38 Special Lead bullets question

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Mouser, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Mouser

    Mouser Active Member

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    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.
     
  2. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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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.
     

  3. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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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.
     
  4. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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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
     
  5. Overkill0084

    Overkill0084 Active Member

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    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.
     
  6. Mouser

    Mouser Active Member

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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!
     
  7. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  8. gr8oldguy

    gr8oldguy New Member

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    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.
     
  9. Mouser

    Mouser Active Member

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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!
     
  10. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  11. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    The pure lead is valuable. I get free lead roofing pipe jackets from a buddy. The pure lead is handy for shotgun slugs and muzzle loader bullets when tin is added (20-1 lead to tin). I also use it to stretch out my harder wheel weight lead when I am casting bullets for low velocity applications like .44-40, .44 special, .38 Special and .45 ACP. I have sold off excesses of pure lead on evilbay to finance more wheel weights.

    Tin is the most overlooked casting metal (in my opinion). Wheel weights have almost no tin. While they cast a reasonably hard bullet, the introduction of 2-4% tin greatly enhances the bullet. They come out sharper, cleaner, brighter and a little harder than just with wheel weights.

    Tin is easily added with 50/50 bar solder. I get mine through Rotometals.
     
  12. noylj

    noylj Member

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    Lead bullets in a revolver:
    The bullets should be a snug slip fit in the cylinder's throats.
    You need to slug the barrel and be sure the bullets are also at least 0.001" larger than groove diameter.
    I despise plated bullets (all I ever got was horrible accuracy compared to lead bullets) and never had any issue with "smoke" or "gunk."
    Compare the price of a case of Montana Gold bullets or buying in bulk from Precision Delta. They used to be the same cost as plated and MUCH more accurate.
    If you shoot L-HBWCs, be sure not to exceed 800fps or so. I prefer about 0.1-0.25" of bullet in the throat for a revolver and not seated flush with the case mouth.