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Slight leading issue in 38

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Reefinmike, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    Ive been secretly been living with a leading problem for months and Id like to try to kick it! Im using a lee cast tumble lube 158gr(well, actually 160.5ish) boolit. lead content is approx 75% clip on WW's and 25% stick on ww/various range finds soft lead. the bullets are quenched right out of the mold(seems to have helped reduce leading). I then weigh out 150, and tumble lube them with 50 drops of 7:3 alox:mineral spirits, size them down for .3605 to .358 and relube with the same 50 drops of diluted alox per 150 boolits. The boolits are seated in a 38 case with 3.4gr 231/hp38 and a very minor roll crimp.

    The guns I shoot them out of are a 6" taurus 66 357 and a taurus 605 357 snub. In the 66, after about 50 shots, and running a brush through quickly to show the lead, there is slight visible leading along the edges of the groves starting at the beginning where the barrel necks down and turns to rifling. maybe 5/8" down the actual rifling of the barrel. after 150 or 200 rounds, this worsens a good bit and streches down maybe the first inch of the barrel. lead isnt filling the groves, just chunky on either side. Also, i can see visible leading on the face of the barrel where it comes (almost) in contact with the cylinder as well as lead spatter along the backstrap directly above the cylinder gap. The chambers are clean and clear of any lead or excess fouling. lockup on all 7 chambers is tight on this gun and the cylinder gap is about .008", some tighter. On the snubby... well, put 50 rounds through it and you'll have lead smeared down the whole length of the barrel. lockup is tight as well on the snub and cylinder gap is .0045"

    This hasn't been a HUGE issue, but it would be nice to resolve. I typically just shoot a cylinder of plated magnums through after each box of cast to clear the lead out. This does a good job and keeps me proficient with the hotter loads. It used to be worse. I started quenching the boolits and using a bit more alox and that has cut down on the leading noticeably. This weeks range trip I was rushed packing up my range bag to get there before close and forgot to bring a box of magnums so I just pumped 200 cast 38's through it checking periodically for excessive leading. I finally got around to cleaning it today and after soaking the problem area in hoppes for a half hour, it took a good 15-20 minutes to get the chunks out.:banghead:

    any ideas?
  2. flipajig

    flipajig Well-Known Member

    Instaid of sizing your boolet to 358 and they are tumble lube boolet just load them and shoot them. Most of your commercial cast are sized to 358 your gun mightike them a little bigger.
    Have you slugged the cylinder or the barrel?
    Start there I size my 9mm at 357.
  3. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    when not sized, they drop at .3605... not sure is squeezing it down .0035 is ok? i'll admit, I havent slugged the barrel on the 66. the snubby slugged in at .357 on the dot.
  4. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    I just slugged each chamber. all were equally as difficult to push through and all came out the same size they went in... .358"
  5. plateshooter

    plateshooter Well-Known Member

    If I am going to shoot a lot of lead through one of my revolvers, I clean the barrel with brake cleaner then put a "thin" coating of Lee Liq Alox in the barrel with a patch. Seems to eliminate the problem in my lead shooters with the loads that I use.
  6. Stormin.40

    Stormin.40 Well-Known Member

    I have the same issue with my S&W 642 .38 snubnose, although takes me a lot longer to get the lead out that what you are experiencing, I have used numerous cleaners and aftersoaking it still takes time with a brush wrapped with Chore Boy. I use commercial cast bullets and have had better luck with harder alloys, I tried some swaged bullets and they were horrible.

    Are you sure you are getting all the lead out? If you are not starting with a clean barrel you will lead much more easily.
  7. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    There's your problem. When you say "quenched", I am assuming you are water quenching them right out of the mould. With that alloy, your bullets will have a very high BHN, i.e. they're too hard. Simply no need make your bullets that hard for your application. Air cool them and you will likely have better luck. I use bullets with a BHN of less than 12 in my .357 Magnum all the time without leading issues. Hope that helps.

  8. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Well-Known Member

    Too hard a bullet and too light a charge is a recipe for leading. The bullet base is not expanding enough to get a good seal and the hot gases are vaporizing the lead and depositing it on the barrel. A softer/bigger bullet, a higher pressure load or combination of the 3 will help reduce the leading.

    To clean out lead, get a bore mop, not a bore brush and wrap the chore boy/bronze wool around it so that there is a tight fit in the bore. It shouldn't take more than a minute to get that lead out. You want to scrape the lead out with the strands of copper, that's why you want a tight fit. It won't hurt the steel/chrome barrel. The lead dust will come out with each swipe of the mop, that's why it would be a good idea to do this outdoors.
  9. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    Air cooled bullets smeared lead 3" down the barrel on a bad day. Quenching has helped. Ill have to try out a higher charge. Just stinks I have 3,500 of these light leaders made up
  10. floydster

    floydster Well-Known Member

    I use the Lee 158 gr. SWC cast with 50/50 WW and pure lead, add a 12" strip of 40/60 solder and water drop, I use this bullet in my 38 SPL. and 357 mag with very minimal leading if any. This is with a 10 lb. pot.
    I push these bullets slow or fast, don't matter. I use two heavy coats of alox after sizing to .358.

  11. Edarnold

    Edarnold Well-Known Member

    Since you have a bunch of this ammo already loaded, you need to fix the problem with these before worrying about changing your load. I concur with the idea of pre-lubricating the barrel: if the first shot leaves lead in a completely clean bore, you've already lost the battle. A swab of diluted Alox, or a spray of Moly lubricant will give the first rounds a slippery surface that will allow the lube on the bullets to build up their protective coating in the bore.

    As a diagnostic, are you getting a 'star' or ring of lubricant on the muzzle after shooting a session? If not, this particular bullet may not be getting enough lubrication from your current technique to suit your guns. Getting optimum results with cast bullets and lube is as much an art as a science, despite what the lube vendor says the same treatment hardly ever works perfectly for every gun.

  12. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Well-Known Member

    I always start with a lead free barrel. the prelubing is a good idea, ill have to give that a try. there is never a star at the muzzle, its usually black after 200 rounds from my rather hefty alox application!
  13. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    If that doesn't work and your bullets are sized correctly, I'd take a good look at the lube. I use a Lyman Lubrisizer and use White Label BAC lube in the lube groove. I think this makes for more lube available.

  14. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    You should size your bullet to be 0.001"-0.002" over your slugged barrel size. Which would make it a min of 0.359"

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