I've Got Leading


December 4, 2010, 09:58 PM
Farely new to loading lead in my handguns and could use some advice.

Loaded up a bunch of Missouri Bullet 180gr TCFP for my 10MM and 40 S&W. I have shot lead out of my DW 10mm before but never my CZ PO-6.

Lets start with the 40 S&W load.
Mixed brass
180gr MBC TCFP with a BHN of 18
COAL 1.125
CCI #500 SPP
AA #7 7.9gr
Crimped with the Lee Factory Crimp die

This load cycled perfectly in my PO-6 with minimal smoke and good accuracy. I did not get a chance to shoot any of these over a Chrony so I do not have velocity info. When I got home I was surprised to see a barrel full of lead, well kinda surprised. lead is the nature of the beast and it needs to b minimized, yes.

So, that brings me to my questions. I need to reduce the amount of leading this powder/bullet combo leaves behind, where to start?
Switch Powders? I got lots.
Increase or decrease the charge ( 8.3gr is Max)?
Skip the Lee Factory Crimp Die?
Try a softer bullet?
Go back to Jacketed?



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Hondo 60
December 4, 2010, 10:34 PM
Here's a perfect example of why you'd want to use a chrony.

Leading happens when you don't get a good seal between the lead & the barrel.
Too hard? maybe. with a BHN of 18, that's one you'd really wanna have over 1200fps.

I'd increase the charge a bit (in increments) (with a chronograph to test the effectiveness of the increase).

Good luck & stay safe!

December 5, 2010, 12:10 AM
My thinking on this: the lead is too soft, or the speed of the bullet is too high, heats melting the lead. As mentioned by Hondo, not much in the way of a seal, too much heat getting around the bullet, causing leading. Just my thoughts.

December 5, 2010, 12:44 AM
1) what is the groove diameter of the barrel and what diameter are the bullets?
2) where is the leading?
A clue to what is causing the leading is where the leading first begins to appear.
If it appears near the chamber, chances are that bullet diameter or hardness are the cause. A diameter too small or an alloy too hard will allow high pressure gas to leak past the bullet, which erodes the bullet and leaves leading near the chamber.
If the leading first appears on the leading edge of the rifling (if you imagine the bullet being pushed through the barrel, you will note that one edge of the rifling does most of the work of imparting a spin to the bullet. This is the edge you see when you look through the barrel from the breech end), the bullet might be too soft or the velocity too high.
If the leading appears in the second (front) half of the barrel, the bullet is running out of lube. You should see a star shaped pattern of lube accumulate on the muzzle. This is an indication that there is a little excess lube.

December 5, 2010, 02:19 AM
If the leading is at the end of the barrel you are running out of lube. Since I know Brad uses good lube that's probably not the case.

IMO you are not pushing the bullet fast enough to seal the barrel off from hot gases. I would suggest upping the velocity and see what happens because an 18 BHN bullet is harder than most reloaders give credit for.

Accurate Arms caliber specific load data lists a 175gr SWC and a 185gr LRN bullet. The Max for each of AA#7 is 8.4gr and 8.2gr. That would probably make the Max for your 180gr bullet 8.3gr AA#7. Both those loads are marked "Major" so I would say they will probably be fast enough to work well with those hard cast bullets. Of the Accurate powders your choice of AA#7 is probably the best choice IMO.

Please keep us updated on this one...

December 5, 2010, 07:48 AM
I'll try and answer a few questions.
The lead is not at the end of the barrel, it is near the chamber and down the bore. Bullets are .401, I do not have the barrel groove diameter, yet.


December 5, 2010, 10:05 AM
The lead is not at the end of the barrel, it is near the chamber and down the bore. Bullets are .401, I do not have the barrel groove diameter, yet.

Bullets are not bumping up and sealing. Since Missouri Bullet only lists 18BHN in .40, you need more pressure. (Or get Brad to make you some in say 15BHN) I think you will be able to stop the leading with a bit more powder unless your bore is excessively big or the FCD is squeezing the bullets down.

Since the bullets are relatively hard, and need a good bit of pressure to bump up,, I would skip the FCD with your load as is and see if it helps. The brass wants to spring back while the lead does not. (Just something to try, so all you FCD lovers can just chill out for now)

Then I would start upping the powder charge if that made no difference.

December 5, 2010, 10:06 AM
Walkalong and I posted at the same time. :D

As suggested, you could try a higher charge for more pressure, but I think your powder's burn rate is too slow to properly bump (obturate) the lead bullet base and you are getting gas cutting (since the leading is at the chamber end and rifling, but not at the muzzle end).

If you have other powders, I would suggest a faster pistol powder more in the range of W231/HP38/Unique/WSF/HS-6/No. 5.

For me, I prefer WSF for full-power 40S&W loads and W231/HP38 for light/mild target loads. Some may disagree, but generally I do not consider powder slower than HS-6 for semi-auto pistol use.

December 5, 2010, 10:09 AM
and good accuracy You dont get "good accuracy" with real leading. You have normal fouling.

December 5, 2010, 12:34 PM
but I think your powder's burn rate is too slow to properly bump (obturate) the lead bullet base and you are getting gas cutting Good point. I too, use faster powders than AA #7 with .40, but AA #7 should work OK I would think. AA #5 is a little more appropriate IMO. I like Universal in .40, giving it the edge over AA #5 due to it's ability to handle a wide range of velocities.

Steve C
December 5, 2010, 02:06 PM
I'm going to assume that you are not shooing a Glock with their factory polygonal barrel as that's a recipe for leading regardless of bullet hardness.

If your gun is relatively new the bore could be rough enough to collect the lead. A copper foulded bore can collect lead on the copper fouling. I've found that running several hundred full metal jacketed rounds through a new pistol first and then cleaning with a good copper remover like 7.62 will reduce if not eliminate leading. You should be able to do the same thing quicker by lapping the barrel to smooth it out.

Now that you have leading you need to remove it completely. Best way to ensure that is either through a electro chemical Foul Out or you can use some 50/50 white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide mix.

If you use the vinegar/hydrogen peroxide make sure to watch the reaction and pour it out and rinse with water when it quits bubbling after a few minutes, indicating the lead is gone, because after that it will begin to attack the steel. Follow up with patch and solvent to remove any copper fouling finished by a light coating of oil.

A clean and smooth bore will usually not lead or lead very little bit that is easily removed with normally cleaning since it doesn't stick as hard.

December 5, 2010, 02:40 PM
If your gun is relatively new the bore could be rough enough to collect the lead.
Good point. Not sure about OP's DW and CZ barrels, but newer semi-autos like Glocks now come with polished and coated barrels.

I still make a practice of shooting several hundred rounds of jacketed factory ammo to "burnish" the surface of any new barrel's rifling, but that's not necessary for polished and coated barrels.

A shooter I shoot with has several Kimber stainless models and his polished barrels are like Teflon coated barrels, have yet to see leading build up in the barrel! It's another reason why I like the polished finish on the Lone Wolf barrles - makes cleaning a lot easier/faster. Now for the PT145 barrel, burnish that barrel well before you shoot lead. :D

December 5, 2010, 04:58 PM
I shoot AA powders with 40 S&W. I have found that AA#5 is generally better than AA#7 unless you are loading to maximum loads. But I have shot both and have not had any leading.
You mention you are using Lee's Factory Crimp Die. It has been know to swage the bullet down when doing the final full length crimp. Load a dummy round completely through the FCD, then pull the bullet and measure the true finished diameter. If it is below .400, then this is probably the cause. Also definitely slug your barrel to make sure it is not oversize. These things happen.


December 5, 2010, 06:22 PM
Thanks guys!

Today I loaded up 30 rounds with the exact same load of 7.9gr #7 and did not use the Lee Factory Crimp Die, I crimped with the seating die. I fired these 30 rounds along with 50 rounds of 10mm loaded with 9.8gr #7 and no LFCD.

Both of these barrels looked the same, streaks of dull lead from one end to the other. No concentrated build up and no chunks of any kind, Just steaks. They cleaned up with only a few strokes with a nylon brush wrapped in some Chore-Boy. The crap that the Chore-Boy pushed out was just some very fine silver/lead colored dust.

Is this even leading or is this as 243 says, just normal fouling?

As this was the last of my #7, I will try some of the other powders I have on hand. Where would be a good place to start, Unique, Red Dot, Blue Dot, Longshot, 3n37, Silhouette, 231, WSF, WST, AA #2, AA #9 ?


December 5, 2010, 06:28 PM
I too would suggest a faster powder for lead in the 40S&W. Since you can regulate pressure by powder choice and rarely bullet hardness when purchasing lead bullets.

I am with bds and Walk on this one. Just one other caution; if your firearm has an unsupported chamber, like a Glock, be careful trying to get maximum velocity with the faster powders. I did and ended up with a Browning High Power minus a magazine and a stuck slide!

The reason above is why I went with a 180gr plated bullet and a much slower powder, SR4756 for my 40S&W loads. Pressure was low and velocity high. Only powder to give better velocity with less pressure was Longshot.

All of this aside, I shoot lead bullets to 1800fps from a Marlin 1894 and 1400fps from many different handguns with NO leading. I cast them myself and can select the hardness I want by varying alloy. What I have found plays a much bigger factor whether I get leading or not is fit not harness. If I get a good fit, I can be a bit "sloppy" on hardness, so to speak. 12BHN to 18BHN will get any shooting you want done from a handgun, period.

To put this in perspective, I have 240gr LSWC 45Colt loads from a 5 1/2" Ruger that give me 1400fps while producing 1850fps from my Puma rifle. They are sized to .453" too. Bigger than most folks get when purchasing lead bullets from a commercial caster.

The other thing that many have made comment about when shooting lead after copper jacketed bullets is copper fouling. If it were me, I would try the electronic cleaning or use a good copper solvent before going back out.


December 6, 2010, 01:47 AM
I truly feel if you bump up the charge from 7.9gr AA#7 to 8.2gr or 8.3gr AA#7 your leading problem will disappear.

A faster powder might help too, something like AA#5, HS-6, Universal and a few other in the same burn rate range.

December 6, 2010, 01:53 AM
ill just have t0 say, listen to them. new reloader as well, but glockhead....

yea, listen to them.
40 sw...i think i love you lol.

dont use lead, raw lead in a glock btw. god this is souding silly.

the polygonal stuff will scrape away perfectiuon.
anyone wanna talk mauser.
i told you i should shut iup....

merry xmas to you all.


December 6, 2010, 03:28 PM
In the AA powders the AA #5 is the best choice for 40 S&W. I shoot cast bullets, Mostly Missuori Bullet Co. or Oregon Trail, with mid loads from their online reloading data with no leading at all.


December 6, 2010, 03:53 PM
If you got WSF and W231, try them out and see what happens with leading.

If the leading decreases, it will put you in the ballpark to fine tune your powder/charge selection.

I haven't tried No. 5 in 40S&W, but heard it to be a good powder.

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