also believe the quality of the lead is an important factor. & although have no proof, have seen early rounds stored next to modern which show no deterioration while the modern starts to go-off.

I got a contaminated one with some stuff i got. Will it contaminate the rest of my collection??? Should i quarantine this cartridge?

no, assuming your talking about the lead oxidation.

Hi Pete, yes lead oxidation.

was getting worried:(:(:(

"Keep brass and lead away from oak is my #1 tip, as well as cheap corrugated cardboard."
Lead corrosion (as opposed to patina formation) is generally caused by exposure to organic acid vapors, such as acetic acid, in air. Exposure of Lead to even trace levels of such acid vapors in air can cause the formation of white Lead Acetate given extended exposure. Some wood is prone to generating acetic acid vapors. The best way to prevent formation of Lead Acetate on bullets is to seal the lead surface. Waxing can do that.

I’ve seen mention of using a wax to coat the lead bullets. If the bullet already shows a lot of white oxide what should you do? Just coat that with wax? Or try to rub it off with a cotton cloth or paper towel and then but on wax? Or is it better to just leave it alone and keep it with the white coating of lead oxide?

Joel, you won’t be able to use a cloth or paper towel to wipe that away if it’s as bad as the one shown, all you’ll do is create a particle storm & that is very dangerous to breathe.

I’ve never tried to coat one with wax, so I can’t give advise on how-to.

If I had one that is as bad as the one shown in this thread, I would just let it alone.

From what I have read, the Lead Acetate is very soluble in glycerin. I have a number of bullets which have the white coating and I’ll try the glycerin treatment if I can find some glycerin.

for dennisK

you can find good glycerin in a pharmacy or a vape ecig store for cheap price