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Old August 14, 2013, 11:21 PM   #1
shredder4286
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Buying & shooting cast bullets: Curse or blessing?

I've been doing a bit of research on the methods of dealing with the lead fouling that results from shooting cast bullets. As one who doesn't cast them myself, I'm fairly limited to what variables I control, (i.e. BHN, lube, etc). So, I can't simply size the bullet according to chamber/throat dimensions to alleviate improper fit issues.

So, my question is: what's the trick to shooting manufactured cast bullets without excessive fouling?

I'm sure there's plenty of guys on here who have went through the same scenario-

1) Buy cast bullets for firearm because they're cheap

2) Load and shoot cheap cast bullets

3) Scratch your head for 10 minutes at the range because your barrel is clogged full of lead

What ya got guys?
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:33 PM   #2
Scimmia
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Fit shouldn't be a problem unless your firearm is out of spec. 9mm has some issues with this, but fortunately larger bullets made for 38/357 are available for those cases.

Of course, if you're talking about some old mil-surps or odd-ball calibers, all bets are off.

Leading is an overblown concern. Buy the right sized bullets from a reputable maker and you'll most likely be fine.

Edit: Some tips -

don't use Titegroup, it seems to cause leading problems
Don't push the boundaries of too slow or too fast, either can get you into trouble (not saying that they will, just that they can). Load up normal power levels.

Last edited by Scimmia; August 14, 2013 at 11:41 PM.
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:41 PM   #3
shredder4286
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Well, actually the concern arises from a past experience with cast bullets in a 9mm.

The load I'm looking to produce now would be 38 spc & 357 mag for a Ruger SP101 and a Rossi M92 lever gun.

I found a deal on 500 pieces of 158 gr SWC that could potentially work for all parameters listed above, but don't want 500 lead bullets that I can't work with. Know what I mean?

Edit:
Quote:
don't use Titegroup, it seems to cause leading problems
That really sucks, because it's virtually the only powder on shelves around here for pistols.

Last edited by shredder4286; August 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM.
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:48 PM   #4
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Well, actually the concern arises from a past experience with cast bullets in a 9mm.
Let me guess, Beretta 92? If not that, some (other) European manufacturer? The 92s are notorious for having larger than spec bores, and most other problem makers seem to be located in Europe.

Cast bullets are extremely common in revolvers, I seriously doubt you'd have a problem with 38/357 as long as your loads are sane.
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:52 PM   #5
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keep it to reasonable velocities. obviously if the bullet is traveling fast enough to open on it's own midflight then it's not going to do too well in your barrel. low velocity is the key when shooting cast. trail boss is your friend. also, glocks and other polygonal rifled barrels don't do well with lead.
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:56 PM   #6
Scimmia
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Quote:
Quote:
don't use Titegroup, it seems to cause leading problems
That really sucks, because it's virtually the only powder on shelves around here for pistols.
There are a lot of people that use Titegroup successfully with lead, but it's amazing just how often people who post on a forum about leading problems are using Titegroup.
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Old August 15, 2013, 12:05 AM   #7
shredder4286
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Quote:
Let me guess, Beretta 92?
Springfield XDm

Quote:
keep it to reasonable velocities. obviously if the bullet is traveling fast enough to open on it's own midflight then it's not going to do too well in your barrel. low velocity is the key when shooting cast. trail boss is your friend.
It would be nice to try some trail boss, but it's about as scarce as a cow with two udders around here. I'll have to try my luck with the titegroup for now.
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Old August 15, 2013, 12:25 AM   #8
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I buy cast bullets for .357 Mag, 9mm, and .30 Carbine. I cast my own bullets for .38 Special and .45 Colt. I have a gun that leads no matter what I do (a Taurus Gaucho with a lot of tool marks in the bore) and on the other end of the spectrum, the .30 Carbine Ruger Blackhawk that doesn't lead even when I push it way beyond anything reasonable. Most other guns are somewhere in between.

Titegroup really sucks with cast bullets. It's probably a fine powder for plated or jacketed bullets in .380 and 9mm, I don't know.

All your shotgun powders with the possible exception of Blue Dot work great with cast bullets. Blue Dot is wonderful in a few loads if you get lucky -- I finally found a great use for it (.45 Colt) when I had just about used up that pound that I bought.

My experience might be totally different than somebody else's, and we might both be right. Such is life with reloading cast bullets.

Buy a jug of Alliant Promo if you ever get the chance. Pretend it's Red Dot (by weight, not bushing size.) You can load *anything* with that powder, it's accurate, and it's the cheapest non-surplus powder there is.
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Old August 15, 2013, 08:42 AM   #9
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I've bought and shot ~10,000 cast bullets ranging from .380 to .44 mag, and have had no problems with leading. Many of those were loaded with Titegroup. As was mentioned, keeping velocities to low or moderate levels (subsonic for sure, most less than 900 fps) has worked fine for me. I use plated bullets for higher-velocity .380s, all 9mm (115 gr.) and lower velocity .357s, and jacketed bullets for hot .357s and .44 mag. I use lead exclusively for .45ACP, target .38 special, low velocity .380, .44 special and low to mid-range .44 mag.
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Old August 15, 2013, 08:58 AM   #10
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Lead will foul for 2 reasons.
1)bullet is undersized for the chamber so the gasses blow by melting the lead in the barrel.
2)pushing the pressure in the chamber past something the lead can handle and the same thing happens.

If you need to push it fast, get a harder alloy or water drop your bullets.
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Old August 15, 2013, 08:59 AM   #11
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The more I read on the internet, the more obvious it becomes how utterly ignorant I am.
I've been using Titegroup with lead bullets for years, in many calibers, including 9mm, with no real leading problems.
At most, there's maybe a small amount at the start of the rifling.
No biggie.
Leading with any powder is mostly a loading problem.
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Old August 15, 2013, 12:28 PM   #12
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Re: Buying & shooting cast bullets: Curse or blessing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by g.willikers View Post
The more I read on the internet, the more obvious it becomes how utterly ignorant I am.
I've been using Titegroup with lead bullets for years, in many calibers, including 9mm, with no real leading problems.
At most, there's maybe a small amount at the start of the rifling.
No biggie.
Leading with any powder is mostly a loading problem.
True, just titegroup makes it easier to mess up because it's a very fast powder.
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Old August 15, 2013, 05:50 PM   #13
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Re: Buying & shooting cast bullets: Curse or blessing?

I picked up some 115 grain cast LRN from Hunters Supply and I've been using them in my Beretta PX4 Storm with Titegroup with no leading problems at all. I had them loaded at 4.2 grains and a COL of 1.100, but that was a little warm so I backed it down to 3.8 grains, same COL. Those rounds absolutely would not chamber in my CZ SP-01, however, and I need to work up another load for that gun. I built some dummy rounds (no powder, no primer) and found that the 115 grain LRN will load in the CZ at 1.065 to 1.070 COL. I guess the profile of that bullet is a little too fat for the CZ to handle, unlike the Beretta. Now all I need is to find a powder I can put in that space. I'm thinking 3.5 grains of the Titegroup or Bullseye or maybe 3.8 - 4.0 grains of Universal. I don't anticipate any leading problems with any of those.
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Old August 15, 2013, 06:53 PM   #14
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I'VE LOADED AND SHOT THOUSANDS OF PURCHASED LEAD BULLETS THOUGH A RUGER BLACKHAWK IN 357. NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER THOUGH I'M LOOKING AT VELOCITIES A BIT UNDER 1200 FPS. HAVE PURCHASED SEVERAL THOUSAND TO LOAD 38 AND 40 S&W. tIME WILL TELL, BUT I'M NOT EXPECTING ANY PROBLEMS. LOAD SAFE, SHOOT SAFE, hOOSIER
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Old August 15, 2013, 06:59 PM   #15
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For most of my guns including a 308 Ishapore lead is all I shoot. Go with Penn bullets and keep the hand gun bullets under 1000 FPS and there is very little lead. These are cast and hard cast bullets. He also makes a Premium grade that I use for rifle 44 magnum rifle which is good for 1600 FPS and this is without gas checks.
I think your worrying about leading to much if you use a slow powder and use moderate speed.
They also make a good bore cleaners that helps take out the lead.
The photo is a Penn bullet.
http://www.pennbullets.com/44/44200rnfpbb.html
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Penn 124gr 9mm.jpg (89.9 KB, 27 views)
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Old August 15, 2013, 07:20 PM   #16
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Buying & shooting cast bullets: Curse or blessing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kostyanj View Post
True, just titegroup makes it easier to mess up because it's a very fast powder.
Should Bullseye do the same? Isn't it a fast powder? I have been using it with 380 & 9mm cast lead for the last couple of years with no issues
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Old August 16, 2013, 04:41 AM   #17
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cast bullets

I love cast bullets in big bore handguns. I believe they will make you learn more about your handgun. As a general rule matching your bore size is a good place to start. Match your powder charges to the bullet hardness.[BRN] A swaged bullet should be loaded slow. [no faster than 900 fps] Brinells in the 15-18 range to approx. 1200 fps. BRN 22 can be loaded faster say 1500-1800 fps range. This is just a rough guideline, but it will help keep your leading down. I have had a leading issue with Titegroup, but it is my fault. I used 5.5 gr of TG with a Hardcast 240 SWC in my 44 mag and got excessive leading because the bullet can't fill the bore and I got gases blowing by the bullet. Raising the charge to 7 gr eliminated the problem and is very accurate.
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Old August 16, 2013, 05:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Should Bullseye do the same? Isn't it a fast powder?
Yes it is, slightly faster than Titegroup according to most charts.
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Old August 16, 2013, 08:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
So, my question is: what's the trick to shooting manufactured cast bullets without excessive fouling? See link below.

I'm sure there's plenty of guys on here who have went through the same scenario-
1) Buy cast bullets for firearm because they're cheap.
You caught me.
2) Load and shoot cheap cast bullets.
I shoot cast in all my handgun calibers. (.380, 9 mm, .38/357, .40 & .45acp) No plans to stop anytime soon.
3) Scratch your head for 10 minutes at the range because your barrel is clogged full of lead
You are way overstating the issue.
A few lead bullets, even less than optimal ones, will not turn your barrel into a sewer pipe. A bit of lead smearing isn't the end of the world. I have a Lewis lead remover for .38/.357, I hardly ever use it. A brush with solvent is plenty, more often than not. I use 158 gr SWCs for everything from mild to wild. If cast bullets didn't work, people would stop using them.
Read this:
http://www.missouribullet.com/technical.php
That covers the leading issue fairly well.
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Old August 16, 2013, 09:25 AM   #20
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I have gotten to where I pretty much exclusively shoot hard cast lead in my 9mm, .38 and .45 ACP, .45 Colt (rifle) and .45-70 (both Sharps 1874 and Marlin 1895) and have never had a problem with leading.

I also keep the velocities in the 50% to 75% of maximum range and don't use powders like Titegroup (though I do believe that 99% of all leading problems are loading problems).

Friendswood Bullet Company is my go to for lead projectiles (mostly anyway - I do have some .45-70 Laser Cast that I got from Midway on clearance that I couldn't pass up) - he makes great bullets, good hardness and good lube.

Start with a good bullet, use a good lube and don't overdo what lead is capable of and you pretty much eliminate problems right off the bat.
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Old August 16, 2013, 09:33 AM   #21
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I don't get excessive leading with Titegroup, I have other problems with it.

It smokes excessively with cast bullets and makes dark stains on the outside of the brass that are hard to remove. And because it takes so little volume of TG and it's a dark soot colored, it is very hard to see in deep cases like .38 Special; even if you use a light, it is hard to judge whether you have a full charge or a half a charge or a double.
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Old August 16, 2013, 10:06 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the responses, guys. I think I'll go with the 158 SWC that they have for sale locally and see how they do. It'll be nice to actually have some ammo for my .357 for a change.
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Old August 16, 2013, 10:37 AM   #23
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Herco is a good powder for .357 Magnum cast bullet loads with 158's.
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Old August 18, 2013, 05:59 AM   #24
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Blessing here.

None of MY guns exhibit any issues with the lead bullets I use (to include Penn Bullets, Meister, Beartooth, Cast Performance, and others no longer in business.
I gotta lotta stuff I acquired years back; last night I opened a 3lb can of WAP I bought in 1997, and a new 1000ct box of Winchester nickel 9x19 cases from maybe '95?......).
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Old August 18, 2013, 06:56 AM   #25
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Let me get this right its not a good idea to use lead cast bullets for 9mm?
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