Talk me out of loading & shooting lead.. - MP-Pistol Forum

Talk me out of loading & shooting lead..

This is a discussion on Talk me out of loading & shooting lead.. within the MP Reloading forums, part of the Smith & Wesson MP Forum category; Seriously.. I want to know why I should *NOT* load and shoot lead. Been buying plated for the cost savings, but its not really that ...

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Old May 14th, 2015, 05:20 PM   #1
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Talk me out of loading & shooting lead..

Seriously.. I want to know why I should *NOT* load and shoot lead.

Been buying plated for the cost savings, but its not really that much cheaper than some inexpensive FMJ.

So Im researching just shooting lead cast.

I am not ready to invest in casting my own, thus I am looking at buying pre-lubed cast bullets to shoot.

So, what are the real draw backs to loading and shooting lead? I already have a few Chore Boys and cleaning the barrel is kid's play using that.

Here are the bullets Im looking at:
40-10MM 180 Grain FP

I have shot lead out of my 357 but they have all been factory, so I am open to suggestions if you have a "ready to load" bullet you like.

Thanks for your time-
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Old May 15th, 2015, 02:35 AM   #2
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I'll subscribe and watch this. I'm sure G56 and a few others will weigh in for you. I have a stock of plated bullets and will be looking for cheaper when I run out.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 07:29 AM   #3
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I shot 200gr. hardcast for a couple years, what a pain. Lubing and loading was very dirty, and I couldn't shoot them at the indoor range (which leaves me outside all winter.) I still load some 200gr. W/Federal 100M primers for certain 3-gun matches, mostly out of familiarity, but also because of it's softer recoil and slightly better accuracy potential when trasitioning between weapons. Not for IDPA or everyday range ammo.
Do what you want, but don't switch without a good reason.

Last edited by KRWeiss; May 15th, 2015 at 07:52 AM.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 07:41 AM   #4
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Here are my thoughts on the matter. I've only loaded about 500 rounds of lead and decided to go back to plated. I don't cast my own and can save at most $0.02/round using lead vs plated or coated bullets. I shoot less than 1,000 rounds a month so the savings aren't as significant to me as someone who is shooting competitively. So my decision was based on two reasons:

First, like KRWeiss said, lead is more of a hassle to load. The lube accumulates in the dies requiring periodic cleaning and tends to hang up the bullets in my bullet feeder as well so that's out. Second, I'm concerned over lead exposure both during the loading process as well as possibly breathing in the vapor created during shooting. And I don't want my grandkids exposed to lead in any fashion when they come over.

Most folks ( many?) will say I'm being absurd and that may be the case. My brother, for example, won't shoot anything but lead. And I'm OK with that. You asked for opinions and this is what is right for me. You have to decide what is worth it for you.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 09:34 AM   #5
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I shoot lead all the time in my 1911's, and shoot a 9mm cast 122gr TFP regularly.

There's not really any downside to it that I've experienced.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 09:55 AM   #6
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I've been shooting lead bullets for over 50 years now, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Main advantage: They are cheaper

Main disadvantage: They are dirty

I'm kind of inconsistent on loading lead bullets, mainly by caliber, in 38 special all I load is lead, in 9mm I load plated or jacketed bullets, 40 S&W plated bullets only, 44 mag and 45 acp lead bullets only.

Recently there is an added dimension, coated bullets, these are becoming quite popular, they take a lead bullet and add a baked on coating, they are usually quite a bit cheaper than the plated bullets, but have all the advantages of plated bullets, no leading and they shoot clean.

Here's something to look at: Missouri Bullet Company
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Old May 15th, 2015, 10:58 AM   #7
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Until I started casting my own I shot tens of thousands of those. Lead is a bit dirtier because of the lube but if you normally clean your guns after a few outings it won't be any more of a chore to clean a gun that shoots lead as opposed to a gun that shoots jacked bullets. A bit more scrubbing on the barrel, maybe an extra minute or two total time.

Reloading press, also a bit more diry. You have to clean the seating die every so often to remove any lube that might get stuck. That's about it.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 02:28 PM   #8
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Good, honest answers! I like that.

I appreciate those that participated and am sure it will help someone else with a similar question.

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Old May 15th, 2015, 04:38 PM   #9
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I reload with "bayou bullets" and shoot over 14,000 of them a year, with the coating, no smoke or leading. Great prices, fast shipping, and at least the 124 grain 9mm ones shoot very accurate in all my 9mm M&P's, shield through long slides. My last order I ordered some of the 147 grain ones to try but haven't loaded and yet.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 04:58 PM   #10
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Thanks DOAFS, Ive shot some of but I ended up with some light leading, I was not pushing them hard or fast, it was a moderate/light load (800 fps).

I may try the HiTek bullts, thanks for the details on your personal experience.

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Old May 18th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #11
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I've only shot around 20,000 Lee 401-175-TC and 5,000 356-120-TC and TL356-124-2R through my M&P40 and 9mm as well as my Shield 9. The M&P 40 and 9 barrels have a tight chamber, very tight throat and fairly tight bore at 0.400" and 0.3545" respectively. That means the bullets have to be sized to 0.401" max and 0.356" max.

Consequently, they are subject to mild gas cutting at the start of their trip down the barrel and very slight leading at the chamber end. No matter what the powder or load, I got a small smear of lead every range session whether shooting 50 bullets or 400. The good news was that the leading did not affect accuracy, nor did it build up terribly bad. I cleaned it out after each range trip so I never knew if it would have been worse had I simply left it there for a few thousand rounds. 45 seconds with a Chore Boy wrapped mop was simple and quick and became just another step in cleaning the gun.

Plated Xtreme bullets left no residue other than soot, Bear Creek Moly coated bullets left moly embedded polymer in the same area which cleaned out just as easily with the same Chore Boy wrapped mop.

Last year I started powder coating my cast bullets and the leading went away completely. I learned how to do it over on the Cast Boolits website in the "Coatings and Alternatives" section. Total expense has been $4 for the pound of Harbor Freight red which has coated about 10,000 bullets and I still have about 1/3-1/4 of it left. The coating takes about 1 hour to do 500 bullets and another hour to run them through the sizer. No other lube and the same amount of smoke as using fmj or plated bullets. The only residue in the barrel is soot which comes out with Hoppes No.9 and a patch. My bullets are cast to a BHN of around 10-12 and the powder coat has a hardness of 22-28.

My bullets cost 2.2 cents apiece since I pay $22 for 25 pounds of lead and the powder is essentially zero if I can get 12-15,000 bullets coated for $4. Casting and loading labor is free because I consider it all a hobby and I don't rationalize that I can work overtime for more money to pay for store bought bullets or fully loaded ammo.

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Old May 18th, 2015, 10:03 AM   #12
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Cool, I didn't know you could powdercoat bullets. I have personally been shooting Berry's plated but have been considering obtaining some lead bullets for the places where I can't shoot plated or jacketed. Casting may still be too much of a time/equipment/toxicity expense at this point for me though, especially with kids running around. Thanks!
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Old May 18th, 2015, 10:31 AM   #13
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Epoxy paint coated bullets.

I've also done powder coated. Both work very well.

Did a few copper coated but I've never shot them.

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Old May 18th, 2015, 11:28 AM   #14
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Lead is poisonous. You get it in your skin or breath it... it won't kill you, but it isn't good for you either.

Lead is dirty... Gunks up you gun, and with most powder, seeing through a cloud of smoke (that you and everyone around you is breathing in) sucks.

In reality, buying plated or coated is a LOT cheaper if your time is worthy anything, due to the excessive cleaning, and MUCH better for your health.

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Old May 18th, 2015, 12:24 PM   #15
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Jeff are you writing from experience or from what other people have told you or posted.
Shooting you gun is dirty, if you use you have to clean it doesn't matter if it's lead or jacketed that you shoot. By excessive cleaning you mean running a bore brush through the barrel 5 times instead of 2?
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