Is it illegal/unwise to modify pistol ammo?


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Cousin Mike
August 11, 2006, 08:35 PM
Hello all.

I have a question, and didn't know which forum to post in, so I gave it my best guess. Mods, please move if necessary so I'll know where to post a question like this in the future.

My question is basically stated in the title, but I'll be a a little more specific. Let's say you have a box of FMJ's or JSP's for target shooting, and wanted to experiment. If you have the tools / ability to turn one of those rounds into a nasty but efficient little JHP round... if you can do so without changing the weight, profile, and sectional density (by too much) of the round - is there some common knowledge against doing so? Is it illegal? Is it not smart?

Just wondering - opinions and facts (especially legal facts) on the matter would be greatly appreciated.


Mike

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Hkmp5sd
August 11, 2006, 08:41 PM
It is not illegal and not smart. If you don't know what you're doing, it is very easy to make a gun go kaboom and remove a few fingers and/or facial features.

If you want to make hot loads, get into reloading and follow the directions of those that have done it before, safely. Reloading manuals will tell you everything you need to know about how hot to make the rounds.

Cousin Mike
August 11, 2006, 08:45 PM
Apologies... I should have specified. I'm not taking the case off, or changing powder composition, or anything I don't know how to do. What I'm asking pertains more to re-shaping, making appropriate cuts to the nose of the round in order to make it a JHP.

I know a little something about how to work with / cut metals and have tools that would be good for the job - but I don't have any equipment for, nor know anything about reloading. Sorry if I was unclear.

ugaarguy
August 11, 2006, 09:06 PM
Mike, its very doable. I remember posts where some of the older guys have talked about a tool made just for making a HP cavity back when HPs weren't available like they are now. However, BIG CAUTION, while cutting a HP cavaity you can easily push the bullet deeper into the case - when this happens you reduce case volume which therby increases pressure when the round is fired. This is very important with some rounds like the 9mm Luger.

When loading the 9mm, carefully observe the cartridge overall lengths listed in the data. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE BULLETS BE LOADED SHORTER THAN THE LISTED LENGTHS. 9mm case capacity is relatively small and seating a bullet deeper than indicated can cause escessive pressures and the potential for damage or injury

-Speer Reloading Manual Number 13

So if you do this, pull out the good calipers and make sure you don't push the bullets deeper into the case. With that caution in mind, have fun experimenting, and get us some pics of test results when you try them out.

Edit: Looks like it might be called an Old Forster hollow pointing tool; http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=2596871&postcount=61

Cousin Mike
August 11, 2006, 09:16 PM
slipping with one of my sharper tools, and sticking myself in the thumb once or twice... But I'm used to that kind of stuff. I'd sure like to know what this tool is that is made especially for digging out HP cavities... With the price of premium JHP ammo nowadays, someone could make a killing marketing something like that :D

I'll definitely make sure to get some pictures up here soon - the one's I've completed already look pretty mean. Also, I'm being VERY careful not to set the bullets back at all, since the cartridges I'm working with at the moment are .357 Magnum rounds. :what:

Thanks for the advice ugaarguy!

Anyone else ever altered FMJ rounds?

Stories to tell?

Results to share?

fecmech
August 11, 2006, 10:12 PM
Cousin--Something to think about. FMJ bullets are formed from nose to base leaving the base of the bullet with the lead core exposed. HP bullets are the opposite with the base fully jacketed and lead core exposed and hollow pointed at the nose. If you hollow point a FMJ you have a lead core in a copper sleeve open at both ends. Now in a .357 apply 35,000 psi to the base of the lead core. Do you think there is any chance the core may leave the jacket behind in the barrel to act as an obstruction for the next shot?? I don't know myself but sure would not want to find out. Nick

mete
August 11, 2006, 10:14 PM
"Nasty and efficient" So you think you can make a more efficient bullet than companies that have spent years and many dollars in development ?? Altering FMJs has been done for many years but not successfully as far as I know.

brickeyee
August 11, 2006, 10:24 PM
As was already posted, learn how to reload.
You can cast bullets or make them any way you want.
Screwing around with already loaded rounds is just asking for trouble from setback. There is no way to alter the ahpe without removing metal and now you have alighter bullet. It will have about the same velocity as before so both the momentum and energy have been decreased.
It takes force to make any tool cut, and if you push on a bullit to hard it can move in the case. Bad pressure things happen if a bullet is pushed further into the case. Even repeated chambering of the same round can casue setback.

There is also more to making a bullet expand than just cutting a hole in the nose.

MCgunner
August 11, 2006, 10:42 PM
Just get into reloading, buy a hollow point mold, and cast your own. Don't buy a 358-158 lee hollow point mold, though, inaccurate ain't the word in evey revolver I've tried that bullet in. :rolleyes:

Cousin Mike
August 11, 2006, 10:46 PM
Not really using FMJ's, I have a box of JSP's here, and some cheap CCI JHP's... With the CCI's, all I've done is 'refine' the already-existing HP cavity to a design more of my own personal liking.

Now the JSP's, those are a little different. The lead is already protruding from the copper jacket, and there's a flat lead tip at the end of the round. All there is left to do is crate a hollow point in the lead and refine the edges. I'm not modifying the copper jacketing in any way, rather smoothing the exposed lead somewhat over the jacket after creating the hollow point. The result looks almost exactly like WWB 125grain .38Spl +P JHP's, inside and out. Mine are actually better looking, and more uniformally designed.

I think a picture would explain better than my words.

fecmech, your advice on altering FMJ rounds sounds well reasoned and thought out. If I ever do attempt to alter true FMJ rounds, I think I would only do such with the Winchester Winclean ammo, which also has a fully jacketed core. Thanks a ton, as I had never thought of this before... I'll also be very careful if/when I decide to fire the rounds I've already created.


mete - I never said I thought I could make a better JHP than a multi-million dollar company. :D Although, in my own defense, I think the rounds I have already tinkered with look better than some of store bought ammo I have for comparison. I'm sure they would finction fine, seeing as how I haven't changed the design - just 'tweaked' it a little. I thought I was clear in my first post about simply wanting to experiment.

I'd also like to know how one would go about rating "success" percentages in basement experiments with bullets. I'm sure, somewhere there's some old guy who's figured out how to modify regular, cheap old BS ammo into something that performs a little better - nothing wrong with having a little fun, right?
I also tend to subscribe to the school of thought that if no one did it with any success, there probably wouldn't be a tool made for it.

Thanks again, ugaarguy for that link. I googled "Forster hollowpointing tool," and found a link to a site that sells them for less than $20. Might be worth looking into one of these.

Thanks again, everyone, for your thoughts.

Edit: MCgunner, I definitely plan to get into reloading - hopefully sooner than later. Thanks for the advice on the Lee mold! I'll be sure to stay away from those! :D how difficult/expensive is it to make your own rounds? Wouldn't one need a laboratory of sorts, or am I getting way ahead of myself with this one?

grendelbane
August 11, 2006, 10:52 PM
Experimentation is good. Elmer Keith and Phil Sharpe experimented with bullets as well as powder charges. George C. Nonte and Dean Grennell continued the tradition.

Even Col. Cooper got in on the action!:what:

Carrying those experimental loads for serious purposes might not be so good. While not actually illegal, it might look bad in a courtroom.

But, for pure research, experiment with anything that you think is safe.

Prudence is byword here. Also, remember, there are plenty of bullets available that either expand too much, or don't expand at all. It is a zero sum game between expansion and penetration. What you gain in expansion, you lose in penetration, and vice versa.

Remember, iron and steel core, beryllium copper, brass, bronze, tungsten, and depleted uranium core handgun bullets are usually illegal. Notice the big loophole here, apparently U-235 core bullets are acceptable!:what:

Probably best not to use these either.:neener:

KD5NRH
August 12, 2006, 12:25 AM
So you think you can make a more efficient bullet than companies that have spent years and many dollars in development ??

You mean like all the other ammo companies claim to do?

ugaarguy
August 12, 2006, 12:59 AM
how difficult/expensive is it to make your own rounds? Wouldn't one need a laboratory of sorts, or am I getting way ahead of myself with this one?

The fact that I rent a small house, sans garage or work room is the only reason I don't cast my own. My buddy does it and has shown me the equipment. You buy old wheel weights as scrap lead from tire shops, melt 'em down in a little lead furnace, and pour the lead, using the furnace spout, into the mold. After the bullets harden, you remove, lube and size. It's pretty simple really. http://www.midwayusa.com/ebrowse.exe/browse?tabid=2

lawson
August 12, 2006, 01:19 AM
my dad has a picture of my grandpa making hollowpoints out of .38 spl LRN with some simple tools he made. he was a sheriff's deputy and was issued LRN, so he modified it.

of course, these days hollowpoints are widely available and inexpensive, so i've never bothered to modify my ammunition.

Majic
August 12, 2006, 05:37 AM
if you can do so without changing the weight, profile, and sectional density (by too much) of the round
Remember that to make the cavity you will have to remove metal and that will change the weight.

BlkHawk73
August 12, 2006, 09:14 AM
I think the rounds I have already tinkered with look better than some of store bought ammo I have for comparison.

Looks are not exactly an aspect of a cartridge that really matters is it? After all, once you load the gun, you'll never see them again anyways. For me, it's far easier to buy commercially loadedammo to suit my needs or simply make my own reloads.

Cousin Mike
August 12, 2006, 12:25 PM
...to make the cavity you will have to remove metal and that will change the weight.

It's understood that I will be decresing the weight some by removing the center of the tip of the JSP rounds, but it's not enough weight to matter IMO. The JSP's weigh 125 grains. At the end of this process, at most, I'm probably removing 1-2 grains of weight, and simply redistributing the rest of the bullet weight - not removing it. Not very much IMO, but I do understand that a very tiny amount of weight will be removed. That's okay for what I'm doing. The most that comes out of these is a few shavings of lead the size of a grain of sand. I also chose JSP rounds to do this with because they expand anyway... Might as well see if adding a hollow point type cavity will add to the performance of the round, IMO. I'm not turning 125's into 110's though. There is VERY little lead actually being removed. Ideally, there's virtually none.

The JHP's I'm working with, I doubt I am removing more than a single grain of weight, if any. I'm simply re-shaping the existing cavity. Besides, the JHP's I have are 158gr. weight. I don't know if a 1 grain loss on a reshaped cavity is going to be detrimental to performance. I plan on testing these rounds in wet phonebooks to see if they work in the same way as a name-brand JHP round. One poster said there's more to making a bullet expand than cutting a cavity in the tip of a round. I guess that's what I'm trying to figure out through experimenting.

Looks are not exactly an aspect of a cartridge that really matters is it?

As for the looks of the rounds, I refer to looks as a testament to how I think they will function. I was wondering when someone was going to ask me that. :D Nah, I really don't care how they look flying through the air, as you are correct... I won't see them anyway. But - when I compare the rounds I've made to some of the JHP rounds I already have here for PD, these look as if they would function just as well, if not better.

Because of the information I've been given here, I don't think I'm brave or knowledgeable enough to experiment with true FMJ hangun rounds, nor do I have tools that I think would work well for that.

And for the last time, I am NOT making these out of necessity, or to save a few bucks. Gee whiz! Don't any of you people ever do anything for fun?! :D Don't you ever think,

"Hey... maybe I can do this just as well as the pro's!" ?

My guns are my absolute favorite posessions. I wouldn't experiment w/ anything that I considered dangerous to their function - I'm not experimenting with Federal Hydrashok's, or Speer Gold Dots, or serious quality rounds that I think I can improve on. These are just crappy soft-point and hollowpoint, $9 for a 50-box rounds that I bought for target shooting, and simply haven't had the chance to shoot yet.

I keep quality, name brand JHP's for all of my guns. This is simply for fun, and to answer a question I have. I will compare these home-made hollowpoint rounds to name brand hollow point rounds of a similar design, and see if mine work like regular JHP's. The idea is to use these in comparison with premium JHP ammo, then take some pics, and show the good folks here the results when my little experiment is done.

No one ever learned or improved anything by leaving it all to the pro's, you know :D

Edit: You know what? Now that I think about it, you guys should be thanking me! LOL!

You wouldn't even have your precious store-bought premiuim ammo if some crazy bastard, somewhere, didn't dig a hole in the end of a bullet and experiment... I wonder how many people told him that was a stupid idea :cool:


:neener:

Vern Humphrey
August 12, 2006, 01:11 PM
A properly designed hollow-point bullet has a tapered jacket of proper thickness and composition, proper alloy for the core, and is closed at the base.

The FMJ maker doesn't bother with all that -- so the best you can do when hollow-pointing an FMJ is to produce an inferior bullet.

The worst you can do is have the bullet shed its jacked in the barrel, and if you don't notice it, the next shot blows up your gun.

Majic
August 12, 2006, 03:59 PM
It's understood that I will be decresing the weight some by removing the center of the tip of the JSP rounds, but it's not enough weight to matter IMO.
The weight removal does matter. You have now just changed the center of gravity of the bullet.

Owen
August 12, 2006, 05:50 PM
How do you know your bullets are actually better? Have you done any testing?

Cousin Mike
August 12, 2006, 07:05 PM
It’s all speculation right now, owen… I just posted the question last night – I haven’t had the opportunity to go and try them yet.

Nothing is going to help my case much, except pictures. I don't know of any ranges around here that will let me bring in wet phone books to shoot up. I'll post pics as soon as I finish shooting up the Columbus Yellow Pages. I don't think pictures of my alterations are going to change anyone's mind until we see how they work.

Once again, I appreciate the advice about altering FMJ rounds, but I’ll consider it understood that I am not using FMJ.

I’m not doing anything that would cause the jacket to slip off – I would think that would require doing something to radically alter dimensions, weight, and/or the jacket itself. I’m not altering the jacket at all, with either round. Making the cavity more pronounced in a pre-existing, low-quality hollow-point round might not make it more effective… but then again it might, which it the point of this whole thing.

I don’t think it’ll blow up my gun.

As for what I am doing with the JSP’s, take a look at some WWB .38Spl +P JHP’s.
Then take a look at some Remington UMC JSP’s. The WWB is the exact same round as the Remington – open at the tip, with the lead exposed. The Winchester round just has a very crude hole punched in the middle of the round, and some simple cuts on the jacket. I don’t think that replicating that design will blow up my gun either.

I hope you guys don't think I'm being hard-headed... I hear everything you're saying, and I'm taking everyone's advice into account, weather you’re for or against the idea. I still think that it can be done safely. I know it's been done for a long time, as some posters have already said. I’m trying to set up a place out of town to go shooting with some friends or family, but everyone seems to be BS’ing at the moment. If it takes too long to set up some outdoor shooting, then I’ll post pics of the rounds first, and then the results when I can.

I’m grateful for everyone’s advice. Thanks again everyone for responding – more points of view are always appreciated.

Mike

warmrain
August 17, 2006, 01:29 PM
I have been told by those who have gone there that some FMJ bullets do not have complete jackets, they do not cover the rear of the bullet. When these are turned in to HP bullets the lead comes out through the front of the remaining copper.

IMHO there's no reason to experiement with a loaded round because you don't know what is inside it.

IMHO I would:
1. make my own bullet from scratch if it was my goal to design a better bullet.
2. hand load existing bullets (e.g. excellent choice from Hornady) for a specific use.
3. Purchase the best of the existing rounds and test them for effectiveness (e.g. in gelatin with a chrono)

I would not make an experiemental "nasty" bullet and carry it for SD. It may not work or it may work the the prosecutor may ask why did you make that "nasty" home-grown bullet, wasn't the normal stuff bad enough for you...

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 01:38 PM
As for what I am doing with the JSPís, take a look at some WWB .38Spl +P JHPís.
Then take a look at some Remington UMC JSPís. The WWB is the exact same round as the Remington Ė open at the tip, with the lead exposed. The Winchester round just has a very crude hole punched in the middle of the round, and some simple cuts on the jacket. I donít think that replicating that design will blow up my gun either.

They are not the same round -- regardless of how they look. Try measuring the hardness of the core of the two bullets, the thickness of the jacket, and so on.

If your modified bullet sheds its jacket and leaves it in the bore and you fire another round, you will ruin your pistol.

warmrain
August 17, 2006, 01:49 PM
Vern,

"If your modified bullet sheds its jacket and leaves it in the bore and you fire another round, you will ruin your pistol."

This is the very thing that was occuring according to the poster of the thread I was referring to in my previous post.

Gee, is that a "run-on"or what...? :rolleyes:

one-shot-one
August 17, 2006, 02:02 PM
ammo bullet weights and powder charges are "matched"
removing mettle/lead from a cartridge without knowing the
powder charge COULD result in unsafe pressures.:what:

OpFlash
August 17, 2006, 05:20 PM
One-shot could you explain how making the bullet lighter (everything else being the same) could increase pressures?

d906670
August 17, 2006, 05:29 PM
Being that you live in the Republic of Columbus, you need to check the local laws very carefully. With the dingbats up there it is probably a 4th degree felony to do something like this.

warmrain
August 17, 2006, 05:43 PM
OpFlash,

I can offer this. If you look at reloading manual, as the weight of the bullet goes down so does the powder charge for a given velocity. I'm not sure if "over driving" the bullet is an issue.

But, IMHO, if you are going to be experimenting in this area it is best to have some "disposable" guns and to wear some kind of body armor - head, ears, eyes and chest. And I would venture a guess that you could be liable for damages to a range or to an adjacent shooter...

MrZ
August 17, 2006, 06:34 PM
"The FMJ maker doesn't bother with all that -- so the best you can do when hollow-pointing an FMJ is to produce an inferior bullet.

The worst you can do is have the bullet shed its jacked in the barrel, and if you don't notice it, the next shot blows up your gun."

Modifying bullets is probably not worth your time and effort.

Modifying completed factory rounds is not worth your time and effort, and could be potentially dangerous.

Good ammo companies invest time, effort, and money in the design and testing of their products. Other people also test their products, so it is very simple to find data that either backs up, or disproves a companies stated performance of a particular round. You, on the other hand, would have to start from scratch. Not worth the time or effort.

Modification of a completed factory round changes the performance of that round, which may not be a good thing. Not only does the performance of a round change, but it could also effect the performance of your weapon, which is also not a good thing. If you take weight out of a bullet through modification, you may have created an unsafe round because the powder charge was based off of that particular rounds ACTUAL weight. Hot rounds can lead to injury, damaged equipment etc...

If you want to experiment with round modification, buy some reloading gear and modify the bullet prior to charging and seating it in the case. If you modify a round, weigh it after, and check your powder chart. The weight you remove could call for a different load. That's about the safest way you could go, but again, I don't think it's worth your time, money, and effort when companies like hornandy have already done this work for you.

Whatever you do, do it safely man.

moxie
August 18, 2006, 09:35 AM
--

one-shot-one
August 18, 2006, 02:08 PM
no, and in "MOST" cases the heavier the bullet the less grains of powder of a given type is used, so a lighter bullet with the powder measured for a heavier bullet that has been lightened by drilling a hole in it "SHOULD" reduce the pressure. that said i have noticed in my reloading manuals that some powders are skipped for certin bullet weights (i.e. powder 2400 is listed for bullet weight 120 and again for bullet weight 160 but for some reason not for bullet weight 140) this may be due to poor performance with a given combination and not to pressure problems but i would not want to risk my hand/eyes on it.;)

foghornl
August 18, 2006, 02:17 PM
I don't try this at home. How will I be able (sitting in my living room) to exceed what the ammo makers, with their hundreds of years of experience, and test labs, can do?

jjohnson
August 18, 2006, 02:49 PM
Illegal? Not anywhere I know of, but God only knows what your local regs say. Probably not, but worth a look. Unwise? Maybe. Like many posters have said, the ammo companies more or less know what they're doing, so I wouldn't dink around with loaded ammo. DON'T put say, a JHP in your drill press and open the nose - NOT on loaded ammo, okay?

That being said, yeah, lots of people will drill a hole in a SWC (bullet only, not loaded ammo) but I doubt most of them get it dead center and concentric, so I wouldn't be doing that. Better to buy factory made/cast HPs if that's what you're looking for. I don't imagine you're going to get better performance than the factory is building, and there's a decent chance you'll either mess up your bullets and get lousy performance or worse, do something stupid. No offense there, but we'd rather see you safe than read your obiturary:what:

Some of the rimfire guys (like on www.rimfirecentral.com) play with .22 hollow pointing tools and stuff. I'm still leery of playing with loaded ammo. Fact is, with centerfire, there are so many manufacturers like CorBon who make great loaded ammo and so many others like Rem/Hornady/everybody else who makes great slugs for reloaders, why even bother tinkering? In a country where you can buy anything from high-tech frangible ammo up through armor piercing incendiary tracers, what is is you want that somebody doesn't manufacture?

If you INSIST on doing it because you like to tinker, make sure you get the right tools, get a few books by people who've played with bullets (like Lyman, Elmer Keith, and so on) and make sure your insurance is paid. You can do it - but don't forget that reloading accidents/miscalulations are ugly.:scrutiny:

iiibdsiil
August 18, 2006, 02:54 PM
Wow! A whole bunch of people the must have never done anything productive on their own their whole lives!

Seriously guys, if the guy wants to have some fun, and it is halfway safe, then let him have his fun. I know I'm not making a better design. He knows he probably isn't going to make a better design, but it's all about FUN and experimenting. Maybe he'll change the center of gravity and notice the round tumbling (hitting sideways). Hey, he just figured that out on his own!

You guys that reload are saving a couple dollars and wasting a ton of your time. Do you think that YOU can change the powder charge and/or do something better then Speer (making it better for YOU) and every other self defense round maker out there? Do you think you can make a better round for IPSC shooting? Yes, you CAN. More consistent, whatever. But if someone didn't say "Hey, I wonder if I can make this better" then no one would have found this out.

Sometimes y'all push your opinion WAY too far and get blindsighted by that, and don't understand that the man is just trying to experiment and have some fun.

Some get their jollys off doing one thing, others do it a different way.

Seismic Sam
August 18, 2006, 03:30 PM
Mike: I've been a research scientist for 35 years, have 9 patents, and a handloader for 33, and a couple of times I have done organic synthesis work that was so dangerous that you did it in a hardened room with a 2" steel door and blowout panels on the wall in case your reaction got away from you. There was a large steel blast mat over the blowout panel to keep the leftover bits of you and the reaction from scattering all over the campus outside.

While I can certainly appreciate your desire to experiment, I myself would never even CONSIDER altering a factory bullet design for ANY purpose. Altering a bullet according to some visual standard of "meaness" will probably have NOTHING to do with how it will perform in real life, either on gelatin blocks, a bear trying to kill you, or a meth head trying to kill you.

While the original dum-dum bullets were lead projectiles with a cross cut into their noses in order for the British to more effectively subue the Indian "savages" whose country they had invaded, bullet design and metallurgy have come a long way since then.

There are a TON of frangible bullet designs that you can buy, and some of them, like the Glaser Blue Safety Slugs (#11 bird shot in a copper case), Powerballs (plastic ball in the nose of a hollowpoint that aids feeding AND expands even if the asailant is wearing heavy clothing), or Black Talons (hollowpoint that expands out to form razor sharp flower petals) are VERY sophisticated and well thought out. There is simply NOTHING you can do to create designs better than these with a few hand tools, except possibly blow up your gun and/or yourself. About the only two things that I can think of that would be more dangerous than what you are doing would be to try and make your own gunpowder or primers. Get into reloading and enjoy all the variety that's avilable to handloaders these days, and leave the bullets alone!

jjohnson
August 18, 2006, 05:13 PM
Question for you - if you read my previous post, I'm against modifying ammo for sure but IF AND ONLY IF you were to say, open a hollow point on a cast slug, (safely, I know you can get hurt using any tools), weigh it and measure it, would you be opposed? Again, just on a slug, not assembled ammo.

I mean, I don't personally mess with bullets either manufactured or cast, 'cause I can for sure get anything I want without manufacturing/modifying it, but if a guy's really bent on experimenting - let's just say for the sake of science - wouldn't you agree that under SOME very CONTROLLED circumstances you'd be okay?

I don't advocate playing with fire, but I don't want to see people's ingenuity crushed either. I'm sure people like Glaser started with a slug that they played with on their kitchen tables. If YOU decided to play with a bullet design because you were working on your next patent, what conditions would you consider safe to work with? On something really simple, like making a cast hollowpoint slug (not ammo) a bigger hollowpoint, for example:confused: ?

Just wondering. Thanks for your thoughts.

OpFlash
August 18, 2006, 10:20 PM
Warmrain, one-on-one,

I asked the question because a warning had been given that deceasing the bullet weight might alter the pressure to dangerous levels. This just simply isn't true as far as I can tell. As bullet weight increases the powder has to be reduced to keep pressures in spec and there is less space for powder as well. Leaving the powder charge the same, increasing bullet weight would increase pressures, reducing bullet weight would lower pressures.

Double Naught Spy
August 19, 2006, 12:26 AM
ammo bullet weights and powder charges are "matched"
removing mettle/lead from a cartridge without knowing the
powder charge COULD result in unsafe pressures

no, and in "MOST" cases the heavier the bullet the less grains of powder of a given type is used, so a lighter bullet with the powder measured for a heavier bullet that has been lightened by drilling a hole in it "SHOULD" reduce the pressure.

So in other words, you have no knowledge or evidence that reducing the weight of the bullet will cause overpressure. I don't know of any physics where application of the same force against a reduce load will cause the force to increase. Similarly, with a lighter bullet, it will be moving away from the expanding gassing faster and hence not allowing chamber pressures to build as quickly.

Cousin Mike
August 19, 2006, 05:20 AM
...I should be a dead man after reading this thread.

Or at least I should be missing some fingers or eyes or something. :D

Went to the range yesterday, and took some of my "dum-dum" rounds with me, just to see if they would fire without Killing me. I couldn't take phone books, but after doing a bunch of reading in this thread over the last few days I didn't even care. I just wanted to prove that it wouldn't kill you. :D

Of the 24 "special" bullets I had made, I fired 22 and saved 2 for my phone book experiment... No squibs, nothing dramatic. I couldn't tell the difference firing one of my rounds, or firing the original, unaltered rounds. For my own safety, and to make it easier to check the barrel after firing, I made sure the modified rounds would be the last fired from the cylinder... My amazing results?

Nothing happened. They fired like normal rounds. My dummy rounds also went where they were supposed to... so much for the "it will kill accuracy" theory.

Two tumbled - as far as I could tell. The rest cut holes in the paper as clean as any other round, so I assume they didn't tumble - at least within the first 10 yards. FWIW, I've seen some cheap brand name .45 FMJ ammo tumble at that range at a much higher rate than 1 in 11.

I did notice tiny slivers of copper on the table after firing some of the 'specials', so I'm assuming that a couple of the 158gr. loads lost a shard or two from the jacket when being fired. That's it. I know that's not good, but here's the kicker. The factory stuff did it too. No problems from the 125gr. JSP stuff, although it's more fun to shoot.

I'm sorry I couldn't just get killed and prove some of you guys right, but pesky ol' Mike just HAD to survive with all his fingers and pretty face still intact :D I also had fun. I'll admit - I was a tad nervous after reading everyone's doomsday predictions. I guess it's a sign that God won't strike you down for thinking you can create something on your own, without the help of all the professionals at the CCI/Speer factory :D

That pretty much concludes my experiment for now... Modifying JHP's or JSP's (the way I chose to) will not kill you, but might not do much in the way of helping you either. Technically, that last part is an assumption - I would still need to do the phone book test to find that out. I have some serious reading to do in the meantime. I want to make sure that if I try something again in the future, I am as safe as possible. I still maintain that I was safe in my experiment, and I guess having all my fingers should suffice to prove I'm not a raging fool with a screwdriver digging jagged holes in bullets.

One thing that has changed is my desire to experiment the same way. Seismic Sam's post, among several others, made me think a little... it's pretty hard to ignore Sam's kind of credentials. His case is also a little better stated than some of the "you think you can do better than a major company?" posts. I want to thank those who provided more of an opinion and reasoning to back up their view. I appreciate everyone who took the time to explain their position, rather than just telling me not to do it, and/or suggesting that it was just a dumb idea or that I was dumb for asking.

I also want to thank d906670 for reminding me that my local laws may not be as permissive as state law. Republic of Columbus, huh? :evil:

That kind of fits, actually.

I plan on getting into re-loading and especially bullet-casting. Not so much because I'm afraid I'll die or blow my guns/hands/face up - but because I do think I could make a more efficient round by casting rather than modifying a pre-made POS round. I still have my last 2 and plan to test them against factory rounds in a phone book.

"but, Mike..."

I know, I know... God forbade me the talent to design a decent round, because he doesn't like me and I'm inferior to the likes of Jay Hornady. :D

Then again, there's always the off-chance that I could get good at this whole thing, and in 20 years you might all be posting about how effective "Cousin Mike's super-duper hollow-points" are compared to Federal Hydra-shok's and Speer Gold Dots. Maybe I can come up with a design that feeds better in certain types of guns. Maybe I can safely load hotter than Buffalo Bore. :D

You never know unless you give it a try.

one-shot-one
August 19, 2006, 09:30 PM
folks sure get touchy about free advice on their tinkerin'.
let me set the record straight; i do not know the doing this will cause a problem but physics aside it is just not a good idea.
now i'm saying this as a guy who through Gods grace/luck/smarts or any combo of these has survived to 46, i have learnd the hard way that i don't heal as fast as i use to.
when i was younger (still bullet proof and invisible) i jumped my bike over all manner of stuff and later my motorcycle over bigger stuff. i also laid on the ground more than once sucking wind after having the breath knocked out of me when i screwed up!
also to be truthful i have thought of doing bullet mods. in the past but never did. just be careful guys "we" old fuddy-duddys don't want to see you hurt!:D

Cousin Mike
August 20, 2006, 11:16 AM
:D

Didn't mean to seem touchy, just my sense of humor I guess... I was being a little sarcastic, sure - but I was only attempting a little smart-assed humor. I appreciate everyone's advice... some more than others (post #30 is especially brilliant :D)... but still everyone's advice was appreciated and considered. I just knew that nothing would happen to me, but only because I knew that the small changes I was making weren't enough to suffer the catastrophic consequences that everyone seemed to think I would. Sorry if I came across as offended or vendictive. I was only jokin' :)

Seismic Sam
August 21, 2006, 12:19 PM
Isn't as dangerous as messing with factory made jacketed bullets, and if that's all you were doing to begin with it's not AS MUCH of a big deal. Still, at the end of the day you will have spent time trying to re-invent the wheel that was already done decades ago by Elmer Keith and others, and there is still the possibility that you could be endangering your own welfare or those around you at the range. (Yes, when a gun goes to hell the shrapnel goes EVERYWHERE.)

The other thing is that going to the range and coming back with all your fingers still on your hands is does not even begin to count as proof that there was no safety issue with what you are doing. By that logic, playing Russian Roulette is safe so long as the loaded cylinder doesn't come up, which means it's safe 83% of the time.

BTW - there ARE a couple of tricks that have been used for years to get cast bullets to behave more lethally. One is to simply cut down on the amount of tin and/or antimony in the lead, and the bullet will upset much easier. The second trick is to simply clamp a small piece of paper in the lower third or half of a cast bullet mold, pour in the lead, and presto! One split point pullet falls out with no muss or fuss at all.

CajunBass
August 24, 2006, 08:36 AM
Man, some folks just like to work.

strambo
August 24, 2006, 09:52 AM
As stated before; reducing the projectile weight can only result in reduced pressures. Any reloading manual will show this by looking at the charges using the same powder and bullet design with weight being the only difference. If he doesn't set the bullet back and if he's messing with JSP and JHP (which have solid bases) then I see no danger at all. Have fun.

Ed Ames
August 24, 2006, 10:59 AM
You guys are just talking about dum-dums.... :rolleyes:

The name has been been around for 116 years and the practice probably longer and it IS illegal *if* you happen to be an army (Hague 1899) but otherwise the only people who care are the types who ban "cop killer" ammo and the like.

Usually wrecks the accuracy if you do it yourself. Better to just buy what you want, hand-load some decent rounds, or not worry about it IMO.

Vern Humphrey
August 24, 2006, 11:03 AM
You guys are just talking about dum-dums....

The name has been been around for 116 years and the practice probably longer and it IS illegal *if* you happen to be an army (Hague 1899) but otherwise the only people who care are the types who ban "cop killer" ammo and the like.

Dum-dums were so called because they were developed at Dum Dum Arsenal in India by Captain Bertie Davis, who was looking for a solution for the poor stopping power of the newly-adoped .303 (as compared to the .577-.450 it replaced.) Davis' invention was the soft nose bullet.

A dum-dum is a soft nose bullet, pure and simple.

Seismic Sam
August 24, 2006, 04:50 PM
A dum-dum is a liberal that believes that crime can be reduced by gun registration or confiscation!!

Come to think of it, liberals DO have pointy soft heads full of mush, don't they??

NEVER mind...... :o

Ed Ames
August 24, 2006, 10:01 PM
Vern,

Yes but more importantly no. You are historically correct up to a point. However, the word has been integrated into the English language and its meaning has deviated somewhat from the original. In conventional use, a dum-dum is a bullet which has been "enhanced" by the end user to be more effective. The simplest example I've heard was people cutting an X into the front of wadcutters or round nosed lead bullets. Ever see "Taxi Driver"? Martin Scorsese movie from a while ago... anyway, I mention it because in one scene the hero makes dum-dum bullets. In some areas (NJ being one off the top of my head) the term "dum-dum" is used in statutes and is taken to have that meaning.

To quote: "A dum-dum is usually taken to be a bullet which has been modified by the user in order to create greater injury rather than a factory produced hollow-point or soft-point round as might be chosen for hunting or law enforcement purposes." -- WP

An extreme example is described here:
http://www.totse.com/en/bad_ideas/guns_and_weapons/162568.html

Note the total fantasy-land description of what such a bullet would do....

They used to be used in movies and books to show just how evil the evildoers were... if you wanted to paint someone as really nasty you'd have him take a knife to his 38 special bullets.

Vern Humphrey
August 24, 2006, 10:07 PM
To quote: "A dum-dum is usually taken to be a bullet which has been modified by the user in order to create greater injury rather than a factory produced hollow-point or soft-point round as might be chosen for hunting or law enforcement purposes." -- WP

If we go by the movies and the media, you shoot a pistol by holding it sideways, a shotgun will blow a man through a wall, and there's such a thing as a "semi-automatic machine gun.":barf:

Ed Ames
August 24, 2006, 10:14 PM
The word dum-dum has been used to mean "made more deadly by the end user" for at least 75 years. I've never heard the media use the term (the prefer the more direct "cop killer bullets" these days). Movies use it because it is the correct term... at least within the 20th Century American cultural framework. Maybe to an Englishman the term means soft point...but in this country it has meant "bullet butchered to do more harm than normal" for longer than I've been alive.

Vern Humphrey
August 24, 2006, 10:28 PM
Maybe to an Englishman the term means soft point...but in this country it has meant "bullet butchered to do more harm than normal" for longer than I've been alive.

Only by the ignorant, such as the people who think "cordite" is a synonym for "smokeless powder."

Ed Ames
August 25, 2006, 02:53 AM
Yep... I remember when "gang bang" meant group rape... and then in the 80s some TV news idiot decided "gang banging" meant being a blood, krip, or other street gang member. I fought the term "gang bangers" to describe gang members for years... but it was a lost cause. That was 20+ years ago and it still rankles so I can sympathize with your fight against the pejoration of "dum-dum"... but the fight is over... we lost... I lost 20 years ago.. you lost 75 years ago... our words don't mean what we want them to mean. It's time to move on, fight new fights.. maybe we can stand our ground on Silly, which once meant "blessed"... no, people would think you were being silly to even bring it up. Maybe we can reclaim "facility" to describe ability rather than a place for doing stuff. Or turn "fact" back to its meaning of "action" or "evil deed" instead of this modern corruption into "thing that is known." And we should be correcting anyone who says "sideburns"... the word is actually "burnsides."

Sorry to laugh, but words change meaning every time they get used... and humanity would suck (used in the sense that became common in the 1970s) if that weren't fact.

To address the OP's question... making or posessing dum-dums may actually be illegal where you are... and the law isn't targeting soft-points or even factory hollow points... it is targeting what you mentioned, "enhancing" bullets. So you probably shouldn't bother. It isn't important anyway... modern bullets are nasty little buggers straight from the factory.

Vern Humphrey
August 25, 2006, 11:02 AM
I have a right to be an individual, and reject ignorance. I correct people who call magazines "clips" and point out that a "casing" is part of a sausage, not a cartridge (which is not a "bullet.")

GrammatonCleric
August 26, 2006, 08:41 PM
While we're discussing this, does anybody make exploding bullets in .45ACP?:p

The Real Wyatt
August 27, 2006, 10:32 PM
Cousin Mike:

Keep up with our experimenting. Use common sense and good judgement and most of all, be careful.

Were it not for experimenters, no progress would ever be made. And yes, the big corporations have billions to spend on research and development. Still there's room for the garage experimenter with curiosity.

Good luck ... be careful.

Cousin Mike
August 28, 2006, 01:00 PM
Thanks for the encouraging words, Wyatt!

For now my main focus is going hunting for the first time this year, so that's somewhat curbed my garage experiments for now. However, as soon as I have a little more luxury time and equipment, I'll be back at it again - hopefully with some casting and re-loading materials!

Still waiting for a chance to try these last few in a phone book, btw. I haven't forgot. If they expand better than the originals, I wonder what the opposing view will have to say. :D

Of course, I could always end up posting pics of my mangled hand, so I won't speak too soon.

rmmoore
August 28, 2006, 08:39 PM
As a CCW Instructor, who's been through the Legal briefing more times than I care to remember, DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, carry handloads or modified ammunition as your CCW self-defense rounds. No, it's not illegal. However, living in the sue happy world we inhabit, and the over abundance of blood sucking ambulance chasing attorneys out there, do you really want to stand in front of a jury and explain why your hand rolled, hotter than factory spec stuff was "necessary" to stop little Johnny the choirboy? Yes, I said NECESSARY!!!! Logic goes out the freakin' window when this subject comes around:cuss: Roll what you want, shoot what you want, hunt with what you want. But DO NOT carry it for CCW. Otherwise, you WILL be portrayed as the evil, I hid my gun so I could kill a bad guy and save the day, John Wayne type. Oh, and look, I even made my own "mankiller" bullets just to be sure I did the job right:mad: You think I'm making this stuff up???? It's not worth a $30 box of premium self defense loads to deal with this kind of crap. most of the people you'll end up trying to convince (i.e. your peers on the Jury) won't know diddly doodle squat about guns or ammunition. But, that slick young lawyer looking to make a name for himself will be absolutely sure they "know" you're a gun fanatic, an anti-social element who is out looking for trouble so you can shoot someone with your super duper manstopper killing machine. Understand, yes there is a lot of sarcasm in this post. Good people's lives have been ruined at best, destroyed at worst, over a box of ammo so they could save a buck. Just don't do it, but it is legal, for now.

Gun Geezer
August 28, 2006, 10:47 PM
A guy at a gun show once was selling pistol ammo in which he had placed primers in the bullets. He had drilled them out, put the primer in and added some sort of clear glue to hold the primer in place.

He had a film showing the bullets practically exploding in a large ham. Blew chuncks smoooth off.

Never did buy any of those things.

Cousin Mike
August 29, 2006, 01:07 AM
rmmoore, as a smartass myself, I tend to think sometimes sarcasm is necessary to drive a point home. Sometimes it's the best way to reach folks like me. :D As long as it's constructive in nature, and not just a needless attack, you'll never have a problem out of me.

I appreciate your perspective on it, and you make very good points. As a CCW instructor, I know you're qualified to speak on the subject. And of course, there's the common sense factor. FWIW, I don't intend to use these for SD/HD, and pretty much for the reasons you said. I'd like to see how they work, and maybe use them for hunting in the future - but having recently been called up for jury duty, and having spoken to several other people I know who have been on a jury - it's pretty much agreed that no one ever wants to go before one.

12 reasonable people? Yeah... ok. :rolleyes:

If anyone believes that, well...

I got this bridge, down on the Ohio River - lovely scenery, lots of acres! PM me for prices :D

GregGry
August 29, 2006, 07:07 AM
While we're discussing this, does anybody make exploding bullets in .45ACP?

Yes, check legality in your area :)
http://ammunitiontogo.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=51&products_id=209

rmmoore
August 29, 2006, 05:50 PM
Fair enough Cousin Mike:) Perhaps my post came across a bit more acidic that I intended. But the points therein are valid. Glad to hear you are one of the seemingly few (albeit NOT at THIS website) who are gifted with common sense:D Most of the folks on here seem to have their s..t in one sock, so to speak. Happy shootin'.

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