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lead bullets too big - what to do?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by readyeddy, Feb 21, 2013.

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  1. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I have maybe 600 remaining 40 cal 180 grain lead bullets. History is that they wouldn't pass the plunk test (40 S&W), even with "a lot" of taper crimp. Can't remember the measurements, but the bullets were expanding the cases out of spec. So I used my Lee FCD and they worked fine. So far it's been about 400 rounds fired using these fat bullets. Been as accurate as I can shoot off hand, and functioned fine.

    But I know about the problem with the Lee FCD and lead bullets.

    What would you folks do? Keep using the FCD? Dump the bullets? Would rather not waste components given the current shortage. But this has been bothering me for some time.
     
  2. bds
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    bds Member

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    I would first make sure the bullets were properly sized. If they are .401", they should pass the barrel drop test in all factory barrels.

    I use tighter chambered Lone Wolf barrels for my 40 caliber Glocks and even .401" sized lead bullets from MBC/Dardas/ZCast with mixed range brass will drop in the chamber with a "plonk". BTW, I am using .422"-.423" taper crimp.

    If they are indeed oversized at .402"+, you can post-size them with the FCD and check the neck tension by measuring the OAL before/after feeding/chambering them from the magazine. If OAL reduction is acceptable, I would use a lighter powder charge to give me some buffer room. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  3. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Well just reading through what you have put here, I really don't think I would have issues using up the rest if the above is any inclination on how they shoot.

    Now if your REALLY concerned you could always simply pick up a Lee sizing die and run then through it and call it good. However if your not having issues with some you have already used the FCD on, like no leading or what not, then I would go on with them and smile every time I pulled the trigger.
     
  4. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    I use a KKM barrel and it's pretty tight. I think my taper crimp is around .421". But away from the case mouth it fattens up quite a bit to out of spec. I'll go measure the bullets later and post the results.
     
  5. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "So I used my Lee FCD and they worked fine."

    So, it looks like you have no problem; they feed and shoot fine so what would you fix? Oversized bullets is exactly what that FCD 'post sizing' carbide ring is designed to correct.
     
  6. shinyroks

    shinyroks Member

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    Ditto Ranger.

    You could use a sizing die on all of them, but it seems you have a non-problem.
     
  7. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Member

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    Are you sure the bullets are too big, or do they just need to be seated deeper? What length are you seating at? Remember the length in manuals is a suggestion that gets thrown out the window espically with lead bullets. If you are seating at 1.125 or more I would bet that they are too long and the bullet is hitting the rifling. It is hard to say though without knowing what gun and bullets you using.
     
  8. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    This is the problem I had when loading 180gr lead TCFP boolits. I had to seat them at 1.099" just to keep the nose off the rifling. Seems the lead bullets are fatter up around the nose. I have just decided to load FMJ, or plated bullets in my .40's instead.
     
  9. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    Here's a question:
    When you use the FCD and the bullets chamber properly, are you getting excessive leading in your barrel?

    If not, then you have no issues with lead bullets and the Lee FCD. Keep doing what you're doing, it works.
     
  10. homatok

    homatok Member

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    The biggest problem with the pistol FCD is that when it is used on cast lead bullets it has the habit of sizing the bullet down to the point that excessive leading can occur. The second (more important) thing is that because the brass case will spring back more than the lead bullet it can leave the bullet with inadequate tension. Inadequate tension can result in the bullet being pushed back into the case raising pressure to dangerous levels. If your bullets, once sized in the FCD will pass the "push test" and/or are not seating deeper in the cases from riding out recoil from the ones fired first, you are "good to go".
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The problem is that you are using a KKM barrel.
    Brownells used to have a little disclaimer on those, to the effect that the chamber would not accept a SAAMI gauge but it would still shoot FACTORY ammunition.

    Carry on with the Lee CFC die.
     
  12. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    about two years ago I blew up my sig 226 .40 using tightgroup and MO bulllets I think the FCD was causing too much neck tension and tightgroup is so fast I ended up with problems. I'm still trying to get 3k 40sw bullets pulled. in the process of pulling them I have found that about one out of 50 does not want to hammer out. it takes about 4-5 good whacks. I believe this is my problem. Be very careful with 40. I got to have a case removed out of my right eye. If you wonder what seven stitches in your eyeball looks like I can post pics! I would stay away from fast dense powders if you already know your experiencing issues with sizing. just passing on my stupidity for others to learn from. oh and I checked the powder, I have no over charges and It still blew up a second time.. it has something to do with the lead bullets and the fcd..
     
  13. bds
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    bds Member

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    I doubt FCD caused too much neck tension (more likely decreased neck tension instead). You should check neck tension by measuring OAL before/after feeding/chambering the round from the magazine and not by how much effort it takes to pull the bullet or push against the bench top as these are subjective to the user and not measurable tests of neck tension.


    Chamber pressures exceed maximum pressures under these conditions:

    - Powder charge over max load data (wrong load data/inaccurate scale)

    - Double charge of powder

    - Deeper seated bullet base when bullet nose slams the feed ramp (made worse by poor neck tension/FCD reducing bullet diameter/brass case spring back)

    When anything blows up, it has to do with chamber pressures exceeding maximum pressures the pistol components were designed for and the ability for the brass case to contain the pressures. Simply thinking using below max load data will prevent a KaBoom and be safe is not factoring the case wall failure concern from weakened brass that may have resulted from repeated case wall expansion (thinning of wall)/resizing/de-bulging with push-through resizing with FCD/U-dies.

    I use mixed range brass and especially for 40S&W, I tend to be more cautious and use powder/charges (mid-to-high range W231/HP-38) that produce lower pressure target loads that won't bulge the case (I reserve once-fired cases for full-power loads with slower burning than W231/HP-38). I think some faster burning powders are more "spikey" than others and Titegroup is one of them.

    As to OP's issue, the use of FCD IS allowing his finished rounds to chamber. If there is any bullet set back concern, I suggested using a lighter powder charge to provide any pressure buffer. ;) If the bullets are sized .401" and the OP wants to keep using the KKM barrel, OP could always slightly polish the chamber so the finished rounds chamber without the use of FCD - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=8093783#post8093783
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  14. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    .

    I try to make my replies brief. don't assume I haven't checked this problem out further. and yes when measuring your over sized lead bullets after fcd they can grow. I do not have the numbers in front of me but they did grow. when you a fast powder and your bullet grows you reduce case capacity, and amplify chamber pressures. I'm not looking to argue about how my gun blew up because after the fact it is impossible to tell. the chamber did slightly expand, so it was not just a bad case, the pressure spiked. all things being equal some bullets are sticking in the cases. and YES I can tell by smacking them with a pulling hammer when most require one solid hit and some require five there is a problem. either the ones requiring 1 hit are under tension and being shoved deeper, or the ones requiring 5 are over tensioned. either way the powder charges are right on and the only variables are a lead bullet and a fcd... cases, primers and powder remain consistent. I have always loved my fcd in many calibers, but this has made me question using one on forty. I'm also never using tightgroup again.
    this is my point. used brass lead bullets and a "spikey" powder are a recipe for disaster.
     
  15. bds
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    bds Member

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    suzukisam, sorry I misread your post.

    When you say FCD "grew" your lead bullet, you mean the post-sizing decreased the bullet diameter so the "lengh" of the bullet increased ... and resulted in deeper seated bullet base which would increase chamber pressure?
     
  16. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    Thanks for the great responses. To answer some of the questions, the gun is a Glock 22, and the load is 5.0 grains of W231 and OAL of 1.125.

    I have a follow up question. If the Lee FCD smashes the bullet and causes excessive leading, would accuracy normally suffer?
     
  17. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    If it excessively leads yes, accuracy will suffer. You might not just wind up with a smoothbore but a nobore.
     
  18. bds
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    bds Member

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    Accuracy is the result of consistent muzzle velocities (lower SD numbers) which is the result of consistent chamber pressures.

    If your KKM barrel's groove diameter is .400", then you want to maintain your bullet sizing at .401"+ to provide proper bullet-to-barrel fit. More/faster you seal the high pressure powder ignition gas, more consistent chamber pressures will be generated (which in turn will produce more consistent muzzle velocities/greater accuracy).

    If the FCD is reducing the bullet diameter (pull some finished rounds and measure the bullet diameter), you are going to leak more high pressure gas which will blow liquefied lube forward of the bullet and cause leading/gas cutting. If the bullets are properly sized at .401" and the FCD is reducing the diameter, you need to not use the FCD to maintain the bullet-to-barrel fit. If the finished rounds using .401" sized bullets won't fall freely into the chamber with a "plonk", then you'll need to polish the chamber so they will.
     
  19. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    bds is the man. I might actually stroke some 9 into an unused FCD because I seated them/the cast slugs at an unsized .360+ and they lead the tiniest little bit. Plus I think I didn't lube them near good enough in this particular iteration but I'll get through them one way or another. Get one that doesn't go home out of a hundred or so. A thumb press to the slide'll chamber it in that case.
     
  20. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    this is my theory. again after the fact i can't really be sure. but since i've put two barrels and two etractors in a $900 pistol I'm done guessing. I'm scrapping the whole load. switching to a slower powder and no fcd.. but having measured my bullet they do grow a few thousandths into the case. My OAL doesn't change even after chambering and ejecting, and I have never experienced a bullet shoved into the case(that i know of) though I can't rule it out.

    I don't want to hijack the thread with my experience I just wanted to put a little food for thought out there with forty cal and lead bullets. be careful and stick to "plinking" / target loads, or you might get to watch a doctor sew you back up. I'm a very cautious reloader and my powder charges were double checked.. i think the perfect storm of hi pressure powder and elongated bullets mixed into a kaboom!
     
  21. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    From a neck tension standpoint, it would be preferable to size the bullets down, first, using a bullet sizer. You will retain more consistent neck tension on your loaded ammo, versus using an FCD to get your ammo to fit the chamber. For "only" 600 rds, you might just make due. But that's a fair amount of ammo, at a pretty high cost these days. The Lee bullet sizers are only $20.00.

    You also might try to sort your brass. Some headstamps might be thin enough to work perfectly with those bullets.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  22. bds
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    bds Member

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    FYI, that is Hodgdon max load for jacketed 180 gr bullet.

    Hodgdon load data
    1999-2005 Winchester load data
    [​IMG]

    Lyman #49 lists 5.8 gr as max load for 175 gr lead FP at 1.125" OAL but they used larger .401" groove diameter test barrel. If your barrel's groove diameter is .400", I would use the lower Winchester/Hodgdon load data for 40S&W. For target loads, I use 3.8-4.0 gr W231/HP-38 for 180 gr lead bullets for my Glocks/Lone Wolf barrels and have worked up to 4.5 gr with good results.
     

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  23. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    I didn't have time to read all the responses, so someone may have already covered it-or maybe I misunderstood the OP's problem. But LEE makes a cast bullet sizing die that you just push the bullets through on your press. Cheap and it works quite well. Just don't know if you can find one in today's environment.
     
  24. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "I have a follow up question. If the Lee FCD smashes the bullet and causes excessive leading, would accuracy normally suffer?"

    What a lot of people attibute to one thing often comes from another.

    There are no 'spikey' powders, per se; all time/pressure curves show a 'spike' shape. If the pressure is too high it's always just a normal response to some rational cause - usually too much of a fast burning powder but seating bullets into the lands will do it too. So will seating much too deep in the few small capacity, high pressure auto cartridges with tiny burn cavities typical of the currently popular 9mm & 10 mm rounds.

    The normal accelleration of any hot load load, even with a jacketed bullet, will produce bullet upset that will obturate the bore even if the bullet starts out a bit too small. However, light loads, especially light loads with light for caliber bullets, may not obturate, especially if the bullets are very hard. Any bullet that does NOT obturate WILL allow gas cutting and destroy accuracy. And leave a lot of bore leading if it's cast stuff.
     
  25. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    The bullets in question measure .402".
     
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