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Powder Charge to Avoid Leading - 9mm

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by KTM530XCW, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I'm new to loading lead cast and am getting quite a bit of lead build up.

    Pistol: XDM-9
    Bullets: Missouri Bullet Smallball, 125g (or is it 124?)
    Powder: Hodgdon HP-38

    So I started playing with lead cast pistol bullets when I joined the Vancouver Rifle and Pistol Club a few months back. They require lead cast bullets and limit to 1000 ft/s.

    I started by testing to find a load that shot right at 1000 ft/s. Working up from 3.4g, I found that 3.8g of HP-38 got me right at 1000 ft/s. Problem is that I am getting quite a bit of lead build up.

    I've read a few places that with a Brinell Hardness of 18, the Missouri Smallball 9mm's cause less leading when pushed faster, up around 1150-1200 ft/s. This kind of seems counter intuitive, but the explanation is you have to deform the back end of the bullet to fill the rifling otherwise the blowby will fill up the groves.

    Can anyone comment on this? Do I really need to be upping my powder charge to reduce leading? If any one has used HP-38 (or 231) powder with Missouri Smallball 9m's, I'd love to hear some feedback.

    On a completely unrelated note, what's the best method for cleaning a barrel fowled up with lead? Is there a specific type of solvent or brush that tends to work better than others?

  2. woody06

    woody06 Southern Oregon Member

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    While failure to upset the base of the bullet can contribute to leading there are other, more common causes. The most common culprit is the use of an undersize bullet. Most 9mm barrels vary in diameter from .354 to .358 although some may be larger or smaller. Generally bullets should be from .001 to .003 larger than the bore diameter. The first thing you should do is slug the barrel if you haven't already done it. It's a pretty simple task. You drive a small lead slug through the barrel and mike it. I use egg sinkers slightly larger than the bore and drive them through with a 1/4" wooden dowel rod. Then mike a bullet and see where you stand. If the bullet isn't at least .001 larger than the slug that's probably your problem.

    If the bullet falls within the .001 to .003 range you can try a softer bullet and see if that works.

    The easiest way I've found to remove leading is a copper Chore Boy pad. Read about it on another forum and it works like a charm. It's a scouring pad made of copper. Got mine at Walgrens. OCedar also makes one that is similar. Just cut it to fit the cleaning jag, apply bore cleaner, and run it through the barrel. Normally only a few passes were required. Note I said "were". I had severe leading until I found the right bullet diameter, powder charge, and lead alloy combination. My barrel slugs at .3545 so I'm sizing to .356, loading 3.8 grs of Bullseye, and casting straight wheel weights. Note that I'm not suggesting this for you, but it works for me. No leading now.
  3. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Barrel diameter isn't something I had considered yet. I guess I assumed that all 9mm barrels were to the same spec.
  4. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I shoot mostly jacketed bullets because I drive them to the maximum speeds but for the few lead bullets I do shoot I find that KROIL works great clean the bore.

    First I run a silicon bronze brush through the bore to remove any loose crud. Then I soak a mop with KROIL and wet the bore well. To keep the mop from wiping out the KROIL as I go I use a mop one caliber size smaller. All I'm trying to do at this point is to wet the bore and fouling. This product does a good job of creeping between the leading and the barrel material. After a 30 minute or so soak I then go back with the brush and give the bore a good 30-40 strokes.

    Follow with tight patches soaked with KROIL and the bore is usually free of lead.

    When I still had my .357, which seemed to lead up the bore if you just opened a box of lead bullets, I used a product called "Wipe Away". It was a cloth treated with some formula that caused the lead to just free up from the bore with a few strokes of the patch. In some cases the heavier lead would come out of the bore in thread like strings.

    The few lead bullets I shoot through my 9mm are 147 gr and I find that AA7 gives me right around 1,000 fps with negligible leading. Let's not talk about the amount of smoke though;)
  5. KTM530XCW

    KTM530XCW Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Out of curiosity, why do you go for max velocity on your jacketed loads? Is that where you find the best accuracy?
  6. OreShooter

    OreShooter Portland Member

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    Since you aren't loading for hunting or self defense, I would just back off on the velocity to maybe 900 fps, assuming you have access to a chrono so you are sure what you have. That may help with the leading. There are a couple other factors; you list an XD(M). It should have a good barrel in it, but it is possible as a new barrel it is still a little rough. A couple of boxes of jacketed thru it might help. As to increasing the charge I would not do that. If you get lead at 1000 it is likely to get worse until you know for sure that your bullet fits the bore as previously mentioned. Also, you don't say how you are sizing. If you use just the sizer on your die set, it may be sizing down too far for your particular bore. Again as someone mentioned, you need to know your bore and you need to then match it up +.001 to .003 with the bullet.
    But first I would back off on the charge and see if that helps.
  7. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    If you look at the suppressor sites many people use a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to dissolve the leading and other gunk from their suppressors. The up side is that it dissolves all the gunk, the down side is two fold - 1) The mix becomes a hazmat item (lead acetate if I recall) after it dissolves the lead and is toxic so if you go this route wear nitrile or other chemical resistant gloves. and 2) the mix will dissolve aluminum and some other non steel metals.
    If you decide to try this it is recommended that you plug the barrel on one end and fill it from the other, let stand for 2-5 min, drain into a container for disposal, and follow with a few dry patches, scrub with cleaning brush, then use solvent/oil. I have heard that it can eat some types of bluing and paint but have also seen pics of a piece of blued steel left to soak 1/2 in with no visible changes to the bluing. My guess is that it eats cold blue and maybe the brown looking rust bluing but not the salts or arsenic blues. Proceed at your own risk...

    Best of luck.
  8. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    Assuming the bullet diameter is a good match for your gun's barrel, then, I would try a faster burning powder like Titegroup, Bullseye, Clays, Red Dot, etc. Eventually, what I would do is switch to 147gr bullets. They naturally will go at around 1000fps w/o any toying around with the powder charge. Plus, the Brinell is 15 (softer). IMHO, MBC chose a 18 Brinell for their 115 and 125gr bullets because they expected you to drive them hard.
  9. Hotwheelz

    Hotwheelz Pierce County Member

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    I have found over the past few years what most of us me included call leading is actualy LUBE FOWLING , not to say leading doesnt happen b/c its very real. Sometimes a hard lube in pistols doesnt work as well as we want it to I have taken 1 gun that generaly lube fowls and run a softer lube and problem solved.. But here is the catch soft lubed bullets dont ship or store well so most commercial bullets come with a faily hard lube. I have cured any problems I have with lube fowling with a little cream of wheat .. check out this link the proof is in the pictures..

    Leading vs. Cream of Wheat? - Page 2 - Cast Boolits

    About 5 C.O.W. loads at the end of a shooting session or in the middle if you shooting alot solve most isues for me.