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Hard Cast Bullets In A Polygonal Barrel

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Bigbaddude, Nov 17, 2012.

  1. Bigbaddude

    Bigbaddude West linn Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I bought some Dillon Hard Cast Bullets 45swc 200gr today and I heard somewhere you that you couldn't shoot lead threw a Polygonal Barrel is this true?
    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    Glock warns against using lead bullets that are not jacketed in their polygonal barrels - HK simply says that you should pay closer attention to cleaning/lead removal if you use cast lead bullets in HK polygonal barrels. Khar also uses polygonal barrels and they have no warning with them regarding use of lead bullets (at least from what I have seen). A friend shot tons of cast in his glock for match. He just made sure that he cleaned it well before or after each match. The general thought is that polygonal bores are more likely to "lead up" than standard button rifling. Usually faster bullets are more at risk than slower ones and lead hardness plays into it as well.
     
  3. Bigbaddude

    Bigbaddude West linn Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sounds good I guess I will use some light loads and see how it goes I will be shooting them threw a older Desert Eagle.
    Thanks again.
     
  4. Bigbaddude

    Bigbaddude West linn Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Sorry I meant Baby Desert Eagle.
     
  5. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    I cast and shoot a lot of cast bullets w/ pretty warm loads (9mm,38spec,357mag,44mag) I've never had an issue yet. It's normal to get a little leading here and there invest in a copper barrel brush cleans out the leading very easy.
     
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Another good item to have handy if you're shooting lead bullets is a "Wipe-Away" cloth. Cut out some patch sized pieces and run through the bore. You'd be amazed at how this stuff removes lead. I used to have an old .357 S&W. After a day of shooting "hot" loads with lead bullets I'd run a wipe-away patch through a couple times. The patch would have long shaving like pieces of lead on it that it had loosened from the bore and removed in one piece.

    Don't use it on the outside of any blued weapon though, unless you want a nice bright "white" firearm:cool:
     
  7. PPCguy

    PPCguy Ridgefield New Member

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    I have shot 38 special SWC (sized .355) in my Glock 17 and got excellent accuracy for about 10 rounds. Then, extreme leading came about and accuracy went down the tube.
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    When you sized them you should have added gas checks.
     
  9. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    Shooting lead bullets without getting excessive barrel leading takes a little knowledge and experimentation.

    Simply loading "light" powder charges is NOT the answer and in many cases will cause excessive leading. With an excessively light powder charge, the base of the bullet will not deform enough (obturation is the technical term) to seal the bore, resulting in hot gas blow by that melts and leaves lead deposits in the barrel. If the powder charge is too hot, the bullet will skid across the rifling and shave lead off the bullet which is deposited on the barrel grooves. What you need to determine is the optimum charge for the bullet hardness you are using. I use nothing but lead in my handgun reloads, up to and including .357Sig with velocities above 1325fps, and leading is not a problem in any of my pistols including those with polygonal barrels including my EDC (a H&K P2000 in 357Sig).

    To remove lead deposits, I recommend the Lewis Lead Remover. Don't follow a common recommendation, which is to shoot some jacketed bullets after shooting lead. If you have lead fouling, you'll now have lead fouling burnished with copper fouling...or if there is excessive leading in the barrel, it could blow up in your face due to a pressure spike when the bullet gets "bogged down" by the lead/copper fouling.
     
  10. PPCguy

    PPCguy Ridgefield New Member

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    When you say you use nothing but lead, are you referring to pure lead? Most of my handgun reloading over 40 years and extensive tests with Linotype (very hard) and other alloys, has shown pure lead to be too soft. I usually used a soft composition of 97% lead, 1% tin and 2% antimony. I have done extensive research and testing on a Ransom rest with several 12 shot groups to be under 2" at 50 yards. I have also loaded extensively HBWC that require low velocities due to the thin skirt that expands into the lands and grooves. I have obtained 357 magnum velocities with lead bullets as well but only if they were much harder than the above recipe. I have even loaded full wadcutters in backwards and got terrific accuracy.
     
  11. nrc

    nrc Oregon Member

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    If you brush your barrel clean after every session, and shoot less than 500 rounds at a time you'll be fine.
     
  12. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    No, not pure lead...mostly Lyman #2 Alloy types with a hardness of BHN 18 +/-. I buy most of my handgun bullets from Missouri Bullet Company or Dardas Cast Bullets.
     
  13. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    You and old Elmer Keith:laugh:
     
  14. joken

    joken Corvallis Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    This is spot on. The only other important consideration is bullet size. Ideally .001 over groove size. If you crimp your loads too much you can make the bullet too small and have leading problems. Slug your barrel and measure your bore size. They ain't all the same and then size your bullets accordingly. A little too big is better than a little too small. I found that I had less leading in my poly barrels than in my 1911's.. Ken
     
  15. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    That's true. Most cast lead bullets that you purchase are already sized .001" larger than comparable jacketed bullets. I like ordering from Dardas Cast Bullets because they will size them to your specification at no extra cost. My Beretta 92F slugged out at .004" larger than nominal, and once I ordered the proper diameter bullets, the improvement in accuracy was quite significant.
     
  16. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    There are a few things here...

    Lead will go down just about any barrel, the question is how will it perform.

    The problem with lead bullets in a polygonal barrel is that the lead doesn't have the right properties to perform well, and usually ends up with stripping. By this process, the bullet rather than taking up a spin, will simply jump over the rifling, will not be accurate due to inadequate spin imparted in the projectile, and will lead the gun excessively.

    I know one person said light loads will not solve the problem... that is not entirely true. Unless you're shooting a hollowbase bullet, the sealing characteristics will not be affected one way or the other by the pressure. However, nearly all bullets get some "blow by" by which hot gasses escape around the bullet, this may result in scouring, however with cast bullets, they actually take advantage of this, by offering up a sacrificial lubricant (the bullet lube) which sublimates on the inside of the barrel, and reduces fouling. Further, even if you are shooting a hollowbase bullet, in order to obtain sealing characteristics, either the pressure must be high, or the lead soft, an 18+ brinnel lead will not seal unless you are operating well above 20KPI.

    I have a DE Baby in 9mm, with the polygonal barrel. I have never had problems with leading shooting cast bullets, but I have had problems with stripping when shooting plated bullets. There are two solutions I've found for this, using powder that is on the slower side (for 9mm) I was using titegroup, and I have since moved over to HS6 which seemed to largely solve the issues I was having. For the .45 You may want to try titegroup or clays, I normally shoot a .45 RNSWC cast above 3.9grs of Clays as my primary bullseye bullet in the 1911, but your mileage may vary.

    My primary suggestion is, pick a middle starting load, I might suggest clays or HS6 as good starting powders, and then perform a velocity test, an accuracy test (to check for tumbling bullets) and then check the barrel for leading. Do not load up large numbers of rounds until you have verified the load as acceptable.

    The barrel on the DE Baby is hard-chrome plated stainless steel, with that in mind, one of the best solvents for removing lead fouling is white vinegar, however this concoction tends to damage blued steel finishes, but does nothing to chrome, or stainless finishes. A classic recipe is 50/50 hydrogen peroxide to white vinegar, pour it into a cup, and drop the barrel in. Wash the barrel off with warm water and hit it with a scrub brush.

    If you want to be excessively scientific about it, Weight the barrel before cleaning, and after cleaning to establish how much lead is left behind. You will likely need a reloading scale to find something with fine enough adjustments.
     
  17. Bigbaddude

    Bigbaddude West linn Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thanks AMP I will pick up some HS6 and see how that goes.
     
  18. XSubSailor

    XSubSailor SW WA Active Member

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    I must respectfully disagree with two points made here...the first being that polygonal rifling does not lend itself well to cast lead bullets, and second that flat or bevel based bullets will not deform enough to seal the bore. I would stipulate that if you're not sealing the bore, no bullet (lead or jacketed) will perform particularly well in any barrel, polygonal or otherwise.

    I use bevel-base bullets exclusively and those that I've recovered show the base is flattened and fully engaged with the barrel rifling. The 20Kpsi (or CUP) you state is approximately correct for BHN 15-18 lead hardness and is far from excessive in any handgun caliber I'm aware of....45ACP being probably the most limiting that I reload for.

    There is good science to help a beginner who is interested in reloading cast lead bullets (and who wouldn't??? The cost is less than half that of plated or jacketed bullets). Get a copy of Lyman's Cast Lead Bullet Handbook. There is great information in it that you won't easily find elsewhere. Once you have fine-tuned your loads to eliminate or nearly eliminate lead fouling (BTW, there is such a thing as copper fouling too), you can start shooting twice as often for the same cost as when using jacketed bullets with no loss in accuracy. Talk to competitive shooters who reload their own ammo...the vast majority of them use lead bullets, and not just for the cost savings. The other advantage is that you can fine tune those loads to be more accurate than factory ammo in a particular gun.
     
  19. umrek

    umrek North Bend, WA Member

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    I get great results shooting lead in poly barrels, never an issue.
     
  20. RickD427

    RickD427 Washington New Member

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    If you have an H+K P7, please do not shoot any lead bullets through its polygonal barrel. The bullets will travel through the barrel just fine, but the gas port just forward of the chamber will shave lead and those shavings will eventually block the gas port. When that happens the delayed blow-back operation of the weapon becomes a direct blow-back and you'll likely damage the weapon and the shooter.