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Old October 29, 2012, 11:10 PM   #1
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Need Help Fixing a Problem

Ok, I'm new to The Firing Line so hi to all. I have a problem with an old S&W .38. It was my grandfathers gun, and when he passed he left it to me. Well about 10 years ago a couple of my idiot cousins borrowed the gun from him to take shooting. They somehow got hold of some old underpowered bullets. They managed to get 3 (yes 3) bullets lodged in the barrel before they realized what was happening. They're lucky it didn't blow up in their hands. They took the gun home and put it on a drill press, and drilled out the majority of the bullets lodged in the barrel. They actually didn't mess up the barrel itself with the drill bit. You can see down the barrel now. I have no idea what kinds of rounds they were shooting, and you can't tell from looking down the barrel However, there is still quite a bit of material covering the rifling. This gun is extremely sentimental to me and I want to get it back to working order. I would really appreciate any advice.
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Old October 29, 2012, 11:36 PM   #2
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There are tools for removing lots of lead. One is called a Lewis Lead Removal Brush. There are also reamers for various calibers, they're like drill bits without burrs. Finally if you have lots of elbow grease, just use a bronse brush repeatedly.

Lots of different chemicals make the claim that they remove lead. But I'd do as much as you can mechanically first.

Foul Out is a popular treatment system. can't think of any other off thetop of my head.
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Old October 30, 2012, 07:58 AM   #3
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Mercury dissolves lead.
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Old October 30, 2012, 08:26 AM   #4
Bob Wright
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I have used a steel rod of near bore diameter, wrapped in plastic tape, and driven bullets out using a mallet to drive the rod through the barrel.

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Old October 30, 2012, 08:46 AM   #5
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Your post that mercury dissolves lead was very helpful. Thanks so much.
If you want to shoot...shoot...don't talk! Tuco

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Old October 30, 2012, 11:15 AM   #6
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A brass .38 cal squib rod would be best.

Yes, mercury is supposed to dissolve lead, but I wouldn't mess with the stuff myself. A non-toxic 50/50 mix of vinegar and peroxide will dissolve lead. I don't think it's meant to dissolve drilled-out bullets, but to clean residual traces from a leaded barrel. Prolonged exposure may also attack steel, so I'd try the squib rod first, or at least, as Bob suggested, a steel rod well-wrapped in plastic tape.

BTW, any indication the barrel's bulged?
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Old October 30, 2012, 11:35 AM   #7
Clifford L. Hughes
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Mercury iis an extreamly poisonous subsistence. Don't use it. Our water ways and are fish are already contaminated with mercury. We don't need more contamination.

Semper Fi.

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Last edited by Clifford L. Hughes; October 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old October 30, 2012, 11:40 AM   #8
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Take a dowel of slightly smaller than the barrel, obtainable at any local hardware, and drive the lead out from the front of the barrel. Be careful not to hit the rebound. You should be good to go with patience and a good hammer.
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Old October 30, 2012, 11:40 AM   #9
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You'll be money a head if you take it to a qualified gun smith.
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Old October 30, 2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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Take it to a good gunsmith! However, if you ever try to drive a stuck bullet out of a revolver, be sure that you fill the barrel up with clp or some very good penetrating oil beforehand. I have had a couple of squib rounds which stuck bullets in the barrel. Attemps to drive them out were not successful until I used some clp. The bullets then drove very easily and with no damage.

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Old October 30, 2012, 10:18 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the advice.
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Old October 30, 2012, 10:22 PM   #12
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Dowels may be commonly used, but may not be a good idea. I've been told that when they splinter, it's not fun trying to get all the little pieces of wood out of the rifling.
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Old October 30, 2012, 10:23 PM   #13
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Thanks for the tip on the Lewis Lead Removal Brush Buzzcook. I read some reviews online and decided to order one. It seems like it will solve the problem. Well see when it gets here.
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