Leadhead 250gr Keith SWC and 310gr LBT

Click for larger image One of the most common questions I get asked is "Where can I find a source for true Keith semi wadcutters?". Leadhead bullets in ST John Kansas carry the traditional Keith 250gr hard cast LSWC as one of their regular production items. Not having used any bullets from Leadhead I decided to purchase some and see if their bullets matched up to the testimonials on their web site.

The picture to the right shows a typical mass produced 240gr LSWC next to the Leadhead 250gr Keith and a 44 Special round assembled with the 250gr Keith. As you can see the Leadhead Keith bullet is true to the original design and is quite different from the 240gr LSWC you see in most gun shops.

I ordered 1000 of these from Leadhead, delivery was very prompt - even shipping UPS ground. After ordering I had a couple shipping questions I should have asked when I made the order. Customer service from Leadhead was terrific, I ended up exchanging several email's with Charles at Leadhead in just one day - a far cry from the bottomless pit email to some major manufacturers can be.

The bullets measured .430" exactly as requested, Leadhead will size them from .429-.431 at your request to fit your particular revolver. I selected 10 bullets at random from the box to be weighed for consistency. I used a Dillon Precision balance scale that has worked very well for many years. The bullets weighed from 252-256gr with 7 out of 10 being 254-255gr. For comparison I selected 10 bullets at random from a box of 500 commercial machine cast 240gr LSWC bullets, they weighed from 242-244gr.

On to what we really want to know, how do they shoot? I loaded up several 44 caliber loads both specials and magnums to test these bullets using new Starline brass and Winchester large pistol primers. Of course I had to being sure to include the classic 44 Special load of 7.5gr of Unique.

LoadGunVelocity25 yard group
7.5gr UniqueS&W 3" M24835 fps3.25"
7.5gr UniqueS&W 6" M29955 fps1.0"
20.0gr 2400S&W 6" M291245 fps1.3"
24.0gr H110S&W 6" M291519 fps1.2"

As you can see from the results listed in the table these bullets are as accurate as most people can shoot and shoot as well as anything else I've fired in these particular revolvers. The results listed are the average of 3 5 shot groups. One 5 shot group in the 6" S&W with the 44 Special load went into .7". Even the 1500 fps+ magnum load left little fouling, less than you expect from typical cast bullet lube burning, and no leading in the barrel.

If you're looking for a source for quality hard cast SWC bullets using Keith's design I can strongly recommend Leadhead Bullets as someone to get them from. Leadhead has a wide range of bullet styles and calibers to choose from, from round nose to LBT designs for handguns and rifles, something to fit virtually any use. Next I think I'll check out their 310gr LBT-WFN 45 caliber bullet.

Bullets can be ordered from Leadhead online at http://www.proshootpro.com or by phone at 620-549-6475.


Updated 8/10/2001

Leadhead 45 Caliber 310gr LBT

As promised I ordered some of Leadheads 45 caliber 310gr LBT non gas checked bullets. The service from Leadhead was as before, excellent. As you can see from the picture on the right the bullets are the standard LBT Wide Flat Nose design with 2 lube grooves. These are some extremely consistant bullets. 5 selected at random from the box weighed from 305-307 grains, 1 weighed 305 the other 4 were right at 307 - now that's consistant. They were sized at .4525", just right for modern 45 Colts with tigher throats and bores.

As you can see in the table as long as I did my part this Blackhawk would really shoot these bullets with a moderate charge of Unique. While a mild load for what the Blackhawk can shoot with this bullet, a 310gr bullet at 950+ fps is hardly a limp wrist load and could easily be used for deer sized game. The larger standard deviation with the heavier load I attribute to having an insufficient crimp, which H110 requires. The larger group is caused partially by the greater difference in velocity, but also by human error. The heavier load is simply harder to shoot well without pulling shots. Some groups with that load would be right around an inch or less only to have one round open the group up. I have no doubt that with a heavier crimp and more recent practice with the heavier loads this gun/load combo would shoot right around 1" groups as well. I will have to experiment more, but with so much more of the bullet outside the case relative to Keith style bullets I will need to go up to 24gr or possibly higher of H110 to get this bullet to the 1,300 fps range that I was expecting from this load. At 23.0gr the cases would nearly fall freely from the cylinder and exhibited no signs of excessive pressure in my Blackhawk.

LoadGunVelocity20 yard group
9.0gr UniqueRuger Blackhawk 7.5"962 fps, standard deviation 5 fps1.1"
22.0gr H110Ruger Blackhawk 7.5"1048 fps, standard deviation 35 fps2.5"
23.0gr H110Ruger Blackhawk 7.5"1140 fps, standard deviation 22 fpsnot fired for groups
9.0gr UniqueS&W 5" M25-7895 fps, standard deviation 25 fpsnot fired for groups

These bullets can be ordered from Leadhead online at http://www.proshootpro.com or by phone at 620-549-6475.

John Knutson
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