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Old January 15, 2005, 09:02 PM   #1
Bass Man
Join Date: December 26, 2004
Location: Missouri
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lead bullets & lead fouling

Is lead fouling a real problem for plinking loads, and how hard is it to get out? I haven't started reloading yet but I'm trying to get all of my research done so I'm ready to go. Is the lead gasses a problem to at an outdoor range?Enough of a problem to be hazardous ( I haven't had kids yet).
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Old January 15, 2005, 10:42 PM   #2
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No, No, No and no

I shoot 44 special, 45 ACP, and 45 Long colt. All with lead.
Its cheeper and as long as you stay in the correct bullet volicities leadings no problem, I have one MOD 24 Smith and wesson in 44 sp thats had over 5000 rounds of lead through it, and it has little lead in the bore. The other guns work fine with lead. 44 mag or 357 mag is not a problem as long as you use a gas check at the base of the bullet, otherwise mag pressures can really lead up your gun.
Yes there is a problem shooting a lot of lead indoors but with correct venelation its not that big of a problem.
Out doors its not a problem. The other thing is that lead bullets can be recycled. The one out door range that I shoot at the man that owns it makes bullets for a living. everything we shoot into his backstop will some day go back into another case to be shot again.
Just melt, and make another bullet again.
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Old January 20, 2005, 09:36 PM   #3
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I'll do the 4 NO's also.
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Old January 21, 2005, 01:13 PM   #4
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Even if you do get some lead fouling, it is easy to get out.
Shooter's Choice cleaning solutio just eats it up. There are other cleaning solution that also work well. I have shot 1,000's of lead 200 gn. lead swc out of my Gold Cup NM and the barrel still looks brand new.
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Old January 21, 2005, 04:22 PM   #5
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The key is picking the right bullet hardness for the right velocity.

Too soft will lead because it will smear through the rifling instead of biting into it and spinning. Too hard will lead up as well, though. This is because if it's too hard and doesn't fit into the bore properly, some hot gases will pass *around* the bullet and case some lead to melt.

Basically, slug the barrel and use the correct diameter bullet driven at an appropriate velocity and all will be well!
Steve Fuller
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Old January 21, 2005, 06:24 PM   #6
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I'll do the four noes with a warning. There are some very bad lead bullets sold commercially. The most common problem is that they are undersized. Lead bullets absolutely have to be bigger than groove diameter. There is also a fad for overly hard bullets. If the label says Magnum or Hard Cast, leave it there unless you are planning full magnum loads. Third is lube. Shiny, hard, bright colored lubes are generally a mistake. The commercial casters are often more concerned with visual appeal, lube staying in place in shipping, and cheapness than they are in what works.

I warn you of this so that you won't be put off for life and cussing our advice if you do run into a bad batch. There are good brands out there and it is very little trouble to cast your own. This is one of the rare situations when homemade is almost certain to be as good as the best boughten.
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Old January 22, 2005, 09:30 AM   #7
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Some good info above. The bottom line is, if you do it right, there is rarely any problem. Quantrill
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Old January 22, 2005, 03:45 PM   #8
Paul Fitz Jones
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No Leading complaints from my sales

I have sold thousands of the original Saeco Co. molds I designed to use tire weights for practice and adding a little solder for serious competition. I advised my customers to use standard diameter sizing dies in the Saeco and Star lubers I sold and use of the original Company Green lube. I have never had a leading complaint to this day. The original Saeco green lube contained expensive automotive STP.

I don't know what the current company uses.
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Old January 22, 2005, 05:06 PM   #9
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I have been loading since the 80's with lead

The thing is that if you keep the volocites that are listed in all the books for lead loads for the gun that your shooting lead is not a problem. Yes you will get a little at the start of the lands but its a non issue thing.
Some people in other threads are talking about 1500 fps with lead bullets in 357 mag and thats just not a safe load and loading manual dont show those loads.
Just becouse your shooting a 158 gr lead bullet and its the same weight as a jacketed bullet does not mean you can push it as hard.
Lead is ment for cheep plinking, and if you use it that way there are no worries but lots of fun
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Old January 22, 2005, 07:22 PM   #10
Bass Man
Join Date: December 26, 2004
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I've been thinking about pouring my own lead bullets but it is about the time in our life to have kids. My wife is a Nuclear Medicine Tech and I don't need any other chances for birth defects. Although I get more radiation from the ground (radon) then she gets at work.

I do think I will use when I can finally get a loading kit. I keep going back and forth between saving fo the Rock Chucker and getting a Lee sooner and replacing the pieces with RCBS when the lee breaks.
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Old January 23, 2005, 02:11 PM   #11
Paul B.
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Ozzieman. I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you. The original .357 magnum load was a 158 gr. bullet at a bit over 1500 FPS. Of course, the soft swaged lead bullets leaded like hell, but there wasn't a problem with pressures in th "N" framed S&W and Colt New Service revolvers. The problem with those loads came about when S&W brought out the Model 19 and later 66 "K" frame guns in .357 Mag. it didn't take very long for those loads to really loosen the lightweight guns up, not to mention the recoil.
I still have a 1959 issue S&W "N" frame model 28, then called the Highway patrolman that has had well over 5,000 rounds of my 1500 FPS handloads with my homemade 158 gr. fairly hard cast semiwadcutters run through that revolver. It's still nice and tight, and leading is minimal at best.
If I run up a batch of bullets that come out a bit too soft and I get any leading, I just wrap a few strands of metal from a Chore Boy scouring pad around a tight brush and ten to twenty strokes usually does the trick, no more lead.
The original .44 mag. loads were way up there too. Not a problem so much with pressures but from the backthrust of those very potent loads. Original .44 mag. loads were also in the 1500 FPS range as well, and yes, they did kick like hell. Using Elmer Keith's load of 22.0 gr. of Hercules #2400 and a Lyman 429241 (Elmer's bullet) was a bit easier on the gun than some of the factory stuff that came out. No gas check required.Elmer would not use Winchester .44 Mag. ammo because it was so hot he had to pound on the ejector rod to remove the cases from his gun. I shot some of that stuff and it was quite vicious.
Speaking of needing gas checks, none of my .44 mags need a gas check even on my hottest loads, yet my .44 Spl. 624 needs a gas checked bullet. Go figure.
Paul B.
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Old February 20, 2005, 02:41 AM   #12
Join Date: February 18, 2005
Location: Dallas
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The Bible for bullet casters is "Jacketed Performance With Cast Bullets" by Veral Smith of LBT fame. The Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook is very good also. Once you get your brain wrapped around some basics you'll figure out that the three most important things about a cast bullet are it's hardness (first), it's size (second), and lube (third). Shoot a bullet of the right alloy and size lubricated properly at the right speed and leading will not be any bigger an issue than copper fouling in jacketed bullets. (Which is much harder to deal with than leading, by the way.)
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