Leading in a smoothbore…bore.

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With certain guns, certain calibers, and certainly certain bullet types, a concern is the build-up of lead in barrels. Products and tools are dedicated to its removal.
Notice I’ve never seen this being mentioned as a problem with smoothbores shooting big hunks of soft lead down the tube.
Is this because the heat/pressure generated in a typical BP load doesn’t really cause an issue?
Because it is smooth?
Or is there leading and no one cares or minds?
A problem with a rifled BP gun?

EDIT: Grammar. Need more coffee…
 
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I think it’s similar to shooting slugs out of a smooth bore shotgun. There’s often a streak or smear of lead in the bore. It’s easily removed with just a cotton patch and some sort of cleaning liquid. I’d imagine if you shot a high volume of lead projectiles without ever cleaning or wiping the bore. It would build up to a certain point.

I think that most lead deposits are a result of “gas cutting”. If the projectile is soft, it will “slug up” and fill the bore, resulting in minimal leading.
 
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When working for a former employer, we shot hundreds and hundreds of "Foster style" 12 gauge shotgun slugs out of smooth bore pump action shotguns. After 20 or more rounds, you definitely WOULD see the "patterns" start to open up and accuracy start to suffer. Foster slugs are made of soft lead, not alloys, much like the round balls for a musket. I "think", and this is just speculation, that since black powder fouling is a bit worse than the lead fouling, and most of us tend to swab the bore after 5-10 shots.....I think we are getting rid of most of the lead when we get rid of the BP crud. I have a cheap bore scope that I use with my long range rifles to check for copper deposits being left behind, so next time I go shoot the Charleville, I'll scope it for lead and see what it looks like.
 

Gunny5821

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For cleaning lead fowling in a smoothbore, I use a standard jointed aluminum shotgun cleaning rod with appropriate sized brush, wrapped with several strands from a "Big 45 Frontier Metal Cleaner Pad" "Big 45" . One of the best aluminum rods is the old vintage Outers cleaning rod with the large knurled handle, it was only sold with three sections, but I searched around on eBay, and ordered another for about $10, so I could make up a longer rod. Four (4) rod sections will make up a rod about 46" inches long with brush attached (Photo of Outers Rod Below). They're easy to find at a decent price if you watch for them on the auction sites.

If the fouling is real stubborn, I chuck the rod in a cordless drill and work the rod back and forth in the barrel and it is clean as a whistle. The pad looks like one of the old kitchen pot scrubbers, but this pad is made of an alloy that will not scratch the bore. It is even used to clean sweat rust off of blued barrels or barrels in the white. I have used it on modern rifles to clean copper and lead fowling in the rifling, also for shotguns, nothing removes plastic fowling as easy as strands wrapped around the bore brush. I had a 1892 Winchester Carbine made in 1915, that was one of the ones that was originally shipped from the factory to Australia and reimported to the U.S. I cleaned the bore several times with just a bronze brush and patches, but at 50 yards, you could barely hit a paper plate. Initial appearances, the bore looked to have severely worn rifling but I decided to try the bronze brush wrapped with strands from the pad soaked in a little Hoppe's. I couldn't believe all of the crud mixed with lead that came out of the bore. Apparently the bore was seldom cleaned if ever, but to my amazement the bore had excellent rifling and not shot out as I had originally suspected. After cleaning, the rifle shot a fairly consistent 1" to 1 1/4" group offhand at 50 yds.

From the Big 45 website:

Deleads Gun Bores in Seconds. Remove Copper Buildup in Barrel.

"To add to the cleaner’s versatility, it is extremely effective at removing lead fouling from the bore, and goes a long way toward cleaning copper fouling buildup as well. To use the cleaner on the bore, cut a small piece off the pad with a scissors. Wrap the strands around and through a bore brush, and then run the brush through the bore as usual. You will be amazed with the results".

Outers cleaning rod/Brush wrapped with a strand from a Big 45 pad.
IMG_20220924_095138_076.jpg
 
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I always try to keep some material between the lead and the barrel for the ride out of the barrel. Be it patched ball, or paper wrapped shot or whatever. I am a bit fan in my smoothbore, to follow my lead payload with a beeswax/oil soaked cushion wad. Clean up is easy.
 

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Between hunting and shooting trap I have fired countless shot loads from my 16 gauge and some from my twelve as well with no real problems from leading up. this week I took out my 24 gauge for some testing and for some reason, unknown to me, it leaded up something terrible. I went to clean it and the bore felt like running your finger down a toads back. I used steel wool, scotchbrite, wire brushes, Hoppes #9, Hoppes muzzleloader brew, all it did was smooth it out some. I spent the better part of the day on it and finally mixed up some vinegar and peroxide and filled the bore. I left it in there for better than a half hour each time and that seemed to boil off about 90% of it. I took my honing tool, 24 ga. is about its minimum bore size, and got the last of it, the hone also polishes up the steel, the solution will frost it. Anyway, for this gun I decided to go with plastic cups and nickel plated shot, which arrived yesterday, I hate to do it but I am not going through all that again.
Robby
 

mechteacher

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For my .54 TC Renegade, pleasure shoot target, I powder coat my prune lead Lee R.E.A.L. bullets. I cast them at 300 gr. I press them into the muzzle add a little Bore Butter in the deep grooves that keep the BP fouling soft. I started this routine and had hung 3 targets on the 100 yard range. The first shoot was 1/2 inch from center. I was going to shoot the other 2 and save that one, which I did. The next two shots were equal to the first. I can keep my shots inside paper shot. My .50 flinter gets PRB.
I have not not seen leading.
 

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Acetone removes any, unlikely, plastic smearing like water does to fowling.
Robby
 

Robby

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Probably not too many interested but for those that may be, I took out my new set up today for a tryout. I only had three coffee cans, but this one is typical.
0-1.jpeg

24 ga. at twenty-five yards, 70 gr's fff, cardboard disc, plastic cup, #5 nickel plated shot measured with the same device as the powder which makes it close to 7/8 of an ounce. The grouping density and penetration fairly mimics what I get with my 16ga and 1-1/2 ounce of shot, using a shot cup made from an index card.
So when I get time I will be experimenting with the shot cups made from the index cards. I forgot to get a picture but at 25 yards it put three round balls into one tight clover leaf.
Clean-up, no problem, just like any of my M/L's.
Robby
 
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