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Old 10-15-2013, 05:30 PM
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Default Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets.....

Anybody know the approximate brinell hardness of Speer and Hornady swaged lead bullets?? I use a lot of these and am getting into hardcast bullets that are around the 15 bh range. How do they compare??

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Old 10-15-2013, 05:33 PM
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Don't know off hand,but there is a big difference from my experience.You should be able to shoot the cast ones much faster with no leading.


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Old 10-15-2013, 05:42 PM
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Swaged bullets are approximately 10 brinell
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:15 PM
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About 1.2 BHN less than peanut butter.

Seriously, they are a lot softer than cast, around 8-10 BHN. You will love cast!
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:27 AM
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I once bought some swaged bullets and told they were BH 8-10. They leaded the heck out of my gun and I will never use them again. I wound up melting them into 2 to 4 pound ingots and using them for weights in my workshop. I wrapped them in electrical tape to keep them from getting on both my hands and material I was working on. They have served me well for 20 years as weights but were terrible as bullets!
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:18 AM
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Swagged bullets are mostly pure lead, and are not intended to shoot but slower target loads. In a 38 Special if you keep the velocity under about 700-750 fps you will get a very accurate and non leading load. If yo want to get up over 800 fps and into the 900 fps range, you need hard cast bullets. Loose rule of thumb, if you can cut a crease in a bullet with your thumbnail it's too soft to push hard.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:34 AM
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Swaged bullets are made by mashing pure or almost pure lead into what ever shape is needed. Naturally they will be very soft around 5-8 BHN at least as far as I can tell with my goofy Lee hardness tester. Cast bullets will almost always be a lead alloy made up of lead, tin and other metals. The tin and other metals improve the casting properties of lead and make it harder. While it is natural to assume hard lead will work better keep in mind the key to no leading is that the bullet be bigger than the bore (or chamber throats when it comes to revolvers). An undersized bullet will lead the barrel period, does not matter how hard it is. Bigger diameter is always better. Its important to measure your bore or chamber throats to make sure your cast bullets are at least 0.001-0.003" larger.
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:19 PM
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I know this is an old thread but I found this to be very interesting and have CORRECT hardness for lead bullets.

5-7, 8-10, 15+ ........... enjoy


Corbin Bullet Swaging Lubed Lead Bullets
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:16 PM
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I would doubt you get even 8bhn with the swaged Speer or Hornady bullets. Cast will allow you a wider load range, but they work in low pressure applications like 38sp or 45acp target loads. In 9mm or 40, you would have to run pretty soft loads to keep leading down IMO.
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Old 12-11-2015, 05:47 PM
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years back I asked Speer if they would tell me what the hardness of their .38 special, 158gr Lhp might be and they replied that did not need that information and it was not available.

It will finger nail scratch, though, unlike "Lazer cast" Lswc.
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Old 12-11-2015, 11:05 PM
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If someone wants to send me 3, happy to test them on my CT tester.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
If someone wants to send me 3, happy to test them on my CT tester.
Old thread, I know, but I was wondering: Didja' ever get to test any of these swagged bullets Fred?

I did the search that turned up this thread because I'm wanting to try making up some "FBI loads" and I have picked up 2 different bullets to try.
I've got a box of 100 swagged 158gr Speer 4627 LSWC/HP
and an almost full box (95 each) of generic 158gr cast LSWC/HP
I'm guessing the Speer are around 8-10 BHN and the cast are around 15 BHN.
So I'm thinking I'll want to load the Speers at around 750 fps and the cast at around 900 fps.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:24 PM
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If I wanted some high performance (swaged or cast) lead hollow point ammo I would load them full throttle, leading be damned. It's not like you would be shooting an all-day session with them. Shoot a cylinder or two, then run a bronze brush with some Chore Boy strands wrapped around it through the barrel and you are done.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:18 PM
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Swaged bullets should be just like cast, regardless of BHN; if they "fit" they will shoot accurately and won't lead the bore. Of course the right powder for the right pressure and velocity are very necessary factors that complement "fit". Takes some experimentation to get everything right.
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Old 01-20-2018, 05:16 PM
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Cast bullets need to be groove diameter except for Marlin Microgroove barrels, whence they should be .001 to 0.002 oversized.

Cast bullets must also be loaded fairly hot in order to abdurate properly. The pressure (12,000 psi or more) will crush the bullet enough to conform to the rifling. The advantage of swaged HBWCs is that they will expand to fit the rifling with very low pressure. However if you exceed about 600 fps, lead will line your barrel like Christmas tinsel.

Semi-wadcutters are just as accurate as swaged wadcutters, more accurate at longer range and higher velocity, and punch clean holes, but they have more recoil when loaded properly.

I load cast bullets to magnum pressure and velocity, with no leading up to about 1800 fps in a carbine. With a gas check, you can load up to about 2250 fps for loads that are within safe pressure limits.
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Swaged bullets should be just like cast, regardless of BHN; if they "fit" they will shoot accurately and won't lead the bore.
Yah, but if they're soft but undersized, they'll "obturate" and seal the bore. Just ask the guys from the left coast.

What a crock!

Bruce
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:29 PM
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Default Unless a soft swaged bullet.....

Unless a soft swaged bullet has a deep conical indent or HB wadcutter type base, it can't be counted on to obturate. An HB wadcutter is even further limited because the skirt can easily be blown off at higher velocities. Soft bullets for slow target loads. I keep even soft SWCs well below 1000 fps.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Unless a soft swaged bullet has a deep conical indent or HB wadcutter type base, it can't be counted on to obturate
Exactly!!

Thanks for re-enforcing that concept.

I don't know of any hollow base cast bullets either.

Bruce

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Old 01-22-2018, 05:47 PM
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5 years later

Swaged bullets are still around 8 to10 BHN

Your lead hardness may vary.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:50 PM
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A properly sized lead bullet won't lead a bore, even at relatively fast FPS. The problem is that most commercial casters only offer bullets in a "one size fits all" option and most shooters don't know how to properly measure to know what size they really need.

Learn to cast your own and you won't have this problem.
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:45 PM
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Tired of always hearing that swaged bullets were almost pure lead, I decided to contact the bullet companies I know that made swaged lead bullets.
Note: all my casting was with 10-13 BHN for everything, including hot .44 Rem Mag. When I started shooting rifles at over 1800 fps, I just used a gas check and didn’t change alloy.

Magnus uses 97/3 alloy, for BHN 11.

Precision Bullets uses 92/6/2 and reports the bore-riding surfaces are 13-14 BHN. They also restrike after the coating process.

Hornady reports 95/5, for 13 BHN.

Zero uses 97/3, also, for BHN of 11

Speer reports it is proprietary, and they “have a max velocity of 1100 fps.”
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noylj View Post
Tired of always hearing that swaged bullets were almost pure lead, I decided to contact the bullet companies I know that made swaged lead bullets.
Note: all my casting was with 10-13 BHN for everything, including hot .44 Rem Mag. When I started shooting rifles at over 1800 fps, I just used a gas check and didn’t change alloy.

Magnus uses 97/3 alloy, for BHN 11.

Precision Bullets uses 92/6/2 and reports the bore-riding surfaces are 13-14 BHN. They also restrike after the coating process.

Hornady reports 95/5, for 13 BHN.

Zero uses 97/3, also, for BHN of 11

Speer reports it is proprietary, and they “have a max velocity of 1100 fps.”
Good info - especially the part about the Speer product since that is one of the ones I am going to be using and what I originally asked about when I resurrected this old zombie thread.

THANKS!
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:07 PM
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Default Ditto.....

Yes indeed. Great info.

I had no idea that swaged lead was that hard. What a difference a few brinell units make. Pure lead is 5 brinell.
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:41 PM
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Swaged bullets are hard!
That explains why it’s so difficult to clean the lead from the
bore after you Shoot Them!
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:13 PM
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I shoot a lot of Hornady Frontier HBWC, SWC and Speer SWC and in my 14-3 and 28-3 I have zero leading issues as they are all light Bullseye or 231 loads. My 686-6 though leads somewhat with them.
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:45 PM
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Old thread!

Pure lead is BHN 5.

For duplicating the "FBI Load" you want a LSWCHP that is very soft... pure lead. BHN 5.

For duplicating the Buffalo Bore 20A "Heavy" load you, likewise, want a LSWCHP that is very soft... except that in that case you also want it gas-checked. Rim Rock, who actually makes the bullets Buffalo Bore uses in that load, clearly state that their bullets are BHN 5.

I've always assumed Hornady and Speer swaged bullets are BHN 5 or thereabouts. But they've always been pretty tight-lipped about that. Not doubting what you were told, noylj, but I confess I'd be completely and utterly shocked to find Hornady is BHN 13! Heck, a bullet that has a BHN of 10 is four times as hard as a bullet that is BHN 5. They've never felt that hard to me. I think I have an old box or two back on the shelf somewhere... if I do maybe I'll run 'em through the hardness tester this weekend.

The dirty little secret of the commercial cast bullet world is the need for extremely hard lead bullets - BHN's of 18, 20, and on north. The real reason they make their bullets that hard isn't because it makes them better... they make them that hard so their bullets won't become dented and deformed during shipping. But, hey, why get in the way of a good story! A good marketing department has to earn its keep!

But you'd have surprised Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton and the rest of those boys who mostly dropped 10-13 BHN bullets from their moulds.
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:45 PM
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The Speer LSWCHP has a larger cavity than the Horanaday. I've been able to run the Hornadays ~800 f/s with no leading. Frankly, I"ve never been able to drive either fast enough to get significant expansion. Judging by the penetration, neither can Federal in factory loads. I've never been able to capture one to check.
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:08 PM
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FWIW, I went ahead and tested the several commercial swaged bullets I had on hand.

Speer 38 Cal (.358) Lead SWC, 158 gr. (#4624): BHN 5.5-6

Hornady 38 Cal (.358) Lead SWC/HP 158 gr. (#3589): BHN 5.5-6

Rim Rock 38 Cal (.358) Lead SWC/HP w/GC 158 gr. (the bullet Buffalo Bore uses in their 20A load): BHN 5.2

Speer 44 Cal (.430) Lead SWC 240 gr. (#4660): BHN 7.5

The Speer 44 Cal came in slightly higher than I expected (I see no reason Speer would use a different lead composition in their 44 line than their 38 line). The others are in line with my expectations. I may re-run the Hornady test the next time I have the stuff out.

The Rim Rock bullets are fresh. The Speer and Hornady bullets are all quite old (probably north of 30 years). That shouldn't matter... cast bullets will harden a couple BHN points as they age (with most of that happening in the first few months). Swaged bullets, to my knowledge, do not.

The bottom line is that commercially swaged bullets are usually going to be very soft - approaching pure lead (which has a BHN of 5).
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
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FWIW, I went ahead and tested the several commercial swaged bullets I had on hand.

Speer 38 Cal (.358) Lead SWC, 158 gr. (#4624): BHN 5.5-6

Hornady 38 Cal (.358) Lead SWC/HP 158 gr. (#3589): BHN 5.5-6

Rim Rock 38 Cal (.358) Lead SWC/HP w/GC 158 gr. (the bullet Buffalo Bore uses in their 20A load): BHN 5.2

Speer 44 Cal (.430) Lead SWC 240 gr. (#4660): BHN 7.5

The Speer 44 Cal came in slightly higher than I expected (I see no reason Speer would use a different lead composition in their 44 line than their 38 line). The others are in line with my expectations. I may re-run the Hornady test the next time I have the stuff out.

The Rim Rock bullets are fresh. The Speer and Hornady bullets are all quite old (probably north of 30 years). That shouldn't matter... cast bullets will harden a couple BHN points as they age (with most of that happening in the first few months). Swaged bullets, to my knowledge, do not.

The bottom line is that commercially swaged bullets are usually going to be very soft - approaching pure lead (which has a BHN of 5).
More good info - thanks!

I'm going to lube the Speers I have with the 60/40 Alox/Liquid Johnson's Floor Wax recipe (Red's Liquid Lube) that is discussed on the Cast Boolits website in hopes of eliminating any possibility of leading. I won't be pushing them to the previously stated max of 1100 FPS - probably more in the 900-1000 FPS range.
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Old 05-12-2018, 02:30 PM
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Thanx for resurrecting this old thread! Great information!
I load my lead bullets ("J" woid, cast or swaged) to ~ 900-1,000 fps....357 brass, standard primers, "reasonable" powders; Unique, Universal; Wanting to try Herco, AA#5 or HS-6. That level of fps does all I will likely need it to, is pleasant to shoot and leading is less of a problem! I had no idea that the Speer or Hornady swaged projectiles were that soft!
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:00 PM
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I swage my own and 8 to 10 is way too hard.More like 6.My kit can make wc and swc in flat or hollow base and,for the swc I can make hollow point.I've pushed them at a little over 800fps without no leading at all and this in more than one gun.I must admit that I haven't pushed them to the limit just to find when they'll begin to lead.Masochist I ain't!
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:14 PM
P.W.Herman P.W.Herman is offline
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Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets..... Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets..... Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets..... Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets..... Anybody know brinell hardness of swaged bullets.....  
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Iowa
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I'm shooting hornady 240gr swaged bullets in .44 sp. at less than 800fps (650-700fps range) with no leading problems. Also some 200gr 20/1 at less than 800fps. These both shoot better than hard cast. I believe I was having trouble with hard cast because of the beveled edge....lots of leading.
I'm shooting .454's in a Colt New service in 20/1 as well. Leading problems with it are over as well, Started out with .452's and leading was horrific. In this case I found the older Colts were using a larger bore back before WWII.
I general, I find any lead bullet, either hard cast or soft with a beveled base to be an invitation to leading no matter how hard or slow I push it, probably just me.... As others have stated, proper bullet to bore size is very important. I slug everything these days before I start loading for it.
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