Totally leaded up Star 9MM....


September 15, 2008, 04:34 AM
I went to the range yesterday and have been trying to clean the lead out of my Star 9MM ever since. I used Armscor cheap-o reloaded ammo w/all lead bullets for the first time. It'll be the last time, too. There's so much lead in there that I can't see the rifling.

I did some Googling and opinions vary widely about solvents. Is there anything good I don't know about? This is one big mess and I need chemicals or something! Anyone have a suggestion? Thanks.

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Urbana John
September 15, 2008, 05:13 AM
Suggest using "elbow grease"!!!! and quite shooting lead


September 15, 2008, 05:22 AM
90 minutes of elbow grease didn't make much of a dent. I'm looking for maybe a little chemical help to maximize my elbow grease.

September 15, 2008, 05:48 AM
I have not tried it, but I have heard people suggest, using a few strands of those copper pot scrubbers like you get at Walmart. Cut a few strands loose, wrap them around a jag, and run it through the barrel. The copper is softer than steel, so it won't hurt the barrel, but the edges of the strands will cut the lead loose.

September 15, 2008, 06:51 AM
woad yurt

I used to use a product called Bore Scrubber that worked really well; I think it's still available commercially. But over the years I have really cut back on the amount of lead bullets that I shoot, using FMJ ammo primarily. I also remember some old timers telling me to finish up a range session shooting FMJ after you're through with the lead ammo. Supposedly the copper jacket would take a good portion of the lead out of the barrel when you shoot it. Hope this helps and good luck getting the lead out.

September 15, 2008, 07:22 AM
Get yourself a Lewis Lead Remover. Hoppes sells their own version.

It's a short rod with a loop for a handle. On the other end, there's a fitting that takes a slightly bigger than bore sized circular piece of brass screen. There's also a fitting for cleaning the forcing cones of revolvers. The Lewis does an excellent job of removing lead. I handload and keep my loads down to bullseye velocities, so I don't have leading problems. When I did, the Lewis took care of them.

Your best best is to start loading your own ammunition at the velocities you want, using the hardness and quality of bullets you want.

September 15, 2008, 10:21 AM
I'd ditto the Lewis or its current equivalent from Hoppe's. Wrapping an old bore brush with rather coarse copper or bronze "wool" will work, too, as was suggested above.

A chemical solvent you might try is Shooter's Choice Lead Remover. Works nicely in most cases, but may still require some scrubbing and/or repeat applications on really severe stuff.

The only absolutely-no-brushing option that I can think of would be the Outer's Foul Out III. It's an electrolytic device that uses a charged anode rod suspended in a special fluid to remove metal fouling in a process very similar to conventional electroplating. It works on even the most extreme deposits, but does take some time. The device itself is rather costly, as are the specialized formula solutions for copper and lead, but the result will be a bore absolutely free of metal fouling with no scrubbing involved.

September 16, 2008, 08:49 AM
Thanks, folks. I'll be trying some of your suggestions in a few days when I get the time. I will never, ever use unjacketed ammo in that gun again, or in any other one that has any apprecialble muzzle velocity. It's a nightmare.

September 16, 2008, 11:07 AM
woad, in the 9x19 and most other "pistol" cartridges lead projectiles can be driven at the same velocity levels as jacketed bullets of equal weight in SAAMI 'standard' pressure loads given the right alloy and propellant.

My guess is that the alloy used for the bullets in that "remanufactured" ammo was too "soft" and 'stripped' under the rotational forces generated by the rifling. There might've also been some 'flash' melting on their bases from powder gases for the same reason.

My rule of thumb for gauging the relative "hardness" on lead projectiles actually uses my thumbnail. Very simply speaking, the less effort it takes to put a scratch in it, the lower the top velocity should be. If you can get a few sample bullets in a range of alloys of known content and relative hardness levels it's pretty easy to develop a 'feel' for it with some practice.

Even if you don't reload you can still shoot more and save an appreciable amount on ammo by using non-jacketed projectiles in most handgun cartridges. The 'trick' is in finding the ones where the bullet alloy is compatible with the velocities it's being asked to deliver.

September 16, 2008, 11:09 AM
I use cast wheelweights as my 9mm cast bullet load, and driving at normal velocity, get zero leading.

September 16, 2008, 11:33 AM
FWIW, I shoot nothing but lead. The savings are worth a bit of extra cleaning time to me.

The suggestion to wrap a bore brush with a section of Chore Boy is correct. Just make sure it's the Chore Boy brand. There are others out there that are plated steel, not soft copper.

Pull the Chore Boy donut out from the center. It's actually a tube, rolled up.

Cut a 1" wide section from the tube.

Split that section into 3 parts. Wrap one around the brush and save the other two.

Dampen the wrapped brush with bore cleaner and insert it into the barrel.

Work it back and forth several times over the leaded area.

Now run an unwrapped brush in the barrel normally.

Run a dry patch through the barrel and examine the bore with a bright light.

Repeat if any lead remains.

September 16, 2008, 12:52 PM
LRN I got from Missouri Bullet for the .45s in my group. We all get leading, in Smith 1911s, XDs, Rugers, etc. It comes out easily with the chore-boy trick, and the Lewis tool if heavily leaded. Well worth the savings over plated or jacketed.

Birchwood-Casey sells a lead-remover cloth, impregnated with who-knows-what. Cut a patch, put on a jag, and rub back and forth. Good for light leading, but not what you describe. Chore-Boy should get it. We use it dry, so it won't be lubed by solvent and slide over the lead.

BTW, NRA's C.E. Harris did the physics years ago showing that bullets can't 'strip' the rifling.

I've read that if your leading is mostly near the muzzle, you're driving your bullet too fast. If it's near the breech, your alloy is too hard or your charge too low, so that the bullet doesn't upset and fully obturate the bore, permitting gases to get by and soften the lead so it smears. Our leading was all right at the breech, at the origin of the rifling. We upped our charge, and the leading moved about 1/2" to 1" forward and was less pronounced and more easily removed. Interesting.

September 16, 2008, 03:49 PM
I agree use the Chore-Boy dry. Works like a charm.

Blind Bat
September 16, 2008, 11:36 PM
I bought some of that Armscor 9mm stuff from Aim. It took me over an hour to get the barrel clean after firing only half a box. Unfortunately, it was the only non-FMJ 9mm I've ever fired so I now have a prejudice against lead bullets. :(

September 16, 2008, 11:47 PM
I reload 147gr lead bullets to 900fps in my 9mm 1911 and get no leading.

September 17, 2008, 01:04 PM
Well, I'm off to the gun store to get some of the items you've recommended.

To those of you who've suggested I try lead-only ammo again to save money, I politely decline. This pistol is not one of my range toys that gets many, many rounds through it frequently. It's more for maybe house defense use. Sometimes it's with me on the job, too, and it's usually loaded with jacketed ammo.

We shot a bunch through it this one day because I had two shooting newbies with me and I wanted a pistol there that was accurate, simple & dependable, one that they could cut their teeth on. That's why I got a bunch of cheap-o Armscor ammo, so they could bang away. Never, ever again will it get lead-only ammo, not from me, anyway. This clean up process is too much of a hassle.

To all: Thanks for the suggestions!

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