Cast Lead, safe for Glocks or not? [Archive] - Glock Talk


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02-02-2013, 07:03
Ok, this must have been asked several times before. Are cast lead bullets safe to shoot in Glocks or not? I have been reloading for 25+ years. Cast bullets are what I load for practice ammo. I am new to owning and shooting this platform. I have read some posts that say they are safe. Other post talk of the "Kaboom" effect. Is it safe to only shoot a limited amount and then give the barrel a good cleaning? I there a good and sound rule of thumb that can followed? Knowledgeable advice is welcome.
Thanks Ralph

Arc Angel
02-02-2013, 07:29
:) OK, here’s what I can tell you: Keep the BHN above 12 and below (about) 18. Make sure your bullet diameter is no more than .001" over bore diameter, and NOT equal to or below it. Keep the muzzle velocity below (about) 1,100 fps.


I have many times! When you're first getting started with lead bullets check your bore frequently for leading. After awhile, and with a little acquired experience, you’ll know what to expect, and for how long you can shoot BEFORE stopping to brush out the barrel. (All of my polygonal bores are coated with Sentry Solutions, ‘Smooth-Kote’ PASSIVATED molybdenum disulfide.) Do these things and I don't expect a person with 25 years of experience reloading cast bullets to have any problem at all. :thumbsup:

To the best of my knowledge, Glock is one of very few manufacturers of mandrel-formed polygonal barrels that recommends against the use of lead bullets in their hammer-forged barrels; AND, given the broad lack of correct knowledge about this topic among the general shooting public, I'd have to say that Glock, GmbH is (probably) correct in making such a recommendation. For shooter/reloaders like you and me, though, the subject is moot. ;)

02-02-2013, 08:33
There's prolly 1,000 threads out there on this, read them & do what you think is right.
I shoot lead thru my 32 often, I have the LWD barrel and clean it regularly, no problem here.

02-02-2013, 16:08
You might post a similar question over at the main reloading page. There are a number of very seasoned cast reloaders there that run lead in their Glocks. Lots of good information there.

02-03-2013, 02:40
In regards to lead bullets in Glock barrels, I think we need to look at the reason behind it. Glock doesn't state an acceptable reason, other than they do not recommend it.

As said by others, I know of several Glock shooters who use lead bullets, including me. I've heard of no failures related to it. I have heard of some claims of some 9mm barrels that are "overbore", meaning, a bore of .356-.357", instead of the standard of .355". This could, and possibly would, cause some issues with high velocity rounds. With lead bullets, regardless of the BHN, too small is much worse than too large (within reason). A loose fit can and often does, cause excessive leading. Shoot enough of these, and the pressure spikes can increase with each firing, up to and including the point of failure (KB!). This is not likely with "factory" pressure level rounds, but most, if not all lead bullet rounds are likely hand loads, with the probability of a higher pressure baseline. Other caliber Glock pistols should have a more consistent bore, and I've not heard of any outside of SAAMI spec. Every shooter and handloader should slug their bores to be sure, in any case (although I'm sure very few actually do this). All of the Glocks I've had over the last 20+ years have been dead-on correct.

That said, I have very little shooting time with a Glock 9mm. I have, however, fired over 50K rounds of lead through a Glock 22, and tens of thousands rounds through Glock 20 and 21. Original barrels, although as many through aftermarket barrels in the same pistols. Leading or other issues have not been any worse than with any other pistol/revolver I've had experience with. For more than 30 years, almost all of the rounds I've shot have been my handloads, with my cast bullets.

That said, if you have the experience, do what your experience has taught you. If you aren't sufficiently experienced, err on the side of caution until you are. If you aren't comfortable with anything, don't do it. Keep it simple. 25+ years of experience should at least provide you the awareness of what to watch for. Don't second guess yourself, don't break the rules, and nothing will change for the worse.