Copper fouling vs leading...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by gonoles_1980, Jan 16, 2014.

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  1. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    I normally buy lead bullets to reload for my guns. I just got the dies to start reloading my wife's 9mm, and bought copper plated bullets for her gun. A guy as work that use to reload is telling me that the fouling from the copper plated bullets is much worse than lead and I should just use lead. I do know the Choir Boy's clean the leading out pretty well and is easy to do. Copper fouling is a new one on me. For those with more experience than I have what are your thoughts.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Baloney. :)
     
  3. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

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    I've never encountered copper fouling in a pistol barrel that was bad enough to be a problem. I am sure it can happen, but it would take a whole lot more rounds and less frequent cleaning than I'm used to. Generally, cleaning up after jacketed or plated pistol bullets is quicker and easier than lead, load em up and see for yourself.
     
  4. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    That's about all that needs to be said. Just try out those plated bullets and see for yourself. I mean, you already have them right? So worst thing that could happen (but won't) is that you spend a little more time cleaning the copper out after a few range trips than you normally would if you had been shooting lead.
     
  5. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Been using plated, (Berry's), for some time with no copper fouling. None, zip, zero, nada. Load within specs and you'll be fine.
     
  6. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    I guess I'm a little anal, but I clean the guns after every range trip. I kinda thought the answer was baloney, which is why I bought copper plated for my wife's gun. Of course, she always leaves the cleaning to me. She told me once, that one of the reasons she likes going to the range is because for once, I do all the cleaning.
     
  7. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    If you get copper fouling use sweets and follow the instructions.
     
  8. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    Copper fouling in a rifle can be a total PITA. I have a .270 that fouls to the heavens. I've never seen a pistol copper foul at all though and if it did u can't see how it would make all
    That much difference. Esp in a 9mm presumably CCW pistol.
     
  9. nix4me

    nix4me Member

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    Your guy at work is a bad source of information.
     
  10. merrill

    merrill Member

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    Thecracker, what kind or .270 do you have? Mine is a Winchester model 70 and also fouls up with copper very badly.
     
  11. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Copper fouling isn't a problem when shooting jacketed bullet, only. But a little residual copper fouling that is almost imperceptible can make lead fouling much worse. I've gotten this kind of fouling from shooting factory UMC ammo, before. The "FMJ" was evidently just a thin copper plating. Copper fouling turned into lead fouling, as the crappy bullets were being torn all the way through the plating. Turned my Glock 21 barrel into a mess. This was before I started reloading.

    A quality bullet like Berry's, you won't have any issues with. But after extensive shooting with any jacketed or plated bullets, it's a good idea to thoroughly clean the bore before going to lead. Not necessarily needed going from lead to copper, though; if it looks clean to the eye, you'll be fine.

    It's not uncommon for a pistol to lead up really bad the first time you shoot cast bullets. But after the first thorough cleaning, it stops. This is suspected to be because the first thorough cleaning removes the copper fouling that you've had in there all that time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  12. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I've been shooting copper plated bullets for over 5 years now in my 9mms and my .357mags with no kind of problem at all. I was using Berry's then switched to RMR's bullets. They seem to be even better than Berry's.

    You have a much better source of information here than that guy you were talking to.
     
  13. JamieC

    JamieC Member

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    gonoles, if leading is a problem, look into Bayou Bullets, coated lead, pretty much eliminates any leading, no smoke either. And they don't cost, pretty cheap. I've also never had any copper fouling issues, been reloading for a few years.
     
  14. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    Thanks guys, I was 99.99% sure the guy was full of baloney. But I knew I'd get the right answer here. I bought the xtreme 124gr copper plated RN for my wife's 9mm. She prefers the copper plated because they're "prettier", and I don't mind since I'm the one that cleans all the guns anyway.
     
  15. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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  16. TheCracker

    TheCracker Member

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    It's a rem 700. Does great with Sierra game kings and noslers (as far as copper fouling) core lokts are terrible though for some reason.
     
  17. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    B.S I have never had a problem with plated bullets.
     
  18. Vol46

    Vol46 Member

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    Copper fouling is a bigger issue in centerfire rifle rounds where velocities of over 2500 FPS are common. The higher temperatures/friction can deposit more copper in the bore, particularly if it is a little rough. It is relatively easy to clean from rifle bores with some of the newer solvents, good old Sweets, or JB bore paste.
    At lower handgun velocities, copper is seldom if ever an issue. I occasionally get a little blue on a patch when I soak for a while with Hoppes, but not enough to worry about.
     
  19. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I can't say about copper plated, but I have been loading with jacketed bullets for many years and have had no problems what so ever with copper fouling, none, ziltch. So I would second that Bologna comment. And even though lead fouling can be removed fairly easy using the right approach, it's still not as easy to cope with as copper, IMHO.

    GS
     
  20. Rushthezeppelin

    Rushthezeppelin Member

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    Copper fouling is only a problem in roughly cut barrels. If your barrel is smooth enough it should have basically no fouling at all. I have shot 2k rounds out of my DPMS carbine chromemoly barrel and have experienced exactly 0 copper fouling. Same with my CZ clone that has shot a few hundred jacketed and plated pills (although it has seen ALOT more lead than copper as of late). Only way to know for sure though is to fire some jacketed/plated and check for blue or green on your patches.
     
  21. Lj1941

    Lj1941 Member

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    I have used Berrys plated in 9 and 45 and have never had a problem with copper fouling.
     
  22. germ

    germ Member

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    I have an LC9 that copper fouls the barrel horribly in only 1-2 mags of jacketed (XTP) reloads. Factory ball ammo is not a problem however. I'll never understand that difference. Montana Gold leaves a coating of bronze (brass?). Because it slugs at .357, I've even tried .357 XTP's vs the .355's. Still no joy. Conventional lubed cast is also a disaster regardless of diameter, powder or charge. Now I always follow a session of lubed cast with a pair of copper gc'd bullets, which cleans the barrel right out. All this even after 50 or so rounds of firelapping. The rifling originally looked like it had been cut with a chainsaw. Strangely, it loves plated or powder coated cast bullets and will spit them out all day long with little more than powder residue left behind. Go figure.
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    The only time I encountered Copper fouling causing a problem was last year is a friends .270 rifle. His father gave him the rifle over 25 years ago and he has been hunting every year with it since. Just before last year's hunting season he mentioned he was probably going to re-barrel the gun because it just wasn't accurate any longer, he was sure he shot the barrel out. I suggested he try a good copper remover first which he did and the gun now shoots as it did when new.

    That case is the only one I personally know of where copper fouling caused a problem.
     
  24. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Member

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    BS. Pure BS. He probably heard that at his LGS and spouts it off as gospel.

    I've shot tens of thousands of plated and jacketed bullets. Even more cast. If your getting leading, something is wrong. A little copper fouling is normal and comes out with cleaning.

    My worst offender are my high velocity center fire rifles. Some worse than others. I also use Sweets as well Montana Xtreme and barnes copper remover. Follow instructions and in no time it is gone.

    The worst handgun I had with copper fouling was a 686 I loaded up with 125 with a stiff load of 296 for some watermelon and bottle blasting. Not very accurate, copper fouling was obvious, but they sure had awesome terminal performance!
     
  25. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    I know that I've had my share of copper fouling in my target rifle over the years. Copper is harder than lead and is somewhat more abrasive, but can easily be removed with an ammonia-based solvent. I think the idea is to smooth the bore as much as possible by allowing the pores of the metal to absorb a very thin layer of carbon even after the copper has been swabbed off with the solvent. The issue I'm dealing with right now is finding the correct amount of chamber pressure to seal the bullet on it's way through the barrel without causing undue wear. In other words, trying to seal the bullet without tearing into the thin layer of carbon (and lubricant) that has been laid down in the bore. Good luck on this one!
     
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