hot lead ..really ?

  • Last Post 29 June 2015
Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 15 March 2013

Einstein got us to e=mcc  ...   but never quite to full unification   dang it !!  ( g ) .

but maybe us here farmers and plumbers could get a clear understanding of just how cast bullets work ...  i think our knowledge is approaching infinitely large ... and our errors are approaching zero  ... all with lots of help from the CBA of course ... take a bow ...oh yeah, harry pope, and friends, who knew all this stuff a hunnert years ago ...geeesh ...

anyway, one little thing i am not sure about ... do lead bullets, unlubed and at velocities under 2000 fps ... in lets say really smooth barrels ....  ACTUALLY MELT ??  from barrel friction ?

ken mollohan brought this up several times, along with some surmises ... but i am not sure i have ever seen any  ...   uh ...   ” convincing ”   double blind, etc.  .... tests .. data ...  to consider.

yep, we think that too small a bullet diameter lets hot gas ” melt ” the sides of the bullet and deposit that ” melted ” lead down the barrel ... that is the basis for most all our improvements recently ...  either how to avoid that, ... or how to keep the deposits to a consistent ... minimum ? ... accurate ? .... level.

so do we need a lube that keeps bullets from melting ?  did Mollies cow/corn meal/.. etc. also scrub out the remnants of friction melted bullets .. or did it show that bullets weren't melting from barrel friction ? 

and i do remember picking up hot mj bullets immediately after firing ... was that from barrel friction ... air friction ... impact cold ( hot ) working ? 

input appreciated ...   we are so close to a short list of simple rules to success with cast bullets ...  Sherlock Holmes mentioned ...that if we eliminate things that don't matter ...we are left with a short list  ...of success with cast bullets ...

so close now ...


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onondaga posted this 15 March 2013

Bullets melting from barrel friction seems highly unlikely to me. Lead, even bare pure lead is a self lubricious metal, it slips by itself without any lube. The time in the barrel is also so very short, a buildup of heat sufficient to melt lead is very dubious.  There is such low heat sustained that even cotton filler fibers behind a bullet aren't consumed in fire, although occasionally one can be set to smoulder, but that is more likely from muzzle flash as the cotton exits.

Gas jetting on the other hand, I do believe has the capacity to melt lead just by virtue of the extremely small but high velocity venturi effect of the jetting itself.. I believe gas jetting like that doesn't even need flame to melt lead and believe the high velocity gas jet alone causes sufficient heat to melt lead.

Look at the ignition principle of the old Daisy VL ammunition alone. No fire is used to light the solid propellant at all----just a jet of air through a tiny hole.


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runfiverun posted this 16 March 2013

no they do not melt. yes they are hot,friction from the barell and from the air makes them so. compress cold air and it heats up. lube isn't for the melting it is a floating gasket think of it as a piston ring.

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pat i. posted this 16 March 2013

I'm a believer that bullets melt from friction and don't believe lube seals anything.

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RicinYakima posted this 16 March 2013

I believe that bullet fairies guide the bullets. If they are happy they face forward and your bullets go in the same place. If they are unhappy, they are looking over their fairie shoulders, cursing, so they don't guide the bullets in the same place.

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Uncle Russ posted this 16 March 2013

Please Guys. Take the last post with a grain of salt.

It has been a loooooong winter for Ric. Things will be fine again once I get him out in the sun a little.

Until then, be please patient.
The old Ric will return. :armyhelmet:

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R Dupraz posted this 16 March 2013

Hot lead...bullets melting in the air friction....cows....fairies..?

Sounds to me like the “cooking sherry” is taking a major hit again!!!


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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 16 March 2013

From experience: I once picked up a bullet within a couple of seconds of firing - it burned my fingers. FWIW.

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RicinYakima posted this 16 March 2013

If you guys really want to have this discussion, please define:

hot: as hot to hold, 250 degrees, hot enough to melt lead alloy?

quanity of heat: melt surface of bullet? whole bullet? BTU's?

melt: 0.0001” of surface? whole 30 caliber bullet?

leading: wash inside bore? ribbons in grooves? only in front of chamber?

Exactly what do you want to discuss? Ken, what is success with cast bullets? If there aren't any rules, I still hold with the fairies theory.

Best wishes, and not trying to be a snot,

Ric in Yakima

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Uncle Russ posted this 16 March 2013


And I thought HOT according to Ric was his shooting.

I am wrong again. :nawnawnaw:

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R Dupraz posted this 16 March 2013


Some usefull information! I was beginning to to loose faith in this outfit.....I think...


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John Alexander posted this 16 March 2013

OK Ric is right. Let's try to narrow it down a little.

Success with cast bullets? Since we already know that CB are OK for killing all unruly or tasty beasts large of small, the only objective left is accuracy and there is no such thing as too much of it.

Leading? If we agree with the definition of success above then the only leading we give a hoot about is the kind that degrades accuracy--what ever it looks like or where ever it appears. Anything else we just ignore no matter what it looks like.

So then Ken's question, as I understand it, is the leading that affects accuracy from friction melted lead or something else?

If we really knew that instead of just having opinions about it we could then maybe make some progress about what to do next.

Cabin fever is just as bad here in Maine as other places so please don't take offense.


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R Dupraz posted this 16 March 2013

OK, OK, John, I think I got it now, At least the leading and the heat part.

But am still not clear on where the cows and fairies come in.



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John Alexander posted this 16 March 2013

We have believers in bullet melting, believers in gas jetting, believers in lube gaskets, Ric believes in cows and fairies, and Ken believes in shooting tin cans.

Good try Ken but if developing the unified field theory of cast bullet shooting depends on this bunch it will be a while.

I'm sure Uncle Russ is right, a little spring sun will be good for all of us.

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jhalcott posted this 16 March 2013

I HAVE waved an oxyacetelene torch over the base of bullets to test this melting theory. The flame temperature was over 5000 degrees. I had to keep the torch on the bullet for a couple seconds to get signs of melting. I do not believe in melting bullets in the bore. There isn't enough time for it to happen!

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RicinYakima posted this 16 March 2013


What I love about cast bullet making, shooting and discussion is its complexity. Endless variables under different conditions with differing results. What one person sees and theorizes about, another doesn't understand at all; it isn't “common sense", it does not seem “right", etc.


You think your bullets just squirt out the end of the barrel and get to the target on their own?

Ric (praying for Spring) in Yakima

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Pigslayer posted this 16 March 2013

I think that all of you have been into “Mother Murphy's Cooking Sherry"!

If someone else had of done to me what I did to myself . . . I'd have killed him. Humility is an asset. Heh - heh.

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Notlwonk posted this 16 March 2013

Ken Campbell, Iowa wrote: ... and our errors are approaching zero  ...    


I wish!!!

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delmarskid1 posted this 17 March 2013

I rubbed a bullet on the outside of my rifle barrel but my arm got tired before I got any melting. I'll chuck one up in a drill tomorrow if I can get the math together. If the bullets moved fast enough to melt in the barrel I believe I would be finding some residue at the crown. I also think that I would find leading near the muzzle instead of near the chamber as the bullets are moving faster near the muzzle than at the chamber end. We are watching our 6 and 3 year old nephew and niece tonight. Can you tell that I have been polishing my logic?

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jhrosier posted this 17 March 2013

Not cast bullets, but I have seen the comet tail on the face of a target when firing thin jacketed bullets well above their intended velocity. The comet tail was said to be from melted lead core bleeding thru thin jackets slit by the rifling. I also once recovered a couple of empty jackets downrange after firing the same jacketed bullets and not getting any holes in the target. Wherever all that heat came from, a good bit must be generated even with a cast bullet. If the combined forces of friction and pressure were to raise the temperature of the surface of the cast bullet close to the melting point, a small amount of blow-by might be enough to cause some melting/leading.


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Uncle Russ posted this 17 March 2013

May I shoot a hole in all this great thought. Bullet jacket remark made it clear.

Anybody heard of centrifugal force from a bullet spinning at thousands of rpm's? Force 'em too fast in the wrong twist and they will come apart. Varminter fact of life.

Just a thought.

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