- January 13, 2017 at 5:38 pm #32668
Quick background. Started casting with my great uncle in the late 50’s and on my own by the early 60’s. Both rifles and pistols. BP & smokeless loads. Mostly used open topped furnace and dipper, but also 10# bottom pour lately. Enjoyed decades of successful casting up until a couple of years ago.
Pistols: Leading. Revolvers; Mostly in forcing cone and the first inch or so of bore. Automatic has lead smeared all down the bore.
Bullets cast in old Lyman or Ideal molds. Sized in Lyman 450 Lubri-sizer with NRA 50/50 lube sized .001″ to .002″ over bore size. Metal: Smelted WW from independent sales.
Brief details: Cast rounds in .38Spl class (357446, 358250, 358429, 360271) perform best with little or no leading at reasonable loads. Mild leading in lead of one new single action but light. Heavy leading in .44Mag single action (429360, 429421, Lee 240-SWCGC, Lee 200-RNFP ) Forcing cone, lead, and most of bore covered with leading.
45ACP with Lyman 452374 leading all up and down bore.
Summary: For the past few years I have be experiencing bad leading in all my large caliber pistols. Moderate leading in smaller caliber. I have changed bullet metal sources three times. I have changed bullet lube even more. Increased and decreased bullet sizing. And I do not load any caliber/cartridge to maximum ever. I load mild to moderate velocities in all. But my large caliber pistols are so bad that I quit loading cast rounds for them all together and now use plated. I’ve altered powders from fast burning to slower with no effect. The only thing I’ve not done was buy certified alloy from Rotometals.
So, am I jinxed or cursed? Maybe. Am I frustrated? Oh yeah. Am I close to never casting or loading lead in my .44Mag and .45ACP? Yup! Pretty much done that. Either way I’m now disgusted with my two bigbore pistols and seldom ever shoot them now. I mean why bother if it’s going to cost alot more with plated or I get leaded plated bores with cast?
- January 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm #32669AnonymousInactive
- Posts: 34
- Comments: 109
- Overall: 143
There are a lot more experienced casters here than me, but I have had similar experiences and have cured them by mixing my COWW with pure lead. That seemed especially important with lighter loads allowing to bullet to properly obturate. My alloy for mild load is 50/50 COWW/Pb. I decrease my lead ratio as I increase the power of my loads. This my be worth a try. I use TAC-1 lube from randyrat on the CBF but any good lube such as you have been using should suffice.
- January 13, 2017 at 10:58 pm #32673AnonymousInactive
- Posts: 5
- Comments: 71
- Overall: 76
sized .001″ to .002″ over bore size.
Your bullets may not be of a large enough diameter. I say that because the groove measurement is the more important of the bore/groove diameter to stop leading. If the bullet is of less diameter than the groove measurement you could be getting gas cutting.
I say may, because there are lots of different reasons for leading.
- January 14, 2017 at 2:39 pm #32676WCMParticipant
- Posts: 30
- Comments: 368
- Overall: 398
I have gotten bad leading in the forcing cone area when the cylinder throats are larger than the bore diameter.
I have an older 629 Smith that has large chambers. I have to size bullets about .431 even though the bore is .429
Also many Rugers have a constriction where the barrel fits into the frame.
This is usually improved by fire lapping and cleaning between shots.
You may have an entirely different problem altogether, but these are the problem I have run into.
- January 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm #32678GhostHawkParticipant
- Posts: 2
- Comments: 258
- Overall: 260
When it comes to cast, fit is king. There are other area’s which may impact that, but get the fit right first. Then the others are easier to nail down.
Lube is often a culprit, and from my own experience, I have had my worst problems when I am trying to push a load too hard.
So you may want to
A invest in a better alloy.
B rework your load.
C try a different lube.
But be POSITIVE fit is right first, and that the bullet is not getting sized down in the loading process.
Myself I have had amazing success with range scrap and adding 1 to 1.5% tin. Or a mix of range scrap and wheel weight.
But I am not trying to push my loads. 1600 fps is plenty fast for the shooting I do. In pistol I prefer big and slower over small and pushing the sound barrier.
But that is just my my experience, your mileage may vary.
- January 15, 2017 at 12:17 am #32684Larry GibsonParticipant
- Posts: 55
- Comments: 507
- Overall: 562
“I have changed bullet metal sources three times. I have changed bullet lube even more”
I’d suggest adding 2% tin to your WWs. Many times antimonal wash is confused with leading(?). Many time newer WWs are very poor in tin. The tin will keep the antimony in solution in the lead and give a better alloy. Also I see you’ve changed lubes….What NRA 50/50 lube are you using now?
- January 15, 2017 at 3:19 am #32688
All my .38Spl loads are standard velocity or less. Reason, one pistol is an open topped BP framed conversion copy of a Richards & Mason. One does not load anything even resembling a mild +P in one of those. So ALL my .38Spl cases are never loaded heavy. The .44Mag is loaded light as well, not exceeding 900fps. And the .45ACP is standard at 825fps. I don’t push any loads hot.
I have some pure lead for my BP weapons and will add some to the mix. When I stated bore diameter that was groove measurements. Cylinder throats in the .44Mag is .4295″ average. Bore .429″ and cast sized in .430″ and when miked after sizing its .4305″. Even got serious leading with gas checked bullets..
.45ACP is a well worn 1911 with a very well broken in .451″ bore. Sized at .452″. I believe the guy that had it before me shot tons of that cheap Russian steel cored ammunition in it. It may well be flat out worn out. Rifling is super shallow.
The metal I’ve got was from two companies that sell WW melted down and a batch from my brother who smelted me some WW he gathered up. All leaded up in the .44 & .45. The .38Spl loads were not as bad, but even they had trace leading in a couple near the lead and forcing cone. Out of shear frustration I’ve ceased casting for the two larger calibers. Nothing has changed in reducing the lead in the bores. And I can’t remember the brand of NRA 50/50 lube. Used the last one and tossed the container when I loaded up the old 450.
Since I have no tin available, I’ll first try softer metal mix. As I’m not loading for nuclear blasts it might help. I’ll get back on this later.
- January 15, 2017 at 3:31 am #32689
Tin is readily available as solder available at the local hardware store. Avoid the rosin core stuff if you can. Lots of not so friendly fumes. A little can do wonders. Listen to Larry.
- January 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm #32694
Well shucks, I’ve got loads of solder here. Even some dating back to the 50’s and solid core. I suppose now I can create a sort of special blend that may help. Thanks to all for the tips and assistance.!
- January 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm #32855
I tried additional lead. Added solder to another batch. Even unsized and coated with Mule Snot (LLA, which I hate). Still got lead up the wazoo. So simple solution is to suspend casting of all big bore rounds. Buy and load plated bullets. And cast for the .38cal stuff and forget about anything larger.
I have limited funds and even less patience as I’ve aged. It’s simply just not worth the aggravation. It must be the curse. …
- January 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm #32857
PM me your address. I’ll mail you some bullets I’ve cast, lubed, and sized.
- January 20, 2017 at 1:48 am #32878
I appreciate the thought and offer. But I’ve really given up on casting big stuff from now on. I’m about convinced the weapons are the prime issue. The 45’s worn out no doubt by the prior owner’s excessive use of steel core eastern block cheap rounds. The 44? Who knows? But I’m no longer interested in fighting it. It’s beyond stupid accurate, but leads up. Copper plated rounds are fine.
- February 8, 2017 at 3:15 pm #33377
A brief update.
A week ago one of my neighbors across the road brought me a large box with new WW in it. Very clean and shiny. I melted them all and tried this mix. Got leading that ran the entire length of the bore. Then by shear accident I put a 3# chunk of straight lead in the pot. About 7# WW and 3# lead. When I discovered my mistake I thought oh well cast it anyway ‘cuz what’s it gonna hurt?
My 38 stuff came out heavier of course, but shot fantastic. Hum? So I cast some 200gr RNFP 44’s that barely made .4295″ unsized. A might small. But I TL’ed em with LLA and loaded up a dozen in Spl cases with a mild load. I braced myself for a lot of lead mining when I went to clean my SAA wheelgun after those loads. What I got was a decent group and just the normal powder fouling with no lead in the bore.
I immediately went to where the “old alloy” was and tossed it into the woods! After all the frustrated hours. Months of fighting leaded bores and such. It was, after all, not me but the metal. Now I’m going to have to remember this new mix huh?
Oh, haven’t tried it in the 45ACP yet, but really the bore is pretty much gone I suspect. But at least I can use cast in the 44 again. That alone made more than just my day.
It appears I got caught up in the “cast as hard a bullet ya can” school of thought. What I should’ve done was go back to the 30’s thinking and used softer metal with clean WW and not contaminated crap I had. Too hard a bullet for moderate velocity. Too much unknown crud in the WW stuff I bought.
Lessons Learned. ….
- February 8, 2017 at 6:03 pm #33381
For low pressure loads, softer is often better. I believe the original .45 Colt bullet is 40:1, lead:tin.
- February 8, 2017 at 6:29 pm #33383
Go find that old alloy. Try it cut with an equal amount of soft lead. I have always cut my WW with an equal amount of soft lead. Works great even in full power .44 mag.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.