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Discussion Starter #1
Been shooting and reloading .38 Special for a few years, and decided to step up to a Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum. My first attempt at reloading with lead bullets didn't go well. :mad: I ended up with much more leading than I want to deal with, and I'd like to know what works for the reloading experts on the forum.

I took these loads to the range, along with a new Super Blackhawk (7.5" barrel):

240 gr RNFP from Missouri Bullets - 0.430" - Brinell hardness 18. Loaded with either 8.5 gr of Unique or 10.0 gr of Unique.

240 gr jacketed bullets from Nosler - 0.429". Loaded with 23.6 gr of H-110.

I shot them all through the Chrony and got these velocities:

8.5 gr Unique - 1040 fps
10.0 gr Unique - 1197 fps
23.6 gr H-110 - 1317 fps

Then I proceeded to shoot the rest of the rounds in no particular order at different distances to get a feel for what the gun could do. All together I shot 20 rounds of the H-110, 25 rounds of the 10.0 gr Unique, and 15 rounds of the 8.5 gr Unique. I would shoot two or three rounds of each type, and then switched to another type, but I finished the session shooting 12 rounds of the 10.0 gr Unique loads.

Everything went well until I went to clean the gun and found the barrel with plenty of lead inside. (Thank goodness for the Lewis Lead Remover, or I would still be cleaning it! :) ). There was no lead in the forcing cone, but the leading started pretty soon after the first bit of rifling, and it was heavy. The farther down the barrel, the cleaner it got. After the first 4" of barrel length,there was no more leading.

My question is: "What's a good load for lead bullets for .44 Magnum out of a Super Blackhawk?" I like shooting. I like reloading. But, I don't like scrubbing lead out of barrels.

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Try 17 gr of H110, With the lead bullet you are using it would be like shooting a 44 spl, should be accurate, and easy on your hands.
 

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I shoot Laser Cast 240 gr LSWC with 7.0 gr of Unique for 899 fps. I have very little leading and it is a fun round to shoot.
 

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Ill agree that your velocities are running a bit high for a bevel based lead bullet. and IMO your Bullet dia needs to be .431 or .432. My fav cast load for .44 mag is 7.5 gr Unique and a 240 gr Kieth style SWC. its a .45 colt equivalent and will kill anything 2 or 4 legged on this continent.

Check with Dardas for .431 and .432" cast bullets for your .44 loads.
http://www.dardascastbullets.com/mm...roduct_Code=44240SWCBB100&Category_Code=44SWC
 

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Running too hot for lead. I ran 30 rounds of .44 special through my Taurus today and not a spec of lead in the barrel. I loaded up a really tame load of 180gr bullet over 7.9gr of Accurate #5. Very accurate at 25 yards and very pleasant to shoot.

Back off your loads and save the hot loads for copper bullets.
 

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Ill agree that your velocities are running a bit high for a bevel based lead bullet. and IMO your Bullet dia needs to be .431 or .432. My fav cast load for .44 mag is 7.5 gr Unique and a 240 gr Kieth style SWC. its a .45 colt equivalent and will kill anything 2 or 4 legged on this continent.

Check with Dardas for .431 and .432" cast bullets for your .44 loads.
http://www.dardascastbullets.com/mm...roduct_Code=44240SWCBB100&Category_Code=44SWC
I like the way you think JLA. I shoot the laser Cast .431 through all of my 44's. The 240 gr. SWC going around 900 fps is a train and very accurate. It is big and slow and packs a punch. I have a bunch of the 7.0 gr loaded and ready to go.
 

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I would look at several things.

I would only change one thing at a time.

It's winter. Bullets that you buy online, or in a catalog generally have a hard lubricant so that it survives the shipping process. Try tumbling the bullets in a jar with a bit of Lee Allox lube. You could even try Johnson's Paste Wax, if that's all you have. Sometimes the right lube cures leading.

Slug the bore and mic your bullets. A loose fitting lead bullet lets gas slide by in the bore. That gas turns to plasma causing leading. Casters know to oversize their bullets.

If the lube doesn't solve it, and the bullets are .001 over sized, then I would slow them down. Perhaps try a different powder.
 

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Dutchboy:

Two things help to avoid leading: lower velocity and plated lead bullets.

The rule of thumb that seems to alway work is to use loads at 1000 FPS or less. 44Special loads in 44 Mag brass also minimize leading.

Still better yet is lower velocity and plated bullets like Rainier or Berrys. These are lead cores that are copper plated. Their pricing is between cast lead bullets and jacketed bullets. But they too should not exceed 1000 FPS.

Unless you keep the velocities really low, swaged bullets are the worst for leading barrels. Typically cast bullets include tin and antimony that make them harder than pure lead which is what swaged bullets are made from.

Research your manuals for loads below 1000 FPS. Loads with W231 typically are in that velocity range and W231 is economical to use as it take very small amounts to achieve 1000 FPS.

LDBennett
 

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Most of us gun owners refer to hard cast bullets as 'lead' bullets. In most cases, they do not understand the drastic differences, or they would not use such an inaccurate generalization. This generalization is as inaccurate a generalization as referring to all motorized vehicles as Volkswagens. Hard cast bullets may contain some lead and be grey in color, but that is where the similarities stop. Hard cast bullets can be formulated of numerous alloy mixes (antimony, silver, tin, etc) containing some lead, but the alloys make the bullet much harder than pure lead. Pure lead has a Brinell hardness # of about 4. Most hard cast bullets will have a Brinell hardness # of 11 to 30 and as such are several times harder than lead. https://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_list&c=54
 

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i have been shooting cast bullets almost exclusively,, handgun and rifle and dont have any leading problems even with magnum loads,, above 1200fps i use gas-checks.. i cast my own so have a bit more control, my alloy hardness runs 15 to 18 and use "mirrorlube" in my sizer-luber.. all of my bullets are sized .001 over bore diameter..some manufacturers over diff sizes check with them,,
bullet lube can make a big difference in leading and accuracy,, along with proper sizing of bullet you should not have leading problems if your bore and forceing-cone are in good shape..hope this helps,,good luck and have fun
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I read everyone's advice (and the links), and I tried an experiment today (changing only one thing this time). The experiment failed, but I'll tell you what I did and why.

After the shooting that I described in my first post, the leading started where the rifling started, and it got less and less the farther down the barrel you looked. There was no leading on the last three inches of the barrel. My conclusion was that the leading was not speed or lube related, because there was no leading where the bullet was traveling the fastest, and the leading was worst where the bullet was traveling the slowest.

I checked my bullet diameter against the cylinder bore. The bullets just slid in with hardly any clearance at all; so they weren't getting swagged down by the cylinder bore. I have not slugged the barrel yet. I don't have the things necessary to do it yet.

My bullets are 18 BHN; so using the formula from Cunningham (Ideal hardness in BHN = Pressure / 1,920), I should be aiming for 34,600 psi in order to obturate the base of the bullet. That's full power .44 Magnum pressure! :eek:

So I thought that I would try to hit the bottom of the bullet as hard and as fast as I could in an effort to properly obturate the bullet's base. I used Red Dot (because that's the fasted burn rate powder that I had on the shelf) at 8.6 grains (0.2 grains below max according to the Lee manual). The pressure should have been 34,500 psi +/-.

I shot 12 bullets through the Chrony. Average velocity was 1158 fps. Afterwards, the barrel was badly leaded, just like the first time. :mad: It started at the rifling, and got better as you went down the barrel. Nothing was on the last three inches. So much for the obturation ideal pressure bullet hardness equation theory.:confused:

The next experiment will be 6.5 gr of Red Dot (same powder as before - only changing one thing.) which should give 900 fps according to Alliant's manual. I'll test out the "slow it down" theory. I'll make up 12 rounds, send them over the Chrony, and see what happens with the leading.

Stay tuned. . .
 

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To shoot lead in a revolver you should slug/measure the cylinder throats. Shooting the proper sized bullet is key to "leading free" barrels. I size my bullets to the same size as the cylinder throat diameter; my Ruger's throats run .431" so I shoot lead bullets, sized to .431", to magnum velocities, with no leading. The barrel slugs at .429"+, groove diameter, so it's a perfect fit (.002" over groove dia.). Also, I'd say your bullets are too hard (18 BHN) and allow gas to escape around the base and melt lead, causing barrel leading. I use wheel weight alloy (about 10 BHN) for all my bullet casting and routinely shoot my .357 and .44 magnums with upper mid-level charges; magnum velocities. I tried the "formula" (PSI vs BHN), but it didn't seem to matter much, fit being more important
 

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Dutchboy:

Try plated bullets (Rainier or Berrys) and your leading problem will go away if you keep the velocity under 1000 FPS. The leading you described matches what I see when I use un-plated cast bullets. There may be other ways but the plated bullet approach is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of the leading.

LDBennett
 

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You are still pushing the lead bullets too fast. I keep my cast lead bullets around 900 FPS, unless I am using a gas check. With a gas check, I go up to 1100 FPS.
 

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To shoot lead in a revolver you should slug/measure the cylinder throats. Shooting the proper sized bullet is key to "leading free" barrels. I size my bullets to the same size as the cylinder throat diameter; my Ruger's throats run .431" so I shoot lead bullets, sized to .431", to magnum velocities, with no leading. The barrel slugs at .429"+, groove diameter, so it's a perfect fit (.002" over groove dia.). Also, I'd say your bullets are too hard (18 BHN) and allow gas to escape around the base and melt lead, causing barrel leading. I use wheel weight alloy (about 10 BHN) for all my bullet casting and routinely shoot my .357 and .44 magnums with upper mid-level charges; magnum velocities. I tried the "formula" (PSI vs BHN), but it didn't seem to matter much, fit being more important
BTW; as for velocity of lead bullets I have one personal example (and I've read of many more shooters exceeding 1400 fps with lead bullets, plain based, in handguns and 2k fps in rifles). I loaded some .357 Magnum 160 gr. plain based, wheel weight alloy, air cooled bullets over a slight overload of True Blue (9.8 max. and I put almost 11.0 in there). I noticed a bit of recoil increase, but not surprising and shot a cylinder full (6) with fair accuracy. When I opened the cylinder, 2 primers fell out and the cases had to be pounded out. Way too hot; when I pulled the remaining rounds I found nearly 11.0 gr. load, (9.8 being max.). When inspecting my gun for damage I noticed no lead in the barrel. Just to make sure I didn't miss any leading I ran my Lewis Lead Remover through the barrel. No leading at over 1300 fps.

So, I'm convinced, the key to shooting leading free lead bullets is proper bullet to gun fit...
 

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I read everyone's advice (and the links), and I tried an experiment today (changing only one thing this time). The experiment failed, but I'll tell you what I did and why.

After the shooting that I described in my first post, the leading started where the rifling started, and it got less and less the farther down the barrel you looked. There was no leading on the last three inches of the barrel. My conclusion was that the leading was not speed or lube related, because there was no leading where the bullet was traveling the fastest, and the leading was worst where the bullet was traveling the slowest.

I checked my bullet diameter against the cylinder bore. The bullets just slid in with hardly any clearance at all; so they weren't getting swagged down by the cylinder bore. I have not slugged the barrel yet. I don't have the things necessary to do it yet.

My bullets are 18 BHN; so using the formula from Cunningham (Ideal hardness in BHN = Pressure / 1,920), I should be aiming for 34,600 psi in order to obturate the base of the bullet. That's full power .44 Magnum pressure! :eek:

So I thought that I would try to hit the bottom of the bullet as hard and as fast as I could in an effort to properly obturate the bullet's base. I used Red Dot (because that's the fasted burn rate powder that I had on the shelf) at 8.6 grains (0.2 grains below max according to the Lee manual). The pressure should have been 34,500 psi +/-.

I shot 12 bullets through the Chrony. Average velocity was 1158 fps. Afterwards, the barrel was badly leaded, just like the first time. :mad: It started at the rifling, and got better as you went down the barrel. Nothing was on the last three inches. So much for the obturation ideal pressure bullet hardness equation theory.:confused:

The next experiment will be 6.5 gr of Red Dot (same powder as before - only changing one thing.) which should give 900 fps according to Alliant's manual. I'll test out the "slow it down" theory. I'll make up 12 rounds, send them over the Chrony, and see what happens with the leading.

Stay tuned. . .
Some good information on this site: http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm

Did you know that Elmer Keith, the inventor of the .44 Magnum, used bullets that were only a 12 BHN! There is a reason for him choosing that hardness. Shooting really hard cast bullets will cause more leading than not!
 
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