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I just got started in casting for the 45 colt. i'm using a Lee mold 452-255-RF. the lead i'm using came from some old pipes i bought from a scrap yard, i melted the lead down and poured it into a ingot, trashing the stuff that was floating on top. then remelted the ignots down for bullet casting. I'm using a Dipper to poor the lead into my molds then dropping the cast bullets into a bucket of water. the bullets come out all right except they have minor wrinkling.

i then coated the bullets in Lee liquid alox and let them sit overnight. the bullets can be pushed threw my revolver cylinders with some force but they don't seem to shave lead or get mashed just a really snug fit.

i was working up some loads for them today using 15grs 16grs and got up to 17grs of IMR4227. each time increasing in accuracy.

i fired about 50 rounds with my cast bullets though my SAA, but i cant really get the lead out of the barrel to well. and i'm not sure if my latest rounds were leading my barrel more or less since i'm not being able to remove all the traces of lead before i fire.

is there any tricks to getting the lead out, how much leading is generally acceptable. and do my bullets seem to be prone to leading regardless of the charge you figure, is the wrinkling a big problem?
 

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cast bullets

Hi, SA Shooter!

Welcome to the wonderful world of bullet casting!

Just a few tips for better results with your cast bullets:

1. scrap lead is fine for most pistol bullets at moderate velocities. The more critical your needs (accuracy, high velocities, expansion, etc) the touchier the alloy and bullet quality.

2. The wrinkles you get are from either the mold not filling out properly, the alloy/mold temperature too low, or improperly fluxed alloy. YES! you need to flux your bullet melt often when casting. That crap you skim off the top of the melt contains the vital tin needed for the alloy to flow properly. Toss out the tin when you skim, and the bullet quality suffers. Also, by removing the tin, and leaving only an antimony/lead mix (common in wheel weights), you get a bullet that exposes lead crystals and antimony in a matrix. Almost a garantee that you will get leading!

3. Most casting authorities recommend frequent fluxing of your mix IN THE CASTING POT every 10-15 minutes. It will assure that the melt stays uniform, and removes impurities (slag, contaminants, etc). Fluxing is easy: just drop a corn kernel sized piece of parafin, old bullet lube, candlewax, etc into the pot, and stir it your dipper, scooping it into and throughout the mix from top to bottom. Repeat. Skim off the crap that floats up.

4. Leading almost always results from too soft an alloy, too hot a load, or undersized/oversized bullets that don't fit your barrel groove diameter. For revolvers, tight chamber throats can also give leading problems. You need to experiment by changing only ONE variable at a time to see what effect it has. I would start by switching powders. WW296, H110, IMR 4227, and H2400 are fine for heavy magnum-tuype loads, but they burn slower to give the higher velocity, and can be notorious for causing barrel leading.

5. Firing a few JACKETED bullets after each session with cast slugs is a good and easy way to clean most of the lead out of your barrel.

Good luck! Let us know how you make out.

John
 

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SA shooter said:
the lead i'm using came from some old pipes i bought from a scrap yard,
I think the lead you're using is pure and is probably way too soft for use in revolvers. Get yourself some Wheelweights and try those. My WWs show a hardness of about 14BHN. That said, I'm getting severe leading shooting cast through my S&W M686 357mag. Cast is working fine in a 1911 I shoot. I clean the lead out of the 686 using patches cut from a Pro-Shot Lead cleaning cloth. After using the patches, I use Shooters Choice Lead Solvent to clean the bore and it seems to get it all out.

My leading problem is caused from chamber throats that are too tight and a constriction where the barrel screws into the frame. I've firelapped the barrel and most of the constriction is now gone. The cylinder is about to be sent off to have the throats reamed.

Good luck,

Rick
 

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Dealing with leading.

To remove the lead, the previously mentioned 'shoot a few jacketed rounds solution' works well, as does bronze wool on an undersize bore brush. Available at paint and hdwe stores around sandpaper/steelwool country; you just twist some onto a undersize borebrush til you get a snug fit and go to it, Quick, bore-safe and effective. Coarse for grossest leading to start.
To prevent leading, I would look at bullet fit and bore condition as well as component choices. If the fit, including chamber throat to bore, is out of whack, or you have a rough bore, dealing with that first will make any needed changes with component way simpler to sort out. Veral Smith, who sponsors a cast bullet Q&A here at GBO forums, covers this to some degree in his cataloge which is posted as a sticky on the top of the forum, and comprehensively in his book, which is available out of the catalogue. Money well spent for the bullet caster, even if you don't use his stuff. I think he is the best source on the subject; he has strong views and a forceful way of expressing them, but I wouldn't discount any of his views. No tact at all when dealing with b.s. about lead bullets. Vast experience, though, and a great resource.
 

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I agree with Rick, your lead from pipe is pure. Dropping it in water won't harden it because there isn't any arsenic in it. It is hard to cast without wrinkles because there isn't any tin in it. It would work well for muzzleloaders. Find some wheel weights and give them a try.
 

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The most likely cause of the wrinkles is preservative left on your mould. Lee's preservative is hard to get off and boiling in soapy water works best. People who try to shortcut the cleaning struggle for several sessions until it finally burns off.

How hard a bullet you need depends on what you are shooting it in and how hard you are pushing it. One pound of leadfree solder to 50 pounds of lead will work fine for target level loads, c. 800 fps. Others have mentioned wheel weights. Half WW, half your scrap pipes should work fine up to about 1000 fps in pistols and maybe a bit over.
 

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thanks for the advise all !

shooting the jacketed bullets through it really helps out a lot in cleaning my barrel out , i figure about 15 FMJs per 40 "soft cast" keeps it pretty clean.

I switched out my powder to about 6grs of Trail boss. seems to work pretty good didnt seem to help out the leading to much though, but atleast i dont have unburnt powder grains flying all in my hair and stuff when i shoot anymore :) also seems to shoot at a pretty low FPS or something because i can see the bullets inflight, pretty cool though. but maybe it just might be since i'm doing this much more shooting i'm just not flinching anymore at all.

i'm prolly gonna just rotate the FMJs with my pure lead bullets till i run outta them, then try to do the pipe/ww/dug up bullets and or that solder depending on what all i come across mixture, with fluxing

gonna get on that mold scrubbing asap :eek:

btw boy am i thankful yall are, seems like no one in my arena knows anything about casting, all the reloading places i go to just keep trying to get me to buy bullets
 

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One word, "gas check". OK, I blew it, that's two words!! HOWEVER, gas checks go a long way towards holding down the leading of your barrel. Also, if you quit being such a tighwad :-D and pony up for some commercial casting lead you'll get better and harder bullets. Even in the world of bullet casting you get what you pay for.
 

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Dusty Miller said:
...........pony up for some commercial casting lead you'll get better and harder bullets. Even in the world of bullet casting you get what you pay for.
Nope, I can't agree with this'un!!!! Might be that it's the wrong metal for the purpose but around here pure lead is at a much higher premium than acceptable bullet material !!

My limited experience:
A gun that doesen't shoot lead bullets well takes just a bit of work.
Lewis Lead Remover is worth every pennny if you're working with a pistol that has a leading problem.
The guilding from jacketed bullets can be the CAUSE of leading and if not the cause can definately add to the degree.
Pure lead generally isn't hard enough.
Baked wheel weights are hard enough for most applications.
Frequently the "out" hole on the cylinder is smaller than the bore. (This is a good possibility. Since you're using pure lead, slugging cylinder throats and the bore should be a simple chore.)
Less likely but possible:
The bore is still rough from rifleing.
There could be a constriction in the bore. You can probably feel this when you sluge the bore.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the only ones that I've encountered.
 

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You may have to fire-lap your barrel to solve this problem. A rough barrel will lead up like crazy and be tough to clean.
 

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i agree with butler and dusty get your self some j &b bore paste and give it a good polish. on the h&r handy rifle forum there is a post that tells you how to do it .hope this helps.
bernie :)
 

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To remove lead - without having to shoot jacketed bullets - especially if you discover the leading while sitting in your garage..

try a Lewis Lead Remover/Puller. I purchased a set for my .45 and .357 about 10 years ago. My Dad had his from several years before. They work great. I think I paid about $13.00 for mine.
 

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Lots of good advice on what to do to prevent leading, but I shy clear of jacketed bullets to "clean" the barrel. They can iron on existing lead and compund the problem. Use a Lewis tool, or go to the grocery store and get copper scouring wool and scrub the barrel down. As far as the melt goes, try adding a coil of tin/lead solder to the pot. If you are using a 100% load density, cutting a waxed cardboard wad and placing it under the base of the bullet sometimes helps. Try another coat of Lee Alox also. Find some wheelweights and do a 50/50 mixture. I wouldn't give up. If you've got a goldmine of lead, it's worth the time to figure out the combination to use up what you've got. Keep the faith, something will work.
 
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