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Old May 5, 2012, 10:13 AM   #1
dyl
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Any cheap source to slug bore?

Hey all,

I've read about slugging bores as far as how-to.

I just don't have any soft lead projectiles around the house in 9mm or 40 caliber. In order to GET lead projectiles I'd have to purchase them and from what I understand you want to slug the bore before you make any purchases so you know what to get.

Where do you obtain just 1 (or very few) lead projectiles?

And a micrometer/caliper to the muzzle won't work?

Would wax work or is that too fragile?
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Old May 5, 2012, 10:21 AM   #2
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You could use lead fishing sinkers if you can still get them in lead. Some of them are going to zinc and that is too hard.
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Old May 5, 2012, 10:41 AM   #3
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuNoo...eature=related
Here is a video showing how to use fishing sinkers to slug a barrel. It is part 1. Part 2 is linked from there.
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Old May 5, 2012, 10:44 AM   #4
dyl
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Thanks Vance, I can look around Walmart for lead sinkers. I've been contemplating getting into fishing (wish I'd done it sooner...just for the sinkers)

If not, I'll look around ebay for a lead sinker... shouldn't be too expensive.
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Old May 5, 2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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South Bend egg sinkers seem to be pure lead.

See if you can mark the sinker with your fingernail before buying it. If you can't, it's not pure lead.
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Old May 5, 2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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Dyl,

Hornady round balls for cap and ball revolvers are pure lead. Get some a little oversize then roll a flat plate over them until their about two or three thousandths over expected groove diameter or chamber throat diameter, then oil with light oil and slug.

If you want to buy slugging supplies, you can just buy them. Beartooth Bullets sells correct sinkers. LBT has supplies. Meister Bullets has kits. Nostalgia Enterprises (NECO) sells cast pure lead bullets (scroll to bottom here).

LIMITATION: If you have a 'Smith or other gun with an odd number of lands and grooves, measuring the bore is much more trouble. You will need a V-block and depth micrometer and a couple of ground steel dowels for calibration, or else high resolution pin gages to get your across-lands diameter, then double the difference between that and your land-to groove mic measurements of a slug and add the result to the pin gage diameter to get groove diameter. You can still slug throats on one directly.

If you have a gun with an even number of grooves, an OD thimble Micrometer with 0.0001" resolution or more is recommended. Calipers often aren't up to the precision requirement. Take off measurements with small hole gages can sometimes be done, but it costs you resolution. Same with common bore gages. High precision gage pins can be used to learn your diameter across the lands, but you need them ground in small step, like two ten-thousandths. That makes for owning a lot of them for each caliber that interests you.
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Old May 6, 2012, 08:06 PM   #7
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dyl,

You can use a fired case (with the spent primer still intact) as the crucible to melt some soft lead in. You will need the following tools to accomplish the project:
Nylon mallet
Inertia bullet puller
copper or brass pin of lesser diameter than the bore
hardwood dowel of lesser diameter than the bore
sizing die lubricant

Melt enough soft lead in the fired case with a torch. The tapered interior of the case will provide a very nice tapered slug. Let it cool and then knock it out with the inertia bullet puller onto a soft towel. Lubricate the slug and then insert it into the crown end of the bore. Tap it with the nylon mallet until it stops. Then follow up with the copper or brass pin until it passes the crown. Then continue with the hardwood dowel until it drops from the chamber end onto a soft towel. With a zeroed micrometer, measure the largest diameter. This will be the groove diameter of that barrel. Add 0.001" to that dimension and that will be the minimum sized diameter that you need to order by.
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Old May 6, 2012, 10:14 PM   #8
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The video's I linked to in my post above shows that process with the fired case.
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Old May 7, 2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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In addition to using the case as a mold for making barrel slugging slugs, I use the slugs for testing BHN with my Lee hardness tester. Easy to pour some lead from the pot into a fired case for testing before geting a mold prepped for casting.
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Old May 7, 2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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There are two other ways to slug a bore, problem: I can not discuss them, in the past, when discussing other methods, the weak have passed out and the strong got weak.

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Old May 10, 2012, 08:47 PM   #11
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Thanks

Thanks for the info guys was wondering how to do it myself
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Old May 10, 2012, 09:44 PM   #12
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I like to use a brass or coated metal rod. "If" a wood dowel splits and wedges in it can be a bit of trouble to remove. Surely somone who casts could mail you a pure lead ball.
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Old May 14, 2012, 11:36 AM   #13
dyl
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Never officially thanked you all for the info.

Thank you.

UncleNick, I do have a S&W revolver and this may seem counter-intuitive as many revolver loads are only had in lead: but I was planning on slugging only my semi-autos and not the revolver. I was hoping to avoid having to deal with leading issues with the forcing cone/cylinder face etc. I will simply purchase some supplies (many thanks for the links) if my home-brew method fails.

Dardas + Vance, I have just about everything for the brass case method except a torch. For lead I have some FMJ bullets with an open base that I could use. Would a soldering iron get hot enough to melt lead? Maybe I could hold it inside the brass case? Or up against the brass case.

Brass rods - I have a set of brass and steel punches. I actually have zero wooden dowels in the house so I'd likely wrap the bodies with duct tape to prevent damaging the crown.
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Old May 14, 2012, 11:47 AM   #14
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I'd hold out for CHEAP wooden dowels (or any other wood stick that would fit the bore)..... That way there is NO chance of damage. Walmart, ACE, etc. usually have a supply! I'd be in 'no' hurry. Lead sinkers worked fine for me.
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Old May 14, 2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
I'd hold out for CHEAP wooden dowels (or any other wood stick that would fit the bore)..... That way there is NO chance of damage. Walmart, ACE, etc. usually have a supply! I'd be in 'no' hurry. Lead sinkers worked fine for me.
That should read:
"...there is no minimal chance of damage, but there's a really good chance of shattering a dowel and getting it stuck in the bore."

I have used dowels, cleaning rods, pushrods from a V8, and even stacks of threaded studs (any or all of the previous may have been wrapped in painters' tape). None worked well, and most ended up being damaged or causing damage.

Now, I use the 'impact slug' method, and only use polished O-1 drill rod.
The impact slug seems to provide much better measurements at the muzzle or throat, and only fails to provide information on loose spots in the bore. But, you can put the slug back in the barrel and push it through, after measuring, if you want to feel for loose spots or constrictions.

I can get a single length of rod for $3-12, depending on the source, length, and size. And, it has many uses, other than just slugging bores. But, I can order "letter" or "number" sizes that fit my bore so nicely, that even the steel-on-steel contact won't hurt the bore.
For example, I keep sizes M, N, and a number (I forget the exact size) on hand for .30 caliber bores. They come in at .297", .302", and .304" in diameter, in 36" or 48" lengths. (I cut the 4-footers down, and use the cut-off for other projects/tools/dies/punches.)

I can also use a cutoff piece as the 'mandrel' that is contacting the slug, while tapping on a slightly smaller diameter piece of drill rod with wraps of painters' tape, to prevent any chance of crown damage in heavily-eroded bores or bores that are a bit over-sized.

I know most shooters don't think they can justify the $10-20 investment for a one-time slugging, but I'll never go back to the half-baked methods that always seemed to fail on me. (Such as shattering 2 (quality) oak dowel sections in the bore of a Mosin Nagant.... that was a fun one to get out. )
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Last edited by FrankenMauser; May 14, 2012 at 03:03 PM.
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Old May 14, 2012, 03:56 PM   #16
Jim Watson
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Do you plan to cast, size, and lubricate your own bullets?

Slugging your barrel will not help much if you are limited to commercial bullets which are available in few different diameters.
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Old May 14, 2012, 05:02 PM   #17
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FrankenMauser, you've had a lot more experience than me! I have only slugged two 5 1/2" revolvers (not rifles), both in .45 Colt using lead sinkers and wooden dowels that fit the bore. I didn't run into any problem with the process.... and found I did have a constriction near the forcing cone of each. Firelapping took them out.
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Old May 14, 2012, 05:10 PM   #18
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This is all for the purchase of cast bullets. I'm about halfway through my supply of FMJ for 38 special and 40S&W - and I plan on adding 9mm to the list (already have the dies).

It seems like most places have either 500 or 1000 available so I'd hate to be stuck with the wrong size.

The FMJ's I'm using work well, but I'm looking to go even cheaper

Someone once told me that wanting to save more money can be a form of greed

Specific guns in question: Bernardelli P-018, EZ9, M&P40c
Future possibilites: a J-frame, S&W Model 27-2

I suppose I could also just go ahead throw the dice and try 500 of a given diameter for each caliber.
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Old May 14, 2012, 06:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
FrankenMauser, you've had a lot more experience than me! I have only slugged two 5 1/2" revolvers (not rifles), both in .45 Colt using lead sinkers and wooden dowels that fit the bore. I didn't run into any problem with the process.... and found I did have a constriction near the forcing cone of each. Firelapping took them out.
That's actually a very good point, that I wasn't thinking about when I wrote my previous post.

Slugging a handgun is usually quite a bit easier than a rifle, and generally allows the use of inferior equipment (such as hardwood dowels).

I still think drill rod is a better choice, but most people will be just fine with a decent dowel. (Wrap it with tape to center it in the bore, if you can't find something with a good fit.)
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Old May 14, 2012, 07:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
but I'll never go back to the half-baked methods that always seemed to fail on me. (Such as shattering 2 (quality) oak dowel sections in the bore of a Mosin Nagant.... that was a fun one to get out. )
It only took 3 of us to get the slug and dowel pieces out........and the slug did turn out quite nice.

The drill rod method he mentions works much, much better than dowels for rifles.
For pistols I usually just push it trough with a short, pistol cleaning rod, and if needed, a couple light taps with a dead-blow hammer.

A good padded vice (or extra person) is a big help while slugging.
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Old May 15, 2012, 08:05 AM   #21
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I just use the brass dowel from Lowe's. If the muzzle fit is loose, to prevent rubbing, tap the slug in carefully for the first half inch or so with a short length of the brass rod. You then take a bottleneck rifle case whose neck fits in the muzzle on the outside, but which passes the rod on the inside. Cut the head off and use it as a muzzle-end bore guide for the longer rod as soon as the slug is deep enough to allow it. If you have a slug whose fit seems marginal, place a length of brass rod in the other end as an inertial anvil, and with a shorter piece at your end, tap with a heavy (two pound, say) hammer. A pure lead slug will bump right up.


Dyl,

Your open base bullet will have the jacket formed over the end like a lip. The core material inside is not usually pure lead, but typically has several percent antimony, so you may or may not be able to get accurate slugs out of it. The harder the alloy is, the springier it is, so the measured results tend to be oversize. You really want pure, soft lead. The stick-on type wheel weights are a good source of something soft enough if you want to melt your own.

If a soldering iron melts the alloy well, it's probably not pure lead. Alloying often lowers the lead melting point considerably. Pure lead melts at about 625°F, while 50:50 (old plumbing solder standard), 60:40 (electrical), and 63:37 (eutectic) tin:lead solders melt at 402°F, 368°F, and 361°F, respectively. There are hot irons that are made for soldering copper roofing and gutter that will get warm enough, but melting pure lead on a conventional iron is not usually able to achieve good flow. You usually want to get pure lead up into at least the low 700's for good flow.
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