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Quitting Smoking Now: Time to dump cast lead?

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For a while now, I've used cast lead bullets to reload for my Glock 20, with a Lone Wolf Distributing aftermarket barrel.

 

While cast lead works, I'm tired of the huge, excessive amount of smoke. It is completely out of hand. I almost can't see the target after a few shots. I have much the same problem when using the 170 gr. cast lead bullets for .40 S&W loads, in two different guns.

 

Another problem is that the lubricating wax gets in every nook and cranny. It doesn't just look bad, it can also interfere with gun function.

 

The bullets I use are locally-produced, 170 gr., .401" diameter with a band of waxy lube. They lead a little, but nothing a Lead-Away cloth can't clean up.

 

I tried some Missouri Bullet Co. 180 gr. cast lead bullets (IDP #7 variety). Despite the claimed Brinell 18 hardness, they leaded more than the local guy's bullets, and smoked just as badly. Also, they didn't work in my Glock 20.

 

I make nearly all my 10mm reloads with Bullseye. I've also tried Blue Dot, and had more or less the same amount of smoke. So I'm looking at the bullet as the thing to change.

 

I tried plated bullets once, but it didn't work out.

 

Billy Bullets seems to be the only manufacturer still offering a moly-coated cast lead handgun bullet, or at any rate the only one I can order online.

 

I thought about going FMJ. But boy would it cost. Montana Gold FMJ/CMJs are 13¢-15¢ each, depending on how many I buy.

 

Is there something in my reloading process that could be causing excessive smoke? Any ideas? Or should I just hold my nose (and pay through it!) and order the Montana Gold bullets?

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I cast my own stuff and use Rooster Labs Red Zambini lube for mine...very very little smoke little to no leading for most applications and loadings.

 

You might want to try these...I have not used them but have heard good reports on the bayoushooter's forum.

I am not affiliated in any way with these but they clain no smoke! Their website is under construction at the moment but their product may be of interest.

http://www.bayoubullets.net/

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Lots of possible answers. But I don't have excessive smoke with most of my loads, so it isn't lead boolits that are the problem.

 

First, lets talk leading. You shouldn't have any to speak of. If you have leading at 10mm velocities hardness won't help. Plenty of guys shoot (myself included) shoot 18-20 bhn lead at over 2000 fps from rifles without leading.

 

The number one cause of leading is not hardness, it is fit. If you boolit is less than .001" over the groove diameter of your gun, then it will lead and it will smoke. This is because hot gases will be blowing by the projectile, both gas cutting the lead, blowing lube out of the lube groove and burning the lube.

 

So, first thing to address when diagnosing cast boolit issues is the groove diameter of the barrel in question (they are all a little different). You need to slug the bore with a piece of soft lead. Fishing weights are commonly used. Just use a rubber mallet and a section of dowel and drive it through the barrel from muzzle to breech. Then measure it. If you commercial boolits do not check at at least a full .001" larger they are too small.

 

Next, pull a loaded round. Sometimes the seating crimping phase will swage a lead boolit down. Not likely with a BHN 18 lead, but not unheard of either. Plenty of guys have chased their tails on leading issues only to find later the boolit fit when it was cast, but not when it entered the rifling.

 

Also, not sure about how lube is getting everywhere. The lube grooves should be seated inside the case after loaded. The only place I find lube on my guns is a star pattern at the muzzle, which is a sign of proper fit.

 

I would also suggest a powder that is a little slower than bullseye. It gives a pretty sharp pressure curve. This could push the base of the bullet into plastic deformation even at low velocities. It isn't really velocity that is the problem, it is how fast you accelerate lead to that velocity. I use lots of unique, blue dot and AA#9 with lead boolits.

 

Finally, the question "What if my commercial boolits are too small for my gun?". This is why most of us cast. Shooting lead at even moderate velocities involves applying pressure to lead approaches the limits of what the material can do. This means you often have to compensate by adjusting one of the many other variables to achieve your goal in a given gun. Variances that don't matter at all with a material like copper, matter a great deal with lead that is only 1/3 as hard, and has different tensile, shear and elasticity as well.

 

For my three 10mm guns I need to boolit that is cast .402". I have lubed with Lee Liquid Alox (moderately smokey) and with Felix Lube (lanolin, castor oil, baby oil and beeswax with a little ivory soap cooked a specific way). Felix is very non-smokey when I have good fit. It does smoke in my 30-06 and 308 rounds I shoot in my Garands and CETME. This is because when I seat the boolit deep enough to feed, the bottom lube groove is below the neck and some of that lube gets incinerated with the powder. Still, no leading, and I only shoot those outside.

 

Good luck!

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Fit is probably the culprit. I slugged the Lone Wolf barrel for my Glock 20 last summer, and apparently the groove diameter is 0.401". That makes no sense that they'd build it that way. Surely they know commercial cast bullets are typically 0.401", and FMJs are usually 0.400" or 0.4005"?

 

I guess I have to either find a way to get .402" bullets or else switch to Montana Golds.

 

Bullseye may not be ideal, but it's one of the only powders my Glock 20 will work with. Maybe the G20 needs a sharp pressure spike. All I know is that I tried a bunch of loads with Blue Dot and both plated (Rainier 180 gr.) and cast lead (Missouri Bullet Co. 180 gr.) and they wouldn't cycle. It was the same using either the original or Lone Wolf barrels, and either original or heavy recoil springs. No, I don't understand it either.

 

About the only 10mm load I haven't tried (with current materials) is the 170 gr. cast lead bullets over Blue Dot. But, if the bullets need to be 0.402", that probably won't help.

 

Unique is not the answer, unfortunately. I tried it once, but it metered very poorly in my powder measure. I load on a Hornady Lock-n-Load AP progressive, so a powder that I have to hand-measure isn't going to work.

 

I tried Accurate #9, which meters quite well since it is a ball powder. Mostly I worked up loads with heavy, 220 gr. plated bullets. I found that I had to use lots of it (north of 9 grains) to get decent 10mm velocities, and a lot of it didn't even burn. There were always unburned particles left in the barrel and brass, even with magnum large pistol primers. If there is a secret to getting Accurate #9 to burn completely in 10mm, please share.

 

To clarify, I have no idea how hard the 170 gr., locally-produced bullets are. A friend makes them as a hobby, but he's not set up to determine hardness. However, if bore fit is the problem, it doesn't really matter how hard they are.

 

I've slugged the bore on my .40 S&W M&P, but the slug is impossible to measure for diameter. The .40 S&W M&P uses a 5-groove barrel, so no two grooves are opposite. Maybe there's some special technique to measure such a thing, but I don't know of any way.

 

I've pulled bullets from my 10mm reloads and measured them, but found no evidence that they were somehow getting swaged to a smaller size. I only taper crimp enough to straighten out the case mouth wall, rather than having it bite into the bullet.

 

I'd like to look at Bayou Bullets' offerings, but their website is "Under Construction." Do they normally sell moly-coated and/or oversized (0.402") bullets?

 

update:

I spoke with the local guy whose bullets I've been using. He says he can make them 0.402" instead of 0.401", it's just a matter of using a different sizing die. That's good. I'm off to slug the rest of my guns, to find out which ones (aside from the M&P) maybe need a 0.402" bullet or even a slightly larger .45 ACP bullet.

 

Pretty sure I'm going to dump Bullseye when I use up my current supply. It's a fairly dirty powder, and isn't ideal for 10mm. I'll probably switch to Titegroup. I used some a few years ago and was very satisfied with the performance, metering, and relative cleanliness.

Edited by Objekt

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I have a question for you experts ...

 

Is W231 (HP38) too fast for cast bullets in 10mm? I could use BD, LS or AA7, or 800X if they would be better.... I'm trying to eliminate my leading problem in both an AM Glock barrel AND my Fusion longslide barrel. I'm going to try a different, larger (.402") bullet .... maybe even a softer one (since the one I'm using is 18BHN).

 

Thanks for the tips and in advance for my quesiton!

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They may not be too fast for cast bullets although you may not see the higher velocities, you may want lower velocities to help with leading.

Lube qualities and bullet size and alloy all play a part... :thumb:

 

I looking for different lube seeing how The Rooster Lab quit selling the Red Zambini... :sad:

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They may not be too fast for cast bullets although you may not see the higher velocities, you may want lower velocities to help with leading.

Lube qualities and bullet size and alloy all play a part... :thumb:

 

I looking for different lube seeing how The Rooster Lab quit selling the Red Zambini... :sad:

 

K, thanks. That's what I thought. Not looking for high speed on the cast stuff other than my hardcast WFNGC which is a different story ;) Thinking that I need .402" cast bullets and good lube.

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I decided "to heck with it" and have been loading Montana Golds for a while now.

 

No more smoke. Still using Bullseye in .40 S&W. I'm having a function issue with my Glock 20, which I've pretty much narrowed to a problem with the aftermarket barrel (Lone Wolf).

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I decided "to heck with it" and have been loading Montana Golds for a while now.

 

No more smoke. Still using Bullseye in .40 S&W. I'm having a function issue with my Glock 20, which I've pretty much narrowed to a problem with the aftermarket barrel (Lone Wolf).

 

I hear ya....

 

For me, though, its not so easy to dismiss a bullet type that is not only MUCH MUCH cheaper but that many also consider superior in accuracy and hunting applications. Plus, it gives me a reason to cast. I'm all for saving $ and shooting more. Just another mystery for me to solve. Of course, I'm not in any hurry but its definitely I will eventually "figure out".

 

:)

 

Sorry to hear about your barrel.... I just traded a GT forum member my stock length Barsto for his 6" KKM ... I really wanted the 6" for hunting and to match my 6" Fusion barrel and he only bought the 6" because other companies were "out" of stock length barrels. We killed two birds with one stone. We're both happy.

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My Lone Wolf barrel has been a big disappointment. There's a whole thread about it somewhere else (Enos forums I believe). I've owned the barrel for years, and have just never been able to find any way to make it run. Factory recoil spring, extra-heavy recoil spring, various bullets (from cast lead to plated to jacketed), various powders...it doesn't matter.

 

I like the increased case support, but the LW barrel doesn't work, so it has to go. I'll just have to live with working my brass harder by firing it in the original Glock barrel, if I can get that to work.

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