Frequently Asked Questions
How fast can I push these bullets?
There's a much bigger answer to that question than most people think. So, the simple answer is if you want to push them fast, use medium to slow burning powders as you would if you were using a jacketed bullet. Use the right burning rate of powder and you can achieve full magnum loads with standard weight and heavy weight bullets. Our alloy is malleable enough to give a gas seal at low pressure loads but stiff enough to grab the rifling and spin at higher pressure loads. The second part of that answer is, not every bullet is intended to go fast. Every cartridge was designed around a particular bullet weight/length in mind. Longer is heavier. Longer also has more bearing surface. Longer bullets are held in the case with more friction. More weight/friction/mass will give a better "hold back" to allow the burning powder to build a more consistent pressure curve. Light weight bullets lack mass, bearing surface and friction. Light weight bullets move forward easier. Light weight bullets can start to move forward on the pressure of the primer going off. When the light weight bullets lose their grip and start moving forward prematurely the powder sometimes doesn't have a chance to really get a good and consistent pressure curve going. So, if you're wanting to push 125 gr. bullet out of a 357 Magnum at 1500 fps, you better have one hell of a hard alloy to grab the rifling. And that's not the type of bullet we make and most of our customers aren't interested in. When shooting lead bullets, if you want to increase energy, it makes more sense to increase bullet weight while increasing velocity. Light weight lead bullets are simply intended to be light, low recoil loads. So, the rest of the answer is, fast burning powders work great for everything at lower velocity loads regardless of weight. If you want to increase energy, leave behind the light weights and fast powders and use heavier weights and appropriate powders.
Can I shoot other bullets in my gun after I shoot moly?
Well, if your barrel is clean, what's to stop you? We were switching back and forth with jacketed bullets 35 years ago before we heard it couldn't be done. (We were shooting these before we bought the business). Never noticed a loss of accuracy. If anything, it got better.
I heard moly bullets shoot slower than the lead bullets.
Well, very narrowly, it's possible and very minimally. Here's why. You're dealing with less friction. The bullet wants to move forward easier. That means the bullet wants to move forward easier out of the case as well as moving through the barrel. So, with really low pressure starting loads, fast burning powders like Tite Group can actually become quite necessary to get the bullet to swell up early on to get a gas seal. But, very quickly in this scenario, as you increase pressure/speed/powder charge, there will be a cross-over with the velocity and the bullet will actually start moving faster than other bullets. By the time you get to magnum loads, it's not uncommon to see 50-75 fps faster velocities.
Of course, barrel length and powder choice has a lot do with the final results. But with normal target loads, you 're not likely to notice a big difference.
Do you have load data for your bullets?
So far, we've been able to find all of the load data we've needed. We have always collected loading manuals both old and new. We really appreciate Lyman including bullet styles from other mold manufacturers in their latest Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. As new books are published, old data is dropped in favor of new powders and continued testing. That doesn't mean past publications don't continue to have some value. On the contrary, it is smart to have loading manuals that cover a long time span. Most of the powders in those twenty year old books are still being made. We actually hear from people that don't own ANY load manuals. They think they can find everything on the internet. And to a great extent, they can. But you're not going to find all of the important info that the books can give you.
I can find jacketed bullet data for bullets that look like yours but not lead bullet data.
Some of our bullets were copied after jacketed bullet profiles. If the nose length, crimp groove and overall length of the bullet works, why change it? But having done that means there isn't any copper material to displace where the lead would be on our version so our bullet would naturally be a bit heavier. Again, heavier is ok . We are dealing with less friction.
You can safely use jacketed bullet data if thats all you can find. Provided the two bullets are similar in size, shape, bearing surface, and internal seating capacity. The pressure and velocity can't be expected to be the same but at least it's a safe place to start. The surface of a copper bullet is much harder than any kind of lead bullet. It is much more difficult to push a jacketed bullet through a barrel. Start low and work your way up.
Can I use a Lee Factory Crimp die with these?
Yes. We like the factory crimp die. But we've seen a lot of ammo destroyed with it due to not understanding how to set it up. Screw the die body down to the shell holder and lock down the die. Now adjust the taper crimp sleeve down until it just takes the flare off and barely sets a crimp. Chamber check that loaded round in a chamber gauge or your barrel thats been removed from the gun. It should fall freely in and freely out. If it doesn't fall freely in, determine if it's the crimp diameter, bulged case, or bullet seated too long. Give it a little more crimp if it needs it but "walk"it in slowly. You can experiment with how tight of a crimp works best. We discovered a long time ago what a big difference a little tighter crimp can do for accuracy. It has to do with holding the bullet back a moment longer to allow a more consistent pressure curve to build. BUT, if you apply too much crimp, you might be squeezing the bullet down inside the brass case to the point that you just made the bullet smaller and now it won't shoot well and possibly get leading because of an undersized bullet. Brass has more "spring back" than lead. Squeeze down the cartridge too much and the brass can bounce back but the lead stays where it's at. Now the brass isn't holding the bullet as tight and you won't generate the back pressure you need for powder consumption. Now, if you've made the bullet too small, it may not swell up enough to give a gas seal and you will get gas cutting around the bullet which produces leading. And, if the bullet is now too small, you can get key-holing. Key-holing is almost always an undersized bullet.
Having said that, we've tried them with bottle-necked rifle cartridges and haven't had much success. We prefer to just take the flare off and leave it at that. Possibly one of the reasons that works well is the brass is generally thicker and sufficiently holds the bullet tight enough.
Why don't you put crimp grooves in your all of your revolver bullets?
They don't need them.
All of those revolver bullets with no crimp grooves are all likely to be used for low recoil applications only and if you were to load them hotter there still isn't enough recoil to make the bullet move if you have set a crimp into the lead. The brass tension alone is enough to hold those bullets in place.(assuming your sizing die is not over-sized) The big magnum bullets still have crimp grooves. You have the freedom to seat to the depth that works best in your gun. When using 38 Spec. brass in 357 Mag lever guns, they work best when 38's are loaded long.
Unlike plated bullets, you can crimp into the lead and not hurt anything.
Also, auto cartridge bullets don't have crimp grooves. Why is that? They don't offer enough recoil to make the bullet move in the case.
Do you list over all lengths (OAL)
We included the OAL for three of our 9mm bullets. But really, the biggest thing you have remember is ALL of the bearing surface has to be IN the case mouth. If even a little bit of the bearing surface is sticking above the case mouth, the bullet could hit the head space ring and not close the slide all the way. So, if you look closely at those bullets you could determine seating depth without measuring. It's all visual. Just because the books state an OAL with their test bullet doesn't mean that is the length that you MUST load to.
The rest of what we make is pretty obvious. There's either a visual reference to seat to or it's going to be whatever length works best for your gun.
I don't see any leading in the barrel but the patch can still get black moly out. Should I be concerned?
That's kinda like asking if you should flush solvent through your car when you do an oil change. There's nothing wrong with molybdenum pressed into the pores of the metal. If there's no leading, your accuracy will not suffer. And if anyone tries to tell you it will attract moisture, it's nonsense. We understand the chemistry reason they refer to but it doesn't apply to this.
Why do some of your bullets have grooves and others don't?
We started taking grooves out of bullets 25 years ago. We were the first to do so. We don't need them and they're easier to make, plain and simple. Any time you can eliminate detail in the bullet design, they're easier to make. And easy means more consistent. As time goes on, we will eventually have no grooves at all, except for those bullets that might be loaded with black powder. You will need to apply grease into the grooves to keep the black powder fouling soft.
Why don't you have sponsored shooters?
Well, some people aren't going to take well to this answer. This isn't NASCAR. This isn't the NFL. We don't have 10 million people watching shooting programs on TV four nights a week spending 100's of millions of dollars on shirts and hats. Hate to say, but the shooting sports are not as big as a lot of people want to think it is. The next time you're at a really big shooting event, say 500 shooters?, turn around and look at how many spectators there are. It's not exactly a NASCAR event. And did they pay to get into that event like they would at a NASCAR event. These other sports are huge because they generate huge money. Let's be honest folks, there's not a professional shooter out there living in a Tom Brady mansion. So, we made the decision a long time ago to sponsor shooting events rather than individuals. We can cover a lot more people for the same money and it's a lot more efficient. We will donate to annual events if you ask but we are also going to protect ourselves by requiring published info about your event. We've been burned a few times when making donations to an event and it all ends up in a garage in San Diego. But please, don't hesitate to ask. We know it's difficult to find other manufactures to donate to shooting matches.
Can we use black powder with these bullets?
Yes. But we've never actually tested it ourselves so we can only pass on info from those that have. With any of the black powder SUBSTITUTES, you should be fine as is. With REAL black powder, you will want to put grease in the grooves or perhaps a grease cookie?, or a pre-lubed wad. Something to keep the carbon fouling soft. Some of the handgun shooters don't use any grease but they do have to clean the bore after each stage. A pre-lubed Wonder Wad works pretty well behind a handgun bullet.
Do I have to worry about handling lead with your bullets?
No. There is no exposed lead with our bullets. These are completely safe to handle.
What's the difference between calipers and micrometers?
Everybody owns a caliper. They are easy to read, easy to understand. Most will measure up to 6". The new electronic ones are pretty cool. We have several in the shop for quick readings when we're building stuff. But, they won't read a measurement as accurately as a micrometer. Even the cheap micrometers will read to a smaller measurement than a caliper will do. The electronic calipers will round up or round down to the nearest .001". The fourth digit on the LCD screen will only be a "5" or a "0". You will never see a 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, or 9 in the fourth digit spot. A micrometer will read to .0001" increments. We never use calipers to measure bullet diameters. We don't expect anyone to ever need a micrometer under normal reloading circumstances , it has it's limits when measuring beyond 1".
Let's address the conversations we read about on the Internet forums
We don't look at the forums very often because they drive us nuts. If you have questions about Bear Creek Supply bullets, please call us first. If you're going to ask others about Bear Creek Supply bullets, clarify whether or not they actually have any experience with Bear Creek. Please don't let others confuse our coating with the moly application technique used with jacketed bullets. We are left shaking our heads at the ridiculous answers some guys come up with.
Can jacketed bullets wear out a barrel?
Absolutely yes. Ask any master or grand master shooter if they have ever worn out a barrel and the answer is always yes. When asked how many rounds does it take, the answer is surprisingly similar. About 8-10 thousand rounds and they will notice a drop in accuracy. By the time they get to 25-30 thousand rounds, they will need to replace a barrel. We've never seen any kind of lead bullet, coated or uncoated, that has ever worn out a barrel. We have actually heard from people who believe the opposite, that lead bullets will ruin your barrel. Those people will likely never become master shooters.
We have had calls over the years and again, recently about undersized bullet diameters. So it's something we should probably address. About once a year, a guy will claim that they have gotten a box of bullets with occasional undersized bullets. Most are the correct diameter, but several are undersized. Upon further questioning, it has always worked out to be a reloading/die set up issue or a caliper reading error. What needs to be understood is that bullets are made slightly oversized and than pushed through a die to the correct diameter. If you tell us that you have oversized bullets, that could be a worn out die. That makes sense. The hole through the die can get bigger. It never gets smaller. The die can't size some bullets to the correct diameter one time and then make the next bullet smaller. That's not possible. We would have to put a different die in the machine in order to size to a smaller diameter and there is no reason to do that.