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Old April 8, 2013, 12:13 PM   #37
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,731
Man, your experience with leading is to be envied. I have never had a revolver that didn't pick up throat lead as it came out of the box. I can believe the Freedom Arms does better because of the way they are made, but Rugers I've had, in particular, have all had barrel constrictions at the frame, and clearing that up has always caused groups to shrink substantially and lead build-up near the throat to abate substantially.

In the case of one Redhawk a friend purchased, the sandbag groups were so bad (6" at 25 yards with jacketed bullets, and unable to stay on a plate with lead) that we sent it back to the factory. They returned it with a note saying they had reamed the chambers. It then shot 2" groups with commercial cast bullets and 1" with jacketed bullets and there was less lead building up around the throat.

Most cast bullets on the market seem to be made with Terracorp Magnum Alloy or its equivalent, at about BHN 16. Missouri offers BHN 12 and BHN 18. Beartooth has BHN 21, and Lasercast BHN 24. I suppose you can use hardness to mitigate some leading, but I like to keep in mind that Elmer Keith developed the .44 Magnum with 16:1 lead:tin alloy at a hardness of BHN 11. When a gun is in good shape it can drive bullets with a given BHN to higher velocities than some might expect.

Other small things can sometimes help. The trick of headspacing on the bullet that I illustrated took my Goldcup's groups with BHN 15 cast bullets down from 1⅜" off bags at 25 yards to under 1". Conventional Pistol shooters will care about the difference, but the various practical discipline shooters won't. That's just to say it depends on what you define as "accurate" to determine what you find to be satisfactory performance.

Times may be changing. CNC machining certainly has helped with gun precision in general, and I haven't bought any new revolvers for a number of years, so perhaps things are getting better. But I still don't think it can hurt to check.
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