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Old February 1, 2011, 12:40 PM   #1
maillemaker
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Reloading sabot rounds?

So every day at work I walk past the aluminum can recycling bin, and I think, "Gee, it's too bad I can't cast bullets out of aluminum." But then I think, "It would be too hard on the barrel anyway."

But then I was thinking.

What if we made sabot rounds to load into handgun cartridges?

What if we designed a plastic cup, and inserted a steel pin into it, like, say, a hardened dowel rod segment. Load this into the pistol brass as a normal round, and crimp to secure the sabot.

What do you think?
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Old February 1, 2011, 01:16 PM   #2
Tom Matiska
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Barrel twist? A 38 with a 16-18" twist is fast by pistol standards, but won't come close to stabliizing a "rod". Stabilization is offen discussed in terms of weight, but really it is a length thing. Round balls need very little twist, short pistol bullets need little more, longer(heavier)rifle bullets even more, ... a "rod" needs tail fins ....
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Old February 1, 2011, 01:18 PM   #3
LarryFlew
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To get to the required weight of a round you would have a spear gun with the rod sticking out of the barrel.
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Old February 1, 2011, 01:47 PM   #4
maillemaker
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Quote:
To get to the required weight of a round you would have a spear gun with the rod sticking out of the barrel.
I don't think so. A steel rod .375 inches in diameter and .75" long has a weight of 161 grains. .5" long is 112 grains.

Quote:
Barrel twist? A 38 with a 16-18" twist is fast by pistol standards, but won't come close to stabliizing a "rod". Stabilization is offen discussed in terms of weight, but really it is a length thing. Round balls need very little twist, short pistol bullets need little more, longer(heavier)rifle bullets even more, ... a "rod" needs tail fins ....
Bullets are just rods. Especially wad cutters.
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Old February 1, 2011, 01:52 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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Many reasons.... chief among them....

Cost (it's unlikely that a sabot and steel rod would be cheaper than a traditional bullet)

Ease of use (it would be a pain)

Accuracy (sabot rounds are not as accurate as a non-sabot round, take a look at the .30-06 "Accelerator")
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Old February 1, 2011, 02:20 PM   #6
maillemaker
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I modeled this up.

http://i.imgur.com/Uwvnm.png

http://i.imgur.com/BEvB4.png

Steve
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Old February 1, 2011, 02:26 PM   #7
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3/8 x 5/8 steel dowel rods are $.28 a piece in quantities of 50 through McMaster-Carr. I am certain that in quantity these would be pennies a piece.

Plastic shotshell wads cost $.02 a piece. I think sabots for a .45 could be manufactured just as cheaply.

So I don't think cost is a terrible concern.

Performance may be. A steel projectile would make a great armor piercing round, but obviously won't deform much.
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Old February 1, 2011, 02:47 PM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
3/8 x 5/8 steel dowel rods are $.28 a piece in quantities of 50 through McMaster-Carr. I am certain that in quantity these would be pennies a piece.

Plastic shotshell wads cost $.02 a piece. I think sabots for a .45 could be manufactured just as cheaply.

So I don't think cost is a terrible concern.
That's not a terrible concern!? Holy smokes man! What do you pay for practice bullets? Even if the cost were HALF what you quote there, you'd still be 20-50% higher than a decent, cheap bullet. Even if you could MATCH the cost, the other factors remain....

It's simply not feasible.
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Old February 1, 2011, 02:57 PM   #9
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Sounds to me like you are discussing manufacturing armor piercing handgun ammunition. That is not something I would advise doing.

Quote:
Under Title 18, UNITED STATES CODE, CHAPTER 44 as amended by Public Law 103-322
The Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (enacted September 13, 1994) 18 U.S.C. CHAPTER 44 § 921(a)(17)(B) the term 'armor piercing ammunition' means --

(i)a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or

(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

(C) The term 'armor piercing ammunition' does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Secretary finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Secretary finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.


§ 922(a) It shall be unlawful --


(7) for any person to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition
, except that this paragraph shall not apply to --


(A) the manufacture or importation of such ammunition for the use of the United States or any department or agency thereof or any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof;
(B) the manufacture of such ammunition for the purpose of exportation; and
(C) any manufacture or importation for the purpose of testing or experimentation authorized by the Secretary; and


(8) for any manufacturer or importer to sell or deliver armor piercing ammunition, except that this paragraph shall not apply to --

(A) the sale or delivery by a manufacturer or importer of such ammunition for the use of the United States or any department or agency thereof or any State or any department agency, or political subdivision thereof;
(B) the sale or delivery by a manufacturer or importer of such ammunition for the purpose of exportation;
(C) the sale or delivery by a manufacturer or importer of such ammunition for the purposes of testing or experimenting authorized by the Secretary.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to sell or deliver--


(5) any firearm or armor-piercing ammunition to any person unless the licensee notes in his records, required to be kept pursuant to section 923 of this chapter, the name, age, and place of residence of such person if the person is an individual, or the identity and principal and local places of business of such person if the person is a corporation or other business entity.
§ 923

(a) No person shall engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or importing or manufacturing ammunition until he has filed an application with and received a license to do so from the Secretary... Each applicant shall pay a fee for obtaining such a license to do so from the Secretary... Each applicant shall pay a fee for obtaining such a license, a separate fee being required for each place in which the applicant is to do business, as follows:


(1) If the applicant is a manufacturer-

(A) of destructive devices, ammunition for destructive devices or armor piercing ammunition, a fee of $1,000 per year;

(2) If the applicant is an importer-

(A) of destructive devices, ammunition for destructive devices or armor piercing ammunition, a fee of $1,000 per year.

(e) ...The Secretary may, after notice and opportunity for hearing, revoke the license of a dealer who willfully transfers armor piercing ammunition...

(k) Licensed importers and licensed manufactures shall mark all armor piecing projectiles and packages containing such projectiles for distribution in the manner prescribed by the Secretary by regulation. The Secretary shall furnish information to each dealer licensed under this chapter defining which projectiles are considered armor piercing ammunition as defined by section 921(a)(17)(B).

§ 929(a)

(1) Whoever, during and in relation to the commission of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime which provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which he may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm and is in possession of armor piercing ammunition capable of being fired in that firearm, shall in addition to the punishment provided for the commission of such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than five years.

(b) Not withstanding any other provision of law, the court shall not suspend the sentence of any person convicted of a violation of this section, nor place the person on probation, nor shall the terms of imprisonment run concurrently with any other terms of imprisonment, including that imposed for the crime in which the armor piercing ammunition was used or possessed. No person sentenced under this section shall be eligible for parole during the term of impressment imposed herein.

List of Armor Piercing Ammunition
KTW AMMUNITION, all calibers. (Identified by a green coating on the projectile)

ARCANE AMMUNITION, all calibers. (Identified by a pointed bronze or brass projectile)

THV AMMUNITION, all calibers. (Identified by a brass or bronze projectile and having a headstamp containing the letters SFM and THV)

CZECHOSLOVAKIAN manufactured 9mm Parabellum (Luger) ammunition having an iron or steel core. (Identified by a cupronickel jacket and headstamp containing a triangle, star and dates 49, 50, 51, or 52. The bullet is attracted to a magnet)

GERMAN manufactured 9mm Parabellum (Luger) having an iron or steel bullet core. (Original packaging is marked Pisolenpatronen 08 m.E. May have black colored bullet. This bullet is attracted to a magnet)

MSC AMMUNITION, Caliber .25. (Identified by a hollow point brass bullet. NOTE: MSC ammunition Caliber .25 identified by a hollow point copper bullet is not armor piercing)

BLACK STEEL ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION, All Calibers, as produced by National Cartridge, Atlanta, Georgia.

BLACK STEEL METAL PIERCING AMMUNITION, All Calibers, as produced by National Cartridge, Atlanta, Georgia.

7.62mm NATO AP (Identified by black coloring in the bullet tip. This ammunition is used by various NATO countries. The U.S. military designation is M61 AP)

7.62mm NATO SLAP (identified by projectile having a plastic sabot around a hard penetrator. The penetrator protrudes above the sabot and is similar in appearance to a Remington accelerator cartridge)

PMC ULTRAMAG .38 Special caliber, constructed entirely of a brass type material, and plastic pusher disc located at the base of the projectile. NOTE: PMC ULTRAMAG 38J late production made of copper with lead alloy projectile is not armor piercing.

OMNISHOCK, a .38 Special cartridge with a lead bullet containing a mild steel core with a flattened head resembling a wad cutter. (NOTE: OMNISHOCK cartridges having a bullet with an aluminum core are not armor piercing.)

7.62x39mm with steel core. (NOTE: these projectiles have a steel core. Projectiles having a lead core with steel jacket or steel case are not armor piercing)

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING CARTRIDGES HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE DEFINITION OF ARMOR PIERCING AMMUNITION:

5.56MM (.223) SS109 and M855 Ammunition, Identified by a green coating on the projectile tip.

U.S. .30-06 M2 AP, Identified by a black coating on the projectile tip.
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Old February 1, 2011, 02:58 PM   #10
maillemaker
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Quote:
That's not a terrible concern!? Holy smokes man! What do you pay for practice bullets? Even if the cost were HALF what you quote there, you'd still be 20-50% higher than a decent, cheap bullet. Even if you could MATCH the cost, the other factors remain....
I currently pay about $.08 a cartridge using self-cast bullets and recycled brass.

Purchased bullets seem to run around $.05 or so each. I think steel pins could be had for that price.

I'm sure there are issues, but I can see some benefits. Like greatly reduced barrel wear and zero metal fouling issues. Also the possibility of creating home-made armor-piercing ammunition.
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Old February 1, 2011, 03:02 PM   #11
maillemaker
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Well, that pretty much axes that one. Figures it would be illegal.

See what I'm really after here is finding a cheap replacement for lead. It sounds like lead wheel weights are going by the way side. And from the above law list, they've already outlawed all the other practical metals for a projectile that are dense enough to serve, because they are also hard and thus make good armor piercing rounds.
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Old February 1, 2011, 03:03 PM   #12
B. Lahey
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Quote:
Also the possibility of creating home-made armor-piercing ammunition.
Ah, good. Now there can be no misunderstanding of your intent.

You may want to stop talking now.
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Old February 1, 2011, 03:37 PM   #13
maillemaker
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Looks like some sabots are already available:

http://www.mmpsabots.com/blue.html
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Old February 1, 2011, 04:54 PM   #14
misskimo
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sabot rounds from factory rem. shoot 2 1/2" groups at 100 yards in my rem 30-06, but when I load, Im lucky to get 10" group. for some reason
( consistency) , I cant match a factory sabot rem Accelerator , still trying though. got about 3 boxes left of rem accelerator.
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Old February 1, 2011, 04:58 PM   #15
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Yup. .45 muzzleloader sabots are typically built to hold .357-.358" bullets.
They don't stay together very well. That's fine in a muzzleloader where they're packed down with a rod one at a time, and not so fine in a semi-auto magazine or revolver cylinder where recoil jars them loose. Slippery plastic doesn't grip copper or even lead very well.

Casting will likely go by the wayside at some point. I'm betting on sintered metal bullets as the cheap(est) replacement. Look to the replacements for steel shot in the shotgunning world if you want to see the future of cheap bullets. Bismuth, tungsten matrix, iron polymer,etc.
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Old February 1, 2011, 05:20 PM   #16
maillemaker
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I thought about recoil possibly allowing the projectile to slip out of the sabot.

One solution would be to have a semi-circular groove turned in the side of the projectile, with a matching rounded rib on the inside of the sabot. When the sabot was crimped in the case, it would grip the groove in the projectile.

Of course now the projectile just got more complicated and thus more expensive.

Another thought was they sell knurled dowel pins. This might give enough texture for the sabot walls to bite into, but I don't know what this would do to the aerodynamics of the projectile.

Of course the point is now basically moot since all of the desirable replacement materials are outlawed. I suppose you might make them out of copper - beryllium copper is banned but not pure copper, but I imagine that is more expensive than lead.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:28 PM   #17
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I've had good accuracy from the Remington 30/06 Accelerators with sabots holding 55-grain .224 bullets. Every 5-shot group was under 1.5-inch at 100 yards. I couldn't get as good accuracy from the normal .30 caliber factory rounds in my Ruger M77. So... when I hear people dish the Accelerators because of accuracy (or supposed plastic fouling), I have to chime in and say this was not my experience. I think they are great, and they gave me a great coyote gun back before I didn't own a .22 caliber centerfire.
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