Occasionally loads are described here as producing
First of all, a description of minimal leading will be
qualified to a single firearm. A load that produces
leading in one gun may turn another gun's bore into a
A minimal leading load means that you can shoot it for a
without worrying about lead fouling in
the bore. This means at least 100 rounds with no visible
After shooting 100 rounds, leading may be visible but
not noticeable. The lands and grooves will have sharp
well defined edges with no lead in the corners of the
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This is a Kimber 9mm ( 1911) barrel immediately after
firing 120 rounds of a cast bullet load rated as
producing minimal leading in this handgun.
Notice that the only thing visible in this photo is
powder fouling. You can see flakes of powder or fouling
in the chamber and in the bore. The grooves are sharp
and there are no streaks of lead. Lead streaks would be
visible as rough grey marks running lengthwise along the
lands or grooves but most often in the grooves.
At this point, there was no deterioration in accuracy.
At four O'clock and seven O'clock you can see the
rifling lead as well as 9, 11, and 2 O'clock. This is the
lead as in the beginning of the lands, not as in the
lead bullet alloy.
The rifling lead is a very short ramp from the bottom of the groove
to the top of the land. it's purpose is to allow the
land to cut into the bullet gradually more like a knife than a
This photo is the same bore after passing
through a dry cotton patch to remove the powder
granules. The purpose was to show a view with no
residue in which you could get a better view just
how clean the bore was after too hundred rounds and
The interesting thing is that this bore looked
relatively clean to the naked eye but under
magnification, the fouling left in the barrel
stripped off thousands of fibers from the patch and
if anything, it looks dirtier than the bore before
the first patch.
Again, the same bore after cleaning. In this
case, cleaning means two tight fitting patches
dampened with Hoppe's No.9. Dampened means they
would make your finger wet if you squeeze them but
they would not drip.
No lead removal techniques were used to clean this
barrel. The minimal amount of lead could be removed
easily or depending on your cleaning regimen, you
could just leave it for another day. ( Another day
means a week or two, not a year or two. )