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Old March 23, 2013, 06:08 PM   #1
rebs
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Glock 21 and lswc's ?

Shooting lswc's in a Glock 21 ok or bad idea ?
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Old March 23, 2013, 06:14 PM   #2
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You can shoot lead but I'd limit it's use and instead stick with jacketed bullets because of Glocks polygonal barrel. If you're interested in shooting lead bullets, consider a KKM, Lone Wolf or Storm Lake barrel for your G21.
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Old March 23, 2013, 07:14 PM   #3
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Do you have an idea on the price of a new barrel ?
Why did Glock go with that particular type rifling ?
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Old March 23, 2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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You probably already know it's a bad idea. Why would you ask? We could tell you it's o.k., but we aren't going to replace your gun if it gets damaged.
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Old March 23, 2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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The main advantage of polygonal rifling is that the gas seals better behind the bullet, creating muzzle velocities that are slightly higher and more consistent than traditional rifling. However, because the gas seals better behind the bullet, if there is a build-up of lead in the barrel you're more likely to create an over-pressure situation.

Glock specifically had a few lawsuits from barrels blowing up when people shot lead bullets and didn't clean the lead residue from the barrel often enough, so they caution heavily against it. But it's fine to shoot lead bullets in a polygonal barrel as long as you clean it often enough that lead doesn't build up.
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Old March 23, 2013, 09:49 PM   #6
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I had heard both ways that you can and can't, thats why I asked on this forum since I figured there would be people on here that would know. I have a chance to buy a Glock 21 that has only been fired 50 times, one box of rounds for a great price. It is mint condition with the box, paper work, one ten round and 2 high capacity mags. Up until now I have mainly fired 95% my own reloaded lswc's.
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Old March 23, 2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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The main advantage of polygonal rifling is that the gas seals better behind the bullet, creating muzzle velocities that are slightly higher and more consistent than traditional rifling.
It also tends to be easier to clean since there are no "corners" in the bore for fouling to hide in.
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But it's fine to shoot lead bullets in a polygonal barrel as long as you clean it often enough that lead doesn't build up.
The problem is that it's not possible to come up with a general rule of thumb for how often is often enough to clean.

One experiment found that two apparently identical Glock barrels, shooting exactly the same ammunition showed very different effects. One showed a minimal pressure increase after 300 rounds, the other showed twice the effect after only 75 rounds. Double the effect from 4 times fewer rounds.

The guy who did the test (Mark Passamaneck, a forensic engineer) decided that the risk wasn't worth it and switched to shooting plated bullets in his Glocks.

So yes, if you thoroughly clean it often enough (whatever that turns out to be for your individual gun & load--and there is no safe general rule to determine how often is often enough), keep away from max loads, and NEVER, EVER shoot jacketed rounds through a bore until you've completely removed lead fouling, then you can shoot your lead reloads in the Glock.

If you change anything in your load, you would need to reestablish a cleaning routine based on how the change affects the leading. Again, with no general rule to determine how to establish how often to clean.
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Old March 23, 2013, 10:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info, John. I've talked to many people who shoot lead bullets through their Glocks with no ill effects, but they must clean the heck out of their barrels quite often. I wasn't aware the issue could vary so much between barrels. It sounds like the answer to the OP's question should be, "Yes, but it's risky enough that it's probably not worth it."
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Old March 23, 2013, 10:52 PM   #9
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If you've been shooting a particular load in a particular gun with no ill effects, then it should be safe to continue along those lines as long as you never put a jacketed round through the bore unless it's been thoroughly cleaned of lead first.

Just be aware that shooting that identical load in another apparently identical gun may yield very different results in terms of leading and pressure rise, and also that changing some aspect of the load in the original gun may also turn out to change things more dramatically than expected.

It's not that it's super risky or dangerous, the problem is that it sometimes can be and it's not really possible to give a solid rule of thumb that will insure safety.
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Old March 23, 2013, 11:10 PM   #10
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I shot thousands of lead boolits through my G21 when I had it. The G21 would be the safest glock to do this with because the 45acp operates at such low pressure that you actually have a pretty good leeway with the pressure curve, since the same size design will handle the 10mm just fine.

Besides, if you use a .452 at <1000 fps, it seals well and doesn't lead appreciably. When it does if you shoot it that much, it's very easy to clean out as noted. Keep it clean, if you do shoot jacketed bullets through it at the range, shoot them first, before the lead.

I would be a lot more careful with other caliber glocks and lead. 9mms operate at ~35K IIRC? Not much leeway there! Be careful, use your head and you'll be fine. Don't shoot jacketed after the lead because if it's leaded, there's where you'll get your pressure spike. That crap that is repeated about shoot jacketed to clean out the lead is stupid and a wives tale.

I couldn't get the lead SWC's to feed in my G21 but it loves RN.
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Old March 24, 2013, 03:57 AM   #11
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....he switched to shooting plated bullets in his Glocks.
So plated bullets are OK in a Glock? They can be treated as jacketed bullets in terms of cleaning protocols?

Sorry for the mini-hijack, but plated bullets are a cheaper reloading option, if ever factory ammo gets steep, hence my interest.

As for lead in Glocks, I too considered it for a while, but never bothered due to the possible risks
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Old March 24, 2013, 06:48 AM   #12
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After reading all the replies I am thinking its a risk not worth doing to save a little money on bullets. Thank you for all the replies
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Old March 24, 2013, 08:54 AM   #13
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Do you have an idea on the price of a new barrel ?
A bit over $100 for Lone Wolf.

Take the risk, or factor that price into your calculation when you get your Glock. It's not that expensive. Assuming you can find one in these crazy times.
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Old March 24, 2013, 06:31 PM   #14
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Glock 21's do not have polygonal rifeling. Other caliber glocks do. My stock Gen 3 - 21c does not.
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Old March 24, 2013, 07:57 PM   #15
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So plated bullets are OK in a Glock? They can be treated as jacketed bullets in terms of cleaning protocols?
Mr. Passamaneck apparently believed so. I would caution that some plated bullets aren't very different from plain lead. I've seen some with plating that was very thin and didn't really do anything in terms of reducing leading issues.
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Glock 21's do not have polygonal rifeling. Other caliber glocks do. My stock Gen 3 - 21c does not.
All stock Glock pistols have polygonal rifling. If yours does not, then it has a replacement aftermarket barrel.

I will say that it's not that easy to tell exactly the nature of the Glock rifling by looking down the bore. It becomes more obvious when you recover a fired bullet. Instead of having conventional rifling grooves, the bullet is squeezed into a polygonal shape.

Here's a thread that discusses the topic and has some pictures.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266988
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Old March 24, 2013, 08:23 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info, John. I've talked to many people who shoot lead bullets through their Glocks with no ill effects, but they must clean the heck out of their barrels quite often
Nah. I'd put about ten mags through my G21 and inspect the bore. It usually just had some lube residue that would come clean with a mop. It was certainly cleaner than a regular rifled barrel. Not once did I ever have to run a brush down the barrel to remove leading, because it never did.

Too bad the rest of the gun was junk.
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Old March 24, 2013, 10:07 PM   #17
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Nah. I'd put about ten mags through my G21 and inspect the bore. It usually just had some lube residue that would come clean with a mop. It was certainly cleaner than a regular rifled barrel.
As mentioned, they don't all lead the same amount or at the same rate.

There's also the issue that because of the smoother barrel profile, it can be more difficult to detect leading. Had a guy on another forum swear up and down that he had a G17 with a shot out barrel that appeared to be a smoothbore. Turned out the barrel was in great condition, it was just leaded so badly that he couldn't see the rifling.

It's a good thing he cleaned it before he tried shooting it.

For what it's worth, it's likely that the lower velocity of the .45ACP probably makes the G21 less likely to lead. Still the problem is that there's no way to say for certain how much of a given lead bullet load will be safe in a given pistol.
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Old March 27, 2013, 06:16 AM   #18
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Thank you for all the replies, I'll shoot the lswc's in my Gold Cup and shoot jacketed in the Glock.
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Old March 27, 2013, 04:59 PM   #19
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I personally wouldn't do it. It's not worth the risk of kaboom. If you absolutely must shoot lead, get a lone wolf barrel, or make sure you're cleaning very often. If I had to shoot lead out of my OEM barrel, I probably wouldn't shoot more than 100 rounds without cleaning, but then again, I don't shoot lead, and I won't replace your gun/barrel if it gets damaged...so take my advice with a grain of salt.
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Old March 27, 2013, 09:36 PM   #20
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Seems like an aftermarket barrel might pay for itself in < 1K rounds.
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Old March 27, 2013, 10:00 PM   #21
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[IMG][/IMG]

Nobody told my G35 it couldn't shoot lead. Of course I've only put about 7-8000 rounds of it throught it so maybe it hasn't built up enough leading in the barrel yet.
I'm not by ant means advising to shoot lead and will admidt it took some tiral and error to find the right combination of hardness and pressure. Once I did I ordered several thousand rounds and never looked back until my supply ran out. After that I swithced to plated becuase they were actually cheaper then the lead I was shooting.
Oh and for all the <deleted> lawyers, Glocks owners manuals say not to shoot reloads. It doesnt specify lead or jacketed.

Last edited by JohnKSa; March 27, 2013 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Language.
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Old March 27, 2013, 11:05 PM   #22
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Nah. I'd put about ten mags through my G21 and inspect the bore. It usually just had some lube residue that would come clean with a mop. It was certainly cleaner than a regular rifled barrel. Not once did I ever have to run a brush down the barrel to remove leading, because it never did.

Too bad the rest of the gun was junk.
Agreed. I got to the point with mine that I became confident enough to run several hundred rounds through it without checking it. It was always the same thing, no leading. I used just straight wheelweights airdropped and sized to .452 in it. It got way way more lead through it than jacketed. Before I gave it to my son. I concluded that it was junk when compared with any other handgun I had. It was accurate and all but it was finicky with anything besides lead RN. In fairness, it was more accurate than my stockish 1911, it just didn't mesh with my ideals and collection.

The rounds that did jam in it, I would kick to the side and fill an entire mag with them to be ran through my Colt. It was pretty satisfying to have full mags of G21 jammed rounds run like butter through my Colt.
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Old March 27, 2013, 11:28 PM   #23
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Glocks owners manuals say not to shoot reloads. It doesnt specify lead or jacketed.
Kind of funny that you quote the manual when you clearly don't care what it says given that you're shooting reloads in your Glock.

Glock doesn't make a secret of the prohibition on "unjacketed" bullets. I don't know why they don't put it in the owner's manuals, but it is thoroughly covered in the armorers course and in other Glock publications and informational materials.
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Old March 29, 2013, 02:52 AM   #24
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Why did Glock go with that particular type rifling ?
Just take a minute, and learn about the concept of the polygonal rifling you'll understand.

Quote:
Do you have an idea on the price of a new barrel ?

$150 if you have to ask< I just got one from Lonewolf.
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Old March 29, 2013, 02:56 PM   #25
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I'm not even sure it's the polygonal rifling that causes the problem. It very well could be a sharper shoulder at the front of the chamber & case mouth that allows the build up of lead particles/shavings during firing, and then starts to push each next round further back, until the cartridge fires from a less supported breech.
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