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Discussion Starter #1
Swaged bullets, does anybody here use these?
Seems I tried some Hornady HBWC once and had terrible leading issues in my GP100. Well, I'm a glutton for punishment. Just picked up a box of 500 Hornady 240 gn SWC 44 cal at an LGS that was priced too low to resist.
I'll be keeping these to lower 44 Spec velocity, obviously. I don't really care about this bullet or developing an idea load for it. I just want to ring some steel and shoot 'em up in my Redhawk. What's a better fit for swaged bullets? Light loads of fast powders like TiteGroup and 700-x or moderate charges of medium powders like Unique or Power Pistol? I have all the above on hand.
Those with experience please advise. I hate scrubbing lead.
 

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Hi Owly,

I believe I loaded 5.8 grains of Unique behind that bullet for my wife.
With the light recoil, she loved them.
I don't remember having any leading issues, but I am getting old and senile. LOL!

Keith
 

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Swaged bullets, does anybody here use these?
Seems I tried some Hornady HBWC once and had terrible leading issues in my GP100. Well, I'm a glutton for punishment. Just picked up a box of 500 Hornady 240 gn SWC 44 cal at an LGS that was priced too low to resist.
I'll be keeping these to lower 44 Spec velocity, obviously. I don't really care about this bullet or developing an idea load for it. I just want to ring some steel and shoot 'em up in my Redhawk. What's a better fit for swaged bullets? Light loads of fast powders like TiteGroup and 700-x or moderate charges of medium powders like Unique or Power Pistol? I have all the above on hand.
Those with experience please advise. I hate scrubbing lead.

Morning Owly;1909867

There is usually a big difference between ultra soft HBWC & the harder hard cast SWC.

You might call Hornady tec help line as they can give you the hardness of the Hornady bullet that you have. If there is information on the bullet box have that handy or at least have a bullet in front of you when you call.
 

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Gunner Bill, I'll save you a phone call .... I talked to both Hornady and Speer several years ago and got basically the same answer. Both say ... bullets have to be BHN 12 or softer or they don't work in the punch presses used to swage the bullets. Speer and Hornady claim their swaged lead bullets are about BHN 10.

Using the formula for the lead bullet Brinell hardness number: BHN=chamber pressure divided by 1400 or .... to find chamber pressure, multiply BHN by 1400.

For the above swaged bullets in the BHN 10 range, chamber pressure should be about 14k psi for the optimum load. It doesn't have to be perfect but the closer chamber pressure and bullet hardness match, the less fouling you will get and the more accurate the load will be. Optimum pressure will cause the bullet to obturate (bump up in diameter) so it will seal well in the bore without allowing hot gasses to vent around the bullet. Swaged lead bullets are great for 38 Special, 44 Special, and 45 Colt loads because these cartridges are pretty low pressure. Higher pressure 357 or 44 mag loads just don't work well with swaged lead bullets because pressure will vent around the bullet, erode (melt) the circumference and turn into lead vapor. Some of the lead vapor will remain in the bore where it will harden and become lead fouling. As more rounds are fired, fouling will build up and damage bullets, making accuracy poor. Of course nothing says 357 Mag or 44 Mag cases have to be loaded to magnum levels so if you back off to normal 38 Special or 44 Special pressures, swaged lead bullets work really well.

There a lot more information about lead bullets in my "Lead Bullets and Revolvers" article in the forum library. Here's a link: http://rugerforum.net/library/19869-lead-bullets-revolvers.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys
Iowegan, 14k psi sounds ideal to me. Unfortunately the Hornady 9th doesn't list pressures in its data. This bullet is found on page 831. From what I see Trainking's recommendation of 5.8 gn Unique falls right in the middle of the data. Looks like as good a place to start as any.
 

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Owly, Just for future reference ... the Hornady manual's max charges for lead bullets are very conservative and are no where near the max SAAMI rating. For a 44 Special, the max SAAMI chamber pressure is 15,500 psi. Hornady's hottest load listed for this bullet in a 44 Special case is 6.5gr of Unique and produces a paltry 12k psi.

According to QuickLOAD, 5.8gr of Unique with a Hornady 240gr swaged SWC only produces about 10k psi. 7.0gr of Unique in a 44 Special case will produce 14k psi @ 765 fps. If you load the same bullet in a 44 Mag case and use 7.2gr of Unique, chamber pressure will also be about 14 k psi and produce about the same velocity as a factory 44 Special load with a 240gr lead bullet (760 fps). Because chamber pressure matches bullet hardness just about perfect, it should shoot very accurate and not lead up the bore.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Iowegan, again providing terrific information. I will be loading these in 44 special cases and as per your suggestions will be starting a bit higher than I otherwise would have.
Guess I know what I'll be working on this weekend. I better get some special brass prepped and ready to go.
 

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I use 4.9 grains of 700x in special brass. They leave my 4.6" Blackhawk at 740fps. They are accurate and leave no leading to speak of for me.
 

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I'd shoot them with 4 grs. of Bullseye!
 

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Hmmm. I guess one reason I keep coming back here is Iowegan's contributions...:D

Thanks Iowegan!
 

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How hot were you loading the HBWCs? Never exceed 800 fps with HBWCs--the skirt will separate and you'll have two holes in the target or the skirt in the barrel.
I shoot swaged bullets all the time and have never had any leading.
I like the Hornady 140gn Cowboy bullet for my .38 Supers and I get no leading--and these aren't light loads either (but that 0.358" bullet really seals the bore).
If you do get any leading, try a very light tumble lube with LLA, Xlox, or 45/45/10. I have only needed this with a very few commercial extremely hard alloy cast bullets that were slightly under the size I wanted.
The important issues are the same as all lead bullets: FIT.
They must be small enough to be snug fit in the cylinder's throats and be AT LEAST 0.001" over actual groove diameter.
Next, you must pull a seated bullet and VERIFY that your seating/crimp operations haven't swaged the bullet down in diameter. In particular, be sure that you use an expander that gets the case ID to be 0.001-0.002" smaller than bullet diameter (too many folks don't really use an expander and ONLY flare the case mouth--this will work for jacketed, but NOT lead) and DON'T use a Lee FCD until you verify that it is not swaging the bullet smaller. I have to order custom expanders before just for this reason.
 

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noylj, You're right ... HBWCs are an exception to the rule for hardness versus chamber pressure. That's because the skirt can actually separate from the bullet body and remain in the bore if pressure is too high, which is also the reason why cast HBWCs should not be used ... seems they tend to separate at a much lower chamber pressure than swaged lead bullets. The standard bullseye load for decades has been 3gr of Bullseye powder under a 148gr BHN 10 LHBWC. This load runs right at 720 fps from a 6" barrel and develops a mere 10k psi. The cone shaped hollow base will expand under pressure and seal very well in the bore. BTW, this is probably the most accurate 25 yard load ever developed for a 38 Special.

LHBWCs are getting hard to find because they must be swaged ... not cast due to the above increased issue with skirt separation. 38 Special 148gr (.358") dual ended wad cutters (DWWCs) are fine in soft cast and easier to find but must be driven with more pressure if you expect them to seal in the bore and maintain accuracy. Missouri Bullet Co makes a variety of BHN 12 DEWCs .... some coated, some plated, and some bare lead. Here's a link: Missouri Bullet Company I've found 4gr of Bullseye works quite well.
 
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