38 Special Lead bullets question
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Old 08-13-2013, 03:14 AM   #1
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Default 38 Special Lead bullets question

I own a SW 686 and a Ruger GP 100. I shoot 38 Spcl almost exclusively as I like the low recoil.

I have bought metal cased bullets when/where possible...is there any extra fouling/cleaning/care for my barrels if I shoot low velocity lead wadcutters through these guns?

There will be a day when I handload these rounds and the idea of low velocity wad cutters is good for my family so I would likely deal with added cleaning if necessary.

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Old 08-13-2013, 03:18 AM   #2
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I shoot a lot of 38 Wadcutter loads. Keep powder charges light, velocities low. About once a year I spend some extra time with a bore brush and some Hoppes. About an extra 5 minutes.

When reloading, be sure to wash your hands well with soap and water after handling lead bullets.

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Old 08-13-2013, 12:32 PM   #3
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I shoot a 686 4" and I really like the 158gr RNFP lead bullet over 5.2gr of AA#5. Nice light shooting load that is very accurate and easy on recoil. I run the same bullet with AA#9 for my .357mag loads. No leading issues. I fired 500 rounds between cleaning with no leading issues.

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Old 08-13-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
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I cast my own wad cutters from wheel weight lead. The mold is a Lee 148 gr bullet. My favorite powder for these is trail boss. I think it has less recoil than a 22lr. No clean up issues and lots of fun to shoot. Good luck

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Old 08-13-2013, 05:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouser View Post
I own a SW 686 and a Ruger GP 100. I shoot 38 Spcl almost exclusively as I like the low recoil.

I have bought metal cased bullets when/where possible...is there any extra fouling/cleaning/care for my barrels if I shoot low velocity lead wadcutters through these guns?

There will be a day when I handload these rounds and the idea of low velocity wad cutters is good for my family so I would likely deal with added cleaning if necessary.
Cast bullets in general are smokier and gunkier. I believe that much of it is due to the bullet lube. As for lead fouling, at the velocities that most people shoot wadcutters, leading should be a non-issue. But you won't know until you try, every situation is different. Leading is primarily a bullet fit issue as a opposed to a "too much velocity" issue.

FWIW, I shoot mostly 158 SWC bullets. IMHO, they are probably the most versatile bullets available for both .38 & .357. You can run them fast with a stout charge of 2400 (or similar.) Or for the "Wife & Kid Loads," you can use mild charges of whatever suits you.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8oldguy View Post
I cast my own wad cutters from wheel weight lead. The mold is a Lee 148 gr bullet. My favorite powder for these is trail boss. I think it has less recoil than a 22lr. No clean up issues and lots of fun to shoot. Good luck
That is good to know about casting bullets...I used to work at a door plant in WI and have some lead from lead-lined doors for casting...mostly jigs for walleye fishing, but if it will work on bullets, why not!
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:47 PM   #7
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Your scrap lead is pure (or nearly pure) lead. It does not make the best bullet. You need to "alloy it up" with tin and antimony. Just 2-4% of each make for nice pistol bullets.

Tin is important to help with the "flow" of the lead. A good alloy will produce nice bullets with sharp edges. It also hardens the bullet, slightly and lowers the melting point

Antimony increases hardness. This small amount of antimony will help prevent leading in the barrel. It also prevents shrinkage. A soft allow will shrink as it cools. Undersize bullets contribute to leading.

Most factory unjacketed bullets are pure lead swaged bullets. They are VERY prone to leading.

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Old 08-13-2013, 08:42 PM   #8
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That is good to know about casting bullets...I used to work at a door plant in WI and have some lead from lead-lined doors for casting...mostly jigs for walleye fishing, but if it will work on bullets, why not!
Wheel weights are not pure lead and tend to cast bullets that are 12 - 15 on the hardness scale. That being said, if you keep your loads fairly light you should have no problem with softer lead bullets. I have cast pure lead bullets but I tried to keep my fps around 650 - 700. Have fun and good luck.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:30 PM   #9
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I have a strong feeling the lead I have is pure...no hurry as I have not acquired the reloading press and dies yet...just something that I will get into...maybe an x-mas present to myself!

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Old 08-14-2013, 12:10 AM   #10
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I use Berry's and Rainier copper plated bullets. They are soft lead that has been plated with copper and work pretty well. Come in different weights and configurations and you use lead loading data. You can not load them up to jacketed bullet velocities but you can use the high end lead charges without the leading.

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