The Uses of Lead in Sports and Hunting


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Many Sports take advantage of the properties of lead. The properties of lead including high density, malleability, ease of casting and resistance to corrosion, promote its use in both professional and amateur sports. For water based sports, lead is used for, ship ballast, diving weights and fishing lures.

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The Uses of Lead in Sports and Hunting

  1. 1. The Uses of Lead in Sports and HuntingMany Sports take advantage of the properties of lead. The properties oflead including high density, malleability, ease of casting and resistance tocorrosion, promote its use in both professional and amateur sports. Forwater based sports, lead is used for, ship ballast, diving weights and fishingluresOn Land, lead is used sports handicapping, and in golf clubs and tennisracquets. Lead Bullets are obviously a key element in hunting and targetshooting.This article will provide information on the uses of lead in various sportsand information about Nuclead Inc. a manufacturer of lead products andrelated services.Ship BallastBecause of its high density and resistance against corrosion, lead is used forthe ballast in ships and sailing vessels.Lead ballast is either external ballast, which is built into the keel or isinternal ballast which can be in many forms including lead blocks, lead ballsor lead ingots.Lead Ship Ballast is used to provide distribution of weight, to counteractbuoyancy and to provide stability. Lead ballast is used in sailboats toprovide moment to resist the lateral forces on the sail. The lead weight istypically kept as low in the water as possible to provide the maximumrighting moment that can be extracted from the given massBallast Lead comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and grades; common isMachine Lead which is around 1-4% Antimony content and the balance isPure Lead
  2. 2. External Ship BallastOn many modern vessels, the keel is made of high density lead casting,including machined or cast-in fixtures. In some cases the lead keel can becast in one piece, called a solid pattern or if it must be cast in a splitpattern. Lead keel castings can range from 100 lbs to 200,000 lbs., and cantake virtually any shape or size.Lead keel bulbs are often used in sailing vessels, these provide additionalturning moment to prevent tipping and allow the vessel to sail closer to thewind.Sheet Lead can also be used for ballast applications when additional weightis required for wrapping Lead Keel Bulbs and Fins.Internal Ship BallastHistorical forms of ballast carried inside the hull were stones or sand.However lead ballast provides a more flexible and easier to use alternative.Internal lead ballast can consist of many forms including lead shot, leadingots and lead blocks ranging in size from 10lbs and up.Lead shot is an option for ballast requirements when space is tight. Leadshot is also excellent for trim ballast applications, keel centerboard ballastfills and lifting keel applications.One piece internal lead keel castings are also sometimes used.Lead Diving WeightsDivers wear lead weighting systems, lead weight belts or lead weights, tocounteract the buoyancy of other diving equipment, such as diving suitsand aluminum diving cylinders.Lead Fishing sinkersA lead fishing sinker is a weight used to force a lure or bait to sinksometimes to the bottom of the waterway. Sinkers are made of lead, sincethe material is inexpensive to produce and mold into a large variety ofshapes for specific fishing applications.
  3. 3. For example, lead pyramid sinkers, shaped as the name implies, are usedwhen it is desirable to anchor on the bottom of water bodiesSports handicappingHorse racing weightsHorses carry lead weights during the course of a race as a form of handicap.Such a race is also sometimes termed a "handicap." The jockeys use saddlepads with pockets called lead pads to hold the lead weights.These lead riding weights are assigned by the Racing secretary based onfactors such as performances, distance so as to equalize the chances of thecompetitors.Car racing weightsLead racing weights, in the form of lead bricks or lead bars, are used inracing cars to balance the car to achieve optimal performance and to meetthe weight restrictions that the car must fall within to meet specifications.They have to take into account the weight of all materials to construct thecar: roll cage, engine, transmission, drivers seat, fuel tank, weight of fullfuel tank, weight of half empty fuel tank, oil, tires, the weight of the driver,weight of drivers equipment, and many more items. Lead racing weightsallow additional design flexibility.Lead in Golf Clubs and Tennis RacquetsCustom golf club makers use powdered lead - either as pure lead, leadoxide or litharge lead (Litharge is one of the natural mineral forms of leadoxide) - to balance and weight the clubs. There is typically a cavity in thehead, accessible through a small hole sealed with a screw. Swing weight canbe adjusted by removing this screw, adding a measured amount ofpowdered lead and replacing and securing the screw with epoxy.Lead rod has also been used to add weight in tennis racquet customization
  4. 4. Hunting and Target ShootingLead Alloy bulletsA lead bullet is a projectile. Thousands of years ago lead bullets were firedfrom slings but since the mid fourteenth century bullet has meant aprojectile fired from a firearm. The original meaning of the word comesfrom the French “boulette” or “small ball” because early bullets wereshaped that way and used gunpowder (“black powder”) for propellant.Lead is an ideal bullet material because it is high in mass, relatively cheap,easy to obtain, easy to work and melts at a low temperature, making bulletmanufacture easier.Since the invention of rifles and higher nuzzle speeds, bullets have beenmade out of several variations of lead alloys of tin and antimony. Thetypical bullet shape is now a pointed cylinder instead of a round ball.The main sporting applications for ammunition are hunting andmarksmanship/target shooting.Bullets with tips designed for use in hunting often use softer tips thatexpand to cause maximum damage to incapacitate the target and tend notto completely penetrate so that bystanders are not harmed.These types of bullets are banned from military use by convention. Militarybullets usually have hard tips or full metal jackets.ConclusionIn conclusion lead metal finds many uses in the sporting world today.