Reloading lead rounds


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army_husbandky
April 3, 2010, 04:50 AM
I am not a first time reloader, I have been reloading ammunition for many years, but I am starting to feel some of the financial “crunch” and am trying to figure out how to reload a little more, for lack of better terms, cheaper. One way that I know that I can do it is if I change from TMJ and FMJ to lead rounds. I have always stayed away from them because I have had others tell me that if I shoot them through my pistol and don’t clean all the lead out of the pistol, then it could pit and ruin the barrel. I know that I would have to work up new loads for lead rounds, and these would be just everyday plinking rounds, but is this something that I should be worried about, is it really that hard to clean all the lead out of the barrel? TMJ and FMJ is not only getting hard to find, but is also getting more expensive. A little help here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks THR

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Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
April 3, 2010, 07:23 AM
If you are making a transition from jacketed bullets to lead then you need some information to help make the process succesful. I have an extensive amount of information on my site that will help you get the most performance out of shooting quality lead bullets with almost no lead fouling even at magnum velocities. Check out the reloading tips section on the web site at www.pennbullets.com

NuJudge
April 3, 2010, 07:59 AM
If you wish to look at using Lead bullets, go to the Cast Boolits and Cast Bullet Association websites:
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/
http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/

Shooting commercially cast bullets will save a good bit of money, but casting your own will save much more if you can get in the habit of scrounging things like Lead.

Travis Two
April 3, 2010, 08:01 AM
Lots of great information there along with the best cast bullets you will ever find bar none. Penn Bullets is my No.1 supplier.
Theres even an April Special going on with Free Shipping.

Quoheleth
April 3, 2010, 08:26 AM
I am not a first time reloader, I have been reloading ammunition for many years, but I am starting to feel some of the financial “crunch” and am trying to figure out how to reload a little more, for lack of better terms, cheaper. One way that I know that I can do it is if I change from TMJ and FMJ to lead rounds. I have always stayed away from them because I have had others tell me that if I shoot them through my pistol and don’t clean all the lead out of the pistol, then it could pit and ruin the barrel. I know that I would have to work up new loads for lead rounds, and these would be just everyday plinking rounds, but is this something that I should be worried about, is it really that hard to clean all the lead out of the barrel? TMJ and FMJ is not only getting hard to find, but is also getting more expensive. A little help here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks THR

Welcome to the world of cast lead.

The afrorementioned castboolits site is excellent, but you'll get good info here, too. Cast lead is cheaper than the jacketed stuff. I buy all of my cast lead bullets from Missouri Bullet (http://www.missouribullet.com/) - just as an example, his 158gr LSWC for .38 specials is $28 for 500 bullets. If you have brass already and are able to get primers @$3.50/100, that means your cost per 100 rounds will be @$10 (use this to figure your cost: http://www.handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp)

It will take some tinkering to find the load that works for you and your gun, but it is entirely possible to work up a load that requires little or no scrubbing after shooting hundreds of rounds. It is also possible that you turn your rifled barrel into a smoothbore, choked with lead, if there's a problem. Generally, you push a soft bullet slower (like .38 Special, for example) and a hard bullet faster (.357 Magnum, 9mm, etc.). If you push a soft bullet too fast, it "strips" while going down the barrel and shears lead into the rifling of the barrel. Too much of that will choke the rifling and accuracy suffers. It might sound intimidating, but I learned to load with cast bullets. In three years, I think I've loaded <300 rounds of jacketed ammo, but several thousand rounds of cast lead.

If the barrel gets leaded, several techniques can be used to clean it up. A brass brush with solvent gets the lighter stuff out. Heavier leading responds well with the green kitchen scrubbers, cut to fit the bore, and dipped in solvent. Really nasty fouling can be quickly knocked out with a tool called the Lewis Lead remover. I've only had one bad leading experience, and as best I can figure I grabbed the box of bullets for .38 Special velocity and tried to use it for medium-velocity .357 Magnum stuff. After two cylinders, I was throwing bullets all over my target. I opened my cylinder and looked down the bore....no rifling. Took it home, and with some elbow grease, Hoppe's, and the Lewis tool I was cleaned up in short order.


Unless you have some funky lead, lead should not cause pitting in the bore of your gun. It's a soft non-corrosive metal. I bet you've shot lots of .22 rimfire. Guess what? It's all lead. Safe, cheap, and wonderfully accurate.

So, don't be afraid or intimidated. Do a little more homework and research. Ask questions here and at the castboolits forum. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what you learn and can do with lead. Oh...Lyman has a specific cast bullet reloading manual that is pretty good, I understand. I have their pistol and revolver manual which has been very helpful to me.

Q

army_husbandky
April 3, 2010, 09:02 AM
I was reading the reloading tips from Pennbullets, yes, lots of good information, one thing that lost me, maybe I read over it and missed it, but when you get these bullets do you have to lube them, or do them come lubed? would there be any special preperations that I would need to do to get the bullet ready to be reloaded? I'm still reading through the information, so I may come across it. Also, would I have to load these bullets differently? I know with 230 Gr, 45 ACP 7.7 GR of Alliant Power Pistol is what I am currently using, would this be OK to use with cast bullets, or would I need to change the way I reload.

Again, lots of great information, starting to like what I am hearing, but I will continue on with my homework, again everyone, thank you

Walkalong
April 3, 2010, 09:51 AM
Lead bullets come lubed. If you cast your own you must lube them.

What calibers? .45 ACP would be a good one to cut your teeth on. Its very hard to get it to lead with any reasonable cast bullet. Nice one to start with and gain confidence.

Quoheleth
April 3, 2010, 09:59 AM
Quick answers...

Look at the cast bullets. If there is a colored band around the bullet, that is the lube. It looks and feels kinda like melted crayon, but it's a bit more scientific than that. Some folks like using a process called "tumble lube" where you pour a liquid lube over the bullets in a tub, roll them around in the lube, and then set them out to dry. Most commercial bullets do the former; some home-casters do it, too, but others prefer the latter. So, if you bought from Penn or Missouri the bullets would be ready to roll. Speer and Hornady's lead bullets have something similar to a tumble-lube and are also ready to go out of the box.

Cast bullets are usually .001" wider than jacketed, so you may have to bell your case mouth just a bit more so to not scrape lead/lube off of the sides of your bullets.

For data, consult your manuals (you do have a manual, yes?). It should have data for both cast lead and jacketed bullets. My Lyman Pistol and Revolver manual shows that Power Pistol can be used in both 200 and 230gr cast lead bullets. Check your manual for specific data.

Q

jmortimer
April 3, 2010, 10:14 AM
Done right hard cast bullets will not "lead" your barrel. They are easier on your barrel and it will last longer. You can always get gas checked bullets or add gas checks whcih will also prevent leading. For me, hard cast lead bullets are the only way to go.

jcwit
April 3, 2010, 10:52 AM
Correct dia. bullets, with the right lube, loaded at the correct velocity, should give no leading problems. Only cal. I have problems with is 9mm and never have found a solution. Small chunk of chore boy wrapped around an old cleaning brush and most any cleaning solvent or pentrating oil will quickly scrub out any and all lead, not really a problem.

W.E.G.
April 3, 2010, 10:57 AM
Keep velocities below 1000 FPS, and leading will not be a problem unless you have an especially rough barrel.

If you are shooting an autoloader, you may need to switch to a lighter recoil spring to get the lighter loads to function reliably.

army_husbandky
April 3, 2010, 04:48 PM
ok, did alittle more research, like I said, loading lead bullets does not sound to bad right now, still a little cautious about using lead though. The gun that I will be using is my everyday CCW, so you can see why I would be so cautious. But in my studies, I have found this little tool, Lewis Lead Remover, would that make cleaning out the barrel any easier, or would I just be wasting my money and time?

I want to apologize if I am not able to get back and check the thread as often as I would like to, I am US soldier in Iraq right now, and I know that when I get up and go to work in the mornings, everybody is probably sleeping or getting ready to go to bed. I come back and check my threads often, so if you have any comments or anything that you know will help me out in my reloading, please post, I check every morning (Iraq time) when I get up and go in on shift.

Again, everyone thank you for the help in my reloading with cast bullets endevor

rcmodel
April 3, 2010, 04:53 PM
I have about 25 handguns I have shot lead bullet reloads in for going on 50 years.
I don't own a Lewes Lead Remover, and have never really needed one.
Probably would be great for revolver forcing cones, but I just never got a round tuit.

If you own a .22RF of any kind, you probably shoot lead bullet .22 LR through it in mass quantities at 1,200 - 1,400 FPS all the time. Right?

Ever seriously lead the barrel up in your .22 rim-fire?

Just try it before you decide leading is going to be a problem.
Do it right, and it won't be.

rc

918v
April 3, 2010, 04:56 PM
If you do everything right, you will not see significant leading. Whatever you see in the bore will easily come out with a bronze brush and some lead remover solvent. Lead does not cause or even contribute to pitting. Moisture does. If you leave your gun in the wrong place, the barrel will pit whatever fouling is in it- lead, copper, carbon, etc.

243winxb
April 3, 2010, 05:33 PM
Alliant Power Pistol is not listed for lead bullets in there data. They do list Unique for 230gr lead. If you want to load a 200gr lead, Bullseye is good from 3.8gr target load to about 5.0gr. As for cleaning, Hoppes #9 still works fine for me.Wet the bore , let it soak at least overnight or longer.

Gadzooks Mike
April 3, 2010, 05:55 PM
Lewis Lead Remover, would that make cleaning out the barrel any easier, or would I just be wasting my money and time?

I've heard of it, don't use it. I shoot mostly lead at the range and haven't had any problems with leading. I'm shooting a 40 S&W automatic, loading rounds around 1000fps, and using bullets from Missouri Bullet Co. I pass a patch with Hoppe's #9 solvent down the barrel, scrub it good with a brush, and wipe it out good, then oil it. Barrel looks like new. They key is the hardness of the lead and the pressure (not velocity) of your load.

I want to apologize if I am not able to get back and check the thread as often as I would like to, I am US soldier in Iraq right now, and I know that when I get up and go to work in the mornings, everybody is probably sleeping or getting ready to go to bed.

Thanks for your service. Because of what you do, we sleep safer.

Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
April 3, 2010, 06:28 PM
I wish to also thank you for your services. As such you qualifiy for our Free Shipping on any and all orders that I provide to all service personnel and LEO's.

Walkalong
April 3, 2010, 06:43 PM
I don't own a Lewes Lead Remover, and have never really needed one.Me either.

If you do everything right, you will not see significant leading.Yep. pretty much. Usually none at all, but if there is, it's really light.

mcdonl
April 3, 2010, 11:08 PM
Not to mention the fact it is wicked fun to go from this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/mcdonl/ww.jpg

To this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/mcdonl/ingots.jpg

and Finally to this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/mcdonl/boolits.jpg

Jesse Heywood
April 4, 2010, 02:04 AM
I have the Lewis Lead Remover. It does what they say, and is great for getting the lead out of the forcing cone in revolvers. For a semi-auto I probably wouldn't invest in one.

One thing to beware is bullet lube. Some use a paraffin lube which doesn't work very good. I haven't had leading problem with the Missouri Bullets, and from reading the Penn website lube shouldn't be an issue.

army_husbandky
April 4, 2010, 03:56 AM
Well, I am using my 45 ACP as an example, that is the gun I learned to shoot and reload first, so when I am looking for items for it, normally I will start with the 45 ACP, I have lots of knowledge with it.

Still looking into the Lewis Lead Remover, but that will be for my 85UL revolver, but been looking at the "chore boy" cleaning pads, probably walked through wal-mart a thousand times, passed it up, and never looked at it, will have to check them out when I get home.

Hoppe's #9, read alittle on it, doesn't look to bad. I had one gentleman tell me about Kroil solvents, any comments on this brand? I was thinking, ok, "chore boy on the cleaning brush, maybe before hand put the solvent down the barrel, let set for 5-10 mins, then hit it with the brush, would that do the trick?

rcmodel, I have never owned a 22LR rifle, handgun or anything, I have shot them through rented pistols, but have never owned one, didn't even bother to check the barrel on the pistol that I rented.

Will also throw this out here, I have read alot of people saying that they are able to go to the range, shoot alot, and don't see any leading in the barrel, how many rounds do you usually take to the range when you go shooting? Depending on how many firearms I take to the range, I will shoot either 200 rounds through a single pistol, and if I take 4, thats about 400 rounds, through the shotgun in there, thats 500 rounds. So average I shoot about 100 rounds through a firearm on days I go to the range. But back to the question, how many rounds of cast bullets do you take to the range and shoot? do you notice after a certain amount of rounds fired do you see any changes in accuracy? Do you notice any leading after shooting off a lot of ammunition (for guys that shoot 700+ rounds in one day at the range)?

keeps posts coming, the more I read around, the more I'm starting to learn, think I might actually try ordering and loading up some to see what happens. Thank everyone

bds
April 4, 2010, 04:46 AM
I have read alot of people saying that they are able to go to the range, shoot alot, and don't see any leading in the barrel, how many rounds do you usually take to the range when you go shooting? Depending on how many firearms I take to the range

"don't see any leading in the barrel" - I will be honest and say very little to almost no leading. Since I reload a lot, I will get a bullet tilted on occasion during seating and get a lead sliver that will end up in the barrel.

For a match practice session, up to 500-1000 rounds through the same pistol (Glock 22/27 with Lone Wolf barrel) depending on the staging/target setup and for casual range practice, about 100-300 rounds per pistol. I usually check the barrel for leading after first few rounds and every 200-300 rounds thereafter (lately, if I don't see leading after the first few, I don't check the barrel at all). What I have experienced is that if you don't get leading with the first few, you won't get leading with 500-1000.

FWIW, Lone Wolf barrels come with very smooth rifling (almost look like polished) and I have only had to use Hoppes #9 soaked copper brush to get them clean after shooting lead reloads. As mentioned on many previous threads/posts, there are many variables that contribute to leading (bullet type/make, barrel, powder charge, OAL, etc.), but once you find a combination that minimizes leading with accuracy, it's great.

I can't speak for others that have leading problems since their variables are different than mine. Of course, if you duplicate my variables, you should end up with similar results.

BTW, thanks for your service. Hooah!

YMMV.

bds
April 4, 2010, 05:17 AM
The gun that I will be using is my everyday CCW, so you can see why I would be so cautious.

FYI, another plus for using Lone Wolf barrels in Glocks, is that say you want to use a compact Glock as your CCW, when you are done at the range shooting lead reloads, you simply swap out the LW barrel with your factory Glock barrel. Put another magazine full of your choice of factory JHP rounds and you are good to go!

You clean the LW barrel when you have the time or at your leisure, but you are armed with a clean factory barrel in your Glock. :D

Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets
April 4, 2010, 06:11 AM
Kroil is not a solvent but rather a penetrating oil capable of penetrating into spaces of 1 millionth of an inch. As such some have found it useful for getting in under lead and copper fouling and "lifting" the fouling out. Kroil is great stuff and we use in the shop on a variety of things. Never had the need to use it as a bore cleaner as I have better cleaners for that like Butchs Bore shine.

Bear in mind no solvent will dissolve lead it has to be removed by scrubbing it out. Mercury is the only thing that will absorb lead but that is far to dangerous to use and once again not really necessary.
Proper removal of all copper fouling first by a good solvent like Sweets 7.62 followed by a prelubing of the barrel with proper fitting bullets and good powder choices will alow you to shoot a lot (hundreds of rounds) each time you go out with minimal clean up afterwards.

Never had the need for a lewis lead remover either. but forcing cones can be an issue if they are rough or uneven. Gunsmiths have cleaned up many of these by recutting and polishing the entrance to such guns that have needed it. Brownells even sells the tools necessary if you need to do the job yourself.However you are many steps away from such action as you just need to get underway to see how everything goes first. If it's not broke lets not fix it applies here.

Vimes74
April 4, 2010, 11:06 AM
mcdonl, Just wanted to say I really love that photo set. Makes me want to get some smelting equipment and start scouring yard sales. :D

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