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Old June 22, 2006, 06:40 AM   #1
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Barrel leading avoidance-velocity limits?

For handguns only.....

Is there a generally accepted velocity/pressure maximum for lead bullets that will avoid leading?

My typical lead bullet use is in .38spl and .45ACP at sub-1000 velocities.

Can I use lead bullets at higher velocities (.357) and still avoid leading of the barrel?
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Old June 22, 2006, 07:54 AM   #2
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It depends on the alloy of the bullet. You may have a problem with the softer ones by Hornady and Speer so look for bullets that say 'hard cast'. If you are casting your own, use gas checks or a harder alloy or if you use an alloy with antimony (wheel weights) you can heat treat them to make them harder.
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Old June 22, 2006, 08:00 AM   #3
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According to Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading (Vol. 1) "Velocities, however, should not exceed 1100 fps [for the 357 magnum] as undesirable leading of the barrel can occur in just a few rounds."

That said, I find 13.0 gr of 2400 pushs a 158 gr LRNFP to ~1300fps out of a 6.5" Ruger NMB without excessive leading. (My pet 357 Mag load.) YMMV.
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Old June 22, 2006, 08:44 AM   #4
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Speaking from personal experience....I had heard of the sub 1000 fps rule. Elmer Keith shot many 240 and 250 gr SWC at well over 1000 fps in his various revolvers. I loaded some Hornady 240 gr SWC in my Ruger Redhawk .44 Mag and it leaded like crazy. I removed entire strips of lead from the barrel. That being said, I tried the Oregon Trail Lazer Cast 240 gr LRNF and they have not had any leading. I was loading them over 20 grains of 2400 at around 1400-1500 fps and had no issues. I prefer that particular bullet with about 16 gr of 2400. It is much more pleasant and controllable.
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Old June 22, 2006, 09:31 AM   #5
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'Hard cast' in and of itself is a myth. Extremely hard boolits which are not properly fitted can lead like crazy. There are issues at play other than the alloy, not that the alloy is not important, it is. In a revolver there is chamber mouth, cylinder gap, timing, and in both revolver and pistol throating and alignment. So, it's not just how hard a boolit is. Lube is also a factor. I've been casting and shooting cast boolits for 35 years, and I consider myself competent, but not an expert by an means. Every gun is an individual - especially so with cast, and just because one thing works with one, it may not necessarily work with another. Even atmospheric conditions can have some affect - dry, cold, damp, warm. 1K may be a limit for some guns shooting cast, accept it. Just sticking a hard boolit in it does not gurantee success. sundog
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Old June 22, 2006, 10:52 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies.

It sounds like some experimentation on my part is in order.
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Old July 2, 2006, 08:10 AM   #7
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I worked this same issue a while back and got the following advice.

Shoot 2 or 3 cylinders full of your reloads then look at the muzzle (you made the gun safe right?). If you can see a sort of star pattern of bullet lube on the muzzle then you are probably not going to lead the barrel and you can load faster. No star pattern of lube, you are already going too fast.

Works for me.
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Old September 20, 2006, 11:32 PM   #8
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I just bought the Lee cast bullet hardness tester. It works as well as they say it will. It eliminated all of my leading problems.
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Old September 21, 2006, 09:51 AM   #9
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You could try loading moly coated bullets. i use them in basically all my reloads, from 38 +p's up to 45ACP/ Even shoot the moly coated in a lever action rifle with 357 mags about 1500 FPS and get no leading what so ever. Take a look at Bear Creek type bullets on the web.

Good Luck in your quest.
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