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Posted: 1/18/2013 5:40:33 PM EDT
I have some 38spl rounds and i am getting some lead on the first inch or two of the barrel. I am using Missouri bullets 158gr LSWC i THINK these are 12 Brinell. I have them over 5.0gr unique which should be right between 38spl and 38spl +p. I chronograph then at right around 890fps from my 4" 686. But i think i had the chrono too close so this might not be accurate but i sounds about right and should be close. I do know that they are staying subsonic out of my 16" Handi rifle suppressed.

When i looked at the Missouri Bullets webpage they say that leading usually occurs from to high or to low pressure for the hardness of the lead. This 12 brinell is the softer of the two leads they offer, it is for "cowboy"velocity. They also make a "action"  158gr LSWC 18 brinell hardness for 357. Do you guys think i am pushing the softer 12 brinell to hard and causing leading? I could bump up to 5.3 gr of unique and still be at +p level which is fine for my 686 and my Handi rifle. I just need them to stay subsonic. I could also try the 18 brinell  and push it at +p pressure but that might be too light for the 18 brinell. Any thoughts on how to cut down  on the leading? Or should i just accept that a little leading is normal?
Link Posted: 1/18/2013 6:09:55 PM EDT
[#1]
Link Posted: 1/18/2013 8:04:39 PM EDT
[#2]
I experienced a similar situation with the softer bullets myself. I did switch to the harder MBC action pistol bullets and I've not had an issue since. For what it's worth, I use the same exact load in mine.
I also noticed the leading was more pronounced in my stainless Smith & Wessons, wasn't nearly as bad in the blued revolvers. My only guess is the stainless material may be a little harder, potentially causing more of an issue? I can't prove that, but that was my experience. I do shoot quite a few revolvers and a lot of lead. A Lewis lead remover resides in my cleaning box
Link Posted: 1/18/2013 9:19:51 PM EDT
[#3]
Quoted:
I think you have the right bullet hardness for your velocity.

What is the diameter of your bullets and the cylinder throats?

I'm thinking your bullet diameter is too small for your pistol.


This is the correct answer when using lead...

bullet diameter is key.  I dont care how hard your bullets are if they arent the proper size they will lead.  slug your bore and go from there.  normally the cylinder throats on a revolver run a touch smaller than the bore, helps the bullets migrate into the forcing cone without slinging debris, so slug your cylinder too.  if 1 thousandth over isnt enough then go 2 thousandth, itll be ok, I promise

Link Posted: 1/18/2013 9:21:37 PM EDT
[#4]
also be aware that when shooting lead bullets your bore must be clean.  Any previous copper fouling WILL cause your bore to accumalate excessive lead.  This is a fact.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 3:04:15 AM EDT
[#5]
I'm using 4 gr of unique with a 158 gr LSWC.

A 158gr at 890 fps is kinda hot out of a 4" revolver.

Pull a few and check the diameter to make sure it's still .358.

Are you using a LFCD?

Link Posted: 1/19/2013 3:57:21 AM EDT
[#6]
IMHO the 890 fps is too fast for 12 Brinell "cowboy bullets".
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 5:38:13 AM EDT
[#7]
Quoted:
IMHO the 890 fps is too fast for 12 Brinell "cowboy bullets".


Surely your joking,I shoot plain base bullets cast from pure lead at close to 1K fps. in both handguns and rifles and shoot cast WW bullets that run around 12 BHN in my midrange 357 Mag. loads with no leading.  It's all about fit and good lube.  

Link Posted: 1/19/2013 6:40:34 AM EDT
[#8]
accept that a little leading is normal
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 6:45:39 AM EDT
[#9]
Quoted:
IMHO the 890 fps is too fast for 12 Brinell "cowboy bullets".


Agreed
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 9:46:58 AM EDT
[#10]
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 10:35:01 AM EDT
[#11]
Quoted:
IMHO the 890 fps is too fast for 12 Brinell "cowboy bullets".


It is at least right on the edge of too fast IMO.

OP.1)  Does the leading you are getting get worse as you shoot more or does it stay about the same?
     2) If it stays about the same. Is it adversely effecting the accuracy of the load?

As one of the other guys stated, some leading is to be expected but if it does not accumulate and does not adversely effect your accuracy then it is not a problem.

BTW: I shoot a 8bhn 158gr SWC from a 4 5/8" Blackhawk .357 using 4.5gr Bullseye and have no leading problem. I think if you were to simply back off your load a little you probably would see very little leading too but you may not need to.
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 5:06:42 PM EDT
[#12]
thanks for all the info and opinions guys. I am a little new to shooting lead so i might not know all the stuff i should.

Is there a way to measure the bore or what size bullet i should be shooting? Also how much lead is acceptable to be in a barrel? I know this sounds odd but does anyone have any pictures of looking down bores as reference?
Link Posted: 1/19/2013 5:21:58 PM EDT
[#13]
I use 850 fps with 158 grain lead SWC's as a maximum load. Whatever powder charge gets you there I would stop at that point. Leave +P or borderline +P for jacketed bullets. 3.8 grains of WW-231 gets me there from a 4" S&W.

New barrels lead more than ones that have been fired a few times. At least 200+ jacketed bullets through a new firearm will smooth the interior of the bore somewhat. I get a little leading right at the forcing cone regardless of the load used. This happens in all 3 of my revolvers.

A Lewis Lead Remover is a wonderful tool for this problem.
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 6:54:19 AM EDT
[#14]
Quoted:
thanks for all the info and opinions guys. I am a little new to shooting lead so i might not know all the stuff i should.

Is there a way to measure the bore or what size bullet i should be shooting? Also how much lead is acceptable to be in a barrel? I know this sounds odd but does anyone have any pictures of looking down bores as reference?


Just pull some of your loads and check the bullet diameter, compare it to one of your unloaded lead bullets. If it's less by a thousandths or more you've found your leading problem.

If you are using a LFCD on those straight wall cases you are swaging that bullet down by at least a thousandths.
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 10:05:48 AM EDT
[#15]
In my (considerable) experience, bore diameter means nothing other than it must be equal to or smaller than the CHAMBER/CYLINDER Throats!!  The bullet needs to be sized to the chamber throat...... nothing else counts for accuracy in a revolver.

That said, Unique is NOT the best powder to use with plain base lead bullets.... use a single base powder like SR4756.  Single base powders are slightly "cooler" burning than double base powders and will have less tendancy to melt the base of the bullet...particularly at higher pressures/velocities.

Finally, the comment about the brass sizing down your bullets is RIGHT ON!!!  You need an expander plug for your die that is no more than .001 smaller than the bullet that's sized to fit the cylinder throat.  In my 44 specials I've had custom expander plugs made that do just this, and have no problems with bullets "pulling out" of the case under recoil, provided an adequate crimp is used.

Hope this helps!
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 12:55:24 PM EDT
[#16]
Quoted:
In my (considerable) experience, bore diameter means nothing other than it must be equal to or smaller than the CHAMBER/CYLINDER Throats!!  The bullet needs to be sized to the chamber throat...... nothing else counts for accuracy in a revolver.

That said, Unique is NOT the best powder to use with plain base lead bullets.... use a single base powder like SR4756.  Single base powders are slightly "cooler" burning than double base powders and will have less tendancy to melt the base of the bullet...particularly at higher pressures/velocities.

Finally, the comment about the brass sizing down your bullets is RIGHT ON!!!  You need an expander plug for your die that is no more than .001 smaller than the bullet that's sized to fit the cylinder throat.  In my 44 specials I've had custom expander plugs made that do just this, and have no problems with bullets "pulling out" of the case under recoil, provided an adequate crimp is used.

Hope this helps!


you need to do some more experience'menting with lead bullets, the minimum diameter of the lead slug should be at least .001 over-bore.  That is a fact.  He is shooting lead not copper.  Let us use the 22 rimfire as an example.  you can easily find bullets that are soft lead in the 1200 fps range or over.  you wont have leading at all.  wanna know why? because 22 rounds are typically well over bore size.  also 22 cal slugs dont have lube grooves or lube either.  There are those folks in the cast bullet world that will insist that you can fire a lead bullet from your pistol without lube at all.  If the slug is properly overbore with a proper load it will shoot just fine with no leading at all regardless if you use lube or not.  I am gonna experiment with this one day and find out for sure.  

Undersized lead bullets are a no-no.  you WILL get leading...and that is a fact.

Link Posted: 1/20/2013 1:58:01 PM EDT
[#17]
All good points.

My experience is that when leading occurs, it is almost always the result of shooting lead in a gun that wasn't clean to begin with.  Any fouling in the bore -- of whatever sort -- creates a "speed bump" and results in leading.  

On the other hand, when a bore is completely clean, serious leading is very rare.

When leading does occur in a clean barrel, it is usually because the lead is TOO HARD.  Soft lead will seal the bore and prevent powder gasses from etching the sides of the bullet as it moves down the bore.  This reality is counter-intuitive and also contrary to a lot of the mis-information you read on the interwebs.

Link Posted: 1/20/2013 5:06:32 PM EDT
[#18]
When it comes to loading lead size is king.
I shoot plain base 150 gr swc cast from range lead that average 10 to 11 Brinell with zero leading.
The load I use averages well over 900 fps from a 6" S&W 586.
Has was stated before clean the bore of all cooper fouling or it will lead badly.
Expand your cases so that you do not shave any lead when seating. I use a Lyman M die for this.
Do not use a LEE FCD. This will swage down the lead bullets and cause leading. I use a Reading roll crimp die for 38/ 357

Again properly sized and lubed bullets will not lead if the above is followed even if the bullets are cast from dead soft lead.
Link Posted: 1/20/2013 5:21:52 PM EDT
[#19]
Quoted:
Quoted:
IMHO the 890 fps is too fast for 12 Brinell "cowboy bullets".


Agreed


Me too.
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