Leading With Hard Cast Bullets


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hinton03
December 28, 2011, 08:36 PM
I have been reloading for 25 years but just starting loading handgun in the last year.

I have been shooting a lot of cast bullets through my 1911's and 38/357 pistols and wanted to know if I should be concerned about leading in the barrel; the loads are not maximum velocity, but are not target velocities?

Is there a particular product that can help prevent leading or should I switch to copper jacketed bullets?

Thanks

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rcmodel
December 28, 2011, 08:50 PM
Slight leading is pretty much expected.

It should not progress to the point of filling the rifling grooves, or be hard to remove with normal cleaning procedures.

Lead won't shoot well without it getting there first.

If you are buying bullets, there is not much you can do about the hard bullet lube they use.

If you cast & lube your own, Alox bullet lube will usually stop leading in it's tracks.

rc

res7s
December 28, 2011, 09:08 PM
You can relube them with Lee Liquid Alox or White Label X-Lox. That will help. Buying bullets from a supplier that offers the right diameter for your guns is good too.
http://www.montanabulletworks.com/pistol_bullets.html This is just an example. It's not an endorsement.

You can learn most of what you need to know on this site. http://www.lasc.us/IndexBrennan.htm

http://www.lsstuff.com/lube/liquid-x.html

Striker Fired
December 28, 2011, 09:16 PM
I had some bad leading in a couple barrel and found a source of bullets that were sized another .002" bigger so they were .001 over my actual slugged bore dia.After that the leading mostly went away.I am also starting to tumble lube my bought bullets so it helps out. The hard lube that is already on the bullets can't do a real good job at pistol velocities.

AABEN
December 28, 2011, 10:00 PM
You could also Moly cote them if you do it only takes very very little to do the job. I power my 38 357 44 45 and MOLY cote them. If you do it do not do it in door for the moly will go every where. HARD on the lungs Even with the lid on.

SlamFire1
December 28, 2011, 11:24 PM
I have had "hard cast" bullets lead more than softer bullets.

I think very hard lead alloys do not obturate well and gas cutting occurs.

Most of the commercial cast bullets I use are about 13 BHM.

ColtPythonElite
December 28, 2011, 11:28 PM
A little lead is no big deal. A piece of copper Chore Boy wrapped around a bore brush and stoked thru the barrel a few times after each range session takes care of it.

35 Whelen
December 29, 2011, 02:06 AM
I have had "hard cast" bullets lead more than softer bullets.

I think very hard lead alloys do not obturate well and gas cutting occurs.



Exactly.

35W

glockky
December 29, 2011, 10:00 AM
Check out this guy. http://www.mastercastbullets.com/productpricelist.html

He sells the 14BHN bullets which has almost done away with me leading and they are cheap. He is also great about sending your samples. He just sent me 100 free 45's to try and 100 38's you cant beat that. Just give him a call him name is Mike.

PapaG
December 29, 2011, 11:32 AM
For revolvers size the bullets to the throat (chamber end) diameter, irregardless of bore size. Vastly oversize throats won't let the bullet slug up to fill the throat, allows gas cutting and often horrendous leading.

BigN
December 29, 2011, 12:37 PM
I shoot lead out of both the 357 and 44 mag. Some leading does occur but you just have to scrub the barrel out good. I found that I need not clean any better or worse than regular jacketed bullets. If you like to clean the guns, it won't be an issue. It will build up though if not regularly cleaned and then it will be an issue for accuracy or taking 2 hours to clean it.

Sam1911
December 29, 2011, 12:48 PM
Brad (a member here who owns Missouri Bullet Co.) has provided this handy guide that explains how to figure out what hardness you should be using for your load:

http://www.missouribullet.com/technical.php

Walkalong
December 29, 2011, 08:32 PM
He uses 20,000 CUP for .45, but many loads, especially the soft target loads, produce much less pressure than that. 12 BHN is more like it for soft target loads in .45. Same for .38 Spl which operates at even lower pressure than the .45.

.45 is easy. I have never had leading in .45's using various commercial cast bullets and then my own cast bullets.

For .38 revolvers, the fit is most important. The bullet needs to be a tight slip fit to the throats, and the throats need to be .001 or maybe .0015 over groove diameter. (Often called bore diameter) If you have this, any reasonable BHN bullet will not lead the bore.

Folks, and some bullet casters, have fallen in love over the years with "harder is better", but it often causes more leading.

Match the size, match the BHN.

bds
December 29, 2011, 09:04 PM
Folks, and some bullet casters, have fallen in love over the years with "harder is better", but it often causes more leading.

Match the size, match the BHN.
+1. I used to shoot 20-24 BHN various commercial hard cast bullets in 9mm/40S&W/45ACP and got leading and figured it was just a part of shooting lead bullets.

I was getting good accuracy and no leading with 18 BHN Missouri 200 gr SWC (IDP #1 (http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=57&category=5&secondary=13&keywords=)) and 5.0 gr of W231/HP-38 in various 1911s/M&P45 and thought 18 BHN was "soft" enough.

When I got a PT145 with an oversized factory barrel, 18 BHN bullet caused leading and erratic shot groups. When I tried 12 BHN 200 gr SWC (Bullseye #1 (http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=56&category=5&secondary=13&keywords=)) with the same 5.0 gr W231/HP-38 load, leading was eliminated and accuracy returned. Even with lighter 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot load, I get no leading and good accuracy.



I ... just starting loading handgun in the last year ... 1911's and 38/357 pistols and wanted to know if I should be concerned about leading in the barrel; the loads are not maximum velocity, but are not target velocities

Is there a particular product that can help prevent leading
Yes. Many factory barrels are oversized and especially if you shoot lighter target loads, softer 12 BHN is the way to go to eliminate leading and maintain accuracy. For .38 Spl, Missouri Bullet offers them in 12/10 BHN (http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=5&secondary=9).

Here's a very good reference resource for cause/prevention and elimination of leading - http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

Striker Fired
December 29, 2011, 09:35 PM
I shoot many 38 bullet out of my two Beretta barrels because they are .357 measured su I need .358-.359 sized bullets.18 Bhn is working fine for them.

x_wrench
December 30, 2011, 09:26 AM
the big thing about shooting lead bullets thru firearms is fit. fit is king. if the bullet does not fit TIGHT, nothing else really matters. you are going to have trouble with them. the bullet diameter HAS to be actual bore size, or a thousandths or two larger. cast bullets can be a great cost savings, but there is a learning curve. there is a great cast bullet web site, that can help with this if you are so inclined. they have helped me tons! i probably would not be casting my own for almost everything i own if not for them. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/

capreppy
December 30, 2011, 09:35 AM
+1 to fit. MBC's 9mm's are sized to .356 and I get some leading. Purchased some when Mastercast bullets was out of their 9mm. Mastercast is sized to .3565 and my leading is reduced.

bds
December 30, 2011, 10:31 AM
the big thing about shooting lead bullets ... the bullet diameter HAS to be actual bore size, or a thousandths or two larger.
I absolutely agree and endorse slugging the barrel and using lead bullet diameter .001"+ larger than the groove diameter of the barrel.

For my situation, M&P45 and Sig 1911 have .451" and PT145 has .455" groove diameter factory barrel. It's one thing to get 45ACP bullets sized at .456" :D and I wanted to keep all the 45ACP reloads the same size and powder charge (5.0 gr of W231/HP-38) so they will work in all the pistols.

The 12 BHN 200 gr SWC bullet (Bullseye #1) was the solution for me as the same range/plinking loads (5.0 gr W231/HP-38 and 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot) now work well in all the pistols without leading while producing very accurate shot groups.

I have doubts whether 4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot with 200 gr SWC bullet (2004 Alliant target load) producing 805 fps and only 9,400 PSI would deform/obturate the bullet base of harder/higher BHN bullets to prevent leading and produce accuracy. It is by far my wife's favorite 45ACP load (and you know ... "When the wife/mom is happy, everybody is happy." :D).

grubbylabs
December 30, 2011, 11:25 AM
I really want a hardness tester. I have yet to have a problem with leading, but it would be nice to know. In my 44mag, 45-70 I shoot water dropped WW in my 45auto I shoot air cooled WW. I am really thinking about softening up my 45 auto loads. I do not get any expansion on them.

bds
December 30, 2011, 11:45 AM
How about a Lee hardness tester? http://fsreloading.com/html/xcart/LEAD-HARDNESS-TEST-KIT.html

Lee Lead Hardness Test Kit will determine the exact Brinnell Number of an alloy in a simple 6 step process. Included is the Lee Pocket Micro Scope

41 Mag
December 30, 2011, 01:37 PM
I really want a hardness tester. I have yet to have a problem with leading, but it would be nice to know. In my 44mag, 45-70 I shoot water dropped WW in my 45auto I shoot air cooled WW. I am really thinking about softening up my 45 auto loads. I do not get any expansion on them.

I did a lot of looking and reading about the different testers, pro's and con's. About the only con I found about the one below was it took too long for someone to come out with it.

Hardness Tester (http://www.castingstuff.com/cabinetree_llc___lead_testers.htm)

It's built like a tank, and is easy enough to use, even I managed to get it right the first time. The thing I really like about it is the different ways you can measure things, as well as the different things you can actually use it to measure, if that makes any sense.

Yep it's a bit higher but it is simply about foolproof to use and the numbers are easily checked against the chart which comes with it.

35 Whelen
December 30, 2011, 01:43 PM
I did a lot of looking and reading about the different testers, pro's and con's. About the only con I found about the one below was it took too long for someone to come out with it.

Hardness Tester (http://www.castingstuff.com/cabinetree_llc___lead_testers.htm)

It's built like a tank, and is easy enough to use, even I managed to get it right the first time. The thing I really like about it is the different ways you can measure things, as well as the different things you can actually use it to measure, if that makes any sense.



+1

http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/lt.jpg

I have one of these and it's a great, well built tool. Highly recommend it.

35W

grubbylabs
December 30, 2011, 04:09 PM
Well how much is it?

Never mind found it.

AABEN
December 31, 2011, 05:19 PM
I would like to thank thes people for ther posts GLOCKY 3=SAM1911= X WRENCH=35 WHELEN. I am think about NOT powering any more lead. This will hwlp me.

evan price
December 31, 2011, 09:20 PM
You can get a good estimate of hardness using graphite artists' pencils. There's a chart on Castboolits forum we've developed. Basically a #2 pencil (HB) is roughly BHN15 which is the same as 92/6/2 "Hardball" alloy. The other various hardness pencils will determine BHNs harder or softer.

918v
January 1, 2012, 11:41 AM
The reason commercial casters use hard alloys is to keep all the bullets nice through shipping, where they bang against eachother and deform. There is no reason to use that hard of a bullet. Missouri's 12 BHN bullets are hard enough for any handgun application short of the 454 Cassul at full throttle.

bds
January 1, 2012, 01:07 PM
USPS workers sure do "rough handle" the shipping boxes as they often arrive with tears/rips on the outer boxes and inner MBC blue boxes often arrive dented at the corners. Even with the cross-country semi-truck journey to the west coast from Missouri, these are how the MBC 12 BHN Bullseye #1/#2 look compared to 18 BHN IDP #1 when they arrive at my door steps. The heavy plastic bag Missouri Bullet uses to contain any box tears/bullet spiils seems to do a good job as I have not had any bullet spillage/loss.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=155864&stc=1&d=1325441661


Here's close up of bullets. They were pulled straight from the boxes and slight roughness you see on the bullet surfaces are extra lube particles.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=155858&stc=1&d=1325439468

Bullet surfaces after extra lube particles were wiped showing not too much dimpling or damage done to the bullets during cross-country transport.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=155865&stc=1&d=1325441661

dardascastbullets
January 1, 2012, 02:39 PM
You can make your own (extremely accurate) hardness tester from a steel ball bearing. I reference 'Cast Bullets' by Col. E.H. Harrison USA (ret.). The article is on pages 29 & 30. The book is published by the National Rifle Association and the Library of Congress Catalog Number is: 79-89301. I will highly recommend this book to all that want to and are shooting cast bullets.

918v
January 1, 2012, 03:14 PM
BDS,

When you compare the appearance of Missouri's 12 BHN bullets to LaseCast, there is no contest. LaserCast look like they were machined on a lathe out of stainless steel, then beadblasted with fine grit glass. They are much more presentable (pretty to look at).

I prefer Missouri, though, because they are more gun friendly and accurate with the pooh butt loads I use.

Metal Tiger
January 1, 2012, 03:58 PM
Just wanted to second the recommendation to have a look at the Los Angeles Silhouette Club web site. Sepcifically the page on cast bullets here:

http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

I spent an afternoon last week reading through a lot of good info there. They talk a lot about the hardness of lead and the formulations to get there. Great stuff.

Thanks dbs for your postings here on this thread and to all the others. I have to say for a little lurking and snooping around will yeld tons of great information. Thanks guys. You all "ROCK".

bds
January 1, 2012, 04:03 PM
918v, appearance of bullets is one thing but I am a subscriber of "Holes on target speak volumes" and "Accuracy is everything".

I have shot mostly 20-24 BHN cast bullets for many years and while I could push them faster, experienced leading below max load data. At mid-to-high range load data, accuracy suffered.

With Missouri Bullet's 12/18 BHN bullets, I like having the flexibility of using mid-to-high range load data for most of my lead loads as they are loaded to lighter target velocities but still produce accurate shot groups (A good example is 200 gr SWC with 5.0 gr of W231/HP-38). Even using faster burning powders like W231/HP-38/Promo at lighter target loads, I do not experience leading with .355", .400" and .451" groove diameter barrels. With 12 BHN 45ACP bullets, even in oversized PT145 barrel (.455"), I can shoot the same .452" sized bullets with lighter target loads and I do not get leading - makes it simpler to keep the same load for all of my 45 pistols.

I am currently testing 40S&W lead bullets in Glock factory/Lone Wolf barrels and don't plan on doing much shooting at max load data. For me, being able to shoot lower pressure mid-to-high range load data target loads in higher pressure 40S&W is an extra insurance for those that have pressure concerns using range brass that's been reloaded multiple times. ;)

mdi
January 1, 2012, 04:46 PM
In my experience, proper bullet to throat fit is much more important than worrying about what BHN can be assigned to the bullet. For revolvers, measure the cylinder throat (pin guages or slugging is best. can't get accurate measurements with calipers) and size/shoot bullets the same size. Example; my Ruger has .431" cylinder throats and a .429" groove diameter. I size my bullets to .431" and have virtually no leading with wheel weight alloy throughout "Special - Magnum" load pressures. Same with my Dan Wesson (.430" throats/.430" bullets) and my S&W 629 (.430" throats/.430" bullets)

dardascastbullets
January 1, 2012, 04:56 PM
In addition to the document that I previously mentioned, I will also highly recommend 'The Art of Bullet Casting' from Handloader & Rifle Magazines (1966-1981). The ISBN # is:0-935632-07-7 (Hardbound) or #0-935632-08-5 (Softbound).

918v
January 1, 2012, 05:00 PM
In my experience, proper bullet to throat fit is much more important than worrying about what BHN can be assigned to the bullet.

Except that doesn't stop leading all the time, especially when you have a bore constriction. It certailnly does not stop leading of the revolver frame and the cylinder crane. Just ask my S&W's.

bds
January 1, 2012, 05:21 PM
I agree that proper bullet-to-barrel fit trumps BHN, but for my PT145 situation, where could I get .456"-.457" sized 45 bullets? :eek:

After some thought, a simpler solution of using softer 12 BHN bullet sized at .452" was the answer for me as my M&P45 and Sig 1911 have .451" groove diameter barrels. Now, I can shoot the same loads in all the pistols and not experience leading and not contend with different sized bullets.

If you have various regular and oversized factory/aftermarket barreled pistols (and many factory barrels are oversized), using lower BHN will allow you to use the same loads without having to adjust sizing of bullets. Missouri Bullet even offers 9mm 147 gr bullet (http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=153&category=9&secondary=8&keywords=) in 15 BHN.

For shooters who have oversized barrels and want to shoot plated bullets, instead of Rainier bullets that are sized same as jacketed bullets; I point them to Berry's bullets (http://www.berrysmfg.com/products-q58-c58-Bullets.aspx) that are sized similar to lead bullets. X-Treme bullets (http://xtremebullets.com/plated.htm) offer 9mm bullets sized at .355"/.356"/.357" and 45ACP bullets sized at .451"/.452". ;)

mdi
January 2, 2012, 01:56 PM
Proper fit has fixed most (all) of my leading problems. ANY BHN bullet too small will lead the throats and barrel. I haven't experienced it yet but, bullets, of any BHN, larger than the throats can cause leading in the throats. My lead inventory consists of lead from BHN 6-8, to about BHN 18-20, and some lynotye I've not tested, and for my Magnums I've cast/shot bullets of all these BHN hardnesses and the only ones to fail are the improperly sized for my guns (usually too small).

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