Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Re: The Solid Bullet Debate
Originally Posted by bsl135
Like Eric, I have never seen anyone at a rifle match of any kind using solid projectiles. However, I don't think that proves that solid bullets can't be made to achieve high precision; it just means no-one has actually been able to do it yet. Maybe the odds are stacked too much against solid bullet precision, or maybe no-one has tried hard enough yet. Time will tell. I don't think any of the pro's or con's in the list above are decisively in favor of one or the other, just a different and unique set of challenges for each technology.
Even then, when the technology of solid bullets has gone as far as it can, I don't think it can be an all around superior option. As with all things, some performance measures will favor one more than the other, and people will make their individual choices based on their application and circumstances.
One or the other CAN be more forgiving for a given circumstance. For instance, if I had to shoot a 1600# moose through the shoulder at 25 yards with my 300 RUM using 180's at 3350 FPS, a Berger is far down on the list of viable options (at least for me). On the top of the list for those paramteres are Barnes X bullets. However, if the shot was 950 yards, I would much rather use the Berger.
I also believe that all copper bullets could be improved dramatically. Personaly I feel that from a match standpoint, all copper could be a very strong performer IF and WHEN they are made properly for the application. As of yet, there are not any real options or real match friendly all copper bullets. Lets face it, the BC's are too low and the overall accuracy just has not been there consistently. It doesnt meen that it isnt possible.
For now, jacketed lead is the king. Maybe it is because we have been using this type for so long, or maybe there is something about it that works.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
(~500,000 rpm depending on caliber) still becomes problematic. By contrast, a copper projectile has the perfect specific gravity for this convergence of conditions. Once more, this is neither a revelation, nor revolutionary.
Actually... if "500,000 rpm" isn't "revolutionary" I don't know what is!
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-- Samuel Adams
...A very pragmatic request, which will have to be subordinated to higher priority short-term considerations. There are multi-track patent, and other time sensitive issues involved. For preliminary performance results, and early prototype photographs, search the threads at Sniper's Hide. In the alternative you can contact me about signing an NDA, as this remains a work(s)-in-progress.
I believe your assumption of excessive spin induced dispersion is placing unfounded limitations upon the gains captured by extreme projectile length. Think rather of "fitting" a velocity dictated mass within an aerodynamically optimized shape. The key to in-bore cant mitigation is in the interaction of rifling geometry, and progressive engraving-band deformation. In essence, the ZA "floats" within a continually renewed bearing surface for incredible axial alignment. This was an unexpected surprise benefit of the gain-twist, and provides a good example of system interdependence. I am thinking the best way of propagating this thread is to cover individual components, and bring them together in an order which makes the interactions clear.
"Debate" at both the sub-component, and systemic levels will be easier.
Incidentially, I have found no density variation within the copper rod stock.
*IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS PROPELLANT*
Since this will be the first coherent public summation of the project, I need to credit the late Hays Zeigler, a supremely talented ballistician, and senior research director at ATK's propellant lab. He inspired this project back in 2004 by making me aware of RDX/HMX based propellants, which have as their only shortcoming; a propensity of "eating small arms barrels for lunch".
This family of propellants unleashes a tremendous amount of energy in a flat pressure curve, and allows either the use of short barrels and equivalent velocity, or extreme velocity with standard length barrels. Every other component follows logically from this foundation.
Tomorrow I will cover barrel development in a qualitative manner, and answer questions to the degree possible without compromising confidentiality.
I think we are going to learn something. This is a good debate.
For my part, though I love Bergers in "regular cartridges" there are none that will work in in any of the guns I now or will hunt with in the future. They are just too extreme and/or larger cal. than what Berger has available. (I'm sad)
As for solids over lead core, I've tried Barnes in several calibers and have not been able to get them as accurate as swaged bullets.
However, Lost Rivers shot great in my specific barrel. No one else's just that one. They were great at long and medium range.
Also, why is one of the rifle smiths on here nearly screaming (my term) for a decent large caliber lead core bullet??? (if this question is out of bounds, strike it from the record.)
Your ideas of a long range hunting bullet sound very interesting. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. I think Shawn outlined the requirements very well. I'll take a stab at summing up my thoughts on it.
1) High BC, high velocity and accuracy are paramount. You know this already.
2) Good, reliable terminal performance. If your shot placement is perfect and the bullet either lasers through or fails to penetrate, it can make for a very bad experience. For a one bullet at all ranges solution it would have to expand and provide adequate damage and penetration at short range as well as long. A one bullet solution is much, much more preferable to developing loads and carrying two cartridges for for short and long ranges. IMO, for a bullet to be reliable it would need structural integrity as well as certainty of expansion. I believe exit hole are very important, because they provide both penetration and, if necessary, a blood trial. The more mass a bullet retains, the farther it will penetrate. The more penetration the more damage. Some shedding of shrapnel and the resulting collateral damage may desirable. Good reliable performance will produce results with less than optimal shot choices.
4) Low expansion velocities. IMO, to make what I call an "ethical" shot, one should be confident that the bullet will open and expand at the range it is fired to. Many bullets advertise about 1800 fps as their minimum performance velocity. If that velocity could be reduced to 1600 fps or lower it would increase minmum opening performance range.
3) Twist rates and stability have already been mentioned. I'm sure you realize one of the challanges of making high BC bullets is stabalizing them. As mentioned, they usually require greater than normal twist rates for calibers. My guess is, that there would be a relatively small market for LR shooters looking for high BC bullets requiring custom barels with tight twists. There are a few here on this site, but most LR shooting is BR competiton type shooting paper. You might consider two or more offering in a particular caliber to include standard twist rates.
So far, the closest thing I have seen to a perfect hunting bullet is the GS HV...
Here are the advantages of the GS bullets as I see them.
Their design results in higher velocities over other bullets of similar weight in the same caliber.
They exhibit outstanding terminal performance.
They are reported to be very accurate.
They are reported to be very uniform and precise.
They have a moly coating that facilitates both velocity and barrel life. Greater barrel life is a big bonus for overbore cartridge shooters. And their moly supposidly is easily cleaned and does not moly foul the bore and reduces copper fouling.
Their biggest draw back is that so far, they have few high BC offerings in the HV hunting bullet. However their 177 HV in 30 cal has an advertized BC of .638. I'm a little skeptical of that, but if it's cloce to that for that weight bullet, combined with the increased velocity potential of the bullet, it far out shines anything else off of the shelf for LR hunting in the 30 cal.
If you read through their site, you will find a lot of very interesting information on external and terminal ballistics. They know a lot about it.
Last edited by MontanaRifleman; 06-20-2009 at 01:46 AM.