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Old July 31st, 2020, 11:45 PM #1
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Pure Lead out of .45acp Revolver?

To stretch my ammo through the crisis, I'm thinking about reloading for and shooting my .45 acp revolvers in steel challenge. I figure the moon clips should make brass recovery easy and large pistol primers haven't completely disappeared yet.

I cast pure lead for shooting black powder, and would rather not get into alloying if at all possible. If I keep velocities low, would leading be a problem? The powders I have now would be Titegroup or Win231.

The 1917 does have pitting in the barrel that might grab some lead? The other option is a Ruger Redhawk. I shoot the 1917 better, and would rather use that one though.

I figure I won't really know until I try, but wouldn't mind hearing other insight. Thanks.
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Old August 1st, 2020, 12:14 AM #2
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You won't know until you try . The exact mold will also matter , think generous lube grooves .
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Old August 1st, 2020, 12:35 AM #3
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I have been researching the same topic. What I have found, and a couple of friends have recommended for .45ACP is to use regular wheel weight lead. I would think pure lead would be too soft and there would be a leading problem. Lead from wheel weights is supposed to be good for at least 900fps.

I am finally getting back into shooting and have missed practicing with my government models. I have a bit of lead wheel weights that needs to be processed. I’m trying to procure a larger pot and when the heat gets a little more tolerable get to work on processing and casting.
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Old August 1st, 2020, 01:29 AM #4
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I'm just guessing , but Art may be concerned about cross contaminating his pot that he also ( primarily ? ) uses for black powder projectiles .

Also note , Art specifically states for .45acp * Revolvers * .

To expand my previous post , at least as much as keeping velocities to certain levels , alloy ( or not ) hardness should be matched to Pressures .

Rather than molds traditionally intended for
45acp , in autoloaders , with usual suspect alloys , look at molds intended for BP loaded cartridges . Google for " Big Lube bullet molds " , and you will find severall flavors in various weights .

Bullet casting & sizing is an art ( pun not intended ) , individual guns vary , YMMV , etc That said , hopefully " and match Hardball velocities " was not included in your parameters .
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Old August 1st, 2020, 01:51 AM #5
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I have a Smith & Wesson 625 and use the same loads in both the auto loaders and the revolver. The only reason that I suggested the use of lead wheel weights is they are still readily available for little or no cost.

I have an older RCBS Pro Melt and haven’t had any trouble in the past when going from pure lead for the muzzle loaders to wheel weight lead for center fire pistols when casting.

I have been looking at the RCBS Pro Melt 2 for an upgrade, still on the fence.
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Old August 1st, 2020, 05:56 AM #6
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Wheel weights have been getting harder and harder to find, or at least have been for me. So many are zinc or some non lead stuff, now and shops aren't keen on letting people have the old ones like they used to.

So, check on supply before going down that path. If you have a supply of them then go for it!
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Old August 1st, 2020, 07:10 AM #7
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You will probably get some leading with pure lead. To remove the leading, get some Chore Boy all copper scouring pads. Wrap some material around a bore brush for a very tight fit in the barrel.

The 1917 has shallow rifling for the FMJ military bullet. You will have to go a bit oversize on diameter. I would go with a SWC design.

Seriously, the 1917 is over 100 years old. If you have a Redhawk, I would say use it instead. With a little practice, you should be able to hit well. I like the 200 gr SWC or cowboy RNFP with WW231 in 45 Auto Rim brass. Slug you cylinder throats and add .001 or .002 in diameter.
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Old August 1st, 2020, 07:18 AM #8
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1) WW231 might be too fast. I have seen problems with some pistols using WW231 with cast bullets stripping the rifling off the bullet and tumbling. Switching to HS6 solved the problem. I think the 231 being fast just accelerated the bullet faster than the rifling could spin it up.

2) Powder coating my help you
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Old August 1st, 2020, 08:16 AM #9
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Pure lead is not good it will make cleaning very difficult. Here is the correct recipe for a hard cast bullet, 2% tin, 6% antimony, 92% lead provides the best balance harder bullets at .459 Diameter. Make sure you also use a good lubricate on them makes cleaning easy. I have used this in making hard cast bullets for my 45/70. Pure lead bullets will deform when fired from modern guns and accuracy will be poor.
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Old August 1st, 2020, 10:49 AM #10
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Thanks for the replies.

Biggfoot is right about me not wanting to muddle up my mix. Reloading (including casting) of any type is a chore for me that I barely have the time and space to do. I respect people who enjoy it, and maybe if my life was less full of other stuff, I would...but right now, I don't. If it wasn't for the ammo crisis (and no end in sight), I wouldn't even be considering this.

I have a supply pure lead. Creating another mix would take up more of my precious time changing what's in the pot, and also add expense. Honestly, if I'm going to pay for casting material...I'd kinda rather pay more and get it already shaped into projectiles

I will look into slower powders. Times aren't ideal for being picky about powder...but I'll see what's out there (and what my dad may have laying around )

I have a mold with a nice big grease groove that I use for .45Colt BP. Unfortunately, I haven't found any .45ACP recipes for 250grain bullets...that would be way to convenient

I am definitey not interested in "hardball velocities" If the starting charge gives reliable ignition and minute of plate accuracy at 10-15 yards, I'd just stick with that. The projectile just needs to make it to the target with enough energy to indicate a hit

As to the age of the 1917...at some point in the past 100 years, someone was nice enough to remove the finish, most of the markings, and collector value with a week's worth of buffing, or even sandpaper. It earns it keep now by going to work, not by just being pretty. The smith I bought it from was a little surprised I even wanted it, given the condition. It still locked up tight. I told him I wanted it as a shooter and he said, "Well, if it breaks, I can fix it."
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