Thinking about lead

Thinking about lead

This is a discussion on Thinking about lead within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Background, I use unique powder on a 550 for all my handgun loads. Uniques a decent powder as I don't have to change out the ...

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Thread: Thinking about lead

  1. #1
    Member Array stgdz's Avatar
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    Thinking about lead

    Background, I use unique powder on a 550 for all my handgun loads. Uniques a decent powder as I don't have to change out the powder for all my handgun loads, just adjust the dial.


    With that being said, I currently load 9mm, 38, 357, and 45acp. I load with ranier and berry's bullets. They typically are inexpensive but prices have been creeping up. I shoot CZ's in the 9, 38/357's in a 686 and python, and 45's in a 1911.

    What do I need to know about lead? Can I just keep using unique? Does it behave differently from what I am currently loading?

  2. #2
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    Unique will certainly cover a lot of cals very adequately - plus modern Unique seems cleaner than the old stuff. It will do most std loads.

    Only cal you mention where something else would help IMO is the .357's - assuming you want to approach the full potential. Unique won't easily do that for me safely.

    For .357 I favor most Vitavhuori N-110 but that's spendy... otherwise 2400 is a good option as is W296. Main thing for near max is slower powder and full or near full case. Even Blue Dot can achieve quite good results but that's faster burning.

    If tho you make some hotter 357's the leading issue can creep in .... and so then for me it's on to gas check bullets - but I cast so not a problem there. I haven't pushed Raniers hard so Tubby can probably add his thoughts on that.
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Unique is very lead friendly. Try WSF too. Very good friends with lead.

    2400 is good as well as Blue Dot. Longshot as well but I need to do some R&D with LS in 357-love it in 10mm.

    H110/W296 is getting into "gas check" territory. If you are pushing it that fast you will want a gas check and hard bullet.

    I ran the snot out of Rainiers with my 10mm last year. My IDPA load was a 155gr Rainier FP chugging along at 1450fps from a 4" 1911. I wouldn't advocate pushing them this fast for target shooting but I wanted to push the envelope [safely] and see what happened if I went past 1200fps that Rainier recommends.

    My thoughts on Rainier vs Berry's. Go with Rainier. Their bullets are of higher quality, more consistent, and cost less. Berry's is shooting themself in the foot with this moronic "lead surcharge" that now put the price of plated bullets OVER the price of jacketed. Jacketed bullets will cost $100 shipped for a thousand and Berry's wants $125-145 for PLATED, which are cheaper to manufacture than jacketed. Unreal.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

  4. #4
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    I'm a huge fan of Unique. It'll give great results with the cartridges you mention. It's a surprisingly good choice for full power loads in the 9mm and .45 ACP (also the best choice for the mighty .25 ACP if any one cares). It's clean burning in such applications and yields really potent ammo with APPARENTLY reasonable pressures. I've been able to meet or exceed maximum velocities listed for most other propellent powders in both the 9mm and .45 ACP using listed charges of Unique. My old Luger is particularly fond of Unique in heavier charge weights.

    Even though it's not the "cleanest" burning choice out there I favor it for most general purpose loads for revolver cartridges and it is suppose to be cleaner than it was formerly. I can't tell much difference and don't really care whether or not it's "dirty" burning as it's reputation suggests. I clean my guns after each use anyway and I like Unique's performance.

    It's applicable for a wide range of handgun uses but begins to fade when employed in really high-pressure Magnum revolver cartridges. In the magnum revolver cartridges Unique can't generate as much velocity before pressures began to peak as can powders such as H110, W296, 2400, Blue Dot, or other powders such as the Vitavhuori N-110 that Chris mentions. If you want to make up some high-velocity .357 Magnum lead loads the 2400 or Blue Dot will better serve. I too only use H110 and W296 with jacketed or gas check bullets.

    If stuck with only a single powder for handgun use I could grow old and be happy with Unique. Would be upset of stuck with any other single powder I've used.

    Bummer that Berry's sees fit to charge in that fashion. Don't see how they will compete. Nice tip though.

  5. #5
    Member Array stgdz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    My thoughts on Rainier vs Berry's. Go with Rainier. Their bullets are of higher quality, more consistent, and cost less. Berry's is shooting themself in the foot with this moronic "lead surcharge" that now put the price of plated bullets OVER the price of jacketed. Jacketed bullets will cost $100 shipped for a thousand and Berry's wants $125-145 for PLATED, which are cheaper to manufacture than jacketed. Unreal.
    I have had a problem with Rainier bullets wrinkling a bit though when I switched from berry's to rainiers. It ruined a bunch and I will have to go back and check my settings but it seemed like the berry's were a bit thicker in the plating.

    edit-oooh, here is one more question
    How do you guys deal with loading lead and health issues that surround it? I typically wash my hands after loading rainiers and shooting. Do you guys use latex gloves when loading?

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    I've not used gloves for shooting, handloading, or bullet casting in 35 years and I've only grown a tail and a single additional toe so far.

    I've seen lead exposure addressed before and some have dismissed it as being inconsequential for adults, claiming that lead exposure is most detrimental for children. Someone else with medical knowledge could weigh in here for an appropriate answer.

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    Bryan .... my take is that particulate lead and lead vapor - inhalation - is the main risk aspect. True, hand to mouth after handling is not desirable but OTOH too not I think a major biggie for adults if reasonable care.

    Re vapor .. I don't reckon my pot gives off much if temp kept sensible but if the melt gets unnecessarily hot then the risk goes up fast. My main ''fumes'' are from fluxing

    You gotta tail huh? I just have one extra ear
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    Good stuff Chris! We'll recognize each other won't we?

    If ya' live long enough, you'll die. Scary, ain't it?

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    Yeah I don't worry about lead personally. I wash my hands before sticking my fingers in my daughter's mouth though.

    My grandpa used lead solder for about 8 hours a day, no gloves, for maybe 60 years. He also smoked 3 packs a day of Pall Mall's non-filtered. He died at 76 from lung cancer - I don't think the lead had anything to do with it. I think unless you're grinding it up and drinking it in shakes, you're probably ok. For kids that are still growing, maybe its a bigger deal. I play it safe as far as that goes. But I sure don't wear latex gloves!

    I don't know if you're talking about using cast lead bullets, or casting your own - big difference. If you're just asking about using lead bullets for your handloads - go for it! They work great. Might be a little smoky if you're shooting rapid fire indoors, but other than that I don't see any downside. I suggest Titegroup for a cheap powder - it takes very little to load, so a can makes a lot of cartridges. I use 4.6 grains in both .40 and .45 IIRC, so I'm definitely getting my $15 worth with that stuff. Plus it meters better than Unique...

    Just my $0.02

    Austin

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stgdz View Post
    I have had a problem with Rainier bullets wrinkling a bit though when I switched from berry's to rainiers. It ruined a bunch and I will have to go back and check my settings but it seemed like the berry's were a bit thicker in the plating.
    Berry's is thicker plating. I shot 250 rounds of Berry's plated and went back to Rainier. Now I shoot just lead, maybe 1% of shooting is jacketed.

    edit-oooh, here is one more question
    How do you guys deal with loading lead and health issues that surround it? I typically wash my hands after loading rainiers and shooting. Do you guys use latex gloves when loading?
    No. I just wash my hands afterwards and have a midget bottle of Purell sanitizer on the bench.

    I wear welding gloves when bullet casting. I also wear eye protection while reloading and casting. I wear a cartridge respirator when I cast. Looks like a military gas mask but without the face shield part, just the nose/mouth stuff.

    I get tested for lead every month and so does my son.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

  11. #11
    Member Array Sharp's Avatar
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    I prefer bullseye over unique for shorter barrels, because it burns faster. There are plenty of bullseye recipes for all of the calibers you listed, and less bullseye is required per round than unique. So a pound will go a bit farther.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    I get tested for lead every month and so does my son.
    How much of a pain is this, other than a blood test? Does insurance cover it? Have your lead levels ever been higher than the average person, but still within safe levels?

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Just a ***** on the finger. The doctor's office is at the end of my block, about 8 houses down.

    My insurance covers it. My Dr. is cheap. Not very expensive.

    No, always within normalcy. I run a bullet casting business, that is why I get checked so often.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

  13. #13
    Member Array stgdz's Avatar
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    I shoot at a outdoor range so inhilation won't be a issue. The biggest concern is handling it and talking to the wife and getting her on board with it.

    How is bullseye different from unique? Is it a flake powder or ball?

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I think it is flake. Bullseye is a very spikey powder. Be careful with it.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

    Probably the only home based FFL that doesn't do transfers.

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    Yep, Bullseye is a mite touchy. A little dab'll do ya'. Double charges would be a bummer even though even a double charge of Bullseye isn't much powder. It sure is good in 2.8 grain charge weights behind 148 grain hollow base wadcutters in the .38 Special.
    Last edited by bmcgilvray; January 24th, 2008 at 08:57 AM. Reason: sp

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