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Old December 16, 2000, 12:14 AM   #1
Join Date: November 26, 2000
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I'm loading for a SW 38 spec. 3" and a SW 29 44 mag. 8 3/8"
I'm using 125 and 180 gr.JHC respectively. Also Winchester 231 and 296.

I would like to load more economically for target and thought about lead. Any downside to doing this? Could you please suggest a combination for both?

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Old December 16, 2000, 04:18 AM   #2
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I shoot tons of lead through all of my handguns. Works just great and won't harm a thing.
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Old December 16, 2000, 08:20 AM   #3
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Bull-X or D&J lead bullets, Hodgdon Universal Clays for both calibers.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old December 16, 2000, 09:00 AM   #4
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I use Laser-cast lead bullets with W231. There is no leading with these Bullets and they are very accurate.
Here is there URL.
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Old December 16, 2000, 09:07 AM   #5
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I use a Hornady 240 gr swaged lead (softer than cast) over a moderate charge of 2400 in the .44Mag. So far,it's been the most accurate load I've found. My guestimate of velocity is in the 1100 fps range.(gotta get me a chrono) Last year at this time, I was trying to work up a 1000-1200 fps shoot em up load using the same bullet over Unique (almost the same burn rate as 231). I experienced keyholing with the Unique load, at a lower velocity than the faster and more accurate 2400 load. My conclusion is that the slower burn rate( cooler initial burn) doesnt melt the base of the bullet and cause leading, which added to the keyholing. With an 8 3/8 in barrel, you should be able to take advantage of the slower burning powders. I use this load in a lever action Trapper, and found the Hornady to be the best feeding bullet. Nice smooth rythmic(sp) action makes shooting a bit more accurate for me. They are a bit on the expensive side though at $15.76 per 200.

One of THE best parts of handloading is working up that perfect load that is right for your gun and your own personal shooting style or situation. The above load isn't benchrest accurate, but for resting my elbow on the bench, and cocking and rocking, it shoots more than a few cloverleafs at 25 yards.
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Old December 16, 2000, 10:47 AM   #6
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I use all lead and have for yrs with no problem.Other option is use total copper coat bullets.Little more money then lead but less then jacketed.
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Old December 16, 2000, 11:39 AM   #7
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Lead Bullets

I have used hand cast lead bullets for about 30 years now and while I have made some mistakes, all the guns and barrels are still viable. I would advise a cast lead bullet handbook by Lyman or the like for guidance. Good Luck! Quantrill
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Old December 16, 2000, 12:06 PM   #8
Paul B.
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Timothy. All I use is cast lead bullets. I cast my own for .38/357, .44Spl./Mag., 9MM, and for several rifles as well. For targets, a medium hard bullet will do just fine, and a 240 to 300 gr. hard cast bullet will do for big game as well.
There aren't too many books out on the subject. The Lyman is probably the best. RCBS had one, but you'd have to find it on the used book market. The handgun data in it was all right, but the rifle data stuck with the fast burning powders suitable for plinking loads. The information on how to do it was good though. They did that part right, so if you can find one, buy it.
BTW. I have been casting my own for over 40 years. They did not have jacketed bullets for handguns back then, so if you wanted to reload your handgun, you cast your own. Also, there weren't too many commercial casters around then either. I worked for one in the Bay area for a while, so I got my bullets at cost, but mostly just cast my own, for my own use.
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Old December 16, 2000, 06:20 PM   #9
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I cast my own using wheel weights and have been doing for 15 plus years. I use a 4 cavity Lyman 245 grain SWC loadfor the .44 . I use 10 grains of AA#5 and it cronographs right at 1000 fps. It is extremely accurate as does not lead up the barrel.

Casting your own , if you have the time is the cheapest way to reload. The disadvatage is the time it takes. I have a Lee 10 pound pot and the 4 cavity molds make things a bit quicker. I use a 158 SWC cutter for my .357. It too is very accurate.

After casting the bullets, they need to be lubed and sized. I have found that the hard lubes work better and are more accurate than the soft lubes. For this I use a RCBS lubricater on a heater purchased from Midway. The lubricater,the heater and the die and punch for each caliber are a little pricy, but if you shoot alot they are much cheaper in the long run than buying your bullets.

Another advantage is that shooting relativley light loads increases the life of the brass dramaticly.If you can secure a good source of lead ,you will be big bucks ahead. I went to my local tire shop and just for asking the manager gave me 3 five gallon buckets full of lead wheelweights. That is several hundred pounds of lead. The good thing about wheelwieghts is that they are heat-treatable.This is done by dumping the hot bullets out of the mold into a 5 gallon bucket full of water. It's very easy to do. Should you decide to make a full house magnum load, thse will decrease the leading in your barrel.The penetration will be better than most jacketed ammo.
Hope this helps.
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Old December 17, 2000, 10:25 AM   #10
Patrick Graham
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I've shot a lot of 38, 357 and 44mag lead.
The only problem, if you could call it a problem, is the fact that it's somewhat dirtier than if you were shooting jacketed bullets.
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Old December 18, 2000, 06:01 AM   #11
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I use lead in all of my reloads because the cost is so much lower than jacketed. As far as .38 goes, I use Win 231 and hard cast lead DEWC bullets. I found though that the slightly larger diameter of the lead bullet can cause some cases to "bulge" around the base of the seated bullet. I also found that Remington and Federal cases do not give me a problem in this respect.

Do you have a Lewis lead remover? If not you should get one if you plan to shoot lead. It is a very simple device that will take care of any leading problems and is dirt cheap. Hoppes makes it now I believe.

Best of luck!

I didn't do it, but I thought about it. Next time I might.

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Old December 18, 2000, 05:58 PM   #12
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99% of my handgun shooting is cast lead. I use a mixture of wheelweights and linotype that gives excellent results for both castabilitiy and hardness. No problems what so ever with leading and some of the loads are well up there in velocity. My .44 Mag sports a 10-1/2 inch barrel so that barrel launches them pretty fast. Sometime, mostly for fun, I will "dispatch" a few of the "cottenheadedrattlesnakes" with either a 125 or 110 grain HP in the 6" .357 or a 180 grain in the .44 just to see the pieces fly, on snake shooting jaunts in the swamps in the spring, but mostly its cast loads. For deer its strictly a 220 Grain HP in the .44 Mag. Cast is a little dirtier due to the lube used but the costs are so low with cast that its a small price to pay. Cost per hundred .38 wadcutters is limited to the price of the primers, and 60 to 80 cents worth of powder, for a total of maybe $2.50 per hundred. Of course the powder costs rise a bit for the .44 Mag. but it is still very economical. (I forgot to mention that I am one hellofa lead scronge ...... never bought an ounce in my life ..... begged, borrowed or stol...........errr well lets just say begged or borrowed it all)
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