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Old 09-04-2017, 05:09 PM
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Default Jacketed vs. Lead nose bullets

This may seem like a dumb question (I'm partial to those so I've been told ) but do round nose jacketed bullets leave less of a lead mess in your barrel than non-jacketed bullets.

Thanks.

Rich
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Old 09-04-2017, 06:00 PM
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I'm no expert, but I'm going to say yes and no.

In my experience, it's usually easier to clean the bore after shooting jacketed bullets than lead bullets, but that depends on how many lead bullets you've fired, the hardness of the lead (harder = less leading), how often you clean the bore, etc.

But, jacketed ammo can leave build-up, too, though it may not be as readily visible or affect shooting as soon as lead might.

In either case, cleaning the bore properly will minimize either issue.

Again, that's based on my experience. Others may have different views.
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Old 09-04-2017, 07:07 PM
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Jacketed bullets foul the bore in a different way than lead bullets (cast, swaged, etc). The fouling consists of traces of the bullet jacket material (copper, nickel, steel, whatever). Those metallic traces can be more difficult to remove than any amount of leading deposited by unjacketed bullets. Generally speaking, solvents are required to remove those metallic deposits, and hard scrubbing by bore brushes can be required.

Lead bullets (cast, swaged, etc) can also leave deposits in the bore, but those deposits are far softer and more easily removed than heavy metallic fouling. Usually all that is required is a few strokes with a dry bore brush followed by solvent-soaked patch and dry patches to remove most deposits.

So, yes the jacketed bullets are likely to leave less lead fouling, but removing the fouling of the jacket material can be more difficult than any degree of leading removal.

Also, bore fouling by some jacket metals can have a serious effect on accuracy unless completely and properly removed.

Finally, bore cleaning and maintenance tends to be far more wearing on the firearm than any amount of normal use. Even when properly done with good quality tools and equipment, cleaning up and removing jacketed bullet fouling can cause more wear and tear on the firearm than extended use with other types of ammunition.
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Old 09-04-2017, 07:17 PM
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If cast bullets fit properly, they'll leave less fouling than jacketed bullets. In fact, some see no need to clean at all after using well-fitted cast bullets.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:21 AM
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First off the nose of a bullet can't fowl a barrel..........

it is the sides of the bullet that covers the barrel with copper or lead deposits.

Both make a mess of things and should be cleaned up in time.
The velocity and amount of powder used has a bearing in most weapons.

Just a matter if you want "Gray" or "Green/Blue" patches coming out the barrel.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:41 AM
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I was just gifted some old Peters 357 magnum lead ammo. These are pretty stout loads from probably back before the 60's, I shot them yesterday morning and I was surprised, actually shocked that they didn't foul the bore. I fired 1 round first, then checked, than 3 ,then than I started shooting 6 in a cylinder. After 50 rounds I was truly amazed .I guess they were sized properly, lubed well and the lead must have had a very high brindle number. I have about 10 more boxes to go and I have no issue at this point shooting them. I also shot some R-P loads from the late 60's (dated on the box) of JHP ,I didn't crony them, but they seem much more stout than the new stuff I've been shooting.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:31 AM
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The Brinell hardness number of a cast bullet can be far lower (softer) than many believe and not cause leading in a bore, but bullet fit is essential for this to occur.

There is also a pressure range (which, of course, affects the velocity range) where a particular alloy hardness works best. While I'm not an Elmer Keith disciple, Keith's original and favorite .44 Magnum bullet "recipe" is the best example I can think of at the moment. A roughly 1 in 16 ratio of tin to lead is quite soft with a Brinell hardness of about 9 or 10 as I recall, yet he shot this bullet at near-maximum to maximum pressure for the cartridge. Accuracy was good and bullets didn't lead the bore. I suppose many cast bullet enthusiasts still use this formula with success.

As with anything else, there are exceptions. However, with cast bullets, the most accurate bullet is usually the one that can be fired at a reasonably high or even the highest velocity for the alloy strength (hardness) that does not cause bore leading. This holds true for both handgun and rifle.

That's a vastly oversimplified explanation and maybe not even a very good one, plainly because of the many variables involved when dealing with cast bullets.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:57 AM
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My 45 Bullseye gun never leads up but that's the only one. I only shoot lead in pistols except for my EDC 9mm ( that's because I simply don't want to reload for it). My 40's, and some 38's, lead up and after about 300 rounds and I have to clean them out. I wrap copper chore boy (NOT the copper coated steel chore boy) around a mob and, after letting some solvent sit for a bit while I clean the rest of the pistol, start pushing it through. I can clean all the lead out in less than one minute. Far less effort than trying to clean copper out of my rifles. Now I'm a bit lucky as I cast my own bullets and can size them to match the barrel. Since I got all my lead free at a local range I can reload any pistol caliber for just under $4 a 100. If I had to buy powder and primer at today's prices it would probably be just over $4 a 100. That's why I shoot lead.
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Old 09-06-2017, 07:48 AM
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There is a distinct difference in the type of fouling left by the two bullets you mention.

Lead bullets leave soft lead streaks and smears in the barrel and forcing cone but are usually easily removed by a Bronze Brush or worst case scenario a Lewis Lead remover. They are both mechanical means of removing Lead.

Copper jacketed bullets leave a different type of fouling. After shooting 50 - 100 rounds you might look in your barrel and think it is not fowled at all- but you would be wrong. The Copper fouling is thin and not as apparent as lead and is usually not removable by mechanical means very well. Copper must be removed chemically and that involves a Copper Fowling Cleaner, Nylon Brush and some patience.

Even though the Lead fowling looks to be worse, it is much easier to clean IMO. Some may differ in thought but this has always been my experience.

Last edited by chief38; 09-06-2017 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:27 AM
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No copper fouling with lead bullets!
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:03 AM
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Fouling with lead is often a relationship with the lube used. Commercial casters use a very hard lube as their main concern is none of it coming off in shipping or packing. Often a softer lube will prevent leading.
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Old 09-06-2017, 12:45 PM
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Not arguing the point as there are no absolutes; hardness or softness can make a difference, but often that difference is minimal at best. The type lubricant is usually the least important factor in dealing with leading, lack of leading, or accuracy.

These are extreme examples: overheating a barrel on a 100-degree day may cause a soft lube to fail; shooting bullets lubed with a hard lube on a very cold day may also cause lube failure.
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Old 09-06-2017, 04:30 PM
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I shoot jacketed bullets in my match rifles, exclusively. Now a days. I tend to shoot about 80 rounds a day. I use Hopper's, and will usually get blue-green streaks from copper fouling. If the color is dark, I break out the Sweet's 7.62.

Usually, I shoot only lead in my target handguns. I keep the velocity below 1000fps, and when I shoot lead over 1000fps, I use gas checks. I have yet to have a leading problem.
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