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Old August 29, 2012, 01:25 PM   #1
rebs
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shooting lead bullets in a rifle ?

what is the pro's and con's of shooting lead bullets in a rifle ?
I am asking about 357 mag rounds.
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Old August 29, 2012, 02:25 PM   #2
PetahW
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Pro:
* Can be less expensive to shoot than jacketed boolits, ergo, more bang for the buck.
* Can be more accurate than jacketed, with proper loads, lubes & bore cleaning.

Con:
* Usually must be driven slower then jacketed boolits or suffer swift bore leading/fouling
* May not hold together sufficiently for adequate penetration larger game like deer if the lead mixture's soft enough to expand; or pencil through if they're cast very hard.
* For best accuracy, the bore MUST be scrubbed clean of any previous fouling from jacketed boolits. (And visa-versa, of course)
* If your .357 rifle is a levergun, most flat-nosed, Keith-style, square-shouldered lead boolits may not feed very well from the magazine of some rifles.
* Depending upon your involvement & wallet, lead melting & boolit casting can end up taking up a LOT of time & equipment - but pre-cast boolits are also commercially available, too.

.
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Old August 29, 2012, 02:30 PM   #3
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I don't shoot anything but lead in my Marlin 357 and I don't underload them.

They are the same full house loads I load in my Model 29, that being 14.5 grns of 2400 and 150 grn LSWC bullets.

Zero problems supper accurate.

If there is a disadvantage I haven't found it.

As as a side note, I also shoot lead bullets in most of my other rifles. Including gas guns.
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Old August 29, 2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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It is an awfully easy shooting round when loaded for plinking. I'll also add to the above that lead is something you learn how to load, or suffer the consequences. Sizing, lubes and alloy need to be pretty specific for certain needs. I feel that once my lead shooting gun is broken in, there is less fouling overall and certainly less wear and tear on the barrel. My 10 year old 357 Marlin has way over 20,000 rounds, and is going stronger than ever. Its been firelapped, and is very accurate with my plinking load of 6gr. of Unique with a 158gr. bullet or a Beartooth WFN lookalike for hunting. Incidentally, it kills very well...
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Old August 29, 2012, 06:23 PM   #5
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i have a 45acp ar15 upper that i run 185 lead swc on top of 3gr of clays in. i love this combo! it is now one of my more favorite rifle to shoot, and it is also one my daughter's favorites. that means i dont know how much longer it will be mine.....bill
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Old August 30, 2012, 06:59 AM   #6
rebs
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Quote:
I don't shoot anything but lead in my Marlin 357 and I don't underload them.

They are the same full house loads I load in my Model 29, that being 14.5 grns of 2400 and 150 grn LSWC bullets.

Zero problems supper accurate.

If there is a disadvantage I haven't found it.

As as a side note, I also shoot lead bullets in most of my other rifles. Including gas guns.
Where do you get your lead bullets for your rifles ? What hardness do you get ?
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Old August 31, 2012, 10:51 PM   #7
chris in va
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Just use gas checks.
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Old August 31, 2012, 11:37 PM   #8
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Shot some Hornady 158 grain LSWC's over 5 grains of Universal today in my Handi rifle. With open sights from a rest 3 shots went 3-1/2" at 100 yards. Very quiet - no sonic crack and low recoil. I might have to put a scope on it and see how accurate they really are.

Just plain fun I guess.
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Old September 1, 2012, 12:27 AM   #9
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Leading is more often caused by using bullets not properly sized to the throat and bore. In most cases .001 over bore is needed. Leading is a result of gas cutting. Gas passing around an undersized bullet leaves droplets of hot lead in the bore. If you are going to shoot lead measure your throat and bore to find the correct bullet size. If you cast your own bullets you can change alloys lubes or gas checks to get the right bullets. Most handgun bullets cast from WW metal [BHN12] can provide a bullet for 1,500 fps. Gas Checks are for the most part a waste of money in handgun bullets. I use Gas Checks in pure linotype bullets at speeds above 1,500 fps up to 2,200 in .30 cal loadings. Bullets can be cast to provide about any results you want. The lead bullets have downed every kind of game and won many 1,000 yards matches.
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Old September 1, 2012, 01:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Where do you get your lead bullets for your rifles ? What hardness do you get ?
He casts his own.
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Old September 2, 2012, 11:27 AM   #11
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I cast the Lyman 358 "cowboy" bullet with the huge, single, grease groove, and a slightly beveled base, and lube with a homemade lube of yellow beeswax, olive oil, crisco, and a little canola oil. I made the lube for blackpowder, and had really good results in that application. In the 357 mag using 2400 powder it is spectactular. No fouling whatsoever. Just a dry patch thru the bore after shooting. Occasionally a dry brush for a few strokes followed by a dry patch.

The added benefit is that when I shoot the rifle, people downwind say the smell reminds them they want McDonald's french fries. People I don't even know down wind from me frequently and without provocation tell their buddys they crave McDonalds. I smile inside!
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Old September 3, 2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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I 'butter' the bores on my 30-30, .357 and .45 Colt carbines. After cleaning and drying I wet a tight fitting patch with liquid Alox (LLA) and give that several passes down the bore. They are used only with lead bullets lubed with LLA and at medium pressures. Leading virtually disappears. Clean the bore with mineral spirits.
Add a vegetable fiber wad behind the bullet and you have a low smoke, super clean burning target load. I can easily go 100 rounds or more without cleaning.
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Old September 7, 2012, 03:39 AM   #13
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Is Break Free adequate for removing lead in any rifle such as the Romanian M-69 .22 Trainer, or is it better to use the very strong Hoppe's #9?

Most of the ammo tends to be Blazer etc.

Last edited by Ignition Override; September 7, 2012 at 04:19 AM.
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Old September 7, 2012, 05:36 AM   #14
spacecoast
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Quote:
They are the same full house loads I load in my Model 29, that being 14.5 grns of 2400 and 150 grn LSWC bullets.
Model 29 is a .44 mag... must be another model... 28?
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:13 AM   #15
L_Killkenny
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Quote:
Pro:
* Can be less expensive to shoot than jacketed boolits, ergo, more bang for the buck.
* Can be more accurate than jacketed, with proper loads, lubes & bore cleaning.

Con:
* Usually must be driven slower then jacketed boolits or suffer swift bore leading/fouling
* May not hold together sufficiently for adequate penetration larger game like deer if the lead mixture's soft enough to expand; or pencil through if they're cast very hard.
* For best accuracy, the bore MUST be scrubbed clean of any previous fouling from jacketed boolits. (And visa-versa, of course)
* If your .357 rifle is a levergun, most flat-nosed, Keith-style, square-shouldered lead boolits may not feed very well from the magazine of some rifles.
* Depending upon your involvement & wallet, lead melting & boolit casting can end up taking up a LOT of time & equipment - but pre-cast boolits are also commercially available, too.
Cheaper yes, not necessarily more accurate. Don't have to be pushed slower, proper sizing and/or gas checks solves any issues. Most purchased cast bullets are hardcast and won't have any issues holding together. Folks casting their own can tailor bullets to what they need/want. You don't have to scrub the bore when switching from bare lead to cast and visa versa. As a matter of fact shooting a few jacketed rounds after shooting bare lead can remove some minimal fouling. About the only thing right here is the flat nosed bullets not feeding very well with a big emphasis on "may not" and the same issue would also go towards flat nosed jacketed bullets. And yes, bullet casting can take a lot of time, equipment though can be minimal. Me? I have trouble finding time to reload let alone to cast so I buy all the bullets I shoot.

To the OP, buy some and give it a try. Not really any reason not too.
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Old September 7, 2012, 05:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
As a matter of fact shooting a few jacketed rounds after shooting bare lead can remove some minimal fouling.
Shooting jacketed bullets after lead bullets does not really remove leading. It mainly just helps iron it out, polish it up, force it deeper into the pores and machine marks, and make it much more difficult to remove.

Get the lead out when you see it. Don't make things worse for yourself, based on an old myth.
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:04 PM   #17
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Also-and here the CAS shooters should have a lot to add-depending on the make and vintage of your 357 rifle, lead bullets may not shoot that well. Marlin changed from MicroGroove to Ballard rifling for just that reason.
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Old September 7, 2012, 06:47 PM   #18
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Is Break Free adequate for removing lead in any rifle such as the Romanian M-69 .22 Trainer, or is it better to use the very strong Hoppe's #9?

Hoppe's will do somewhat a better or faster job, but to remove leading from a .22 barrel you also need to use a bronze bore brush with the solvent.
No bore solvent that's remotely safe to use around humans can "dissolve" leading. Removal takes some time and a brush.

For larger bores, you can buy a Lewis Lead Remover kit from Brownell's. These are available for pistols and for rifles. They don't make one for .22, but if you own a larger caliber rifle or pistol you shoot with lead bullets, a Lewis kit is almost a necessity for good maintenance.
The Lewis kit removes leading quickly and without any risk to the bore.

As a matter of fact shooting a few jacketed rounds after shooting bare lead can remove some minimal fouling.

This can also blow a ring or bulge in the barrel.
When a jacketed bullet is fired down a leaded bore, the bullet has to try to force most of the leading out in front of it.
If the leading is just a little too heavy the bullet can't push it out of the way fast enough and the high pressures can bulge or ring the bore.

People get away with doing this for years, then they shoot a different load or shoot just a little more then normal and are shocked to find a bulge in the barrel.
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:12 AM   #19
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Here is a little secret for removing leading from a barrel by the owner of Montana Bullet Works.
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:37 AM   #20
rebs
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Also you can take pure copper from a scrubbing pad and wrap it around a used brass brush to remove lead from your barrel. Poor boys can be found is grocery stores, make sure is says 100% copper.
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:59 AM   #21
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I think what Reb was referring to is Chore Boy. I use it myself. Poor Boy to me is the muzzle loading, iron mounted, Southern rifle that is devoid of any fancy features found on the longrifle. The fancier ones do have a buttplate and even a metal patchbox.
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Old September 8, 2012, 03:10 PM   #22
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Aye, Chore Boy. Don't use off-brands. Most (if not all) are copper-washed steel. The only pure copper version I have found is the actual Chore Boy brand.

Works great. I don't even bother with other methods, any more.
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