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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since my recent casting project I've been reading a lot about bullet hardness. I'm familiar with all the formulas for matching hardness to your load etc. I don't have the time or resources to get that precise with it. I'm just looking for the best hardness for a wide range of loads (800-1200fps.) to keep leading to a minimum.
I've loaded & fired three different factory lead bullets at different vel. and found that harder is better (as a general rule). The three are Speer (swaged not cast), Meister & Laser-Cast. I know from calling them that Laser-Cast bullets run at 24bhn, Meister appears to be about the same. I've never had more than minor leading with either one. The Speer bullets seem much softer (using the highly technical pocket knife test) and they will lead up a barrel in no time. the last bunch I shot was loaded with 5.8gr. of Titegroup (about 850fps. according to my calculations). I shot 18rds. & had to scrub my ass off to get the lead out (same results with other loads also).
My cast bullets ended up harder than the 23-24bhn I was shooting for. They ended up at 29.9bhn but shot great with no leading (one 230gr. bullet was the most accurate .45ACP I,ve ever fired).
I plan to not quench the next batch I do & figure that should put me at about 24-26bhn. I'm wondering if changing the hardness will affect the accuracy?
My other question is: If harder bullets lead less, then why even mess with all that figuring?
 

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The harder the bullet the less likely it is to fill the barrel. That will allow the gasses to get around the bullet and melt the lead and foul the barrel. I think the ones I load are around 18. I won't swear to it though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bountyhunter said:
The harder the bullet the less likely it is to fill the barrel. That will allow the gasses to get around the bullet and melt the lead and foul the barrel. I think the ones I load are around 18. I won't swear to it though.
Does melting cause more leading than abrasion?
 

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As far as I know. Softer lead that expands properly in the throat will fill the barrel and not allow the gasses to get around the bullet. It'll also give you a little more velocity.
 

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There are exceptions to every rule, but in general, the formulas we have talked about match bullet hardness with chamber pressure to allow bullet obturation. I like Mt. Baldy Keith styled bullets. They run around 11 BHN. I use them for mild to wild .45colt loads and don't get leading. When I load those bullets at 32,000 cup, they are significantly softer than the formula calls for. However, they still work. So I figure if you are getting good accuracy and no leading with your cast bullets, why bother changing just because the formula says that they are significantly harder than needed.
 

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Bountyhunter said:
As far as I know. Softer lead that expands properly in the throat will fill the barrel and not allow the gasses to get around the bullet. It'll also give you a little more velocity.
++ 1 BH you got it . In your rev the leading normally at forcing cone and 1st inch. that not after the 1st inch bullet hard help to keep it sealed . It takes 144 pgs to answer your leading problems .

 

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Agree. It sounds like you are using much higher BHN than needed. I have heard and read what BH is saying but have not used anything greater than 18 so have no direct experience. I have experienced extreme leading with Hornaday lead bullets. I fired them in a 38 Spl and over 5.1 gr of Power Pistol which should have given them about 900 FPS.

I used to buy cast bullets (16 BHN) and e-mailed the former owner once and asked him about hardness. He said you should all right if you don't exceed 1,200 fps. It has worked for me but doubt if I ever horsed them much over 1,100 fps.
 

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IMHO - matching lead bullet diameter to your barrel bore diameter and making a smooth entry transition at the forcing cone is as important as the bullet hardness. Too hard a bullet will not deform to seal the bore and the leading is from gasses eroding around the sides of the bullet, melting the lead and fouling the bore. I prefer about 18 BHN for all purpose loads. I'll dip into the 20's for hot 44mag, but prefer to match bullet size to bore as more important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I agree with what ya'll are saying. I also agree that the bullets I cast are way too hard (going to recast them). I have read everything I can find on this subject (including several articles by C.E.Harris). According to these articles WW lead runs about 12-15bhn & can be quenched to about 18bhn (it contains small amounts of tin & antimony). According to Ya'll & the articles I read 18bhn should be fine for what I want. I guess I just get confused with all this stuff about adding tin & antimony. :?

Plan B: I have a bunch more WW & am going to cast a bunch of ingots of pure WW, quench the bullets & be done with it. The ingots I have I'll recast & add some pure lead to bring them down some. Load'm up shoot anybody that starts any shit! :p
 
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