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lead in top barrel grooves

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Zeb 5151, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    Glock 23 .40. I am trying to save on cost by loading lead. I have been loading jacketed 155g with no problems. I am now trying lead 155g. Standard barrel leading very bad so took advice and bought a Lone Wolf barrel. I use Power Pistol powder.
    I have gone from below Min. to above Max. powder and have lead in the wolf barrel. The least lead is when I load below Min. powder but still get lead but only in the top groves of the barrel. Whatever the amount of powder the leading is worse in the top grooves.
    The other problem is sometimes not seating the bullet. Smack the back of the slide, bullet seats and then will fire.
    My jacketed were .400 and the lead is .401.
    I have tried placing a sized case in each barrel and it fits fine. Once loaded the jacketed bullets fit both barrels. When I load lead the bullet fits the glock barrel more often than the wolf, but does not fit either from time to time.
    Reference the leading top grooves, could the powder being in the bottom of the brass cause unequal pressure on the lead when pistol is in shooting position causing the top leading.
    I have tried everything I can think of. Should I just return the Wolf barrel and the lead and go back to jacketed for the best fix.
    I load with a Lee 1000.
    Thanks for any ideas on the problem and possible fix.:banghead:
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

  3. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Well-Known Member

    Use harder cast lead...
  4. snakeman

    snakeman Well-Known Member

    I don't know much about cast lead bullets but maybe you should look into gas checks?
  5. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    I have been checking each bullet with a Mic. and all are same OAL.
    Thanks but some of the bullet's will only drop about half way in Wolf barrel and all the way in stock barrel. This is done with barrels out of the gun and side by side.
    Thanks-good try.
  6. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    I was going to try a harder lead but still wouldhave the feed problum.
  7. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    Have you slugger your barrel to see what actual bullet size you need?

    Lead bullets should be 0.001"-0.002" larger than barrel size. This insures you get a good seal/fit.
  8. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    Leading in top of Lone Wolf barrel

    I thank you all for your input. I have checked everything with a mic. and the lead is .001 larger than jacketed. After reading my own post I went down and re checked everything and I mean everything. The Lone Wolf barrel is .001 smaller than the stock barell.
    I am not sure I need the grief, this idea I had to save money is not worth the trouble. I have loaded over 5000 jacketed rounds with not one problum.
    I have read many places where one is told "If you have any problem with the Wolf barrel just get hold of Wolf and they will fix it". I can not find a location or number to contact Lone wolf.
    With all I have tryed and all I have done I THANK YOU ALL but feel Wolf is the only one that can help.(MAYBE)
    Does anyone have a contact number for Lone Wolf?
    Thanks again and for now lets just use my thread a food for thought before you try to make a good thing better.:confused:
  9. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Zeb, I use Lone Wolf barrels in my Glock 22/27 with various weight 40S&W MBC bullets (18 BHN) and had good success with several different powders.

    I will post more detailed information with close up pictures after I get home from work tonight.
  10. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    You need to know what your actual barrel is. I have a 9mm that is actually a 357. Slug your barrel you may need a larger bullet to seal off.
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    This is one of the primary reasons I don't load lead. If you load lead, you are going to be dealing with leading, regardless of how light you load, or the hardness of the lead. Exposed lead will transfer.
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    You may need a softer bullet. Leading doesn't have to happen. :)
  13. Dave Bulla

    Dave Bulla Well-Known Member

    Ummm, maybe a stupid question and forgive me for asking but I've got zero idea of your experience level... but are your lead bullets lubed?

    There should be a wax like lube in the grooves. Usually commercial bullets are lubed but I've run into lead bullets for sale that were not lubed so just want to get that possibility out of the way.

    Second, most guys who shoot lead frequently talk about the need to get rid of ALL copper fouling from a barrel before shooting lead. They swear it makes a difference.

    Third, how fast are you trying to push them? You said from below min to max but what did you START with? If the first rounds you shot were hot ones and they leaded a little bit, the more you shoot, the worse it will get regardless of what velocity you shoot afterwards. A great website for cast bullet information is www.castboolits.com. You can learn a ton just by reading old posts and stickies but if you don't find what you want, post a question and you'll get plenty of help.

    Lead removal can be a b!t^h at times. Best removal methods physically strip the lead from the barrel. A favorite (because it's cheap and it works) is to buy some copper "chore boy" scrubber pads and wrap a wad of it around a brush a size or two smaller than your actual bore size and work it back and forth through the barrel. It should fit wicked tight to make it work. Just be sure to check them with a magnet because some are solid copper and some are copper coated steel which you do NOT want. Soaking with Kroil overnight before doing this helps quite a bit too. There is also a lead removal cloth called "Lead Away" by Kleenbore that works well when used with a tight fitting jag. There is also the Lewis Lead remover that works great for hand guns. It uses a brass screen and a rubber "plug" adjustable for diameter.

    Fourth, once you get all the lead out, use some JB Bore paste to lap/polish the barrel. This should help reduce future leading and will actually most likely eliminate it provided velocities are kept at sane levels, a reliable lube is used and bullets are properly sized for the bore of YOUR gun which is usually .001 to .002 over groove depth diameter.

    Lead bullets should NOT be an issue in any gun when used within their limits. When you want to increase limits, you need to adjust the alloy hardness so everything is a trade off like most shooting endeavors.

    As for your chambering issues, how are you loading the lead? Actual process that is. Are you doing it just like you would a jacketed round? Loading and shooting lead is one of those things where a ton of experience shooting jacketed can be a hindrance. You almost have to throw out all you know about reloading and start over. Two critical items to do are to chamfer the case mouths and to use a case mouth expander. This is to help the lead bullet enter the case more easily, straighter and undamaged. If you just run them in like a jacketed bullet, you will have issues with the case shaving lead off the bullet and sometimes it even sizes the bullet somewhat. This does several things. First is it hurts accuracy. Second is it can contribute to leading because these slivers often remain stuck to the leading edge of the case where they can be drug into the barrel when you shoot. It can also be an issue when any of the pieces of lead get drug inside the case as the bullet is seated. When that happens, they can become lodged between the side of the bullet and the case. This can create a lump in the brass which might be your chambering problem.

    So, get the bore spotlessly clean and lap it. Make sure your bullets have a good lube. Prep your cases by chamfering the case mouth. Use a case mouth expander to open it up for bullet seating. A nice crimp at the end of it all finishes the deal and helps accuracy too in most calibers.

    But mainly, don't get upset about it. Step back, do a little research and get your head around the idea that lead bullets are just "different" and require a few steps and considerations that don't apply to normal reloading. Think of it like the difference between driving an automatic or a stick shift. Sure the automatic is easier and requires less effort but once you learn to drive a stick, you can really have some FUN!

    I think you might be pleasantly surprised once you get the kinks worked out. Just be prepared for a whole 'nuther hobby in your life. Next thing you know, you might have a "need" for some bullet molds, handles, a smelting pot, a lube sizer etc. You start thinking about sources to scrounge lead like dentist offices (Bite wing x-rays have lead foil), wheel weights from garages, sheeting from hospital x-ray room walls, roofing, car batteries etc.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  14. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Sorry about the late reply ... I had to make two batches of spaghetti and chili for the office potluck tomorrow and wife wanted cast iron skillet buttermilk cornbread for her bowl of chili too! (of course, how could I say no to a wife who helps me reload. :D)

    OK, back to OP.

    First of all, Lone Wolf contact info:

    Lone Wolf Distributors Inc.
    57 Shepard Road
    P.O. Box 3549
    Oldtown, ID 83822-3549

    Phone: 208-437-0612
    Fax: 888-279-2077

    8:00am-4:00pm Pacific Time Monday-Friday

    Lone Wolf barrel chambers are tight but meant for jacketed diameter bullets (.400"). If factory rounds feed/chamber without issues, the problem is not the barrel, but your reload's finished dimensions. Lone Wolf technician told me the barrels are cut to be "snug" with factory rounds (now, that's tight). If you want to reload larger diameter bullets (say ~.401" lead or Berry's plated bullets), you will probably need to have your chamber enlarged and Lone Wolf will charge you for this service. I enlarged a 40S&W Lone Wolf chamber using P220/P400/P800 wet/dry automotive sandpaper pieces wrapped around a marker cap on this thread - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=561116

    I wouldn't as I am happily shooting lead reloads out of my Glock 22/27 with Lone Wolf 40S&W and 40-9 conversion barrels. Read on.

    I shoot lead reloads in Glock 22/27 using 18 BHN Missouri Bullet sized .401" (Lone Wolf barrels' groove diameter is .400") and get minimal to no leading with mid-to-high range load data. When I used to shoot harder 20-24 BHN commercial hard cast bullets, I got leading, even at near max load data.

    You see, even when using properly sized lead bullet for the barrel (.001" larger than the groove diameter of the barrel), you can get leading if you have high pressure gas leakage around the bullet. When the powder ignites and the lead bullet leaves the case neck, depending on the leade (space the bullet jumps from the case neck/chamber to the start of rifling) length to the start of rifling, some high pressure gas will leak around the bullet until the bearing surface of the bullet (bullet shoulder/base) engages the rifling and chamber pressure builds.

    Using Max OAL/Ideal OAL that will allow the bearing surface of the bullet to engage the rifling sooner will help build chamber pressure and deform the bullet base to seal with the barrel (obturation). If the bullet is harder and powder charge insufficient, you will have a lot more high pressure gas leakage around the bullet that will lead to gas cutting and leading.

    40S&W Lone Wolf barrels have "average" leade length compared to other factory barrels, but shorter than Glock barrels. Here's a picture of my LW barrel showing start of rifling.


    Since you didn't mention the make of the bullet, if it is harder than 18 BHN (especially with lighter 150 gr bullet), you'll probably need to push the bullet high-to-near max load data to deform the bullet base.

    With softer 18 BHN Missouri Bullet, I prefer to use faster burning W231/HP-38 for lower target velocities as even mid-to-high range load data seem to build chamber pressure fast enough and bullet soft enough to deform/obturate well. Below are MBC bullets I use and OALs that work well for each bullet weight in G22/27 using Lone Wolf barrels (all taper crimped to .421"-.422").


    If you want more information on how leading occurs and how to prevent/remove leading, check out this link - http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

    Me too (well, I use 2 Pro 1000s) :D
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  15. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    Dave Bulla; I will give the short story.
    Bullets lubed, new barrel-clean, scrub clean with bore brush No.9, Gunzilla and elbow grease, no copper thru barrel, started med. charge got med.leading, max.charge max. leading, min charge min. leading all worse in the top grooves. Lubed barrel, larger bell on beass no shaveing and good seat, adj crimp good crimp.
    I have tryed it all Thanks for the Ck list.

    bds; Tight fit. Missed one bullet with powder. Primer sent bullet approx 1/3 way down barrel, tight fit. Max. OAL 1.135 ck'd with mic. I see you worked the barrel. I think the cycle problum is in the .400 to .401. This is the only dimension changed for cycling. Still cant figure the leading in the top grooves. I would expect some leading but not this.
    Mistake on bullets cheaper than d. and should have been Missouri, theres a story but no for now.
    I bought as a drop in and go. Wolf must know the .401. Thanks for the contact info, I will se what they say.
    Thanks to all
  16. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    UPDATE; I tightened the crimp and loaded 50 rounds. only one hang and with very little help it seated, Might have the cycling solved.
    I shot the gun getto style-held on side with ejector down- and the leading was again at the top or right side of barrel.
    Whti shot shells the use of wads keep the powder even so as to keep a pattern. Do ya think the powder being at the bottom half of the brass that this could throw the lead off enough to put the pressure on the top grooves there by leading the top gtooves.
    Might need wads in my pistol rounds. lol
    Looks good on blackboard, do ya think I need a powder that would fill in the gap in the air space in the brass?
  17. popper

    popper Well-Known Member

    Crimp just to remove the flare. Is lead in curly strips, small flakes or just in the leading edge of the rifling? If it were always in the top portion of the barrel, relative to the grip one could suspect a barrel deformity - but you said you fired at 90 deg and leading was still in the sky direction so I wouldn't suspect bbl problems. I don't know about PP, but HP-38 and Unique don't show any powder position sensitivity in my 40 loads. I use the MBC #5. You didn't state your load, is there a lot of room left in the case? Is PP too slow, i.e. not bumping the base, burning in the bottom of the barrel?
  18. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    Popper: The brass useful capicity for .40 is 69cc's. I have 155g bullets. I started with 6.7 grains of PP leaded up heavey after 30 rounds. I went high Max 7.0 I went 7.1. lead bad after 15 rounds. I dropped back Min.is 6.7 and I backed off to 5.6. this left the least lead and pushec 100 rounds thru. this is leaving extra space in the brass. I think I am going to try to get som 180g Missouri bullets and this will fill some of the empty space. Then if I go back to 6.7 PP which is 59cc this should use up the space. All I need is about 100 of the 180g bullets and I'll see what that does. I have some low qulity lead which does not help. The lead is in solid strips from land to land in two grooves approx 1 in long, have to scrub t it out for it is weilded to the barrel.
  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Whether or not you have 100% load density won't make any difference in leading.
  20. Zeb 5151

    Zeb 5151 Member

    Oh no, there goes my whole day of deep thought, and a blackboard of equations.

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