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Old Ranger
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 10:06am | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

In my now never ending fight against barrel leading I've tried many things. Harder alloy. Special lubes. Sized smaller. Sized bigger. Used different burning powders. Polymer painted them. Lit candles. Burned incense. Chanted incantations to the goddess "Ballistina" the ancient goddess of accuracy and fertile goats. But I still got lead in the bore.

But last week I made a mistake by placing about a 2 1/2 pound block of soft lead in the pot. I thought that I messed up but then said to myself "so what's it gonna hurt?". I went ahead and cast the softer metal in some of my favorite 38's. After curing a week, I lubed and sized some with NRA lube and loaded to standard velocity for. 38Spl.

The old 358250, the RN with 2 lube grooves, and 3.5gr of Bullseye was up first. Out of my old M&P 4" pencil barrel it was quite accurate, centered, and dead on point of aim at 15yds. I fired 20 rounds and checked the bore. Clear of lead. I wondered. Then the little 150gr 360271, the little fat based SWC of old. Same lube & sizing with 3.8gr Bullseye. Ridiculously tight group at the base of the 10 ring. 20 rounds and a trace of lead in the forcing cone only. Actually less than with WW castings.

Conclusion/Thoughts :

Softer alloy is more easily "bumped" to fit the bore better?
Bore is .357". Throats are almost .358". Sized: .3585".
Fast burning Bullseye ok for standard velocity. Might push/hit the bullet too hard if taken to, or near, +P stuff.

Looking forward to my old lube of beeswax and Vaseline, another "soft" lube that me and Rex are real fond of.

So do y'all think I've lost it thinking softer metal as opposed to harder?

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Ham Gunner
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 10:46am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

Sounds like you found the trick to that alloy. That fast burning powder at mid pressure level and soft lead must be able to make it work. Jack the pressure up a bit or slow down the powder burn rate and it might just start messing around again.


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noylj
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 10:46am | IP Logged Quote noylj

>Yes, I find that I can use a smaller soft bullet.

Question is: where is your leading problem and have your read:
http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm
for information on leading in revolvers?

Then, there is Mike Venturino who can cast bullets from type metal and size
them to groove diameter (not 0.001" larger) and shoot them in submachine
guns and not get any leading. When I tried something like that, I got the
worst leading I ever have had. So, I wonder if there are any "hard and fast"
rules...
My testing from a bit more than 40 years ago showed that shooting as-cast
gave me better accuracy. I went from using bullet sizing dies that were about
0.001" over nominal as-cast diameter to pan lubing to tumble lubing. About
the one leading problems I have had in about 30 years is from commercial
bullets--and a light tumble lube in LLA took care of that problem.
Remember, Keith developed the .44 Mag using a 10-12 BHN alloy without
any leading issues.

Edited by noylj on January 30 2017 at 12:09pm


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RT58
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 10:47am | IP Logged Quote RT58

Softer alloys make much better bullets for killing certain "things". The problem is that as pressures rise softer alloys will skid through the bore. This is why they started making gas checks. The current trend is to get the highest velocity you can, which in most cases is counter-productive to getting good results with terminal ballistics.

If you're getting leading in the forcing cone there's a possibility your getting gas blow-by in the chamber or throat area.

And it is possible you are getting a better gas seal with the softer alloy.
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RT58
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 10:51am | IP Logged Quote RT58

noylj wrote:
My testing from a bit more than 40 years ago showed that shooting as-cast
gave me better accuracy. I went from using bullet sizing dies that were about
0.001" over nominal as-cast diameter to pan lubing to tumble lubing. About
the one leading problems I have had in about 30 years is from commercial
bullets--and a light tumble lube in LLA took care of that problem.

I've been shooting as cast for a long time too. No leading and excellent accuracy.
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Paul B.
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 1:05pm | IP Logged Quote Paul B.

"So do y'all think I've lost it thinking softer metal as opposed to
harder?"

I'm not quite so sure about some of this anymore. A while back I did a
run of Lyman #358156, a gas check bullet from some cleaned wheel
weights a fellow gave me. Must have been the stick on type made for
mag wheels. After lubing and sizing a batch, I did a hardness test and
they were only 8 on the BHN scale.

A friend asked me to load up a box of ammo for his .357 Mag. so I did
it with the warning that the bullets were very soft and might lead his
barrel badly. He called back a while later and said the loads were very
accurate and no leading in his barrel. I had to load up a box for myself
to see what was what. Sure as hell, not once trace of lead in my gun as
well and accuracy was some of the best I've ever gotten from that
particular handgun.

FWIW, his was a Ruger Blackhawk, barrel length unknown and my gun
was an S&W M28 with 6" barrel.

I'm sure the gas check influenced the results to some degree but I
have had gas checked bullets lead badly at times depending on the
gun.

What can I say? Just another something or another to drive us cast
bullet loonies sane.
Paul B.

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mikld
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 3:19pm | IP Logged Quote mikld

I believe the softer alloy obturate better than harder alloys.Seems
like today much of the thinking is "harder is better" but for cast
bullets, it ain't so. For many years my plain all around alloy was
50-50 mix of range lead (relatively soft) and wheel weights (of
varying harness). This mix is somewhere around 10-12 BHN and
as worked well in my soft shooting .38s up to my Magnum .44s.
Softer lead in the higher velocity loadings were stripping the rifling,
and leading...

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Old Ranger
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 4:49pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Well I bet when you fellows read soft and mushy you must have though that I had lost my mind and was eating baby food! But yeah, I was trying again for the "recommend" popular mix but put nearly 40% of the metal content as soft lead. And of course I thought I blew it. But again I don't load heavy. I don't give a rodent's posterior about big roaring blasting handcannon B.S.! I shoot comfortable, controllable, accurate loads. So when I mixed in the soft stuff I didn't panic. Just gave it some cure time and literally gave it a shot.

Today I tried the same loads in my Richards & Mason Conversion model and had zero lead anywhere. And that's one tight single action too. It's never had a jacketed round through it and no lapping down either. Likely one of the best built revolvers I've ever owned. And the accuracy was right there as well. Tight groups with moderate doses of Bullseye with those "softies".

And noylj I'm well acquainted with the publication you're referring to. And it's funny as some lead would be in the lead/forcing cone, others in the first two inches of the bore. And at times all up and down the bore. Completely unpredictable! In my .44Mag single action I flat gave up on cast and went 100% copper plated. Same with my 1911A1. Pitiful leading all over the place. Went to plated with it too. Just not worth it.

So tomorrow, after payday activities, I plan to cast more softies in the evening if my cats will stay off the stove. But I'm not going to attempt any 44 or 45 stuff. That's history.

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noylj
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 5:18pm | IP Logged Quote noylj

So, you have the "classic" signs of an alloy that is too hard and one that is too
soft.
Did you ever try some LLA? I find that stops most if not all leading.
All I used was a very light coat and that was that. Better than pan lubing.

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John P.
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 6:44pm | IP Logged Quote John P.

Good article:


http://www.lasc.
us/FryxellCBAlloyObturation.htm


Edited by John P. on January 30 2017 at 6:55pm
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Old Ranger
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Posted: January 30 2017 at 7:04pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

Ya know, that's one of the few things I can't stand to use. Tried using LLA a few times but never cared for how it works. Naw, I'd better stick to what I know.

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Buffalogun
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Posted: January 31 2017 at 6:24am | IP Logged Quote Buffalogun

Wade,

Mr. Keith used 16-to-1 lead-to-tin in his .44's. That alloy may have been considered a hard alloy during his era, but today it is considered soft. Handled velocities up the 1,200fps. with his heavy loads.

Some of the "Pros" of casting have promoted alloys with a BHN of 8-10 for most standard pressure(not magnums) revolver loads. With good lube and a smooth bore, the softer alloys should obturate and not lead.

The trip down most revolver barrels is much shorter than a rifle barrel. I use thinned LLA as my lube and it works very well.

Of course if the bore is rough, all bets are off.

Exception would be using a hard alloy in semi-autos in order to avoid stripping the shallow rifling.


Mike

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Posted: January 31 2017 at 8:45am | IP Logged Quote dahlin

So do you think a barrel would lead more on the first shot with a cold barrel or the last shot with a hot barrel. Old Ranger may be you shoot to fast or may be you shoot to slow just a thought. Randy
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noylj
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Posted: January 31 2017 at 2:10pm | IP Logged Quote noylj

>Exception would be using a hard alloy in semi-autos in order to avoid
stripping the shallow rifling

Been reading this since the '60s and NEVER found it to be true. Lots of articles
about the shallow rifling on a 1911, yet all of mine shoot great with 8 BHN alloy.
All of my 9x19s shoot just as well, and they are higher velocity.
Nothing works like an over-sized bullet.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: January 31 2017 at 4:51pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I think this mix now is doing well. Here I'd been beating my brains out trying to get ever harder alloy and I should've known the answer was in the past. Shucks, all my gear is from the 60's and earlier. I still think in old terms. Yup, shoulda known. ...

I don't shoot nuthin hot. Don't need to. Did a personal reevaluation of my shooting and corrected my major malfunction. Now I'm pinpoint accurate when I settle down and quit trying too hard and wiggle around. So now that I'm on target, I put the rounds where they can do the most good. And I don't need big massive blasting loads to make up for a poor shot.

And I don't shoot fast ever. I'm from a completely different school of shootings where fire discipline is paramount. Unlike many civilians and most cops and lots of young infantry, I do not adhere to the "spray and pray " method in shooting. Now my one neighbor across the road and my stepson both just point in the general direction of the target and shoot as fast as they can empty their weapons. I'm just the opposite acquiring my target quickly and then shooting a round with careful aim. The only time I ever fired quickly was when our firebase was overrun. There, the need to engage multiple targets was the only option available. But I still aimed at least center mass with my M14 and later, the 1911A1.

So by taking a large step backwards going retro loading with softer alloy, moderate velocity, soft lube, and old-school bullets the issues are somewhat removed from my world. The .44 & .45 remain somewhat dubious though. Likely just stick with the plated rounds there. No need to press the test as they say.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 01 2017 at 5:15pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I believe you're onto it. There's a reason muzzle loaders work best; soft bullets obturate better. Seems this is even more true with charges of fast powders like Bullseye and Unique.

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Posted: February 01 2017 at 8:17pm | IP Logged Quote JD45

Who here casts on a kitchen stove in a lead pot?

Is a vent hood fan enough? I wanna hear everyone's stories, even if its in the past.
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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 01 2017 at 10:58pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

I do. Use either a Lyman Big Dipper 10# open topped furnace atop the stove. And also a cast iron pot used on a burner of the stove. No vent. Run a small fan to circulate air. I flux with beeswax. I have no power in my outside buildings and no "man cave" stuff here. The stove is my only option.

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Old Ranger
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Posted: February 01 2017 at 11:24pm | IP Logged Quote Old Ranger

richhodg66 wrote:
I believe you're onto it. There's a reason muzzle loaders work best; soft bullets obturate better. Seems this is even more true with charges of fast powders like Bullseye and Unique.


Yes sir, this softer stuff takes the punch from Bullseye like BP punches. I also think the softer lube really helps as well. And one other thing. The bullets I'm casting are from 1903 & 1904 designs. Two gracious lube grooves on them allows lots of lube in the bore. Newer designed bullets don't do as well for me come to think of it. Yup, I'm gonna keep casting soft alloy and use mushy lube with very old bullet designs. Going backwards was it.

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richhodg66
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Posted: February 02 2017 at 6:10am | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

JD45 wrote:
Who here casts on a kitchen stove in a lead pot?

Is a vent hood fan enough? I wanna hear everyone's stories, even if its in the past.


I have, been a long time. I think you're gonna want to do it outside though. When you flux your melt, it makes a lot of nasty smoke. A cheap yard sale camping stove works, I did that a time or two in the back yard on an old Coleman, works fine.

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