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Old 10-25-2013, 19:48   #1
SJ 40
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The Myth about Polygonal Barrels & Cast Bullets

Many moons ago, Glock issued a warning about shooting lead bullets through their pistols. The reason for this warning was the failure of several barrels after shooting them. The Glock line of pistols use a polygonal rifling design. This design is different in the lands, and grooves look more like rolling hills and valleys as opposed to bluffs and valleys. Because of this warning a myth has been propagated; shooting lead bullets will cause fouling in a polygonal barrel. This isnít really the case.

http://www.gunnews.com/myth-polygonal-barrels/

I know from my use of cast bullets over the years in the factory barrels of 9 mm,40 S&W and 45 acp,for 95% of my shooting I would agree.

Each shooter should make up his or her mind,I know for myself I long ago made mine and I have no regrets. SJ 40
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Old 10-25-2013, 20:32   #2
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Old 10-25-2013, 21:26   #3
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Agreed. I've been shooting lead reloads in my G23 for many years with no real problems. Although I don't shoot 800-1000+ rounds before cleaning, I have shot about 400-500 before cleaning the barrel.
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Old 10-25-2013, 22:28   #4
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Absolutely safe to shoot lead in your OEM barrel. It's been done for years and there's plenty of proof that nothing will happen. Just clean your barrels every once in a while.
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Old 10-26-2013, 00:01   #5
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Again, the real myth is that Glock makes polygonal barrels. They are not such barrels.
The true polygonal barrels are the one H&K uses in their guns, also, the mentioned in the article CZ...

The picture in the article does not show true polygonal barrel, here, on the right side is a true polygonal H&K barrel profile:

General Glocking
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/polygonal
Quote:
A closed plane figure bounded by three or more line segments.
....it doesn't have grooves and lands but 8 flat surfaces with rounded corners to connect each one of them.

Glock barrel have nothing to do with this pattern and all one have to do to prove this to himself is to look down the Glock's barrel - the flat surface of a smooth bore is clearly visible between the rounded lands.

The barrel was developed by the same company that made the H&K barrels, located in Ferlach, Austria.
It was the second design that they presented to Gaston, he decided to go with this-one because it would give the gun longer service life.

Essentially, Glock barrel have lands and grooves, but the edges of the lands are artificially "worn" which makes them look oval. These are not really "polygonal" barrels and yes, one can shoot hard cast trough it with no problem.

Few years back I was asking here why the warning in the Glock manual about shooting led bullets exists only in the US editions but not in Europe.

I was told that it is because of liability issues.

I did ask few times different people in the Glock isle on the Shot Show in Vegas and they did not really explained why, but told me that I should not shoot lead trough Glock...
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:59   #6
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I tried 50 or so Precession bullets and there was so much crap in my barrel I never tried them again. Wonder what I did wrong? Everyone is saying there no issues but I sure had them, at least in 9mm. No problems in .45 which is why I tried them in 9mm.
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:14   #7
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Glock's guidance on lead bullets comes from a legal/warranty position, designed to protect them if your gun is damaged by substandard reloaded lead ammo.

They have no control over re-loads and most lead bullets are reloaded ammo. In short, they trust the large commercial ammo manufacturers a lot more than they trust you reloading ammo in your garage.

Since they have no control over your reloaded ammo and there are no enforceable reloading standards for individuals, Glock takes the position they do.

HK does the same thing for the same reason.

They have no control over reloads or the use of lead bullets,
so they issue that warning to protect themselves.

I've shot a lot of lead bullets through both Glock and HK pistols with no problems.
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Old 10-26-2013, 07:30   #8
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As any of the revolver shooters who shoot lots of lead will tell you, not all lead is created equally. Some brands of lead bullets will shoot dozens, if not hundreds, of the rounds without depositing any visible lead in the barrel. Other brands will start to leave visible deposits in just a few rounds.

Why the difference? It is due to a combination of developed pressure, velocity, and hardness of the lead bullets.

Looking at 9MM values, the max pressure (as listed by NATO, SAAMI, and CIP) is around 35,000 psi, with 9MM+P being about 38,500 psi. It's a fairly high pressure round. For comparison, the 45 ACP spec is 21,000 psi.

The hardness of lead is measured by system that uses Brinell Hardness Numbers (BHN). The higher the number, the harder the lead. Optimum lead hardness for "no lead deposits" is generally considered to be the pressure in psi divided by1400.

For 9MM, this comes out to 35,000/1400 = 25 BHN. That's one hard bullet. For comparison, 45 ACP is 21,000/1400 = 15 BHN.

Most commercial lead bullet manufacturers do not make a 25 BHN 9MM bullet. In fact, most lead bullet manufacturers do not inform you of how hard (or not) their product is. More and more are starting to, as consumers go out in search of certain hardnesses for different purposes.

The point of all this, is that, various folks comparing "You can shoot lead just fine" and "You cannot shoot lead at all" may be both correct. It all depends on which lead bullet you are using, and how hot your loads are.

If you reload, you have a head start on finding a lead bullet load that will work just fine in your Glock.

If you do not reload, and are restricted to what commercial loads you run across, you may have a harder time coming up with a suitable lead load for your Glocks.

Edited to add: There is a "sweet spot" for no leading for each gun and power loading.

You can get bullets that are too hard for your particular power load - that will cause leading also. At whatever pressure you are using, the lead bullet must be soft enough to be able to be "formed" to fit the barrel or hot gases will get by the bullet and vaporize the lead which is then deposited on the inside of the barrel (the visible lead deposits you see).

If a bullet is too soft, the same thing happens as with bullets that are too hard. Pressure will breach the seal and cause very hot gasses to blow by the bullet. Again, it causes the bullet to erode and leave lead deposits in the bore

Last edited by NewportNewsMike; 10-26-2013 at 07:46.. Reason: Additional comments -
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ede View Post
I tried 50 or so Precession bullets and there was so much crap in my barrel I never tried them again. Wonder what I did wrong? Everyone is saying there no issues but I sure had them, at least in 9mm. No problems in .45 which is why I tried them in 9mm.
What powder did you use. And are you sure you didn't overdo the crimp?


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Old 10-26-2013, 08:30   #10
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Originally Posted by NewportNewsMike View Post
As any of the revolver shooters who shoot lots of lead will tell you, not all lead is created equally. Some brands of lead bullets will shoot dozens, if not hundreds, of the rounds without depositing any visible lead in the barrel. Other brands will start to leave visible deposits in just a few rounds.

Why the difference? It is due to a combination of developed pressure, velocity, and hardness of the lead bullets.

Looking at 9MM values, the max pressure (as listed by NATO, SAAMI, and CIP) is around 35,000 psi, with 9MM+P being about 38,500 psi. It's a fairly high pressure round. For comparison, the 45 ACP spec is 21,000 psi.

The hardness of lead is measured by system that uses Brinell Hardness Numbers (BHN). The higher the number, the harder the lead. Optimum lead hardness for "no lead deposits" is generally considered to be the pressure in psi divided by1400.

For 9MM, this comes out to 35,000/1400 = 25 BHN. That's one hard bullet. For comparison, 45 ACP is 21,000/1400 = 15 BHN.

Most commercial lead bullet manufacturers do not make a 25 BHN 9MM bullet. In fact, most lead bullet manufacturers do not inform you of how hard (or not) their product is. More and more are starting to, as consumers go out in search of certain hardnesses for different purposes.

The point of all this, is that, various folks comparing "You can shoot lead just fine" and "You cannot shoot lead at all" may be both correct. It all depends on which lead bullet you are using, and how hot your loads are.

If you reload, you have a head start on finding a lead bullet load that will work just fine in your Glock.

If you do not reload, and are restricted to what commercial loads you run across, you may have a harder time coming up with a suitable lead load for your Glocks.

Edited to add: There is a "sweet spot" for no leading for each gun and power loading.

You can get bullets that are too hard for your particular power load - that will cause leading also. At whatever pressure you are using, the lead bullet must be soft enough to be able to be "formed" to fit the barrel or hot gases will get by the bullet and vaporize the lead which is then deposited on the inside of the barrel (the visible lead deposits you see).

If a bullet is too soft, the same thing happens as with bullets that are too hard. Pressure will breach the seal and cause very hot gasses to blow by the bullet. Again, it causes the bullet to erode and leave lead deposits in the bore
Over the years and also starting with revolvers I have found this to be the case.

I still remember discovering the BHN to pressure formula,that's when I also discovered how much I enjoyed shooting cast bullets. SJ 40
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewportNewsMike View Post
As any of the revolver shooters who shoot lots of lead will tell you, not all lead is created equally. Some brands of lead bullets will shoot dozens, if not hundreds, of the rounds without depositing any visible lead in the barrel. Other brands will start to leave visible deposits in just a few rounds.

Why the difference? It is due to a combination of developed pressure, velocity, and hardness of the lead bullets.

Looking at 9MM values, the max pressure (as listed by NATO, SAAMI, and CIP) is around 35,000 psi, with 9MM+P being about 38,500 psi. It's a fairly high pressure round. For comparison, the 45 ACP spec is 21,000 psi.

The hardness of lead is measured by system that uses Brinell Hardness Numbers (BHN). The higher the number, the harder the lead. Optimum lead hardness for "no lead deposits" is generally considered to be the pressure in psi divided by1400.

For 9MM, this comes out to 35,000/1400 = 25 BHN. That's one hard bullet. For comparison, 45 ACP is 21,000/1400 = 15 BHN.

Most commercial lead bullet manufacturers do not make a 25 BHN 9MM bullet. In fact, most lead bullet manufacturers do not inform you of how hard (or not) their product is. More and more are starting to, as consumers go out in search of certain hardnesses for different purposes.

The point of all this, is that, various folks comparing "You can shoot lead just fine" and "You cannot shoot lead at all" may be both correct. It all depends on which lead bullet you are using, and how hot your loads are.

If you reload, you have a head start on finding a lead bullet load that will work just fine in your Glock.

If you do not reload, and are restricted to what commercial loads you run across, you may have a harder time coming up with a suitable lead load for your Glocks.

Edited to add: There is a "sweet spot" for no leading for each gun and power loading.

You can get bullets that are too hard for your particular power load - that will cause leading also. At whatever pressure you are using, the lead bullet must be soft enough to be able to be "formed" to fit the barrel or hot gases will get by the bullet and vaporize the lead which is then deposited on the inside of the barrel (the visible lead deposits you see).

If a bullet is too soft, the same thing happens as with bullets that are too hard. Pressure will breach the seal and cause very hot gasses to blow by the bullet. Again, it causes the bullet to erode and leave lead deposits in the bore
^^^Excellent post!!!
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:33   #12
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I tried 50 or so Precession bullets and there was so much crap in my barrel I never tried them again. Wonder what I did wrong? Everyone is saying there no issues but I sure had them, at least in 9mm. No problems in .45 which is why I tried them in 9mm.
But what kind of crap? Lead bullets will have a lubricant and this tends to make a mess of things and not just in the barrel.

The real question is "was it actually lead?". The best way I have found to answer the question is with the Lewis Lead Remover from Brownell's. If there is lead present, it will show up as silver flakes on the brass screen. I have been using this device since the early '80s when I started loading for .45 ACP.

I still shoot lead in all my .45s, including my G21SF and G36. It works fine! However, it's a low pressure round and that may give a different result than what I might get in a 9mm or .40 S&W. At the moment, I am loading JHP and plated FN for the .40 and the 9mm rounds have been mostly FMJ. I load far fewer of these than .45s so I haven't been pushed in the direction of lead bullets. It will happen one of these days.

I did load some LRN in 9mm for an XD. I didn't notice any leading but the lube jammed the LCI in an upward position and nothing I tried would dissolve the mess. I had to drive out the pin, remove the blade and spring and use mechanical means to remove the gunk. What a PITA!

So, it gets down to pain and cost. A lead bullet cost 2/3 or less of a plated or jacketed bullet. Is the cost savings worth the cleanup time? Suppose I shoot 5000 rounds per year and lead bullets cost $90/1000 and jacketed cost $137/1000 so I save about $47/1000 or around $235/year. My .45s clean up pretty easy so, yes, saving the money is worthwhile.

Richard
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:23   #13
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Glock advises against using lead bullets in their polygonally rifled barrels, which has led to a widespread belief that polygonal rifling is not compatible with lead bullets. Firearms expert and barrel maker, the late Gale McMillan, has also commented that lead bullets and polygonal rifling are not a good mix. Neither H&K nor Kahr explicitly recommend against lead bullets in their polygonal rifled barrels, suggesting that there might be an additional factor involved in Glock's warning. Kahr's warns that lead bullets can cause additional fouling and recommends special attention to cleaning after their use. While H&K doesn't insist on a copper jacket, at least one well-documented catastrophic incident in an H&K pistol may be related to this issue. Furthermore, Dave Spaulding, well-known gun writer, reported in the February/March 2008 issue of Handguns Magazine that when he queried H&K about their polygonally rifled barrels that they commented: "It has been their experience that polygonal rifling will foul with lead at a greater rate than will conventional rifling."
One suggestion of what the "additional factor involved in Glock's warning" might be is that Glock barrels have a fairly sharp transition between the chamber and the rifling, and this area is prone to lead buildup if lead bullets are used. This buildup may result in failures to fully return to battery, allowing the gun to fire with the case not fully supported by the chamber, leading to a potentially dangerous case failure. However, since this sharp transition is found on most autopistols this speculation is of limited value. The sharp transition or "lip" at the front of the chamber is required to "headspace" the cartridge in most autopistols.
Another possible explanation is that there are different "species" of polygonal rifle and perhaps Glock's peculiar style of polygonal rifling may be more prone to leading than the particular styles employed in the H&K and Kahr barrels.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:38   #14
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I'd guess lead and moly or moly and lead. Whatever it was I don't want anymore of it. Precessions aren't cast like most lead bullets so that might be a factor, also used a fast powder which might not be optimal either. I suspect I'm just not smart enough to run lead bullets.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:54   #15
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Glock advises against using lead bullets in their polygonally rifled barrels, which has led to a widespread belief that polygonal rifling is not compatible with lead bullets.
Of course, Glock, in the very same sentence, cautions against even jacketed reloads. Yet here we are!

So, according to Glock, no lead whether factory or reloads and no reloads of any kind. In other words, only jacketed factory ammo is acceptable.

One of the problems with lead is hardness as has been mentioned several times above. Glock has no control over the hardness of lead bullets nor the quality of any reloads. Of course they're going to take the position that only factory jacketed loads, guaranteed by the factory to comply with SAAMI standards, are acceptable. I would do the same thing!

I'm pretty sure there are some very soft lead bullets around. I don't think bullets for Cowboy Action Pistol need to be very hard.

And think of the number of people casting their own bullets without a clue as to the resulting hardness. Some have the test gauge, many do not. It's just a guess!

I prefer to shoot lead bullets at steel plates. At most, I will get hit with some splash. Not that splash is insignificant because I had to have a pellet of splash removed from my leg, but at least splash won't tear skin the way a jacket will.

Everybody needs to decide for themselves. There is a slight cost advantage to lead and aftermarket barrels aren't all that expensive. A few thousand lead versus jacketed bullets will pay for the barrel. If it's a concern...

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Old 10-26-2013, 11:42   #16
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Little wake up call a while back--

I have been shooting a lot of lead in my Glock .45's lately & I'm not much on cleaning my shooters until I get ready to store them in my safe & grab another to play with.

I was probably somewhere around 500-600 lead SWC through my 30-S (still shooting decent groups so I wasn't even thinking of any leading).

I usually carry an XD-S in warmer weather so wasn't carrying any of my Glocks since last winter.

In any case there was a recall (update) on my XD-S so it sent it in for the recall.

That left me needing something to carry-- So I thought I would just use my 30-S seeing as I had it out & was shooting it a lot so I would be familiar with it's trigger & sights.

I loaded the spare mag & carry mag with 165 Gold Dots & figured I should dump a mag full down range to check cycling & accuracy.

The shots had a lot more kick than my mid loading re-loads but the big surprise was when I picked up my empty brass. 3 of the primers were so deformed from flowing into the striker hole, all were flat at the outer edges, & 2 had shown signs of primer breech & leaking gas.

The 3 bad ones were very difficult to cycle my press to resize.

Best I can figure is the leading caused the jacketed bullets to go down the barrel with more difficulty & drastically raise the chamber pressures.

I cleaned & de-leaded the barrel then shot 10 more Gold Dots & while they had a little primer flow into the striker hole they still had rounded outer edges & no real sign of over-pressure.

Seems like jacketed after a fair amount of lead = bad ju ju.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:39   #17
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.....Another possible explanation is that there are different "species" of polygonal rifle and perhaps Glock's peculiar style of polygonal rifling may be more prone to leading than the particular styles employed in the H&K and Kahr barrels.
Lots of valuable points in the few of the last posts, including this.
The thing is - true polygonal barrel as the one H&K uses, have larger contact area between bullet and bore, because of the way the barrel is shaped.
Glock's "polygonal" barrel have less contact surface than H&K polygonal barrel but more contact surface than conventional lands/grooves rifling.
Add in the mixture the higher pressure of the 9mm and the inconsistency of the hardness of the lead used, and you get all the problems, mythological or not, associated with shooting lead trough OEM Glock barrel...
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Old 10-26-2013, 14:05   #18
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More info...go to the FAQ page at http://precisionbullets.com/
They say you may or may not have good results with their bullets in Glocks...but if you have an H&K, don't bother.

I've shot a bunch of their bullets in my 21 and 30, and have had no problems. I've shot a little bit of 9mm...but only a few chrono/test shots. I was happy enough with the test batches though, that I ordered a case...so hopefully they'll work as well as the .45 ones.
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Old 10-26-2013, 17:00   #19
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Little wake up call a while back--

I have been shooting a lot of lead in my Glock .45's lately & I'm not much on cleaning my shooters until I get ready to store them in my safe & grab another to play with.

I was probably somewhere around 500-600 lead SWC through my 30-S (still shooting decent groups so I wasn't even thinking of any leading).

I usually carry an XD-S in warmer weather so wasn't carrying any of my Glocks since last winter.

In any case there was a recall (update) on my XD-S so it sent it in for the recall.

That left me needing something to carry-- So I thought I would just use my 30-S seeing as I had it out & was shooting it a lot so I would be familiar with it's trigger & sights.

I loaded the spare mag & carry mag with 165 Gold Dots & figured I should dump a mag full down range to check cycling & accuracy.

The shots had a lot more kick than my mid loading re-loads but the big surprise was when I picked up my empty brass. 3 of the primers were so deformed from flowing into the striker hole, all were flat at the outer edges, & 2 had shown signs of primer breech & leaking gas.

The 3 bad ones were very difficult to cycle my press to resize.

Best I can figure is the leading caused the jacketed bullets to go down the barrel with more difficulty & drastically raise the chamber pressures.

I cleaned & de-leaded the barrel then shot 10 more Gold Dots & while they had a little primer flow into the striker hole they still had rounded outer edges & no real sign of over-pressure.

Seems like jacketed after a fair amount of lead = bad ju ju.
My best advise take it or leave it is to always thoroughly clean the barrel between the use of lead and jacketed and vise versa,always. SJ 40
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Old 10-26-2013, 17:21   #20
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More info...go to the FAQ page at http://precisionbullets.com/
They say you may or may not have good results with their bullets in Glocks...but if you have an H&K, don't bother.

I've shot a bunch of their bullets in my 21 and 30, and have had no problems. I've shot a little bit of 9mm...but only a few chrono/test shots. I was happy enough with the test batches though, that I ordered a case...so hopefully they'll work as well as the .45 ones.
200 gr. Precession and WST in .45 is about as good as I've ever seen or used. I've shot a couple clean matches with 200 gr. Precession and WST. it's a very good combination in a Glock.
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