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Old April 15, 2012, 02:56 PM   #1
joshf128
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Need to lube purchased lead bullets?

I just started reloading 45ACP and my first 150 rounds all performed very well using 230gr FMJ. As with most people who begin reloading, I am very interested in minimizing cost/round and want to try some cast lead bullets. I'm about to order some from Alpha Bravo (http://www.alphabravobullets.com/) and just want to make sure that I don't have to lube them prior to loading.

I've read several articles on casting your own bullets (in addition to several reloading manuals) and understand the need for lubing/sizing after casting but I would assume that anything purchased from a dealer would be ready to load.

(BTW, thanks in advance to all of the people who contribute to this forum! I've learned a ton and like to learn about what other people are working on)
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Old April 15, 2012, 04:35 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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If you want to lube your own give liquid allox a try. I use Lee liquid allox for all of my cast bullets. Stick the bottle in a cup of hot tap water for a few minutes before you use it and it will take less, and dry faster.
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Old April 15, 2012, 06:18 PM   #3
Hammerhead
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They should come lubed and sized.

The trick with lead bullets is finding the right hardness and size for your gun and you'll probably end up with some that do lead before you find the right brand. Then LLA (Lee liquid Alox) will make them shootable. LLA is very economical.
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Old April 15, 2012, 06:18 PM   #4
Scimmia
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Virtually all commercial cast bullets will come already lubed. Taking a look at their site, you see the blue band around the bullets they show pictures of? That's the lube.
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Old April 15, 2012, 08:07 PM   #5
joshf128
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Thanks all! So if they do come with some lube on them and end up leading the barrel (hope they don't) would additional LLA prevent that?

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Old April 15, 2012, 09:16 PM   #6
BDS-THR
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josh, as others posted, commercial lead bullets come lubed unless you order without them.

To minimize/prevent leading, you should slug your barrel to determine the groove diameter of the barrel (typical is .451" and some are larger like .452").

THEN you should order your bullets sized .001" larger than the groove diameter of the barrel as bullet-to-barrel fit is key in minimizing/preventing leading.

Next, you should order the hardness that's matched to your powder/load. If you want to shoot max loads, you may need to order 18+ BHN bullets but if you plan on shooting mid-to-high range load data target loads, 12-14 BHN will be soft enough to deform/bump the bullet base to seal with the barrel.

You can find more information on definition/cause/prevention and removal of leading here - http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

Some pistols have tight chambers and you may have difficulty loading them to reliably feed/chamber. What pistol are you reloading for?
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Old April 15, 2012, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Thanks all! So if they do come with some lube on them and end up leading the barrel (hope they don't) would additional LLA prevent that?
In most cases yes.
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Old April 16, 2012, 07:42 AM   #8
joshf128
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I'm reloading for a 1911 and planning on using mid range load data. Thanks again for the help.

Before I started I thought reloading would be a pain but I actually really enjoy it. Cheaper. Making something with my own hands. Buying new toys...I mean tools. Love the tactile feedback from my Lee Classic Turret.

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Old April 16, 2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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Bullet fit is key to clean, leading free shooting. As BDS-THR stated, slug the bore of your gun snd use bullets .001" or .002" larger than groove diameter. When shooting/loading a 45 ACP, Brinell hardness shouldn't be much of a concern for you now (I cast my own bullets for several years before I got a hardness tester and everything from range scrap to weel weights shot lead free in my guns if they were correct size). See if you can order the Budget Bullets in .452"...
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Old April 16, 2012, 10:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Before I started I thought reloading would be a pain but I actually really enjoy it. Cheaper. Making something with my own hands. Buying new toys...I mean tools. Love the tactile feedback from my Lee Classic Turret.
Oh, oh. Now you've done it. You're hooked! Reloading will provide you with great satisfaction and many hours of good wholesome entertainment. It will NOT save you money! It will, however, allow you to do a lot more shooting with the same amount of money.

Next thing you know, you are going to be ready to take the next step and start casting your own bullets. By that time you will be hopelessly addicted and there is no known cure for that addiction.

Welcome to the wonderful world of shooting!
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Old April 17, 2012, 08:02 AM   #11
joshf128
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Stick man, I am quickly realizing that paying hundreds if dollars to save money on ammo is kind of strange but I got tired of paying $20 a box go to the range and shoot for 15 minutes, pay my $15 range fee and leave. Now I spend more overall but it is not directly related to "per range trip" cost.

As for lead casting, I'm tempted but I dont really have a good space for it and I have used up most of my leeway with my wife having "dangerous powder" in the garage (she doesn't care about primers or gasoline though, go figure). I dont think I could swing the molten lead/toxic fumes discussion right now, but more importantly I really just dont have a good space for it.

Now I can make 45acp for about $7 box which extends my range time considerably (especially during my ranges "happy hours" when fees are only $5!). I can live with that for a while.

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Old April 17, 2012, 03:41 PM   #12
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I think if you're frugal when ordering reloading equipment you can save money, especially with revolver calibers where quality factory ammo costs about $30/50 and the cheap stuff isn't worth shooting.
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Old April 18, 2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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The reason they should be larger

First, if they are TOO large, you get more pressure than you should expect.

Why should the bullets be (ever so) slightly larger than the groove diameter?

If smaller, the bore is not sealed will by the bullet. The hot gasses propelling the bullet down the barrel will leak around the sides of the bullet and melt the sides of the bullet, smearing melted lead on your barrel. If the bullet is slightly oversized, the seal is better. Friction melting the lead bullet material is NOT NEARLY as much a problem, especially if there is good lubrication.

Gas checks (a copper disk crimped onto the bottom of the bullet) are the next step up from cast lead in the fight to reduce leading, and then copper plated. Next is jacketed bullets.

Lead fouling is easier to remove than copper fouling (unless there is a LOT of lead).

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