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Old 07-18-2011, 14:50   #1
cowboy1964
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Shot my first lead reloads today - why so smokey?

I shot my first .45 ACP lead today. Wow were they smokey. Same powder as my plated loads (Unique) though obviously a smaller amount.

What is causing all the smoke? Is it the lead vaporizing or the lube? There can't be that much lube on it (using Missouri Bullets 230gr RN).
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Old 07-18-2011, 14:57   #2
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Tagged for info. I was wondering this myself.
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Old 07-18-2011, 15:01   #3
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The lead vaporizes and the lube helps add to the smoke. There is little you can do about it, unfortunately.
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Old 07-18-2011, 15:17   #4
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Lead vaporizes at a little over 3100 degrees F... I seriously doubt your barrel achieves that type of temperature. (Lead melts at around 630 to 650 degrees.)

Obviously part of the smoke is from the powder, be it Unique or something else, they all have their individual smoke characteristics.

The additional smoke you notice is caused by the lube and as with powders different lubes have different smoke characteristics.

If you were a caster it would be a simple matter of changing lubes until you found one that meets your needs. (I find that a hard lube smokes considerably less than a soft lube although they all will produce more smoke than a non-lubed bullet.

If you're buying pre-lubed cast bullets you're pretty much stuck with what ever lube the company is using. Call around and see if different companies will send you 100 count sample packs then compare them to each other.


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Old 07-18-2011, 15:24   #5
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Ventilation helps too. My loads smoke, but I don't care because the ventilation in the clubs indoor range is so strong you have to keep your stapler on your stack of targets. There is no lead in the smoke as, Jack pints out, from the bullets. There is lead in the smoke from the primer. That lead was in your jacketed loads, you just didn't know it.

Increasing your powder charge can help. If you want to continue to use a light load for target or whatever reason, you can use a faster powder like Bullseye.
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Old 07-18-2011, 15:28   #6
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It's the 90% the Lube in your case..
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Old 07-18-2011, 16:47   #7
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how much unique are you using? I load my plated and lead about the same? just looking to verify "how much less" since the prevailing wisdom is to load lead and plated about the same.
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Old 07-18-2011, 16:55   #8
dbarry
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My vote on the smoke is the bullet lube. As you start lowering the charge on medium to slower burning powders you get more smoke too.

I started casting my own and using tumble lube, and I get a lot less smoke w/ tumble lube.
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Old 07-18-2011, 17:07   #9
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Quote:
The lead vaporizes
Reloading
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Old 07-18-2011, 17:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tackdr1ver View Post
The lead vaporizes and the lube helps add to the smoke. There is little you can do about it, unfortunately.
As Jack notes, lead does NOT vaporize at any appreciable rate on firing. the lube does burn & smoke, depending on the lube composition & the powder used. Some smoke more than others. Unique can be really smokey unless, loaded at the top end.
One advantage, besides cost, of casting your own, you can experiment w/ diff lube combinations & find what works best for you (stop it Jack, I was talking about bullet lubes).
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Old 07-18-2011, 18:10   #11
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Astroglide!!!


Oops... sorry.


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Old 07-18-2011, 19:14   #12
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The smoke is largely smoldering bullet lube.
Moly coated cast smoke less but not as little as plated or jacketed.

The conventional wisdom is that most airborne lead on indoor ranges is from the conventional styphnate primer, supporting the lead free ammunition business.
There was one study that found a large contribution as lead fume burnt off the bullet base and rubbed off by barrel friction. But it is easier and more profitable to sell new primers.
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Old 07-18-2011, 19:44   #13
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I have the same thing happen to me (I use Unique as well). A RO once came by and asked me to put out my cigar.

I love the looks I get from guys next to me in my lane wondering wth is going on.

Wear all that smoke like a badge of Reloading Honor.
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Old 07-18-2011, 20:36   #14
DWARREN123
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The bullet lube, lead bullets must be lubed and that where the smoke comes from.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:45   #15
jmorris
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Quote:
Moly coated cast smoke less but not as little as plated or jacketed.
Just to note, if you take cast and sized lead bullets and run them in a Lyman moly coat tumbler they will come out looking like black mirrors, the most beautiful bullets you have seen. The rest of the story is that they leave black spider web like deposits down the bore and "smoke" more than plated.

The coated, often called moly, bullets from Precision and others only contain small portions of moly. In the sample I have, the MSDS says 10%.

To answer the OP's question, you already know. Plated = no smoke. Cast lead = smoke.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:12   #16
Zombie Steve
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Consider shooting outdoors, fellers.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:14   #17
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Originally Posted by El_Ron1 View Post
Reloading
If our Chief Science Officer and Primer Pocket Cleaning Czar, El_Ron1 is confused, then so am I.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:19   #18
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We really don't have a lot of potential black powder shooters around here. Bunch of sissy flatlanders.


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Old 07-19-2011, 10:52   #19
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Lessee... how many guys were in that match that I beat having never shot black powder before?
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:08   #20
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Originally Posted by Zombie Steve View Post
Lessee... how many guys were in that match that I beat having never shot black powder before?

Let me see if I can remember this correctly. Oh, yeah, you didn't beat anybody, the only reason they applauded you was because you didn't wound anyone.

I am still being made sport of for bringing a pilgrim to the shoot. Apparently I'm on probation for eternity plus three-days.


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