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9mm Cast Bullet Jug Science

BigslugBigslug Senior MemberPosts: 8,753 Senior Member
Going out tomorrow to test out the fruits of my labors:







The good folks at NOE Bullet Molds are the prime producers of molds designed by a fellow who goes by the handle of Ranch Dog.  Ranch Dog's main design criteria are generally:

1.  Cast to desired diameter and tumble lube, thus sparing yourself the tedious process of running each bullet through a lube-sizer.

2.  Go for as much meplat as can reliably feed, and don't sweat expansion (although NOE does make molds of them in hollowpoint versions for those so inclined.  Meplat on this slug is .256"; or 72% of full diameter.

These are dropping out at .357" diameter, which is perfect for the .356" bores of most 9mm's, and will do fine in the tight .355's as well.  3.7 grains of Bullseye throws it at 1030fps out of my G17.

I have a couple goals for tomorrow:

First is to see what kind of penetration this concept creates.  I know that the same proportions at 230 grains in .45 ACP will go 9 jugs at GI Hardball speed with a non-expanding alloy.

Second is to see if straight air-cooled wheelweight will expand with a solid nose at this speed.  For what I want this slug to do, I hope it does not.  I can oven heat and water quench to harden them up, but that's more production time.

Third is to get a feel for overall destructive potential for a projectile that is a bit atypical for 9mm.  Water isn't really a meat surrogate, but it is instructive to learn where you transition from something that is rupturing jugs to just poking bullet-diameter holes.

So that's the teaser.  Science in the morning; results in the evening.  Stay tuned!
WWJMBD?

"Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee

Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 25,760 Senior Member
    They look good. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    They shoot good too!  The standard deviation for that load was 10fps.  Forgot to mention I'll also be grouping them at 100 yards out of the Ruger Carbine.

    Overall I THINK this load is in a pretty happy place.  It will PROBABLY still be subsonic and pleasantly quiet out of the longer carbine barrel.  It'll have a little more speed and flatness of trajectory than a 147 grainer, and since it won't be expanding, it won't need the extra mass of said 147 grainer to carry it deeper.

    I have no illusions that this will be any kind of Mjolnir, but it should suffice to dig deep, let blood out and air in - in a light, low-recoil package.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,738 Senior Member
    Do you have a base line comparison. Brand X jug performance etc?

    They should do well if the penetrate staight after impact with no turn or tumble.
  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 1,963 Senior Member
    Looks fun!
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
  • Wambli SkaWambli Ska Posts: 796 Senior Member
    Damn, that is a good looking projectile.  If they shoot half as good as they look you have a winner.
    I’m baaaaaaaaack… 😬
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,494 Senior Member
    Since wheelweight is roughly 10-12 BHN, I'm guessing they won't deform much, if as all, unless you get them up to about 1200 fps (easily done out of your carbine).
    Anyway, they look good. I'll be waiting for the report.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    Sometimes the bullets do things that just make you laugh. . .



    It REALLY wanted to go for 10 jugs. . .





    The Little Engine That ALLLLLLLLLMOST could.  :D

    First jug got pretty much obliterated (stack was set at 7 yards in front of my G17):

    Interestingly, one I shot at 100 yards looked about the same.

    Second and third jug in the stack got hit hard enough for hydraulic rupturing:



    After that, it just poked on through to #9 in a nice, straight line.

    RECOVERY!



    The impact into water compressed the nose slightly.  My calibrated eyeball says the meplat got pushed out from .256" to around .28.  So no. . .Wheelweights with an extra 2% tin added at 13-14BHN is not much in the expansion department - at least not without a hollow point,  I am TOTALLY OK with this - I HAVE hollowpoints if I want the bullet to stop in half the depth of this one.

    ACCURACY:

    After I put up the Glock, I got out the Ruger PC Carbine and shot for group at 100 yards.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  I had a loose mounting screw on the Holosun so this was not the cold bore shot



    Failing eyes, a 2MOA dot, a 3.5 MOA aiming circle, and pistol ammo operating at something like 4 times what Georg Luger probably had in mind when he designed the round.  Part of me wants to bolt on a real scope and see what is truly possible; another part of me is saying "4-MOA for 9mm doesn't suck - your work is done"

    Conclusions:

    Results for this 135 grain bullet at 1030 fps were pretty much identical  to the jug shoot I did with a similar profile, .31"-.32" meplat 230 grain .45 at 830 fps - - nine jugs, slight compression of the nose, rupturing of the first few jugs in the stack, with straight line penetration of the rest.  I honestly doubt a coroner could tell the difference in the wound paths the two would leave.

    I watched my Dad kill his 2014 buck with a pair of similarly-shaped 405 grain .45-70's from about 50 yards (The first killed him - the second amounted to a feather that knocked him down).  Those left the gun at about 1900 fps, but it's the same kind of deal - moderate meplat (0.27"), no expansion, and proof that a pair of hits to the heart don't require a lot of "Special Effects".  

    A pet theory I'm developing. . .I did a little bit of Googling on the diameter of human blood vessels.  Turns out our aortas run between about 0.6" and just shy of an inch on average.  This is right in with the diameters of post-expansion duty loads, and probably pretty close to the diameter of the wound tunnel medium/large meplat slugs in common diameters will leave by crushing their way through.  Archery broadheads too, for that matter  These projectiles are creating a drain that nearly matches the diameter of the biggest blood path in the body.  This may be the anatomical reason behind why the current research stating that given good placement and penetration, any cartridge in this general .32" to .45" can deliver rapid results with the right projectile. 

    Perhaps not the hardest of science, but sure is fun!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,738 Senior Member
    Im thinking 100 yrds may be the outer limits of the carbines intended use.

    Multiple rounds in the magazine may make the difference between the cast bullet performance and factory hp's superfluous. They are very good looking bullets. The fantastic penetration capability has real world advantages should unfortunate crisis call at the door.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,494 Senior Member
    edited July 17 #10
    I'm guessing they would make good trail/woods rounds also. Poke enough holes, you'll get the job done, hit the CNS and you'll be done even sooner.
    I like these bullets. With HPs, one often wonders if they'll expand "this" time or not. While I trust modern HPs somewhat more than 20 years ago, I still keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best when they're loaded in a handgun. When using solids, if the bullet expands just a little it's a bonus but not an expectation. Since shot placement tends to be key whether you're using solids or HPs, I still see a lot of usefulness in a good solid and these look pretty good.👍
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    Im thinking 100 yrds may be the outer limits of the carbines intended use.

    Multiple rounds in the magazine may make the difference between the cast bullet performance and factory hp's superfluous. They are very good looking bullets. The fantastic penetration capability has real world advantages should unfortunate crisis call at the door.
    As a ROUGH generalization, I've found that expanding to the classic mushroom shape will cut your penetration down by about half - depending on the zillion variables that can be involved in the bullet's make-up.

    There's no denying that expansion CAN be a good thing.  In LE/SD/HD scenarios, you can nail your target's dimensions down to the range of human variation, and you know the distances are going to be short.  Within those confines, we've done a remarkable job of designing bullets that can be counted on to penetrate as exactly the right amount as can be expected considering the unknowns going in.  You the widest possible wound channel for all the depth that you need to have it in, and that's cool.

    The problem is that you have to construct your projectile around a desired penetration depth at an accurately guestimated impact distance/velocity.  In bullet casting, you first have to choose your alloy hardness to match the intensity of the powder charge behind it, THEN you can run into the problem of "OK. . .it's hard enough for my top-end .44 or .357 loads, but now it won't expand at all, or at least not when it gets to the Ernie Bishop distanced I want to fire from".

    The thing I like about these LFN/WFN profiles is that there is a lot less mysterious moonlight juggling of chipmunks involved with them. You go in knowing that the shape of the bullet will not change and that the nose will cause as much damage as can be caused by a non-deforming bullet for that diameter (accepting that full wadcutters do not fly well for very far and you can't count on them feeding mechanically).  It's also easy to get more than enough penetration out of them.  Simple low tech that works - - one of my favorite combinations.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    I'm guessing they would make good trail/woods rounds also. Poke enough holes, you'll get the job done, hit the CNS and you'll be done even sooner.
    I like these bullets. With HPs, one often wonders if they'll expand "this" time or not. While I trust modern HPs somewhat more than 20 years ago, I still keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best when they're loaded in a handgun. When using solids, if the bullet expands just a little it's a bonus but not an expectation. Since shot placement tends to be key whether you're using solids or HPs, I still see a lot of usefulness in a good solid and these look pretty good.👍
    Eloquent post Spk - better said than my 1:00am efforts.

    One thing I like about this basic shape is that the autoloaders tend to think they are feeding hardball.  A few years back I did some experimentation on how extreme a bullet you could get to feed in a GI-spec 1911:

    Second bullet from the right is Elmer Keith's 452432 - which he designed to be for use in .45 ACP/Auto Rim moon clip revolvers like the M1917 Smiths and Colts.  It has a .34" meplat and hits with great authority (trading long range flight capability for short range brute force).  Best results were obtained by seating to the front of the foremost driving band and using tapered-lip GI mags.  You could say that feeding was "reliable", but you could feel the "hitchy-kerchunky" of a bullet that was out of its element.

    Third bullet from the right with the blue lube in its groove is the LBT 452-230 LFN, which sit out at near full mag length while starting to taper just outside of the case mouth, keeping it from hanging up on a tight chamber throat.  Pretty much anything touching either feed ramp or top of chamber prior to nose-over is the rounded side of the bullet, and so they feed slick as greased eel boogers.

    Left of that (without lube) is an Accurate Molds 45-230-F.  Pretty much the same concept, but less mysterious - just seat it to the front driving band and call it a day.  Probably a great design option for barrels with super tight throat dimensions.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,595 Senior Member
    I barely understand some of this - but I like reading it and am learning a bit!
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    edited July 18 #14
    zorba said:
    I barely understand some of this - but I like reading it and am learning a bit!
    Handloaders are weird.  Pop and I got into that back when I was in high school for economy, then for precision when we got into rifle competition in the mid-'90's.

    Bullet casters are probably even weirder.  We got into that  when Pop got a Civil War replica as a retirement present to himself, and me my first .455 Webley - factory loads for either not really on the market.  You might say the hobby kinda snowballed.

    But it lead us into an entire new universe of learning the measuring and tolerances of bores, throats, chambers, etc..., as well as the metallurgy of the bullets themselves.

    It all has the side benefit of having the other people at the range walk off and leave us alone when we start talking. :D  
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,595 Senior Member
    Now "weird" I can understand! :D
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,494 Senior Member
    zorba said:
    Now "weird" I can understand! :D
    Remember back in the day when you and your fellow computer geeks would talk about Loops, Breaks and GOTOs, same kind of geekiness with reloaders.
    Outside of physics forums, I avoid math and physics talk as much as possible, same issues.

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,753 Senior Member
    This was a good and well-timed project all around. . .

    9mm is becoming my primary handgun caliber. . .

    Dad's joints are getting to the point where much or repeated recoil isn't something he can do long sessions of. . .

    The 9x19 presents a number of challenges for loading cast bullets. . .

    So do Glocks, apparently, though nobody (Glock included) will come out and tell you precisely why.

    We did a whirlwind session of data collection of various barrel dimensions, worked a Lee .38 S&W sizing die into the program to handle the slight extra expansion needed for the fatter cast bullets, and ran the chrono data and "does this shoot clean?" trial all in a pretty short time window

    It's a bit smoky on the muzzle side from the Alox/Johnson's Paste Wax tumble lube, but the 3.7 grains of Bullseye we're using leaves the inside of the gun is cleaner than it is from shooting a lot of factory ball.

    Considering the above test and the tight chrono numbers, I think I'm done for life on a 9mm formula.  I am WELL pleased with this one! :)
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,582 Senior Member
    I have found just about every kind of non coated cast bullet to be smokey.  The Hornady .38 and .45 bullets are some of the worst.  I may have to try Bullseye in 9mm some time.  It has been very dirty in .45 and that was why I stopped using it.  Debated trying it in the .458x1.8 with a good stack of wads between the powder and bullet though.
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