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All-brass bullets?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by yhtomit, Jul 7, 2007.

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  1. yhtomit

    yhtomit Member

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    I was interested in the recent thread (not the first, either) about using .22LR cases as the basis for rifle bullet jackets, and it inspires the following probably-insipid question:

    Are there any all-brass bullets? If not, why not? There are all copper bullets; brass is (it is, right?) softer than copper. Is brass not dense enough?

    I'm sure the answer is obvious; please be gentle ;)

    timothy
     
  2. layusn1

    layusn1 Member

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    Hmmm, I am not 100% sure but I thought there were brass 50 cal bullets.
     
  3. def4pos8

    def4pos8 Member

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    We'll have to wait for a .50BMG guru for the Final Word, but I believe those .50 projectiles were BRONZE.

    Some engineer might explain it better but lead is used as core material due do density and manufacturing process considerations, especially in smaller calibers.
     
  4. pdowg881

    pdowg881 Member

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    Lead is used in .22lr becuase it's dense. It is the most practical metal that has enough weight to deliver a good amount of energy to the target. Brass would be much lighter and may have crappy ballistics. But I didn't stay at a holiday inn last night.
     
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Brass is not softer than copper, it is harder, stronger, and cheaper, which is why it is used for cartridge cases and some bullet jackets.

    I do not know whether the solid copper alloy bullets available are simple copper-zinc brass or simple copper-tin bronze, or a more complex alloy that would be technically bronze.
     
  6. layusn1

    layusn1 Member

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    "We'll have to wait for a .50BMG guru for the Final Word, but I believe those .50 projectiles were BRONZE."

    I may end up having to give that one to you...it was one of those metals that starts with a b...sheesh....lol
     
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    There are several brands of solid copper bullets, Barnes being one. Taurus and Magtech produce ammunition loaded with a solid copper bullet. I had heard that bullets made from solid brass are used as soft armor piercing handgun ammo so such bullets generally are not available to the public since the cop-killer bullet legislation outlawed civilian armor piercing handgun ammunition. Armor piercing rifle bullets usually have a hardened steel penetrator in its center
     
  8. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    Hunting bullets are copper not brass because the copper is more ductile and doesn`t shatter or break up on contact. The Barnes bullet with its hollow point for expansion still is a slower opening bullet then a lead core one and Winchesters old Fail Safe with a pure copper forward half acted very similar.
    The only major problem I`m aware of with copper bullets is they are lond for weight. Copper is much ligher the lead and the resulting bullets need more twist to stabilize the same weight lead core bullets. This doesn`t matter much with std weights such as 165gr 30 cal or 140 gr 7mm. but when you get into 180/200 gr 308cal a 1/12" or 175gr 7mm with a 1/10" might need to be increased.
    The 50 cal I am not sure of. The military uses all kinds of material for different purposes and thet could be brass, copper, bronze, steel, or any kind of mixture. I know they use different core material we don`t have accesss to, uranium, tunsten, and may have others we haven`t heard of yet.
     
  9. albertan

    albertan Member

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    Hello,

    Barnes for one, makes solid brass bullets for the 50 BMG and for many calibres. In .270, .30, etc, they are used to provide penetration aplenty and minimize pelt\hide damage. In the larger bores they are made to be used on the largest and most dangerous game animals on earth. They call them monolithic solids.
     
  10. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    Copper also has some amount of natural lubricity. I doubt they just chose copper out of the blue for jackets, there was a reason for it. After all, copper is not cheap, they could definitely find more economical metals to use for jacket material. Copper just works well.

    Jason
     
  11. layusn1

    layusn1 Member

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    Sweet...at least I haven't lost all of my mind...
     
  12. jr81452

    jr81452 Member

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    i have been lathe turning my own solid brass .30 cals for about 2 years and i can say solid brass shoots just fine. as an added bonus it allows me to get a longer bullet profile at a lower weight than jacketed lead. it is the length of the projectile and not the weight that determines the optimal twist rate of your bore. ie. a 210gr amax is longer than a 168gr amax and that is why a 210gr 30cal is best suited to a 1/10" and a 168gr 30cal is best in a 1/12" twist barrel. IIRC there is a section in the ABCs of reloading (a book on how to reload) that explains this and the calculation required to determine the optimal length of projectile for your twist rate.
     
  13. yhtomit

    yhtomit Member

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    Huh. The responses here have increased my knowledge from zero to zero-and-an-iota -- thanks!

    So it seems in sum that a) all-brass bullets are possible and there actually are some, and b) brass has some disadvantages wrt softness and weight. Fair enough :)

    If jr81452 has been turning his own .30 cal bullets from solid brass, and there are .50BMG bullets of all brass, as well as the .22LR --> rifle bullet jacket conversion, is there any special reason that I couldn't fire all-brass bullets (if I had any) from a .45 ACP pistol? :)

    Just curious whether the main drawback is cost / annoyance / inefficiency (the obvious things to inspire a righteous "Why would you want to do that?" response), or, because of its hardness, possible wear on the barrel (?).

    This is all so hypothetical that practical considerations aren't in play; I don't have a backyard foundry, or a lathe, or bullet molds.

    I'll be reloading with jacketed bullets produced by someone with a clue :)

    timothy
     
  14. huntershooter

    huntershooter Member

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    Belt Mountain produces bronze pistol bullets (.44/,45 cal. I believe). Their claim to fame is incredibe penetration. I've never tried them because the Kodiak bear, rhino, cape buff and elephant population is pretty much wiped out around here.
     
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