Check for lead fouling @ range w/out causing a heart attack? - THR

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Old July 22, 2015, 09:36 AM   #1
Join Date: July 6, 2015
Posts: 25
Check for lead fouling @ range w/out causing a heart attack?

My parents prudently sent me to a hunter's safety course when I was a teen, and so to this day even the thought of looking down the barrel of a gun makes my hackles rise.

When I must inspect my revolver at home during cleaning, I check and double check, even though it feels stupid with a revolver. I can't not do it.

So I'm going to the range this weekend to work up a new handload, and I'm realizing that I will need to check my barrel for lead fouling between each charge weight increment; leading and accuracy drop will be my determining factors for my final load.

How do I inspect the barrel of my revolver at the range without giving the range master or fellow shooters a heart attack in the process?
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Old July 22, 2015, 10:06 AM   #2
Join Date: August 30, 2011
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Use a small mirror and a flashlight.

Or take a bronze/copper cleaning brush with you. Shoot one load, then check to see if the brush brings out some lead. Should help in making sure that the lead that you attribute to one load is not really left over or cumulative with lead from a prior load.
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Old July 22, 2015, 10:21 AM   #3
Join Date: July 6, 2015
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Hadn't thought of a mirror, but I was planning on bringing my boresnake to clean out between loads.

I was going to load and fire five of each charge weight, check for lead, clean, and fire the next five.

I'll pick up a mirror before I go. =)
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Old July 22, 2015, 11:42 AM   #4
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I honestly do not think you will be able to detect leading after a few rounds. There will be powder debris carbon whatever.

Or simply tell the Range Officer what you are doing
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Old July 22, 2015, 11:46 AM   #5
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Agreed with Rule3. How many rounds do you plan to fire of each charge weight increment? 'Cause unless a particular bullet is shedding significant portions of itself as it goes down the barrel, you aren't going to be able to tell much from just a few shots. When I think of combinations I've used that caused "bad leading" that's lead accumulated over several hundred (or thousand) rounds. Not like 5-10 shots.
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Old July 22, 2015, 01:20 PM   #6
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It would have to be a seriously mis-sized bullet made from some very wrong sort of alloy to produce any significant leading that you'll be able to see through the powder fouling in only a few shots like this.

As for looking down the bore? You'll find that the mirror does a poor job of letting you see what you want to see.

Also it's a REVOLVER! That means the cylinder will be hinged out or removed,depending on a hand ejector or single action style, so the barrel is now only a tube of metal with funny lines inside it. You'll want to use a white card or light to shine up light from the breech end so the cylinder won't be in place anyway. How much safer do you need it to be?

I'm all for gun safety. But there comes a time when we over think this stuff. I'd suggest that worrying about barrel inspection on a revolver when the cylinder is clearly removed or swung open to allow a light source from the breech is one of those times.

By all means inform any RO there might be so if they catch a half glimpse of what you're doing from the other side of the range that they don't panic. But otherwise just give the concerns a break once the cylinder is open or removed.
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Old July 22, 2015, 01:29 PM   #7
Jesse Heywood
Join Date: December 9, 2009
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I usually work up a load with 10 rounds, pick the one or two I like the best and load 50. That is enough to establish a leading pattern. And since most leading occurs at the rear of the barrel, I inspect the rear of the barrel at the range. Looking down the barrel at my range is verboten. They also take a dim view on ear removal.
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Old July 22, 2015, 01:32 PM   #8
Join Date: November 27, 2008
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How do I inspect the barrel of my revolver at the range without giving the range master or fellow shooters a heart attack in the process?
I think your hunter safety course may have given you the wrong impression. There's nothing wrong with looking down the barrel of an obviously disabled or disassembled firearm. If your revolver is a single-action, take out the cylinder; if it's a double-action, swing the cylinder out.

I am an RO at our range, and I don't give it a second thought when I see a member inspecting a revolver barrel under such circumstances.
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Old July 22, 2015, 01:33 PM   #9
Join Date: November 25, 2014
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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A bore scope is the only thing I can think of.
But if it's a revolver, swing out or remove the cylinder. No way it can be fired like that .
A semi-auto, simply field strip and remove the barrel. No way a barrel will fire without the rest of the gun.
I have seen , and also done , barrel checks at the range, done properly with parts open or removed , not a concern or heart attack situation at all.
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Old July 22, 2015, 02:12 PM   #10
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A dentist type mirror. (think Harbor Freight)
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Old July 22, 2015, 03:05 PM   #11
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Most ROs are savvy enough to know what you are doing. I would just tap the closest RO on the shoulder, explain what you are doing and that the cylinder is open and unloaded. I don't think they are likely to take issue with it.
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Old July 22, 2015, 04:01 PM   #12
Join Date: July 6, 2015
Posts: 25
Thanks gents. I'm well aware that a revolver is safe with the cylinder out, I guess this was more of a "range etiquette" question than a safety question.

As for the barrel leading, I guess I'll just be checking for what I like on this visit, then loading a bunch and checking for leading after more rounds.
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Old July 22, 2015, 06:19 PM   #13
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As you've found, cylinder open, use a bore light, no big deal.....
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Old July 22, 2015, 06:23 PM   #14
Join Date: April 2, 2014
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I just make sure the cylinder is empty and then swing the cylinder out. It should be pretty obvious to anybody paying attention that the gun is unloaded. As always don't point the gun at anyone else, no fingers on trigger, etc. Unless you are pointing the gun at someone else I see no cause for concern,
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Old July 22, 2015, 09:25 PM   #15
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Wow. I'm so happy I get to go into the National Forest and shoot as much as I want. Nobody is there to ask permission of.
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Old July 22, 2015, 10:01 PM   #16
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Get a LEWIS LEAD CLEANER--about $30
It pulls a copper or brass screen ( about 1" in dia.) down the barrel
If any lead in barrel it shows immediately on the screen
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