Lead vs. lead cast bullets

by Erik  

So you want to start shooting lead bullet huh? Using lead bullets is a great way to save money over using jacketed or plated bullets. However, there are a few things to look for when buying lead bullets.

First, you don't want pure lead bullets. In fact, you'd probably have a hard time finding any. Pure lead is soft. It will deform when heat is applied or impact and are not suitable for most shooters. Pure lead bullets will leave liberal amounts of fouling in your barrel and can create an unsafe condition in your barrel.

Cast lead bullets are what you want. Cast lead is mixed with Antimony and Tin. By combining the 3 ingredients it yields a much harder bullet which is much better at resisting heat and deformity. Cast lead bullets are usually rated with a hardness. Known as the Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) a scale between 6 and 40 rates the hardness of the projectile.

Pure lead comes in between 4 and 5 BHN. A good cast lead bullet should have a BHN rating around 18. Bullets with a rating of 18 usually contain somewhere between 5-7% antimony and 2-3% tin. Purchasing cast lead .45 ACP bullets in bulk can be done for between $.08 and $.12 per projectile. Jacketed bullets can cost anywhere from $.20-.30 which makes cast lead attractive for reloading.

Remember to always wear gloves or wash your hands after handling lead products.

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