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Steel or tungsten core?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by brass shower, Jul 21, 2005.

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  1. brass shower

    brass shower Member

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    Well I've come across a few bullets that the seller claims are tungsten cored. I'd love to believe him but after sectioning the bullet and pulling the core it just doesnt seem heavy enough, and it's attracted to a magnet. I dont remember much about chemestry but seem to remember that tungsten is non-magnetic. Can anyone suggest a method of determining the composition of the core? I suppose the most obvious method would be to weigh it and determine it's volume to get the density but that would require access to equipment I dont have at the moment.
     
  2. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    I don't think tungsten is magnetic either. I thought iron was the only ferromagnetic element. If you happen to have a graduated cylinder (and I don't know anyone that does), you could always figure out density. Tungsten has a density that's near that of gold.

    If you have an oxyace torch, try cutting it. Tungsten has an extreme melting temp. Even hardened steel will lose its temper and melt. You can also try taking a file to it, though hardened steel doesn't really file well with hardened tool steel, but it'd at least determine if its mild steel.
     
  3. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    What, you mean not everybody has a couple of those in their kitchen, basement, garage? How else are you going to accurately measure moderate volumes of liquids? Pipette? Geezzzz..what a pain that is. :D

    For Tungsten, Density @20`C = 19.5 g/cc
    For Iron, Density @20`C = 7.66 g/cc

    Off the cuff, if you have some iron nails about, compare the nail to the "tungsten" core you've extracted. The tungsten should be feel about twice as heavy in your hand.
     
  4. mete

    mete Member

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    Cesium, iron, nickel and cobalt are ferromagnetic.Tungsten has been used for cores ,IIRC the WWII german 88 had tungsten cored projectiles.
     
  5. Tim3256

    Tim3256 Member

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    Tungsten IS NON-FERROUS, and is immune to standard magnetic attraction. The cores in question are not tungsten. Likely not a tungsten alloy either, it's very difficult and expensive to alloy (besides, it would be pointless in this application). Also, the density of tungsten would allow you to feel a significant weight differential, even with very small volumes of material.

    Furthermore, tungsten cored rounds are considered "killer" rounds by all LEO agencies that I'm aware of. They are substantially more effective at compromising (piercing) and/or completely defeating other materials (vehicular and personnel "body" armor, kevlar, ballistics glass laminate, etc) than traditional ammunition. This type of ammunition performs similarly to to "DU" (depleted uranium) rounds. GOOGLE "depleted uranium ammunition". In some jurisdictions, simply possessing these would be a criminal act. Best to steer clear.
     
  6. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    IIRC the Speer African Grand Slam Solids are tungsten core. To my knowledge they are legal. Expensive as all get out, but legal. Speer has been selling them for years.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  7. Tim3256

    Tim3256 Member

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    I'm not familiar with Speer African Grand Slam Solids, they may well be both tungsten core and perfectly legal (where you are). I wouldn't like to be caught carrying them in say, Boston. I did say "some juridictions".

    At any rate, the point of my post was that in MOST SITUATIONS, no good can come from having these rounds. LEOS freak (as a rule), and there WILL be trouble. At the very least, you can expect to be extremely "inconvenienced", if you read me. I realize that many at THR will defend both the need and the "right" to possess such items, I will not engage in that debate here. I'm not talking about "theory", I'm speaking to "practice".

    Do as you will, though. It's advice, your mileage may vary. Good luck. :cool:
     
  8. Randy in Arizona

    Randy in Arizona Member

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    If you have some you could try this, put the core into some mercury.

    Iron, any alloy of iron will float. Tungsten will sink. Mercury has a specific gravity of 13.5.

    Warning: Mercury is hazardous to your health. Handle it outdoors or under very good ventilation. :what:
     
  9. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

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    But whom in their right mind, is gonna check that cesium with a magnet? That is if it's 137 :D
     
  10. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    AFAIK, AP rounds are legal to own for rifle calibers but a big NO NO in handguns. The only AP rounds I have experience with are 50 BMG Black Tipped 705gr. They are slightly shorter than the M33 633gr Ball yet significantly heavier. And, they go through 2 3/4" steel plates pretty cleanly while the Ball sticks in the first one every time.

    It would seem that the AP core IS heavier and much harder than the mild steel Ball. What it is made of, I dunno!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2006
  11. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    I think there are some confused issues here. There is tungsten and tungsten steel. Tungsten steel, harder than other steel, is invented by Robert Forester
    Mushet in 1868 by adding 7-8% tungsten to steel. Tungsten steel is magnetic as a result of the high iron content.

    Is tungsten itself magnetic? Well, one way in which tungsten is concentrated is by its magnetic properties.

    http://www.ucc.ie/ucc/depts/chem/dolchem/html/elem/elem074.html

    While tungsten is heavy, it is also fairly soft compared to metals such as steel. If tungsten is being used in AP ammo, then my guess is that what is being used is steel alloyed with tungsten (tungsten steel) that produces a product much harder than regular steel.
     
  12. Randy in Arizona

    Randy in Arizona Member

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    I can conceive of two possible uses of Tungsten in bullet cores:

    1] Tungsten steel as mentioned for the ability to penetrate.

    2] Tungsten itself as a heavy core to enhance ballistic properties and avoid the toxic effects of lead.

    Any others, anyone?
     
  13. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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  14. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    And I thought I was crazy with suggesting graduated cylinders. Who has a jar of mercury sitting around outside of a lab? :D Just don't breathe the fumes. Mercury isn't as readily absorbed into skin, but the fumes are nasty. Kids used to play with mercury balls in the classroom :what:
     
  15. Control Group

    Control Group Member

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    I'm proud to say I have easy access to a wide variety of graduated cylinders and large quantities of mercury (at least, large compared to the average household's few thermometers). Also Erlenmeyer and Florence flasks, the world's smallest distilling glassware, pipettes, fuming sulfuric, dry sodium hydroxide, a variety of organic solvents (and can I just say that nothing cleans an engine-filthy wrench like Toluene?), and three gallons of leaded gasoline retrieved from the tank of a '65 LeMans in the early eighties.

    Being the son of a Ph.D. chemist has its upsides.

    So, if you want definitive answers on this ammo, send it to me. I'll do a whole battery of tests on every round.

    Including, of course, careful study of well they perform in a variety of firearms. ;)
     
  16. Randy in Arizona

    Randy in Arizona Member

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    Cesiumsponge
    I happen to have some, when I was in high school my chem lab had lots of stuff the school system deemed too dangerous. :rolleyes:

    However I don't let my kids play with the stuff I still have. :uhoh: :what:
     
  17. brass shower

    brass shower Member

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    Well I broke down and spent 3 bucks on a graduated cylinder, and after repeated weighings and volume measurements came up with a density of 9.1 g/cc. Not quite Tungsten but heavier than steel. Now if this is a tungsten alloy and I'm calculating this correctly should that put it at a 12-13% Tungsten content?
     
  18. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Member

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    Yep, so it's probably a W/Fe alloy. What caliber?
     
  19. brass shower

    brass shower Member

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    They're .308" caliber, 150 grain. The core was 2 piece, similar to 5.56mm SS109 with a the alloy penetrator ahead of a lead base which melted out under blowtorch heat. I'll get some loaded up and see how it fares against 1" steel plate compared to the other stuff I have.
     

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