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Best Lead Bullets for Progressive Reloaders

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Astroangler, Oct 11, 2013.

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  1. Astroangler

    Astroangler Member

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    Was reading a number of reviews on lead bullets offered at midway and wondered if there was a particular lead bullet that would reload better than others using a progressive press. Can anyone share their experience with lead bullets they may have purchased recently and what they would recommend? Thanks!
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Many of the common lead bullets are all made in molds that were developed generations back and are used universally throughout the industry. If you buy a .451" 200 gr. Semi-Wadcutter from pretty much anyone the chances are that it is made in a Hensley & Gibbs No. 68 mold, or clone of that design. There are other styles, of course, but that's the super-common one.

    So when looking for common pistol bullets I look at selection of style, choices of hardness, and quality of the product.

    For all of that, I usually buy from Missouri Bullet Co. I use their 200 gr. .45 LSWC (yup, and H&G 68), their 200 gr. .431" lead round nose flat point for the .44, and a couple of their 9mm bullets (smallball 125 gr. and subsonic 147).

    Thousands and thousands down the pipes. Not a complaint.

    ...

    Having said that, some folks need more specialized bullets. For example, if you gun's bore slugs to be a little bigger than optimal you might need a bullet that's cast a bit larger. Like a .453" slug for a .45 ACP. There are a few makers that provide such things, but they won't work any better or worse in your press.
     
  3. Astroangler

    Astroangler Member

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    Thanks for the input Sam1911. I'll check them out. Looking for .401 specifically and I'm sure they will have something for me on that. Thanks again
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You're looking for .401" bullets for loading .40 S&W or 10mm, right? Not bullets for a .401 WSL rifle?

    Here's the .40S&W stuff: http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=5&secondary=11

    If you're looking for the .401 Winchester stuff (.4065") they don't have it, but with the right die you can bump a bullet up (obdurate) and then size it correctly.

    Hawk has them, but I hope you don't need many! http://www.hawkbullets.com/Pricelist.htm (Sheesh, about 80 cents a shot! Think I'd invest in the setup to make my own.)
     
  5. Astroangler

    Astroangler Member

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    Wow glad I don't have to shoot those. Yeah 40S&W. thanks for the link. I will def check them out. Thanks again!
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    It reallly doesn't matter what bulllet you use on a progressive until you add a bullet feeder. If you are thinking about using a bullet feeder then you need to do your research, some don't work well at all with cast bullets.

    Oh, and hollow base wadcutters are out.
     
  7. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Bevel based don't easily sit and stay straight on the case mouth for insertion, unless you have an expanded case, not just a slight belling.
     
  8. Astroangler

    Astroangler Member

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    RealGun, so flat base is better and are there any shavings? Is that something, shavings, that is inevitable?
     
  9. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You need to bell the case slightly. That's part of reloading. Most pistol reloading is done with bevel-base bullets, and they work just fine. Easier for most folks, I think. Flat base bullets require belling, too, or they'll shave -- worse than bevel-based bullets.

    Bell the case, seat the bullet, crimp to just remove the bell, SHOOT! :)

    As jmorris points out, how easily a bullet aligns on the case mouth is not terribly critical until you add an automatic bullet feeder. Once you do, the case must have enough flare and the bullet has to be of a design to help it to find its way into place without your fingers helping it. Bevel base there would be a must.
     
  10. Astroangler

    Astroangler Member

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    Sounds like I may have to bell the brass a bit more for lead than plated to prevent shavings or issues. Would that assumption be correct?
     
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oh yes. Absolutely. Not a lot more, but definitely more than for jacketed.
     
  12. Astroangler

    Astroangler Member

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    Good deal! Thanks for all the input!
     
  13. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    I have loaded around 4000 lead bullets and like my lead to be a little harder than most lead bullets. I had to expand the case a little more than I did for brass coated bullets.
     
  14. Jaxondog

    Jaxondog Member

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    You may not have to bell more, but go to an added step. I have found that if you seat the bullet without taper crimping it will never shred the lead. I use this die for seating the bullet, then next step would be taper crimping slightly

    032_zps9826db5c.gif


    Depending on size of lead bullet, [ .400 - .401 ] some .401's if dirty will cause a bulge. Most of the time mine come out looking pretty good. In other words it does not cause it to have the bulge on one side or the other of the case at the bottom of the bullet. That's the way I do it without the lead shred. :)
     
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    With a GSI bullet feeder you can use almost zero "bell". This is a photo of how I just loaded a bunch with no shaving of the coating.

    IMG_20131009_114251_812_zps9121a3df.jpg
     
  16. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Where did you get that idea? The bullets with a real angled edge (beveled) are new to me (LaserCast SWC in three calibers), while all the others are nothing like them, mostly flat, whether lead or jacketed.
     
  17. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Almost every cast bullet I've ever loaded or seen loaded has a beveled base. Almsot all of the offerings from Missori Bullet Co. do. All the LaserCast or Penn or BetterBullets, etc., etc., that I've bought have been b.b. designs. The most classic .45ACP mold, the H&G 68 that everyone uses to make 200 gr. LSWCs is a beveled base design.

    I suppose I don't have production numbers on every cast handgun bullet made, but a WHOLE lot of them are bevel based. And, from my experience with what I and the shooters I shoot with use, they're most common.
     
  18. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I guess you haven't bought any bullets in awhile. S&S are not beveled. Hornady is not beveled, lead or jacketed. Hunter's Supply are not beveled. Zero are not beveled. Armscor are not beveled. I don't think I have ever seen a beveled, jacketed bullet.

    I just think you should be careful about dismissing what other people post. The point I was trying to make is that I have had no success with beveled bullets without an expander plug, not just a belled case mouth. Not only that but the expansion diameter has to accept a lead bullet size. Otherwise, one would have to hold the bullet as long as possible and risk getting fingers pinched.
     
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Oh. Well, I guess you could conclude that if you want.

    http://www.snscasting.com/ The bullets that appear on their home page are bevel base.

    I've never met anyone who loads Hornady's cast bullets so I've no experience there.

    http://hunters-supply.com/shop/index.php?cPath=24&osCsid=tqqsmncan290f2u0u7oc4uhg72
    Most of the non-gas-checked bullets on their page are bevel base.

    http://www.rozedist.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=RZD&Category_Code=ZSB-45ACP
    Every bullet on this page has a beveled base. Though they're swaged which is odd. Don't know anyone loading swaged lead.

    I can't find any info on an Armscor cast lead bullet.

    Never once said anything about jacketed bullets.

    I wasn't dismissing anything you posted. I posted my own experiences. They contradict yours, and that's fine. Actually, based on the above links, I don't think they contradict yours. I'm wondering if you're not sure what bullets are beveled and which are not, or what constitutes a beveled base, rather than a true flat base.

    Here's a bevel based bullet:
    30_115RN[1].jpg

    Here's a flat based bullet:
    30_130SP.jpg
    (Both .30 cal bullets from Hunters' Supply.)

    Beveled base bullets outnumber flat based designs in the cast bullet offerings of most makers something close to 10 to 1.

    I've never had a single instance of needing an expander plug beyond the simple belling plug in probably something around 100,000 cast bullets loaded.

    Not really. The bullet will slightly expand the case as it is inserted. It creates the well-documented "hourglass" look of a cast bullet loaded in a brass case with good neck tension.

    Like this:

    [​IMG]
    You don't need an expander plug to produce this space in the case. The bullet will do that for you.

    :) It isn't as bad as all that. You just stabilize the bullet as it enters the die. As long as it is pointed in pretty much the right direction it will find its way into the case mouth. The beveled base HELPS with that. It has to. A beveled base meeting a belled mouth naturally funnels the bullet into the case.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  20. warhwkbb

    warhwkbb Member

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    Tell me about it...I just shot up $40 of .406 Hawk bullets this afternoon.
     
  21. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    SAM1911 -
    I didn't read this as exclusive to lead bullets.

    Closer examination shows you are correct about Hunters Supply and S&S being beveled. My S&S are .358 and small enough that I missed it in recollection.

    Hornady 140g COWBOY (lead) that I have are definitely not beveled.

    Zero swaged LSWC in .358 and .452 are not beveled.

    And again, jacketed are not beveled that I know of. I accept that you did not intend to implicate jacketed bullets.

    On the subject of just belling the case, some folks better pull some bullets after insertion and measure their bullet's current diameter, because my cases without sufficient case expansion swage the bullet when stuffing it in a case that is merely belled. I have checked every variable and am quite confident of this. Of course, the worst offender is the Zero swaged because of softness, but other bullets are worth a check. This bell-only business is more an internet thing than any intention on the part of reloading equipment manufacturers. It seems like just a workaround to getting a proper crimp.
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Well, here is their 200 gr. LSWC.

    45SWC_med.jpg

    That's a beveled base.
     
  23. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yes. I read a thread on this recently. It is the only time I've ever heard of such a thing. Very odd. Needs a lot more investigation because I've never seen it happen any other time.

    It isn't a workaround.

    A crimp by itself is worthless. You need neck tension-- good strong neck tension -- to hold the bullet. The crimp is a very minor part of the equation. In fact, most auto cartridges don't need to be crimped, so much as to merely have the belling removed. As they headspace on the mouth, you don't want to bury the case mouth into the side of the bullet with a heavy crimp.

    Very heavy revolver loads use a strong roll crimp as an additional means of preventing bullet movement in extreme cases, but most other loads -- from auto pistols to best rifle loads, don't really need to be crimped in any significant way.
     
  24. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I think the only non jacketed pistol bullet that I load that doesn't have a bevel base are precision bullets. They are swaged.
     
  25. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Again. Zero 200 LSWC bullets that I have are not beveled. I know what beveled means BTW.
     
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