How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

To learn and introduce new loaders. Tips and tricks from old timers.

Moderators: Coordinators, Moderators

How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Morne » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:43 pm

Awhile ago I bought a bunch of bare lead wadcutters (148-gr for .38 Special). Finally got around to loading some up. Followed a book recipe for Trail Boss (2.1-gr min, 2.3-gr max, velocity range 625-675 fps for 7.7" test barrel). Started at the minimum.

But when shooting these from a 6" revolver I got the VERY SEDATE average velocity of 508 fps!!! :shock: Over five (5) rounds the ES was 30.9.

Now I get it, this is nice soft bare lead. It isn't jacketed or plated. But still, at SOME POINT you gotta worry about a bullet getting stuck, right? This just seems ludicrously slow.

And yes, they were super easy to shoot.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Footsoldier in the Conservative Insurrection of the GOP.

Remember, only you can prevent big government!
User avatar
Morne
OFCC Director
OFCC Director
 
Posts: 10450
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:01 pm
Location: Wayne County

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby JustaShooter » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:49 pm

Yes, at some point you are in danger of having one get stuck in the barrel. Now, your current load is in no danger of that happening so unless you are interested in finding the lowest velocity you can push one and not have any get stuck I wouldn't worry about it.

BTW, *great* example of why as a handloader you really need to know your equipment and be very cautious even with book loads, and not just at the top end of the powder charge range.
Christian, Husband, Father
NRA Life Member
NRA Certified Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Pistol & Rifle Instructor

Want to become more active with OFCC and help fight for your rights? Click Here!
User avatar
JustaShooter
OFCC Coordinator
OFCC Coordinator
 
Posts: 4570
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:08 pm
Location: Akron/Canton Area

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Brian D. » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:53 pm

Saw a funny example of this several years ago. Guy bought a S&W L frame in .32 magnum, 6" barrel. Figured that with his light hand loads, a breeze to shoot. We had falling plate matches, timed, strings of fire at distances from 10-25 yards.

He was below recommended book minimum powder charge. At ten yards he hit most plates. They were made to react to rimfire and center fire, so they fell. As we backed up, he was missing...a lot.

At 25 yards, his bullets hit the floor before getting to the plate rack, then rolled lazily into the backstop.

It amazed me that none stuck in the barrel.
Quit worrying, hide your gun well, shut up, and CARRY that handgun!

********************************************************************************
1911 and Browning Hi Power Enthusianado.
Brian D.
 
Posts: 14807
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: SW Ohio

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Sevens » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:22 pm

S&W never made a .32cal L-frame but what you likely saw was the Model 16-4 with a full lug barrel in .32 H&R Magnum. While in production, they couldn't give these away... as sales go, they were DOGS. And they cleared them out at deep discount a few years later. Now they go for big bucks. A worn one is an $800-$900 item. Dead mint with box and $1200 to $1500 is the price.

The 16-4 is a K-frame but the full lug barrel makes ya think L-frame.

As for lead bullets going slow... I have said it in these pages countless times. This ballgame is far more treacherous when using a revolver because the flash gap bleeds much needed, critical pressure and it does not tend to bleed off that pressure in an always consistent manner. If you play this "slow bullet" game, proceed with absolute caution to ensure you don't stick, bulge and/or burst. No fast shooting with mouse fart loads.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
User avatar
Sevens
OFCC Patron Member
OFCC Patron Member
 
Posts: 7401
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 8:30 am
Location: Far East Side of CBus

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Brian D. » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:08 pm

Sevens wrote:S&W never made a .32cal L-frame but what you likely saw was the Model 16-4 with a full lug barrel in .32 H&R Magnum. While in production, they couldn't give these away... as sales go, they were DOGS. And they cleared them out at deep discount a few years later. Now they go for big bucks. A worn one is an $800-$900 item. Dead mint with box and $1200 to $1500 is the price.

The 16-4 is a K-frame but the full lug barrel makes ya think L-frame.


You're correct, it was a 16-4. Been a long time ago.
Quit worrying, hide your gun well, shut up, and CARRY that handgun!

********************************************************************************
1911 and Browning Hi Power Enthusianado.
Brian D.
 
Posts: 14807
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: SW Ohio

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Morne » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:16 am

Sevens, I wasn’t trying to go THIS SLOW. Just used the published min (which is only 0.2-grains below published max) and that’s what I got.

I will try some other loads to up this into the 600+ FPS regime. THAT should be safe for bare lead, right?
Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Footsoldier in the Conservative Insurrection of the GOP.

Remember, only you can prevent big government!
User avatar
Morne
OFCC Director
OFCC Director
 
Posts: 10450
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:01 pm
Location: Wayne County

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Sevens » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:20 pm

Any speed is "safe" with lead bullets as long as you never fire the next one if you have stuck the LAST one. Lead bullets are the best choice for the "how slow can ya go" game as they offer the least friction and because they are soooooo much easier to remove when you get 'em stuck.

The best way to play the slow bullet game is a sealed bore/chamber. The flash gap makes this game a losing game, in my experience. My guess is that you could shoot a hundred of these and return similar low velocities for every shot but then drop the hammer on shot #101 and find it made it 2 inches from exiting the barrel. Why? Pfffft, beats me. Black magic. Low powder charge laying in the case differently than the others. It's not that this particular round was radically different than the others, it's simply that it did not make the jump across the flash gap fast enough and the MUCH NEEDED pressure leaked out behind the bullet.

Hardcore CAS guys and life long boolit casters and single action wheelgun guys have the most experience in this arena. All I know about it is that I want to avoid a stuck bullet and I want others to beware of them.

All of the bullets I have stuck have been in double action S&W revolvers and also have been plated bullets. And no, I've been aware enough that I have never made the catastrophic error of sending a follow-up shot.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
User avatar
Sevens
OFCC Patron Member
OFCC Patron Member
 
Posts: 7401
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 8:30 am
Location: Far East Side of CBus

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Morne » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:42 am

OK, so I loaded up a couple different recipes with these same lead wadcutters and decided to try them in my Colt Cobra 2" revolver:

***CHRONY DATA***

74 F, 30.17" Hg, 63%RH

.38 Spl 148-gr LWC 1.263-1.298" COAL CCI-500SPP
Colt Cobra with 2" barrel

0.3cc (3.1-gr) W-231 powder - AVERAGE = 627 fps - ES = 50.0

0.5cc (2.1-gr) Trail Boss powder - AVERAGE = 483 fps - ES = 60.8

0.5cc (3.5-gr) Promo powder - AVERAGE = 783 fps - ES = 58.5

That W-231 load is just about perfect. Still slow enough to not bark a lot and yet north of 600 fps with a reasonable ES. The Promo load is also good and it will be interesting to see what velocity it gets out of a longer barrel. I still intend to up the Trail Boss load to 0.7cc (roughly 3.0-gr) and see how that runs.

After I got done with the chrono I did a BUNCH of weakhand draw-and-shoot drills. Man did I ever need some practice!
Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Footsoldier in the Conservative Insurrection of the GOP.

Remember, only you can prevent big government!
User avatar
Morne
OFCC Director
OFCC Director
 
Posts: 10450
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:01 pm
Location: Wayne County

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby willbird » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:36 am

Were they hollow based wadcutters ??

Not sure if hollow base would work better in low velocity stuff or plain base. Lighter bullets would be better too. I have a mold for the Lee 358-105..which I think is a good choice for "cats sneeze" loads.

Shorter bearing area and light weight, and 38 short colt brass would get you about as slow as possible I bet. The 38 short colt brass is .754-.761 long. 38 special is 1.140 - 1.150 O.A.L.

So the 38 short colt is .400 shorter. Some Cowboy Action shooters use it, and some shooters in revolver based shooting competitions, it loads into cylinder easier/faster due to being shorter.

The Lee TL356-95-RF may cast big enough for 38/357...providing an even lighter bullet. A bullet design like this one for 45/70 might help too, it was/is known as a "collar button bullet"....original design was for low speed "gallery" loads.

Image
Have a great day today unless you have made other plans :-).
willbird
OFCC Member
OFCC Member
 
Posts: 11331
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:19 am
Location: Exit 13 on the ohio Turnpike :-)

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby willbird » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:40 am

I remember reading an article in a Handloaders Digest about a bullet that was lathe turned out of aluminum, and used O rings for driving bands. They were named "elastomer ringed rockets" as I recall.

They filled a 38 special case completely, and you enlarged the flash holes, and poured the powder charge (a fairly slow powder) into a cavity in the base of the bullet, then seated a primer (how you did that upside down I do not recall). They could be recovered in a bullet trap made to catch them without damaging them.
Have a great day today unless you have made other plans :-).
willbird
OFCC Member
OFCC Member
 
Posts: 11331
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:19 am
Location: Exit 13 on the ohio Turnpike :-)

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Sevens » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:37 pm

Those slugs looks amazing! If I didn't know better, I would guess they were muzzle loader bullets and that you had a tremendously large hand! :D
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
User avatar
Sevens
OFCC Patron Member
OFCC Patron Member
 
Posts: 7401
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 8:30 am
Location: Far East Side of CBus

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby willbird » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:38 pm

Sevens wrote:Those slugs looks amazing! If I didn't know better, I would guess they were muzzle loader bullets and that you had a tremendously large hand! :D


Not my picture :-).....stole from Cast Boolits :-)
Have a great day today unless you have made other plans :-).
willbird
OFCC Member
OFCC Member
 
Posts: 11331
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:19 am
Location: Exit 13 on the ohio Turnpike :-)

Re: How slow can you shoot bare lead bullets?

Postby Morne » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:43 am

Upped the Trail Boss charge to 0.7cc and got the 6" gun out to gather some data:

***CHRONY DATA***

77 F, 29.93" Hg, 79%RH

.38 Spl 148-gr LWC 1.263-1.322" COAL CCI-500SPP
Taurus 66 with 6" barrel

0.3cc (3.1-gr) W-231 powder - AVERAGE = 651 fps - ES = 62.0

0.7cc (3.0-gr) Trail Boss powder - AVERAGE = 640 fps - ES = 34.7

0.5cc (3.5-gr) Promo powder - AVERAGE = 846 fps - ES = 45.3

NOW that Trail Boss load is right where I want it. Over 600 fps with a tight ES. Realistically, ANY of these loads would work just fine. Which is nice, because I can just use whichever powder I happen to have laying around. They all use a dipper for charging, too.

Much happier with these results. Now I can load a few hundred.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Footsoldier in the Conservative Insurrection of the GOP.

Remember, only you can prevent big government!
User avatar
Morne
OFCC Director
OFCC Director
 
Posts: 10450
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:01 pm
Location: Wayne County


Return to Handloading

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests