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Making your own "bolo" rounds 12 gauge?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Tallbald, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Tallbald

    Tallbald Well-Known Member

    A thread elsewhere on the forum links to a video wherein "bolo" rounds are shot from a 12 gauge shotgun. The commercial rounds are pretty pricey. If you are set up to cast round ball and roll your own 12 gauge, would it be that far a stretch to make your own "bolo" rounds for use on a varmint hunt? I can only imagine the result on say, a coyote or feral charging hog. I've seen some strange stuff loaded into 12 gauge rounds in my 45 years of shooting. Much of it loaded commercially. Flechettes (not sure if spelling is correct on that), buck, ball, BB's, salt, sawdust, cracked corn, copper plated lead discs, dimes, round (pumpkin) ball, scrap lead, flares, tear gas, rubber balls.... I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Provided the correct powder and payload is carefully addressed would there be any safety issue? Gotta love careful versatility. Don
  2. Virginian

    Virginian Well-Known Member

    Just curious, what possible use do you see for these rounds that they would be better for than some already available standard rounds?
  3. Tallbald

    Tallbald Well-Known Member

    Like you, just curious. Don.
  4. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    Cutting down the rigging of Lilliputian privateers if you find your bassboat assailed?

  5. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Well-Known Member

    i just dont see the use of the BOLO rounds.which i assume are lead balls tethered to each other by a string or some kind of wire. ive seen different types of these loads.

    the thing is, a good quality buckshot load will prob do the same thing under 50 yrds with the proper choke.from what ive seen the bolo round is not going to be effective any further than a good quality buckshot load.

    the bolo load is a gimmick. if it was better than standard buckshot then 50 plus years ago when it was invented if would of eclipsed buckshot as a hunting load.

    in my way of thinking, the wires connecting the lead balls will actually reduce penetration.look at it this way, 2 32 cal balls flying thru the air connected by a strong wire. the balls contact the target, say a medium sized hog,not only do the balls have to penatrate the hide but they are dragging a 2 in piece of wire between them thru bristley hair and hide and bone. that wire will slow down the balls and reduce penatration.unencumbered balls will penetrate deeper im thinking.
  6. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Well-Known Member

    lots of the special 12 ga rounds had a specific use. the tear gas rounds, thats easy to figure out. the rubber balls, bean bags etc, non lethal crowd control.scrap lead, dimes, discs etc were all less lethal than buckshot.
    flour, cornmeal etc are just a good way to play a trick on yur buddys during a skeet shoot.

    rock salt at close range would really wake up some teenagers stealing yur watermelons.

    swan shot,(which is really not for swans) was used in muzzel loaders.along with horse shoe nails and other bits of iron and lead for hunting and self protection by people that had no other ammo.

    buck and ball was just a way to increase your odds of a hit with a highly inaccurate musket.
  7. Tallbald

    Tallbald Well-Known Member

    Interesting stuff here. As I remarked, gotta love versatility. Don
  8. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

    I use an old .440 RB mold to cast fishing weights. I drilled holes in the mold so that I can slip in a stainless steel loop. When I cast the RBs the twisted end is cast inside the RB. Ti make a felochet all I would have to do is use a small split ring to join two fishing weights.

    I see no use for felochets 5 000 round balls with BBs in the voids will do much more damage then a couple tumbling felochets.
  9. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Well-Known Member

    During my Army career to "bolo" meant you failed. This term goes back to the punitive expedition against the infamous Mexican bandit and rebel leader Pancho Villa after he raided in U.S. territory. Apparently at about the same time George S. Patton was using his pistols to effectively send some of Villa's men to the afterlife a little known incident occurred that would forever change the slang of the U.S. Army. It seems a young and impetuous lieutenant (in these type of stories it is always a lieutenant and of course lieutenants are usually young and frequently impetuous) fancied himself quite the innovator. There was much time each night after a days march for the lieutenant to fantasize about how he would react to his coming trial by fire against the Mexican bandits. This led to thinking how he could make his Winchester 97 shotgun more effective. Using the crudest of improvised materials and methods he created the first "Bolo Round" shotshells. Exceedingly pleased with himself for his ingenuity in creating a devastating new piece of ordanance, and with the confidence only the young can truly have, he eagerly awaited his first encounter with the mexican bandits. His wait did not last long. Only days later, his chance to use his new bandit blasting rounds came when a small group of Pancho Villa's men made a harassing night raid on the U.S. encampment. By the light of burning tents the lieutenant leveled his Winchester 97 at one of the marauding mexicans and fired his "bolo round". Unfortunately, at night even the desert gets cold and the Villaista was wearing a heavy wool pancho that entrapped the bolo round immediately before the bandit turned and blew the lieutenants brains out with a .44-40 bullet from his Winchester. The harassment raid failed at damaging the moral of the lieutenants comrades, but succeeded in giving them a new way to describe a person and action that fails in a way that should/could have been anticipated. The moral of our story is don't fall for ridiculous claims about the effectiveness of exotic shotgun shell loads or stories like the one I just told you.
  10. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    Bolo rounds were useful in cannons firing against sailing ships, to cut down masts and sails.

    What possible improvement/use could they be over commercially available proven buckshot?
  11. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Well-Known Member

    Weren't rounds like that used in cannons called chain shot?
  12. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    There are all sorts of novelty rounds made for shotguns. Most of them work best to separate unwitting buyers from their money.

    Where the name 'bolo round' came from I don't know. Argentine cowboys (gauchos) use something called a bola or boleadora, and that might be one explanation (http://www.flight-toys.com/bola/bola_argentina10.html).

    There were indeed 'chain shot' and 'bar shot' used in naval cannon to disrupt the rigging on opposing ships. The concept is similar, their actual utility in practice was somewhat dubious. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain-shot

    Basically it's your shotgun, you can shoot whatever you want out of it. I agree with most who have posted on this thread so far that it would be a waste of time, energy and effort to fabricate such loads, but it's your time and your money. As long as you stay within safe boundaries for the loads you fabricate it shouldn't cause any safety problems, but as far as effectiveness is concerned, I doubt you'll get what you think you will.

    There may be some legal issues involved with such loads in your state - be sure you check this before fabricating them.
  13. MErl

    MErl Well-Known Member

    Random thought, such a thing might be more useful when using buckshot in a rifled shotgun barrel. Assuming the thing could hold together it could provide a maximum to the spread.

    Case of the solution looking for a problem though.
  14. alfon99

    alfon99 Well-Known Member

    In Uruguay that thing is used too, for hunting Rheas (I think that's how they are called in English). I don't know if they still use it in Argentina, but Here In Uruguay we still have real Gauchos. Honestly I prefer my 12 Gauge for my hunting necessities :D

    SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE Well-Known Member

    Check you local laws first ! I believe that flachettes and string shot are illegal in Florida ! It may be just for taking game and not for possession ? Kevin edit to add - 790.31 Armor-piercing or exploding ammunition or dragon’s breath shotgun shells, bolo shells, or flechette shells prohibited.—
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  16. Pizzapinochle

    Pizzapinochle member

    I could see a bolo round being very useful! Say you are walking around and spot an orange way up in a tree. You really want that orange, but all you've got is your shotgun. You can't shoot the orange, obviously, but the branch it is attached to might work. Regular shot will blow past either side of the branch, but a bolo round will wrapped that branch up real good, depositing a wonderful orange to the ground for your lunch.

    CLEARLY this is the vital purpose of the bolo round. :)
  17. Nom de Forum

    Nom de Forum Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the inspiring suggestion for using a bolo round. Personally I prefer fresh squeezed orange juice so I think I will use buckshot and a bucket to speed-up the harvesting of my preference. :) I gotta admit though that next time I am out on the lake I'll have a few bolo rounds to de-rig the sails of those "Lilliputian privateers" Sam Cade warned us about. I expect I'll be seeing them after a few hours broiling my brain pan in the Arizona Sun this summer.
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Dang it! I think he beat my old response about ..."dis-masting ships-in-a-bottle?"

    [Edit: Or is it "ship-in-a-bottles?" Dang this language! There should be a clear and conclusive way to make plural a simple and common expression like, "dis-masting ships-in-a(some?)-bottle(sees)!" Clearly we're not dis-masting A ship in SOME bottles, but also not dis-masting SOME ships in A bottle. So... I guess it must be "dis-masting SOME ships in SOME bottles? But that seems to lose the notion completely. This is worse than the time I tried to pluralize "soap-on-a-rope!" And almost as bad as my infamous debacle over Campbell's "Cup-O-Noodles!"]
  19. PabloJ

    PabloJ Well-Known Member

    One of the best slugs out there Federal Deep Penetrator (penetrates like the Brenneke) is about $1 per shot so there isn't really reason to reload some kind of ball ammo. These are great as one can shoot bucketful at a time without ill effects like sore shoulder or headache. Please see Ruger SP101 blew up before contemplating experimentation.
  20. blarby

    blarby Well-Known Member

    I can instruct you how to make them, but they are of questionable effectiveness.

    Honestly for your trouble you'd be better off with standard buckshot.

    Do you have moulds ?

    PM me, and I'll hash it out for you. Tired of getting reamed for posting off label load info.

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