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Barrel Leading Question

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by youngda9, Apr 3, 2010.

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  1. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    I've read that by shooting lead bullets that you can get leading in your barrel, and that gas checks are recommended for higher velocities. I have a few questions about that. I will be shooting lead out of my 3" Ruger SP101 .357.

    Can I obtain high enough velocity for this to be a problem with at 3" gun?

    At what velocity does this become a problem typically?

    How quickly does leading become an issue...5, 50, 500 rounds?

    What is the symptom of leading(decreased velocity, increased pressure)?

    If I clean my gun after every range trip is it even anything that I need to look out for or care about?
     
  2. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    You can find the answers you need on my website at www.pennbullets.com
    Look under the reloading tips section and I detail out all the information you need to use quality cast bullets at high velocities without the need for gas checks.
    I can also provide you with some specific data that will also assist you in your goal of shooting cast lead bullets well for your application.
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Tons of info here at CastBoolits as well.

    Wish it had been around when I was learning to load lead. ;)
     
  4. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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  5. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    5 specific questions and 3 people responding pointing me to their bullet selling sites...anyone care to take a shot at answering the questions asked?
     
  6. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    youngda9, leading depends on many variables, especially at 357 magnum velocities and your questions require more complex answers - That's why you were referred to reference sites. But, here is my "short answer" attempt:

    Yes

    Generally around 1000+ fps, but depends on the bullet type, bullet-to-barrel fit, alloy mix, BHN (Brinell Hardness Number), etc. - See reference sites for more detail

    Depends, it could happen with the first round, the last round, any round in between or even with every round.

    Erratic projectile performance (keyholing, inconsistent shot groups), coated rifling, really irritated reloader/shooter, etc.

    If you get leading in your barrel, you should investigate why the leading is occurring - cleaning the leading in the barrel after each range trip is simply treating the symptom, not the cause - not very High Road.

    I hope this helped.
     
  7. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    BDS....Thank you.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    It's not the velocity that can get you in trouble here nearly as much as fit and hardness level.

    Again, there is much more to it than velocity, and many variables that change the velocity where it can become a problem.

    5 or less if everything is wrong. 500, and many more, if everything is right. Lots of variables.

    Generally terrible accuracy. Pressure will be affected if you continue to shoot a heavily leaded, and getting worse, bore.

    Like what? Clean it. Lube it lightly. Put it away.

    Yea, two of the folks who posted links sell bullets, but they also have some good info on their sites. Info you need. I don't sell bullets, but I did link to a great source of info. I had to order books and glean info from mags like G&A, Handloader etc. No internet for me back then.

    There is so much involved in shooting lead for various calibers that no one can give you an easy definitive answer to 5 simple questions that don't begin to cover it. You really do need to research and read about lead and then you can ask some very informed questions that will get better answers and also help you a great deal more because you will have a general understanding of what you are asking. :)
     
  9. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    The information posted on the site is for everyones benefit. The information is long and detailed and somewhat technical and would take up far too much room and time to duplicate it all here. It would provide you with the information you desire. You don't have to buy anything to get the information.
     
  10. MissouriBullet

    MissouriBullet Member

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    Never mind, then. Was trying to be helpful without having to re-invent the wheel for you. And I referred you to lasc.us, which assuredly does not sell our bullets.
     
  11. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    So from reading all of the information it sounds like if I shoot 5 test shots with the lead I already have, measure the velocity, and then use the equation I saw on one of the sites should tell me what hardness that I need in order to stay out of trouble. Does that sound about right?

    Optimum BHN = CUPS / (1422 x .90) This seems like something tangible that I can use...is this a "standard" equation that others use...I never saw this before.

    Thanks for all the info.
     
  12. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    I shoot full house 357 and 44 Magnum cast lead bullets with no gas checks and get no leading, as well as 45acp and 9mm among others.

    Just a properly fitted bullet and the correct hardness is all you need.

    The only gas checks I shoot is out of my 500 Handi-Rifle at over 2100fps and I don't get any leading there either.
     
  13. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    I have had zero problems with leading using MBC bullets and following the BHN formula. I have shot some loads that listed as 1,200 fps.
     
  14. bds
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    bds Member

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    Thankfully, many manufacturers have already done the math/testing for us and published load data for lead bullets. Also, hard cast lead bullet manufacturers work to give us reloaders the right mix of lead alloy to minimize leading - they experienced/know what will minimize leading and that's why Brad and Robert referred you to their websites, not just simply to sell their products. If you start out with known Brinell Hardness Number and the weight of the bullet, you should come close just by varying the powder charge/OAL to get good results (that's what I do). But you can get as technical as you want.

    I shoot with other reloaders who shoot their 357 magnums reloads to 1200 fps without leading, but when pushed for information, they will admit only a certain combination of variables will result in lead reloads that don't lead the barrel. I do not load lead bullets to 357 magnum pressure/velocities (only mild 38 special loads), but a recent practice session of shooting 500 rounds of lead 125gr 9mm with 4.3gr-4.6gr W231/HP38 at 1.125" OAL out of a single pistol did not result in any leading (Glock 27 with Lone Wolf conversion barrel). I can vouch for 18 BHN Missiouri bullets not leading in my pistols. YMMV

    I have experimented with lead bullets in early days of reloading and got leading by pushing them to near max FMJ velocities. I also found certain powders lead more than others. When I backed off the powder charge, the leading decreased. Now, I can reload around 3%-5% less max load data and not get leading. With a little test load development, you should be able to find a combination that will minimize leading for you.
     
  15. Texasgunlover

    Texasgunlover Member

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    leading problem

    While it has taken me years to find what shoots aceptable and what leads has been a tedious task indeed.Trial and error seems to be my middle name,but I can without hesitation say that LEWIS LEAD REMOVAL KIT is the best money can buy.It works very quickly,and pays for itself after one use.
    I've got a kit in my BOB just incase because all boolits are not made equal.
    Hope this helps
     
  16. Gadzooks Mike

    Gadzooks Mike Member

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    No, it isn't a standard. It's actually BHN=PSI/(1422 x .90) And the reason for that is that BHN is measured in kilograms per square milimeter. To convert that to pounds per square inch, you multiply by 1422. 90% keeps you safely under the max pressure.

    CUPS doesn't actually exist, except what one might be in on a Friday evening. CUP stands for Copper Units of Pressure and doesn't convert easily to PSI, but you can use this to get pretty close: PSI=(CUP x 1.516) - 17,902

    Joe Brennan Jr's writings on www.lasc.us clearly uses PSI and not CUP (or even CUPS).
     
  17. Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets

    Robert Palermo /Penn Bullets member

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    There are limitations to using pressure formulas and bhn numbers to determine an optimum alloy. BHN numbers simply by themselves are not truly indicative of a particular alloys strength which is actually the more important factor. Not that these formulas aren't useful to a point but one has to understand that there are more things going on than just BHN numbers and pressure.
    As BDS has said the manufactures have done much of the work and calculations and have incorporated it into the finished products. There are differances among us that cannot be quantified by sheer bhn numbers alone.
    Home casters have more limitations when dealing with materials of unknown origin and composition. Its possible to obtain a high bhn number but the mix is so far out of kilter that it performs poorly. Other alloys that measure lower BHN numbers but higher alloy strength can actually outperform higher BHN alloys of lower strength.
    My most recent details of BHN numbers was recently added to the site under reloading tips.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  18. bds
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    bds Member

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    BHN - alloy strength ... I do not cast lead bullets so my understanding of the lead alloying process is zip / nada ... I have tried to explained this to other new reloaders as concrete mix that may have a bit more sand is still better than a batch of proper ratio of cement/sand, but one that has not been mixed well enough with dry clumps ... the well mixed batch with more sand may stay solid but the less mixed batch with dry clumps will fall apart ... :uhoh:

    I am glad I don't cast lead bullets. :D
     
  19. shootinxd

    shootinxd Member

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    Hi Youngda9,I have been reloading for a couple years now,just started casting and reloading those.If your into reloading then this is the next step.You will learn alot you never thought possable.Every gun,load,bullet,powder will change weather or not they lead.
     
  20. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    I have re-loaded for years, but always with copper jacketed rifle and pistol bullets. I just recently bought my first 1000 lead bullets, originally for a .38 that I sold recently and bought a .357 that I want to shoot some hot lead loads through. So I am trying to figure out how far I can push the lead I bought that wasn't to a particular hardness. The 125gr lead bullets I have are a BHN of 18 I just found out from the manufacturer.
     
  21. shootinxd

    shootinxd Member

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    If you bought commercial bullets,then the lubing,sizing is already done.You still need to slug the barrel and make sure bullet is somewhere around .001-.002" larger than your bore.Make sure and check the powder manufacture for charge amount.There is alot of infoe/knowledge on cast boolits.com.Well worth the time.
     
  22. youngda9

    youngda9 member

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    Does anyone have any .357 magnum loading data for a lead 125gr bullet using Unique powder...I am having trouble finding this data.
     
  23. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    I suggest you purchase the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. It gives all kinds of info regarding lead bullets and load data for many bullets. It however does not give data for the specific 125 gr. bullet but then we do not know what 125 gr. bullet you are referring to. It does give data for 121 gr and 133 gr. bullets which should suffice.
     
  24. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Wow, it took till post 21 for someone to tell him to slug the barrel first. That is what needs to be done before anything else. Once that number is known then you can proceed. Your bullets need to be sized .001 or .002 over your bore diameter for best performance. If you match the correct diameter to the correct hardness at the right velocity, you will have negligable leading.

    I finally got it nailed down in my 357 Ruger Gp-100 and from mild to wild I get no leading, just a light grey wash. I clean the barrel about every 1000 rounds if it needs it or not. Mostly it doesn't, but the pistol is real grubby after 1k.
     
  25. prickett

    prickett Member

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    As a newbie bullet caster myself, I am FIRMLY in the slug the bore first camp. I've been fighting leading for several months. Finally, I slugged the barrel and found each of my 9mm's have different diameter barrels. So, bullets that don't lead in one gun will lead in the others.

    Find a bullet that is .001 to .002 larger than your bore. Hardness is WAY overrated. Quite a few folks cast air cooled wheel weights (which are 5 to 7 BHN less than the formula says is required) without getting leading. I can't remember what the formula's BHN was for 9mm but it was probably double what I'm shooting.

    Finally, lube seems somewhat important too. I've not yet had luck with liquid alox lube, while the same rounds work fine (i.e. no leading) when using NRA 50/50.

    Buy an Outers Foul Out unit to delead your barrels while you sort everything out.

    In answer to your specific questions:

    >> Can I obtain high enough velocity for this to be a problem with at 3" gun?

    Yes. If your bullet is undersized, you can get leading in a .45 ACP (much lower velocity than a .357). BTW, its not really the velocity so much as the pressure. A 9mm has higher pressure (i.e. harder to get no leading) than a .357.

    >> At what velocity does this become a problem typically?

    At almost any reasonable velocity if the bullet is undersized.

    >> How quickly does leading become an issue...5, 50, 500 rounds?

    Depends on how out of whack your bullets are. I've had leading in as few as 20 rounds and it was SIGNIFICANT leading

    >> What is the symptom of leading(decreased velocity, increased pressure)?

    Never checked on these type symptoms - only saw a thick coating of lead in the barrel when getting home. But, you most likely will see a lack of accuracy as the lands lessen due to lead build up. Also, since the bullet is undersized to begin with, you will see poor accuracy and possibly keyholing.

    >> If I clean my gun after every range trip is it even anything that I need to look out for or care about?

    Depends on the amount of leading. After some of my outings, I sure wouldn't want to put additional rounds down the barrel.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
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