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Gold projectiles

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by gamestalker, Jul 10, 2011.

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  1. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    One of my part time hobbies is finding gold. I live in Az. so it's a pretty good place to make small finds without too much effort. So over the years I have accumulated a fair amount of gold, in the neighborhood of 6 1/2 ounces. Recently I thought of making 6- 125 gr. hollow points made of pure gold for my .357. But since I have no knowledge of metal properties I was wondering if anyone would be able give me a go, no go, answer. I don't actually plan on shooting up what would be a rather expensive cylinder of projectiles being they are primarily intended as a converstaion piece, but they will be in the firearm I carry most of the time, so I would like to know if my firearm will explode or other wise suffer a catrastrophic failure if I ever had to use them for S.D..
     
  2. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    Well, gold is maleable like copper, and it has a high melting point. So far so good.

    The problem is its density, which is roughly 1.5 times that of lead.

    As you know, charge weights are lower for heavier bullets (same cartridge, same powder).

    So, you might consider using COL data for a 125gr (as that would be the mold size and the location of the crimp groove) and charge data for 180gr (as that would be a good guess as to the weight of a 125gr bullet cast in gold.)

    I have no idea if the friction of a solid gold bullet is similar to that of a jacketed lead bullet, so this is pure guesswork.

    Probably not a good idea to ignore the COL / bullet weight issue, though.

    Good luck.
     
  3. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Let me understand this - you want to cast gold bullets which you intent to have as a conversation piece that you will carry in your Self Defense handgun???

    First, you do know that Gold is about $1500 an ounce, right? For the amount of gold you would be using you could buy buckets full of proper self defense ammo... For the 6.5 ounces you have, you're sitting on about $10,000 worth of gold there!

    Secondly, how often do you pull out your self defense gun to show someone the ammo as a 'conversation starter?' And frankly I don't think it would be a flattering conversation... You: "I made these here gold bullets; yep, solid gold, to shoot in my self defense handgun." Other person: "You did WHAT?!?! Are you a (insert unflattering term)?"

    And thirdly, even if you didn't intend on shooting it, if you are carrying the rounds in your carry gun, then you may be in a sitaution where you need to defend yourself and then must decide whether to shoot or not and why would you want your expensive gold bullets going downrange into a assailant??

    This all just makes no sense...

    Frankly, sell the gold and buy the tried and true self defense ammo like Speer, Corbon, etc. literally by the pallet full with your gold profits.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  4. argyle1812

    argyle1812 Member

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    no offense but with gold prices sky high why not just sell the gold?
     
  5. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

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    Go for it !!
     
  6. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Centennial

    James Michener wrote a novel (Centennial) I think, wherein he described an American Indian who discovered that he could "cast" bullets out of gold nuggets he found without actually using any heat at all. He just had to squeeze the bullet mold really hard. This was in a flintlock with molds traded for in the the early 1700's (if memory serves from the time I read the book-I am not old enough to have been around when the English and French fur traders were exploring North America)

    Yes, you could do it. I don't suppose that six, or even twelve rounds would gild up (the analog to leading up a barrel) so badly that you would have a problem in the shooting.

    As far as the increase in density (bullet weight) when considering COL (cartridge overall length), the measurement the loading manuals are trying to get at, that is, the critical measurement, is the volume under the bullet. Do some calculations to figure out the free space UNDER the bullet. Use whatever loading data is appropriate for that bullet weight, powder charge, and free volume under the bullet.

    I suppose that leadcounsel's advice
    might be right on the spot. You weight the necessity of using deadly force against the personal cost of firing that first round. "It is REALLY worth $x,xxx to pull this trigger?"

    It gives weight to the argument that you REALLY needed to shoot a perp.

    It also sets up an insanity defense if self-defense doesn't fly.

    As far as expanding/hollowpiont bullets are concerned. I suspect that the softness of gold bullets would make the hollowpointing unnecessary to get good expansion. Indeed, they may be too soft and you may have to mix the pure gold into a harder allow to make a round nose bullet hard enough to penetrate before expanding.

    Sounds like a good test to do in ballistic gel from which your gold would be recoverable.

    While my reply has been 100% serious (like dmazur's) except for the insanity defense line, in response to your (what I assume is completely serious post), I have to ask, what leadcounsel implied, "Are you SERIOUS?"

    Gold bullets are a good conversation piece (especially in light of Michener's novel), but having them in your carry piece seems a bad idea. The nature of carrying for defense has, at its core and essence, the expectation of the unexpected, which COMPLETELY NEGATES using a bullet construction (or material) that has not been thoroughly tested.

    In summary: Great conversation piece (remember the Lone Ranger, whose silver bullets came from his silver mine, which gave him the independent wealth that allowed him to do his altruistic law enforcement). Possibly a great defensive round, but not until it has been vetted. Take note of bullets cast of depleted uranium. They are even better than gold (and probably more expensive,too.) Look up the terminal ballistics of uranium armor-piercing rounds. They are GREAT against tanks.

    Lost Sheep
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  7. memphisjim

    memphisjim Member

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    Still I say go for it back in the old days ( before they went extinct) old timers swore on silver bullets to kill wearwolves
     
  8. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I am thinking that the best of both worlds would be to sell some of the gold and buy a bunch of bullets of your choice and send them off to be gold plated. This way you will know what the properties will be of the original bullet (almost) and have the "look" that you want at the same time. Then do a load workup before and after the plating. LOTS less expensive in the long run as well as a reliable round for use intended.:D
     
  9. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    :evil: You make it and I'll pay you 2.00 per round...
     
  10. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Why bother
    Find someone who will do gel testing (it's more that just shooting a block of jello)
    fire a production HP
    fire the cast gold HP

    keep a dummy on your key ring (actually might want to plate that given the gold prices)
    and have you considered alloy, I imagine 14K would hold up better with a higher pressure round, 24K is really soft.
     
  11. BluegrassDan

    BluegrassDan Member

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    My opinion...

    1. Self defense rounds must be absolutely reliable. You need to be certain of their terminal ballistics and that they function in your gun. 6 rounds is not enough.

    2. If you did end up shooting someone in self defense with a HAND MADE GOLD BULLET, the prosecuting attorney is going to rip you a new one. You'll wish you had that golden bullet back to help pay for court costs and attorney's fees!

    3. The "conversation piece" would probably amount to, "Why would you waste gold on something so ridiculous?"

    Time and research have gone into developing ammo, particularly for self defense. Gotta be honest, this is a pretty bad idea anyway you look at it.

    You could cash in that gold an buy a REALLY fine antique firearm in museum condition. THAT would be a conversation piece!
     
  12. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I double that and pay for the postage and registered mail too.

    In melting any metal, a portion is lost as vapor. Gamestalker, I hope you realize that while it can be done, that your money will be going up in smoke. Gold is going to increase 20-30% sometime this Sept. Don't sell it. Keep it. It's better than the dollars in your wallet or bank account.

    BTW, you especially don't want to put it in your carry weapon. It's like re-enactors in the North-South Skirmish Association. They're told to have two rifles. One is for shooting and the other is for re-enacting. The shooting gun goes only to the range and the re-enacting gun is part of the props. By having two guns, the reenactor never accidentally shoots anyone. If you must have gold bullets, have it for a collectible (display) or showpiece gun that will never be carried or fired.
     
  13. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Have you ever cast any plain lead bullets?
    Do you handload your ordinary defensive ammunition?

    There is a good series of articles on the difficulties of producing silver bullets for the werewolf fantasy trade at:
    http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/silver/silverbullets.shtml
    Will working gold be easier or harder than silver?
    I don't know but you should.

    This outfit charges $50 for a silver bullet (actually an inert cartridge) no doubt much more for gold.
    Would they use or exchange your gold?
    Call 'em up.
    http://www.bulletforge.com/index.php
     
  14. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    You may want to change your user name to "Francisco Scaramanga", (worlds deadliest assassin)......character in the James Bond 007 series "Man With the Golden Gun".

    Bond found one of Scaramanga's golden bullets in the naval of a belly dancer, who prized it as an ornament. The source of the gun and bullets were from Macau gunsmith named Lazar.

    .....also important to remember his price for using such ammo was not cheap, a million dollars a shot.
     
  15. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    I'll address this as a serious question. The high melting temp of gold will make it very difficult to cast. I know nothing about how well it pours into a mold, in others words, how well it flows. Aluminum and brass molds would melt just by pouring the molten gold into them. Best bet would to be to pour a cylinder or plug of gold, then machine the goldllet,(gold bullet), from that plug.

    You'd be out in no-mans-land with no load data for that goldllet. If it were me, I'd load it in a nice shiny nickle plated case with no powder or primer just to carry around for show and tell.

    Melting temps of gold-1063-C, 1945-F.
     
  16. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    dmazur's suggestion to work the gold by hand may be better. Depending on its purity, gold is malleable and could easily be swaged into the right diameter or bullet shape. Of course, you'll probably lose a few grams on the equipment, but it probably will be less lost than if by vapors.
     
  17. armarsh

    armarsh Member

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    Dang, working up a load is gonna suck. Mining the berm will never be the same.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Firstly, any jeweler/goldsmith that casts gold jewelry can melt and cast your gold to match a standard bullet mould.

    Secondly, you'll have to work up the ballistics data and loads for the increased weight of the bullet to safely fire the heavier projectile.

    Thirdly, it seems absurd that you'd actually want to carry live ammunition around that has a real value of a small fortune and would be lost if you actually have to fire it. I think putting one gold bullet into an inert round on a keychain would be far more interesting/practical. OTOH, if you've come about the gold easily as a recreational activity you're not out as much as one of us that decided to purchase the precious metal so the cost isn't the same for you as us.

    Purchase a bullet mold, see a jeweler/goldsmith, ask if he casts gold for custom jewelry, provide the bullet mold, pay the man and hand load your own.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  19. Afy

    Afy Member

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    Feel free to shoot me with your gold bullets. ;)
     
  20. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    As I said in my above post, the ONLY mold that could possibly be used would be one made of cast iron or steel. I saw a history show about how gold is cast into rings. They use a centrifuge to spin the molten metal into the mold. That tells me that gold has to be FORCED into a mold. It's not as simple as letting gravity fill the mold. Then, will the gold let loose of the iron/steel mold?

    The same problems presented themselves with the "silver bullet".
     
  21. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    What you would do is cast the bullet you want out of lead then take that bullet to the jeweler and let them make bullets to match it.
     
  22. murf

    murf Member

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    at least you won't have to worry about "gold poisoning" if you inhale the fumes! suggest 14 karat for a little harder bullet about the same density as lead. i guess you could get "nickel" poisoning, though.

    murf
     
  23. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    If it were my gold??
    No way I'd make bullets out of it! :eek:

    But it ain't mine, so if you really wanna do that?
    Go for it!

    As posted above you'll need to watch the weight of the bullets & the charge weights.
    A 125 gr gold bullet will be shorter than a 125 gr lead pill.
     
  24. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    This is my take, I wouldn't make any gold bullets for SD, with that said I would like to see how a bullet made from gold would compare to a bullet made of lead of the same weight would perform in gel tests. You could still recover the gold after testing. I'm not sure but I think pure lead is softer than pure gold, but someone with knowledge or a brenell tester could tell. Still would be interesting to see the results. LM
     
  25. dbarnhart

    dbarnhart Member

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