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Thread: Help 9mm leading problem!!

  1. #21
    Boolit Mold
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    I had loaded a few dummy rounds yesterday and measured at the case mouth I was getting .379. I was chatting with another member and he told me that it should be around ..381-.382 with his factory loaded jacketed ammo. I backed off my seat/crimp die settings to just take out the case mouth belling and my rounds now measured .380-.381. I then pulled the bullets and they still measured the same as before they loaded at .3565. I will be ordering a 38S&W expander plug next week.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    My barrel is leading in the last 3/4" towards the muzzle end.
    Push a jag with a tight patch down your bore. Try to feel if there's any change in friction/drag at that point. It sounds like your bore may be getting larger towards the muzzle end. If this is the case, you will have to consider different options, like lapping out the bore.

    Sure, it might be antimony wash, simply because of the location near the muzzle end, only. But fact that you see color of grey lead and you are using soft alloy, I am strongly leaning towards a non-uniform bore. It's hard to describe the difference, but lead smear from gas cutting looks same color as lead and it looks smooth or even wet. Antimony wash is like bi color, dark with whitish surface to it, and it looks dry and crusty. Perhaps the most obvious difference is that antimony wash will build up graduially, over time. At first there is none, then after X shots, it will appear. And it will grow from there. It is completely stable. Lead fouling from gas cutting will be obvious from the first shot in which it happens. And the appearance/severity/placement can change between each shot. It will tend to grow thicker, overall, before finally plateauing, but each shot can partially clear some of that fouling while leaving new fouling of its own.

    While I am huge proponent of oversize expanders in 9mm (such as Lee38SW or NOE 356/360), if your bullets were undersize, you would likely have lead fouling along most of your bore, not just the last 3/4". That said, an oversize expander might help in any case, and it can't hurt.

    Random thought. If your bore was slightly larger at the muzzle, I wonder if you could purposely build up antimony wash to temporarily improve it. Perhaps shooting very high antimony bullets until the muzzle end builds up some of this hard/stable kind of fouling.
    Last edited by gloob; 01-27-2017 at 05:08 PM.

  3. #23
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    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    I agree. If it doesn't get worse or effect accuracy I wouldn't even worry about it. Ive got handguns that proabably have a couple thousand rounds shot with the barrels not having been cleaned that have a little gray wash in them from antimony. KInd of think of it as a lubricant itself because its softer then the barrel steal and possible is filling some inperfections. Most of my guns wont settle down and shoot or give top velocitys until they've had 40 or 50 rounds down range. if nothing else will prevent rust Lot of guys get a bit to anal about keeping a barrel clean. If I cleaned gun barrels after every time I shot id be a full time gun cleaner. Fact is my handgun barrels get cleaned usually once a year after deer season when there going to sit in the safe for the long winter months.
    Quote Originally Posted by runfiverun View Post
    that sounds more like the antimonial wash Lloyd was mentioning than leading.
    it's just a light grey colored haze in the barrel.

    your boolit is going through a transition in that area.
    the powder pressure is dropping off and isn't pushing on the boolit as hard.
    I call it the relax point.

    you could take a q-tip and some atf or 2 stroke and swish it [like a super thin coat] in the barrel right there before shooting next time.
    shoot a couple [magazine] and look again.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  4. #24
    Boolit Mold
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    lotech is right (and several others). The key here is not the bore diameter but the throat diameter. If you have the capability to chamber cast, this can easily be determined. If not, then go to a.358 diameter (assuming it will chamber, and it should) and you problem will evaporate.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    he can't get to 358 with a 356 boolit unless he powder coats it.

    he can determine if what he is getting is going to cause an issue in the long run or not by checking a few things, and by shooting the pistol.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/arch.../t-273575.html
    Again, I'm going to insist that OP consider non-uniform bore slash stricture. Antimony wash indeed happens when lube runs out. But there are multiple details which do not jive with antimony wash. And undersize bullets do not make fouling only at the last 3/4" of the barrel.

    When metal is machined from the outside of a barrel, the ID increases at that point. Due to how PPX barrel is made (perhaps the order of the machining steps), it is perhaps susceptible to having slightly larger bore at the muzzle end.

    Throat? Yeah, if throat is too big and long, it can increase precipitance of antimony wash by letting all the lube shoot off the bullet. Larger bullet may help, a tiny bit. But not much, IME. My Glocks get antimony wash with MBC BHN 18 bullets, and it doesn't matter in 9mm if they are 356 or 358 bullets. Straight WW bullets don't leave antimony wash, due to softer alloy and/or lower antimony content. (I'm not actually sure which factor makes the difference between antimony content and hardness... or possibly other factor). But either way, your bullet can't seal in the freebore, no matter how big the bullet is. If you have a long freebore/leade, making the bullet bigger can only do so much (not much), unless your freebore is actually tapered?

    If this is, indeed, a problem of bore stricture, the good news is that it's not nearly as bad as the OP of the linked post.

    Based on fact there is no fouling until last inch of the bore, I think we should be able to agree that his bullets are big enough in diameter, already. If the fouling is antimony wash, it should be alleviated by softer bullets, IMO, and he has already tried 10.5-11 BHN bullets. If it is due to a mild bore stricture, HARDER bullets may help. The harder the alloy, the more "spring" you will have to the bullet. It will spring back to just a tiny fraction of a mil larger than a softer bullet as it passes through the larger bore at the muzzle. But 'twere my gun, if I found stricture, I would hand lap with pure lead slugs and silicon carbide paste.

    Shooting cast bullets isn't rocket science. But it is science. Follow the facts.
    Last edited by gloob; 01-28-2017 at 08:18 PM.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master


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    Try your #2 alloy and report back. It should increase the diameter a little bit.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    those are good points gloob.

    I have been running a test in the 9mm's for a couple of years now.
    it involves lube that goes instantly to flow when the trigger is pulled [don't do this unless you like detail stripping your gun]
    the lube goes everywhere and I mean everywhere [the bottom of the magazine gets some]
    I still didn't get leading at the muzzle.
    I didn't get real good accuracy either but I did get a lube star.

    there is alway's a few things you can try, and the swab I asked him to try would lead to a lube modification if it fixed the issue.
    if indeed it is something other than just some antimonial wash.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Reloading and shooting is a time-consuming business. I understand how easy it is to finally stumble on the cure for one problem and then think it will fix everyone else's. But if it doesn't make logical sense, what did you learn... even if it happened to work?

    I refuse to believe bullet fouling is black magic with no rhyme or reason. If you read the entire OP, the OP relayed a number of very pertinent and significant observations. If you take OP at his word and go on assumption that he is actually paying attention to detail and indeed is describing accurate observations, most of the advice in this thread just doesn't make any logical sense. To put it, bluntly.

  10. #30
    Boolit Mold
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    Alright here are the results of the series of tests that I ran. I had cast bullets of BHN 14.5 air cooled and shot 50 of those through the gun. There was a lot less leading with this bullet hardness, just to say a slight buildup (where the land meets the the groove) and it was still at 3/4'' from the muzzle. This cleaned out fairly easy. I then shot some the same alloy but water quenched the bullets coming out of the mold. The BHN was 18.5 and there was no buildup of lead where the land meets the groove. There was a grayish color on the top the groove surface at the last inch from the muzzle. Is this was is called antimonial wash? I should mention that I did a couple of modifications in my loading procedure. First I increased the amount of case mouth belling to insure bullets were not being swagged down when loaded. I also backed off my crimping die setting so that my crimp would not shave off lead as the bullet is fired. I have both verified this by loading dummy rounds ant then pulling bullets with my kinetic hammer. The bullets measured the same as before they were loaded. I also tried my hand at powder coating bullets and I liked the results.
    Light travels faster than sound, this is why some people appear bright until they start talking.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    There is a difference in "belling" or "flaring" the case mouth and expanding the case to prevent swagging the bullet down when seating. Perhaps you mean one thing, yet are using the other terms interchangeably. Belling and flaring only allow the bullet to be seated in the case without scraping lead from the side of the bullet. Expanding the case reduces the neck tension, and to a point that will be helpful, but in excess could result in bullet set back into the case when chambered.

    You are improving things when you have reduced the amount of taper crimp to just straighten out the flare. The neck tension will remain the same on the rest of the body of the bullet.

    You probably have different forces on the bullet when it is fired as compared to being pulled by a kinetic puller. When fired, the bullet will be distorted by pressure on the base and will try to expand. This does not happen with the puller. You do not mention conditioning the barrel with a swab of bullet lube. You are seeing some progress though, and that is the positive of this thread.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    Alright here are the results of the series of tests that I ran. I had cast bullets of BHN 14.5 air cooled and shot 50 of those through the gun. There was a lot less leading with this bullet hardness, just to say a slight buildup (where the land meets the the groove) and it was still at 3/4'' from the muzzle. This cleaned out fairly easy. I then shot some the same alloy but water quenched the bullets coming out of the mold. The BHN was 18.5 and there was no buildup of lead where the land meets the groove. There was a grayish color on the top the groove surface at the last inch from the muzzle. Is this was is called antimonial wash? I should mention that I did a couple of modifications in my loading procedure. First I increased the amount of case mouth belling to insure bullets were not being swagged down when loaded. I also backed off my crimping die setting so that my crimp would not shave off lead as the bullet is fired. I have both verified this by loading dummy rounds ant then pulling bullets with my kinetic hammer. The bullets measured the same as before they were loaded. I also tried my hand at powder coating bullets and I liked the results.
    IMO, what you are seeing in the last 3/4" of the muzzle is NOT antimony wash. For 1, you would not see it build up until many shots. You will not be able to make any comparisons from one alloy to the other in 50 shots. And for 2, antimony wash is not improved by making the bullets harder; this makes it worse. In fact, pure lead needs no lubrication, and it will not gall on a steel bore. 3. There's no reason for your gun or bullet alloy to have problem with antimony wash. (Personally, the only guns which I get antimony wash are Glocks shooting hard bullets. I reckon it is because the huge freebore in a Glock lets all the lube shoot off the bullet).

    What you ARE improving by making the bullets harder is you are making your bullets more "springy." Pure lead has barely any elasticity to it. Harder alloy and/or water dropping makes the bullet spring back out a little after it is compressed. In this case, it is my belief (ever since reading the data in your OP, and my mind has not changed) that your bore is compressing the bullet via a constriction. And that your muzzle opens up just slightly in the last inch, compared to the earlier part of the bore.

    Since the constriction is very minor, you can just leave it alone and clean the gun every now and then. Or not. True antimony wash, IME, is very hard and although is very slow/gradual, it builds on itself. It continues to grow, and it can get quite thick, putting a "choke" in the bore. It's essentially a form of galling, and the material building up is the harder parts of the alloy. So IMO it often has to be scrubbed out, eventually. What you have there, if I am right, might not do that. It might be fine after thousands of shots. Once it has plateaued, it might stay at that level, indefinitely.

    There are other options for diagnosis and treatment. Slugging the bore would be the definitive diagnosis. If you pound the slug in from the chamber, you will probably find it falls out the muzzle via gravity when it reaches the last inch. If this is the case, you can slug it from the muzzle end, as well. After the slug is fully in the muzzle, back it out and compared the two slugs.

    I take a hint. I feel like your problem is very simple, and that I have explained it adequately. Including link to other person with same problem with your gun. Good luck with your problem. Maybe if 20 other people say the same thing, you will believe it.

    Even if I am wrong, the methodology is correct. Bullet must seal the bore. This is priority #1. When you have clean bore up until the last inch, first thing you have to consider is that the bullet is no longer sealing the bore at that point. There is only one logical explanation, aside from antimony wash. And I am sure what you are seeing is NOT antimony wash. 99% of lead fouling issues are not from galling. They are from the bullet being melted, because it does not seal the bore. When you see this problem manifest pretty much instantly, and the color of the fouling is the same grey color of your lead, as if you took a bullet and smeared it on concrete and the streak looks shiny and smooth, this is the more common form of fouling. This is not antimony wash/galling.
    Last edited by gloob; 02-09-2017 at 07:57 PM.

  13. #33
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    My solution to that pesky 9mm leading problem was an NOE 4 cavity mould , 358-124-TC-GC , that gas check stops leading with softish alloy even in 357 magnum loads !
    Size .357 for 9mm and sized .358 in 357 magnum...it eliminates the lead and accurate in both .
    Gary

  14. #34
    Boolit Mold
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    Ok Gloob I have done as you said and slugged the bore starting from the chamber end to the muzzle. There is the same amount of resistance from chamber to muzzle. The bullet does not fall out in the last inch before the muzzle end. Then I slugged from the muzzle to the chamber and the results are the same as above. I measured both slugs and they measure .355. The slugs look identical.The same amount of force is required to push the bullet through the bore if you start from either end. I have found some RCBS 120gn 356 TC that i had stashed away.They are cast from COWW alloy and sized at .356. I noticed that the lube groove is a lot deeper and wider as compared to the LEE. I have loaded some and will be giving it a try when I go back to the range next week. I have a friend who will be casting some some .358 bullets for me to try. I am currently not set up to size and lube .358 bullets that is the only reason I did not try .358 bullets right away.
    Light travels faster than sound, this is why some people appear bright until they start talking.

  15. #35
    Boolit Mold
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    Gloob my bad I misinterpreted the technique that you mentioned. I slugged it according to your last post. I pushed a slug through the chamber end all the way through the muzzle. Same resistance all the way through. That slug measured .355. I then pushed a slug from the muzzle end about 1'' down the barrel and the pushed it back out of the muzzle end. That slug measured .355 as well.
    Light travels faster than sound, this is why some people appear bright until they start talking.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    Thank you for trying.

    And yet, there is something happening in the last inch of your bore. If the groove depth remains the same, perhaps it is the diameter at the lands that is getting larger. Or the grooves are getting wider. Something to that effect. For some reason, the bullet IS sealing the bore at the leade. All the way up to 3/4" away from the muzzle. And then it is NO LONGER sealing the bore at that point.

    Going up in size is not going to do anything. If your bullets were smaller than 355, they would be fouling before the last inch of the barrel.

    Also, since you mentioned fouling starting at 3/4" from the muzzle, you ought to get the slug just barely into the muzzle, not 1" down the bore. 3/4" is only a couple tenths longer than a 9mm bullet.

    Personally, I have not the proper equipment to measure a slug this meticulously. Perhaps it is possible to check for air-tightness, directly. Push slug down bore until 1" away from the muzzle. Blow up a ballon and put it over the chamber. Then tap the slug down till the nose starts to poke out the end. Then repeat? (I have no idea if this will work. )
    Last edited by gloob; 02-12-2017 at 12:25 AM.

  17. #37
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    My solution to that pesky 9mm leading problem was an NOE 4 cavity mould , 358-124-TC-GC , that gas check stops leading with softish alloy even in 357 magnum loads !
    Size .357 for 9mm and sized .358 in 357 magnum...it eliminates the lead and accurate in both .
    Gary
    My fix to a problem 9mm was similar. I bought my wife a Ruger SR9, with 356-120TC cast of air cooled COWW, sized .358", and lubed with 50/50 beeswax/moly grease leading was so bad that at 7 yards I shot two full mags worth at a sheet of paper and only 13 of the 34 rounds hit the paper. I could barely see the rifling... I had already cast a ton of bullets and wanted to stay with the relatively softer alloy, after doing some digging I found (somewhere on this site) the plans for the Freechex pop/soda can gas check maker. That was my dad's first legit project on his first lathe, it's not pretty but it'll crank out a pile of thin aluminum gas checks that I crimp onto plain based bullets. I couldn't be happier, changing nothing but adding the pop can gas checks turned that gun into a frickin' laser. I still have a lot of 9mm from that first batch and I've been slowly burning them up by loading a gas checked round every 3rd or 4th in the mag, man do they clear out the leading.

    If you have the resources to make a gas check maker it's definitely worth the time to make. I know Pat Marlin makes some plain base gas check dies if you're unable to make the tools yourself, or you can find them for sale online by the thousand.

    It definitely doesn't fix whatever the problem is that's causing the leading but it is an easy way to skip ahead. It gives a person much more wiggle room in terms of alloy, lube, bullet diameter, pressure, and velocity. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing that at the end of the day you won't have lead in your barrel. I still highly recommend what everyone else is telling you here, size as large as realistically possible, double check neck tension/expansion and swaging issues, straighten out the flair/belling only (don't crimp). I might also suggest stiffening up your lube a bit with a few percent extra beeswax or something, being the leading is happening towards the very end of the barrel that's usually an indicator that your bullet is running out of lube. You could also try a slower powder, if I remember right you said you were using unique which is usually pretty good for cast, but it wouldn't hurt to try something a bit slower and gentler on the bullet. 9mm in general is a bit tricky to cast for, hopefully you find something that works for you!

  18. #38
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    I don't know if I should worry about it, but my CZ75, that's my USPSA pistol, is oozing grease out of every pore. I tried BLL on the Lee 120gr TC unsized bullet and couldn't get it to work, the muzzle end of the barrel leaded badly. So, I ran the previously tumble lubed bullets thru my RCBS lube sizer at .358 with Lyman Super Moly and the leading completely went away.

    After around 200 rounds, the melting lube became noticeable on my hands, the CZ probably had 500 rounds thru it without a serious wipe down. I think the generous lube groove in the Lee bullet is the problem. It would be better if this bullet had a couple of smaller lube grooves, so I could skip one.

    The bottom line is, aside from being a little greasy, this handgun and handload, 3.8 gr Titegroup shoots flawlessly in my gun.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check