Wax Rounds?

Wax Rounds?

This is a discussion on Wax Rounds? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My grandfather reloads .44 Mag with wax rounds and I was wondering if these would be a good idea for him to use in Home ...

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Thread: Wax Rounds?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array 45ACP4ever's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Wax Rounds?

    My grandfather reloads .44 Mag with wax rounds and I was wondering if these would be a good idea for him to use in Home Defense, so it isn't necessarily lethal. Anybody with any thoughts?



    Edited by QKShooter
    Reason: Change abbreviation "HD" to Home Defense.
    "It is your evil that will be sought by us. With every breath we will hunt them down. Each day we will spill their blood, until it rains down from the skies. Do not kill. Do not rape. Do not steal. These are principles that every man from every faith can embrace." -McManus twins Boondock Saints


  2. #2
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    Wax rounds are usually only used for practice plinking - and just with primer only.

    Not at all sure how well rounds would keep re temperature etc and with powder charge I'd expect wax to maybe disintegrate or be a problem.

    Re HD? No - not a choice I'd make, not even plastic bullets. If a gun needs used then it needs used, because!! Maybe he should get a tazer for sub-lethal options, or OC.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45ACP4ever
    My grandfather reloads .44 Mag with wax rounds and I was wondering if thse would be a good idea for him to use in HD, so it isn't necessarily lethal. Anybody with any thoughts?
    Why might making his .44 Mag so it isn't necessarily lethal be a good idea?
    - Tom
    You have the power to donate life.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357
    Why might making his .44 Mag so it isn't necessarily lethal be a good idea?
    I'm interested in this answer, too.
    Non-lethal to me is OC or something similar.

  5. #5
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    I have some experience with "wax bullets" dating from the late '60's. Please don't flame me for this story, we were young and not too bright 14 yr. olds with too much time on our hands. I know better now. Anyway I was shot in the gluteus maximus with a .22 LR loaded with a parafin bullet.

    We lived in working class neighborhood in a small SE Alabama town. One of our summer pastimes was hunting birds (yes, Robins, Cedar WaxWings, Thrashers, BlueJays, etc.) with BB guns. Some folks started to complain because our misses fell on cars, windows, etc. So the Police Chief who lived down the street suggested we try wax bullets. There was no prohibition back then against discharging firearms, bird or squirrel hunting within our city limits.

    So we stole our Mothers' wax blocks from her ironing board. Gulf Wax was the brand as I remember, anyway we took .22 LR bullets and removed the lead with pliers, leaving the powder inside. We held the case upright and forced the wax block down onto the case.

    We discovered that this load had a very short range for hunting, maybe no more than 20 feet. After 20 feet the projectile broke into tiny pieces. Since it didn't work very well for it's intended purpose we started looking for things to use the 100 or so wax loads. One neighbor (who was a real A**hole) shot me as I was heading back home. Damned it hurt, bled too. After I got a bandage on it, he and I had "words" . Then I had to bandage the gash on my hand from his buckteeth.
    Pershing SIR!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    You know how the magician "catches the bullet in his teeth?" The bullet is actually wax... it melts going down the barrel, shatters the glass, and the magician already has a bullet in his mouth.

    Soooo.... if the stuff comes apart and shatters glass.... I'd be leary of using it for much of anything.

    To me less lethal firearm = bb gun.

    Josh <><

  7. #7
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    Post Making Wax Bullets ~ Instructions.

    Wax loads. To load for revolvers:
    (This also works for autos, but you'll need to single feed the rounds unless you've got a wadcutter gun that will chamber empty cases. If you have a 1911 or clone that uses the 1911 style extractor, you'll want to remove your extractor or buy a spare to use for this purpose, since you'll be closing the slide on a chambered round (the 1911 is actually a CRF action, not a push-feed, so the extractor is not designed to bend that much on a regular basis))

    1.Set aside a lot of specially marked cases. Make sure that the marking is clear and easily seen so that these cases do not get mixed in with those used for regular cartridges.

    2.Fire these cases with regular loads in the revolver to be used/carried. DO NOT RESIZE.

    3.Punch out the old primer with a Lee type primer punch or one of those on the market that fits into a reloading press (it looks like a regular sizing die but is a universal primer punch used by people like me that prefer to clean the cases before resizing but want the primer pocket cleaned also).

    4.Clean the cases in your normal fashion. Do not reprime at this point.

    5.Drill out the primer pockets to about .100" for small primers and about .120" for large primers. This is a necessary step to avoid primer set-back when the wax rounds are fired. Primer set- back will tie up the cylinder.
    (I used a 1/8" (.125") drill bit for the .45 ACP cases, after verifying that normal sized primer holes were causing setback; don't try this without drilling in a revolver!)

    6.Melt and pour about 1/2" of household paraffin into a flat cake pan and allow to harden.

    7.When ready to make your wax "bullets", set the pan of wax in a pan of warm water (not hot) for 15 minutes or so. The wax is of an ideal consistency when one can imprint it slightly by firm application of finger or thumb to its surface. The hardness is not critical as long as the paraffin does not crumble when the cases are pushed into it.

    8.Push each unprimed case through the wax, mouth first, keeping the case as close to vertical as possible to assure that the wax bullet has squared ends.
    (I had some problems getting the wax to unstick from the bottom of the pan when I was doing this; it might be worthwhile to pry the wax out and set it onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet before doing this)

    9.Using a dowel of appropriate size, push the wax bullet into the case as far as it will go without using excessive pressure. This will not kill the primer.
    (This is not strictly neccessary, but it will result in higher velocities and more consistent accuracy. You might want to keep a primer pocket cleaner handy to scrape out any wax that extrudes through the flash hole)

    10.Prime the case in the normal manner. DO NOT USE ANY POWDER!!! That's it!

    Priming is done last because, if not, the pneumatic pressure that is built up when the "bullet" is pushed into a primed case will slowly push the bullet back out.
    (This looks cool, but really destroys any hope of consistency...)

    This load will usually shoot about 4 inches low at 20 feet. I am interested only in group size but if one wants to he can make a target with two bulls once the aim/hit relationship is estab- lished, one for aiming and the other for scoring.
    (It is a great way to practice drawing a firing from a concealed holster, since a big bruise on your leg is far better than severe arterial bleeding)

    Do not use these cases for regular shooting - it is purported to be hazardous to use cases with oversize flash holes for regular loads.

    Again, mark the cases clearly (Birchwood Casey's Brass Black works well) so that they will not be accidentally used for regular loads and so that it would be readily apparent if a regular cartridge got mixed with the wax loads - an occasion that might prove to be rather spirited!

    Wax build-up in the rifling will need to be cleaned out occasionally but has not seemed to hurt accuracy at the 20 feet or so distances at which I use this load.
    (After the first couple of rounds, the wax buildup seemed to level off, as the amount of wax being scraped out was equal to the amount being left behind. Don't shoot over carpet, because little sheets of wax (with rifling impressions cast into them) are blown out the muzzle during firing.)

    This load will hurt if it hits a person. My .45 ACP wax loads will dent plywood about 1/16" deep at 10 feet.
    (My wax bullets were fired while still a bit warm, and flattend out into 1" circles upon impact; they didn't noticably dent plywood, but I still wouldn't want to get hit with one)

    The wax can be remelted to use again.
    (The energy of impact is converted to heat, so the wax is somewhat pliable when recovered; I was just putting the fired wax into another case, using a dowel rod to ram it in and flatten the front, priming and firing again. The wax will get black with primer residue, but you can use it nearly a dozen times before it becomes too contaminated to hold together and disintegrates upon firing. Don't try to recover the bits that land on the ground, though; shooting a sand impregnated wax plug through your barrel is not the prefferred method of firelapping...)

    It is remarkable how fast one can learn to point-and-shoot using wax loads. I had scarcely fired 50 rounds across my garage by the time I could hit a paint can every time without use of sights.

    Do not use this load in an enclosed space if you are lead poisoning conscious. A back yard, an open garage, a family room with open windows or other spaces that can be well ventilated can be used to make an effective range. The report sounds like a cap pistol.
    (I was shooting in my parent's garage, and afer about 30 rounds had a headache from the sound; outdoors it's probably not bad, but indoors I'd reccommend ear plugs)

    There are plastic cases/bullets on the market to do this but wax is inexpensive.
    (I've shot the Speer plastic bullets, and while they're less trouble (and quite reusable, if you use a soft backstop), they will ricochet if you hit a hard object. Loading procedures are the same if you use brass cases (the plastic cases are easier to load, since the primers seat with finger pressure, but the cases crack with use). I've never tried the rubber bullets, but you can find info by searching on "x-ring rubber bullets".)

    Have fun!


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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array 45ACP4ever's Avatar
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    The reason for using the wax rounds would be:

    A) Limited range so not going through three walls and killing the neighbor.

    B) Break-ins probably could be easily driven off with the pain from being hit by the rounds.

    C) Easy to drop wax rounds and load hollowpoints if target doesn't leave.

    Thats pretty much what I figure he would use them for.
    "It is your evil that will be sought by us. With every breath we will hunt them down. Each day we will spill their blood, until it rains down from the skies. Do not kill. Do not rape. Do not steal. These are principles that every man from every faith can embrace." -McManus twins Boondock Saints

  9. #9
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    Gosh.....I remember buying a 9mm wax bullet/cartridge kit some years back...came with several brass cartridges with the primer pocket sized for shotgun primers and about 100 blue wax bullets. Those things were fun to use.....but you definitely needed ear protection for the loud pop of the primer.
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

  10. #10
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    Post

    Please don't assume that because I've provided information (above) about making wax bullets that I (in any way) endorse the idea of wax bullets as a home defense alternative or option to real ammunition.
    I steadfastly do not.
    I personally do not think that wax bullets are a real hot idea for serious home defense.
    Certainly not a full cylinder full of them.
    If (by chance) an intruder is not scared away by the "primer pop" of discharged wax bullets & decides to charge you then you'll not have time to do a revolver reload in the one-second that it takes for the intruder to reach you and smash your skull in.

    If any intruder breaks into your home you must assume that he will be willing to kill the home owner/owners if discovered, cornered, or startled inside the home.

    You simply cannot have a preconceived notion that every intruder just wants to quietly break in...look around...snatch a purse or wallet & a Ice Cold Beer out the fridge & then quietly head back on out.
    That just is not modern day real world thinking.

    Living in the real world mandates real/live ammunition loaded into real guns reserved for Really Bad People who will break into a home and will really kill an innocent person and make that person "really dead" without the slightest bit of remorse...and THEN will go grab an Ice Cold Beer out of the fridge. It happens Every Day these days.

    That being said there are much better non~penetrating ammunition alternatives available for home defense use.

    If your true rational is that you want to have a gun in the home for personal protection BUT, do not want to seriously injure or kill somebody...then JOIN THE CLUB.
    None of us want to maim or kill another human being nor would we derive any personal pleasure from doing that.

    None of us would want to shot either BUT, we are not out breaking into other folks homes either.

    For serious home or apartment self~defense where over-penetration is a concern...I would buy a good hot pre-fragmented home defense round and forget the wax bullet idea.

    That is what I would do but, it's your life to do with it what you will.

    Just my highly firearm educated opinion.

  11. #11
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    C) Easy to drop wax rounds and load hollowpoints if target doesn't leave.
    Following QK's good addition I'd pick up on this option - if ''things'' are real hot and goin down fast - this is most unlikely to be possible. Time would not be on your side IMO.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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