Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Welcome to Glock Forum at

Why should YOU join our forums?

  • Reason #1
  • Reason #2
  • Reason #3

Site Description

Shooting 9mm Lead Reloads in a Glock or a Beretta

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by tedwhite, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. tedwhite

    tedwhite Millennium Member

    Sep 26, 1999
    Bisbee Arizona USA
    I have been told countless times that you can't shoot 9mm lead reloads in a 9mm Glock (however, it's apparently OK to shoot lead reloads in any Glock chambered in 45 ACP).

    So I bought a Lone Wolf barrel for my Glock.

    Then I bought a Beretta Nano. My many advisors tell me that because the rifling is "different" in the Nano barrel that yes, indeed, I can shoot lead reloads.

    Can someone who actually knows about these things clue me
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  2. jdw174


    Oct 31, 2012
    West Tennessee
    Not experience with the NANO, but apparently it has conventional rifling, thus the OK for lead reloads. The Glock uses polygonal rifling which they don't recommend lead bullets with. You LW barrel will take care of that.

    FWIW, I put a few thousand rounds of lead reloads through a box stock Gen 1 Glock 17 with no issues whatsoever other than an occasional "smudge" in the barrel that was easily cleaned out. The key is not to make up "hot" loads with lead slugs. That was MY experience using them. I am not suggesting that everyone do it. Others will differ, I'm sure.

  3. AZson


    Oct 5, 2005
    Get a good molly coated bullet like Bear creek bullets or Billy bullets and you can shoot them in either.
  4. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    :) You’ve been told all wrong! Here, read these two threads:

    (1) (Read, 'John Traveler's reply'.)


    The principal reason, ‘Why’ you can’t shoot lead bullets through a Glock’s mandrel-formed polygonal barrel is because polygonal rifling is different from conventional, ‘button’ or, ‘broach’ cut rifling. Polygonal rifling simply, ‘leads up’ both faster and more easily. Because most Glock owner/users don’t reload, they are unable to determine the, ‘BHN’ of whatever bullets they buy; or, alternatively, they have no way of knowing whether or not the lead bullets they’ve found are either, ‘hard cast’ lead, or of soft lead-wire manufacture.

    Sure an experienced reloader could tell; but most shooters are not experienced reloaders. Glock, GmbH/Inc. realizes that this general lack of knowledge among their customer base could cause serious problems with their pistols. Consequently the only safe advice is to simply not shoot lead bullets in your Glock. (Which is NOT TO SAY that it can’t, or shouldn’t, be done; only that most Glock owners should not attempt to do it.)

    The reason, ‘Why’ it’s easier to shoot 45 ACP lead bullets in a Glock is because the lower velocities at which 45 ACP bullets travel through the barrel are less likely to, ‘shed lead’ and cause subsequent lead-buildup problems. What concerns me about your question is that you mention, ‘lead reloads’. In my entire life I’ve only shot reloads from exactly three people: myself, one of the fellows who taught me how to reload, and the wife of a local gun shop owner whom I will credit with being one of the four best reloaders I have ever known. (Her, 'day job' was as a Test Technician in a firearms testing laboratory.) :supergrin:

    Reloaded cartridges can be dangerous! Because I insist upon knowing ALL of the specifications on the reloaded cartridges I use, (powder, grains, bullets, BHN, primers, brass length - everything!) I would be among the very last people to ever purchase commercial reloads; or other reloaded cartridges from someone whose reloading expertise I did not know very very well. Whenever I was shooting more than I was reloading (rare occasions, but they happened) I made sure to supply all the reloading components I wanted to be used to whomever was doing the actual reloading. (This precaution allowed me to completely avoid many of the problems which might, otherwise, have come up.)

    ANY BARREL CAN LEAD-UP. The reason your LWD barrel is better able to handle lead is simply because the rifling is broach-cut. Same thing goes for the Nano. Here’s a picture of the differences between polygonal, and button-cut rifling. (The conventional, 'broach-cut' rifling is on the right.) You can see by the shallower angles of the polygonal rifling that leading is going to be more of a problem. Still, to the best of my knowledge neither Heckler & Koch or Sako advises against the use of lead bullets in their barrels; and these two manufacturers, both, use mandrel-formed polygonal barrels, too.


    If you’re going to shoot lead bullets through anybody’s polygonal barrel then you need to be better informed and more careful about checking for lead-buildup than other shooters who shoot only jacketed (lead-core) bullets. I’ve given you the most typical precautions an experienced reloader will take with lead bullets and polygonal barrels in the blog article I wrote above. Between, ‘John Traveler’ and me a lot of, ‘the fog’ should be blown away; and, now, you should be off to a good start.

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  5. Jason D

    Jason D INFRINGED Silver Member Millennium Member

    Jun 16, 1999
    Mivonks, MI
    You are not supposed to shoot lead through anything with a polygonal barrel.
    That said I have only ever used the extra hard Laser Cast bullets in Glocks. There is no leading from them at all.
  6. jdavionic

    jdavionic NRA Member

    May 1, 2008
    I own both and shoot reloads through both. My Nano is relatively new and I'm finding that my particular gun appears (not 100% certain) to have issues with longer rounds. But as for reloads, they work in my G34, G19, XDSC, Nano, 92F,...
  7. Fantastic answer sir.

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  8. Wyoming


    Feb 3, 2007
    Southwest Wyoming
    I bought one of the first Glock 17 when they came out. It was in the eggcrate Tupperware box.

    I have cast and can cast bullets but it is a time consuming thing that I would rather buy quality cast bullets. There was a bullet caster in Gillette Wyoming that cast hard bullets in 9mm. I loaded a 1000 and shot them with no problem. This was before it came out not to use cast lead bullets in Glock's.

    Today I have more money than back in the early 1980's and can afford to buy jacket bullets for all my autos and some revolvers so will shop around and buy in quantity.

    I have 2000 230gr FMC and 1000 9mm 115 FMC bullets sitting on my reloading bench that I need to load soon. They were bought before SHTF buying that is going on now.

    Today you might not be able to find decent price on any kind of 9mm bullets. If you have the casting equipment you could try casting hard 9mm bullets and try a few. If they don't work you could buy a aftermarket barrel and go that route. If you don't have any casting equipment then it is not cost affective to buy and cast a few bullets. You would have to shoot a lot of them before you got your money back.

    Another idea is to get a 22 conversion unit but 22 ammo is hard to find now days.:whistling:
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  9. MarcDW

    MarcDW MDW Guns Millennium Member

    Oct 20, 1999
    Maine USA
    Of course plenty of people are here BS certified! :rofl:
    But Arc Angel got it quite nicely.
    One thing about Glock barrels is also that the chamber is not full supported and specially reload with weaker cartridge walls might blow out and destroy the pistol.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2013
  10. I shoot and reload for Glocks since before this fine forum existed and I have found accuracy in 9mm Glocks to deteriorate rapidly with softer swaged bullets. With quality hard cast bullets I never had a similiar problem, whether they were bought or cast by myself.

    Anyway, I have so many Stormlake and LW barrels, that I do not need to worry about that anymore

    I am much more concerned with possible bullet set back, particularly in .357 SIG with FMC.
  11. MarcDW

    MarcDW MDW Guns Millennium Member

    Oct 20, 1999
    Maine USA
    The cone form 9mm bullet does not work in the .357 SIG.
    You need a bullet that is more cylinder like.
    Lead in the .357 SIG showed poor accuracy in several guns I tried it.
  12. Marc,

    I think you mean less cylindrical and have the classic FMJ in mind. Those work well in the .357 SIG but after reloading about 200,000 rounds over the decades, I wonder when I will run out of luck:cool:.
  13. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    :) Seems to me that both of you are talking about the long tapered nose on classic (NATO) 9mm bullets. The 357 SIG cartridge needs a substantial cylindrical bearing surface in order for the casemouth to be tightly crimped and resistant to bullet, 'setback'.

    The long tapered ogive on many 9mm bullets is NOT suitable for use with the bottle-necked 357 SIG cartridge case. 'Why'? Because a long 9mm ogive allows the bullet to be easily pushed back into the case; and we, all, know what's going to happen when a bullet sets itself back into the case - Right! ;)
  14. MarcDW

    MarcDW MDW Guns Millennium Member

    Oct 20, 1999
    Maine USA
  15. Ok then gang...

    What companies make Molly coated slugs on the net so we can buy from them?

  16. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    I cast my own bullets out of range scrap. I don't know the exact hardness, but I estimate it at about 12bhn. They are considerably softer than "hardcast" commercial bullets and harder than swaged pure lead bullets like Hornady or Speer. Bullets need to be hard enough, but any harder isn't needed.

    What is needed is to use an appropriate powder charge. If you try to get high velocity with a fast burning powder, you will get leading. The faster you want the bullet to go, the slower burning a powder you need. What does this mean in practical terms? For light target loads, like 38 Spl, or in this case 9mm, a fast powder like Bullseye works great. If you are happy with a 124 grain bullet traveling at 950 feet per second out of your Glock, use Bullseye or a similar powder. If you want a 124 to be going 1100 or so to duplicate factory ammo, use a medium burn rate powder like Unique. For full throttle magnum rounds like 357 Magnum, 44 Mag etc, you need a slow burning powder like 2400.

    This is true of any handgun or caliber. A harder bullet may allow more velocity with a given powder, but not much. I've leaded a 357 horribly with a hardcast bullet and a high velocity charge of Bullseye. I can get higher velocity and no leading with a slower powder like Unique, and even higher velocity with 2400, out of the same gun even with a softer bullet.

    Things tend to get simplified for the masses. It's wordy and boring to read about powder burn rates and pressure etc. It's easier to tell people "hard bullet good". While hard bullets aren't necessarily bad, they don't really address the problem correctly and people can still have a leaded up mess of a barrel after just a dozen or so rounds.

    I have shot tens of thousands of cast bullets. Initially I shot commercial hard bullets until the prices went too high. Now I shoot free bullets that are not considered hard and have great, predictable results.

    Lead bullets work fine in Glocks. If your load leads the barrel, back the powder charge down or use a slower powder.

    Also, not only is leading a major PITA to deal with, but a load that leads won't be accurate. If you're just blasting silhouette targets at 7 yards, you won't notice the poor accuracy, just the mess in your barrel. But, if you stretch things out a bit, you'll see that the load that is leading your barrel shoots like crap.

    Another common belief is that lead "builds up" or is inevitable. A load either leads or it doesn't. You'll know after ten rounds if it leads. Some loads lead more than others, but it doesn't build up. 10 rounds or 100, your barrel will look the same. A load that leads heavily will lead heavily right away. A load that leads lightly will leave the same light leading even after 100 rounds. Importantly, a load that doesn't lead at all simply won't lead a barrel even after 1,000 rounds. I don't consider a load that leads acceptable. I lower the charge, or change the powder until I don't get lead. The only reason I clean my guns is to get the carbon fouling out.

    Lead loads will leave more carbon in your gun. Fire 300 jacketed rounds out of your Glock and it will be as clean as when you took it out of the box. Fire 300 cast bullet loads out of the same gun and you will have carbon under the extractor, in the crevices etc of the gun. Any good powder solvent a toothpick/toothbrush/patches will get it out in 5 minutes. I don't mind spending 5 minutes cleaning my gun every-other time I shoot my gun when you consider I can load a box of 50 rounds for less than $2.00.

  17. tedwhite

    tedwhite Millennium Member

    Sep 26, 1999
    Bisbee Arizona USA
    My sincere thanks to arc angel and rest of you for all this incredibly helpful information. Allow me to recap the results of yesterday's range session:

    1. The 9mm reloads come from a close friend who uses them exclusively in competitive shooting. He casts his own bullets. Apparently his reloads work for him so I thought they might work for me also. He does not use Lone Wolf barrels but rather a more expensive aftermarket one that must be fitted to the pistol (can't recall the brand).

    2. Went to the range with his reloads, my Beretta Nano and my NEW Glock 26 with the Lone Wolf barrel installed. Shot first the Beretta with target placement at 15 yards. No problems feeding and a respectable grouping equivalent to that with factory ammo. Shot 50 rounds.

    3. Then I loaded the Glock with 10 rounds, racked the slide, aimed at the new target, and the trigger wouldn't pull. Checked the Glock and noticed that the slide had not completely returned to battery. Dropped the magazine and discovered I could not move the slide in either direction. So much for the Glock. Continued to shoot the Beretta with no problem.

    4. Returned home. Shined a small flashlight into the mag well and I could see that the round was 95% seated but obviously jammed in place. Got thick rags to pad the slide, inserted it into a vice (weapon upside down). Wrapped more rags around the grip and tapped it with a rubber mallet against the rear of the grip until it finally dislodged the round. I did this rather than try and force the round into battery as there was obviously a problem.

    5. Removed the Lone Wolf barrel, the Beretta barrel, and removed the barrel from my G19 and retrieved the original G26 barrel. Reloaded cartridges would seat fully in all barrels except the Lone Wolf barrel. Tried factory ammo and it seated fully in all barrels including the Lone Wolf barrel. I took a large magnifying glass and examined a factory round and one of the reloads. Although I could barely notice it, there is an extremely slight bulge at the rear of the reloaded cartridge. Didn't make any difference in the standard barrels (and obviously not in my friend's high dollar fitted barrel).

    6. My conclusion, for what it's worth, is that the Lone Wolf barrel is machined to tighter tolerances than the other barrels? Question: After I shoot a couple of hundred rounds through the LW barrel using factory ammunition will it loosen up?
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  18. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    :) You’re welcome! (I always like it when someone says, ‘Thank you’. It makes me feel better about, ‘giving so much away’.)

    Bar-Sto Precision barrels are, usually, the ones that end up being custom-fitted into a gun. (Like this: )


    Now you know, ‘Why’ I don’t use Lone Wolf barrels! They're a good value for the money; but the chambers are, simply, too tight. In my opinion a, ‘match-grade’ chamber does not belong on a, ‘combat-grade’ pistol like a Glock.

    The problem you experienced seems to be twofold: First, you were using an aftermarket barrel that is known to come with a very tight fitting chamber. Second, you were using reloads with, ‘an extremely slight bulge at the rear of the reloaded cartridge’. A properly made, ‘semi-auto sizing die’ that is, also, set up to, ‘within a dime’s worth of distance’ from the top of the shell holder’ (WHEN the die is under full compression) will NOT leave a bulge around a reloaded cartridge’s case head.

    In the past I’ve read a lot of comments in this board’s reloading forum about case head expansion being unavoidable on cartridge cases that have been fired in a Glock. Nonsense! Plain and simple: The, ‘compression ring’ on whatever sizing die was used had an internal diameter that was too loose.

    RCBS used to make specially manufactured, ‘semiautomatic sizing dies’. Dillon, however, never wanted to do the same thing; but, if I kept after them enough, ultimately, Dillon would finally send me the tighter sizing dies I kept asking for. (Never had any of the, ‘binding problems’ their tech support people used to insist I was going to experience, either!) :supergrin:

    Whoever made the reloaded ammo you used didn’t: (1) Use a sizing die with a tight enough sizing ring; or (2) left too much space between the bottom of the sizing die and the top of the shell holder; or (3) either moved too fast, or got lazy and didn’t repeatedly pull the press handle all the way down while he was resizing. Hence, those rings! In combination with that tight, ‘match-grade’ chamber on your Lone Wolf aftermarket barrel, what you were attempting to use was, actually, a certain recipe for disaster! All you could end up with were repeated failures-to-feed.

    To answer your final question: No! You need to contact Lone Wolf, send that barrel back to them, and have the chamber opened up to more acceptable standard Glock dimensions. Some ‘re:throating’ might, also, be needed. (A competent gunsmith could do this work for you, too; but, then, he’d be working on, ‘your nickel’. I’ve done this to some of my own barrels; but, they were my own barrels; and, I’m one of those guys who’s spent, literally, hundreds of hours hanging around other peoples’ gunsmithing shops.) ;)

    NOTE: It is impossible to completely return a once-fired cartridge case to, exactly, its original diameter. (But, an experienced reloader can still come, 'pretty darn close'.)
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  19. MajorD


    Aug 16, 2010
    You know what they say about opinions but here goes. Many ranges in my area have restrictions allowing cast plain lead bullets only. Been shooting cast out of glocks for twenty years or more with no issues. A few passes of a brass brush ( nylon like is packaged with the glock won't cut it) every 100-200 rounds is the solution, and never shoot jacketed after lead without cleaning first and you should have no problems. Ammo quality control is not as good today as years ago. I in thirty plus years of shooting have never seen a properly assembled reload damage a gun