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Old June 25, 2020, 05:33 PM   #1
Mike38
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Missing bullet lube?

I bought 500 pcs of Meister Bullets for reloading. Hard cast 78 grain .312 diameter LRN to be used in .32acp. 11 of the 500 did not have any bullet lube in the groove. I've found an occasional bullet with missing lube over the years, but never this many in one box. There is evidence of broken up lube in the box, so they were lubed from the factory, it just came off. I coated these 11 with Lee Liquid Alox, but am now having second thoughts. Should I load them and use, or discard them? My guess is load and shoot, because they are only for plinking. Thanks.
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Old June 25, 2020, 05:35 PM   #2
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Shoot em.

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Old June 30, 2020, 05:53 PM   #3
Mike38
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I loaded those 11 Alox coated bullets that the wax lube came off. Kept them separate from others. Three of the 11 keyholed, perfectly sideways. Didn't lead the bore, accuracy was fine, just the keyholes. I then shot 50 more with normal wax lube and no keyholes. Oh well, learned something.....
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Old June 30, 2020, 09:01 PM   #4
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You might want to shoot a note (or a call) to the maker informing them of what you got, and suggesting they take a look at their QC process. 2% without lube at all sounds unacceptably high to me.
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Old June 30, 2020, 09:36 PM   #5
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I've seen it before. They use a hard lube so the bullets don't tend to stick together, but the stuff is like paraffin, and vibration in shipping will crack it and knock it off some bullets. But I've never seen it cause keyholing.

There are a good number of people who shoot cast bullets with no lube, and if the velocity isn't too high, it seems to work and not produce leading. The only thing that has me perplexed here is the keyholing. What velocity and what rate of barrel twist are being used and how long are these bullets?
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Old July 1, 2020, 10:33 PM   #6
Mike38
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Pistol is a Kel-Tec P32 that I'm trying to get about 500 rounds down range to prove itself as a reliable carry pistol. I have no idea what the rate of twist is. I should have mentioned, I loaded them light thinking it would reduce the chances of leading. My normal load for these .312 dia 78 grain LRN bullets is 1.8 grains of Titegroup. For these 11 pcs I loaded with 1.6 grains of Titgroup. My manual says loads are 2.0 to 2.2 grains. Maybe 1.6 is too light a load? I get surprisingly good accuracy with the 1.8 grain load and no keyholes at all. The keyholing is a mystery for sure.
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Old July 2, 2020, 09:52 AM   #7
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16" is standard for 32 Auto. I saw an article one time in which twist rate for 32 Wadcutters out of 32 Long (18.75" twist standard) was changed in steps from standard all the way down to 10". The groups kept getting tighter and tighter, though I don't think the difference between 10" and 12" was much. These bullets are so short they should be fine, but I have seen some 32 HBWC's keyhole from the slower twist .32 Long barrel until velocity hit a certain threshold. This was also out of self-loaders with simple blowback actions. I'm not sure what is going on there, but higher velocity would certainly be the thing to try.

Incidentally, I recently read Hatcher's 1927 book on handguns and their use and he mentioned lead bullets keyholing as a stopping power advantage over jacketed bullets in some revolvers. He then goes on to mention accuracy improvements made to the 1911 pistol by cutting the rifling deeper (starting with a smaller bore). So, apparently, a number of pistols had very shallow rifling then and soft lead bullets were stripping rather than being spun up properly. You have to recover some fired bullets to look to see if that happened in your gun.
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Old July 2, 2020, 02:56 PM   #8
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Unclenick, interesting. I took a look at the rifling in my Kel-Tec, it does appear to be very shallow. Maybe that has something to do with it?

Maybe I should slug the bore to get an idea of the best sized lead bullet? I have some swaged .314 HBWC bullets that I load for a target pistol chambered in .32 wadcutter. Those should be soft enough to slug the bore on my .32acp shouldn't they?
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Old July 3, 2020, 11:22 AM   #9
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Most soft swaged lead bullets are inelastic enough for the job. Just don't try to get a cast bullet to work. Too springy.

Run an oily patch down the bore and tap them into the bore gently with a brass rod or a wood dowel. Once in the rifling, just push it through with a cleaning rod or the dowel, whichever is easier.
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Old July 4, 2020, 12:09 PM   #10
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No reason a few unlubed bullets would keyhole for that reason, had to be the different powder charge IMO.
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Old July 4, 2020, 01:19 PM   #11
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store bought lead bullets tend to be too hard. internet wisdom is they cast them hars so they don't get deformed in shipping.
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Old July 5, 2020, 09:44 AM   #12
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Ifishsum,

As I explained, the reason would be stripping the lead rather than spinning the bullet properly. He'd have to recover a bullet to check for that, but I don't really see why lacking lubrication would cause it. The same goes for velocity. Why would lack of lube in one shot, firing through a bore that still has lube traces from a previous bullet not shoot the same as the lubed bullets? Very odd that only the unlubed bullets tumble. That would be a reason to recover one.

DukeConnor,

Internet wisdom is often worth what you pay for it. A moment's reflection will reveal the big bullet companies ship boxes of their much softer swaged lead bullets all the time without serious complaints. I got a box of two thousand Remington .358" wadcutters from Midway a year or so ago. The box the bullets were packaged in didn't hold up well against being dropped and had leaked a number of the bullets into the outer box around it when it arrived, but they were all usable.

The reason for hardcast bullets is the broad belief that they may be counted on to produce less lead fouling. It tends to be true if the gun's barrel is straight and lacks constrictions. If it has constrictions, softer bullets will actually do better because the pressure can upset them back up to groove diameter after passing through one, so that the bore remains sealed, where a harder bullet can be loose in the bore after a constriction, allowing gas cutting of the lead which impact plates it against the bore. However, that soft bullet trick fails if the bore isn't smooth.

Soft bullets have an obvious advantage in a hollow-base design because the base blows out to fill the rifling well at moderate target pressures, though it also means you can't produce too much muzzle blast or you will blow that hollow base out into a skirt to produce a lead badminton shuttlecock that has unbelievably awful ballistics. Another advantage to soft bullets mentioned by Hatcher back in 1927 was that they upset easily on impact to result in more stopping power than a same-weight round of hardball has.

An advantage to hardcast bullets is they can be more accurate at higher pressure. The late Richard Lee's book, Modern Reloading, 2nd. Ed. points out that if the peak pressure you are loading to does not exceed the yield point of the bullet alloy, you can see an accuracy improvement on the target because the bullet base isn't being distorted by pressure. You can avoid that much pressure with the following approximation:

Multiply the bullet BHN by 1300 psi/BHN, and don't use loads that exceed the resulting pressure. (The exact number would be 1422, IIRC, but Lee wanted to leave a roughly 10% margin for shot-to-shot pressure variation. The exact number he used corresponded to 1280, but I think 1300 is close enough.)
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