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Old January 9, 2005, 02:15 AM   #1
Rodger Peterson
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barrel cleaning (lead)

Since I got my new .45 Blackhawk, I have found some (a whole lot) of lead and Unique powder residue in the barrel and cyclinder, as well as on the outside. Not having used lead bullets in the past, I could use some recomendations on the best solvent for lead. I have always used Hoppes #9, but never on a barrel that looks like this. I have shot about 100 rounds and it is a mess. I haven't tried cleaning it yet, so maybe it will cleanup easier than I think, but kinda thinking the self serv car wash might be a start
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Old January 9, 2005, 03:26 AM   #2
Tim R
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If you are going to shoot lead, get a Lewis Lead remover. Makes for quick cleaning the lead out. I believe Outers also makes one. They use a brass screen and it just peals it right out.
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Old January 11, 2005, 09:09 PM   #3
Smokey Joe
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Getting the lead out

Second the reccommendation on the lead remover screen. Some of the lead just has to be physically picked out of the rifling. Another useful product for lead removal is the Turner Tornado brush, made of stainless steel. It's pretty harsh, and I wouldn't make a practice of using it unless needed, but it also scrapes lead well. A product that I have found helps is Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner. Don't know what it has in it, it stinks (similar to toilet bowl cleaner), however, the bottom line is, that it gets out lead and powder fouling better than what else I've tried for cleaning compounds.

The lead is tenacious, and takes a good deal of cleaning, scrubbing, and picking. But you have to do it. Accuracy suffers badly if you just keep piling more lead on the bore.

You said this is a new gun—IMX, the new bbl. may be a trifle rough with microscopic tool marks or some such, which pick up lead from each bullet fired. I had a similar experience breaking in a new target pistol. After perhaps 1000 rounds, it quit leading badly, and cleaned up normally. So there is hope that you won't have this extra cleaning for the rest of your life with this firearm.
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Old January 11, 2005, 10:10 PM   #4
HSMITH
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Go down to your grocery store and get a pack of Chore Boy copper scouring pads. Unwrap it, you will have about a foot long piece of the copper 'fabric' about 4" wide. Wrap this on a worn bor brush, about two turns is all you need. This works far better than a Lewis Lead remover, and costs about 90% less. Make a few passes to get the majority of the lead out, then hit it a few swipes with a NEW bronze bore brush soaked in good solvent to get the rest out. I like Shooters Choice for solvent.
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Old January 11, 2005, 10:25 PM   #5
Rodger Peterson
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Thanks gentlemen, you have givin me the advise I am looking for. I did cleanup up the revolver with patches and #9. Looks better. But still streaks of lead on rifling toward the breech end. Next time I get to town I will get bore brush and try the chore boy. I have every bore brush in my cleaning box, except 4x. Cal. My next Midway order will have some solvent included.
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Old January 11, 2005, 11:27 PM   #6
d_mikey
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If I remember correctly, hoppes no 9 has some ammonia in it. Ammonia is probably why the other stuff mentioned smells like toilet bowl cleaner. The military used to use a viscous brown fluid cleaner that was essentially a thickened ammonia solution. The point of this is that ammonia is a very effective lead remover. Just soaking it a little more may be sufficient, without the risk to your rifling that a harsh scrubbing might cause.
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Old January 13, 2005, 12:01 PM   #7
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I use copper Chor-boy on everything I shoot lead bullets in. It works better than my Lewis lead remover.
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Old January 14, 2005, 08:23 AM   #8
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As far as I know Oyter's has stopped making the Lead Removal tool with the brass screen. Or at least nobody carries them.
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Old January 14, 2005, 12:25 PM   #9
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You're treating the symptom, not the disease. If you are getting leading, there's something wrong. While your pistol could be out of time or have a rough forcing cone, 95% of the time it's a bullet problem. If you are shooting swaged Hornady or Speer or the like, they are too soft for your load. If you are shooting bulk cast of whatever brand is locally available, they are probably too hard. If they are .451 diameter, they are too small. In any case, they could use a better lube. If you are already stuck with a sizeable quantity, a coat of Lee's Liquid Alox may cure the problem.

I shoot most of the common pistol calibers, including .45 Colt. You are not going to get leading at common .45 Colt velocities (800-900 fps) if your bullets match your chamber throat, are cast of air cooled wheelweights, and are well lubed.

There is a fad among commercial casters for bullets that are too small, too hard, and lubed with lubes that are more colorful than effective. This causes a lot of frustration. It's also why I went to casting my own many years ago. As soon as I did, I quit having leading problems. and I commonly put 500 or more rounds through a pistol between cleanings.
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Old January 15, 2005, 03:53 PM   #10
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I agree with the Lewis Lead Remover. Works wonders! I believe Brownells now owns the firm. Quantrill
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Old January 20, 2005, 08:19 PM   #11
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I believe Hoppe's made a version of the Lewis tool. MidSouth has the replacement copper screens in their new catalog.
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Old January 20, 2005, 09:13 PM   #12
Edward429451
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Quote:
If you are shooting bulk cast of whatever brand is locally available, they are probably too hard.
I'm slowly catching on to this. I cast my own and have been adding 1 roll of 50/50 to 10 lbs WW's for my spicy 44 mags. It still leads but not quite as bad as straight WW's. I've been told that WW's are coming through with more tin lately and I'm adding too much. Could you expound on your statement a little and maybe even set me straight on how much 50/50 (tin) I should be adding?

It don't bother me THAT much with the leading. I can live with it as I do like the performance that I get. Admittidly though, it would be nice if I could reduce or eliminate the leading and make a cleaning session one sitting instead of two or three to get it all out.

I'm pushing lead 44's at 1200-1400 fps.
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Old January 20, 2005, 09:23 PM   #13
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Edward, if you added more tin and they got better I think you are on the right track trying to harden the bullets a little. You should drop your wheelweight bullets straight from the mold into cold water, and size them as soon as possible. Cast them where they are just starting to get frosted, HOT bullets. Within a couple hours for the sizing is fine. This will harden the bullet more than adding more tin will harden them. You have PLENTY of tin in your bullets as is.

If you still get leading you may need to harden them some more, and heat treating a small batch is easy enough. Put a batch of sized but unlubed bullets standing on the bases in the oven at 400* for a half hour, take them from the oven and dump them in cold water immediately. Lube and shoot. Straight wheelweights heat treated are harder than woodpecker lips, if this doesn't work you need to investigate sizing and lube used.
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Old January 21, 2005, 01:19 PM   #14
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400 eh? Hmmm, I had heard that you do it hotter, almost to where the bullets start to slump and them heat treat ovens are pricy. If you get good results with 400 then maybe its worth a try in the ol toaster oven.

Wonder if she'd miss it off the counter?

Worth a try! Thanks.

I also recently switched to hard lube but am still shooting up the ones with soft lube.
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Old January 22, 2005, 02:45 AM   #15
HSMITH
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I have gotten worse leading across the board with hard lube when compared to another quality soft lube.

400 is hot enough to get a decent hardening. You can try it hotter too if you want but I don't think you will need to.
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Old January 22, 2005, 07:24 AM   #16
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works well for me

I cut a small 'patch' from a KLEEN-BORE Lead-Away cloth, and use that pushed by a dowel through my barrel.
When the bore is mirror-bright (normally just a few passes) I then clean the crap outta it using more conventional means.
I try to avoid using brushes, but if I must I use non-steel.
Then I re-clean it conventionally and finish it off with a TetraLube-saturated patch.

Before I shoot it I run dry clean patches through it.
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Old February 20, 2005, 02:52 AM   #17
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Try Coppermelt to remove the lead. I agree that the problem is caused by the alloy, the diameter, or the lube. Adding tin to an alloy doesn't do much for hardening the bullet. The purpose of tin is to make the alloy "flow" better into all of the little cracks and crannies in the mold. More than about 5% tin is excessive, and tin is the most expensive component of the alloy. Antimony and Arsenic have more to do with hardening an alloy.
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Old February 20, 2005, 03:46 AM   #18
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I'll chime in here, as I have shot a lot of homemade lead wheelweight bullets.

When I get done shooting at the end of the trip, I always make sure I have half a dozen jacketed rounds loaded.
I shoot 45 ACP so mine are always FMJ's.

Anyway, before you put your gun away, try to run a clip full (Or cylinder full) of jacketed ammo through it.
I do this expecially if I have shot a lot that day. This seems to help bring some, if not a lot, of the lead out of the barrel.
When I come home to clean the guns, I have one of the brass screen deals that I pull through the barrel a couple of times, then clean normally, and it's good as new.


P.S. If you're shooting a magnum (doesn't matter what caliber) or driving those lead bullet really fast, you're going to lead the barrel no matter what you try to prevent it. But you all probably already know that.
I almost junked a .357 like that once. It was leaded bad, I mean REALLY, REALLY bad. As in it almost filled the groves up to the lands....the whole length of the barrel!
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Old February 20, 2005, 04:03 AM   #19
Smokey Joe
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Hot loads and leading prevention

Captain Razor--The answer to leading with hot loads is to use gas-checked bullets. Otherwise the fierce hot powder gases will partially melt the back end of the bullet, and of course the lead will be left in the gun's rifling. Somebody told me that this is a problem any time you get the lead bullets going more than 900 fps. Don't know if I believe in an arbitrary figure like that, but I do use GC bullets for my hot hunting loads, and they don't lead my bore.
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Old February 20, 2005, 03:12 PM   #20
CaptainRazor
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Smokey Joe:

Thanks, I know about gas checks, but I don't have a luber sizer, so I have to size my bullets through a sizing die in the press, then tumble lube them.
It's a terribly backwards way to do it (not to mention messy), and some day, I hope to get a luber sizer.
So my solution is to keep the velocities down (i.e. shoot slower calibers).
But honestly, I shoot 38 spl and 45ACP and I really don't have much trouble with leading.

Hopefully, when I get back to work. (wintertime, construction, you get the picture) I'll have a little extra money for a luber sizer and some dies and top punches.

Any suggestions?
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Old February 20, 2005, 11:50 PM   #21
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Edward, sorry to be so late getting back to you. You are using way more tin than you really need to and you are shooting hotter loads than I do with plain base cast bullets. Four feet of solder should be enough of ten pounds of alloy and some folks skip that. You are not really hardening with the tin, just improving the casting qualities. There is a slight increase in hardness, but that is incidental.

If you really want to shoot PB bullets that fast, drop them into a bucket of water as you cast, size immediately and age a week or more before shooting. This is a lot less likely to cause domestic discord than baking your bullets. I prefer to use gas checked bullets for what few full magnum loads I shoot.

Something worth noting is that the Lee tumble lube designs can't be driven as hard as more conventional designs. They generally do fine up to around 1100 fps, though. The Liquid Aloxers can cut down on the mess by dusting their bullets with Motor Mica. Any of the mail order reloading supply places with have it. Just lube and dry your bullets as you have been doing and tumble them gently with a little mica. The powder coats the tacky surface.
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Old February 21, 2005, 04:15 PM   #22
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Shooting jacketed bullets through a barrel to remove lead not only doesn't work, it can be dangerous, if there is enough leading it can cause excessive resistance to the jacketed bullet and raise pressures to a dangerous level. The Lewis Lead Remover works, but the copper chore boy works better and much faster, when I was shooting competitively I shot swaged lead bullets exclusively, and would spend a lot of time getting the leading out, the chore boy will clean more lead out in a couple of minutes than a Lewis Lead Remover will in 30 minutes. Shooting jacketed bullets will not remove lead from the bore.

Ammonia is a common component in some bore cleaners, ammonia will work on copper fouling, it has no effect on lead at all.
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Old February 21, 2005, 04:38 PM   #23
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"...Hoppe's made a version of the Lewis tool..."

Problem with the Hoppe's version was they used an aluminum rod and formed a loop for pulling through. Loop straightened, threads for removal head pulled out. The Lewis works great. Steel rod with T handle.
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Old February 21, 2005, 06:12 PM   #24
Edward429451
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Thanks! I'm going to drop em in water the next casting session and back off the solder too. Maybe a couple big sponges in the bucket to break the fall and keep splashing to a minimum.
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When I am going to be shooting cast and jacketed in the same range session, I always shoot the jacketed first. People know to dry patch their barrels before shooting but will send jacketed down after cast? It's the same principle.
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