View Full Version : hardening your lead

May 31, 2010, 03:36 PM
ive noticed ive got severe leading in my barrels, im thinking its because the lead im using is too soft. im using straight wheel weights and water dropping them from the mold whats the best way to harden up your lead?

the lube i am using is thompson blue angel with a lyman 4500 lubrisizer. shooting low-medium velocity rounds with .357, 9mm and .45s.

is a harder lead going to do the trick?

May 31, 2010, 03:41 PM
Fit is king....

If the bullets aren't the right size for your bore it doesnt matter how hard the lead is....

Actually, there is a certain softness of lead required so the base expands and seals off the bore to prevent gas cutting of the sides of the bullet, which leaved lead fouling...

Check out

Jumping Frog
May 31, 2010, 03:46 PM
the lube i am using is thompson blue angel with a lyman 4500 lubrisizer. shooting low-medium velocity rounds with .357, 9mm and .45s.
As mentioned above, the first place to look with heavy barrel leading is bullet fit to bore size. Have you slugged your barrels? What diameter are your bullets? Have you pulled a couple loaded rounds to check loaded bullet diameter (if people over-crimp, they can squish down the bullet)?

You don't need water quenched wheelweights for .45ACP, as it is a low pressure round. Your bullets are probably too hard to obdurate correctly (deform under pressure to expand and fill the bore).

May 31, 2010, 05:01 PM
Internet myth says; "if you're getting leading you need HARD CAST bullets".

Bunk!:mad: As has been said above, bullet fit is king. Finding out what your barrel diameter is, bore and groove diameter, then sizing you bullets accordingly, will solve most leading concerns.

Obturation is also known as "slugging up". The phenomenon is caused by inertia, the nature of an object to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside source of energy. Basically, the rear of a bullet starts moving before the front does, when the powder pressure acts on it. This causes the bullet to slump, or change shape to a shorter shape. It also expands sideways to fill the barrel grooves.

In solid barrels like 45 acp, and 9mm, the size of the barrel determines the sized bullets final diameter. BUT in revolvers, the size of the cylinder throats, is also important. They are seldom all the same size, they should be reamed to match. That's if they are not already bigger than groove diameter. If they are, then you should size to match the cylinder throat, then let the barrel size the bullet to what it is.

I doubt your problem is one of not hard enough lead. It may even be a problem with the lube you're using. My question is; where does the leading occur? The beginning of the barrel, or the muzzle? If at the beginning or throat of the barrel, then you have a bullet fit problem. If it's more towards the muzzle, then you have a lube problem. One way to find out is to get some Lee Liquid Alox. Size and lube as you have been, then tumble them in LLA, shoot some to see if it's solved the problem.

May 31, 2010, 05:33 PM
WW lead is already hard -- especially if you water-drop the hot bullets. So that's not your problem. Maybe it's even too hard.

May 31, 2010, 06:12 PM
I cast for the calibers that you meantioned with straight wheel weights and have no trouble at all... I dont drop mine in water, tho. and I do size them.

May 31, 2010, 07:58 PM
My revolver bullets are 10.5 mostly& run .002 over bore size & rifle a tuff 15 or so with a GC.

Fit & a good lube works for me !!

May 31, 2010, 09:15 PM
whats a good way to slug your bore, ive heard a couple different ways that arent too apealing...

May 31, 2010, 09:18 PM
Find a round lead ball thats the same caliber as your bore, maybe a few thousandths over. Slap that motha on the end of your barrel (Out of your gun) Smack it some with a rubber mallet to start it, then tap it through with a wooden dowel and measure it : )

June 1, 2010, 06:19 AM
Line sinkers from the marts are the easiest, I have also used a drill bit a little over your bore diameter, just barely over, drill a hole threw a board, clamp this to a back up plate and pour (pure lead) in, which ever you use. Oil the slug and the barrel up before you start the slug in.

Jumping Frog
June 2, 2010, 11:25 AM
whats a good way to slug your bore, ive heard a couple different ways that arent too apealing...
I have saved some pure lead for slugging (soft). Two sources are stopping by a dentist and asking if they have any used xray foil you can have. I've also used the stick-on wheelweights as they are very soft.

Cast a few bullets using the soft lead.

Put the bullet on something solid and smack it lightly with a hammer. For example, that .452" bullet will now be squished out to a slightly larger diameter.
Put some lubricating oil on the bullet. Use an appropriate size wooden dowel rod ($0.97 at Lowe's) to push the bullet through the barrel.

June 2, 2010, 03:47 PM
I'd definitely concur with all the above mentioned concerning size--from what you mention, there is nothing wrong with your lead hardness. I run medium-load .40 S&W TC's cast from water dropped WW's and have a virtually clean bore every time. As brutish as it sounds to slug a bore in all of the above mentioned ways, that's how it's done--plain and simple. I think we all probably got the twinge in the gut telling us it was just wrong the very first time we did it---that feeling will pass just as soon as you realize that's just routine with lead bullets. Just do it, then over-size your bullets about .002 and that will likely eliminate your leading issues. Also, take Snuffy's advice about the Lee Liquid Alox. I switched to using it even on a non-TL .40 bullet rather than the hard lube I was using. It ran much cleaner, and even tightened up groups a little.

June 3, 2010, 01:19 AM
My 9mm and 40 S&W boolits get water dropped, but my 45 caliber ones get dropped on a damp towel and air cooled. No leading problems for me.