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Lead hardness

rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,525 ✭✭✭
Now that I have my man cave back, I am going to start reloading again and I have two boxes of Hornady lead semi wadcutters I would like to load 44 special/44 mag with.

These are almost 40 years old and I seem to recall mention that lead get softer over the years.

What should I look for or do to prevent excessive leading if this is true.


  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,289 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think those were swedge, not cast and dropped in water right out of the molds. Don't try and push them too hard, and they will be ok. Start with a really clean bore free of copper or other fouling.
  • rsnyder55rsnyder55 Member Posts: 2,525 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was trying to keep it around 800 - 900 fps using 700X
  • noyljnoylj Member Posts: 172 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The lead alloy used in swaged bullets, from those companies that have been willing to discuss it, have all been 92/6/2--which is a great alloy for all handguns except the wildest magnums. If your bullets are 40 years old, however, they could actually be almost pure lead.
    The problem is not the alloy, but that most swaged bullets have only a light wax-emulsion lubricant on them, so they can't take high velocity--they are designed for 700-800 fps and that is all the lube is good for.
    Making them harder (some how) will not help, and could make leading worse if the diameter is too close to groove diameter.
    Best thing I have found is to use a very light tumble-lube coat of Lee Liquid Alox on such bullets to prevent leading. Any time I get commercial bullets that lead (and they are always too hard), I find that LLA solves the problem.
  • cbyerlycbyerly Member Posts: 689 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    For those who think lead gets softer with age, I recommend reading page 102 of the NRA cast bullets BY Harrison. Extensive tests have shown that lead hardens for about 20 days after casting and then stabilizes. It never gets softer.
  • perry shooterperry shooter Member Posts: 17,390
    edited November -1
    Soft lube is best by far The size needs to be larger than the bore Most leading come from TOO small LUBE does two things Cuts the chance of abrasion against the bore but also seals the bore to avoid GAS CUTTING soft high % of LEAD has a higher melting point than other harder alloys so some time Hard will lead the bore while soft near pure lead will NOT
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