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Bill Jordan's Homemade Wax Practice Bullets

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ChristopherG, Aug 18, 2003.

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  1. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

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    Bill Jordan's book, "No Second Place Winner", was recommended to me by the kind folks in the Revolver forum, and I'm indebted to them for it. Very nicely written, concise, and full of concrete information and advice with a bare minimum of the kind of anecdote that often makes up too much of such works. A truly worthwhile read from a guy who clearly knew his stuff.

    In speaking of training for point and 'hip' shooting, Jordan enthusiastically recommends the use of wax 'wadcutters' made by using an empty (straight sided only, I'd think) casing to cut a 'biscuit' or wadcutter out of a 1/2 inch thick sheet of paraffin; gently pushing this improvised wadcutter to the base of the case; and then (and only when you're nearly ready to use the round, as the paraffin will 'creep' and contaminate the primer with time) putting in a primer (he used CCI magnum primers in .38 cases). This produces a 'squib' load that he credits with excellent accuracy to 20 or 25 feet, and with dramatically reduced noise and danger, particularly for one practicing the fast draw-and-shoot techniques Jordan describes (lots of series of detailed high-speed pics of Jordan doing draw-and-shoot [and hit] excercises, on external cues, in around 0.3 seconds. He says an 'average' shooter can get down to around 0.6 with practice, which would be an exponential reduction for some of us :rolleyes: ).

    This looks like fun to me; any of you tried it?
    CG
     
  2. jjmorgan64

    jjmorgan64 Member

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    They work great, lots of fun and good practice,

    2 words to the wise, 1. be careful if using them in the basement/garage the primers do give off lead.

    2. when reheating the parafin into new sheets, don't walk away and start doing something else, wow is that one big fire on the stovetop.
     
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yes. I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Bill.

    The first step is to ream the flash holes in 50 or so cases. If you don’t do this, the primers will back out and tie up the gun while you’re practicing. I’m not sure off the top of my head, but I think he used a 3/32†drill. DO NOT USE THESE MODIFIED CASES TO LOAD REGULAR AMMUNITION! Be sure the cases are marked in some way so that you can positively identify them.

    Go a Supermarket and buy a box of Canning Wax. Be sure it’s the kind that has 4 or 5 (relatively) thin blocks rather then 1 big one.

    Following the instructions in the book make a simple wood box that will hold a plastic insert taken from a box of ammunition and a block of wax that will be slightly larger then the box insert. Be sure the insert it is the kind that is open both top and bottom. You will also need a block of wood the size of the wooden box.

    Slip one of the blocks into a zip-lock plastic bag and let it float in a pan of warm water to soften for a few minutes. Then place it in the bottom of the wood box. Insert 50 rounds (or whatever) of UNPRIMRED cases into the cartridge box insert, place it into the box on top of the wax, put the wood block on top of the cartridge cases, and then squeeze the whole thing in a vise or clamp.

    Remove the box from the vise and pick out the wax-bulleted cases. You may need to press down and twist each one before you pull it up. Once you’ve done it a couple of times it will become fast and easy.

    In warm weather store this “ammunition†in the refrigerator, but not a freezer. Use a hand-priming tool to prime them when you’re ready too shoot.

    DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE WHAT THEY CAN DO. I ONCE KILLED A BARN RAT WITH ONE, AND I KNOW OF AN INSTANCE WHERE A WAX BULLET WENT THROUGH A PIECE OF SHEETROCK. ALL SAFETY RULES THAT APPLY TO REGULAR SHOOTING ALSO APPLY TO WAX CARTRIDGES.

    When you are done clean any wax coating out of the bore and chambers before you return to shooting regular ammunition.
     
  4. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

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    Like Mr. Fuff says.

    Careful where you point em. They can do serious damage.

    Like Mr. Morgan says.

    Ventilation as important as if usin regular ammo.

    Sam
     
  5. Old Pete

    Old Pete Member

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    I tried the wax bullet bit forty years ago with a .357
    Ruger Blackhawk. Works fine as long as you drill out the
    flash holes in the cases. Of course, the wax bullets hit
    far below point of aim, but the biggest problem is the
    bore fouling . . . a nasty heavy residue of wax and primer
    debris. I gave up on wax/paraffin bullets and bought some
    plastic practice bullets made by Speer, which could be
    used over and over.

    Pete
     
  6. Pumpkinheaver

    Pumpkinheaver Member

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    Yeah they work pretty good for practice. They will also keep stray dogs out of the yard. I even shot my cousin in the arse with one he wanted to see how much it hurt so I abliged him!!!!!
     
  7. Dave P

    Dave P Member

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    I even shot my cousin in the arse with one he wanted to see how much it hurt


    ... and that's why it is called the "Show Me!" state!
     
  8. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

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    Works quite well - - -

    back in the day when the book was written, Remington packed .38 ammo in box inserts made of sturdy plastic, with six legs. I cut off the legs so that they wouldn't interfere with the block of GulfWax tm parafin.

    The "wax" bullets go unstable after a few yards, but they are great for practice at very short range. About two years after starting with the wax bullets, I had the pleasure of visiting at length with Bill Jordan and driving for him while he was in town for a program at local gun club's wild game dinner.

    After the dinner, he put on a heckuva show in the fellowship hall of the Baptist Church, using the wax bullets exclusively. He certainly put my modest efforts to shame. By that time I had a job which allowed me to choose my own sidearm, so I'd been neglecting my .357 in favor of .45 autos for a time. This program got me back into revolver shooting pretty seriously for a time. I got to where there wasn't a Necco Wafer safe within ten feet of me. :D

    The aspirin tablets were medium safe, though, and the saccharine tablets teased me unmercifully.:neener:

    Best,
    Johnny
     
  9. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

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    I sure appreciate the feedback and the concrete advice arising out of all y'all's experience. Here's a followup question:

    McGivern & Keith et al. talk about the value of aerial shooting for double action work; would these wax bullets be a safe way, given some space, to do that? I've often wondered about the phenomenal open space these guys must have had to be winging real bullet up into the sky. Whadya reckon would be the effective (i.e., dangerous) range of a wax-cutter?

    CG
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yup, one thing we have in the Southwest is a lot of open space.

    Wax bullets won't present any threat in aerial shooting because they don't carry very far. But beyond a few feet they aren't accurate so they're application in this kind of shooting is very limited. If you want to experiment in a more people-settled area I suggest you look into the possibility of a low-powered pellet gun. However, still observe the basic safety rules. I would say that a pellet fired up into the air might carry 50 yards or more.
     
  11. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    Winchesters "winclean" line has oversize flash holes that work well for wax bullets without drilling.

    David
     
  12. dickwholliday

    dickwholliday Member

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    Hey Chris....what part of NC are you in....i'm over in Wilmington.....Dick
     
  13. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

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    I'm up in the Triangle, Dick--farthest East I generally get is over to Oxford to shoot bi-monthly IDPA matches at Frank Glover's place:

    http://users.gloryroad.net/~idpa/

    I know that'd be a long haul for you, but they're good matches and good folks. Any good shooting down East?
     
  14. JPM70535

    JPM70535 Member

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    I had the pleasure of witnessing a Bill Jordan exhibition when I was a Cadet at the La. State Police Academy in 1976. He was not a young man at that time and his hearing was going, but he put on what I thought was the finest example of point shooting I had ever seen. Necco wafers and aspirin tablets at 10 feet, and he did not miss. A finer gentleman would have been hard to find.
     
  15. JPM70535

    JPM70535 Member

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    I had the pleasure of witnessing a Bill Jordan exhibition when I was a Cadet at the La. State Police Academy in 1976. He was not a young man at that time and his hearing was going, but he put on what I thought was the finest example of point shooting I had ever seen. Necco wafers and aspirin tablets at 10 feet, and he did not miss. A finer gentleman would have been hard to find.
     
  16. kudu
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    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    Iv'e never tried the wax bullets but I bought some of the X-Ring rubber bullets out of the Blue Press and they are super accurrate out to about 35'. They leave a little bit of rubber residue in the barrel that wipes right out.
     
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