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Lead or Copper?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Grizzly_A, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Grizzly_A

    Grizzly_A Portland Metro Area Member

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    Given the pros and cons of cost, volume, performance and then the cleaning of the barrel, what do you shoot and why?

    Please include the caliber if it pertains to your choice.
     
  2. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    As much work as it is to reload from tumbling brass to case length sizing and chamfering to the cost of other components like powder and primers, I load only the defensive bullets I use for edc. That way I am also constantly testing my guns for feeding, extracting, crimp set, etc.

    $.02
     
  3. Weebs

    Weebs Clackamas County Member

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    if you're talking about .22 you know EXACTLY where I stand!
     
  4. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I cast and shoot lead bullets through my .45 Colt revolver and my 45-70 rifle. I consider them my 'fun' guns and the casting process is part of the fun. I also run my own ball for my muzzleloading rifles, pistol and riflemusket; again that is part of the fun.

    For my more contemporary weapons I shoot mostly copper clad lead or steel depending on the firearm. I am going to start experimenting with the Barnes copper bullets in the very near future.
     
  5. Pepe-lepew

    Pepe-lepew Mid Valley Active Member

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    If your loading lead correctly it should be cheaper and not dirty the barrel any more than copper, however copper jacketed/solid bullets out perform lead in many applications in velocity.
     
  6. warnerwh

    warnerwh Portland, OR Member

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    I put jacketed but one load I shoot I use lead. The reason I use jacketed mostly is because of having a severely leaded barrel once and swore off of lead bullets. That was the first time I tried lead bullets and even though I was told they would not lead they coated the inside of my barrel. The lead bullets in my .44 are loaded down to 900fps and leading is very little to almost none. I'm considering trying lead in my .357's if I get up the nerve again.
     
  7. Grizzly_A

    Grizzly_A Portland Metro Area Member

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    Yes, but why do you choose copper electroplated lead for .22 over lead? You're talking about less than 1700 fps, and most target .22 ammo is subsonic lead.



    Which one is more difficult to remove for you, Lead or Copper?


    I don't have an answer, I just wanted to see what others thought. What prompted me was the cost of cast bullets for reloading vs jacketed bullets. :)
     
  8. roguebowhunter

    roguebowhunter medford Member

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    i shoot lead out of my 40 sw and 45 acp @ around 900 fps i don't have a lead fouling problem. may be slow but its for shootin paper plates so .....the cost is a big factor i get cast for 8$ per 100.. hornday jacketed is 17 per 100. i shoot jacketed in all my rifles that i load for .. Don
     
  9. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Leading was more of a problem in the past as a lot of the bullets cast were of softer lead than what is available now from the major manufacturers of cast bullets. I use the Oregon Trail Laser Cast in my 45s, 9mm and .357 rifle with no leading and some of them are moving pretty fast. The OT bullet is very hard and I have dug some of them out of pine stumps and they looked almost as though they could be cleaned and loaded again. The .45 200 gr. SWC is the most accurate cast bullet I have ever shot and produces 1.5 - 2" 25 yard groups consistently from my mildly tuned 1911-A1. I get similar results in the other calibers but the .45 are the most impressive. I will add that accuracy with cast bullets CAN be inconsistent depending on the load and the bullet used. I recently bought a box of the Silver State brand in 200 gr RN and when loaded similarly (4 grains of Bullseye) does not produce the anywhere near the accuracy of the Oregon Trail SWC even though it is a better looking, finished bullet.
     
  10. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I used to cast bullets. Wheel weights my specialty, LOL. Actually wheel weights are good. They used to be free at tire stores but I don't know now.

    Cast, they produce a brinell hardness of about 12 which is good for bullets under 1000 fps. Over 1000 fps up to about 1500 fps you need more like brinell 14 - 16. By water quenching (dropping straight from mold into a bucket of water) you increase the hardness up to about 18 which works fine for faster bullets for shade tree casters.

    I was firing those from .38 and .357 revolvers, using the "FBI" HP or semi wadcutter mold. Ain't worth it to me any more.

    Threadjack: Lead fumes are all bad. Outside with a fan blowing, just for me...

    Have fun. :thumbup:
     
  11. Grizzly_A

    Grizzly_A Portland Metro Area Member

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    Do you still get wheel weights? The last few I've seen along the road don't seem to be lead, or else they are some other alloy. Don't seem as heavy. Didn't know if you had seen any of those....

    What's a shade tree caster?
     
  12. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    A generalized title applied to someone who practices an art, hobby, trade etc. without the proper resources, tools or equipment (and sometimes education) but can obtain acceptable results for himself.
     
  13. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Yep, as in "shade tree mechanic" - someone who fixes his own car out under the shade of a tree in his
    yard. :)
     
  14. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I see wheel weights for sale cheap on Ebay, and I also see "ingots" made from wheel weights for sale there. They are cheap and shipping isn't as bad as you might think.

    Hey, fill a $15 flat rate priority mail box up to their limit with ingots (what is it, 60 pounds?) and away they go. :D
     
  15. CaughtSteelin

    CaughtSteelin Oregon Member

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    Some of my wheel weight sources have gone belly up due to a new non-lead wheel weight. But usually it's 20-40 usd a bucket.
     
  16. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I have done a little bullet casting. I cast up some linotype bullets and put gas checks on, lubed 'em... it was pretty fun. They gave comparatively poor performance out of my old .30-06, but I liked the process.
    I have a Pietta 1860 army that I am going to start casting lead bullets for. My Folks gave me a set of molds and a ladle for Christmas. I hope to add a blackpowder rifle to the arsenal soon, too.
    In my .308 I shoot Sierra Match Kings and Game Kings exclusively.
     
  17. therifleman

    therifleman kennewick Member

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    I started casting lead for the 308 and am getting great results witn 187 gr lyman round nose burning 33 grains of 3031 and wlr primers in lake city brass. The only dirt Ive seen is left over bullet lube from using the old black lyman stuff that was left over from the 1960s when dad and i used it for 357 casts. Im getting great accuracy out to 300 yards but it takes the last mil dot to reach out that far. I shot 40 rounds yesterday at 100 yds and cant believe how good they are grouping. No barrel lead at all so far, Im sure the gas checks are helping with that.