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Old June 24, 2007, 06:44 PM   #1
millers5285
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Lead Bullets

I started reloading for my S&W 1911 45ACP and was using jacketed bullets. I recently switched to lead. A friend of mine said that lead bullets could cause a problem. I clean my gun after every shoot. Anything wrong loading with lead?
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Old June 24, 2007, 07:05 PM   #2
cdrt
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Not a thing as long as you don't load them too hot and cause leading in your barrel.
I shoot Bullseye with a couple of 1911s and have never had a leading problem.

He also might have been referring to the fact that some 1911s won't feed lead SWCs very well. If you have that problem, you can load lead RN bullets instead or have the pistol worked on to accept SWCs.

The old Bullseye target load is either a 185 or 200 lead SWC with 3.5 to 3.8 grains of Bullseye powder. You can get a similar load using WST powder; not sure of the grain equivalent.

A good load with the lead 230 grain RN is 4.0 grains of Bullseye. It works well in my std 1911 with the factory 16 pound recoil spring.
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Old June 24, 2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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Thanks. The load that I use is Titegroup 5.0gr, 200SWC. I've only loaded about 50,but haven't had a problem.
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Old June 24, 2007, 07:57 PM   #4
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Lead bullets won't hurt your 1911, as long as the alloy is hard enough to withstand the forces exerted on the bullet from firing and the rifling. Unless your gun has been tweaked a little to feed SWCs reliably you will want to stick to RNs. My neighbor shoots 230 plainbase RNs over 7.0 of Unique and says that the load does everything the .45 ACP is capable of in his custom Colt.
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Old June 24, 2007, 08:18 PM   #5
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Give Mike a call or Email

Best hard lead bullets, and the nicest guy you will ever deal with! Mike really knows his stuff, believe me. No leading, have used a lot of his bullets.
http://www.mastercastbullets.com/
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Old June 24, 2007, 08:27 PM   #6
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I've been shooting cast lead bullets in pistols (.357 Mag, .44 Mag, .45 ACP) since 1964 with no problems. I have used bullets cast from H&G, Lyman, SAECO, and RCBS molds with NRA recommended lube (50% Alox and 50% beeswax). Have always cleaned barrel THOROUGHLY before switching from cast lead to jacketed bullets OR vice versa. Some loads exceed 1400 fps.

Good shooting and be safe.
LB
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Old June 24, 2007, 08:30 PM   #7
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I shoot almost the same load. 4.9 grains of titegroup behind 200 grain LSWC and I've put about 1000 rounds through my .45 so far. Absolutely no problems. No misfires and only a few failures to feed (magazine related). Keep it clean and field strip it occasionally and you'll have no problems.
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Old June 24, 2007, 09:30 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the fast replies!! I really didn't think it would be a problem, but needed to ask.
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Old June 24, 2007, 10:53 PM   #9
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The only thing with lead bullets is they can't straighten themselves out on firing, the way jacketed bullets can. A lot of 1911's are loose enough that they actually headspace (fix cartridge depth into the chamber) on the extractor hook before the case rim finds the end of the chamber. Especially on multiply reloaded brass which, unlike a rifle cartridge, tends to shorten slightly with each resizing. Headspacing on the extractor hook allows the firing pin to push the cartridge and pivot it slightly to the right before the bullet leaves the case. A lead bullet, being relatively softer than copper, tends to then just swage into the bore with this slight tilt, where a jacketed bullet can straighten out first. The result is accuracy frustration.

The solution is to headspace on the bullets. Just seat them out far enough so that when you drop one in the barrel, the back of the casehead rests just flush with the barrel extension (hood). I have cut group size up to 40% with lead bullets using this trick. Especially the lighter 185 grain bullets. The only thing you have to watch out for is that if your barrel is has been throated or if it has had a weld-up to lengthen the extension for fitting up (does anyone do that anymore?), headspacing on the bullet could make the cartridges too long for the magazine. In that case you just get them out as far as is practical.



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Old June 25, 2007, 05:01 AM   #10
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The only problem that I have with lead bullets is the white smoke that they produce upon being fired. The smoke is hazardous to your health. It contains lead dust.
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Old June 25, 2007, 07:24 AM   #11
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I attended an NRA sponsored range operations course a few years back. According to their info, there has never been a case of lead poisoning at an outdoor range and if set up correctly, the same applies to indoor ranges. Yes, lead is a problem but if you wash up after shooting and use common sense, it is certainly reduced.

With the newer primers, etc. the "lead cloud" that occurs in front of the firing line is less of a hazard and if you install exhaust fans about 15 feet in front of the firing line on an indoor range, most of that can be removed and does not present a problem.
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Old June 25, 2007, 12:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
The only problem that I have with lead bullets is the white smoke that they produce upon being fired. The smoke is hazardous to your health. It contains lead dust.
That "white smoke" is simply bullet lube burning. It does contain SOME lead, as the primer itself is made using lead styphonate,(sp?). If the bullet is sized properly and has a good lube, it shouldn't spit lead particles out with the bullet.
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Old June 25, 2007, 12:59 PM   #13
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Is handling normal bullets really as hazerdous as the boxes and EPA says?
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Old June 25, 2007, 08:51 PM   #14
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I spent all afternoon today with my Lyman Mag 20, an Ideal 357446 one holer, and my ladle throwing slugs because the alloy just would not fill out the grooves when using the spout. Rejection rate was around 2% as this is not my first go around with a lead ladle.I sniffed enough lead fumes to put a sinker in my lungs. Who worries about tobacco with the smell of flaming beeswax flux? Elmer Keith lived a long time and HE cast his own. Gotta love the oldtimes.
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Old June 26, 2007, 09:29 AM   #15
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Seven High,

If you are worried about lead vapor (hasn't got to me yet, despite casting; and I've had my blood tested), use gas checks. They prevent the bullet base from being exposed to high temperatures and erosion by propellant particles. If your bullets aren't available with a gas check, use P-wads (www.neconos.com; use the shopping cart to find the list) or use a sharpened case to cut your own. Even cardboard works to prevent 99% of the exposure. Cutting wads from 0.063" LDPE (low-densitiy polyethylene) sheet both protects the bullet 100% (it bumps up to fill the bore) and prevents leading by creating a plastic lube layer on firing.

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