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I recently started casting for my Rugger .44 mag. I am using WW for lead, adding a small amount of tin, and water quenching them from the mould. The mould is a 250 grain Keith style SCW. I loading with 19 grains of 2400 powder. I figure the velocity should be around 1000 FPS according to the loading manuals. I have lubed them using Alox and sized them with a .429 Lee sizer. (I did not lube them the second time after sizing) I bought a used RCBS lubesizer and RCBS lube but haven't used this as yet. Last night I shot a box of these home brews as I sighted in my Ultra Dot sight. I was not sure what leading looked like till last night. I ran a patch of "Ed's Red" down the barrel and followed it up with the brass bore brush. I noticed flakes and shreds of lead on the cloth the gun was resting on. I cleaned the barrel 4-5 times using the same process but switching between Ed's and Hoppes #9. I let some of the cleaning solution soak in the barrel for 20 minutes while I ate a sandwich. I was finally able to get the barrel clean as evidenced by a clean patch and looking down the barrel with a bore light. What have I done wrong to cause this much leading after shooting just 50 bullets?
 

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By Alox do you mean liquid Alox? If so, when you sized your bullets you removed the alox from the areas where it's needed. Just relube after sizing.
You can also put some of your RCBS lube into the grooves by hand before you size with the Lee die. This will let you try a different lube and lube method for a few rounds without having to set up your lubrisizer.
Is .429 the correct size for your pistol? If .429 is undersize for your bore, with the hard alloy you're using you may get leading. Try a few unsized or sized to .430, .431, etc. You could also slug your bore, forcing cone, and throats to get an idea what diameter your bullets should be.
Have you tried the wheelweight alloy without the water drop? A slightly softer alloy might work better by sealing the bore a little better. How much tin are you adding to your alloy? Only a couple of percent by weight is necessary to ease fillout.
Do you have a rough bore? Firelapping would be a last resort but you might try firing a hundred jacketed rounds to smooth things out.
Buy or borrow a chronograph so you're not guessing at the velocity. The last batch of 2400 I bought was very fast. Even using standard primers, I ended up having to back off to 18.5 grains to get a safe load in one of my pistols. Previously I had been able to use 21 grains with the same components. You might try backing off your powder charge a couple of grains.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'll all but guarantee that 0.429" is too small for a Ruger. All the Ruger .44s I've loaded for needed 0.432" or thereabouts. Slug the barrel & each chamber throat.

Honestly, it doesn't sound all that bad. I've had worse leading. Shoot a cylinderful of jacketed bullets through the gun before you head home from the range.

Try the other lube also.

Lapping does wonders to cure leading.
 

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As a general rule I like a tight slip fit through the throats. With my decidedly older Smith and Wesson and Ruger revolvers that comes to .430 bullet diameter.
I use the same method of firing a cylinder full of jacketed rounds to get most of the lead out. Otherwise, some bronze wool wrapped around a worn bore brush will scrape out the most stubborn leading.
I don't like to mix bore cleaners. You can get some strange tertiary compounds that may damage your bore. You might want to pick one and stick with it (my vote is for Hoppe's :) ).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sionaprhys

My next purchase will be a chrony. I wondered about sizing with Liquid Alox and then wiping most of it off when sizing. The gun is new and has only had 150 rounds through the barrel so it should be in good shape. I tried a cast bulet before sizing and I had a difficult time pressing it through the cylinders using a pencil. After sizing to .429 I can force it through the cylinders with the pencil. I should have paid closer attention to any leading after I shot a box of reloads with a factory lube in the grooves. I still have two boxes of these loaded that I will shoot this weekend. I have cast about 400 bullets but will not lube any quanity until I get this problem fixed. I may try a few rounds straight from the casting die without any sizing to see if that fixes the problem. I plan to shoot some steel targets this weekend at my sister's farm and this will give me a chance to try different loads and lubes without having to pay the range fee while cleaning the gun between loads. Thanks for the input.
 

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Actually, your leading doesn't sound that severe- but I do like to minimize the lead, myself.
New barrels tend to be rough. It's after some use that the machine and tool marks tend to smooth out. Unless the barrel gets badly pitted (usually from corrosion), more shooting will make for a smoother barrel.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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New is not necessarily good for shooting cast bullets. The rifling is probably full of burrs and such from the manufacturing process. Same with chamber throats.

If you aren't going to lap the bore, a few hundred jacketed loads (clean out all the jacket fouling afterwards) will probably make it a lot more cast-bullet friendly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Would the barrel smooth out faster if I bought a couple of hundred jacketed bullets and loaded them hot? I plan to shoot some .38's this weekend also. This gun is 30 years old and has had maybe a 1000 rounds through it. I will look carefully at this one to see if there is any leading. I only shoot store bought LCW's in this gun that I load myself. Now I have shot a couple of boxes of .357 FMJ's thought this gun, so perhaps the barrel is already broken in on the .357.
 

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If it is of any help, I don't size the bullets at all when I use the Liquid Alox lube. They stop in the cylinder throats and I can't push them through without a dowel and some serious muscle. However, they do not lead at all, and they shoot quite accurately.

BTW, do you ever shoot at the Delmarva Sportsman's range down in Sudlersville? I used to shoot there years ago.

IDShooter
 

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ID shooter: Never shot at Sudlersville. I used to belong to a muzzleloading club but their range was closed by houses being built too close to the range. I have two ranges about 5 miles from my house but have only checked into joining one so far. I use an indoor range about 10 miles from home or shoot at my sister's farm in Gettysburg, PA.
 

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My procedure for magnum loads is to cast WW and water drop them. I then size and lube them through the RCBS lubrisizer with 50/50 Beeswax/Alox lube. My final step is to tumble lube them With the lee liquid alox. It sounds to me like your leading was caused by not enough lube and a new (rough) bore as others have mentioned above. I have been able to push plain base Keith style bullets at 1400+ fps with the above technique in revolvers and rifles with little or no leading with this techique.
 

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have you slugged the barrel on the revolver? If the barrel is larger then the chamber throats you will always have trouble. Years ago I was a cop and we all hated new revolvers because they leaded so bad.. The cure was, as someone else posted, to fire a couple of hundred jacked bullets. I would fire about 10 after each session with the cast bullets.
One of the gun magazines did a torture test on SAA revolvers, firing several thousand through them. They discovered that after extended firing ( I don't remember how many ) that the revolvers quit leading.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Charlie,

Mike Venturio did a comparison with the Ruger Vaquero and a new Colt SAA a while back in Shooting Times. 5,000 rounds through each (.45 Colt, I believe all lead bullets). They were leading at the beginning of the test, but not at the end.

That may be the article you were thinking of.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
As I stated this gun is new and has only had 100 rounds of LWC's through it. I talked with the gun smith in a Gander Mountain store this past Friday. He said he would charge about $40 to lap the bore. He then said why don't you do it yourself. I ask how. He said make sure the bore is clean. Use a soplvent and a bore brush. Get a box of FMJ ammo. Fire 1 round then clean the bore. Repeat this process for 5 rounds cleaning between rounds. Then fire 2 rounds and clean the bore. Repeat this process for 5 rounds of two, cleaning between every 2 rounds. Then increase to 3 rounds. Same procedure. After a set of 5 three round shots go to 5 rounds and clean between every 5 shots. I tried this process as I had an outdoor place to shoot the gun and clean between rounds. (They won't let you clean the gun at the indoor range I use). I have not had the chance to fire any more of the bullets I cast. I will next start to eliminate additional variables such as how the bullets are lubed and how they are sized. Thanks for all the input and suggestions.
 

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You said in your message:

I have lubed them using Alox and sized them with a .429 Lee sizer. (I did not lube them the second time after sizing)

This might be your problem. If you were using the liquid alox which should be thin, you took the lube off the driving bands of the bullet putting through the sizer. Leaving only a small and probably inadequate amount of lube in the lube grooves. I do not know how accurate you need to be shooting this bullets, but generally I will make up a dummy round with one of my bullets and see if it fits the chambers. If goes I load them up as cast with lee liquid alox. They shoot pretty good too. I really am not sure if sizing them would help my accuracy that much. My nickname here says it all.
 
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