9mm cast bullet leading issue

This is a discussion on 9mm cast bullet leading issue within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Both my LC9 and Sig p228 are leading. I bought some 125 gr cast bullets from Mid Atlantic Bullets. These are 18 BHN with a ...

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Thread: 9mm cast bullet leading issue

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    9mm cast bullet leading issue

    Both my LC9 and Sig p228 are leading.


    I bought some 125 gr cast bullets from Mid Atlantic Bullets. These are 18 BHN with a yellow hard lub.

    I am using Universal clays and using data from my Lee die set. 3.8 to 4.3 grains. I even tried up to 4.8.

    All loads are producing a bit of leading. I donít know how to judge leading but I can shoot 50 to 100 round and run a brush through the barrel and get quite a few slivers of lead. When I run a cloth through the barrel it makes the lead shiny so I can see the deposits running down the rifling.

    To get the rest out, I fill the barrel with 50% peroxide and 50% vinegar and let it sit ten minute. It gets it all of the lead out and leave a clean barrel. Sometimes I can see slivers of lead hanging down from the rifling. These are .356 diameter bullets.

    Any tips or suggestions? I have some .358 diameter 158 grain for my 357 Smith and it is not having a leading issue with 6 grains of powder. There is one or two small streaks in the barrel.

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  3. #2
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    They may be going too fast and they may need a gas check.
    Typically, speeds around 1000 FPS seem to do well. Faster than that and they start needing a gas check.

    Or, they could be too hard, and not going fast enough to seal and the gas is cutting around the base,which causes leading, in which case, bumping the speed up a bit might help.
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    Just a guess but your bullets could be undersized. Tried slugger your barrel to find out what size it really is? Undersized bullets are in my opinion the main reason for leading. I try to use bullets .001 to .002 oversize the bore.

    If they are under sized you might have to find a supplier online that will sell you some in the size you need. Some suppliers offer the same bullet sized in increments of .001. For instance the same bullet in your choice of .355 to .358.

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    I was thinking that perhaps the bullets are cast too hard if they really are 18 Brinell hardness. Wouldn't 12-14 do for moderate 9mm loads?

    It's reasonable to consider that the bullets could be undersized.

    It's also reasonable to consider that the barrel is just going to be one that is leading-prone no matter what kind of cast bullet is used. If you're keeping it perfectly clean between shooting sessions you're doing the correct thing to reduce leading.

    You mention lead slivers. Are these flakes of lead or are you pulling long strings of lead out of the grooves. The old Remington lead handgun component bullets sold 25-50 years ago with the funky black hard lube used to lead like fiends. They were very soft lead and the lube was unhelpful. They were a leading problem. Perhaps your expectations are set pretty high. A box or two of lead bullet handloads will generally leave a dab of lead deposits in a bore that is easily cleaned out. I don't consider that to be leading, as a problem. It readily cleans out with a brush and solvent.

    I've never heard of the vinegar/peroxide method for cleaning lead out.
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    I beat one of the bullets through the barrel yesterday. I will pickup a caliper to see what size the barrel is. Do i measure the groove or land height? My caliper is not a precise one. The bullet slug measure a shade over to a shade under 9mm.

    The lead is in flakes about 1/4 to 1/2" strips.

    I think they are ok for the speed. My 357 is shooting the same make and harness bullets.

    I saw the vinegar/ peroxide method on a few different sites. It works well. I don't let it sit over 10 mins.
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    Senior Member Array Ring's Avatar
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    i coat all my lead in lee alox... works wonders....

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    The bullet I beat through the barrel measures from .359 to .350. The bullets not beat are .358. Their labeled .356 but a hand full are .358 so i guess this is the size. The 357 bullets are supposed to be .358 but are .360.

    The 45s I ordered from a different company are exactly .452 as advertised.

    Based on what I have read my bullets are too small. Is this normal for a 9mm to have a larger bore?

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I cast and hard lube my own bullets,shoot 9mm out of a XD9,and a S&W 6906,my bullets are .355 diameter and I have no leading issues.I would try a different brand of bullets to see if your having the same issues
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    9mm barrels are famous for being larger than .355" from many manufacturers. My CZ barrel is .356" and I have experienced leading from various brand cast bullets sized .356". The answer to my leading was a switch to Bayou Bullets. They are cast lead, but instead of conventional wax lube in the groove, they have a baked on green coating that covers the whole bullet. My barrels stay squeaky clean and the smoke from the bullets is almost non-existent as compared to shooting regular cast lead.

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    Senior Member Array BamaT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ring View Post
    i coat all my lead in lee alox... works wonders....
    Agree 100% with the Lee liquid alox. A light coat, in my experience, really reduces leading.
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