Lead or Leaded bores.

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by Jamierat, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Jamierat

    Jamierat New Member

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    Is it as big of an issue as a local gun store leads it to be? The insist you should run like lead away or other lead cleaners through your firearm after every use because the ammo out now has a lot of lead in it. and just running a brush and patches through your bore doesn't remove lead.

    From what I understand the ammo made now has a lot of lead in it and even the FMJ ammo could have exposed lead at the base that we can't see.

    Is lead as big of an issue as they make it seem?
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Not really. Just something else for those nitpickers to expound upon. And bet your money someones gonna market a product thats supposed to remove all traces of lead easily.

    It isnt hard to remove, just time consuming and all you need is a good bore solvent and a bronze brush. and a heavy dose of elbow grease. And thats only if you shoot plain cast lead. Jacketed bullets, even those with exposed lead bases dont deposit lead in the bore. Only copper or guilding metal (depending on jacket composition).

    BTW, im gonna move this thread over to technical forum. Itll get more attention there.
  3. H-D

    H-D Active Member

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    I shot 100 rounds of Lswc's in my 1911 to see if it would shoot them reliably , it did I wiped the bore with hoppes #9 on a patch and a couple dry patches, then oil and dry patches it looked fine
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    same here.

    A properly fit and lubed cast lead bullet will foul the barrel less than a jacketed bullet, and in most cases be more accurate.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Most bullets are made of lead!!

    Here's the situation the gun shop may have been talking about (??):

    When you use copper plated or jacketed bullets they leave no lead behind in the barrel. When you use cast or swaged bullets they MAY leave lead behind and it has to be removed from the barrel. If you shoot cast or swaged lead bullet at velocities below 1000 FPS they rarely leave lead behind in the bore. Good hard cast bullets and lead swaged bullets sized to the bore of the barrel correctly usually do not leave lead the barrel.

    Even if you leave lead in the barrel for months or even years it will not hurt the barrel but it should be removed before the next time you shoot the gun. Lead in the bore does no chemical damage to the bore. It physically interferes with the ability of the twisting rifling in the bore to do its job of spinning up the bullet for stability.

    Rushing to clean a barrel is caused by two things. The first is the use of black powder. 99% of the people do not shoot black powder and virtually no one loads or reloads with black powder for modern guns. It is anhydrous and pulls in water from the air rusting the bore quickly.

    The second reason to clean quickly after shooting is the use of ammo loaded with corrosive primers. All name brand commercial ammo on the market place today uses non-corrosive primers. Old surplus military ammo may have corrosive primers. Corrosive primers have a salt in them that corrodes the bore. Modern primers do NOT corrode the barrel even if left in the bore for days, weeks, months. or even years.

    Hope that helps.

    LDBennett
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    That is actually a very common misconception. Bullets cast of excessively hard lead alloy will actually lead worse than one cast of softer lead alloy, generally speaking and pertaining only to non magnum handgun cartridges. The reason being is failure to obturate and seal the bore. If the bullet is very hard it takes alot of pressure to obturate the bullet and seal the bore from the hot gasses so the base of the bullet will partially melt and lead will be deposited in the bore, hardcast bullets are best suited to pistol and revolver rounds that produce more than 30K psi working pressure, i.e. .357 mag and .44 mag are good examples.. Now take the same bullet, cast of a softer alloy, sized the same and lubed the same and the cartridge will have a better chance of producing enough pressure to obturate the bullet with amuch lower pressure.. For example the optimum BHN figure for the .45ACP is 15 BHN MAX. this hardness works well with most loadings and powders except +P. The 9mm luger is one that is going to be well served with hardcast bullets, this is due to the pressure the cartridge procuces and the velocity, optimum BHN for it is in the 23-25 BHN range. The 9mm Lugers li'l brother, the .380 on the other hand is right at home with an optimum BHN of 13-15 like the .45 acp, again due to pressures and velocity obtained.

    When shooting cast lead with smokeless powders it pays to do your homework. Shooting cast can be very very cost effective and rewarding in terms of accuracy and efficiency.
  7. CHW2021

    CHW2021 Member

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    Opinion time! I have had "issues" with lead deposits in pistol bores that have had to be removed periodically. Occasionally it has been to the point of having lead smears and particles fill in the grooves and make the bore look "worn".

    I have shot countless bullets made of reclaimed wheel weights (at a hardness of ? ) to the tune of several hundred in a day thru .45, 9mm, .44 mag and special and of course .22; they will all accumulate lead in the bores.
    In my opinion, this is simply a residue that must be occasionally removed; it will eventually affect accuracy to some degree if allowed to build up, but this would be limited to heavy shooters.
    I have had .22 rifles and pistols leaded up to the point where they looked like a smooth bore, it did take a year or 2 to get there, but it can happen AFTER A FEW THOUSAND ROUNDS. I have had lead buildup in my .44 to the point that it almost came out in curls after a solvent cleaning, again after a year or 2 of heavy use. I was shooting gas checked ammo in a variety of weights and hardness.

    I suppose that this is a part of what we clean our guns to remove, isn't it? This is a rather non issue despite what the "gunshop stool experts" would want you to believe.
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Exactly right chw, and the .22LR is a great example. .22LR bullets are swaged of dead soft lead and coated either with a copper clad plating or a lubaloy coating. .22LR projectiles are almost all hollow base designs and upon firing the round the bullet 'bumps up' to fill the rifling grooves. .22LR cartridges produce around 10K PSI, which is pretty low compared to most cartridges, down there with std field load shotshells.

    Lead will build up in a bore just the same way copper does and in my opinion its easier to remove than copper fouling in that elbow grease can get it out. Copper fouling is too hard for that to work alone and needs a good solvent that can attack and dissolve copper.

    Point is, shoot what you want, shoot whats accurate for you, and clean your guns after each range session to maintain lifelong accuracy.
  9. Jamierat

    Jamierat New Member

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    So I don't need the lead removal patches that they are trying to sell...
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    They wont hurt the process none. Just work them into your normal clean up process if you like, but no they arent absolutely necessary.
  11. Jamierat

    Jamierat New Member

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    Well this is all great info. They devalued my rifle because they said it was full of lead. They ran those patches through it and said it would probably take 10hrs to get all the lead out.
  12. CHW2021

    CHW2021 Member

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    2 things, first, what are you trying to do? clean a rifle for sale? If so then what rifle?
    Secondly, if you want a suggestion (or even if you don't) when you clean a gun to remove deposits (lead or copper) use a decent quality solvent (I like Butch's) to make the job easier.
    If you are surprised that a buyer would "downplay" your rifle, don't be; the same guy would swear it was wonderful when he re-sold it....part of the usual game.
  13. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I periodically use the lead away cloths as part of my cleaning regimen on my 1911 and my Model 57. I usually cut a patch, put a few drops of Hoppe's (or Butch's) on it and work it back and forth through the barrel (and the cylinder on the revolver) until it's shiny. Turn it over and repeat. This does not need to happen very often; perhaps once or twice a year. You may hear to shoot jacketed down the barrel to clean out lead. Don't rely on this as it typically just smears the lead into the lands and makes it even harder to remove.

    As stated above; a properly sized lead bullet of correct hardness, AND THE RIGHT BULLET LUBE, will produce excellent accuracy and minimal leading. My Sharps 45/70 loaded with a 500 gr. bullet sized correctly and lubed with my own recipe will deliver one-hole groups at 100 yards at 1,300 fps and about 27,000 psi. No appreciable leading is observed.
  14. Old Grump

    Old Grump New Member

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    Find another toy store, that guy is full of it.
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