Barrel Leading

Help Support Ruger Forum:

Blizzard

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
70
With the current ammo shortage I have begun to reload some hard lead unjacketed / unplated bullets.

What advice can you give me to minimize leadiing and what do you use to clean lead out of your barrel ??

Thanks !
 

pisgah

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,633
Leading, unless caused by a very rough bore, comes mainly from two factors -- bullet diameter and bullet hardness. The bullet should be sized to fit the chamberr throats snugly, and if the revolver is properly set up this will mean they a 1 or 2 thousandths larger than bore size. A too-soft bullet can cause problems, but a too-hard bullet can be as bad or worse -- the base of such a bullet may not expand enough to fully seal the bore, allowing propellant gasses to escape past the bullet and melting/scouring lead off the bullet in passing.

Most commercially-cast bullets are on the hard side, and you really don't have much choice in that. But know that most commercially-cast bullets can be had in several diameters for each caliber -- for instance, you can find ready-made bullets for a .45 Colt thaat may be anywhere from .451 to .454 or so. Find out what diameter you need by slugging the cylinder and bore . As an example, if you find your chamber mouths to be .455 and your bore to be .452, the .454 cast bullets would be the way to go. The worst situation you can have, and one that is not too rare, is a too-small chamber mouth -- this means that bullets wide enough to fit the bore are too wide to fit in the chamber, meaning that in order to shoot the gun you have to use too-small bullets -- a great way to get lousy accuracy and absolutely horrible leading. This is usually fixed by having the chamber mouths slightly and carefully opened up.
 

Jumping Frog

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
90
Blizzard":zg0qrip8 said:
With the current ammo shortage I have begun to reload some hard lead unjacketed / unplated bullets.
Since I assume these are purchased commercial bullets, I leave alone the factors already discussed above regarding bullet diameter and hardness, since I assume you've got a lot of already purchased bullets to use up and need to find a good load.

So, the pertinent questions to work up a good load include: what caliber, what bullet, bullet weight, bullet diameter, bullet profile, powder, powder charge, OAL.

It is also useful (and fun) to slug your barrel diameter. Easiest way I've found for non-casters is to find a fishing weight with a diameter slightly larger than your barrel. Oil it, and then drive it through the barrel using a wooden dowel and a hammer. If your gun is a Smith & Wesson or other 5-groove barrel, however, it is very difficult to accurately measure the resulting slug without specialized equipment (like a v-block).

If you use a chrono for your handloads, what speed are you getting?
Blizzard":zg0qrip8 said:
What advice can you give me to minimize leadiing and what do you use to clean lead out of your barrel ??

To minimize leading, the first thing to do is make sure you have thoroughly cleaned your barrel with a copper solvent to get all traces of remaining copper from the previous FMJ rounds removed. Copper in a barrel will contribute to leading.

Minimizing the leading will be the whole point of your handload development.

To clean leading from a barrel, my personal favorite is using Copper Chore Boy.

product-copper.jpg


You cut off a little piece and wrap it around an ordinary bronze cleaning brush. It cuts through the lead like Patton through Germans. This product is very well known and widely recommended within the handloading community.

Make sure you get the copper version, as it will not scratch or harm your barrel. Competing brands/clones often have bronze-coated steel brushes which can be hard on a barrel.

Locally, I purchase mine at Ace Hardware. The company website lists retail outlets for your area.
 

pisgah

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,633
I will add to the above that if the bullets are of proper hardness and size, with sufficient lube, they can be driven to at least 1250 fps or so in appropriate cartridges with very little to no leading. I fire 158 gr. lead swc bullets to nearly 1400 fps in my S&W Highway Patrolman and even after 50 rounds have lead that takes no more than 10 or 15 strokes with a bronze bore brush to get out. I've fired as many as 100 rounds in a session with no cleaning or deterioration of accuracy, and still had a quick, easy cleanup afterward. To me, this is how lead bullet shooting can and should be, done right.
 

Jumping Frog

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
90
pisgah":2e6q1smw said:
bullets are of proper hardness and size, with sufficient lube, they can be driven to at least 1250 fps or so in appropriate cartridges with very little to no leading.

. . .

I've fired as many as 100 rounds in a session

I agree.
 

FrontSite

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 29, 2006
Messages
144
As said above .. once you have the gun set up correctly and bullets
that "fit" then just remember ..

Shoot soft lead with a faster burning powder and
Hard lead with a slower burning powder.

FrontSite
 

Jeff H

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
60
I fire 158 gr. lead swc bullets to nearly 1400 fps in my S&W Highway Patrolman and even after 50 rounds have lead that takes no more than 10 or 15 strokes with a bronze bore brush to get out. I've fired as many as 100 rounds in a session with no cleaning or deterioration of accuracy, and still had a quick, easy cleanup afterward. To me, this is how lead bullet shooting can and should be, done right.

Same here. I shot over 100 158gLSWC (15g of 2400 so they were moving real good) just yesterday in my Blackhawk and the leading was so minor I didn't even get the Chore Boy out.
 

Sonnytoo

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
631
Jumping Frog":2yyokpqk said:
[ (like a v-block).

Oh yeah, that's what I need for my 5-groove bullets. I've been away from a machine shop much too long. Thanks.
Sonnytoo
 

Steve C

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Messages
14
First thing is to start with a clean bore that's free of any copper or lead fouling. Lead will accumulate on existing copper or lead fouling and once it starts it builds up fast.

Drive the bullets at the proper pressure and velocity for their hardness and size. Hard cast bullets will lead at low velocity and pressure as the bases doesn't bump up to fill the bore and gass blow by melts the bullet lead to the bore. Soft bullets can lead the bore if driven too fast as the friction in the barrel can melt the lead to the bore.

I use comercial hard cast with full magnum loads in the .357 or .41 mag and soft cast or swagged bullets for the .38 spl. The type of lube also has effect on leading. The Red lube seems to shoot relatively free of metal fouling while the blue lube doesn't seem to work as well. I've found that putting a light coating of Lee Liquid Alox over the commercial lube will aleviate most leading and make what little there is easier to remove.
 

Three44s

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Messages
303
+++++1 for Copper Chore Boy.

I would invest in some JB or USP bore paste as well. Any solvent will work in addition to it.

Clean with these products until your leading abates itself. In effect what you are doing is a mild handlapping while cleaning.

I like to treat thusly cleaned bores and chambers with CorrosionX ..... the new Ultra Bore Coat may well be even better for this but I don't have any yet.

Now ........ take those commercially cast slugs and re lube them ..... yes, add Lee Liquid Alox (LLA) to these already sized and lubed slugs.

Many times this little added step will get you back shooting with minimal leading ........

With some polishing of you guns internals and some load changes ..... you may well not need to use the LLA. But if you can't stop the leading fairly promptly ...... change slugs!

Now for the longer haul:

http://www.beartoothbullets.com/bulletselect/index.htm

Click on "book" on the left side bar ....... BUY IT!

Also join this forum:

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/index.php

Three 44s
 

Latest posts

Top