Where can one purchase lead shot for speakers?


I'm putting together a new system and just purchased a pair of Von Schweikert VR4jrs. They will arrive in about a week so I am trying to prepare everything for their arrival. This is the first pair of speakers that I will own that take lead shot to improve their bass. I have no idea where to even start looking for a place to purchase the shot. Can anybody tell me where I might find some? I live on the Big Island of Hawaii and I'm really hoping to be able to buy it locally as opposed to having it shipped in since it would be very costly to do so.


You might want to read this recent thread:

Bill, Please do not use lead. Every couple of months a new thread gets started on lead fill and people still are not getting the message----no lead.

There is already a current thread on fill for speakers and stands. http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?cspkr&1243725688&read&h12&zzlFace&&#rest

Please use sand. That should not be too hard to find in Hawaii. Of course it will have to be cleaned and dried and pick out the seaweed.
Check you local sporting goods store. They will sell it for those who re-load shotgun shells. It usually comes in 20# bags. Have fun as the vacuum cleaner doesn't do well picking up dense little balls. Another though is look at box's of BB's for BB guns that might be cheaper and is larger to deal with.
Lead shot is being replaced by other, safer heavy metals like Bismuth (non-toxic).
Lead shot was banned for waterfowl years ago so a number of non toxic materials are available including steel shot. Lead is still used for targets and upland game.

BB is a size of shot. 9 is usually as small as it gets with 8 and 7 1/7 more common for targets. Gets bigger depending on game with 6,5, and 4 for ducks, pheasants etc.
I doubt that shot size makes any difference for speaker stands.

If you want shot for speaker stands find a non toxic shot. It's probably best to keep lead out of your environment. It's no longer allowed in paint or gasoline because it's a toxic heavy metal.
Aloha Bill--I'm on Oahu. If you order have it shipped via Priority Mail Flat Rate. You can ship up to 70 lbs. for $13.95 if you can get it in the Flat Rate box, that is no problem with shot. My mailman has somebody here on the his route that has shot shipped. The box has 65 lbs of shot in it, all for $13.95. You can ship VIP Bricks the same way. Last month somebody here on Gon wanted $40 to ship a couple of VIP Bricks. You can probably ship 12 VIP Bricks in the Flat Rate box all for $13.95. Buy the way the Post Office does have smaller Flat Rate Boxs. A good way to ship cables with 3 or 4 days service.
Why don 't you use steel shot. It has a density of 7.85 g/cc . Lead has
a density of 11.35g/cc. Roughly a 30% increase in weight. with lead.
100% more safe with steel shot, no disposal problems, no health risks. You could also pack with pennies although they won't pack as well. Copper has a density if 8.96 c/cc. BTW.
Break out those jars of pennies.
Disposal problems? Health risks? Do any of you eat hormone laden meat, use armor all in your car, teflon covered pans or scotch guarded carpeting? All of which are as toxic as lead IMO- GOOGLE THEM!
I'd use the lead shot with a mask and keep it for your next project if you decide to sell the speakers. Lead shot is not just used for it's mass, but also for it's vibration characteristics and shape-non ringing as it tends to absorb vibrations, turning them into heat. Otherwise use sand or both. My $.02...
Joe, Steel shot will rattle. Pennies will shake like all hell. The idea of lead is because it is heavy and soft. The best alternative is gold pellets if you want to use money...softer than pennies and won't rattle.
I agree with nice black volcanic sand on Hawaii.
A bit off topic- Nordost packaging usually states "LEAD FREE - Save our environment".
Don't use steel shot as it will resonate. I use a 50/50 mixture of dried sand and lead shot ( #6 is good). Use as course of sand as you can find. Sand used for concrete is good. Masonry sand is too fine.
A few days before you want to fill your stands start drying your sand. The simplest and least messy way to dry sand is to spread it on a piece of plywood or other flat surface. Do it in your garage if you have one. Spread out the sand and rake through with your fingers, creating a lot of furrows and ridges (more surface area). Do this raking as often as you can to hasten the drying. I use a fan also. You want the sand bone-dry. (Beware of silicosis).
Other things you'll need:
plastic funnel
a 1-cup measuring cup
coffee can or similar container to mix the sand and shot
latex gloves- rubber gloves are too bulky
a simple cloth dust mask
My Dynaudio stands came with long plastic bags to be used as liners for the columns. I think any manufacturer of stands should include these, but many don't.
Scrape the sand into a pile. Mix 1 cup sand and 1 cup shot in the coffee can or container. Don't mix batches larger than 4 cups as the shot will separate from the sand. Start pouring the mix via the funnel into your stands. I fill completely to the top. Cap off and wipe down. Discard everything correctly.

For you people that don't think lead can't be handled safely: Do not go to service stations or battery stores as there are battery carcasses containing lead plates laying around everywhere; In fact, do not own a car as you are perpetuating the use of lead-acid starting batteries; Do not go to boatyards as 95% of all those sailboats there use, God forbid, lead keels. My boat has a 7000 lb. hunk of lead hanging under it (Damn I'm feeling guilty); Do not live in a house built prior to the mid '70's' as it probably contains lead-based paint and lead solder in the plumbing.
Carry your stands and your guilty conscience into the house, set those speakers on top and start rockin' (but your stands won't).
The 50/50 mix is based on my experimentation over the years. All lead was too dead. All sand wasn't enough mass. Steel rings. Empty stands blur the mids and bass (probably Doppler effect from the speakers moving fore and aft).
And for a nice little touch, throw some Herbie's Fat Dots between your speakers and stands. Now crank up the music and let that guilty conscience melt away.
I agree with much of Hoff48 says. I enjoy low volume listening and my trials indicate that all dry sand is too colored. All steel (blasting shot) was quite interesting and lively, but also very colored. Lead shot sucks the life and vibrancy from the speaker, though a 50:50 mix with sand might not be too bad. My optimum was a 50:50 mix of sand and steel shot. Not colored, but still vibrant and lively.
Elevick, good point.
I also have the VS VR4 Jr's. A nice improvement is to use Herbie's big fat dots between the bass module and mid/tweeter module. Something about better damping of the vibrations from the bass cabinet made the mid/tweeter cabinet image better. Worthwhile tweak for approx $80. Enjoy the music.
Thanks for all of the input. I have read all of these threads as well as the previous posted threads on this subject and had no idea when I posed it that this question would elicit such a lively debate. I'm going to have to do some more research on this matter before I decide what to do. people have mentioned such products as the Lovan Black Gold and Atabites. Has anybody actually used either of these products? What was your experience with them?


If you REALLY need the weight of shot, and it IS better for a number of reasons to use STEEL, than buy larger shot and to prevent rattles, fill in with the finest sand you can buy. Refill (add sand) in a couple weeks 'cause it'll settle! The sand will take up the space between the shot.
No Rattles, either.

When I had my VR4jrs a couple years ago, I bought my lead shot at Walmart in the sporting goods department. They had 20 lb. bags. You can get one of those cheap white respirator masks at the hardware store. Just pour it in slow (so it doesn't stir up dust) and you'll be just fine. It won't kill you, and it works great. I still use it in my speaker stands.
Those who are advocating safe handling of lead shot (gloves and dust mask) are ignoring all the other problems with lead. Those being the environmental consequences of manufacturing and disposal.

The EU and US have passed strict regulations to get minor amounts of toxic materials out of electronic equipment yet audiophiles selfishly insist in using it in large quantities for mass loading.

Remember when you sell the stands or speakers you should inform the buyer you contaminated them with lead. How many of you are anxious (willing) to put this in your Audiogon ad: "Warning, I contaminated these speakers/stands with lead shot"?

Any lead or lead/sand mix removed from the items must be disposed of as hazardous waste. If it was even possible to separate the lead and sand from each other, the sand would still be contaminated and a hazardous waste.

Dust masks and gloves do not solve the biggest problems. They are not the simple solution.
I guess you dont walk across the street for fear of getting hit by a car...

The odds are greater for that or getting hit by lightning then any issues with lead shot. I'd like to ask where you get your infomation from and statistics (If you can even find any) on how many people got sick or died from lead shot...

Your arguments are totally irrelevant. Don't try to change the subject. We are not talking about cars.

I worked in the environmental field for 25 years controlling the release of toxic materials to the environment. The last 15 years were dedicated specifically to hazardous waste storage, treatment, and disposal issues.

What are your credentials?

I don't have to cite statistics. The regulations have already been passed and the toxic affects of lead well documented. Your arguments completely ignore all the regulations that have been passed world-wide to eliminate lead in gasoline, paint, electronics, etc. Those regulations were also designed to ultimately keep lead (and other materials) from landfills or incineration.

Since I started working in the environmental field in the early 1970's I have seen a dramatic change in attitudes from regulators, industry leaders and the public. Unfortunately some people refuse to change. We all pay the price for their stubbornness.
Just like the government. They make up rules and regulations without knowing what their doing. When you make statements of fact, be prepared to be called on it.

I've been around a long time and saw how eggs and milk were bad for you and then good for you again....

You keep trying to change the subject by using irrelevant comparisons. We are not talking about eggs and milk. Do you really expect that someday lead will be on the "good" list?

I don't expect to convince you of anything. Obviously you are too enamored of your own opinion to be swayed by professionals (medical, toxicologists)and other experts. I won't continue this debate with you.

I do hope to convince others to avoid using lead and to refuse to purchase equipment that has been contaminated with lead. I think anyone with an open mind who reads the above posts will realize that the lead proponents have failed to address any of the issues I raised:

1. Environmental consequences of mining and smelting
2. Disposal of hazardous waste requirements. Whether or not you agree with them, they are the law. When lead or a lead/sand mix is removed from equipment, it becomes a hazardous waste.
3. The ultimate disposal of equipment contaminated with lead.

Final words---Don't use lead fill or buy products that have been contaminated with lead fill.
Don s, your beating a dead horse. I applaud your attempts to inform those that elude the spell of common sense. Unfortunately, trying to convince any audiophilicus preposteri of anything other than what they want to "hear" will just add more Co2 in the atmosphere. I agree with you 100%.
Lead is toxic. You can argue if you want but it doesn't change the scientific fact. If you choose to ignore this fact that's your prerogative. If you want to play with it, eat it, stuff things with it please feel free to do so.
for damping speakers and stands...Again, No one can provide specifics that anyone using it for Stand or Speaker damping has harmed themselfs or the environment

The statistics are on my side. More people get hurt driving or walking across the street.

So I say if you want to use led, use it! it works well
I do agree with Don_s as his arguments are valid and make sense although not everybody will have the same notion and continue to use lead in domestic applications. Apart from laws and regulations, think about the safety of your family and loved ones. For normal household the presence of this toxic material inside speaker stands will only bring potential danger not only to adults but small children as well especially toddlers. You would never know if some of these fine particles have leaked out from the stands and exposed to the environment. Better be safe than sorry.

A bit off topic- Nordost packaging usually states "LEAD FREE - Save our environment" on a green sticker featuring a pine tree. Didn't expect the brand to be an environmental activist.
Lead as a straight metal is relatively harmless. It's the Lead Compounds that are toxic. And even then they become toxic only when taken into the body. Keep any lead shot dry, handle with gloves, and don't breathe the dust (if any). If you touch Lead - simply wash your hands afterwards. That's what I do after soldering.
For a little perspective, and a statistic for those so inclined, my personal experience.

After 40 years of daily professional exposure to lead, in totally haphazard and uncontrolled conditions, I thought it wise to ask my doctor to test my blood Pb levels at my last physical.

The test came back as 6 ug/dcl, barely above background levels.

As to disposal, lead has been re-cycled for thousands of years. Look in the yellow pages for metal re-cyclers (formerly know as junk yards). Not only will they take lead but they will pay you for in.

Some will say no lead level is safe, but they usually have an ax to grind, like a profitable law suit, a book to sell, or a career in law enforcement. (yes I am talking to you)

So be careful, use a mask and gloves, don't dump it in the yard or feed it to your kids.

On the other hand, there are other things you could use, so maybe that is the way to go.
They could not provide any statistics of death or illness related cases reported to them. They had no other statistics other than children under 6. And those stats reflect that out of 23 million children 8000 had levels higher than 10, and less then 64 had levels above 50, which is the level that can cause illness and seizures. NO reported deaths

I have the stats if you want them
I have the same conclusion as Joey lawn, someone has an ax to grind or an agenda when its related to Lead

CDC - 202-564-7873
The header was cut off, I did the research yesterday. I contacted the EPA and CDC.
Just don't eat it for breakfast every day. Sheesh, let's get real. Anything might kill you if you ingest enough of it. Loading up your speakers or stands with it will not. Putting insulation in your attic isn't supposed to be good for you either but I've never heard of anyone dying from it. By the way, when I sold my VR4jrs, I told the guy I put lead shot in them and that I was going to remove it before I shipped them. I wasn't worried in the least that the guy would "freak out" over it.
Did you try Sports Authority,Kmart, Walmart?
Also, you might try Melton's by the old Chevron and around the Harbor shops.
Except for new electronics soldered 'Lead Free' 'ROHS', etc. just about ALL Audio gear has Lead Solder.

Why is dedicating my professional career to making the world a better place "an ax to grind"? That is a very weak argument. I confess, yes it is a giant conspiracy. You forgot to include health care professionals in your list. Also include the US Government and European Union for passing laws strictly regulating the amount of toxic materials (including lead) in new electronic products.

Since you are the expert on recycling could you suggest where to recycle the lead? I looked in my local yellow pages and of the 6 scrap recyclers only one listed lead. When I called them they would not handle small, loose scrap. They did not want any part of it.

Lead is not a common item handled by scrap companies. The only common source is from lead-acid batteries but those recyclers are an entirely different species.

Mixing lead with sand is worse. Even if it could be separated, the soft lead would probably have contaminated the abrasive sand at hazardous (by EPA regulations) levels.

Spenceroo, Finding one buyer who does not care the speakers were contaminated does not mean there are not many times that number who do care and will not purchase items contaminated thereby reducing demand and the final selling price.

Steel shot and sand appears to be the best alternative. Less expensive, no (alleged) ringing, and no hazardous materials to dispose of or disclose when selling an item. There are viable options to lead. Let's use them.

Thank you to those who understood my position and realized my arguments had not been refuted or, for the most part, even addressed. You have joined the great conspiracy.
I agree 100% that lead is not a safe material. Radiation isn't either, but millions of people get X-rays every day. I'm just trying to point out that in such a small dose, the lead will do nothing to harm you by using it in your speakers or stands. On the other hand if lead were outlawed and not made available anymore, then we'd be forced to find a substitute. As it stands now, lead shot can either sit in Wal Mart, or it can sit in my speaker stands. It's an excellent dampening material. In closing, I never said there weren't lots of people who wouldn't buy my speakers because they were lead filled. I just made it known that I didn't have any problem selling them because of it.

I'm glad you want the world to be a better place and respect your determination.
This is a discussion and as you present your opinion I present mine.

Placing restrictions and limitations without proof only hurts. Just because their are government regulations doesn't mean we have to drink the cool-aid and not challenge them from time to time.

In this instance, these regulations and opinions hurt people who have lead filled stands and speakers and wont be able to sell them or have to sell them at a reduced price, due to statemts like yours or for people who want the freedom of choice to purchase lead shot for ammo,speakers and stand damping.

The US (CDC and EPA) or you cant provide any statistics on people getting sick or dying from lead filled stands or speakers or handling ammo.

I have checked the stats, facts and figures and in fact the incidents for sickness are so low that its not even documented for ages 6 and up, their are only stats for children exposed to open lead from paint at a ratio of 64 children out of 23 million getting high enough levels to have seizures.

So you might rather peruse trying to stop people from smoking, drinking, making love, driving cars, going to the movies; more of an issue than having lead in their speakers or stands

Your goal is to make the world a better place without lead, if you want to be persuasive be ready to provide statistics to back it up, not just that their are regulations by some agency that was funded to provide jobs.

I can prove their are no reported deaths from lead poisoning based on documents from the CDC and EPA.

I'll be glad to send them to anyone who wants them


"I don't have to cite statistics. The regulations have already been passed...."

This is where we part ways. This is an argument from authority and not discussion.

"Lead is not a common item handled by scrap companies."

This is just plain false. There is a ready cash market in a bewildering variety of scrap metal, including lead.

You might might want to look at this,

Source: United States Geological Survey
Link: http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/lead/

"2009" (lead )Recycling: About 1.20 million tons of secondary lead was produced, an amount equivalent to 74% of reported domestic lead consumption. Nearly all of it was recovered from old (post-consumer) scrap."

So, the recycling of 1.2 MILLION TONS of lead scrap in the US last year somehow escaped your attention.

Don_s, I suggest that overstatements and the refusal to substantiate your assertions weakens your argument.

Fin1bxn, I did not post the comments you are addressing They were posted by Don_s, addressed to me. I agree with your position.