Severe .45 ACP Leading


April 22, 2008, 05:24 PM
Having a problem with really severe leading. Commercial cast bullets from two sources, one 230 RN and the other 200 SWC. One source uses wheel weights, which can mean a lot of things, and the other unknown. Both bullets seem to be of similar hardness by the thumbnail test (hard), and both lubed with the hard blue stuff commercial casters use that seems to me totally ineffective but ships well. Both also have the serious bevel base that goes with commercial cast. The leading is so bad I'm sure it's the result of gas cutting, and those beveled bases surely don't help. After a few rounds it is extensive in front of the chamber, and after a hundred or so the barrels are leaded right to the muzzle and tracks indicate the bullets are stripping and jumping the rifling completely, and results at the target confirm this. No lube star at the muzzle at all, ever. The leading is a bear to remove. Have to resort to fine bronze mesh patches. No amount of solvent or brushing will move it all. Two different guns (1911), one with a good smooth relatively new barrel. Loads are normal 800-900 fps with various powders - same result. Even 4.0 Bullseye does it. This one has me puzzled. I'd like to use these bullets, and assume lots of folks do with good success. Any thoughts for a solution? What an I missing here?

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April 22, 2008, 05:32 PM
Try another batch that is sized a bit larger, and lube what you have with Lee Liquid ALOX. Going softer along with what I mentioned could be beneficial too. Not much else you can do and from what you wrote, I'm confident a larger, better lubed slug will seriously cut back on your problems... Always has for me.

April 22, 2008, 05:46 PM
Where did you buy them from?

April 22, 2008, 06:38 PM
I don't want to hijack the thread, but if you have a lot of lead to remove, and want to get 100% of it, you may want to try the Outers Foul Out system. I've used one for years and it does get every bit of lead out of a barrel.

Takes a few minutes to set up and then clean up after but is worth it in a severe leadding case.

Google Outers Foul Out for more info.

Midway has them:

Steve C
April 22, 2008, 07:22 PM
Most commercial cast are too hard for the low pressure and velocity of the .45 acp (and .38 spl) and will not obdurate enough to seal the bore so you are getting gases passing by the base and melting lead from the sides of the bullet onto the bore. With undersized bullets you will see leading mostly at the camber end of the barrel. The hard wax type lubricant isn't the best either.

I've found that an inexpensive solution to leading with hard cast at bullets is to apply a light application of Lee Liquid Alox over the existing lube. This cleans up the bore and usually eliminates leading altogether. It also seems to reduce the smokiness of the hard lube. I usually let the bullets dry a couple of days after applicaiton so the lube is dried and not very sticky when loading.

You will need to clean your bore well. A 50-50 mix of Hydrogen Peroxide and White Vinegar poured into the barrel will chemically remove the lead. You can use vacuum line plugs available at the auto store to plug the barrel, sit it upright and pour in the mix. While its bubbling and scum is forming at the top, it is working but don't leave it in the barrel after its stopped bubbling or for longer than 20 minutes as once its through working on the lead it will start in on your bore. Pour it out into a waste container as the scum is lead oxide and toxic so the sink isn't a good place. Rinse the barrel with water, dry it out and then oil to prevent ordinary rust. If you have any copper fouling you need to remove it as lead builds on copper fouling. Any good bore cleaner with ammonia will take copper out. I use Sweets 7.62 for heavily copper fouled barrels.

cracked butt
April 22, 2008, 09:54 PM
Too hard, to small or both.

FWIW, I cast and size bullets to .452" from WWs (air cooled),use liquid alox lube, and don't have leading problems.

April 23, 2008, 07:50 AM
Thanks for all the good info. Can't do anything about the hardness but maybe the liquid Alox will work. I'll try that first, but if that doesn't work I'll probably make some dies to bump them up a thou or two and try that.

April 23, 2008, 08:18 AM
I'd be really curious about the size on them. I use straight WW's at .452 and push them pretty hard with no leading. (I'm using a Carnuba wax lube though )

If I was betting I'd say they're at .451. (I had terrible luck with the commerical blue lube in terms of leading myself)

April 23, 2008, 08:24 AM
What a great site, I've been in the shooting game for many many years and I learn on this site every day! Thanks all.

April 23, 2008, 10:56 AM
A good resource for leading issues is:

April 23, 2008, 11:42 AM
Have to resort to fine bronze mesh patches. No amount of solvent or brushing will move it all.

I'll strongly ditto Steve's suggestion of an equal mix of white kitchen vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. I have a particular .45 that is prone to leading due age and wear. About the only bullets I'll run through it these days are the ones I cast with a custom alloy mix specifically for this firearm.

Even then . . .

I use some seran wrap and a rubber band to seal off or "plug" the muzzle end of the barrel. I then put the barrel in my vice (gently, of course and with a rag wrapped around it) to hold it vertical, pour in the vinegar/peroxide mix and let it go to work. It's never failed to remove the lead--and it's easy, fast, painless. My kind of gun cleaning (and I HATE cleaning my guns even though I do it religiously after every firing).

I'll also ditto everything said about size and obturation. Size and hardness can and will cause more leading headaches than lube ever will. I'd slug the bore and see exactly what diameter you're dealing with, then mic the bullets and see where they're at in comparison.


April 23, 2008, 11:58 AM
I got the vinegar/H202 tip off a BP shooter. He swore by it. Works like a charm.

April 23, 2008, 12:57 PM
dmftoy1, The 200 SWC's run a very consistent .451, so there's the answer on those. The 230 RN's are
.452. I haven't slugged the barrel yet. I'll do that this afternoon if I can.

Steve C, The vinegar/ peroxide deal sounds like a great idea. Any danger at all of etching the steel, chrome-moly or stainless, even during normal use as instructed? I dont mean if you leave it too long.

Steve C
April 23, 2008, 01:41 PM
I've used vinegar and hydrogen peroxide on a several different barrels, both carbon steel and stainless and so far haven't had any problems. Had it begin to start to work on a carbon steel barrel when left in for about 30 minutes but the corrosion was minor and unnoticeable after the gun was shot next time. It was probably less wear than scrubbing with a metal brush.

After the lead was gone it took several passes with a bore cleaner to remove the expose carbon and copper.

For light leading a patch from one of the lead wipe away cloths pushed through on a jag works well in stainless guns.

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