Pushing lead bullets through 357

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ANATION, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. ANATION

    ANATION Member

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    So what's the breaking point (FPS) that serious barrel leading starts to occur with 357 lead handloads? Does hardened lead compared to soft make a difference? I'm assuming it does but I wanted to ask. Can I get away with over 1000 FPS with hardened lead? Thanks.
     
  2. stringnut

    stringnut Member

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    Short answer is maybe. Others factors come into play that affect whether something leads or not. Making sure the bullet fits the bore properly. Usually about .001 larger than the bore is good. If it is the same size , or, smaller than the bore it will lead no matter how hard. I bought some hard cast that were supposed to be 358 . When measured they were actually .356. Tried running them slow and fast . Terrible accuracy after a cylinder or two and quite a chore cleaning. The correct lube is important also.

    Lots of people here that know a lot more than I will be along to help.
     
  3. e rex

    e rex Member

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    My load in a 686 is 6 grains Unique with a 358429 bullet from a 38 special case. Right at 1000 fps. I've always had better luck with a cast bullet that is a bit soft, I think it bumps up a bit better to seal the bore. Just an old man's opinion though.
     
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  4. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    If your bullet fits properly and you have proper lube you can push them to jacketed velocity
     
  5. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I’m fairly new to casting and dealing with lead in my reloading but the one factor that has been drilled into my head by the experts; slug your barrel and make sure the bullets you plan to shoot “fits.”

    You can’t put enough bandaids on a small bullet to make it work very well.
     
  6. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Yep. I ran a cast 180s at just shy of 2000 fps before I got the faintest hint of leading.
    This was a 20" barrel with lil gun.
    I abandoned that load for H110 at just over 1900.
    My Blackhawk leaded everything until I reamed the cylinder to fit a .358 bullet.
     
  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    For .357 loads I max out at 6.5 gr Unique and a 158 gr coated SWC in a .357 Mag case.

    For .38 it’s 4.5 gr Unique with the same bullet.

    Neither of these have leaded up my .38 or .357 guns so far. :)

    Stay safe.
     
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  8. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Honestly it's a balancing act between size, lube,, the alloy and the pressure your loading to.

    Over the past years I've blended up several different batches of ally, tested hundreds of bullets in several calibers both solids and HPs and found that the same alloy that works great in one caliber is sorely wrong to use in another. I've used one alloy almost exclusively in my Redhawk 45 Colt with over a hundred plus rounds thru the barrel. Same alloy in my 41 only took 4 rounds to eliminate the grooves of the rifling.

    I will say that 1000fps is easily achieved in the 357. I've used AA-9 to run upwards of 1350'ish with no issues using a blended alloy as well as straight clip on wheel weights. I size to .358 and use Carnuba Red lube or powder coat. You can read about some of it here,

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/cast-hps-1300fps.754823/

    Slower powders are more forgiving where pressure is concerned having more of an initial push than slap so to speak. Some are better than others due to the wider band of the load range.

    Hope that helps
     
  9. frankmako

    frankmako Member

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    Slugs your barrel. If you don't use a bullet that is not at least..001/.002 over size you will lead. No matter how hard/soft the lead is, type of lead, type of lube or how fast/slow the bullet is running.
     
  10. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    As others mentioned, bullet to bore fit is paramount. I've driven commercially cast rifle bullets to 2200FPS without problems... but I know they fit the bore. Hardness... more is not necessarily better. A too hard bullet won't obturate in the bore and can lead to leading and accuracy issues, but they will tolerate higher velocity... then, again, see my first point.

    The biggest leading issues in a revolver can come from improperly sized cylinder throats, as BFH mentioned, in his Blackhawk. Ruger has a reputation for irregular cylinder throats. Having them reamed to 1) the same size, and 2) a size for a specific bullet can work wonders.
     
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  11. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    The old-timer's rule of thumb was that "leading" started at 1000 fps. Therefore, lead was accepted in 38Spcl and 45ACP, but you had to start paying attention to the details when you crossed that invisible line. And the higher velocity goes, then the more additional details became important.

    As was stated above, "fit is king" with lead. That's first and foremost. Other variables include powder speed, type of lubricant or coating, flat base vs. concave, combustion temperature, length of barrel, etc.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    1000fps with a lead bullet is child's play.

    The real issue with lead/cast bullets is the commercial mfg's and the junk they put out on the market. Couple that with this:
    Optimum BHN = PSI / (1422 x .90)

    Nothing could be further than the truth!!!!

    I've been casting bullets since 85/86??? & have no problems running 8/9bhn bullets +/- 1200fps/25,000psi. 11/12bhn bullets +/- 2000fps/35,000spi & 14bhn bullets +/- 2600fps/50/000psi.

    Read this on another website and it couldn't be truer. "The statement fit is king has been used so much it has become the court jester!!!"
     
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  13. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    I push my 158gr 357 mag brn 7-8 boolits to 1300.
    And yes “fit is still king” be it jester or not!
    I can not do this with commercially available Boolits in MY Ruger BH
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  14. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I have, and I do. I don't cast my own... I'm at the mercy of what I can find commercially. Having said that, I load, or have loaded, generic commercial cast in everything from 9mm and .38, to .41 and .45 pistol, .308/.348/.45-70... at Magnum and rifle velocities, respectively. It's not as hard as one might think... and even in esoteric things like MicroGroove barrels. My Marlin 1894 in .41MAG has an MG barrel, and I've driven cheapo cast to 1700+fps without problems.
     
  15. Mike44

    Mike44 Member

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    You might consider coated lead bullets. I have been using MBC coated lead 158 gr. SWC in my 357 GP100 at 1208 fps and get no leading. These are coated with Hi-Tek 2 and are Brinell 18 Hardness. I did get leading with Hornady traditional lubed lead bullets. I have not slugged my bore. .
     
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  16. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Grove type matters a lot along with correct size. I hear way more problems about hard bullets than soft. Powdercoat prevents leading and lead exposure.
     
  17. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    You don't need -- nor do you want -- anything harder that Lyman#2 alloy (BN~15),
    You want that deformability (you need that deformability) to grab the rifling w/o skittering down the barrel.

    Once you hit 18,000 psi, however, I do advise gas-checked bases and thin-film ALOX.
    (Unless powder-coated -- then all bets are off and then I've shot pure lead up to 25,000psi)
     
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  18. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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  19. P Flados

    P Flados Member

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    Almost all of my cast bullets are made from range lead with batches that run 8 to 12 BHN.

    None of my regular loads lead and they all give good accuracy.

    I use tumble lube for low power loads.

    I use powder coat for mid range and full power loads.

    My successful full power loads include 7 Tcu, 300 BO, 30 Herrett, 327 Fed, 9mm, 357 Mag, 357 Max, 357AR Max, 44 Mag. The 357AR Max has good loads that exceed 2000 fps in a 16.25" gun.
     
  20. derek45

    derek45 Member

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    I regularly shoot cast & coated with max loads of H110/w296 or 2400.

    coated bullets from Missouri, SNS, Bayou, etc.,....or bullets I cast and powder coat with eastwwood or smokes powder coat.

    as already stated, size/fitting is key, and if you get leading, you can clean it out quickly with a LEWIS LEAD REMOVER or a CHOR-BOY copper kitchen scrubber wrapped around an old cleaning brush.

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  21. e rex

    e rex Member

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    We all talk about sizing the bullet larger than the bore but does anyone measure the cylinder throats? Isn't that the last bullet sizer to size the bullet?
     
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  22. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Already did...

     
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  23. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Any velocity, because you've neglected throat fit, forcing cone necking, bore fit, bore finish, bullet lube (quality & quantity) or coating, powder and crimp effect on obturation, and gas checking.

    And these days, with commercial cast bullets alloyed for shipment durability, they're as likely to be too hard for 1000fps, rather than too soft.

    I load full house 158gr .357Mag into the 1400fps range, with minimal and sustainable leading. I also HiTek or powdercoat the bullets, and I've honed throats and firelapped bores as necessary.
     
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  24. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I have shot lead in a half dozen .357s and only in my first 500 rounds did I see any leading, and that was purely because I was an idiot. I just loaded the bullets the same as I did jacketed and loaded up everything that I had. Well beyond what a lead bullet should be loaded is an understatement. After that I backed off by about 10% on charge and everything worked smoothly after that. Same for 9mm and 38spl using the same bullets.

    When I did have lead buildup I tried the old remedy of shooting jacketed bullets to strip out the lead fouling. It might work, but it was slow going and I resorted to an overnight soak in a basic cleaner (probably hoppes) and the lead cleaned out fairly well.
     
  25. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Use the red ones and reality comes to light. Use the blue ones and you can remain blissfully ignorant. ;)
     
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