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Thread: Leading problem

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Leading problem

    I have been trying to get my s and w m-24-3 44 special to shoot some rcbs 44-250 K . Am loading 8 grains power pistol right at 1000 fps. wheel weight Lead is with a touch of solder, bhn is 14 according to my Lee tester. I've sized and lubed with lyman lube to .430, the same but also alox coated, and lastly unsized at .431 but only with alox. All lead as they enter the bore. Bullets look great. Is this a bullet problem or possibly a forcing fine issue? Thanks

  2. #2
    I’m betting that boolit is getting sized down somewhere. Push an unsized boolit through the cylinder and see if it’s under .431 when it gets to the forcing cone. Not sure if that’s your issue but I’d start there with the process of elimination.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Do bullets accept gas checks? And did you slug your bore?
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master


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    What "Lyman lube"?

    What % of tin is added via "a touch of solder"?

    Does the "leading" clean out with normal cleaning or do you have to use other than patches and a bronze brush?

    I shoot that same bullet cast of COWW + 2% tin, sized .430 and lubed with BAC of NRA 50/50 from 800 to 1450 fps out of my 44 Magnums (3 revolvers and a Contender) with no leading. I've also shot thousands of straight COWW cast 429421s sized .429 lubed with Javelina (NRA 50/50) through one of them and a couple others along with a couple 44 SPLs. Powders used were mostly Bullseye, Unique, 2400 and H110. Some occasional antimonal washing occurred but cleaned out with normal cleaning.
    Larry Gibson

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  5. #5
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    Sounds like the bullets are undersized. Drop bullets in the cylinder. They should be able to be pushed through with a pencil eraser. If they drop right through, or push out too easy, they are too small.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I agree, you gotta know, for sure, what your gun measures. "Drop through", "push through", "snug fit" aren't measurements, use micrometers and you will know what the real diameter of your bullets are. Slug or use pin gauges to find the true diameter of the cylinder throats...
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    Sounds like the bullets are undersized. Drop bullets in the cylinder. They should be able to be pushed through with a pencil eraser. If they drop right through, or push out too easy, they are too small.
    THIS!!!

    Also, Hard doesn't guaranty against leading...Also, 14 is pretty hard bullet for WW & a touch of solder... I usually use WW and a few 6" sticks of lino slugs & 1oz tin per 10#pot and my LBT BHN gauge tells me I'm about 12-13...

    CW
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  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I'm going to be a heretic here and state; fit is not always "king".......

    Before I read about the bullets just had to fit the throats of a revolver or you'll get leading and bad accuracy in gun rags and on forums I shot thousands of of commercial cast 240 gr bullets sized .429 and my own cast 429421s sized .429 out of a 44 magnum that has .433 throats. I lubed my own cast 429421s with Javelina and never had any leading even though loaded with max charges of 2400 and H110. Once I learned to relubed the commercial cast bullets with Javelina I also had no leading even though loaded over the same max charges. I also shot a numerous rounds loaded over Unique (usually 8.5 gr), again with no leading.

    When I did get leading it was found the usual problem was one of a different lube that wasn't working, the wrong powder or too much antimony in the alloy. "Fit" of the bullet had nothing to do with leading unless it was a hard cast bullet under groove diameter. Further, over the years I've shot a lot of .355 and .356 softer cast bullets in numerous 38 SPL and 357 Magnums with .357 - .360 throats. When a proper lube was used there was no leading. I did a test for VV and a cartridge company and pulled many factory bullets as comparison. Most all factory lead bullets are well under throat diameter and many are under barrel groove diameter. Measure some R-P or Federal factory 38 SPL WCs sometime which give excellent accuracy with no leading and you'll find they are well under throat diameter of any 38 SPL revolver I've ever measured. Testing of those factory loads showed "fit" had little to do with leading.

    Now before the flaming starts let me say since reading MVs articles years ago on fitting cast bullets to the throats I've done a lot of testing and even bought a couple oversize GB moulds to test. I also had access to a Ransom Rest.

    First of all realize your lubed cast bullet isn't going to come out of a .429 groove barrel at .429. The bullet is going to be swaged down less because it rides on a layer of lube. Odds are the muzzle exit diameter of the lubed cast bullet will be more in the .424 +/- diameter. The more a bullet is sized down during transition from the cylinder throat into the barrel the greater the damage is to the bullet. That increases to odds of leading and inaccuracy, especially if a lube fails. My testing has revealed that a bullet over .003 of groove diameter will give less accuracy and probably some leading if the lube isn't correct. I size all my .44 cast bullets at .430 these days. Even the old Hawes with .433 throats shoots best with .429/.430 sized bullets with no leading with a correct lube. I do have to size a couple bullets at .429 for use in my Colt Anaconda and Ruger Vaquero (OM) which have .429 throats (pinned) and .429 groove barrels. Both are extremely accurate and give no leading.

    No, "fit" is not always "king".
    Larry Gibson

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Much of the problem from throats are opposite what your saying...

    A SMALL THROAT AND LARGE bore.

    Also your spot on pressures are a big deal in the preformance of a lead bullet and the ability to d
    Function within that pressure is the dunction of the hardness.

    Other factors play a part like gas checks and Powder/Hytec coatings.

    Along with pressures the burn traits of a given powder also play a role.

    I too have ahot bullets accurately that did not fit the the cyl throats. But thats because the throats where larger than the bore. Not smaller.

    Also in autos or rifles you need that bullet a few thousandths larger than the bore. Or you will have problems. Like accuracy leading and preformance.
    Preaching to the choir here many many FAR MORE KNOLEDGABLE than I are reading...

    CW
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  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master


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    "Much of the problem from throats are opposite what your saying...

    A SMALL THROAT AND LARGE bore."


    I don't believe I said anything about small throats and large bores(?). I said/inferred just the opposite.

    This thread is about leading in a revolver not rifles.

    But since you brought it up in rifles or other closed preach systems there is a different requirement. There the cast bullet should be sized to just fit the throat for best accuracy irrespective of the groove diameter (smaller than the throat.....usually). Sizing larger than the throat can cause inaccuracy and in induce leading. However, sizing smaller than groove diameter may not cause leading if the bullet obturates and seals the bore on firing. If the bullet does not obturate then leading is almost assured. I have shot quite a few hard cast bullets sized .308 in .308 groove diameter barrels with pretty good accuracy and no leading. However, the same bullets sized at .310 or .311 to fit the throats always gave better accuracy. With a proper good lube there was no leading with either.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    Thats what I was trying to say Larry. Just didnt do a very good job of it.

    CW
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master


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    We're on the same page, it's all good.
    Larry Gibson

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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I take it you have recovered bullets and measured them to come to those numbers? I've seen it said before on this site, buy my own experiences do not mirror the lube sizing theory. Every recovered bullet in good enough shape to measure is right at groove diameter. While I do not have decades of doing this, and hundreds of examples, I have a few dozen recovered bullets from a number of guns, and none of them are smaller than groove diameter. I would bet you could measure some difference, on the order of .0005", as we know some lube is there, or it wouldn't work. For a lube to be taking up .005" around the bullet seems crazy to me. That's .0025" per side, and most rifling is only .004"-.005" deep.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    I don't have nearly the experience as many here but here's what I've stumbled across in the last few years. I used WW for years but they're getting harder to find in my part of the world so have resorted to Roto Metals for some of my alloy. I would have a little leading from time to time in my plain based handgun loads but it was no problem to clean up with normal solvent and a brass brush. Lube was Lyman orange, Felix lube and Lars BAC using the Lyman 450.
    I also started powder coating and using softer alloy with a BH of around 10, good accuracy and no leading. I now use the same BH 10 alloy and just tumble lube with 45-45-10 in all my 32,38,357,44sp,44m and 45 colt with no leading at all and good accuracy. I shoot the same 44 and 45 colt rounds through my rifles, all plain base boolits, up to 1200 fps with no issues. I think my softer alloy seals better and I don't get the gas cutting I got with the harder alloy I used for years.
    I still powder coat for my auto pistols with my softer boolits as I would get a few fail to feed but it seems the PC made a slicker boolit and I can run them softer doing this.
    So...... a very long way of saying that in my case, I was using an alloy that was too hard for a long time. Going with a softer alloy now allows me to just tumble lube and my barrels are shiny bright.
    Just what worked for me
    Last edited by Brad Cayton; 03-15-2019 at 08:57 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy mehavey's Avatar
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    Push an unsized boolit through the cylinder and see if it’s under .431 when it gets to the forcing cone
    ^^^^ THIS (to start) ^^^^
    Then if you find you're "cylinder sized" too small, go softer -- with a fast[er] powder.
    (Unique first, then Bullseye)

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I hate to disagree with Mr Gibson as I don't have the in depth experience with reloading/shooting and all related subjects. But, one of us had an "abnormal" experience. I only have 3, 44 Magnum revolvers, one Contender, and one Puma lever gun. When learning to cast and shoot bullets I experienced barrel leading and read all I could to find a remedy. Long story short; fitting the bullet to the gun, whether it be measuring and sizing to cylinder throat diameters, chamber casting/barrel slugging is what stopped 99% of my leading problems.

    When I started casting I was working at a Heavy Truck/Construction Equipment repair shop and had access to a lot of wheel weights, so that's the alloy I used. I have an old single cavity 429421 mold and I had some Caranuba Red lube in a Lee Lubing/Sizing kit (no longer made, pan lube with punch through sizing) and sized my bullets to a hair under .430", and I got leading. I then purchased a Lee push through sizing die, .430" and opened it up to .432". Same alloy, same lube, same methods, just different size bullets. I figgered less than one thousandth larger than throat size of the cylinders of my 629 wouldn't matter, and my leading went away. My next 44 Mag., A Ruger SBH, was the same. Followed by a Rossi M92, Dan Wesson 44 H, 10" Contender. All shot better with minimal leading with bullets sized to fit the gun...
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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy gnostic's Avatar
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    I didn't see any comment referring to bullets sized down in the loading process. If you haven't pulled a bullet that's been loaded, you might want too. I've noticed, when I don't expand the case far enough, I resize the bullet in the seating process. My 624 leads really bad at .429 and not at all at .430...

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master


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    There is no disagreement.

    What I said was "fit is not always "king".......". I also said; "My testing has revealed that a bullet over .003 of groove diameter will give less accuracy and probably some leading if the lube isn't correct." Thus bullets sized ..432 for use in .429 to .430 groove barrels is well within what I do.....no disagreement there. As I also said I have shot thousands of .429 and .430 sized cast with a proper lube in numerous Ruger, Colt, S&W and other make 44 SPL and Magnum revolvers w/o any leading simply by using a proper lube. A perfect fit is not a guarantee of no leading. A proper lube is more beneficial. All lubes are not beneficial in all applications.

    I also sometimes had leading with Carnauba Red lube and other harder lubes requiring a lubrasizer heater with numerous revolver bullets, even when used in Contender and rifle barrels. With BAC and NRA 50/50 lube I didn't get any leading, all other things being equal. "When a proper lube was used there was no leading" so perhaps if BAC or a softer NRA 50/50 lube was substituted for the Carnauba Red on the .430 bullets there may not have been any leading(?)......

    Yes, I have recovered fired numerous fired conventional lubed cast bullets and they all have measured .003 - .005+ under groove diameter. Lars and goodsteel also conducted an extensive test (built a special bullet trap to catch the bullets undamaged) recovering numerous fired conventional lube cast bullets from low to high velocity (2900+ fps) and found all recovered bullets were under groove diameter. Others have indeed reported the same on this and other forums.

    I believe the use of a proper lube has more to do with a cast bullet not leading in a revolver than does fitting the bullet to exactly fit the cylinder throats as long as the bullet is of groove diameter or not over .003 in diameter over groove. Now that is not saying any bullet over .003 is going to necessarily lead either but I've found sometimes they do, especially the TL styl;e of bullets. What suffers most if the cast bullets are over .003 over groove diameter is most often accuracy.

    I've also found with revolver throats more than .003 over groove diameter a really hard cast bullet .001 over groove diameter shoots more accurately than one sized to the throats. I found that especially the case with Colt and S&W M1917 revolvers in 45 ACP. Many I pin gauged had throats of .454 - .455 with groove diameter barrels of .451 - .452. Bullets cast of linotype or #2 alloy and sized .452 were most often the most accurate. Cast bullets of any alloy sized .454 and as cast at .455+ were the least accurate. Tests were done in a Ransom Rest at 50 yards. The same was found in 44 SPL/Magnums with throats larger than .432. Accuracy was best with a bullet not over .003 than groove diameter. Leading was eliminated by using a softer proper lube.

    Again, I did not state an absolute.....I said....."fit" is not always "king" and stated my case. I never said fit doesn't matter or that it isn't necessary. I do maintain that simply to fit the bullet to the cylinder throat is no guarantee of not leading nor is it a guarantee of accuracy. The variable is the throat diameter to barrel groove diameter relationship.

    And please, those that successfully use Carnauba Red don't get a wedgie because I do use that lube also for other purposes. It is a good lube when it works as are all lubes. Just that sometimes they don't work in all applications.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 03-16-2019 at 03:57 PM.
    Larry Gibson

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  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have found that what works best is a boolit from .001" to .002" greater than groove diameter, and cylinder throats from .0005" to .001" greater than boolit diameter. This is not caliber specific, it works for any centerfire revolver.

    In keeping within this mathematical "guide" I have found that an alloy soft enough to scratch with a thumbnail, and soft lube, will take to Ruger rifling like a duck to water. You just can't go wrong with this combo. I use it and haven't cleaned a revolver barrel in years!
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

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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