View Full Version : revolver barrel needs a little lapping?

January 22, 2013, 12:13 PM
I have a 90's Ruger Redhawk 44 magnum that I shoot cast bullets out of.

After about 100 rounds I start to get a "fog" of lead towards the end of the 7.5" barrel, but I also have a lube star at the muzzle, the leading is fairly minor and is not bad to remove, I remove it before it gets too bad. I have tried different lubes with the same results.

I am of the opinion that the reason for the leading is the barrel itself, the bottom of the grooves is a little rough.

Now to my question, should I just bite the bullet and spend some elbow grease and hand lap it, or go for the Fire Lapping method? is it even acceptable to Fire Lap a revolver?

James K
January 22, 2013, 12:34 PM
There are tradeoffs. One thing to try is a harder lead alloy, since the softer the bullet, the more it will lead the barrel. The second is to reduce the load; the higher the velocity, again, the more lead fouling.

You can certainly lap the barrel. I have never used fire lapping, but have heard good results as long as it is not overdone, but even the smoothest barrel will lead if soft bullets are fired at high pressures and velocity.


January 22, 2013, 12:50 PM
Yes, I left out that my regular alloy is BHN 16, all bullets are gas checked. I did try some straight Linotype (BHN 21) bullets some time ago, leading was reduced, but still present, it would probably just be more shots fired between scrubbing.

I have also tried different size bullets, If I go to a .431 sizing die the leading increases, .430 seems to be about right for size.

The lead appears to be slowly filling tiny machine marks left in the grooves, I have not seen any lead on the lands anywhere, and they are visibly smoother and shinier.

At this poing I'm leaning towards hand lapping, I can't seeem to find a consensus if fire lapping a revolver is good or bad.

James K
January 22, 2013, 03:48 PM
All lapping essentially is imitation wear, in other words, artifically speeding up barrel wear. In most cases that is no problem, but overdone it can wear out a barrel before its time. But if you think it will help, I see no reason not the either hand lap or fire lap, which ever you choose.