Lead vs FMJ in the 1911 [Archive] - Glock Talk

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barnettbill
03-26-2011, 17:32
I am considering (Strongly) getting into reloading. In my research lead bullets are WAY cheaper than FMJ. I seem to remember reading that the 1911 is ok with this, as that is what the US millitary shot back in the day. Is it still the case with todays 1911s. If it helps I have a Kimber TLE II and I am rather AR about keeping it clean so cleaning is not a problem.

HAIL CAESAR
03-26-2011, 17:41
Lead is the way to go for cheap shooting. Nothing wrong with it at all. Actaully your barrel rifling will last much longer shooting lead than jacketed. Usually reloaded lead ammo tends to be weaker, which equals much longer life of the gun in total.

ILannoyed
03-26-2011, 17:42
I love lead and have no problems in my 1911 shooting LRN and SWCs.

barnettbill
03-26-2011, 17:47
Sweet. thanks guys.

k45
03-26-2011, 20:48
You may have to do some work finding the right powder and bullets to minimize leading. Missouri Bullets are very good, I get very little leading and it cleans up quick.

BTW, Ed's Red is a great (and cheaper) cleaner, especially if you are shooting lead.

Ken

BlayGlock
03-26-2011, 20:54
+1 on the MO bullets. I use thier 230 LRN for all of my reloads.

WellArmedSheep
03-26-2011, 21:00
You might also consider moly-coated bullets. They're a little more expensive than than bare lead, and they're cleaner...less smoke and leading of the barrel.

I've put several thousand Black Bullets International 147gr 9mm's through Glocks and my 9mm 1911 with ZERO leading. I did an experiment with my Glock 34 to see how long I could go without cleaning about a year and a half ago. I got to 3000 rounds without problems, but ended up cleaning it since I was going to the GA State IDPA match just to be on the safe side.

k45
03-27-2011, 05:30
You might also consider moly-coated bullets. They're a little more expensive than than bare lead, and they're cleaner...less smoke and leading of the barrel.

I've put several thousand Black Bullets International 147gr 9mm's through Glocks and my 9mm 1911 with ZERO leading. I did an experiment with my Glock 34 to see how long I could go without cleaning about a year and a half ago. I got to 3000 rounds without problems, but ended up cleaning it since I was going to the GA State IDPA match just to be on the safe side.

Just so that you don't confuse the OP, leading sometimes is more of an issue in 9mm than in .45. With good bullets and powder, leading does not seem to be an issue in .45.

Ken

GioaJack
03-27-2011, 11:41
Regardless of caliber leading, or lack of leading is always dependent on several factors. Three of those factors relate to the bullet itself. The most important is bullet size. An undersized lead bullet will almost always cause leading. Given certain velocities pressures will not be great enough to cause sufficient bullet expansion, (obturation) into the lands causing gases to pass by the bearing surfaces and cause leading.

In times past it was normal for a lead shooter to slug the barrel on each gun to determine proper bore diameter and cast bullets one-thousandth over. As an example, id a .45 barrel slugged at .452 then the cast bullet should be .453. Modern technology, industry standards and exacting tolerances has pretty much done away with the need for slugging newer barrels. With the standard for a .45 barrel being .451 a shooter can feel comfortable loading a jacketed bullet of .451 and a lead bullet of .452. Lead bullets should always be a minimum of one-thousandths over bore diameter of leading is likely to result.

Another factor that contributes to leading is alloy hardness. Too hard of an alloy and the bullet will act similar to an undersized one, it will 'skip' down the barrel and fail to obturate into the lands. Although a harder bullet has it's place in most rifle loadings and in some high velocity handgun loadings they are not needed and in fact are a detriment in most handgun applications. There are many commercial casters that are fond of using the marketing mantra of Hard Cast bullets. Depending on the actual Brinell hardness, (the standard by which lead hardness is measured) and depending on a bullet's intended application this may be either a good or bad thing.

The third factor associated with a bullet and its potential to lead is the bullet lube that is used. No other factor causes more controversy than proper bullet lube and to an extent proper lube is again dependent on intended application. Each experienced caster has determined which is the proper lubes for his individual applications through trial and error and most commercial casters use lubes that are adequate for common handgun loadings. For the novice lead shooter learning to 'read' a barrel may at first be a little daunting but a quick shortcut to performance is that if leading is occurring toward the muzzle portion of the barrel the bullet is running out of lube before exiting and a harder lube should be tried.

The last major factor in potential leading is velocity. Lead has it's limitations, (although experienced casters can certainly produce alloys that will allow non-leading rifle loading up to the 3000 fps levels) and is not intended to be pushed at high velocities, especially in handgun loadings. As an example, a straight wheel weight allow, (make friends with a tire shop owner, show up with a case of premium beer and walk out with a 130 pound 5 gallon bucket of wheel weights) will produce an alloy of an 11 to 12 Brinell hardness which will allow a velocity of around 1200 fps without leading. Add a bit more antimony, linotype or water quench the bullets, (must have arsenic in the alloy for quenching to work) and those velocities can be greatly increased.

For the novice lead shooter/loader it should be understood that powder choice can play a role in leading. Fast burning powders will contribute to leading in anything over mouse flatulence loads. For mid-range and above, (excluding MAX loadings), Unique is probably the best powder out there for lead bullet shooting.

For those who have never shot or loaded lead bullets know that they will not only reduce the cost of your shooting, (in most cases, there are exceptions) but are every bit as accurate as the jacketed bullets that you're now shooting... certainly within the limits of your holding ability. Home casters have long known that shooting their own cast bullets can reduce the cost of shooting by 75% or more.


Jack

Hokie1911
03-27-2011, 11:54
That's good info Jack. I will be starting to reload in a few months and have been starting to do some recon on components. I will give lead bullets a look, as I am looking at a cost effective way to shoot more .45. Thanks!

k45
03-27-2011, 12:09
Jack posted very good information. A few comments I will add:

Reducing the load will not necessarily reduce leading. I went to extremes reducing the load without success. That was before I understood about obduration :( I was going in the wrong direction!

Unique is a well used powder, but doesn't meter as well as other powders. I have had very good .45 results with Winchester Super Target and Action Pistol (now sold by Ramshot as Silhouette ).

Ken

Hound_dogs_01
03-27-2011, 12:42
As much as I love unique in my revolver loads. In semi-auto i perfer W231, Its a bit cleaner.

Best shooting .45 ACP load i have ever shot was 5.0grs of W231 with a 200GR SWCL. I have used it with a 14lb recoil spring all the way up to a 22lb recoil spring and worked every gun flawlessly!!

Alex

GioaJack
03-27-2011, 13:04
I certainly didn't mean to imply that Unique is the only powder to use with lead bullets and if that's the way it came across I apologize, write it off to my poor communications skills. I've been loading Unique since the early 60's and as you can imagine many of the powders available today weren't even a gleam in their inventor's eye. I guess sometimes my bias shows through.

It would have been more accurate for me to say that mid, to upper mid-range loads for lead perform best with a mid-range burning powder of which there are several fine choices. A cooler burning single base powder as opposed to a double base also helps mitigate potential leading problem in anything over mild, yet highly accurate target loads.

Newer loaders are often aghast when some of us who are a bit longer in the tooth proclaim that a handgun loader can go through their entire career with three powders on the bench; Bullseye, Unique and 2400.

Progress is sometimes hard to accept. :supergrin:


Jack

MajorD
03-27-2011, 14:03
the 45acp has always been standard with the military with a jacketed bullet. Most high volume civilian shooters use lead cast bullets due to cost. most of the shooters showing up at camp perry for the national bullseye championships will be shooting cast bullets with great accuracy and reliability -go forth with lead bullets without worry. to tell you the truth I use cast bullets in the majority of my loads with good effect,even those destined for my glocks.

wrx04
03-27-2011, 15:37
I have about 5000 reloads through my gun (all montana gold 230gr fmj) and i havent had a single problem yet. I have really started thinking about switching to lead bullets and save some money, but here are my concerns:

1) It will greatly increase my lead exposure, especially since i shoot indoors often. That along with cleaning it will give a higher chance of potential lead poisoning (I know Jack will be along to call me a huge sissy for this:supergrin:)

2) None of my reloading books have data for lead. I know its supposed to be less of a charge compared to fmj, but how much?

3) I dont understand fully what the bullet lube entails. Do i have to do that myself or do they come lubed already? Do you lube the bullet before or after you have made the cartridge?

Are any of these things valid concerns? Where can i find the info for #2 and #3? I would love to start shooting lead and save some $$$ if these things can be taken care of.

k45
03-27-2011, 16:45
I have about 5000 reloads through my gun (all montana gold 230gr fmj) and i havent had a single problem yet. I have really started thinking about switching to lead bullets and save some money, but here are my concerns:

1) It will greatly increase my lead exposure, especially since i shoot indoors often. That along with cleaning it will give a higher chance of potential lead poisoning (I know Jack will be along to call me a huge sissy for this:supergrin:)

2) None of my reloading books have data for lead. I know its supposed to be less of a charge compared to fmj, but how much?

3) I dont understand fully what the bullet lube entails. Do i have to do that myself or do they come lubed already? Do you lube the bullet before or after you have made the cartridge?

Are any of these things valid concerns? Where can i find the info for #2 and #3? I would love to start shooting lead and save some $$$ if these things can be taken care of.

#1 - it's not the lead bullets that are a health concern. Years ago my lead level was high. I quit casting bullets in the basement. No help. I quit shooting lead bullets, went back to FMJ. No help. The problem was the poor ventilation at the range! Probably from the lead in the primers. When I started insisting on only using the lanes with good ventilation (and insisting that the ventilation be turned on) my blood lead level went down.

#2 - get a better loading manual :) Lyman has a lot of lead recipes. Hornady has some. Also the online resources, Hodgdon (for Win. and Hodgdon powders), Accurate Arms, Ramshot all list lead loads.

#3 - When you buy cast bullets, they come lubed. Again, Missouri Bullets have a great reputation as do some others. Only when you cast your own bullets do you have to worry about the lube.

Ken

wrx04
03-27-2011, 17:22
#1 - it's not the lead bullets that are a health concern. Years ago my lead level was high. I quit casting bullets in the basement. No help. I quit shooting lead bullets, went back to FMJ. No help. The problem was the poor ventilation at the range! Probably from the lead in the primers. When I started insisting on only using the lanes with good ventilation (and insisting that the ventilation be turned on) my blood lead level went down.

#2 - get a better loading manual :) Lyman has a lot of lead recipes. Hornady has some. Also the online resources, Hodgdon (for Win. and Hodgdon powders), Accurate Arms, Ramshot all list lead loads.

#3 - When you buy cast bullets, they come lubed. Again, Missouri Bullets have a great reputation as do some others. Only when you cast your own bullets do you have to worry about the lube.

Ken

Thanks for the reply, Ken.

The indoor range by me has pretty crappy ventilation and i shoot about 3X per week. I'm gonna start going to the outdoor range more when the weather gets nicer, but that is kinda concerning. How did you know your blood lead levels were up? Just routine bloodwork?

I have the Lyman and Speer loading manuals and i didnt see it in there. I will have to look again, maybe i missed it.

I think i might give MO a try once i get through the 2000 MG i just bought. I appreciate the help.:wavey:

k45
03-27-2011, 17:43
The indoor range by me has pretty crappy ventilation and i shoot about 3X per week. I'm gonna start going to the outdoor range more when the weather gets nicer, but that is kinda concerning. How did you know your blood lead levels were up? Just routine bloodwork?

I think I had it checked since I was casting bullets.

After that, I watched which lanes had better air movement and waited for them to become available.

I'm not saying other bullets aren't good, it's just that many of us have had good results and customer service from Mo Bullets.

Ken

michael e
03-27-2011, 17:51
MY RIA 1911 dont seem to like lead. I have to change seating depth of bullet and try again. I use hard cast lead in all my guns. SWC is my favorit with my 1911 only thing if you have doulbe stack guns they dont seem to feed reliable. RN work great in my glocks sa ria so i have changed to that for time being

GioaJack
03-27-2011, 18:06
wrx04:

I'm hurt to the quick knowing that you think I'd call you a sissy... you're still a rookie and have yet to reach sissy status. :supergrin: You have however come a long way since your first lurking on the loading forum. Given a few more decades you'll undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with.

K45 has given you good information which if followed will leave you little to anything to worry about.

I never shoot indoors so lead exposure in that sense is not really one of my concerns although I have spent quite a bit of time in indoor ranges both in the military and my old department. (Safety concerns were much more lax that they are now... by a wide margin.)

I understand that many indoor ranges prohibit the use of lead bullets with some going so far as to require CMJ's as opposed to FMJ's.

Although I no longer shoot indoors I've cast indoors for the last 47-48 years and although I've averaged a lead blood test at least every two years during that time I've never even approached the high/normal limit. (High normal is a 9 on a 1 to 9 scale IIRC.) Within the last few weeks I finished casting my normal winter allocation of between 50 and 60 thousand bullets in various calibers and weights. It usually takes me the rest of the year to collect the 12 to 14 hundred pounds of wheel weights it takes to produce that amount.

With very simple precautions loading lead also poses no problems. Some loaders wear latex gloves when they load lead, I suppose it can't hurt but I don't really see the reason. Unless you were raised by cats you know how to wash your hands instead of licking them clean. If you get hungry while loading suck on a lollipop or Lifesaver in stead of a lead bullet and you'll have nothing to worry about.

Get into the habit of loading lead, (especially if you cast your own) and you'll be amazed at how much you can save. With the money I saved casting this winter I bought two new STI Trojans and still have enough left over for something else... I'm considering a truck load of Metamucil. As life progresses priorities tend to change.


Jack

barnettbill
03-27-2011, 18:08
:wow:
lots of great info guys thanks. I looked at both MO and Dardas and looks like they have the same product but MO has better prices.

wrx04
03-27-2011, 18:29
wrx04:

I'm hurt to the quick knowing that you think I'd call you a sissy... you're still a rookie and have yet to reach sissy status. :supergrin: You have however come a long way since your first lurking on the loading forum. Given a few more decades you'll undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with.

K45 has given you good information which if followed will leave you little to anything to worry about.

I never shoot indoors so lead exposure in that sense is not really one of my concerns although I have spent quite a bit of time in indoor ranges both in the military and my old department. (Safety concerns were much more lax that they are now... by a wide margin.)

I understand that many indoor ranges prohibit the use of lead bullets with some going so far as to require CMJ's as opposed to FMJ's.

Although I no longer shoot indoors I've cast indoors for the last 47-48 years and although I've averaged a lead blood test at least every two years during that time I've never even approached the high/normal limit. (High normal is a 9 on a 1 to 9 scale IIRC.) Within the last few weeks I finished casting my normal winter allocation of between 50 and 60 thousand bullets in various calibers and weights. It usually takes me the rest of the year to collect the 12 to 14 hundred pounds of wheel weights it takes to produce that amount.

With very simple precautions loading lead also poses no problems. Some loaders wear latex gloves when they load lead, I suppose it can't hurt but I don't really see the reason. Unless you were raised by cats you know how to wash your hands instead of licking them clean. If you get hungry while loading suck on a lollipop or Lifesaver in stead of a lead bullet and you'll have nothing to worry about.

Get into the habit of loading lead, (especially if you cast your own) and you'll be amazed at how much you can save. With the money I saved casting this winter I bought two new STI Trojans and still have enough left over for something else... I'm considering a truck load of Metamucil. As life progresses priorities tend to change.


Jack

:rofl::rofl:

Thank you, sir. I just picked up 1000 from MO, and i'll give 'em a shot. It will be a while before i start casting my own, but we'll start here. Baby steps.

How you like those Trojans BTW?

Chad

GioaJack
03-27-2011, 18:49
:rofl::rofl:

Thank you, sir. I just picked up 1000 from MO, and i'll give 'em a shot. It will be a while before i start casting my own, but we'll start here. Baby steps.

How you like those Trojans BTW?

Chad


Don't know. Broke my back again a month ago, just before they came in. A week later had a little medical problem, stopped breathing for some reason. Had to be transported by Flight for Life.

Gonna really tick me off if I don't last long enough to shoot 'em. My daughter and son-in-law act like they're worried but there's always that early inheritance thing to consider. :dunno:


Jack

wrx04
03-27-2011, 19:05
Don't know. Broke my back again a month ago, just before they came in. A week later had a little medical problem, stopped breathing for some reason. Had to be transported by Flight for Life.

Gonna really tick me off if I don't last long enough to shoot 'em. My daughter and son-in-law act like they're worried but there's always that early inheritance thing to consider. :dunno:


Jack

Yikes! You really need to lay off the women if you keep getting hurt like this:supergrin:.

Get better, man.

MajorD
03-27-2011, 22:15
oddly enough most of the indoor ranges in my area were built many years ago strictly with bullseye type shooting in mind and they REQUIRE plain lead bullets as the backstops were not designed to withstand the increased pounding they get from jacketed bullets. I had an issue with elevated lead level years ago and I now limit my indoor shooting to a winter bullseye league with 20 matches a year in the winter. the rest of the time shoot outside even when it's -10 outside.
elevated lead level is something if you are concerned about you need to discuss with your medical provider because it needs ot be ordered as a specific lab test- it would not be part of any routine battery of tests

HAIL CAESAR
03-28-2011, 10:18
Don't know. Broke my back again a month ago, just before they came in. A week later had a little medical problem, stopped breathing for some reason. Had to be transported by Flight for Life.

Gonna really tick me off if I don't last long enough to shoot 'em. My daughter and son-in-law act like they're worried but there's always that early inheritance thing to consider. :dunno:


Jack

Holy sheep partner!! I hope everything gets better. I'll pray for you.

I know a little what you are going through, I mashed my back up a year and a half ago. I'm fixed up now.

atakawow
03-28-2011, 10:31
Don't know. Broke my back again a month ago, just before they came in. A week later had a little medical problem, stopped breathing for some reason. Had to be transported by Flight for Life.

Gonna really tick me off if I don't last long enough to shoot 'em. My daughter and son-in-law act like they're worried but there's always that early inheritance thing to consider. :dunno:


Jack

Hey, I happen to be in Denver this week. I'd be glad to try out those Trojans for you. Just don't ask me when I leave town. :whistling:

El_Ron1
03-28-2011, 10:41
I put over a 1000 relatively mild 200 gr. LSWC rounds through my 1911's between cleanings. Use that "filthy" Bullseye too. Multiple sessions of 100 to 200 rds, a little lubrication each time.

GioaJack
03-28-2011, 13:20
Hey, I happen to be in Denver this week. I'd be glad to try out those Trojans for you. Just don't ask me when I leave town. :whistling:


You're more than welcome to shoot any of my guns but be aware that for every one you shoot you have to take home one of my ex-wives.

You'd rather buy your own guns... trust me.


Jack

faawrenchbndr
03-28-2011, 13:42
You're more than welcome to shoot any of my guns but be aware that for every one you shoot you have to take home one of my ex-wives.

You'd rather buy your own guns... trust me.


Jack

I've got two ex-wenches.............no need for any more!

steve4102
03-28-2011, 18:06
Not much to add to Jack and the others, cept how to remove lead from the barrel if you do happen to find yourself with a leading issue. The simplest and easiest way to remove lead from your barrel is with some "Chore-Boy" all copper scrubbing pads. Just cut a piece off, wrap it around a nylon or old warn out copper brush and run it through the barrel a few times. That's it, fast, simple and cheap.