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  #1  
Old 05-30-2004, 07:34 PM
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Questions about shooting lead bullets?


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Ok, I'm new to shooting lead bullets; I have always shot .30 cal. type rifles with jacketed bullets. Anyway, I just bought a new lever action .45 Long Colt rifle that I am planning on reloading for and would like to give lead a try. My question is how bad will "Cowboy" type lead ammunition for a .45 Colt lead up my barrel? My barrel is 24" long. I was planning on loading up Hornady Cowboy lead bullets as I have read good reviews about them and they are pre-lubed. I'm not interested in pushing them hard; just want an accurate load for target shooting. But I understand that the bullet will be traveling up to 300 fps faster just do to the fact that the barrel is much longer than the barrel of a .45 Colt pistol. Any suggestions would be great, but mostly what type of solvent will clean up the bore the best after firing lead bullets and how much leading can I expect? Or is there some other method that is required? Or would it be easier to clean if I just stuck with jacketed bullets. Also, any opinions on D & J Match Grade Cast Bullets, or Meister hard cast Bullets? Or would Hornady lead handgun bullets be the best? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2004, 08:00 PM
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Lead Bullets vs Jacketed?

Just bought a new Lever Action .45 Colt with a 24" Barrel and would like some input on which bullets to load for it. Should I load jacket bullets or lead? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both? I'm most worried about cleaning the rifle. I know how to get copper out of a rifle bore, but I don't have a clue about lead. I'm not planning on hunting with this rifle and I'm not looking for any hot loads, just accurate easy shooting target loads. Lead would be cheaper to reload, but I don’t want to lead up my barrel just to save a little money. Thanks for the info.
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2004, 08:12 PM
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Smile lead bullets

Hornady??? Meister??? We better let Marshal field this one!!!
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2004, 09:07 PM
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Some Beartooth cast bullets and moderate powder loads should keep your bore fairly lead free. They're accurate and much less expensive than jacketed. A pleasant target load which you can work up for hunting if ever desired.

As for the bit of leading you may get - a lapped barrel will lead much less than an unlapped one. Beartooth also sells these kits to hone the bore.

When all else fails, the ol' Lewis Lead Remover (think Hoppes sells it now under their brand name) will make short work of any residual lead. A standard bore brush with some steel wool wrapped around it, or a brush with a solvent soaked patch and treated with JB Bore Cleaner works, too.

Get some cast lead bullets and enjoy!
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2004, 08:36 AM
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I have one of the Cowboy models and you'll get some pretty good velocity increases with that long barrel!!!

Some of my loaded picked up 500 fps as compared to a 7.5" Blackhawk.

There are a lot of variables in shooting a cast bullet in a rifle barrel; as you note, the length of the barrel is a major concern in terms of both the velocity increase, and just that much more area that the lube will have to protect.

One thing that almost always helps is to use a gas-checked bullet. Although this will increase the cost of the bullet somewhat, you can balance that out by not wasting a lot of other components & time & frustration!

With good gas check bullets, you'll have little or no lead fouling; in fact, they should take out lead fouling that is already in the barrel.

It might work out that the factory loads will be OK in your gun, but shooting them is the only way to find out.

Slugging the barrel (pushing a soft oversized lead slug through the barrel to get an imprint of the rifling) is recommended so you can get the correct sized bullets, as well as figure out if there are any rough or tight spots in the bore.

I'm still working up loads for my gun so don't have a lot of specific recommendations, sorry.

Slug it, measure the slug, and get back to us....
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  #6  
Old 05-31-2004, 08:38 AM
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Brian, I merged the two threads as the subject matter is the same.
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2006, 05:47 PM
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Just a quick note as I have not seen it mentioned here yet. . . . If you are going to shoot cast bullets in a handgun or rifle mostly, it's a good idea not to shoot any jacketed. Jacketed bullets leave a film of copper that is extremely difficult to remove completely. I have sectioned a .338 barrel end that I cut off after cleaning the heck out of it with abrasives. there was still a golden film of copper that I could not remove. This film will cause cast bullets to lead faster then normal. You can always get the lead out. You can not always get the copper out! Jacketed bullets are just a fad anyway. Just a thought. Good shootin' D Wright

Last edited by D Wright; 03-03-2006 at 05:53 PM.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2006, 06:59 PM
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D Wright,

Actually. I have been able to clean copper fouling from my .30-30's bore by shooting lead alloy bullets through it.

Several years ago I was shooting some 110 Sierra hollowpoints in my Winchester 1894-1994 Centennial rifle. After shooting about 40 rounds, I was thinking about packing up and heading home when I remembered that I wanted to test some 200 gr. cast bullets that I had loaded with 35/ H414.

Not having the time to clean the barrel, I fired 10 rounds which grouped very nicely. When I arrived home, I set up to clean my rifle's barrel. When I glanced into the end of the barrel before inserting a cleaning patch, I did not see any copper wash.

Normally, after a session with jacketed bullets in this rifle, a bit of barrel scrub-a-dub is required to remove the copper fouling, so the lack of seeing copper fouling in the end of the barrel after shooting the cast bullets was somewhat surprising.

Thinking that the copper fouling was just covered up with powder fouling from the lead bulleted rounds, I ran a wet patch down the bore a few times, followed by a few dry patches.

After that I examined the bore and then thought....."well, I'll be....." the copper wash was completely gone.

I then reasoned that somehow the lead alloy bullets adhered with the copper fouling, removing it from the bore like lead alloy solder adheres to copper pipe.

I have done this several times since with complete satisfaction. The bullets I used were .001-.002” over groove diameter and did a great job in getting the copper out.

That has been my experience in one .30-30 barrel. Will it work in other barrels and calibers? Well, the mechanics would be the same but individual cases may vary depending on the bore condition, etc.... but it is certainly worth a try.

John
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2006, 07:31 AM
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I shoot .45 Colt cast lead bullets exclusively in my 1892 Winchester clone for target shooting. At moderate velocities of around 1200 fps, I have very little leading using plain RNFP bullets. I clean with a bronze bore brush soaked in Outers nitro solvent followed up with Rem Oil on a patch. More likely than not more powder residue will come out than lead slivers. My commercial cast bullets came from Bear Creek Supply but lately I have been using my own cast from wheelweight with the same results. I think all of the bullet brands you have mentioned should perform well. Oregon Trail bullets are also very popular. What shoots the best will have to be decided by your rifle. You will have to find that "sweet spot" all reloaders search for.
If I decided to use my rifle for hunting purposes, I would still shoot cast lead bullets but I would increase the velocity and use gas checked bullets. Have no fear of using lead bullets in your lever action, your great-grandparents used them because they were the only bullets available in those days.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2006, 08:23 AM
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I have only shot cast lead bullets in my Marlin 1894 Cowboy Limited both for target and hunting. I have not had any leading problems to speak of. What little lead that is in the barrel after shooting the weapon clean out pretty easy. I use molly coat (Molybdemum Disulfide ) on my cast bullets over Alox. When I first started casting lead bullets and lubed the bullets with Alox the leading was not bad but with the Molybdemum Disulfide it has cut the leading way down and it is easier to clean the weapon over all not just the lead. I also enjoy the process of casting and loading my own bullets.
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2006, 07:06 PM
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The copper wash is much harder than lead. I did not see any wash looking into the barrel with a bore light, however when I sectioned the barrel, it was in fact coated with a very light colored copper. When magnified, the copper is very rough and strips the surface of cast bullets. Keep in mind this barrel had been cleaned and scrubbed with everything including Sweets 7.62, and JB bore compound until nothing came out on the patches. I really thought nothin of it, but when mentioning this to a competition cast bullet shooter, I was informed that competitors will never shoot a jacketed bullet in a barrel they intend to use for their cast competition. For real world shooting and hunting I am sure the results would not matter all that much. Another factor here is that my rifle was a .338 Win. Mag, that had been firing light bullets at very high velocity, which I am sure did not help matters. Thanks, John, and good shootin. D Wright
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  #12  
Old 03-12-2006, 11:10 AM
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I'm really confused here. If someone could help with a few q's on the matter:

1) If copper is harder than cast lead, then how come
a) jacketed bullets obturate more readly than hardcast, and
b) how would softer alloy cast remove harder copper from the bore?

thanks

emc2
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  #13  
Old 03-12-2006, 12:05 PM
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a. It is not a hard fast rule that jacketed bullets obturate more readily than hardcast. A lot depends on the jacketed bullet's construction and the velocity at which it's shot. Bullets with a thin copper alloy jacket surrounding a soft core of lead or lead alloy that is opened on the base tends to obturate more readily than stouter bullets with thicker jackets and copper at the base. Higher velocities/pressure vs. lower velocities/pressure is also an influencing factor. A lot of variables come into play here.

b. Cast lead bullets do not remove copper residue from the bore. They just tend to coat over the copper. See D Wright's comments.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 03-12-2006 at 12:11 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-12-2006, 12:06 PM
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My Theory:

A. Hard cast lead is still softer then copper so burning powder gases have less effect on the copper.

B. Lead has an affinity if you will for sticking to things. Solder is what 60-80 % lead, so with a little flux, in this case bullet lube and a little heat, burning powder, the lead "picks up" the copper on it's way down the barrel.


Just my theory, might be all wet.
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Last edited by recoil junky; 03-12-2006 at 12:09 PM.
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  #15  
Old 03-12-2006, 12:14 PM
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Marshall got his post in while I was stumbling over the keyboard.

? for Marshal. Wouldn't a cast bullet pick up some of the copper tho, chemically speaking? Asking as a student of chemistry, if you will.
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  #16  
Old 03-12-2006, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recoil junky
? for Marshal. Wouldn't a cast bullet pick up some of the copper tho, chemically speaking? Asking as a student of chemistry, if you will.
Would not disagree that some of this happens however much of the copper wash is really stuck to the walls of the bore. As D Wright wrote, he cleaned the dickens out of his bore and saw no copper with a borelight. When the barrel was sectioned, there was still a copper wash in the bore. Magnified, the surfaces were rough and would pick up lead easily. (My understanding of what Wright said.) Layne Simpson/Shooting Times goes into much better detail on cleaning bores and he advocates as a last resort the use of the Outer's Foul Out system to get the copper out of the bore through electrolysis. I don't see where shooting cast bullets will totally scrub out the bore, it will only deposit the softer lead on top of the copper.
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:04 AM
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Ah yes, taking the "roughness" of the bore into consiaderation, I get the drift. Would some copper or lead fouling be all that bad? Kinda smoothing the road, as it were?
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2006, 05:55 PM
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Hi Recoil junky,

Chemically speaking, it is possible for even a soft lead to pick up some copper on it's way down the bore, just as a crayola crayon may knock off a chunk of steel scale when rubbed, however for the most part the copper is much harder then even hard cast bullet material, and the lead will as Marshall say's coat over the copper. To throw another wrench into the thinking here; there are times when a very hard cast bullet will leave terrible leading in , let's say a revolver barrel then a softer alloy. This is a result of a lack of proper obturation to seal the gases behind the bullet and hot gases cutting into the bullets sides as it blows by the bullets base and fusing the lead to the bore. This is where bullet sizing for bore, proper bullet hardness for the pressure loaded to, and bore condition all come into play. I believe it was Rick Jamison, ( a friend of mine ), published one of the first pictures showing some gases leaving the end of a 9mm barrel ahead of the bullet. This does not as much affect a jacketed bullet, however can have many affects to a cast bullet. Leading to be one. Elmer Kieth claimed to have worn out more then a couple revolver barrels with jacketed or gas checked bullets in 5,000 rnds. or less because of this blow by. And could fire 100,000 rnds or more with very little wear with properly sized, fairly soft cast. I agree. D Wright. . . . Good shootin'
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  #19  
Old 03-15-2006, 02:14 PM
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Interesting thread. I would agree that bore condition would have an affect on the ability of lead alloy bullets to clean copper wash from a bore.

I shoot only cast bullets in all of my rifles with the exception of my .30-30 Winchester 1894-1994 Centennial Rifle. I shoot both jacketed and cast bullets in this rifle and it does have a fairly smooth bore.

I can say that in this rifle, cast bullets that are .001- .002” over groove diameter have cleaned copper wash from it’s bore the several times I have tried it. The cast bullets are not covering up the copper wash because after cleaning the powder fouling from the bore, bare steel can be seen.

Please consider the following:
1.) I have shot 1000’s of gas checked lead alloy bullets over the years. The gas checks are made of copper alloy, yet they do not leave copper wash in the bore. Why? Because the lead alloy bullets are cleaning the bore.

Now granted, the gas check bearing surface is much less than a jacketed bullet, but there would be copper wash if the cast bullet was ineffective in removing it….but there is no copper wash to be found in any of my cast bullet guns.

2.) Cast bullets will penetrate steel, a much harder material than copper. It makes sense that firing larger than groove diameter cast bullets would have the ability to scrub a very thin layer of copper from a good bore. I have witnessed it in my rifle.

I can only share what I have experienced in one rifle. Different firearms may give different results.

Sincerely,
John
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Last edited by John Kort; 03-15-2006 at 02:21 PM.
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  #20  
Old 03-20-2006, 09:55 AM
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No'fence but imo Elmer Keith said alot more than just his prayers. The man packed enough wind to out blow a class 5 tornado.
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