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Old 04-09-2018, 04:23 PM
TXBryan TXBryan is offline
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Default Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards

I've read, here and there, about seating Speer HBWC backwards to create a hollow-point that would expand at lower velocities, uniformly, regardless of plugging with clothing, etc. Thought I'd experiment a bit. I loaded 12 each .38 Special rounds with Speer 148 grain HBWC seated backwards to the first cannelure and the second cannelure. Brass was nickle-plated R-P, primers were CCI, powder was Bullseye, and the charge was 3.7 grains. Modest crimp.
I am NOT recommending anyone try this, or any other, load.

The results were interesting if a bit predictable. The deeper-seated bullets chronographed at 748 fps with an extreme spread of 18. The bullets seated further out had an average velocity of 726 with an extreme spread of 32 (a little less pressure - a little less velocity). The bullets seated deeper, at essentially the same depth as a WC seated properly, made more ragged holes and may have entered the target, 25 feet away, slightly cattywampus. The bullets seated out, though slightly slower and with a slightly larger extreme spread, drilled wadcutter-style, nice round, holes. In fact something happened that doesn't happen to me very often; they went into one (ragged) hole (the second six shots).

All shots were assisted with a Caldwell adjustable pistol rest from a bench. I made no attempt to check expansion of the bullets as this was just to see how they'd behave accuracy-wise. And yes, though the photo doesn't show it, I had a solid and reliable backstop.

After 24 rounds of these loads, 12 of each seating depth, I packed it up. When giving the S&W Model 10-6 a cleaning I discovered what I would call a lot of leading in the barrel. It was a pain, and then some, to clean out. The more I thought, the more it seemed to make sense, as the hollow-base on this Speer is "supposed" to flare a bit helping form a gas seal. As is was seated backwards obviously that wasn't going to work. The lube on these bullets seems very light as well, though I understand Speer uses a proprietary "dry" lube that is claimed to work well, and I can't argue with that as I've not experienced this level of leading with these same bullets loaded properly.

Has anyone else experienced this? The leading problem was not mentioned in any of the gun press articles I read that got me interested in trying this particular activity. Does the logic of putting the hollow-base in front make sense for increased lead deposits in the bore? I like this Model 10 and don't want to wear it out cleaning it. Not planning on making a habit of this practice but I'd like to do some wet newsprint expansion tests but already not looking forward to the cleanup. BYW; Hoppes #9, patience, a copper wool wrapped brush, and more patience, did the trick - and the bore was nice an shiny when I began this endeavor.
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:50 PM
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I have had leading problems with 38 & 45 cal Speer bullets loaded the right way and with target loads. I had a m25 lead
so bad it protruded from barrel like a Elmer Fudd cartoon. I just
quit using Speer lead bullets, they are swagged not cast. I have
since got a HBWC mold and cast my own from WWs. I think
they are to soft and at any velocity the skirt would make leading
worse, loaded backwards.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:29 PM
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I'll start by stating my position as EXTREMELY pro-leaning when it comes to safe and interesting handloading experiments and projects. I'm the last guy to rally for extreme caution and try to stifle learning, experimentation and creativity.

But this is a project whose time, IMO, has long pased.

For my buck, it's simple risk reward. I don't mind some risk for potential reward, but there has to be good reward and low risk.

In this case the risk is blowing out the core of a wadcutter and leaving some manner of an obstruction... in the chamber (annoyance) or in the bore (potentially catastrophic) and the lightly constructed nature of the swaged HBWC make it always a possibility when then bullets are used outside the scope of their design.

I enjoy reading about your experiment with this project, but it's one I wouldn't choose to undertake myself. (And I do some odd stuff at the bench too! )
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:32 PM
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Those bullets are swaged and very soft. They do tend to lead. You might back off your charge a bit.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:45 PM
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Default Speer swaged SWCs...

Speer makes 158 grain SWCs that never leaded up my gun and they don't have any features for ablation like the HBWC does. Especially at the velocities you describe. I don't know why your setup would lead barrels.

I've shot a boatload of Speer HBWC and SWCs and never had lead problems. Usually loaded with Bullseye or maybe Unique at times.

PERHAPS gas cutting is the mechanism for leading in the bullets that don't ablate. But at those low velocities and pressures I don't see how, unless the the back of the bullet it melting???????
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Old 04-09-2018, 08:07 PM
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I loaded the Speer 148 HBwc with a load of Red Dot in my M49
that reached 775fps, which I called a full loading.

Most manuals state not to go past 800 feet the keep the skirt intact.
I never bothered loading the bullet backwards, after reading a
net posting "... Dynamite..." that test many 38 loadings for SD use
and the gel results and disappointment of the writer.

If you have to "Push" a 148gr bullet use a BBwc style.
A Bullseye load at 757fps shot at poa for a 97% loading.
My maximum was not listed in a Lyman manual.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
Speer makes 158 grain SWCs that never leaded up my gun and they don't have any features for ablation like the HBWC does. Especially at the velocities you describe. I don't know why your setup would lead barrels.

I've shot a boatload of Speer HBWC and SWCs and never had lead problems. Usually loaded with Bullseye or maybe Unique at times.

PERHAPS gas cutting is the mechanism for leading in the bullets that don't ablate. But at those low velocities and pressures I don't see how, unless the the back of the bullet it melting???????
ABLATION: "Ablation is removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes." This is not the word for what you want to describe!

In common usage you are looking for "Obturate", which is used incorrectly nearly 100% of the time in reference to firearms! Obturation is the action of sealing to prevent leakage, not the bullet expansion which results in obturation!

You are correct in assuming that the failure of a reverse-seated Speer HBWC will fail to properly expand and seal the bore, allowing "blow-by" of gasses which results in ablation of the surface of the bullet. Commonly referred to as gas-cutting.
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:28 AM
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Default Reversed HBWC Part 2

First,

RWSmith. My intent was not to beat up on you but to point out to everyone the importance of using correct terminology if you expect for anyone to really understand what you are trying to communicate!

Now the reversed HBWC, are there any issues? As with many of you I have now been loading for about 60 years. During that time I have done much of what is commonly referred to as "Experimental loading", and that includes the old reversed HBWC trick! I speak from many years of experience and probably in excess of 1,000,000 rounds of hand-loaded ammunition in over 100 different calibers.

Let's discuss the myth of HBWC skirt separation. While it is a wide-spread story, and doubtless has happened, it can occur only when the HBWC is seated normally, with the hollow-base to the rear! If the bullet is reversed the skirt cannot separate any more than a solid bullet can have the core "blown out"! The Speer HBWC can be driven over 1000 FPS from the .357, and very close from a .38 Special without any issue except LEADING. And they will lead badly at these velocities

How does the HBWC lose its skirt if it happens? If loaded to too high a pressure, the skirt can expand into the forcing cone causing the skirt to stick in the forcing cone and the nose of the bullet to be torn from the base. This leaves the skirt in the forcing cone as an obstruction. When loaded backward there is no issue with the nose being torn from the skirt as there is no pressure in the now hollow-nose that would cause the skirt to stick in the forcing cone. A reversed HBWC is a solid-base bullet just like any other!!!!!!!!!!!!

When loading the reversed HBWC the bullet should be loaded to approximately the same OAL as the same caliber SWC. Nearly always we are talking about .38/.357 so that is all I will discuss. Compare the 148 HBWC to the 158 SWC and you will see the bullet length is nearly identical. If loaded to the same OAL/seating depth then loads for the 158 SWC can be used with the 148 HBWC resulting in higher velocity than the 158 gr bullet at slightly lower pressure! I have loaded the 148 HBWC to at least 5.5 gr. Unique for .38 Special. This was a standard pressure .38 Special load in the older Lyman manuals from the 1950s-1970s!

Results: One big issue that is always made is the reversed HBWC will tumble and be inaccurate! How far does anyone expect to shoot them? The intent was a close range self-defense load! Whether it worked as intended is not germane to this discussion!

What were my results? Shot at 25 yards over my Oehler 35P chronograph the velocity was 930 FPS from a 4" .38 Spl. using 5.0 gr. Unique. How did it shoot? Not quite as well as the 158 SWC. but ca. 4". NO TUMBLING was observed at this distance but of the 28 rounds fired from a total of three revolvers possibly 6 showed signs of slight tipping!

Did these loads lead the guns? YES, as would be expected from an extremely soft swaged bullet with poor lubrication. So what, I learned to clean my guns many years ago and do not consider leading to be a significant hardship! Were they accurate? Quite adequate for the intended purpose.

My point is if you do not have experience with a subject don't comment based solely on "I saw it on the Internet" or "I read it in a magazine years ago", etc. Based on my experience with this specific issue, as a result of deliberate experimentation, I can say safely that all the stories that have been published about the hazards and failures of loading the reversed HBWC and pure BS. Do I suggest you try it? Only if you want to, I am not an advocate! Next thing, if I ever get around to it, is seeing if these things expand as the old articles said they did. With all respect for "modern" expanding bullets I cannot see how the reversed HBWC could fail to expand violently when tested under the same test protocol as modern bullets. Even if they do not and tumble in flesh or representative media they would have to still be extremely effective!
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:16 AM
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Those soft swaged 38HBWC would often give leading problems, some brands worse than others.
The bullets were cheap to purchase in bulk though and for a non-caster, it was the way to go to shoot in volume and in the Bullseye matches.
We simply used to re-lube them en-masse with a wax lube disolved in a little mineral spirits. Same thing as done a bit later with the LEE liquid Alox lube.
That little extra usually made the difference and they didn't lead when loaded at the target velocitys.
You still couldn't push them much harder than 3gr of BE or less would do or you'd be right back to the leading problem.

I loaded them backwards too,,I think most every reloader with a 38Sp did at one time 'just to see'.
They look dangerous if nothing else!
Never had any of them separate, ect.
No idea of vel or shock power,,just shot them into and at stuff.
I did get a squirrel with one. Using my pre-war 38HE 5". (Cost me $35 a the time in '67.)
It firmly planted the beast with one off-hand shot.
Field proven ammunition in my opinion.
_
Who the hell knew what a chronograph was!
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:48 AM
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I competed in PPC and bullseye for 20 years, shot tens of thousands of swaged HBWC bullets. As pointed out previously, they are soft lead and they will lead your bore. I had a Lewis lead remover in my kit ( have no clue if they even make them anymore).....I would use it periodically to remove the lead buildup in my bullseye and PPC guns. It was the norm for those of us who shot cases of these rounds.
I have also loaded them backwards in limited quantities and never had any issues with skirts separating. In wet pulp, the reversed HBWCs expanded nicely.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:09 AM
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Thanks for all the truly informative and great replies! More info than I dared hope for. It is so wonderful to be able to tap such experience. I learn something most every day if not careful and this was a great example.

I had planned on trying some Alox; what could it hurt? Also reducing the powder charge sounds like it may reduce leading as well - my theory is that I'm getting some "gas cutting" due to incomplete (or very incomplete) sealing. I do plan to do some wet newsprint comparisons sometime soon. Thanks Alk8944 for debunking the myth of skirt separation - it's always sounded far-fetched to me particularly at relatively modest velocity loadings.

The bullets seated to, more-or-less, SWC overall length poked pretty round holes in the paper. The ones seated to typical WC depth did not do so 100% of the time and "may" have been upset a fraction - frankly it's hard to tell and was not obvious - more paper "tears" than evidence of flying sideways. I understand there may be better bullet choices out there but this has proved fun and informative.

I got some criticism from a reloading buddy who thought that 3.7g of Bullseye too much. Lymans 3rd edition lists 3.5 with a linotype 150g WC and older manuals may suggest that much or more. The Speer manual I have doesn't suggest that much BE with this particular bullet but I had zero indications of excessive pressure - other than leading. I don't cast but would love to get ahold of some cast HBWC rather than swagged.

I have reloaded for about 35 years but have kept my experimentation primarily to rifle calibers and simply went "by the book" for pistol cartridges. Needless to say there's a big difference between tweaking a specific jacketed rifle bullet and all the variables associated with the wide selection of lead bullets in handguns. I don't rely on a .38 Special for carry purposes so this is mainly just to satisfy curiosity and the fun's not over.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loc n load View Post
I had a Lewis lead remover in my kit ( have no clue if they even make them anymore).
Still available from Missouri Bullet Company.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:00 PM
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Default Thank you very much........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
ABLATION: "Ablation is removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes." This is not the word for what you want to describe!

In common usage you are looking for "Obturate", which is used incorrectly nearly 100% of the time in reference to firearms! Obturation is the action of sealing to prevent leakage, not the bullet expansion which results in obturation!

You are correct in assuming that the failure of a reverse-seated Speer HBWC will fail to properly expand and seal the bore, allowing "blow-by" of gasses which results in ablation of the surface of the bullet. Commonly referred to as gas-cutting.
Thanks for the correction. I hate using the wrong word. I knew that but was typing w/o thinking.

But the refinement of 'obturation' is new to me, as I thought that obturating was 'expanding to fill' instead of 'blocking'.

So is it correct to say that the gas causes the bullet to obturate the barrel?


NOTE: Looking into Minie' ball, Minie's original design had an iron plug to expand the bullet. An amorer named Burton was the one that improved it by coming up with the deep cavity in the base of the bullet. However it was still a Minie' as opposed to a 'Burton' bullet.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:40 PM
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Fired from a 2 inch S&W model 60 J Frame. Bullseye ,
backwards Speer 148 gr. HBWC , swaged lead (soft)
bullet lightly crimped into the top cannelure (not flush) :

3.2 grs. - 724 fps - 0" expansion
3.3 grs. - 740 fps - slight expansion
3.4 grs. - 767 fps - .625" expansion, starting to mushroom
3.5 grs. - 801 fps - .715" expansion , nice classic mushroom
3.6 grs. - 832 fps - .710" expansion, light leading, too fast
3.7 grs. - 860 fps - .687" expansion, leading and poor accuracy. too fast

My experience shows that 3.5 grains of Bullseye is the optimum load, any greater and leading starts and accuracy suffers . .715 is an expansion of nearly 3/4 inch.
The soft Speer HBWC is just not designed for high velocity.
Loaded backwards over 3.5 grains of Bullseye makes for impressive expansion, it would not be ideal for shooting through things like car doors and windshields , but for self defense...maybe .

I also have found the 3.7 gr. Bullseye load to be excessive for the bullet , too soft and not enough lube. Drop it back to 3.5 and do the test again. 800 fps seems to be the magic number.
Gary

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Old 04-10-2018, 01:45 PM
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" seating Speer HBWC backwards to create a hollow-point that would expand at lower velocities, uniformly, regardless of plugging with clothing, etc. "

The only reason to attempt it IMO. I tried it 40 year ago. Shot em into water and then wet newspaper. Seemed reliable in water....unreliable in pulp, a little closer to simulated flesh and muscle.

Some expanded but often the bullet impacted slightly tipped or deflected so or whatever. But the skirt would close up and offer zero expansion.

At the same time, Remington was making their 125JHP with an exposed lead HP and scalloped jacket and selling it in bulk ( I still keep a few thousand on hand). At anything over 800 fps these 40 year old bullets work great...



The above was available years before the world thought it needed new miracle technology to make a bullet expand from a snubby ... perhaps drywall, windshields, etc pose a challenge for the FBI and there may be better bullets for such...



...but there's no place other than chatrooms where the HBWC is a player.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:18 PM
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We experimented with these back in the late 1960's and 70's. Same problem of under penetration and leading. Nothing has changed.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:12 PM
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Why do this when you can create your own hollowpoint bullets that will expand at .38 Special snub nose speeds?

Don

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Old 04-10-2018, 07:13 PM
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I was able to reduce the leading in my M13, M15, and NMBH by seating a sized, inverted gas check behind the bullet. IMO, it acted like the W-W "Power Piston" wad in their shotshells, keeping the high-pressure gas behind the bullet, away from bullet-bore interface. I even found a few of the gas checks, blown flat with powder-side blackened, bore-edge rifled, and bullet-face clean. Same trick worked for .375/.38-55 WCF.
Kinda unscientific, I know, but it worked for me.

Larry
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:41 PM
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Using those crappy Speer lead bullets it what lead me to casting my own over 40 years ago. I have never had leading since.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:54 PM
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When using swaged lead bullets (high lead content, minimal hardening metals in the alloy) leading will always be an issue. Even light charges of fast-burning powders have high flame temperatures, transferred directly to the base of the bullet, usually resulting in smearing of lead in the chambers, forcing cone, and bore. Heavier charges or slower-burning powders seem to multiply this effect. (Hard-cast lead bullets are an entirely different subject).

I have been experimenting with, and using, 148 HBWC swaged bullets in .38 Special for about 40 years. In all of my testing, using good revolvers with barrel lengths of 2" to 6", and modest charges of fast-burning powders (generally suitable for the 148 HBWC loaded conventionally, i.e: 2.6 to 2.9 grains Bullseye) accuracy is very good out to 25 yards or so, then stability issues seem to kick in and accuracy suffers. In short, some benefit for close-range defensive work, but not suitable for accurate shooting at longer ranges.

One of the methods I have used to minimize leading issues has been to apply a light coating of pure white lithium grease (auto supply houses, about $4 per 8-oz. tube), wiped on with my fingers prior to loading and seating the bullets. This little bit of added lubrication performs well beyond any expectation! Lithium grease is a premium lubricant, not affected by the usual powder flame temperatures, and having a melting point well beyond anything seen in small arms ammunition. I can apply a thin film of lithium grease to bullets while watching the TV news, completing 500 or more within an hour.

Cleaning a revolver fired with swaged lead bullets, no matter how they are loaded) can be a chore, if we allow it to be a chore. I suggest the use of a dry bronze bore brush first, about 20 or more passes down the bore and through the chambers, which will usually cut through the crud of lead wash. Then the usual application of solvent, followed by brush and patches will finish the job without much difficulty.

Very stubborn leading in the chamber throats and barrel forcing cone can be dealt with by firing a few rounds of jacketed .38 special ammo, followed by normal cleaning procedures.

In my experience, heavy copper fouling from jacketed ammo is much more difficult to deal with than any amount of leading. The worst leading issues will yield readily to a worn bore brush wound snugly with 0000-grade steel wool, which will cut out the leading with no visible or measurable damage to the rifling or machined surfaces of the chambers or forcing cone. (Learned this technique while in the US Army, serving in a temporary armory assignment at Fort Benning, GA, with thousands of different firearms being used for training on a daily basis).

Short version: I don't fear or really mind a bit of leading with lead bullets, I just plan on dealing with it at the cleaning bench later on. Not the end of the world at all. Just a few more strokes with the proper tools to keep your pistol in prime condition.
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Old 04-13-2018, 08:54 AM
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Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards  
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Very informative replies; thank you! Scarcely the first one to try this obviously. I appreciate all the benefit of the collective experience. I'm not really looking for some super fight-stopper load. More like experimentation to verify what I'd read realizing there are better choices available. Seems like this practice raises its head every so many years and gathers a little attention. Thanks for the knowledge! Bryan
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Old 04-13-2018, 12:54 PM
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gwpercle gwpercle is offline
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Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards  
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Originally Posted by lebomm View Post
I was able to reduce the leading in my M13, M15, and NMBH by seating a sized, inverted gas check behind the bullet. IMO, it acted like the W-W "Power Piston" wad in their shotshells, keeping the high-pressure gas behind the bullet, away from bullet-bore interface. I even found a few of the gas checks, blown flat with powder-side blackened, bore-edge rifled, and bullet-face clean. Same trick worked for .375/.38-55 WCF.
Kinda unscientific, I know, but it worked for me.

Larry
Sometimes the the "unscientific " way works just fine !
I don't know why I never thought of the gas check idea , I have several moulds that are cut for GC and use them regularly.
Learned something new today... Thanks Larry , good one !
Gary
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:18 PM
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I love experimentation and having the curious post thier results. FWIW I was OTJ about 20 years before anyone* was authorized to carry HP ammo. I have seen a lot of criminal perpetrators laid low by regular old standard pressure .38 Special Target LHBWCs (loaded as lHBwc). It is certainly more effective than 9mm FMJ.

*There were exceptions, but exceptions prove the rule.
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:03 PM
GypsmJim GypsmJim is offline
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Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards Leading issues with HBWC seated backwards  
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Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
One of the methods I have used to minimize leading issues has been to apply a light coating of pure white lithium grease (auto supply houses, about $4 per 8-oz. tube), wiped on with my fingers prior to loading and seating the bullets. This little bit of added lubrication performs well beyond any expectation! Lithium grease is a premium lubricant, not affected by the usual powder flame temperatures, and having a melting point well beyond anything seen in small arms ammunition. I can apply a thin film of lithium grease to bullets while watching the TV news, completing 500 or more within an hour.

mind a bit of leading with lead bullets, I just plan on dealing with it at the cleaning bench later on. Not the end of the world at all. Just a few more strokes with the proper tools to keep your pistol in prime condition.
Lithium grease is oil based. Since oil can seriously affect the powder burning I would guess this would be a bad practice.

I DO mind leading. ANY extra strokes are unwarranted in my mind.

With the proper lubrication, lead alloy, bullet diameter vs. the barrel, and bullet velocity there should be no leading.
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