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Old December 9, 2014, 11:19 AM   #1
sawdustdad
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Favorite Lead Fouling Removal Techniques?

I've historically only shot jacketed bullets from all my weapons. So fouling has been mostly propellent and some copper. Now that I'm starting to shoot more lead bullets (natural progression I suppose?) I'm wondering about the most effective ways to remove lead fouling. Mostly concerned about handguns. What are your favorite methods?
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Old December 9, 2014, 12:13 PM   #2
mehavey
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Tight-fitting (nearest caliber oversize) bronze brush, wrapped in a piece of (all copper) Chore-Boy, dipped in transmission fluid.

EVERYthing comes out with that.
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Old December 9, 2014, 01:27 PM   #3
Hammerhead
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Copper chore boy dry over a brush wrapped with a couple patches. Clean the big chunks out dry with that, then just a brush with solvent. The chore boy does the bulk of the lead removal.
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Old December 9, 2014, 01:48 PM   #4
condor bravo
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With handguns the best way by far is with the Lewis Lead Remover. This tool uses brass patches attached to a rod that is pulled through the barrel and another similar attachment to remove lead from the forcing cone of revolvers. Try Google to locate sources. Order by the caliber adapters that you need. One size does not fit all except for the handle.

Last edited by condor bravo; December 9, 2014 at 03:02 PM.
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Old December 9, 2014, 02:43 PM   #5
pete2
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Copper Chore Boy wrapped around an old bore brush. Before this I used a product from Midway that appeared to be stainless steel but it was soft, did not do any damage, that I know of anyway. I don't get mush lead with the bullets I use now. Dardas and thebulletworks.net. I could probably scrub it out with just the bore bush.
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Old December 9, 2014, 05:38 PM   #6
Nick_C_S
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Heh sawdustdad - you and I really do seem to walk similar paths. I too used to shoot almost entirely jacketed bullets, and have transitioned slowly to lead. And plated is a really new thing for me.

I like lead. Prefer it in many ways. For starters, it's the most accurate for target applications. Economics is just an added bonus.

Usually when I shoot, I end my day with a few jacketed or plated rounds and that clears the lead out about as quick as any method I can think of. Now, before everybody hits "reply" to scold me for such barrel damaging action, please finish reading this: For starters, I've only been doing it for about 30 years without any trouble whatsoever; so it's doubtful any advice to the contrary will be heeded. Further, I don't run ridiculously hot lead rounds, and I rarely shoot a lot of them at one time anyway. Point is, my barrels are hardly leaded up when I do this. So spare me the admonishment.

On those times when I have shot a lot of lead (after a steel shoot, when I've put over 200 rounds through my revolver, being a good example). I don't do anything magical. I just swab the bore and charge holes with Hoppe's 9 and let it soak while I clean the rest of the revolver. When I get back to it, the lead usually succumbs to a copper brush scrubbing. Sometimes after that, there may still be a little lead around the forcing cone area. I'll just oil it with CLP and put the gun in the safe. I'll take it out about a week or two later (if I haven't since shot it again) and copper brush it again. This second stab at it always gets it clean.
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Old December 9, 2014, 06:14 PM   #7
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I use to scrub lead from barrels by soaking the bore with hopes then scrubbing with a bore brush...sometimes had to repeat. Takes some elbow grease!

Shoot coated bullets yet? Eliminate the problem if you like them.

Anyhow leading is generally caused by something that can be fixed. If the load is too light the bullet may not be obturating properly. if that happens it doesn't seal the bore and hot gasses blow by causing leading.

IF the bullet is too hard it wont obdurate either. Sometimes it is gun related. Knowing the pattern of the leading helps. This is a good read on leading and help me fix issues I had...http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

In my book if it's broke fix the cause and you find a cure....not a treatment!
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Old December 9, 2014, 07:04 PM   #8
sawdustdad
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Ok, thanks for the tips so far.

I'm just now shooting "cowboy" bullets, soft (BH of about 12) that are supposed to obturate at the low power levels. I'm not seeing a lot of fouling, but last time I cleaned my super blackhawk .44 mag after some 50 lead rounds, it took me about 4 times as much effort as I would have had I just been shooting jacketed rounds. Hoppes #9, bronze brush, patched until they come out clean.

Got some bore foam stuff that I had some trouble using, so not so sure about that. forget the name of it.

I saw those copper screen things, so that's an idea, didn't know if it worked. I like the choreboy idea, seems like the price would be right for that.

I'm not shooting high power/high velocity lead--I still use plated or jacketed for magnum rounds.

I did just order some coated bullets from Missouri Bullet Co to try.

Nick, I like your idea of using some jacketed rounds to "clean" the bore. I like to shoot but cleaning the guns afterwards, not so much...
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Old December 9, 2014, 07:25 PM   #9
Nick_C_S
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Quote:
I like your idea of using some jacketed rounds to "clean" the bore.
Well, I do it. But my post wasn't an endorsement or recommendation. Supposedly, it's not good for the bore. Wanna be real clear about that.

Coated bullets: Yes. I have tried them. I have one major complaint about them that I have yet to hear anybody else with the same complaint: they smell awful! They smell like burning electrical insulation and it is literally nauseating.

I bought 1000 of them about 18 months ago. 950 of them are still on my shelf.

It has been my experience that any time you shoot lead, there is going to be some lead left behind - period. I don't buy it when people say they can shoot however many rounds (usually at some unrealistic velocity to boot) without any leading. I can shoot a single round of lead through any of my revolvers - any hardness - any velocity - and there will be lead left behind in the cylinder throat, and in the forcing cone area. There just will be.
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Old December 9, 2014, 07:32 PM   #10
sawdustdad
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Quote:
I like your idea of using some jacketed rounds to "clean" the bore.
Quote:
But my post wasn't an endorsement or recommendation. Supposedly, it's not good for the bore. Wanna be real clear about that.
Understood. Anybody else have an opinion about this practice?
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Old December 9, 2014, 08:50 PM   #11
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At one time, I did that too....follow up lead shooting with jacketed loads to 'clean the bore'. Then one day I was chronographing a bunch of lead loads, shooting a 4" 629 S&W, .44 Mag.; next round through it was my standard 180 gr. XTP, which normally runs at 1489 fps. This one ran over 2200 fps! (And some folks will tell you that S&W's aren't strong!) That is rifle velocity! Way too easy to just use the choreboy, and the lead is gone.
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Old December 9, 2014, 09:24 PM   #12
Nick_C_S
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A little perspective. . .

Scrubbing out lead can be kind of a pain.

But hey, spending time with my guns at my load bench still beats any of my seemingly endless obligations
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Old December 10, 2014, 02:41 AM   #13
MEATSAW
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Shoot the coated bullets and never have to worry about it again. I've put about 2000 coated bullets through various guns and the ease of cleanup is crazy awesome. Forget about lead and copper fouling!

As far as the smell? I've never noticed any bad smells. All I've ever smelled is the gunpowder. They actually put off hardly any smoke compared to regular lubed cast bullets.

I'm a huge fan of coated bullets. Best thing to come around to the shooting world in a long time.
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Old December 10, 2014, 12:08 PM   #14
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Lead Remover, Found this product years ago, use it every time. With my CZ 452 22LR I run a patch of Hoppe #9 followed by a dry patch, then with a Lead Away Cloth from Midway USA part#647492. I cut a piece off the size of a patch, turns lead into a cream without scrubbing, a few passes down the barrel followed by a dry patch, then hoppe #9 then dry and lightly oil, I use Ballistal. Will remove blueing so just use in the chamber & barrel. On my Stainless Steel Revolver, it would take forever to scrub the burn marks from the face of the cylender, with this lead away cloth they come off with ease. Again, Don't rub it on the blueing. Hope I helped in some way. Chris
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Old December 10, 2014, 08:40 PM   #15
Blue Grass
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I use Alox on my lead bullets. Very little lead in the bore and it comes right out with a bronze brush wrapped in Chore Boy.
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Old December 10, 2014, 09:06 PM   #16
Drm50
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Old School

This will probably blow your minds. This method will fetch the lead out but it
requires plugging one end of barrel. Plug barrel and pour in Mercury. Leave
set overnight, pour out in old pie pan, use index card to skim lead off surface.
Pour Mercury back into container. Mercury gets between fowling and barrel
and "floats" it off. You can reuse Mercury over and over.

NOTE, CAUTION: Mercury is Toxic substance, do not handle with bare hands.
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Old December 10, 2014, 09:20 PM   #17
Nick_C_S
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Drm50. Yeah, that's an old but effective trick. Works just as you described.

Mercury is indeed toxic. It precipitates protein out of the blood - among a long list of other nasty ailments. The problem isn't so much absorption through the skin. The problem is inhalation. It vapors off at room temperature. This has been proven to me in college chemistry. It's not good to be in the area with an open container of mercury without an inorganic vapor respirator.

I strongly advise against this method of lead removal.
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Old December 11, 2014, 07:59 AM   #18
mehavey
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Quote:
Mercury is indeed toxic.
That's why several generations of us are ba-da-ba-da-ba certifiable. Turning
dozens of copper pennies into silvery dimes in our youth has its cost `ya know
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Old December 11, 2014, 09:47 AM   #19
steve4102
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Here ya go.

http://www.bayoubullets.net/coating/
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Old December 11, 2014, 10:41 AM   #20
g.willikers
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Hydrogen Peroxide dissolves lead, too, and safer than mercury.
But using the correct bullet, in size and hardness, goes a long way to avoiding leading in the first place.
If, somehow, the barrel gets badly leaded up, there's always one of the abrasive barrel cleaning compounds, like JB cleaning paste.
http://www.brownells.com/gun-cleanin...-prod1160.aspx
They will definitely get the lead out.
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Last edited by g.willikers; December 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM.
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Old December 11, 2014, 10:48 AM   #21
Toney
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I've used the thread end of a brass rod to scrape it.
I have also used brass pipe screens over a smaller jag with a couple cloth patches.
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Old December 11, 2014, 11:44 AM   #22
sawdustdad
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All great feedback, guys. Thanks. I've got a box of hi-tek coated bullets from Missouri Bullet Co. Looking forward to loading some of these up.
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