Hornady lead-Any good?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by azleite, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. azleite

    azleite Member

    Sep 8, 2009
    N. Texas
    Howdy Folks, My LGS has a 200 pk. of Hornady LSWC in .44cal for $26.00. I"m wanting to try my hand at loading some .44 specials. Are these good bullets? Are they hard & won't lead up the barrel? These will be light target loads using W231, anyone have any experience with these? I've never had a bad Hornady bullet, I just haven't tried any of their lead stuff-Thanks for any help-Dave
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    A lot of different things effect whether a barrel is leaded by a bullet. First is the hardness of the lead. Commercially cast bullets tend to have some tin in them and are harder so as to resist leading the barrel more. Swaged bullets (which I think is what Hornady sells??) are made of pure lead wire which is maximum soft.

    Next is the velocity they are launched at. In general (not always the case!) if you keep the muzzle velocity below 1000 FPS leading, even with soft bullets, is minimize.

    Then of course there is the roughness of your barrel. Modern well maintained barrels usually don't have a problem with this but heavily pitted barrels may.

    There are other factors but these are the main ones. I avoid the problem by shooting Rainier plated bullets. They are flash plated with pure copper and that assures no leading if you follow the advice above about keeping the velocity below 1000 FPS, in my experience.


  3. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    azleite, LDBennett just gave you some very good info. I shoot lead bullets all the time, in pistols, and in rifles that shoot pistol ammo. The one thing I can tell you for sure is that if you exceed the 1,000fps limit, you will most probably get leading. I keep all my lead rounds below 1,000fps, most in the 800fps range. My experience with lead bullets leads me to not believe the manufacturers calims as to hardness of their bullets. The harder the lead, the more tin, and antimony used, and this drives up the price, and everyone wants to have the best price! Antimony forms a highly useful alloy when mixed with lead, increasing its hardness and mechanical strength.
  4. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    Hornady swaged lead, as LD mentions, is a bit on the soft side.
    I don't think they're pure lead though, they do seem a bit harder than the pure lead that I use for blackpowder...this is just a fingernail test though, I don't have a real hardness tester.

    They will work fine for .44Spc loads (700fps-800fps or so...800fps is about max level for the Spcl anyway).
    WW231/HP38 works real good, as does Unique. I've used AA#5 too, but like Unique, it's kind of a dirty powder.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    For home swaging of bullets they use pure lead wire. But that may be because it is not possible to manually exert enough pressure at home to swage any alloy of lead. Commercial swaggers are probably not limited to manual force and any alloy within reason may be possible (??).

    I shoot Hornady 148 gr 38 cal HBWC's in my S&W Model 52. Their lead is pretty soft so that the gas pressure can push the lead base into the rifling of the barrel. I do not know about other Hornady lead bullets (??).

  6. azleite

    azleite Member

    Sep 8, 2009
    N. Texas
    Thanks Folks for the info, I'm going to try them, probably using starting load data. I'll be shooting them out of my S&W mdl 624 Lew Horton special w/3" bbl. God Bless-Dave
  7. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I like the HDY swaged lead boolits, just make sure you load them as light as you can find data for...
  8. X Ring

    X Ring Active Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Seams to me that at that price it would be more economical to load a cheap FMJ bullet. And it sure makes me happy I can cast my own LSWCs for $0.03 each, saving $6.50 a box just on the bullets.
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