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Old October 13, 2006, 09:25 PM   #1
springmom
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hardcast bullets

Well, as y'all recommended, I'm reading, and looking and asking questions. Tonight we were over at Carter's Country, and they have boxes of 500 hardcast bullets for .45 acp for a good price. Cheap is good. However, I'm concerned that the pure lead bullet will foul my Kimber.

So here's the question: is lead fouling a problem with hard cast bullets? How many rounds can you shoot without needing to clean, using those?

Thanks for your patience with the newbie!!!

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Old October 13, 2006, 11:10 PM   #2
rwilson452
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hard cast bullets

So here's the question: is lead fouling a problem with hard cast bullets?

You will get lead fouling with lead bullets plated bullets will give you copper fouling. etc.

Hard cast bullets are not pure lead. I mold my own using wheel weights another alloy not as hard as hard cast most of the time. To cut down on leading I tumble lube the bullets with a 50-50 solution of Lee's liquid alox and a thinner such as lighter fluid or mineral spirits. it reduces leading significantly.

How many rounds can you shoot without needing to clean, using those?

There are too many variables such as the specific hardness of the alloy the smoothness of your bore, the velocity of the bullet and others. I have shot over 200 rounds without cleaning without ill effects. Your results may vary.
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Old October 13, 2006, 11:14 PM   #3
Rimrod
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Hi springmom,

If they're 'hardcast' they can't be pure lead, they will have to be an alloy. And the idea is to make them foul less because they are harder. They usually aren't as clean as jacketed bullets and the amount of fouling will depend on the gun, the bullet alloy and the load you use.

The reason I said "usually won't be as clean" is I have had lead bullets that were made with such a hard alloy you couldn't scrape them with a knife blade and they didn't fould the barrel at all.
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Old October 14, 2006, 12:59 AM   #4
springmom
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Thanks.

We asked the guy at the shop and he looked at us like we'd sprouted tentacles out of our heads and said "Lead". What bugged me was that it seemed like he was trying not to laugh at us. I just looked at him and said "Really. Shiny lead. Well, that's something new" and we left.

I figured it had to be something besides just lead, but I sure wasn't going to get the straight answer *there*.

Sigh.

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Old October 14, 2006, 01:03 AM   #5
T-Bear
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I have shot 1000,s of 200gr LSWC through my GI and Raptor with no lead problems what so ever. The most rds at 1 time was 400 rds in a day through my GI and at the end a quick clean up and put back in the safe.
Nothing wrong with shooting lead,
Happy Shooting
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Old October 14, 2006, 01:41 AM   #6
azredhawk44
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Dive on in, Springmom. Lead is good stuff.

for more moderate-light rounds under 1000fps, lead rocks. I've driven 240gr LSWC 44mags through my redhawk with HOT charges of H110 that supposedly push 1500+fps and my wrist wears out before I see any significant leading to fret over. Half a dozen passes with a good copper bristle bore brush, a couple runs with a bore snake and I'm good to go again. And that's after shooting 50 rounds of H110 bruisers through a magnum. No gas checks, just Redline hardcast 240gr LSWC.

The big thing I would worry over in feeding lead to a bottomfeeder would be denting the bullet nose or face at all. The copper jacket protects the bullet from damage in the magazine, in your range bag, in the ammo box as it rattles around from home to range... you get the idea. Even my hardcast 44mag bullets will get dinged occasionally. From a wheelie, no big deal. But when the bullet slides up a feed ramp and can catch in several different places, you get a lot more potential for feed issues.

When I started reloading about 3 years ago I got into lead for my 45acp but got quickly frustrated with it... in retrospect I was crimping too tightly, but I didn't know that at the time. NO CRIMP ON 45ACP!!!! Have fun!
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Old October 14, 2006, 02:23 AM   #7
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Hard cast lead

Are the best bullets there are for many handgun applications. But you have to be sure what you have and match it to what you want to do.

There are cast bullets, and swaged bullets. Swaged bullets are soft. Sometimes pure lead, but usually a mild alloy. Cast bullets can be soft, or can be a hard alloy. The most accurate way to tell the difference is with a Brinell Hardness indcator, or something similar. The most useful way to tell is the Rule of Thumb (nail).

First, you need a thumbnail. A real one, not an add on. Then you press/scratch it firmly into the bullet (I check on the bottom). If it leaves a deep dent or gouge, the bullet is soft. A slight dent, medium, and a small dent, or only a shiny spot, then the bullet is hard.

Hard cast bullets are suitable for autoloaders (although some 9mms don't like them much), and are the bullet of choice for heavy magnum loads where deep penetration is required. All this without serious leading.

A soft lead bullet is not good for autoloaders, even the low verlocity .45ACP, because of the impact to the bullet during the feeding cycle. A soft lead nose will deform, smear, and "stick" on the feed ramp. Good for a jam, but not much else. The same bullet in a revolver is just fine, at the appropriate velocity. A hard cast lead bullet will slide along the feed ramp just like a jacketed bullet.

Soft/medium lead bullets often start leaving serious leading as the velocity gets closer to 1000fps. Hard cast will go over 1200fps without leading, and then there are gas checks (for some designs) that will allow much higher velocities without leading.

If you barrel has rough spots, lead will build up on them, with any lead bullets, but hardcast ones leave the least deposits (per shot). If your bore is nice and smooth, and you start getting lead in the barrel, then you are driving that particular bullet just a little faster than it ought to go. Back off a little on the load, or get a harder alloyed bullet.

I have been shooting hard cast bullets in pistol calibers, and in .45 caliber rifles for decades with no problems. I even use them in my Tommy Gun (semi). They are a little dirtier than (most) jacketed ammo, but they are a lot cheaper. I do a little of my own casting, but mostly I buy hardcast in bulk to the gun shows. I have found the "Lazercast" brand to be popular around here, and their bullets are very good. Very hard, and very uniform.

The drawback to buying bulk cast bullets is the shipping weight. Shop carefully if you order them, and check the shipping. A good deal on the bullets and you pay the shipping can turn out to be no deal at all! Back in the 80s a buddy found a "deal" on some .45ACP 200gr SWC cast bullets. Just about half what the gunshop charged. We ordered a 1,000. When they got here, the shipping cost brought the total to about $1 more than what the gunshop charged! Can't imagine what that would be today. I just buy them at a show, or sometimes at a gunshop, Sportsman's warehouse, etc.

Sadly, I've had to cut back on my bulk purchases at the shows, as the 3 teenage boys (and one girl) that I used as packmules, (hey, I paid their way in!) have all grown up, and gone into the military. And the wife, well, I might be able to get her to pack 100 .30 cal bullets ( if I got her something pretty), but there is absolutly no way I could get her to pack half a dozen boxes of 500 .45 caliber bullets out to the car. And since I blew my back out (moving ammo, curse the luck!), I can't either. So....we just make smaller buys, more often!
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Old October 14, 2006, 04:24 AM   #8
mjrodney
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If you get any leading at all, Springmom, Brownells sells a "Double Tuff" bronze bore brush that will take care of it in short order.

I own a Lewis Lead Remover, and I have gone the Chore Boy route, but the Double Tuff has worked the best for me.

Not to worry.
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Old October 14, 2006, 08:49 AM   #9
PsychoKnight
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I would ask to have a box opened up to see if you can dent the bottom of a bullet with the clip-on portion of a disposal pen cap - more likely to get more consistent results. No dent means its worth a try.

Work up test loads in 5s or 10s and first priority is to check for signs of excessive pressure (whole bunch of details in any reloading book), secondly check for lead fouling. W/ mag removed and action locked open, and pointing the gun away from yourself, use a penlight to shine into the bore as you look thru the ejection port. At an outdoor site, you probably won't need a flashlight. Don't point the gun at your own face on the range as its both an unsafe practice and you'll freak out the rangemaster and all nearby patrons. If you want to check thoroughly, just pop out the barrel first. Small spots of lead is okay, its when you get an entire section starting to coat over that you need to take action.

You can scrub out - or, a little trick my brother taught me ("laziness sometimes leads to efficiency of action" he says): Just shoot a few jacketed bullets between a series of lead bullets. He shoots a mag of jacketed after every 50 lead bullets or so. It doesn't work for everyone, but it seems to clean out the lead for us. More fun than scrubbing on the range all the time.

Oh, when ordering bullets of any type - shipping weight should not be an issue anymore. Just call to make sure the vendor knows to send flat rate priority post. I can get 1,700ct - 200gr for shipped to me $8.10 in 2-3 days. The shipping boxes are provided free from the post office.
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Old October 14, 2006, 10:28 AM   #10
cochise
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Quote:
Just shoot a few jacketed bullets between a series of lead bullets. He shoots a mag of jacketed after every 50 lead bullets or so. It doesn't work for everyone, but it seems to clean out the lead for us. More fun than scrubbing on the range all the time.....................................


Beware that sometimes this DOES cause the barrel to "bluge". It can and did happen to more than one.
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Old October 14, 2006, 11:04 AM   #11
Edward429451
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I've been shooting 'lead' in my 44's & 45's for eons. For a long time I got severe leading in the 44 but didn't care much b/c it performed good. Lately, after learning about (over) sizing and casting hard the leading is almost non existant.

I've never had a problem with (severe) leading in my 45's. Since they are typically on the slow side <900 fps. I wouldn't worry about the leading or clean up. If you're not a caster, try some lasercast bullets. I've tried those and they are good stuff.

(Pure lead will cast shiney. They greyness you see is oxidation.) Lead bullets is a slang term commonly used for all alloys.

If you want to learn more about cast / lead bullets...try this place and read read read.

http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/...earchid=119095
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