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Old August 9, 2013, 03:26 PM   #1
praetorian97
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Lead before Copper

I have read in several forums that shooting FMJ after shooting Lead Bullets helps and others will say it embeds the lead more.

I had a lot of leading issues in my XDM barrel with straight LSWC from Missouri Bullet.

The buildup would occur along the top was always a pain to clean up. Using Chore boy scour pads and lead solvent helped, but still was tedious and full of harsh fumes.

I have been shooting the same bullets through my Limited Pro (polygonal barrel) trying to work through some front sight issues. After every session, I would shoot a couple of copper rounds as my last magazine. After 150+ lead rounds its appears to be pretty clean. I guess the first statement proves more true than the second.
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Old August 9, 2013, 04:53 PM   #2
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This is strictly from a personal perspective so you can take it for what it cost you.

No matter which firearm manual you pick up, owner or otherwise, they specifically state to make sure the bore has no obstructions. Right wrong or indifferent, lead build up in the bore IS an obstruction. IMO.

Running a jacketed bullet down the pipe after shooting and leading a barrel is simply a disaster looking to happen, again IMO. To me it doesn't matter how many internet keyboard jocks post up they do it all the time, it only takes the one round for the lead to build up in front of the jacketed bullet, and jump the pressure to the extreme, and blow the gun up.

To me is is somewhat akin to shooting the mud out of your barrel. Might work 99 times out of 100, but I don't want to be holding it when it don't work.

As for the cleaning, copper will always be harder to remove than lead. If your having leading issues this could very well be part of the issue. Small amounts of copper will attract and hold lead like a magnet, and each successive round only adds to the previous to some extent.

Now if you have leading like this,


Then you have issues, but then again this was only from 4 rounds.

This one has better than a hundred through it,


Still I wouldn't run a jacketed bullet down either one of them regardless of what I hear, I do not want to chance bulging the barrels or worse.

Even the barrel in the first pic only took me around an hour to have it spotless. What you might try, take some Johnson's Paste Wax or similar possibly even some high named Carnuba wax, and swab out your bore prior to shooting your first cast bullet through the clean barrel. This usually is plenty enough to sort of pre lube things and reduce most leading to only the slightest amount.

Like I said this is mostly my own opinion and who knows, I might be out in right field all by myself. Thing is it only matters what you think when all is said and done.
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Old August 9, 2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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Great comments to add and think about. Once I shoot through this last batch of Lead Im sticking to FMJ in all my calibers. Times were tough during the feeding frenzy.

What I feel I was experiencing was the tip of the SWC rubbing on the very top of the chamber as it inserted. Only spot that lead seemed to build up. I know it wasnt copper adhering to the lead as FMJ was not ran through the barrel.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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Lead may mark your chamber a little, but that isn't blown out by shooting a jacketed bullet or anything else, as the lead is then protected by the brass case.

IME, trying to clear lead from a bore by shooting jacketed bullets down it doesn't work. In addition to risking a pressure jump, the lead seems merely to be ironed by the jacketed bullet, which spreads it like butter. It also smooths it nicely, but it's still there. I remember doing that many decades ago, and looking down the nice polished-looking bore after I'd run a few patches through it and thinking how great it looked. Then, just to be sure, I ran a bronze brush in and out. Large areas of that nice smooth shiny surface had turned into dark, matte patches. This was where the brush bristles had roughened the lead surface back up.

These days I don't even mess with it. I started using Sharpshoot'R's product called No-Lead. You patch it in and let it sit for an hour and it reacts with the lead to produce a crumbly black substance that just patches out.

In general, if you're getting leading the bullets are too small and too hard, or your bore condition is too rough. This can all be addressed.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Mike, and Unclenick said a lot of good stuff that I agree with enough to not get into nit picking.

I will add that it sounds like the bullets are under sized. When they are it will lead up something fierce.

Layman's Lead Trouble Shooting.

1. Lead starts by the chamber, then follows the rifling to the end of the bore. Usualy worst near the chamber to the middle of the barrel. (Usual cause is undersized bullets.) Many people think that the bullet alloy is not hard enough, they then try a harder alloy that will then do it worse. Most after that will give up on lead bullets if they did not cast them.

2. Lead build up at the end of the barrel. Usualy streaky by the crown. Common cause of this is lube failure. If shooting commercial bullets you can buy some Lee Liquid Allox to tumble lube them in. It is sticky, and tacky. It will work. There are other formulas that casters use that uses past wax, and mineral spitits with the LLA. The thing is lubing them will usualy solve the problem provided velocity is kept to around 1400 FPS or less.

3. The whole barrel looks like it has been lead plated in just a few rounds. This happens more often in magnum revolvers, and rifles. Most times it is due to using a hot slow burning powder without a gas check. It can be solved usualy with finding another powder that is more well suited to cast lead, or using a gas checked bullet.

4. Small build up of streaky lead in spots in the barrel. Usualy just a few places though it builds up there quickly. Common cause of this tends to be copper fouling that was still in the bore. A good cleaning with copper solovent will do great. The thing is when you clean the barrel, and think you have it super sqeaky clean. Put it away for the day. The next day take it out. Take a patch soaked with amonia. (Not windex, or blue glass cleaner use real amonia. You can get a half gal. at a hardware store for less than $3. That will last you years.) Run the patch soaked with amonia I mean with it dripping off of the patch soaked. Run it through the barrel. Then prop it up on a clean patch, and let it sit for half an hour. If the patch under the barrel is blue, or shows any blue there is still copper in it. Patch it with the amonia, then run a brush through. Then flush it with warm water. Run a dry patch, then repeat with the amonia test. When done oil it well with a light coat of oil inside, and out.

Speaking from the stand point that many friends come to me when they start reloading I get to help them set up. If they are going to use lead I give them a watter bottle with the amonia to clean thier gun with first. One person had porblems of leading that the amonia cleaning solved. He though he had all the copper out. I did the soaked patch with a clean patch udder it for it to drip out on. The barrel was squeaky clean to the eye. The patch under it was as blue as it gets. Even I was surprised at that one.

I learned the amonia cleaning thing from my Grampa. He was an avid reloader, and I do not think he loaded a hangun with anything other than lead for many many years. He did that with anything that was going to fire lead. Clean up with any of the guns was not a long time consuming chore after shooting his reloads. A wet patch of No.9 followed by a few passes with a brush, then a couple of dry patches. Then an oiled patch, followed by a dry patch. Done
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Last edited by m&p45acp10+1; August 9, 2013 at 05:29 PM.
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Old August 9, 2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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As per UN's comments, I guess I misunderstood about your actual location you were getting the leading.

I had that with some soft HP's i poured up not long ago. About all it really took was using a bit of the Chore Boy with a little added Kroil and instead of shoving the bristle brush back and forth I had it screwed into a case cleaning screwdriver type handle used primarily to clean primer pockets out with and I simply twisted it round and round. I just found it was way easier to twist it to remove the lead than shoving it back and forth with my cleaning rod.

I wouldn't let those bullet sway you from cast all together. As you can see I have a little bit in that one barrel, but quite a few years back out of that same barrel I literally had strings of what looked just like Christmas tinsel hanging out the end of the muzzle after 5 rounds. When I looked down it then there was no sign of rifling what so ever, just a smooth shiny bore. That one took over a week to get it all out and I even had to use a piece of bar type silver solder with an edge ground on it to cut down the grooves to get it where I could scrub it out. No more HARD cast for me, but plenty of medium and soft.
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Old August 11, 2013, 12:13 AM   #7
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I've been finishing my day at the range of shooting lead with jacketed bullets to clear the bore for years. Actually, I'll do it cycles - say, 30 lead rounds, followed by a cylinder of jacketed, that sort of thing.

I'm not an authority or an engineer. But this has been normal practice for me for decades. I have guns that same age, and they have nice, shiny bores. It's just how I've always done it.
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Old August 11, 2013, 07:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
I've been finishing my day at the range of shooting lead with jacketed bullets to clear the bore for years. Actually, I'll do it cycles - say, 30 lead rounds, followed by a cylinder of jacketed, that sort of thing.

I'm not an authority or an engineer. But this has been normal practice for me for decades. I have guns that same age, and they have nice, shiny bores. It's just how I've always done it.
I did that for years also. It was interesting in the old days when this practice would be kicked around like a foot ball in the gun rags. I remember one respected writer stating that it was, "...absolutly not possible to shoot lead from a barrel with a jacketed bullet. I do not know how that rumor got started..." After reading that, I thought perhaps I should figure out a way of putting all that lead that I had shot out of the barrel with jacketed, back in. Yes, it works. Is it the smartest thing to do? ...well perhaps not. In later years, the techniques of larger bullet diameters and dealing with undersized revolver chambers were refined, making leading less of an issue.
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Old August 11, 2013, 01:14 PM   #9
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Have you tried Kleen Bore's Lead a Way cloth patch wrapped around an older used brush?
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Old August 11, 2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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Have you tried Kleen Bore's Lead a Way cloth patch wrapped around an older used brush?
I do not know who you are addressing you question to, but back in the day that we shot the lead out of a barrel with a jacketed bullet, was way before Lead-a-Way cloth had been invented.
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Old August 12, 2013, 09:35 AM   #11
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It's an abrasive impregnated cloth. 400 grit aluminum oxide abrasive applied to the cloth with a petroleum carrier like diesel fuel, IIRC. I read the patent once when Father Frog was looking to find a way for people to make it for themselves.

If you have a shiny bore after shooting a jacketed bullet through it, try my experiment making one pass with a clean bronze bore brush and see the shine gets dull. If so, you have nicely ironed-in lead. I used to shoot jacketed bullets post-lead until I discovered this test. It turned out the jacketed bullet was doing more to create the illusion the lead was gone than actually removing it. Obviously, over time, some portion will start being smoothed all the way out at the end of the barrel. You may reach equilibrium with your lead level that way and many guns will tolerate the bit of extra pressure just fine, same as they will tolerate a certain amount of grease in a bore.

I doubt that this practice is often a genuine hazard. That potential would mainly be there shooting into a very heavy lead accumulation. But as I said before, just use the No-Lead product and there really won't be any lead left. And the effort involved in patching it in and waiting an hour is pretty minimal as compared to the elbow grease involved in mechanical removal.
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Old August 13, 2013, 07:18 AM   #12
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bore vs detritus; bore conditioning

I cut a couple small patches from my KLEEN-BORE Lead-Away cloth.
I drive them through my bore, chamber to muzzle, with a sized wooden dowel (and a hammer).
A pair gives me four passes, ay?

THEN I clean the bore conventionally (using RB17 and now-banned-formula Prolix) and thoroughly, until it literally squeaks with a clean patch.

THEN I saturate a clean patch with stinky Tetragun Oil and swab the squeaky-clean bore until the excess stink drips out.
Then I set the barrel aside until the Tetragun Oil is completely dried.

THEN I run a couple clean dry patches through, reassemble, and go shootin'!
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Old August 13, 2013, 01:24 PM   #13
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I drive them through my bore, chamber to muzzle, with a sized wooden dowel (and a hammer).
It may be just me, but I find that a tad hard to do with my revolvers.
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Old August 13, 2013, 02:01 PM   #14
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this is a great thread, I learned a lot

That being said, my cleaning time has been cut much shorter since I started using Frog Lube.

I will try the brush in a shiny barrel and ammonia trick to see if they really are as clean as I think they are
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Old August 13, 2013, 10:20 PM   #15
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Forcing Cone Fowling

Great thread....

I would like some input. I'm getting some fowling in the forcing cone and first 1/2" of the rifling on a .357 Security Six revolver. I'm casting my own .358" dia. 158 gr SWC Lee tumble lube, with alox lube. Loading .38 special - 2.9 gr Clays @ two different O.A.L's = 1.475 & 1.445 because of where the crimp end on the lube groove. Averaging 750 fps. My lead is on the high end of the hardness scale.

I'm not noticing any lead fowling further down the barrel. WHY?
Nature of the beast?

The Chore boy trick works well on the rifling but not so well on the forcing cone. I will be trying the lead solvent Uncle Nick recommended. Not cheap but worth a try. Also going to try the ammonia check.

Thanks
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Old August 13, 2013, 10:34 PM   #16
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Measure the chamber throats...they have to be at least as big as the bore. Some Rugers Et. al., were not.
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Old August 14, 2013, 07:11 AM   #17
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Mjes92,

There are several possible reasons for what you see. One is simply that where you see the leading is where the bullet is when the pressure is highest. High pressure tends to upset the bullet outward against the bore, raising friction and corresponding lead rub-off. The same thing happens with jacketed bullets. Whether in handguns or in rifles, the copper fouling is heaviest where the bullet is at the pressure maximum, which is typically in the vicinity of the throat. What will minimize this is using the right alloy hardness and bullet size.

As mentioned by Dahermit, the chambers should not be undersized, as that will narrow the bullets too much for the bore, though, again, the right alloy will minimize the damage by bumping back up in the bore under pressure. The first step most revolver smiths take in accurizing a wheel gun is to ream all the chambers to SAAMI maximum. You then use bullets sized to the chamber where that doesn't interfere with chambering fresh rounds.

Another common issue peculiar to revolvers is a constriction of up to several thousandth in the bore where the barrel is screwed into the frame. This narrows the bullet, and if it isn't the right hardness to bump back up under the pressure present at the time from your load choice, it leads to gas cutting that splatters lead in the bore and leaves the bullet unbalanced. That's lack of balance is partly due to the gas cutting and partly due to the bullet being loose in the bore, allowing it to favor one side. Such a bullet spins eccentrically in flight (wobbles), compromising accuracy, sometimes even leading to complete instability and tumbling. If the bore is smooth, using the right alloy can compensate for this by upsetting it out into the bore after clearing the constriction. If it's not smooth, firelapping or hand lapping often needs to be done to cut away the constriction and iron out toolmarks.

You determine whether or not a constriction exists by slugging the bore.
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Old August 15, 2013, 05:21 AM   #18
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when conditioning revolvers

I 'draw' the abrasive KLEEN-BORE patch through the bore from forcing cone to muzzle.
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Old August 15, 2013, 07:42 AM   #19
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I 'draw' the abrasive KLEEN-BORE patch through the bore from forcing cone to muzzle.
Now you tell me!
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Old August 15, 2013, 09:35 AM   #20
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Very good thread!

The easiest way I found to remove lead from semi automatics - as discussed on this forum and others.

Clean out barrel to remove powder residue.

Cut the top off of of a plastic water bottle and fill it 1/2 with vinegar and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide. I prefer a liquid level deep enough to fully immerse the barrel in.

Within 30 to 60 seconds small bubbles will appear along with a white-ish coloring in the water. I believe that this is the result of lead being oxidized from the barrel. Usually takes no longer than 10 min.

Some times I have to do this twice, but afterwards I finish with my usual cleaning routine and the barrel is very clean!
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:07 PM   #21
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I think my next step is to do a comparison test between my cast bullets and purchased lead bullets with a known hardness. I'm suspecting my biggest issue may be my Alloy hardness. It is very much on the hard side. Many of the explanations in this thread point to it.

My Cast bullets are sized to .358". As far as plinking rounds go I'm very happy with the accuracy. I will be doing some chamber measurements.

If my test doesn't confirm my suspicions I will concede to slugging the bore.

Thanks Gentlemen for all the valuable information.

Best thread of the summer.
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Old August 16, 2013, 08:43 AM   #22
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I think my next step is to do a comparison test between my cast bullets and purchased lead bullets with a known hardness. I'm suspecting my biggest issue may be my Alloy hardness. It is very much on the hard side. Many of the explanations in this thread point to it.
I suspect that most of the problems with leading are related to, too hard of an alloy. Consider that .22 Long Rifle bullets are very soft, and are driven to 1280 fps from a rifle without any leading at all (And have been for more than one hundred years without the bugaboo of leading being a problem).
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Old August 16, 2013, 09:43 AM   #23
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all this talk about leading issues...youre doing something wrong. Ive put 10000+ lead bullets (sized to .359, supermoly bullet lube, bhn ~11) through my marlin .357, never had any problems with leading and i only use a boresnake to clean the barrel.
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Old August 16, 2013, 03:21 PM   #24
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all this talk about leading issues...youre doing something wrong.
The consensus at the Cast Lead Bullet Association mirrors your conclusion, "...correct loads do not lead..." Nevertheless, there are several/many different factors that can result in leading. You have found your load ( alloy, velocity, bullet size, etc.), that shoots without problems...others may have to experiment a bit.
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Old August 18, 2013, 05:55 AM   #25
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Last evening, while hammering a KLEEN-BORE patch through my 9x19 Nowlin barrel (hard-fit in an EAA Witness), I splintered my dowel
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