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Thread: Modifying existing hollowpoint bullets...

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    Regular Member Grim_Night's Avatar
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    Modifying existing hollowpoint bullets...

    Disclaimer: This is not a serious project, just a bit of a pet project to see what I can come up with as an experiment.

    I have been toying with an idea on how to go about modifying existing hollow point ammo. With standard ammo, you have a lead core wrapped in a copper jacket which is open in the front to allow for the bullet to expand. My current idea is to take an existing Winchester .40 cal 185grain hollowpoint, and mount a 4.5mm zinc coated steel BB to the cavity in such a way as to have a similar design as the Hornady Critical Defense rounds for sale.

    I'm only looking to modify a small amount of bullets for testing purposes only. The idea is that the BB will round off the nose of the hollow point, thus increasing the penetration value while at the same time, allowing for an object that is harder (more dense) then the lead core of the bullet to aid in the expansion of the bullet once it penetrates a thick layer of clothing.

    Here are the factors involved...

    #1 S&W .40 cal Winchester 185 grain hollow point bullet
    #2 Daisy 4.5mm (.177 cal) zinc plated steel shot BBs
    #3 some sort of easily manipulated adhesive/molding compound such as wax or modeling putty

    I'm not looking to modify the powder charge of the bullet or anything of that nature, just experimenting with making an existing type of ammo to make it more effective. I'm not looking into a debate as to whether this should or shouldn't be done I'm only interested in the feasibility of the basic physics involved with the design. I know there are people out there that hand load their own rounds making them with more powder and such. I'm just curious as to if this would work to turn a $20 box of 50 rounds into the equivalent number of higher grade rounds found for about $25 for a box of 20.

    Once I have a small number of viable rounds to work with, I'd be interested in testing the function of such rounds on test media. At that point I would need serious reliable information as to what to use. I'm thinking a series of 1gal milk jugs, filled with water and then lined up next to each other and with a few layers of say old jeans to represent clothing on the target.

    Any thoughts?
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    I would think that the reason that Critical Defense, Critical Duty, Pow'r Ball, et el. bullets work is because the elastomer/soft plastic plug in the nose of the bullet - when moving at 1100 fps - is "fluid" when it hits something creating a hydrostatic shock inside the cavity that starts the expansion.

    A steel BB will definitely not be fluid at 40s&w velocities and will more then likely just act like a FMJ unless the BB falls out.

    Also, you might be approaching the definition of "armor penetrating" hand gun ammo (GASP!) by adding the steel to it.

    You might consider trying filling the cavities with readily available elastomers like Right Stuff Gasket Maker.

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    Regular Member Phoenix David's Avatar
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    This just has bad written all over it.
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    Agree with Phoenix David!!!

    Scenario....As cartridge loads in chamber, whatever 'adhesive' fails and BB dislodges from hollow point, doesn't exit barrel before firing and wedges in bullet ogive.......OUCH!!
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    Regular Member John Canuck's Avatar
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    Thoughts? Get some high speed cameras and show us how it goes.
    Last edited by John Canuck; 11-10-2012 at 09:18 PM.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix David View Post
    This just has bad written all over it.
    +1

    Just cough up the bucks for the right ammo. Also I believe a lot of the reason for the plastic tips is feeding.
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    Regular Member Grim_Night's Avatar
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    Here's an example.... Left to right: .40cal S&W Winchester Hollow point, 4.5mm zinc coated steel BB, bullet with BB in the tip using nothing but candle wax to hold it in place (this is not a working model, just an illustration

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Armed and annoyingly well informed!

    There are two constants when dealing with liberals:
    1) Liberals never quit until they are satisfied.
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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    Here's an example.... Left to right: .40cal S&W Winchester Hollow point, 4.5mm zinc coated steel BB, bullet with BB in the tip using nothing but candle wax to hold it in place (this is not a working model, just an illustration

    Click image for larger version. 

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    First off it won't feed if it is over the over all length. Two it may damage the feed ramp.
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
    Robert E. Lee
    The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.
    Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson
    What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.
    President Donald Trump

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    Regular Member robert1970's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    Here's an example.... Left to right: .40cal S&W Winchester Hollow point, 4.5mm zinc coated steel BB, bullet with BB in the tip using nothing but candle wax to hold it in place (this is not a working model, just an illustration

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I was wondering,by adding to the weight of the bullet,couldnt that raise the chamber pressure to the point,of blown primers,and cases sticking?

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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert1970 View Post
    I was wondering,by adding to the weight of the bullet,couldn't that raise the chamber pressure to the point,of blown primers,and cases sticking?
    That is was my concern after reading through this idea.
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    Regular Member Grim_Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoiledFrogs View Post
    Here's the thing. I think your assumptions are correct, in that you will achieve greater penetration, but I think that the BB will actually prevent the hollowpoint from opening. I can say this from bullets I have recovered after firing through various objects. Whenever the hollow becomes filled with something solid, it simply acts like a FMJ, and wont open up like it should, if at all. If you added a BB to the nose, and still had a significant portion of the petals of the HP exposed, I think that you would have a hybrid bullet. Your BB isnt going to help open the petals, but it would itself have greater penetration. The hollowpoint would open up as the target material contacted the petals as it does now and that part of the projectile would begin to slow at a greater rate than the BB, which would continue to over penetrate. The bullet would likely deploy the BB in a similar fashion as a sabot round in a slug gun. The hollowpoint might follow this channel, giving slightly deeper penetration, but my guess is that if they followed the same path, the increase in depth would be negligible. The acceleration of the bullet would hold the BB into the hollowpoint cavity without an adhesive, but for the sake of convenience, I would use a silicone sealant to hold it there, or find a way to press it into the cavity.

    Legally however, I think you're wandering into dangerous territory as these would likely be considered AP handgun ammo, which is illegal.

    A common misconception about handloaders and reloading is that we would put more powder in a case to make a badder bullet. That is simply not how it works. Generally, off the shelf JHP rounds are at max pressures already, and adding more powder is dangerous and irresponsible to put it mildly. I have seen signs of slight to moderate overpressure on the primers of many common JHP brands of SD ammo. More often than not, you lose bullet performance, especially in terms of accuracy, when you use a higher than normal charge.
    Thank you, this is what I was hoping for regarding a response. I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money on this little project, just looking for a fun little project to see what the results would be. As long as it's not dangerous :P Basic physics and such tell me that the size of the BB inserted in the tip of the JHP cavity tells me that #1 by rounding off the nose of the bullet, it would give it better penetration. While the fact that the steel BB being harder then the soft lead core of the JHP would allow it to push back on the core as it penetrates a target forcing the core to expand in a similar way to the hornady bullets. I'm not looking for armor penetration, just something that would work better against tougher clothing such a leather or thick layers of denim. The 4.5mm BBs are actually really light considering the lead of the FMJ so wouldn't amount to much of an increase in overall weight.

    Edit: this idea was doomed to failure at the onset due to the fact that I cannot load more then 1 modified round into a magazine lol... oh well, back to the drawing board. Only cost me about $1.50 for a tube of 350 BBs so no big deal. Still looking for other ideas though.
    Last edited by Grim_Night; 11-10-2012 at 11:20 PM.
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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    Thank you, this is what I was hoping for regarding a response. I'm not looking to spend a bunch of money on this little project, just looking for a fun little project to see what the results would be. As long as it's not dangerous :P Basic physics and such tell me that the size of the BB inserted in the tip of the JHP cavity tells me that #1 by rounding off the nose of the bullet, it would give it better penetration. While the fact that the steel BB being harder then the soft lead core of the JHP would allow it to push back on the core as it penetrates a target forcing the core to expand in a similar way to the hornady bullets. I'm not looking for armor penetration, just something that would work better against tougher clothing such a leather or thick layers of denim. The 4.5mm BBs are actually really light considering the lead of the FMJ so wouldn't amount to much of an increase in overall weight.

    Edit: this idea was doomed to failure at the onset due to the fact that I cannot load more then 1 modified round into a magazine lol... oh well, back to the drawing board. Only cost me about $1.50 for a tube of 350 BBs so no big deal. Still looking for other ideas though.
    If you are worried about heavy winter clothing use FMJ ammo, or flat point, use hollow point in less extreme weather. Safety should be your primary concern, and it just does not sound safe to me.
    It is well that war is so terrible otherwise we would grow too fond of it.
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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTHunter View Post
    Grim - we did the same thing just to different calibers. I did it to .38 Specials.
    There are 2 differences between us - I used a .177 cal BB in the HP after drilling out a little lead then putting the BB at the bottom of the hole. I also took a sharp knife and notched the top of the exposed lead with either 2 or 3 cuts (1/4 or 1/6) {they sometimes call these "dum-dums"}. Hopefully, this will allow the HP to open faster and possibly break up in the body. If it does, this allows the BB to be sitting on the top of the bullets heel (the part that doesn't expand) and be pushed by its weight.
    I don't have any gelatin to be able to test this, so I don't know if it works.
    This at least sound logical and safer
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    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoiledFrogs View Post
    I really don't see this as much of a safety issue, provided that the BB has a good seat in the JHP, and the person assembling the ammunition has a decent understanding of how to work up a load, and how to check for increasing chamber pressures.
    The problem was not working up a load. The problem was modifying a factory load.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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    Regular Member Whitney's Avatar
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    Consider Reloading ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim_Night View Post
    Disclaimer: This is not a serious project, just a bit of a pet project to see what I can come up with as an experiment.

    I have been toying with an idea on how to go about modifying existing hollow point ammo. With standard ammo, you have a lead core wrapped in a copper jacket which is open in the front to allow for the bullet to expand. My current idea is to take an existing Winchester .40 cal 185grain hollowpoint, and mount a 4.5mm zinc coated steel BB to the cavity in such a way as to have a similar design as the Hornady Critical Defense rounds for sale.

    I'm only looking to modify a small amount of bullets for testing purposes only. The idea is that the BB will round off the nose of the hollow point, thus increasing the penetration value while at the same time, allowing for an object that is harder (more dense) then the lead core of the bullet to aid in the expansion of the bullet once it penetrates a thick layer of clothing.

    Here are the factors involved...

    #1 S&W .40 cal Winchester 185 grain hollow point bullet
    #2 Daisy 4.5mm (.177 cal) zinc plated steel shot BBs
    #3 some sort of easily manipulated adhesive/molding compound such as wax or modeling putty

    I'm not looking to modify the powder charge of the bullet or anything of that nature, just experimenting with making an existing type of ammo to make it more effective. I'm not looking into a debate as to whether this should or shouldn't be done I'm only interested in the feasibility of the basic physics involved with the design. I know there are people out there that hand load their own rounds making them with more powder and such. I'm just curious as to if this would work to turn a $20 box of 50 rounds into the equivalent number of higher grade rounds found for about $25 for a box of 20.

    Once I have a small number of viable rounds to work with, I'd be interested in testing the function of such rounds on test media. At that point I would need serious reliable information as to what to use. I'm thinking a series of 1gal milk jugs, filled with water and then lined up next to each other and with a few layers of say old jeans to represent clothing on the target.

    Any thoughts?
    Do you plan on using this in a daily carried weapon?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you evaluate what you plan on using this particular bullet for then find the cartridge and bullet combination that suits your purpose.

    I must confess I have been described as frugal more than once or twice. Not necessarily those words, but i do try to keep my costs down as I shoot often.

    I choose to reload because it is more cost effective for me. Your mileage may vary depending on your shooting habits.

    Here is a very affordable flat top bullet that you can work up a good HD load with.

    I am using a similar bullet in 9mm with HS6 as propellant, I chose this as it is also good propellant for my shotgun loads too. (frugal)

    If expansion is a must have then there are several flavors of the XTP bullet each with an associated cost.


    As for the physics, bullet manufacturers have already got this one figured out.

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  16. #16
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I am going to guess that the major ammunition manufacturers spend many millions of dollars in research and development to not only stay abreast of their competition, but to also product the best possible product they can. I could be wrong here, so corrective comments are welcome. But something tells me that these folks are already on the leading edge of SD ammunition and if not, I would bet they are working to find that edge.
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  17. #17
    Regular Member Gary S's Avatar
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    To me it almost sounds like he is wanting to do something like hydrashocks by federal brand ammo.

  18. #18
    Regular Member skeith5's Avatar
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    I agree that it sounds like a bad idea. Here are a couple more reasons:

    #1. Most indoor ranges do not allow steel in the bullets. It tends to ricochet more than soft lead does.

    #2. If you were to carry "modified" cartridges in your defensive pistol and had to use it I guarantee you that the prosecutor will have a field day with you. I reload and I only shoot reloads for practice. For my normal carry ammo I use rounds such as Hornady Critical Max. I also keep the box I bought the ammo in so that I'll have the lot number should I ever need to use the weapon.

    As far as whether or not the ammo is AP, here is the definition:

    18 USC 921(a)(17):
    "(B) The term `armor piercing ammunition' means-

    (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and
    which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other
    substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass,
    bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or

    (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and
    intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25
    percent of the total weight of the projectile.

    (C) The term `armor piercing ammunition' does not include shotgun shot
    required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting
    purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile
    which the Secretary finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting
    purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Secretary
    finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge
    used in an oil and gas well perforating device."

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