Lead Bullets??

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Shellback, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    Why is it not recomended to load lead bullets in auto loaders I have been loading jacketed bullets to plink with and I could sure save a small fortune if I used lead. I am also getting set up to start casting 12 gauge slugs and sabots, I have a unlimited supply of lead and good clean lead, I am a plumber and we use lead for flashings on commercial buildings so there is always lotsa left overs, I probably have 150lbs rat holed in my shop and thats alot of shootning.. thanks in advance
    Tim
  2. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    I run quite a bit of lead through my autoloaders (Makarovs and a few 1911s).
    Not had any problems with any of those except for a box-stock Commander I had a few years back that wouldn't feed the truncated cone style (but it had a hard time with TC shaped jacketed bullets too).
    I do get some lead shavings built up in the action from bullets on the feed ramp and chamber on the 1911s but not enough to cause any trouble since they get cleaned after a good range session anyway.
    On my two Maks in .380, they are both very accurate with a 100grTC bullet and that's my prefered small-game load...they'll spank cottontails like a hammer compared to FMJ and doesn't tear up meat like JHPs do.

    As for other brands/models, I can't speak for em. A friend tried loading lead round nose for his Taurus 92 9mm, but didn't find an accurate load and he had a lot of barrel leading. Not sure of all the specifics on that case though...was a few years back.

    Might be worth buying a few boxes of pre-made cast to give it a try before you invest the money into the moulds and sizing setup for your pistols (I'm assuming you've already got plans on a pot since you're talking about casting slugs too).
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  3. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    Yeah I have a 10lb pot and a couple laddles from the old days when plumbers poured lead joints. I did get a couple of books and have been studing different alloys. Very interesting. I don't plan to make at this time my pistol bullets but I shoot shotguns so much, that I think it would be fun to cast my own..
    Tim
    PS: Bindernut where you from in North Dakota My wies from Grand Forks and we lived in Fargo for several years..
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  4. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

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    At $45 for 25# of lead making your own shot could be very cost effective. I go thru about 150# a year so would be interested how you make out.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    You can indeed shoot lead bullets but I found that the bullet velocity had to be kept well below 1000 FPS with the "hard cast" alloy that most commercial lead bullets come in. But never shoot it in a gas opperated gun (like a M1 Garand, for instances) as the lead fills the gas port.

    I gave up on lead bullets when I tired of picking the lead out of my auto loader barrels even when I kept the velocities low. I now shoot Rainier cast bullets that have a flash coating of copper on them. It eliminates the leading of the barrel at any velocity within the max loads listed in manuals, they shoot accurately, they are cheaper than guilding metal jacketed bullets, and they minimise lead dust in indoor ranges (if you care or if your indoor range master cares).

    I was never much for bullet casting myself having helped friends do it some 40 years ago. I decided when I started serious reloading over 20 years ago that I would not cast bullets because it is drudgery work, is a bit dangerous (you already melt lead so that might not bother you), and the results are not nealry as nice as commercial bullets I can buy (like the Rainier). But to each his own.

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  6. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    I have been working on a medical vac pump to inject the molds with the hot lead mix. I wouldn't use pure lead it's way to soft, I also have resorces where i can get linotype, linotype is rather hard lead alloy I belive it's a 80% lead 10% anamony 10% tin I know someone hopefully will correct me if I'm wrong. I inted starting off with shotgun slug and work my way up..
  7. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Never noticed too much of a problem in the ol' Colt .45 I like the semi wad cutters and LRN.

    Like you I have collected a bit of lead over the years and stumbled upon about 500 lbs of ingots which I have done nothing with as of yet...That deal also included a huge "bar" of (antimony?) lead that was taken from a news paper office before it was torn down...So all I need to do is get off my butt and learn to cast now. :D

    Crpdeth
  8. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Shellback, I've loaded well over 100,000 rounds for pistol, probably closer to 150,000 rounds 98% of them being cast lead bullets. All most all of these went thru semi-auto pistols with no problem and very little leading. I will say that I have had some heavy leading in some of my wheel guns in .357 mag.,but as L.D. said this is probably because the jerk behind the trigger (that being me ;) :D) pushed it to fast.
    Glock is the only maker that advises against the use of cast bullets that I'm aware of, although there may be others. If there are others, I would truly like to know of them for my personal knowledge. :)


    Art
  9. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    LD (the resident seemingly endless fount of knowledge! :D) is spot on in his post about keeping velocity under 1000fps for a "hard-cast" alloy. Might go a bit less if you use a softer alloy. Sorry, I'm worthless to ask what hardness to use...I get my lead bullets out of a box. The only thing I've cast is a few jigs with a friend's setup.

    I've never really had any leading problems in the barrels on my .45s except on the Springfield I bought new a couple years back. But I'm pretty sure that was just a new barrel being "rough" since it's perfectly happy with lead now after I had rolled about 2500 rnds of jacketed through it.
    What calibers and pistols are you shooting?


    I work in Jamestown, but home is outside a scrawny little town on the ND/SD border. Forbes...most people in ND haven't even heard of it unless they've been hunting in the area. :D
    My sister was in Fargo for a few years...it's gotten way too big for my taste in the last twenty years or so. Many places up there that I remember as farmland are now full of over-priced condos and 'tract-homes.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  10. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    CRP...you're all set. Just gotta get a pot and some molds. I'd bet that ingot from the newspaper office is a block of linotype. Perfect stuff for mixing in to harden up your alloy.
  11. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    Whats a 45acp muzzle volicity? I know my loads for jacketed 165 grn in my 40SW are round 1180 fps, 900 and depending on hardness things start to foul much over that. Printers used lineotype (thats old school) hence the name line o type.
    Tim
  12. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Tim, I shoot a 185 gr. cast bullet at about 750 fps. I ain't going to win no race, but its accurate as heck. I've gone as fast as 1000 fps with no problems.
    I couldn't tell you what my hardness is. I'm one of the lazy ones that load out of a box. :)


    Art
  13. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Binder, I believe you are right...The guy that I got it from told me what it was and that sounds right. It is huge, almost as long as my arm and heavy. I have a picture of it on my PC which is down ATM, but it has a hole in one end that I suspect was used for hanging it or something.

    A lot of the ingots are already hardened, but there are also lots of tubular pieces that are soft lead.

    You think a brinell hardness tester is needed?

    Yeah, I really need to get off my butt and learn this stuff! :D


    Crpdeth
  14. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

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    I cast my own lead bullets for both hand gun and rifle. The only auto hand gun being 45acp. I drive a 300 grain cast .406 bullet 1600 fps out of my 40-82 with no leading problems. I learned a long time ago that proper lube and lubing groves on the bullet coupled with a good lead alloy are the keys to no leading. I also have noticed that even a little copper in a barrel will invite leading no matter what so the barrel has to be super clean. Linotype (used in old style printing presses)like Shellback said is a hard lead alloy that you don't see much of any more and I think he is right on the mix. Wheel weights are not quite as hard but much harder than pure lead. The big draw back of shooting cast bullets over 1000 ft per sec. is that you have to make them so hard that they break instead of mushroom making for deep penetration but not so great in shocking power. I shot an 800 pound steer with 335 grain cast .452 bullets going about 1400 fps and all five shots went completely through him without much affect. I reloaded with some 300 grain jacketed hollow point and the first shot dropped him stone dead, I found that bullet was just under the hide on the opposite side of the shot and it was well mushroomed. Shellback I think it was you who asked what is the muzzle velocity of a 45 auto. Its about 830 fps. with a 230 grain bullet which is what military ball ammo is.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  15. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

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    I think thats why 45 ACP is fine to shoot lead bullets more so then other smaller calibers is the muzzle volicity is quite abit less. I'm sure with my resorces I can and will find a happy medium. For now I will stick to 12 gauge slugs and Sabots till I find that happy spot..
    Tim
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