FMJ Vs Lead Bullets for reloading?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by glockguy, May 9, 2011.

  1. glockguy

    glockguy Well-Known Member

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    Iv heard lead is BAD for glocks and you must get a different barrel (such as a lonewolf) if you wish to shoot lead, is this true? I shot some .380 lead bullets through my Sig P238 I used to have with no issues.. I know with lead you must clean your gun more.

    But does it REALLY matter??

    FMJ vs Lead bullets
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporter

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    It is bad to shoot lead though polygonal rifled barrels Glock is just ONE of the companies that use polygonal riffling in their barrels.
  3. coop44

    coop44 Well-Known Member

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    but,but,but glocks are perfect.

    Blasphemer!!!!!

    Cut out his tongue and burn him at the stake!!!
  4. tlfreek

    tlfreek Active Member

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    yeah. I have a match barrel for my glock 30 so that I can shoot lead. Like what Nwcid said.
  5. Edmon

    Edmon Member

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    What about in a S&W 357 snubbie?
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Well-Known Member

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    I load a lot of lead bullets, and a lot of jacketed and plated. Most of this depends on gun and caliber. Typically, I tend to load exclusively plated into .40S&W and 9mm, I found they just work better, despite the slight increase in cost over cast bullets. However, I load my .45ACP (Kimber 1911) almost exclusively with cast bullets, it eats them up and performs very well. Generally, any revolver will devour cast bullets with a minimum of fuss, if you have a .357 and are shooting .38 cast loads, you will eventually have to clean out your cylinder before switching back to shoot .357's, there are no safety concerns, it will just be difficult to get the rounds into the cylinder. Ballistol, Lead-Out all work really well for removing lead fouling from guns.

    If you do want to go with cast bullets, the barrel replacement is highly recommended, I've never been able to determine exactly what the issue is with polygonal rifled barrels and cast bullets, however I would guess they don't adequately grab the more slippery lead and will tend to strip and result in poor accuracy and excessive fouling. Bar-Sto also makes quality drop-in barrels for glocks and other pistols. The advantage to most aftermarket barrels is they are plain stainless steel, which you can clean with a very aggressive lead stripper, made of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar, however, this concoction is quite rough on blued finishes.
  7. Nwcid

    Nwcid Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporter

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    Polygonal rifling grips MORE causing excessive lead build up causing a higher risk of over pressure. This does not mean people have not done it and brag about not getting hurt. I am sure people do it all the time, but is the greatly increased risk worth the possible damage to your gun, hand, life?
  8. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor Active Member

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    I load cast lead bullets almost exclusively in all my pistols, including my Glock 19, H&K P30, and Kahr K40 which all have polygonal rifling. The secret to successfully loading lead without leading the barrel is the willingness to experiment with different loads to arrive at the right combination.

    The key factors involved are the proper bullet hardness (harder is NOT always better), chamber pressure (measured in CUP), and velocity (determined largely by powder burn rate). The proper hardness and pressure will optimally deform the base of the bullet (the technical term is "obturate.") to seal the bore and engage the rifling. If the velocity is too high, the bullet will shave lead as it exits the bore. If the bullet is too hard, it will not seal the bore and hot gases will blow blow by, melting the outer surface of the bullet and/or causing it to skid across the rifling grooves, shaving molten load and leading will result.

    The only way to determine the optimal load with a given bullet is to experiment with several load/powder combinations...expect to spend more time cleaning the lead out of your barrels until you find the right combination. I recommend the Lewis Lead Removal Kit for cleaning leaded barrels. Don't allow lead to build up without removing it. If you notice leading, stop, analyze, and try another load. Don't attempt to clear lead from a barrel by shooting jacketed bullets (a widely accepted practice) in an effort to force the lead down the barrel. This will often result in instead burnishing the lead into the rifling, making it even harder to remove and also contribute to copper fouling IN ADDITION to the lead fouling. It takes time and patience to get it right...but that is one of the satisfactions I receive from developing my own loads (it's also about a third less expensive than jacketed bullets...even cheaper if you cast your own).

    If you reload for the sole purpose of generating a bubblegumload of ammo for plinking...stick with jacketed bullets, or buy an aftermarket barrel without polygonal rifling (that doesn't prevent leading in and of itself). My point is that it is possible to develop cast lead loads that are accurate and produce zero lead fouling in polygonal barrels. Polygonal barrels just need to be approached differently than traditional rifling when developing cast lead loads.
  9. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    Lead bullets can be bad in ANY firearm if basic rules aren't followed. Shoot a properly sized lead bullet, at the correct speed for the hardness of the bullet, use gas checks where appropriate, and clean your firearm properly at regular intervals.

    The problem with Glocks is that all too many think they are a "perfect" firearm and don't need the attention that all the "inferior" firearms do.

    Try shooting some soft lead bullets in a .357 at max load/speed and see how quick you have a "Leading" problem. It isn't just the "grip" of the barrel, it's the heat behind the bullet and gases that escape around it. This causes momentary melting of the lead and it redeposits itself on the bore.
  10. AMProducts

    AMProducts Well-Known Member

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    XSub, What Hardness do you recommend? I know the bullets I cast usually average about 13 brinell, and will age harden up to about 17. Is that too hard? Then again, I don't shoot any of the german superguns that are incapable of shooting lead bullets.
  11. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    What's funny is that the following is listed as an "Advantage" of "Polygonal Rifling":

    Polygonal rifling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So what's the real truth here. Leading is a problem with this bore or people just don't follow good loading practices?
  12. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor Active Member

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    The formula I use as a starting point is a common formula used to determine optimum hardness (measured in BHN). Optimum Hardness (BHN)= pressure (CUP)/1280. Another approach is to calculate the optimum pressure in (CUP) for the bullet hardness you are using. In your case: optimum pressure = (17) X 1280 = 21,760 CUP. In other words, for a bullet hardness of 17 BHN, start with a load that generates 21,760 CUP. This would be a good starting load that you could tweak either up or down to achieve best accuracy and/or minimal lead fouling.

    Most better load manuals list the pressure in CUP (Copper Units of Pressure) for each load they list. I prefer the Lyman manuals personally...especially for cast lead bullets. I usually load in one of three hardnesses: 15 BHN, 18 BHN, and 21 BHN. Most of my loads are optimized to 18 BHN since it's a common hardness found in purchased bullets (I don't have the time or interest to cast my own).
    AMProducts and (deleted member) like this.
  13. driftin

    driftin Member

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    Great point, if you keep the pressure low there's less leading of the barrel. My usual plinking rounds leave very little lead in the barrel to clean if any(Glock, Sig, HK, Beretta). I clean my barrels that have shot lead bullets before I use a hard (jacketed) bullet in the gun. It's easy to run a bore brush thru the barrel a few times before switching ammo. Just a precautionary measure.
  14. coop44

    coop44 Well-Known Member

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    don't rely on wikipedia, the misinformation/information ratio runs about 50%
  15. deadshot2

    deadshot2 Well-Known Member

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    So what part of the information presented falls into the "misinformation" category? H&K offers the following:

    Gas leakage is one of the primary causes of barrel leading. Some old-timers, myself included, used gas checks to reduce leading in loads prone to melting a portion of the bullet.

    Of course if one is casting bullets merely from old fishing sinkers they might have a problem in ANY gun with ANY barrel.

    Here is what one shooter has to say:

    Where has "common sense" gone? That we are willing to accept any comment offered on the internet rather than apply any common sense and logic to the problem.

    I thought that this kind of thought was reserved for people that believe in the wisdom of "Daytime TV Experts".
  16. Hook686

    Hook686 Active Member

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    So noted ... I've completely disregarded your comments, including this one.
  17. dakaham

    dakaham Active Member

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    I am currently running lead through my G21 .45 although they are Bear Creek moly-coated 230gr rnfb. just ran 100 through it saturday no fouling or build up. cheap to load and fun to shoot! I would say to try the moly coated first check you barrel after 50 or so rounds to see if they are fouling or not and go from there.May even want to look at the extreme bullet co copper plated, runnin those in my wifes bersa .380 and those work great also. FMJ are just too pricey for me to be plinking with. $100/500 Vs. $48/500
  18. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor Active Member

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    I'm currently buying .45ACP 230gn FMJ for $119/1000 from Precision Delta...check them out. I don't usually shoot jacketed rounds, but I bought some to have on hand anyway.

    I've been buying my cast lead bullets from Dardas Cast Bullets for between $60-75/1000...I highly recommend them.