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Discussion Starter #1
Back in the day, folks used soft lead projectiles that went "splat" when they hit a target. They expanded pretty well, and did a lot of damage, even at the low velocities produced by black powder.

Then modern smokeless powder came about. Velocity increased, which allowed longer ranges. However, the soft lead was smearing inside the rifling of the barrel, causing a great deal of fouling, very quickly.

The solution was to put a copper jacket on the lead. That cured the fouling, but retarded expansion.

Next was to make JHPs. These allowed the bullet to expand - sometimes. If the tip got plugged, wrapped by clothing fibers, or crushed by a barrier, there was little or no expansion.

Is there a better solution? What if we went back to soft lead bullets? But cured the fouling...with a smooth bore?

But smooth bores are innacurate! Not so fast. Our modern tank cannons are smooth bores, and they are very accurate. The bores are smooth to get the most velocity possible, so the shells can smash through enemy tank armor. The accuracy comes from fancy ballistic computers...and projectiles with fins, like an arrow.

What if we made bullets out of soft lead, but gave them a narrowed back end with fins? Just like a miniature HEAT tank round. We would get velocity, accuracy (especially at pistol range), and expansion, without the need for a hollow cavity in the nose that can fail. As a bonus, the bullets would be cheaper to produce than a jacketed, bonded, wonder bullet.

Soft lead also has advantages when going through a hard barrier, like auto windshields. It tends to deform and go through, rather that skipping off, like a harder bullet sometimes can.

So? Crazy idea? Or not?
 

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Our modern tank cannons are smooth bores,

Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) tank round make it work. Back in the day, the 05 and 155's were using rifled barrels. In fact, artillery guns are still using rifled barrels.
 

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Crazy idea... crazy like a fox. At SD handgun ranges a smoothbore is probably plenty accurate. Projectiles that are weight forward like a breneke shotgun slug, or an air rifle pellet, would likely stay stable in flight until contact. Shotgun slugs from smoothbores are minute-of-deer accurate enough to hunt with at 100 yards, so a pistol round at <25 yards should be fine.
 

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The lead smearing down the bore was the start of rifling, they started out cutting grooves to give the fouling some place to go then found out if it was given some twist accuracy improved immensely. You still had the big old soft bullet but now you could shoot farther more accurately.
 

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Wouldn't that be an "any other weapon" and subject to registration and a tax stamp?

"Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive;

Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores..."
 

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Our modern tank cannons are smooth bores,

Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) tank round make it work. Back in the day, the 05 and 155's were using rifled barrels. In fact, artillery guns are still using rifled barrels.
I spent some time at Aberdeen Proving Ground with the Abrams. The HEAT round exits the muzzle of the 120mm gun at about 6000 ft/sec. Rifling would slow the projectile down!
 

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If you look at the evolution of lethality, the old smoke poles relied heavily on caliber to create damage, because, you could only do so much with black powder, even when rifling became popular.

The metallic cartridge gave way to slightly smaller calibers, creating higher velocities, which in turn provided flatter trajectory, but still slow enough not to cause leading issues.

Smokeless powder powder produced a significant increase in what could be achieved with the same caliber, more velocity potential.
The higher velocity provided for the use of smaller calibers still, introducing the Magnum era in 1935 for handguns.
Before that, the use of lead bullets in rifles was effected by velocity reaching a threshold speed that caused leading in the bore issues, and the jacketed bullet became standard.

The reason this history is important to know for the person fretting over caliber and bullet selection (and there is more), is to understand that the smaller, faster bullet came about as a benefit of smokeless powder, and that while it did improve trajectory and velocity, giving similar and, sometimes dramatic perceived ballistic performance, it in no way actually worked better than the big , heavy, slow moving projectiles of the era of black powder.
The wounds to human and animals that claimed over 50,000 lives in just a few days will forever stand as a testament to that fact.
IMO, once you get to a 45 caliber, the lead can be soft, hard, or whatever, it's good enough whether it expands or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The lead smearing down the bore was the start of rifling, they started out cutting grooves to give the fouling some place to go then found out if it was given some twist accuracy improved immensely. You still had the big old soft bullet but now you could shoot farther more accurately.
I'm not sure this is accurate. The concept of spin stabilization predates firearms, and goes back to the era of bows and arrows. I'm fairly certain firearm rifling was invented as an aid to accuracy, and not to give the lead somewhere to go.

Wouldn't that be an "any other weapon" and subject to registration and a tax stamp?

"Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive;

Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores..."
You may be right, I'm not an attorney. They probably wanted to prohibit "pocket shotguns" with the way the law is written. Must be the reason revolvers like the Judge are rifled.

I guess the law would need to be changed...ugh. Or you could give the "smoothbore pistol" very slow and very shallow "rifling." :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Crazy idea... crazy like a fox. At SD handgun ranges a smoothbore is probably plenty accurate. Projectiles that are weight forward like a breneke shotgun slug, or an air rifle pellet, would likely stay stable in flight until contact. Shotgun slugs from smoothbores are minute-of-deer accurate enough to hunt with at 100 yards, so a pistol round at <25 yards should be fine.
Good point. A bullet shaped like a mini shotgun slug would be cheap to make, and would work for 99% of self defense situations. For those wanting more accuracy at distance, a finned bullet could be offered. Or, you could just rifle the bullet itself, like a shotgun slug...but that might cause more fouling.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you look at the evolution of lethality, the old smoke poles relied heavily on caliber to create damage, because, you could only do so much with black powder, even when rifling became popular.

The metallic cartridge gave way to slightly smaller calibers, creating higher velocities, which in turn provided flatter trajectory, but still slow enough not to cause leading issues.

Smokeless powder powder produced a significant increase in what could be achieved with the same caliber, more velocity potential.
The higher velocity provided for the use of smaller calibers still, introducing the Magnum era in 1935 for handguns.
Before that, the use of lead bullets in rifles was effected by velocity reaching a threshold speed that caused leading in the bore issues, and the jacketed bullet became standard.

The reason this history is important to know for the person fretting over caliber and bullet selection (and there is more), is to understand that the smaller, faster bullet came about as a benefit of smokeless powder, and that while it did improve trajectory and velocity, giving similar and, sometimes dramatic perceived ballistic performance, it in no way actually worked better than the big , heavy, slow moving projectiles of the era of black powder.
The wounds to human and animals that claimed over 50,000 lives in just a few days will forever stand as a testament to that fact.
IMO, once you get to a 45 caliber, the lead can be soft, hard, or whatever, it's good enough whether it expands or not.
The benefit would be more capacity and likely more reliable expansion, since you would not be relying on a hollow point. While .45 might be "good enough" bigger is better, isn't it? :wink:

One could imagine a smooth bore, high capacity pistol firing soft lead bullets at higher velocities than is possible with a rifled barrel.

As a bonus, the gun would be cheaper (no rifling) as would the ammo (no jacket).

Of course, the ammo makers would never support this idea...they're too busy selling us the next $1.50 ea wonder bullet...
 

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The benefit would be more capacity and likely more reliable expansion, since you would not be relying on a hollow point. While .45 might be "good enough" bigger is better, isn't it? :wink:

One could imagine a smooth bore, high capacity pistol firing soft lead bullets at higher velocities than is possible with a rifled barrel.

As a bonus, the gun would be cheaper (no rifling) as would the ammo (no jacket).

Of course, the ammo makers would never support this idea...they're too busy selling us the next $1.50 ea wonder bullet...
To tell the truth, I'd be happy with fmj for all around use, in any caliber.

If you notice, the threads here are usually mostly about this or that brand/style of bullet.
IMO, it should be more focused on shooting straight and tactics.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To tell the truth, I'd be happy with fmj for all around use, in any caliber.

If you notice, the threads here are usually mostly about this or that brand/style of bullet.
IMO, it should be more focused on shooting straight and tactics.
Agreed. Lots of folks have been stopped by plain old FMJ. Probably the vast majority, in fact. And I'll take an "over penetrating" FMJ over an under penetrating JHP any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

I've stated many times that the ultimate answer to "what caliber/bullet/gun" is...shoot them in the face.

But as enthusiasts, we tend to consider the finer details, which is fine. As long as we don't lose sight of the bigger picture.

These thoughts came to me as I was considering firearms and bullet historical development. How we are essentially trying to go back to where we were, with plain old soft lead bullets. Just nowadays at a much higher cost. There just has to be a simpler...cheaper...way. Back to the future, as it were.
 

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I'm not sure this is accurate. The concept of spin stabilization predates firearms, and goes back to the era of bows and arrows. I'm fairly certain firearm rifling was invented as an aid to accuracy, and not to give the lead somewhere to go.



You may be right, I'm not an attorney. They probably wanted to prohibit "pocket shotguns" with the way the law is written. Must be the reason revolvers like the Judge are rifled.

I guess the law would need to be changed...ugh. Or you could give the "smoothbore pistol" very slow and very shallow "rifling." :wink:
I recall reading the same thing as msgt - that rifling was first used to give residue a place to go, and the improvement in accuracy was discovered more or less by accident. I read this long ago, though, and don't recall the source.

You're right about the Judge, it makes it in because it's rifled and can fire .45 LC. There apparently was a Raging Judge chambered in 28 gauge that made it to SHOT in 2011, but they canned it, allegedly due to ATF feedback on classification.
 

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What you are describing is a shotgun sabot slug. That is how the M1 tank fires an accurate round from a smooth bore. The bore is 120mm, but the DU dart is less than 30mm. .
 

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And, slingshots don't lead...
 
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I recall reading the same thing as msgt - that rifling was first used to give residue a place to go, and the improvement in accuracy was discovered more or less by accident. I read this long ago, though, and don't recall the source.

You're right about the Judge, it makes it in because it's rifled and can fire .45 LC. There apparently was a Raging Judge chambered in 28 gauge that made it to SHOT in 2011, but they canned it, allegedly due to ATF feedback on classification.
Here is one discussion on the history of rifling.

The invention of rifling: Part 1 | Air gun blog - Pyramyd Air Report
 
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