Steel or tungsten core?


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brass shower
July 21, 2005, 02:29 AM
Well I've come across a few bullets that the seller claims are tungsten cored. I'd love to believe him but after sectioning the bullet and pulling the core it just doesnt seem heavy enough, and it's attracted to a magnet. I dont remember much about chemestry but seem to remember that tungsten is non-magnetic. Can anyone suggest a method of determining the composition of the core? I suppose the most obvious method would be to weigh it and determine it's volume to get the density but that would require access to equipment I dont have at the moment.

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Cesiumsponge
July 21, 2005, 02:37 AM
I don't think tungsten is magnetic either. I thought iron was the only ferromagnetic element. If you happen to have a graduated cylinder (and I don't know anyone that does), you could always figure out density. Tungsten has a density that's near that of gold.

If you have an oxyace torch, try cutting it. Tungsten has an extreme melting temp. Even hardened steel will lose its temper and melt. You can also try taking a file to it, though hardened steel doesn't really file well with hardened tool steel, but it'd at least determine if its mild steel.

Sindawe
July 21, 2005, 02:53 AM
If you happen to have a graduated cylinder (and I don't know anyone that does) What, you mean not everybody has a couple of those in their kitchen, basement, garage? How else are you going to accurately measure moderate volumes of liquids? Pipette? Geezzzz..what a pain that is. :D

For Tungsten, Density @20`C = 19.5 g/cc
For Iron, Density @20`C = 7.66 g/cc

Off the cuff, if you have some iron nails about, compare the nail to the "tungsten" core you've extracted. The tungsten should be feel about twice as heavy in your hand.

mete
July 21, 2005, 09:02 AM
Cesium, iron, nickel and cobalt are ferromagnetic.Tungsten has been used for cores ,IIRC the WWII german 88 had tungsten cored projectiles.

Tim3256
July 21, 2005, 09:13 AM
Tungsten IS NON-FERROUS, and is immune to standard magnetic attraction. The cores in question are not tungsten. Likely not a tungsten alloy either, it's very difficult and expensive to alloy (besides, it would be pointless in this application). Also, the density of tungsten would allow you to feel a significant weight differential, even with very small volumes of material.

Furthermore, tungsten cored rounds are considered "killer" rounds by all LEO agencies that I'm aware of. They are substantially more effective at compromising (piercing) and/or completely defeating other materials (vehicular and personnel "body" armor, kevlar, ballistics glass laminate, etc) than traditional ammunition. This type of ammunition performs similarly to to "DU" (depleted uranium) rounds. GOOGLE "depleted uranium ammunition". In some jurisdictions, simply possessing these would be a criminal act. Best to steer clear.

LeonCarr
July 21, 2005, 09:19 AM
IIRC the Speer African Grand Slam Solids are tungsten core. To my knowledge they are legal. Expensive as all get out, but legal. Speer has been selling them for years.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Tim3256
July 21, 2005, 09:50 AM
I'm not familiar with Speer African Grand Slam Solids, they may well be both tungsten core and perfectly legal (where you are). I wouldn't like to be caught carrying them in say, Boston. I did say "some juridictions".

In some jurisdictions, simply possessing these would be a criminal act. Best to steer clear.

At any rate, the point of my post was that in MOST SITUATIONS, no good can come from having these rounds. LEOS freak (as a rule), and there WILL be trouble. At the very least, you can expect to be extremely "inconvenienced", if you read me. I realize that many at THR will defend both the need and the "right" to possess such items, I will not engage in that debate here. I'm not talking about "theory", I'm speaking to "practice".

Do as you will, though. It's advice, your mileage may vary. Good luck. :cool:

Randy in Arizona
July 21, 2005, 10:08 PM
If you have some you could try this, put the core into some mercury.

Iron, any alloy of iron will float. Tungsten will sink. Mercury has a specific gravity of 13.5.

Warning: Mercury is hazardous to your health. Handle it outdoors or under very good ventilation. :what:

Stevie-Ray
July 21, 2005, 10:20 PM
Cesium, iron, nickel and cobalt are ferromagnetic. But whom in their right mind, is gonna check that cesium with a magnet? That is if it's 137 :D

RecoilRob
July 21, 2005, 11:21 PM
AFAIK, AP rounds are legal to own for rifle calibers but a big NO NO in handguns. The only AP rounds I have experience with are 50 BMG Black Tipped 705gr. They are slightly shorter than the M33 633gr Ball yet significantly heavier. And, they go through 2 3/4" steel plates pretty cleanly while the Ball sticks in the first one every time.

It would seem that the AP core IS heavier and much harder than the mild steel Ball. What it is made of, I dunno!

Double Naught Spy
July 22, 2005, 01:48 AM
I think there are some confused issues here. There is tungsten and tungsten steel. Tungsten steel, harder than other steel, is invented by Robert Forester
Mushet in 1868 by adding 7-8% tungsten to steel. Tungsten steel is magnetic as a result of the high iron content.

Is tungsten itself magnetic? Well, one way in which tungsten is concentrated is by its magnetic properties.

http://www.ucc.ie/ucc/depts/chem/dolchem/html/elem/elem074.html

While tungsten is heavy, it is also fairly soft compared to metals such as steel. If tungsten is being used in AP ammo, then my guess is that what is being used is steel alloyed with tungsten (tungsten steel) that produces a product much harder than regular steel.

Randy in Arizona
July 27, 2005, 01:11 AM
I can conceive of two possible uses of Tungsten in bullet cores:

1] Tungsten steel as mentioned for the ability to penetrate.

2] Tungsten itself as a heavy core to enhance ballistic properties and avoid the toxic effects of lead.

Any others, anyone?

50 Shooter
July 27, 2005, 01:51 AM
RecoilRob,
.50 AP is Tungsten chrome steel.

http://www.biggerhammer.net/barrett/fas/

Cesiumsponge
July 27, 2005, 02:05 AM
If you have some you could try this, put the core into some mercury.

And I thought I was crazy with suggesting graduated cylinders. Who has a jar of mercury sitting around outside of a lab? :D Just don't breathe the fumes. Mercury isn't as readily absorbed into skin, but the fumes are nasty. Kids used to play with mercury balls in the classroom :what:

Control Group
July 27, 2005, 10:42 AM
I'm proud to say I have easy access to a wide variety of graduated cylinders and large quantities of mercury (at least, large compared to the average household's few thermometers). Also Erlenmeyer and Florence flasks, the world's smallest distilling glassware, pipettes, fuming sulfuric, dry sodium hydroxide, a variety of organic solvents (and can I just say that nothing cleans an engine-filthy wrench like Toluene?), and three gallons of leaded gasoline retrieved from the tank of a '65 LeMans in the early eighties.

Being the son of a Ph.D. chemist has its upsides.

So, if you want definitive answers on this ammo, send it to me. I'll do a whole battery of tests on every round.

Including, of course, careful study of well they perform in a variety of firearms. ;)

Randy in Arizona
July 27, 2005, 07:32 PM
Cesiumsponge And I thought I was crazy with suggesting graduated cylinders. Who has a jar of mercury sitting around outside of a lab? Just don't breathe the fumes. Mercury isn't as readily absorbed into skin, but the fumes are nasty. Kids used to play with mercury balls in the classroom

I happen to have some, when I was in high school my chem lab had lots of stuff the school system deemed too dangerous. :rolleyes:

However I don't let my kids play with the stuff I still have. :uhoh: :what:

brass shower
August 16, 2005, 03:05 AM
Well I broke down and spent 3 bucks on a graduated cylinder, and after repeated weighings and volume measurements came up with a density of 9.1 g/cc. Not quite Tungsten but heavier than steel. Now if this is a tungsten alloy and I'm calculating this correctly should that put it at a 12-13% Tungsten content?

Third_Rail
August 16, 2005, 10:52 AM
Yep, so it's probably a W/Fe alloy. What caliber?

brass shower
August 16, 2005, 01:58 PM
They're .308" caliber, 150 grain. The core was 2 piece, similar to 5.56mm SS109 with a the alloy penetrator ahead of a lead base which melted out under blowtorch heat. I'll get some loaded up and see how it fares against 1" steel plate compared to the other stuff I have.

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