Lead Bullets

So there is a real shortage of bullets and I am looking at the options of lead bullets in my .380. I have a micro-carry Kimber .380. First of all, should I use lead bullets in that pistol? Second of all what is the general consensus on using lead bullets? Is there more frequent cleaning involved. Is there any special attention I need to pay to when reloading these compared to fmj , jhp or plated bullets (Berry's)? Considering Missouri or Vance.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
So there is a real shortage of bullets and I am looking at the options of lead bullets in my .380. I have a micro-carry Kimber .380. First of all, should I use lead bullets in that pistol?
There should be no problem with cast bullets in that firearm. These days there are options in cast bullets such as Hi-Tec coated lead. Coated bullets offer less chance of leading.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
Is there any special attention I need to pay to when reloading these compared to fmj , jhp or plated bullets (Berry's)? Considering Missouri or Vance.
Yes. There are specific loading data for lead rounds in your manuals. Follow those recommendations. Generally, lead rounds are loaded considerably lighter than jacketed.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
of all what is the general consensus on using lead bullets? Is there more frequent cleaning involved.
There shouldn’t be any more or less cleaning. The fitment of lead bullets to your barrel is critical. If you get significant leading, then the bullets may be too small for your barrel. Not all barrels of the same caliber are created equal. There are other factors that can result inn leading, though. I cast and shoot many, many cast bullets and don’t suffer from leading, but I size my bullets for my specific firearms.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
Do I use a micrometer to see that change of .001?
You can use calipers, but there’s nothing magic about that “.001” . The objective here is that you expand/flare just enough that you don’t shave any lead from the bullet during the seating process, no more. If you see a ring of lead appear at the case mouth after seating, then you’ve shaved lead from the shank, and that lead will collect in the barrel. To the same end, we don’t ever seat and crimp our cast bullets on the same step.
 
You can use calipers, but there’s nothing magic about that “.001” . The objective here is that you expand/flare just enough that you don’t shave any lead from the bullet during the seating process, no more. If you see a ring of lead appear at the case mouth after seating, then you’ve shaved lead from the shank, and that lead will collect in the barrel. To the same end, we don’t ever seat and crimp our cast bullets on the same step.
Thx walterbunning
 
You can use calipers, but there’s nothing magic about that “.001” . The objective here is that you expand/flare just enough that you don’t shave any lead from the bullet during the seating process, no more. If you see a ring of lead appear at the case mouth after seating, then you’ve shaved lead from the shank, and that lead will collect in the barrel. To the same end, we don’t ever seat and crimp our cast bullets on the same step.
I have a couple questions referring to the statement about seating and crimping at the same time. I have been using the lee die set for 9mm and of course it has a seating due and a crimping die. I have experienced that even with the carbide die I really have to pull on the lever and currently I have the press on the lee stand. With lube, effort is reduced greatly. I was considering buying the Redding set and I noticed in the product description it tells me that it seats and crimps at the same time...now I am at a dilemma.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
I have a couple questions referring to the statement about seating and crimping at the same time. I have been using the lee die set for 9mm and of course it has a seating due and a crimping die. I have experienced that even with the carbide die I really have to pull on the lever and currently I have the press on the lee stand. With lube, effort is reduced greatly. I was considering buying the Redding set and I noticed in the product description it tells me that it seats and crimps at the same time...now I am at a dilemma.
Most handgun seating dies will also perform the crimp process, but that doesn’t mean they should be done on the same step. It just means that one die can do two different jobs. For comparison, I own a hammer that can both drive and pull nails, but I wouldn’t try to do both operations on the same nail at the same time.😂

Seating and crimping handgun rounds CAN be done on the same step, but I don’t recommend it.

This from Redding’s website
Recent tests have shown that seating the bullet to its proper depth and crimping as a separate operation will produce the best accuracy.”

Attempting to crimp a cast bullet during the seat step will most assuredly shave lead from the shank of the bullet, especially with taper crimps. That lead will foul the barrel and affect accuracy. I crimp ALL my handgun rounds as a separate step: cast, coated, plated or jacketed. Two steps.
 
This is what I have been doing all along. Not until I read about the Redding die set for 9mm did I even realize that some can do it in one step. I watched another highboy video with Willy and I see how you can use the same one but do it in 2 steps.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
This is what I have been doing all along. Not until I read about the Redding die set for 9mm did I even realize that some can do it in one step. I watched another highboy video with Willy and I see how you can use the same one but do it in 2 steps.
Yep. In fact, MOST handgun seaters are capable of doing the crimp. RCBS, Lee, Hornady, Lyman, etc all have 3-die sets, meaning the seater will do the 4th step (crimp).
The Lyman straightwall cartridge seaters, like the 38, 44 and 45 LC do the best job of seating/crimping on one step that I’ve used, but only when the flare was done with their “M” die. I still prefer to do the 2-step method.
 

walterbunning

Load Data Eligible Ruger Blackhawk
Staff member
I have been using the lee die set for 9mm and of course it has a seating due and a crimping die. I have experienced that even with the carbide die I really have to pull on the lever and currently I have the press on the lee stand. With lube, effort is reduced greatly. I was considering buying the Redding set
With straight-walled cases, only the portion actually in contact with the sizing ring is being sized at any given moment as the case passes through the ring. The 9mm die is a tapered case. Think about that. This means that all parts of the 9mm case are in contacting the walls of the die at once at full stroke. That means that 9mm cases encounter a lot of friction compared to something like a 40 or 45. The standard Redding set uses a steel sizing die which requires lube. Their premium set has a TiC sizer which does not require lube, but it can help. Now, Hornady uses a TiN sizer that has less friction than the TiC rings that Redding use. TiN coating also means no lube is necessary, but is still helpful. Personally, I don’t lube 9mm cases when sized with my RCBS carbide-ring sizer.
 
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