Author Topic: Lead free ammo?  (Read 492 times)

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Offline KGX

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Lead free ammo?
« on: September 05, 2017, 09:06:20 PM »
Any fans of lead-free ammo?  Looking for something reasonably priced and reliable for range/home defense use on my Scorpion.

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Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 04:47:40 PM »
Not a fan, exactly.

I have bought both 9MM and .223 bullets to reload.

The 9MM bullets were supposedly made by/for Remington and bought during a Midway clearance sale.  They have shot just fine in my 9MM and .357 SIG handguns.

The .223 bullets were supposed to be from Australia and limited experience has not been good.  I worked through my ladder twice with CFE 223 and came to the conclusion that either the bullets or the powder is incompatible with the AR15 I was using.

I've never bought any storebought/factory loaded non-lead ammo.
Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  So, if you see me walking the dogs with my SIG 556R, its okay.

Offline Bret

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 05:07:01 PM »
The first thing that I'd suggest is not using lead free ammo for defensive purposes.  Bullets that are truly lead free are generally frangible or solid copper and will generally perform very poorly for defensive purposes.  Of course for target shooting, that doesn't matter.

In regard to lead free ammo for range use, I'd first ask what you're trying to accomplish.  Is it an environmental thing where your local range doesn't allow ammo that has lead?  Or is it a health thing that you've decided on?  If it's an environmental thing, then you'll have to purchase ammo that is truly lead free.  It's generally very expensive, but there are options out there.  If it's health you're worried about, then you can almost eliminate the amount of lead released in to the air around your pistol by using ammo that utilizes lead free primers and encapsulated bullets.  While there is lead inside encapsulated bullets, you won't be exposed to it because it's surrounded by copper.

One thing to keep in mind about both types of the ammo above is that it's generally very expensive when compared to regular FMJ.  That said, you can get some pretty decent deals if you shop around, but you'll almost certainly have to get it shipped to you.  One of my favorite is American Eagle 9mm 124gr TMJ AE9N1.  Outdoor Limited currently has it for $10.50/50rds plus shipping.
https://www.outdoorlimited.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ae9n1
Speer also has a version.  It's 9mm 124gr TMJ CF 53824
http://www.surplusammo.com/products/9mm-124-grain-tmj-speer-lawman-clean-fire-50-rounds.html

If you buy either of the above, you're looking at spending about $1.50 to $2.00 per box more versus regular FMJ.  If you're shooting at an indoor range, that's probably money well spent.  If you're shooting outside, you won't get as much benefit, but ultimately it's up to you.

I've used both of the above types of ammo and others without a single issue.  Please ask more questions if we can clarify.

Offline jameslovesjammie

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 09:33:07 PM »
I'm not so much a fan of lead free, but do use quite a bit of lead-only!   ;)

I have tried the Ruger ARX in my Scorpion carbine.  It is a polymer bullet.  Aside from a burnt plastic smell, it shot fairly well and was going a swift 1,600+ fps.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 08:22:30 AM »
I have health issues, and therefore always shoot outdoors while trying to stay away from lead and lead fumes. One easy way to do this is shoot JHP, since the base of the bullet is fully encapsulated. Another is to shoot plated bullets, but they are rarely as accurate as the jacketed.
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Offline KGX

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 11:04:18 PM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!  Primary reasons are health-related - trying to minimize my exposure to lead dust while at the indoor ranges that I frequent.  Really I just need to start shooting outside more often, but in the meantime...

One of my favorite is American Eagle 9mm 124gr TMJ AE9N1.  Outdoor Limited currently has it for $10.50/50rds plus shipping.
https://www.outdoorlimited.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ae9n1

Thanks a lot for the suggestion - ordered a few of these for range-only, and I'll keep my SHTF mags full of FMJ.

Offline Bret

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 09:04:48 AM »
No problem.  I'm always happy to help others spend money on guns and ammo.  BTW, your SHTF mags should be full of JHP's.  Just make sure that they work in your pistol before relying on them.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 09:06:37 AM »
Thanks for the feedback everyone!  Primary reasons are health-related - trying to minimize my exposure to lead dust while at the indoor ranges that I frequent.  Really I just need to start shooting outside more often...
Your greatest lead exposure by far is 1) indoor ranges with poor cleaning and maintenance plans, and 2) indoor ranges with good cleaning. Take a pair of white cotton gloves with you and swipe any horizontal surface. That gray stuff on the gloves is lead dust !

It's not the small amount of lead dust and fumes you create that's at issue, but what's been done before you arrive, all being stirred up by fans and people walking around.

...and I'll keep my SHTF mags full of FMJ.
FMJ, or "military Ball ammo", is made such that raw lead is exposed on the base of the bullet. When the powder ignites it burns hot enough to liquefy and vaporize some of that lead. You breathe those vapors, and what you don't breathe settles on horizontal surfaces. In the photo below, the Montana Gold FMJ in the second position is very typical...



JHP ammo is the same copper cup filled with lead. The difference is that the exposed lead is on the nose of the bullet and the base is completely sealed. Therefore, the hot burning powder is not in a position to vaporize the lead. The 155gr JHP, on the far left, is typical of this type construction...

 ;)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 07:32:58 AM by Wobbly »
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Offline KGX

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2017, 01:39:38 PM »
JHP it is then - there's a few Scorpion owners here who say they've had no problems with JHP rounds so I'll move to that next.  Totally agree on the risk of indoor ranges - the latest one I've been to boasts of having one of the best range ventilation systems on the market, but even still, you have no idea what kind of ammo everyone else is running all day and how much lead is accumulating all over the stalls, seating areas, windows, etc.  Time to join an outdoor club!

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Offline bm303

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2017, 02:09:00 PM »
I shoot Speer Lawman 124g TMJ Cleanfire out of my CZ's. It's the cleanest ammo I can find. If there's a good lead free option I'd use it. I am very health conscious and I have read multiple reports of range workers having elevated blood lead levels. Indoor I won't shoot anything but TMJ.

Offline tdogg

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2017, 12:58:41 AM »
At my USPSA match today there was a shooter using frangible ammo in his brand new Sig.  He was having all sorts of feeding issues because the bullets were fracturing during feeding right at the case mouth.  He had plenty of failure drill practice!  He eventually had to move to a different ammo to finish the match because of all the issues.

I'm not sure why he was using it but after seeing his experience I'd steer clear of frangible.

Cheers,
Toby

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2017, 07:55:18 AM »
...there's a few Scorpion owners here who say they've had no problems with JHP rounds...

"JHP" is such an imprecise description because it covers such a wide diversity of ogive shapes. There are conical (like the XTP), rounded (like the Gold Dot), and that's just the bullet. Then you get into cartridge power. So that statement by itself is worthless, because it conveys so few details. It's too nebulous.

It's like saying "Boys get hurt playing baseball". What age "boys", 6 or 16 ? Batting or sliding into base ? Does it mean girls don't get hurt ?

And too... it's the internet. What could be the greatest consumer tool of all time has been totally scuttled by idiots and paid reviewers. It's gotten so bad, I don't even believe what I write.  ;D

In God we trust; On 'starting load' we rely.

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Offline jameslovesjammie

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2017, 08:36:30 AM »
JHP it is then - there's a few Scorpion owners here who say they've had no problems with JHP rounds so I'll move to that next. 

"JHP" is such an imprecise description because it covers such a wide diversity of ogive shapes. There are conical (like the XTP), rounded (like the Gold Dot), and that's just the bullet.

Wobbly's right.  You need to say the exact bullet you are using.  Just like the term "Round Nose."  Not all round nose bullets have the same profile, and not all round noses will feed in every gun.

In my Scorpion, I have shot a box of the following hollowpoint bullets:

Hornady American Gunner 124 grain XTP
Speer LE 124 grain Gold Dot Hollow Point
Ultramax 115 grain JHP (a remanufactured load using I believe Nosler Sporting Handgun bullets)

I experienced zero malfunctions with these loads.


If you REALLY want to cut down on your lead exposure, don't eat, drink, smoke or chew tobacco while shooting.  This is the most common way for lead to get into your system.  Wash your hands before (and after) you use the restroom while shooting.

Offline Bret

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2017, 11:12:40 AM »
Wash your hands before (and after) you use the restroom while shooting.
I'd also add that you should wash your hands thoroughly after shooting.  I use a small hand scrub brush all over my hands.  It's amazing how much crud the brush removes that hand washing with soap alone won't get.  I then wash the brush off and keep it in a plastic bag for next time.


Offline jameslovesjammie

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Re: Lead free ammo?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2017, 08:38:13 PM »
I'd also add that you should wash your hands thoroughly after shooting.  I use a small hand scrub brush all over my hands.  It's amazing how much crud the brush removes that hand washing with soap alone won't get.  I then wash the brush off and keep it in a plastic bag for next time.

Good advice, Bret!

I have been using D-Lead after shooting for about a year now.  A little drop is all it takes to do your hands.  It is specifically formulated for latching on to heavy metals, where most soaps don't.


 

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