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Old January 24, 2012, 03:38 PM   #1
MSD Mike
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Leading

I am determined to get a good 38 special load that does not lead. At this point my main success has been with the standard load of 2.8 grains of Bull’s-eye under a 148Gr HBWC. I can shoot hundreds of these in any .38/.357 revolver I have with little or no leading. My problem is that I would like a little more potent load with a 158 GR SWC that I could do some volume shooting with. I have studied up on bullet obturatetion, bullet hardness, bullet fit and think I have a decent understanding of the theory. For the test I am about to describe I used Missouri Bullet Company 158Gr SWC for 38 Special and Bull’s-eye powder. I would like to qualify that this is not a shot a MO Bullet Company. Their service is fantastic and I have had similar results with other manufacturer’s bullets. I used one of my Smith Model 19’s with a 4” barrel that seems to lead the least out of my revolvers. If it leads my smiths even a little bit it will really lead my Blackhawks.

Gun – Smith Model 19 with 4” barrel
Throat diameter – Was .356, reamed to .358
Groove diameter - .357
Forcing cone – Unknown, as delivered from S&W. Forcing cone is smooth and appears to be in good shape.
Bullet diameter was verified at .358
After each test the gun was thoroughly cleaned

All loads used Starline 38 Special Brass, Winchester Primers, Bullseye Powder and 158 Gr LSWC “38 Match” bullets form Missouri Bullet Company
All loads were shot in 50 round lots.

Load 1
3 Grains of Bulls-eye. After 50 round there was light leading in the first part of the rifling.

Load 2
3.2 Grains of Bulls-eye. After 50 rounds leading was apparent for about the first ½ inch of rifling.

Load 3
3.5 Grains of Bulls-eye. Leading is occurring more quickly and after 50 rounds it ran about 1-1/2” down the barrel

Load 4
3.8 Grains of Bulls-eye. Things are getting worse at this point.

Load 5
At this point, just in case I am not getting the bullet to obturate I jump right to 4.2 Grains of Bulls-eye. Leading now runs the length of the barrel.

While, I have done the bulk of my testing with a single revolver I have four other revolvers that I have shot enough to know they all lead. My k-frame Smiths are the best and my Ruger Blackhawks are worse by far. I have also loaded and shot Speer lead SWCHP and Hornady lead SWC and have leading issues with all lead bullets in all 5 of my .357 revolvers. As mentioned before I have great success with the standard HBWC load but want something with a little more pop. So, while I enjoy all the loading and shooting I guess I am looking for some recommendations on what I may be doing wrong. I know many people are shooting lead with little or no leading and I want to be one of those guys.

What do you guys think??

Thanks
Mike
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Old January 24, 2012, 04:11 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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I have only had a problem with leading in my guns twice. Once was from under sized bullets in my .45 acp. It took a while to clean it all out. The other was in my Black Hawk due to running too hot of a load. It was a real chore to clean the lead out of it, though the first 6 I shot were super acurate they plated the inside of the barrel with lead.

Fit is king as they say. Also maybe using a gas checked bullet will help.
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Old January 24, 2012, 06:45 PM   #3
MSD Mike
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Thanks M&P
Dimensionally I think my gun is correct for .358 lead bullets. Throats are reamed to .358 and groove diameter is right at .357. I would prefer not to shoot gas check because I don’t cast and to purchase gas checked bullets in nearly the cost of buying jacketed (I think). I think I am just missing the recipe somehow.

Mike
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Old January 24, 2012, 07:48 PM   #4
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Mike

Did ya clean all the copper out ???

How are you cleaning the lead out ???

Can ya push a bullet thru the throats ????

Is the barrel constricted where it screws into the frame ???

Last but not least do ya have another powder to try ? as I have bullets when switched to BE they lead ( I feel BE is so sooty it dries the lube in the bore)

Here`s how I delead a barrel & cyl. After an unsuccesful load It works so well I put the Lewis kit away !


Choreboy copper (all copper) pot scrubber wrapped around a brush after soaking with Ed`s Red

Chronograph ???

You may want to post this in the bullet casting section also, as there are some that shoot lead exclusively & have waded thru alot to get where they are now , me included
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Old January 24, 2012, 08:05 PM   #5
MSD Mike
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Good question on the copper, I haven’t really shot much jacketed ammo out of the gun in a long time. Mostly wad cutters. Regarding lead removal I believe I have done a good job with the Lewis lead remover. I will have to try your technique though. As far as powders go its no big deal to change. I have all the usual suspects, HP38, 231, Red Dot, Unique and Trail Boss. I just stuck with BE so I was only changing one variable at a time. Any suggestions on a different powder are appreciated.

Thanks
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Old January 24, 2012, 09:26 PM   #6
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You're bullets appear to be the same style I load, only of a softer BHNL. The softer lead should work well with a slower powder,(231/unique). I'd like to also find some good old FLAT based bullets again. Everyone seems to be casting Bevel Base for the lazy handloaders...
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Old January 24, 2012, 11:32 PM   #7
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I think it odd the Lewis lead remover kit pops up on the page when you look at the bullets. Remove any copper from your barrel. I'd order some Lee liquid alox or White Label Xlox and lube those bullets again. If that bullet lube is the hard blue crayon stuff it's not really doing anything for you at pistol velocities. I'd also try a few bullets sized to .359". Find a place that sells samples and give them a try.
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Old January 24, 2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
I'd like to also find some good old FLAT based bullets again. Everyone seems to be casting Bevel Base for the lazy handloaders...
I agree flat base bullets are more forgiving, but it is a challenge to find them
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Old January 25, 2012, 02:00 AM   #9
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same problem

I have for a long time tried for a midrange (1000 fps) .357 load with 158 gr commercial lead bullets and have never found anything that did not lead unacceptably and some of it was just awful.

I got frustrated enough that I started shooting the Speer 160 "half jackets" and that got me the velocity I wanted with no leading, obviously, since it was a jacketed slug. Alas Speer no longer makes the bullet.

I was working with 5.5-6.o grains of Unique.

The problem, I think is that commercial slugs are too soft. Not enough alloy, or whatever the slugs are cast with to increase hardness. And swaged slugs are softer still. I am not getting into bullet casting and have pretty much given up on 1000 fps load in lead.
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Old January 25, 2012, 02:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .45 Vet
Everyone seems to be casting Bevel Base for the lazy handloaders...
Is it lazy handloaders or lazy casters? I thought the bevel base molds were supposed to be easier to cast and maybe the only option for automatic casting machines?

I'd rather have a flat base cast bullet as well, but you just can't seem to find them. I see no advantage at all with the bevel base.
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Old January 25, 2012, 03:25 AM   #11
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Flat based bullets can be found if you know where to look. If you have accuracy issues the 358429 is the one to get. I've never seen a revolver that wouldn't shoot it accurately. The RCBS 158gr SWC is good design too.
http://www.montanabulletworks.com/357.html
http://westernbullet.com/ly3gr15.html
http://www.rimrockbullets.net/catalo...roducts_id=159
http://www.mattsbullets.com/index.ph...ort=20a&page=2
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Old January 25, 2012, 06:01 AM   #12
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Try a slower powder than Bullseye.

I worked up a load for my .44mag Trapper using Unique & a Hornady swaged lead 240 grain bullet.
I wanted something in the 1000 to 1100 fps range.

IIRC, I got up to about 7 gr - about 850 fps. according to the book.

I had horrible leading.

I switched over to using 2400.
17.5 gr of 2400, according to the book, delievers the velocity I wanted.

There isn't any trace of leading either.
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Old January 25, 2012, 08:14 AM   #13
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I agree with the guys that say try another powder. Although I have a can of 2400 still on the shelf, I have not loaded with it in awhile.

I use 700-X with no leading at all, shooting Missouri Bullet 158 grain. I switch to 700-X because I was looking for a lower powered round.
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Old January 25, 2012, 10:30 AM   #14
MSD Mike
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I will repeat the test with something a bit slower than BE and see what happens. I also have some harder bullets (.357 action) I can try but that seems to go against what most say will work at 38 special velocities. I will try a different powder first.

Thanks
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Old January 25, 2012, 06:26 PM   #15
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I have been reloading since the 1960's.

I "discovered" bullets cast from wheel weights in the early 1970's.

Bullets cast from wheel weight alloy with about 2% tin added, from an RCBS .38 wadcutter mold, lubed with NRA standard lube (soft sticky stuff, not the hard red or blue stuff), sized to .358, will shoot great groups, and/or as fast as you want to go before you have to beat the cases out of your cylinders..... without leading.

Sorry, but I've never had any luck with commerical bullets (even the wonderful products from Mo Bullet Co.). I would be delighted to be able to simply buy bullets, but none of them (so far) have grouped as well, or shot as clean, as home-made bullets from wheel-weight alloy.

JMHO - YRMV
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Old January 26, 2012, 01:45 AM   #16
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+1 on trying a slower burning powder. With the 158gr, I have had great success with Unique and Herco in .38s and 2400 and H110 out of the magnums. I have never had success with Bullseye in anything other than light loads.

The slower powders excel in the longer barrel lengths of handguns, providing a good push rather than a quick slap to the back of your bullet.
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Old January 26, 2012, 02:04 AM   #17
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slow powder

I will try 2400 for my 1000 fps .357/158. An added advantage up front will be that a charged case, I'm thinking 10 grs or so will have twice the capacity as 5.5 gr of Unique and more easily spotted if double charged.

Never thought about a slow powder being the problem.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:08 AM   #18
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Leading & Pressure & BHN (bullet hardness)

Like already said
Quote:
Try a slower powder than Bullseye
What you want to do is reduce the PSI on the base of the bullets. But still produce more velocity. Slower powders do this. There is a photo of lees pressure chart here in the album.

Mod. Edit: Sorry, but that's from Lee's Modern Reloading, so it violates the board policy on copyrighted materials. Please read it, here.

Last edited by Unclenick; January 30, 2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Old January 29, 2012, 09:13 AM   #19
MSD Mike
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Taking the slower powder route I shot 4 grains of Unique yesterday, only the smallest amount of leading and was wasy to clean. I will work up the Unique scale and report back for those that are interested. If I have no luck I will try a harder bullet just to see if it gets better or worse. If no luck there I will try tumble lubing or somehthing like that. I'm just not prepared to start casting ..... Yet.

Thanks
Mike
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Old January 29, 2012, 09:50 AM   #20
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Here's a very good comprehensive/detailed reference for cause of leading and prevention - http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

By the end of the chapter, you should have enough information to not experience any leading.
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Old January 30, 2012, 11:59 AM   #21
MSD Mike
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Thanks BDS,
I have read a lot on the subject but that is probably the most informative. Thanks for the link.

Mike
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Old January 30, 2012, 02:13 PM   #22
Unclenick
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If you haven't done so, take GP100man's suggestion to slug your bore with pure lead to feel for roughness and constrictions. Firelapping can remove those and smooth the bore a lot.

For cleaning, I've used Wipe Out No-Lead and found it very effective. It actually reacts with the lead to convert it to a black substance that just patches out.

Try secondary lubrication with Liquid Alox or Xlox, as suggested earlier. I also sprinkle mine with a little motor mica when they reach the tacky stage, and roll them around to press it into the surface. That makes handling easier.

Buy a punch to make wads from 1/16 sheet LDPE. These stop leading IME. But even a wad cut from cardboard and glued on by setting the bullet wet with liquid lube on it will help.

I don't know of anyone commercially casting the Lee Tumble Lube bullet designs, but the ones I've cast are significantly more accurate from my K-frame Smith than commercial match ammo is, and they leaded least of all.
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Old January 30, 2012, 02:19 PM   #23
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Quote:
I don't know of anyone commercially casting the Lee Tumble Lube bullet designs, but the ones I've cast are significantly more accurate from my K-frame Smith than commercial match ammo is.
Unclenick, Carolina Cast Bullets has Lee tumblelube bullets for sale. They even have Ranch Dog bullets. http://www.carolinacastbullets.com/3...57_Magnum.html
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Old January 30, 2012, 04:38 PM   #24
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I remember seeing before that RD's designs were being produced. Didn't realize it extended to the Lee line, too. Good to know.
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