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Old March 18, 2010, 04:41 PM   #1
Valornor
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.40 S&W minimum loads

I know every one here gets stupid questions from new members who are new to reloading. I hope this isn't one of them.

I'm new to reloading and I have found that it is quite enjoyable and fascinating, almost more fun then shooting. The other day I picked up a box of 500 Bumble Bees 155 RN in .401 caliber cast bullets for around 24 bucks. I used the starting load of 4.6gr of Bulls Eye (The dispenser dispensed closer to 4.3gr I checked the weight every five rounds) shot off about fifty rounds and found they we a lot of fun to shoot and seemed to be as accurate as the 165 FMJ factory loads with less kick. Upon cleaning my gun there was light leading in the bore of my M&P 40. Which was "fun" to clean out.

In an effort to reduce the leading I figured I'd reduce the loading to 3.5gr of Bullseye. I'm figuring a lighter load =lower velocity = less leading=Easier to clean. My concern is whether it will be enough to cycle my M&P. Any thoughts?
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Old March 18, 2010, 05:37 PM   #2
jepp2
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Lower velocity may increase the leading if your bullets are hard cast.

Leading is a function of:

- bullet diameter and barrel bore diameter
- Brinell hardness of the lead bullets
- the portion of the barrel the leading is mostly occurring
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Old March 18, 2010, 05:57 PM   #3
kraigwy
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Quote:
I know every one here gets stupid questions from new members who are new to reloading. I hope this isn't one of them.
I don't know about everyone else but when it comes to reloading, I'd rather see someone ask a so called "stupid" question, then see someone mess up their gun or worse yet get hurt.

As far as the light load being able to cycle your pistol, 3.5 should, it will my Sigma. To be on the safe side, load 5 rounds and see. Beats loading a couple hundred and finding out it wont.
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Old March 18, 2010, 06:02 PM   #4
BigJimP
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I don't know what published recipe you're using / but to my knowledge Bumble Bees are all lead bullets - so you need a lead bullet recipe / not a jacketed bullet recipe ( which is all I see on the Bulls Eye website ).

But no matter what - don't go below the Min recommended recipe charge or you might get a squib round / or inconsistent ignition - neither of which is a good thing ... if you happen to leave a bullet in the barrel / and fire a 2nd round behind the first one - bad things can happen.

You got plenty of advice on how to get the lead out of your barrel ...
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Old March 18, 2010, 09:55 PM   #5
Valornor
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I'm using what seems to be a generic recipe in the Lee Reloading Manuel which gives a loading for 155gr lead cast bullets. The recipe is 4.6gr of bullseye. Bumble Bee doesn't have any kind of load data that I know of and they are a local company with no web site.

I've already loaded few rounds, I'll keep an eye out to make sure nothing gets jammed in the barrel though I'd be surprised if 3.5gr didn't at least push it out. I't might roll on the ground a few yards but I'd hope it would at least leave the barrel. I'm going to the range this weekend I'll see what happens when I pop of the first couple rounds.

The leading seems to occur in the last half inch of the barrel, I remember reading some where over 1000fps lead starts to melt from the friction. I was hoping to reduce it below that mark and see if it made a difference.
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Old March 19, 2010, 06:06 AM   #6
sonick808
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sorry to veer off course on you, but have you considered plated bullets ? (rainier / berry) ?
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Old March 19, 2010, 07:55 AM   #7
SL1
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Leading near the end of the barrel

is often an indication of lubricant failure on lead bullets. But, I am assuming that the barrel is pretty short for a .40 S&W, so maybe not in your case. Another possibility is that our bore gets larger near the muzzle, which allows blowby and causes leading. You can probably feel that condition by pushing a tight, lubricated patch through the bore after you have cleaned it.

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Old March 19, 2010, 11:33 AM   #8
Valornor
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I've loaded Berrie's plated bullets. They are a little more expensive, I can get 500 of the lead cast for 23 bucks while the Berry plated bullets are 30 for 250. With the cast bullets a completed cartridge cost me about .08 compared to .13 to .15 cents for plated.

If leading is the buy product of shooting cheaper ammo I guess I'll have to figure out a way either to prevent the leading or a faster way of cleaning it. I was considering hooking up my drill to a cleaning rod and make it a bit easier.

I'll have to check to see if the barrel flares out at the end. I would think that would affect accuracy...
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Old March 19, 2010, 03:30 PM   #9
Kawabuggy
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The fastest way to get lead out of your barrel requires NO scrubbing at all. Think electrolysis: http://www.surplusrifle.com/reviews/copperout/index.asp

Can be made with parts from Radio Shack for less than $10 bucks and will absolutely clean the barrel down to bare steel within 10-15 minutes. Will not harm your barrel either.
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Old March 19, 2010, 05:24 PM   #10
katana8869
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I'm using that same load of 4.3 grains of Bullseye under a lead hardcast 155gr RN bullet and quite frankly it has shot great for me. I have gotten some leading but it's not bad enough to worry about. It scrubs out just fine. I'm not familiar with the Bumblebee bullets but maybe they are just a bit on the soft side? Sounds that way.

Anyway, I am shooting the above load out of my XD40SC and my XD40 Service and they are accurate and fun to shoot.



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Old March 19, 2010, 10:26 PM   #11
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As SL1 stated, leading near the muzzle is usually indicative of lube failure. You might try some Lee Alox Bullet Lube and see if that stops it. It would be a cheap and easy fix if it works. You can go ahead and use the Lee tumble lube with the factory lube still on the bullet it won't hurt anything.
HTH

ST

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Old March 19, 2010, 11:20 PM   #12
T. O'Heir
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"...stupid questions..." The only stupid question is the one not asked.
"...Lower velocity may increase the leading..." Leading with cast bullets is caused by trying to drive 'em too fast, not too slow.
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Old March 22, 2010, 05:54 PM   #13
SL1
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T.O'Heir,

You wrote:

Quote:
Leading with cast bullets is caused by trying to drive 'em too fast, not too slow.
I am going to have to disagree. You can get leading by driving soft bullets too fast OR by driving hard bullets too slow. The pressure needs to be high enough to make the bullet base deform enough to seal the barrel. If not, the gases can blow past the bullet and heat its surface enough to cause leading. The harder the lead alloy, the more pressure, and thus more velocity (for a given powder) is needed.

If you want to get low velocity with hard lead bullets, one trick is to use fast powders to get the pressure up without getting the velocity up, too. But, I don't know of any trick for avoiding leading when getting high velocities with soft bullets (unless you consider paper-patching, plating or using jackets "tricks").

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Old March 29, 2010, 08:12 PM   #14
Valornor
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Thanks for all the replies. I"m a busy guy so I don't get back to the forums to often.

The 3.5gr works great. Almost no leading very fun to shoot and it cycles just fine. Even more than that it doesn't seem to fling brass quite as far which makes it easier to pick up. My only real regret is that I've got several boxes worth of the bullets loaded with 4.3 grians and I'm not about to sit down an pull them all...

Intresting note...with the 4.3gr loads the leading occured towards the end of the barrel. With the light 3.5 what very little leading there was was all towards the breech...

I don't have any targets to show groupings, we mostly shot at soda cans and skeet but they seemed to do pretty good.


Now I've got to work something up for my .380 LCP... its a hard gun to hold on to with the factory loads but I'd like to pratice more with it....
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