Aluminum bullets?


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KriegHund
February 1, 2006, 06:24 PM
Whats the feasibility of aluminum bullets?

Would it be TOO light? Seems like you could have some interesting terminal effects on the body (is terminal correct termionology? Oh well) with a lighter, softer bullet.

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Jeff Timm
February 1, 2006, 06:30 PM
Brass has been used successfully.

Geoff
Who will stick with good old fashioned lead.

griz
February 1, 2006, 07:36 PM
The Barnes X bullets are solid copper and they are pretty long for their weight. I suspect that aluminum could be made to expand properly, but the bullet would be too long to be practical.

jerkface11
February 1, 2006, 07:39 PM
I wonder what kind of solvent it would take to get aluminum fouling out?

P95Carry
February 1, 2006, 08:00 PM
I think the only aluminum even worth considering would be aircraft grade heat treated - about the hardest.

The lack of mass would be very significant but worst of all - aluminum self oxidises instantly in air - it is then ''protected'' by a thin layer of AlO - in itself an abrasive!!! I have little doubt residue would remain in the bore and am not even sure if satisfactory engraving would be certain.

Anyways - in my book - zero use!!

The Bushmaster
February 1, 2006, 09:36 PM
Are we kidding here? I can see it now...Blam!!...........Tink..........Hey! Move the target closer....Blam!!............Tink............Closer please..........Blam!!..........Tink.................At least now they are hitting the target before they hit the ground...:D :D :D :D

KriegHund
February 1, 2006, 10:39 PM
What about copper jacketed? this would evade the oxidization problem.

Aneat
February 1, 2006, 10:52 PM
What about copper jacketed? this would evade the oxidization problem.

Well why not go for a empty copper jacket without the aluminum. That would be even lighter:confused:

To get the same "knockdown" power so to speak with a lighter bullet you would need much more velocity. You would get to a point where you would be ouside the parameters of the cartridge design. For example a 44 magnum was not designed to push a 55gr bullet at 3000 fps. There is a chance you could make a bullet that light or even use a sabbot or some type, but then you would loose all accuracy because the twist rate of the barrel is designed to stabilize a heavier bullet at less velocity.

You get a similar setup using a sabbot in a 30 caliber rifle with 22 caliber bullets. The "accelerator" rounds that remington sold were like that. Accuracy with those was terrible.

P95Carry
February 1, 2006, 10:56 PM
What about copper jacketed?Still can't see a viable reason to use it tho! Forget all my relative densities but Al is 1/3 weight of steel - so let's say it is a quarter or less the weight of lead. We might still have in 9mm for example a pill weighing a mere 30 grains!! A zinc bullet is supposedly frangible but doubt Al would be.

It could of course be driven at some super velocity but then I doubt short barrels would be much help in finding the right safe faster powder.

Interesting to speculate but pretty sure someone somewhere has gone thru all this - and decided nope!

KriegHund
February 1, 2006, 10:59 PM
What you speak is truth :(

It would aslo be more susceptable to wind in long range shots.

Grumulkin
February 2, 2006, 12:20 AM
How about plastic bullets? I have some plastic .308 Winchester rounds. I used one at close range on a groundhog in a tree. Just think, I could shoot straight up with no worry about a bullet killing someone in the next county. The rodent was dispatched nicely with one shot. Aluminum should be better in the weight and range category but I think I'll let someone else try it first.

Gewehr98
February 2, 2006, 01:37 AM
(Aluminium?)

Just the tips, I mean, or are they some sort of zinc alloy?

db_tanker
February 2, 2006, 08:26 AM
Yep...Winchester uses an aluminum "cap" on the end of some of their bullets to help promote expansion...I believe...thats my story and I am sticking to it. :p


I have some 30 WCF factory stuff at the house and it has an aluminum tip.

D

griz
February 2, 2006, 09:31 AM
Speaking of light bullets, there was a thread here about nylon bullets as mentioned in the book Unintended Consequences. This inspired me to try it, but I couldn't get them to turn cylindrical on the lathe. So I used wood, maple dowel stock from Lowe’s. Over a large but unmentionable load of Titegroup they were going well over 2000 FPS from a 4 inch barrel 38. What are they good for? Some say they are the ultimate low penetration self defense round. If so they are certainly short range. Maybe aluminum would be a better compromise. But I know lead works, so I’ll keep using that for now.

Father Knows Best
February 2, 2006, 09:57 AM
If you want a super high velocity round, those exist as specialty varmint rounds. They drive small caliber, lightweight bullets at velocities up to around 4,000 fps. You still need sectional density to maintain momentum and deliver energy downrange, though, so a short, fat, light bullet doesn't work. In other words, you're better off with a tiny caliber (17-22) bullet made of lead than a large caliber bullet made of a lightweight material.

Incidentally, 4,000 fps is about the theoretical and practical maximum for any projectile using nitro-based propellants. The reason has to do with the rate at which the combustion gases expand. Once you get the projectile moving as fast as the combustion gases, you can't accelerate it any faster. In addition, barrel erosion because a huge problem as you reach toward those maximum velocities.

The bottom line is that there is no need to play with large caliber bullets filled with a light material like aluminum, or even hollow. If your objective is to drive a projectile extremely fast, then the way to do it within the bounds of existing available firearms technology is the modern varmint rifle driving a small caliber projectile.

Jim Watson
February 2, 2006, 10:24 AM
I have an old, old magazine article describing lathe turned solid aluminum bullets. Velocity was high, accuracy was poor.
There was an experimental military bullet with an aluminum core in a conventional copper alloy jacket. Some versions had lead under the aluminum to fine tune bullet weight. They were going for high velocity from a small volume cartridge.
There has been a fair amount of work done with zinc bullets, at a density about 68% of lead. Federal makes a stranded zinc core bullet to be frangible and lead free for indoor ranges. Government agency prices.

Double Naught Spy
February 2, 2006, 10:48 AM
Aluminum? Aguila IQ uses an aluminum-based hollowpoint. From a 5" barrel in .45 acp, it has a velocity of about 1450 fps. On impact with media such as body tissue, the round frags into 3 or 4 pieces, of which each takes its own path through the body for a grand total distance ranging from 1-6 inches. It is not a good round for self defense.

belton-deer-hunter
February 2, 2006, 11:03 AM
i actully saw some of these at the gun shop in town yesaterday they lok like they would do so real damage the are rather nasty looking the guy the had them said he hand loaded his and put a small metal bb in the tip and sealed it in there with clear fingernail polish to help it expand

Reed1911
February 2, 2006, 11:31 AM
If you want a super high velocity round, those exist as specialty varmint rounds. They drive small caliber, lightweight bullets at velocities up to around 4,000 fps. You still need sectional density to maintain momentum and deliver energy downrange, though, so a short, fat, light bullet doesn't work. In other words, you're better off with a tiny caliber (17-22) bullet made of lead than a large caliber bullet made of a lightweight material.

Incidentally, 4,000 fps is about the theoretical and practical maximum for any projectile using nitro-based propellants. The reason has to do with the rate at which the combustion gases expand. Once you get the projectile moving as fast as the combustion gases, you can't accelerate it any faster. In addition, barrel erosion because a huge problem as you reach toward those maximum velocities.

The bottom line is that there is no need to play with large caliber bullets filled with a light material like aluminum, or even hollow. If your objective is to drive a projectile extremely fast, then the way to do it within the bounds of existing available firearms technology is the modern varmint rifle driving a small caliber projectile.


Don't you mean 5000FPS is the limit? 4000FPS has been exceeded many times with factory cartridges like the .204 Ruger and .17 Remington neither of which are barrel burners, then looking at the semi-wildcats and wildcats 4500 is fairly easy to reach. Getting up to that speed you begin to see short barrel life.

deadin
February 2, 2006, 12:24 PM
There was a Danish pistol called a Schouboe submitted to the 1907 trials that finally selected the M1911 as the US Standard. One of the requirements was that the gun be in .45 caliber. The Danish gun was designed for a .45 caliber aluminum bullet. This was done to enable the use of a blow-back action. Needless to say, it was rejected.

Dean

Father Knows Best
February 2, 2006, 12:26 PM
Don't you mean 5000FPS is the limit? 4000FPS has been exceeded many times with factory cartridges like the .204 Ruger and .17 Remington neither of which are barrel burners, then looking at the semi-wildcats and wildcats 4500 is fairly easy to reach. Getting up to that speed you begin to see short barrel life.

4,000 is "about" (as I said) the "practical" maximum. You can push rounds somewhat beyond that, but you end up with so many other problems (barrel life, for instance), that it isn't practical. As you note, those wildcats that move at 4,500 fps or so result in very short barrel life.

dfaugh
February 2, 2006, 01:41 PM
4,000 is "about" (as I said) the "practical" maximum. You can push rounds somewhat beyond that, but you end up with so many other problems (barrel life, for instance), that it isn't practical. As you note, those wildcats that move at 4,500 fps or so result in very short barrel life.

I read somewhere (a pretty authoritative source) that the speed of the expanding gases was around 6000 fps, and that was the theoretical maximum bullet volocity. I'll try to find the refernece and post it. This doesn't take into account friction (in the barrel or in air) of the bullet.

Father Knows Best
February 2, 2006, 03:55 PM
I read somewhere (a pretty authoritative source) that the speed of the expanding gases was around 6000 fps, and that was the theoretical maximum bullet volocity. I'll try to find the refernece and post it. This doesn't take into account friction (in the barrel or in air) of the bullet.

We're getting a little off track, here. The actual max theoretical speed isn't really relevant to the question posed, or to my point. My point was simply that the way to maximize velocity is not to use a lightweight projectile in a large caliber, it is to use a small caliber bullet and lots of powder, which is the principal behind varmint rounds like the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger.

Another way to think about it is with an analogy to automobiles. You can make a car accelerate more quickly by making it lighter. That won't make it go faster, however. All it will do is allow it to reach its maximum velocity more quickly. Maximum speed is determined by coefficient of drag (the "slipperiness" of the vehicle's shape), frontal area and horsepower. If those factors are equal, it doesn't matter whether the car weighs 1,000 or 5,000 pounds -- max speed will be the same.

With bullets, you get higher velocity by reducing frontal area (caliber), improving the ballistic coeficient (more aerodynamic bullet shape), and adding additional push in the form of propellant. Making the bullet lighter doesn't help much. It might allow a slightly high muzzle velocity, especially in shorter barrels (because a lighter bullet accelerates more quickly), but you can get the same benefit by simply reducing the caliber, and in the process have a bullet with a much better ballistic coefficient and sectional density (so less drag and more velocity and energy carried downrange).

cracked butt
February 2, 2006, 10:51 PM
I think it would be interesting to use a denser bullet- maybe a tungsten core bullet or a bullet made with a core of the same stuff Remington Hevi-shot is made of. Would increase sectional density and likely would increase downrange energy.

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