O.K., reloaders, here's a couple questions I have been studying on for a while...

IWAC

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Should there be any difference in loads for cast 158 gr. SWC and 158-160 gr. RNFP bullets, given the same or nearly so Brinnel hardness?

As I understand it, reasoning for adopting the SWC shape rather than round nose was the SWC was more "effective" on flesh and bone targets.

Are the current RNFP shapes more "effective" than the original round nosed bullets, or is a person better served by sticking with the old standard SWC bullets ?

Are there any published results comparing the two bullet shapes?
Thank you!
 
SWC bullets cut cleaner holes in a paper target. SWC bullets have a reputation as one of the more accurate bullet styles (H&G #68 for example). As with all loads you would have to work up to the differences in weights, etc.. I believe the SWC H&G #68 SWC one of the most accurate bullets made in 9MM and 45ACP. I think a JHP will be the best performer in flesh and bone.
 
In chronographing God-knows-how-many cast bullets over the years, .312", .358", ,430" and .452", I've found that single thing that determines/affects velocity and pressure most is how deep the bullet is seated in the case. All other things the same or similar (weight, diameter, hardness, powder charge), the bullet that is seated the deepest will have the highest velocity. If the amount of bullet in the case is close to the same between two bullets, then the velocity will be close to the same.

I've shot quite a bit of game with cast bullets, deer, hogs and javelina, and I find that SWC's have a definite advantage over RNFP's when it comes to the size of the wound channel.

35W
 
If memory serves, Elmer Keith did extensive testing with various bullet shapes and some of his designs (mostly SWC's) have stood the test of time. Elmer believed the SWC was by far the best bullet design for taking game of any size and for accuracy.
 
I kind of like the SWC hollow points. If the weight and lead of the projectile is the same, just a different shape, my udnerstanding is any difference in the load is based on the seating depth and volume inside the case. Deeper seating is less space and higher pressure.

When revolvers were in heavy use by police departemnts and such, they moved to the SWC Hollow Point based on field real world performance. If there is a report of scientific analysis, probably - but, no idea where to find it.

I don't carry my hand loads. I carry semi jackets flat point factory rounds. It is kind of the middle ground between hollow point and hard cast. Better expansion than hard cast, but less penetration. Greater penetration than hollow points, but less expansion. Jack of all trades master of none, but a good all around carry round IMHO, if you don't know what you might be defending yourself against.
 
Are the current RNFP shapes more "effective" than the original round nosed bullets,

The main virtue of Round Nose Flat Point bullets is safety in tubular magazines.

I've found that single thing that determines/affects velocity and pressure most is how deep the bullet is seated in the case.

Phil Sharpe tabulated load data by seating depth, not OAL. Nowadays that might be too much arithmetic.

When revolvers were in heavy use by police departemnts and such, they moved to the SWC Hollow Point based on field real world performance.

NYPD was one of the last bastions of roundnose bullets. They went to semiwadcutters with little gain in "stopping power." I don't know if they ever issued .38 special hollowpoints. When they went to 9mm automatics they used hardball for a while before allowing hollowpoints.
 
So when talking about cast bullet design being a SWC, RNFP, or WFP, there are some distinct differences in shape and performance.

So as mentioned the semi wad cutter (SWC) is a time honored design being it has a small meplat tapering into a sharp wider shoulder which usually results in a nice clean cut hole, whether it be in flesh or on paper. They have a tendency for being very accurate out of most calibers used and account for a good bit of game. They usually penetrate straight though leaving an almost caliber sized hole in their wake. Unless they encounter something substantial like solid bone they usually do not expand much. They are usually really accurate to longer ranges than most.

The round nose flat point (RNFP) is another throw back to the black powder days when most things were of a maxi ball type design, and a lot of them resulted from the as mentioned lever action tubular magazines. They have a tendency of punching a deep nearly caliber hole and are generally used when deep penetration and broken bones is wanted. Depending upon the alloy and impact velocity they may or may not expand much, but can be cast of an alloy which is on the softer side to allow some.

The newer designs (relatively speaking) like Veral Smith and other's Wide Flat Nose (WFN) were brought about to try and deliver the best of tissue disruption and penetration, usually giving a wider wound channel than would normally be expected from a solid bullet and closer to what might be seen using an expanding bullet. These are usually cast from harder alloy such as one of the type alloys. (Lino, Mono, ect) or they can be hardened by quenching to bring up the BHN. Either, or, the tendency is for a harder bullet to reduce any expansion to a minimum for increased penetration. They have an almost bore diameter nose width, and very minimal taper going towards the bearing surface. They hit really hard but they aren't very good for long range.

The cast hollow point (CHP) is a great bullet but it is dependent upon the alloy being malleable and the impact velocity not exceeding the ability of the alloy to hold together. I use these with all of my hunting handguns, but I also spent the better part of two years working the alloy up to hold together over the ranges of impact velocity I might encounter with the calibers I shoot them in. Some molds allow them to be cast with a variety of pins which can also effectively help control the expansion. A cup point, or small diameter shallow point will not expand as efficiently as a wide deep point will. Therefore this can be used when pouring the same bullet style and alloy to get different results upon impact, or within a higher impact velocity. (38/44spl vs 357/44mag)

Since I hunt with a variety of revolvers, I have become very attached to the newer HP mold offerings. Most come with a solid pin as well and are usually of the round flat nose design of sorts. However I also have several of these type molds for SWC's which also have pin assortments to allow them to be cast as HP as well. I normally use these in my larger calibers. Even so with these I can also simply adjust the alloy and use them with no HP and still get expansion if I want it.

Most of the alloy I shoot regardless of caliber runs below a 13 BHN. I just find that it works well and if I slam a hog up close with my 45 Colt using the 280gr RFN I might or might not get expansion , but with that bullet it still usually goes right on through. Either way it is going to leave at least close to a half inch hole going in and wreck everything in it's path going through.
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So when talking about cast bullet design being a SWC, RNFP, or WFP, there are some distinct differences in shape and performance.

So as mentioned the semi wad cutter (SWC) is a time honored design being it has a small meplat tapering into a sharp wider shoulder which usually results in a nice clean cut hole, whether it be in flesh or on paper. They have a tendency for being very accurate out of most calibers used and account for a good bit of game. They usually penetrate straight though leaving an almost caliber sized hole in their wake. Unless they encounter something substantial like solid bone they usually do not expand much. They are usually really accurate to longer ranges than most.

The round nose flat point (RNFP) is another throw back to the black powder days when most things were of a maxi ball type design, and a lot of them resulted from the as mentioned lever action tubular magazines. They have a tendency of punching a deep nearly caliber hole and are generally used when deep penetration and broken bones is wanted. Depending upon the alloy and impact velocity they may or may not expand much, but can be cast of an alloy which is on the softer side to allow some.

The newer designs (relatively speaking) like Veral Smith and other's Wide Flat Nose (WFN) were brought about to try and deliver the best of tissue disruption and penetration, usually giving a wider wound channel than would normally be expected from a solid bullet and closer to what might be seen using an expanding bullet. These are usually cast from harder alloy such as one of the type alloys. (Lino, Mono, ect) or they can be hardened by quenching to bring up the BHN. Either, or, the tendency is for a harder bullet to reduce any expansion to a minimum for increased penetration. They have an almost bore diameter nose width, and very minimal taper going towards the bearing surface. They hit really hard but they aren't very good for long range.

The cast hollow point (CHP) is a great bullet but it is dependent upon the alloy being malleable and the impact velocity not exceeding the ability of the alloy to hold together. I use these with all of my hunting handguns, but I also spent the better part of two years working the alloy up to hold together over the ranges of impact velocity I might encounter with the calibers I shoot them in. Some molds allow them to be cast with a variety of pins which can also effectively help control the expansion. A cup point, or small diameter shallow point will not expand as efficiently as a wide deep point will. Therefore this can be used when pouring the same bullet style and alloy to get different results upon impact, or within a higher impact velocity. (38/44spl vs 357/44mag)

Since I hunt with a variety of revolvers, I have become very attached to the newer HP mold offerings. Most come with a solid pin as well and are usually of the round flat nose design of sorts. However I also have several of these type molds for SWC's which also have pin assortments to allow them to be cast as HP as well. I normally use these in my larger calibers. Even so with these I can also simply adjust the alloy and use them with no HP and still get expansion if I want it.

Most of the alloy I shoot regardless of caliber runs below a 13 BHN. I just find that it works well and if I slam a hog up close with my 45 Colt using the 280gr RFN I might or might not get expansion , but with that bullet it still usually goes right on through. Either way it is going to leave at least close to a half inch hole going in and wreck everything in it's path going through.
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Perfect 🍄. That's perfect performance which I've actually never seen... great job...
 
The only SWC I've ever been able to recover from game (the rest sailed on through) is a .430" 258 gr. that struck a buck at about 1050 fps in the left flank and traveled up to the juncture of the right shoulder and neck-

A1jW85Gl.jpg


The damage from a .452" 285 gr. SWC impacting at about 950 fps-

4MpgEJJl.jpg


.452" 265 gr. HP, around 9.5 Bhn struck a buck at 48 yds. with an impact velocity just under 1,000 fps-

PL3mk6cl.jpg


A .430" 250 gr. HP also around 9.5 Bhn struck a buck at 38 yds. at ~1050 fps-

1IRZzOdl.jpg


A .358" 1162 gr. RNFPHP also ~9.5 Bhn recovered from a hog it struck running a bit under 1700 fps-

bBJR7dvl.jpg


35W
 
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I've always thought seating depth and bearing surface was why there was different loads for same weight bullets but different designs, wad cutters would have the longest bearing surface and for none revolvers would need the deepest seating due to the bullet hitting the rifling earlier. The MFGs have done testing to keep pressures within spec. When I reload a new bullet, I like to get the loading info from the bullet MFG, powder MFG, and at least one reloading manual and compare them, I hardly ever load the minimum and never load the max (I load for accuracy and those never seem to be the best).
 
You are correct about seating depth and bearing surface, especially for a full DE wadcutter. This is especially true when using jacketed bullets. It can also apply to some of the WFN or LFN designs that came out in the late 70's early 80's driven by the magnum handgun development.

The cast however may or may not be something found in a loading manual. The design is usually similar and sometimes close to one in say the Lyman Cast manual, but with the CNC machining nowadays they can be made to just about any profile.

In most cases when a new bullet is designed the maker, as you mentioned, has to keep certain tolerances in order for it to function properly in whatever case, caliber and firearm it is designed for. That said with rifles this can be somewhat manageable due to deeper throated chambers. In handguns however you are limited by mag length, case volume, or cylinder length. Case in point, there are a number of WFN designs which have dual crimp grooves to allow use in say a 38SPL and 357mag. They allow the bullets to be crimped to fit the different cylinder lengths. Similarly some revolvers of same calibers have different length chambers depending upon the brand or model.

The best thing about cast is that they are usually more forgiving pressure wise due to the lead being softer than jacketed. Still however seating depth is still an issue to be dealt with in especially the semi auto realm. This is where choosing powders and other components specific to the caliber or cartridge is important but there's still a lot of leeway with bullet types.
 
DSCN0729.JPG

I cast load and shoot the one on the right! 45ACP. The one on the left will not cycle in either of my45's.
In the 38/357 it would be a 158gr SWC for easy cast..
 
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