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Old October 4, 2012, 02:30 PM   #1
Sevens
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Steel JACKETED .45 Hardball

Buddy of mine came across an estate sale and a lot of 1,000 pieces of .45 Hardball was in it. He's a lead caster and sticks specifically to lead, so I made a quick offer on the slugs that he was happy with and I bought them sight unseen.

Get them home to observe that they are pulldown. Minor annoyance, but no problem, I figured, as long as they load up and give me the proper case mouth tension I want -- and they did, all good. Loaded up nicely.

It was only after I loaded a few boxes did I decide on a whim to run a magnet over them and it stuck like glue! The magnet is horribly strong, I've got to say, but it's obvious that these have some iron-based content.

I took one of them and a known hardball (pulled down from Winchester FMJ) and crushed them each in a vise. This is a horribly vague experiment, but it's something, anyway. I try to "feel" the resistance in a vice to get any indication of the construction of the bullet. I also use this method to forcibly separate the slug from it's jacket. (I use the same method to get a visual of the plating on differing plated bullets-- this works if you don't have the tools to section a bullet.)

I can't say the two bullets felt much different. The jacket of the offended steel-jacket slug is thicker and much less pliable when separated from the core as compared to the standard FMJ. I ran my trusty magnet over the slug again and for certain, the iron content that is magnetically attracted to the magnet is all in the jacket, it is nowhere in the lead slug whatsoever.

So...Help! What is your opinion or experience on steel jacketed bullets? Not steel cased ammo, not steel core bullets, but a harder than expected jacket. (looks for all the world like every other 230 grain .45 cal Hardball you have EVER seen)

I'm quite sure that some indoor ranges simply won't allow them, and that is duly noted. (for right or for wrong, I won't break any range's rules, no matter their motivation)

What is your opinion on is how these bullets will treat the barrel of my handguns?

If I play the safe route, I've just bought a thousand slugs that will all be shot from my Ruger P-90 with no second thought. But should I be keeping these far, far away from my buddy's Les Baer? Or any other .45 pistol that I care a lot about?

Please help with your opinions and experiences here. I don't mind hear-say, either, I know how to separate the wheat from the chaff in a discussion forum. Cites or links to other discussions would be appreciated also.
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Old October 4, 2012, 03:30 PM   #2
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What is your opinion on is how these bullets will treat the barrel of my handguns?
Not kindly would be my guess, I picked up some steel-jacketed 9mm just for the heck of it - I have yet to fire it and have had it for a couple years
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Old October 4, 2012, 05:09 PM   #3
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The question is whether the steel jackets are harder or softer than the steel barrel.
Gotta' think they are much softer to be used as bullets.
Not as friendly to the gun as lead or copper, but survivable for occasional use, with a purpose.
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Old October 4, 2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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Put one bullet in saltwater for a week, if the jacket rusts it is iron, if not it is likely a cupro-nickel alloy. Nickel content over 50% is enough to attract a magnet.

I wouldn't worry too much about a thousand rounds through a 45. A lot of those GI 1911's had barrels last a very long time.

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Old October 4, 2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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The US military has used bi-metal jackets in 30 caliber bullets off and on over the years. I would not worry.
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Old October 5, 2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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It is my considered opinion that barrel life is going to be shorter with steel jacketed ammunition.
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Old October 5, 2012, 12:06 PM   #7
Sevens
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The question is whether the steel jackets are harder or softer than the steel barrel.
Gotta' think they are much softer to be used as bullets.
I would think exactly this as well, or perhaps-- that is what I am hoping.
However...if these slugs were made in a shed behind the Ural mountains, I don't have half a clue if those guys gave a **** about how soft or friendly they are to a handgun's barrel. I'm not at all worried about running them through a Ruger P-90, but I'm still looking for some more opinions.

Quote:
Put one bullet in saltwater for a week, if the jacket rusts it is iron, if not it is likely a cupro-nickel alloy. Nickel content over 50% is enough to attract a magnet.
I like this experiment! Dumb question: can I simply swish in a bunch of table salt in tap water for this little test?

Better question-- what if it doesn't rust and it turns out to be this cupro-nickel alloy. What can I or should I deduct from that? Cupro-nickel alloy is softer than steel? What's gained by a cupro-nickel alloy over a copper jacket... simply cheaper?

I appreciate the help & opinions, gents. Please keep them coming.

No fear that these WON'T get shot, it's just a matter of what I use to fling them down range. I hardly shoot the P-90...well, ever. I suppose this is as good a reason as any.
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Old October 5, 2012, 12:09 PM   #8
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I don't have half a clue if those guys gave a **** about how soft
Just wanted to point out that it always catches me off guard when our happy family-friendly filter here on TFL takes issue with the highly offensive term "turrd." I suppose it's simply addressing words that likely aren't used productively in a serious firearms discussion, but I've always thought it was pretty benign!
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Old October 5, 2012, 12:24 PM   #9
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The US military has used bi-metal jackets in 30 caliber bullets off and on over the years. I would not worry.
The US Military has more money for replacin barrels then I do.

I ain't putting that crap in any of my guns.

Barrels and chambers are relatively soft. Brass/copper/lead is softer yet.

Steel is harder,

Which one is gonna cause the most wear?????

To each his own, but I think too much of my guns to shoot steel bullets or steel cases.
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Old October 5, 2012, 12:45 PM   #10
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Mild steel has been used as bullet jacket material for over 100 years.

It's a bit tougher on barrels than guilding metal or cupro nickel. Germany used it extensively during World War II, especially later in the war as copper became ever scarcer.

Cupronickel is an older style jacket material that was used extensively in US military rifle ammunition until the adoption of the Ball M1 cartridge in the 1920s, which introduced the guilding metal jacket.

Cupronickel jacketed bullets had a nasty tendency to badly foul the bore, requiring laborious cleaning and often the use of really nasty chemicals that could quickly destroy the bore, like heavy duty (28% or more) ammonia or combinations of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

I'm not sure when the military stopped using cupronickel to jacket handgun ammo, but I know that the fouling problems weren't as extensive in the .45.
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:18 PM   #11
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Yes, you can simply swish table salt in tap water for the experiment. All you are looking for is red iron oxide forming on the bullet jacket. Cupronickel won't "rust" like that.

If it is iron, well then keep them around for trading stock, somebody has probably read the sci-fi novel "Sleipnir" and remembered what iron bullets do to fay creatures.

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Old October 5, 2012, 06:09 PM   #12
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People see the words "steel jacketed", They immediately think steel like used in tools and cars. Even when the correct term is used, MILD steel, they still think of hard steel.

Steel jackets are made of very soft, low carbon steel. It's further annealed to be very soft. Sevens said they looked just like FMJ's. THAT means they most likely copper PLATED steel. The plating is very thin, but serves to cushion the rifling to some extent.

Of course the reason for the steel jackets is because copper was getting scarce everywhere. Pennies were even made out of steel for a couple of years during the war. Anything that had copper in it was taken apart and sold or donated for the war effort. Mining could not keep up. Think of all the wiring that had to used in planes, tanks and other war m machines.

Would I shoot them in my SA-45. Nope, but I don't fire ANY jacketed bullets, all mine are hand made by me from scrap lead.
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:13 PM   #13
Mike Irwin
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"Pennies were even made out of steel for a couple of years during the war."

One year, actually. 1943. A few copper 1943 cents were minted. They are TURBO valuable.

From 1944 to 1946 pennies were partially made with scrap brass retrieved from shell casings. There's a good chance that German and Japanese shell brass went into later pennies.

The same copper shortage also led to the military making steel casings for .45 ACP.


I'll be dipped! Midway came across a stock of WW II steel-cased .45 ammo made by Evansville Chrysler.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/445...ler-production
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Old October 7, 2012, 05:00 AM   #14
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Ammo

Mike: Was that ammo available at Midway when you wrote that post? It sure ain't available now - 10/7. I am just wondering how long their stock lasted.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:54 AM   #15
Mike Irwin
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I thought it was because there was a price, but that seems to be information only...

Bummer.
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Old October 8, 2012, 07:53 AM   #16
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Cupronickel are silver color

Cupronickel are silver color
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