Ballistics by the inch

Boxed sets

Remember the post about the various large cartridges?

Well, I made a display box. Actually, I made three — one for each of the BBTI team members. And now that I’ve given the other two guys theirs, I can share pics:

20200811_154649

That’s all three boxes. They’re simple plywood exterior, with the interior of acrylic. All of it cut using my Glowforge laser. Here’s a detail shot:

detail

The boxes were designed so that the cartridges can be easily removed so that people can actually handle them.

open mostly full

And they close up for safe storage.

clasp

Just thought I would share these.

 

Jim Downey

 

 

August 24, 2020 Posted by | .44 Magnum, Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So, you think .44 magnum is powerful?

Yesterday I got a box of cartridges. Now, even with the shortages these days, that isn’t that unusual.

But take a look at the contents:

Box

OK, for scale: that’s a full-sized .44 magnum cartridge on the right, outside the box.

What the Hell???

This was a box of, um, BIG cartridges put together for me by one of the other BBTI guys, just for fun.  Yeah, we have odd senses of humor.

Now, I’ll admit, most of these I didn’t even recognize. But I spent some time with my copy of Cartridges of the World by Frank C Barnes, and poking around online. And I thought I’d share the results. For simplicity in putting this blog post together, descriptions of each cartridge is from Wikipedia and in blue text. Other info is probably from Cartridges of the World.

Here are the cartridges, lined up for better display:

Standing

You can make note of your guesses for each one, if you’d like, then test to see whether you’re right.

Ready?

OK, from left to right … (with ruler and full-size .44 mag for scale):

950JDJ

.950 JDJ.950 JDJ cases are approximately 70 mm in length, and are based on a 20×110mm case shortened and necked up to accept the .950 in (24.1 mm) bullet. Projectiles are custom-made and most commonly weigh 3,600 grains (230 g) which is 8.2 ounces or over half a pound. The cartridge is derived from a 20mm Vulcan cannon cartridge.

 

12.7 x 108

12.7 x 108mm. The 12.7×108mm cartridge is a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the former Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, China and other countries. It was invented in 1934 to create a cartridge like the German 13.2mm TuF anti-tank rifle round and the American .50 Browning Machine Gun round.

 

12.7 x 99

14.5 JDJ. It uses the .50 BMG case with the neck opened up to accept a .585 in (14.9 mm) bullet. Barnes notes that this proprietary cartridge is capable of sub-MOA groups at 1,000 yards out of a SSK Industries rifle, with almost 15,000 ft/lbs of energy.

 

50 BMG

.50 BMG. The .50 Browning Machine Gun (.50 BMG, 12.7×99mm NATO and designated as the 50 Browning by the C.I.P.[1]) is a cartridge developed for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun in the late 1910s, entering official service in 1921. Under STANAG 4383, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. * * * The .50 BMG cartridge is also used in long-range target and anti-materiel rifles, as well as other .50-caliber machine guns.

 

700 Nitro Express

.700 Nitro Express. The .700 Nitro Express (17.8×89mmR) is a big game rifle cartridge made by Holland & Holland, London, England. It was developed in 1988 by Jim Bell and William Feldstein and built by H&H.

 

600 Nitro Express

.600 Nitro Express. The .600 Nitro Express is a large bore Nitro Express rifle cartridge developed by W.J. Jeffery & Co for the purpose of hunting large game such as elephant.

 

500 Nitro Express

.500 Nitro Express. The .500 Nitro Express is a rifle cartridge designed for hunting large and dangerous game animals in Africa and India.

 

500 Jeffery

.500 JefferyThe .500 Jeffery is a big-game rifle cartridge that first appeared around 1920, and was originally introduced by the August Schuler Company, a German firm, under the European designation “12.7×70mm Schuler” or “.500 Schuler”. When offered by the famed British outfitter W.J. Jeffery & Co, it was renamed the .500 Jeffery so as to be more palatable to British hunters and sportsmen following World War One.

 

50 Alaskan

.50 Alaskan. The .50 Alaskan is a wildcat cartridge developed by Harold Johnson and Harold Fuller of the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in the 1950s. Johnson based the cartridge on the .348 Winchester in order to create a rifle capable of handling the large bears in Alaska.

 

50-110

.50-110 Winchester. The .50-110 WCF (also known as the .50-100-450 WCF , with different loadings) in modern 1886 Winchesters with modern steel barrels is the most powerful lever-action cartridge, with up to 6,000 foot pounds of energy.

 

11 x 59 R Gras

11 x 59mm R Gras. The 11×59mmR Gras, also known as the 11mm Vickers, is an obsolete rifle cartridge. France’s first modern military cartridge, the 11×59mmR Gras was introduced in 1874 and continued in service in various roles and with various users until after World War II.

 

458 Win Mag

.458 Win Mag. The .458 Winchester Magnum is a belted, straight-taper cased, Big five game rifle cartridge. It was introduced commercially in 1956 by Winchester and first chambered in the Winchester Model 70 African rifle.[2] It was designed to compete against the .450 Nitro Express and the .470 Nitro Express cartridges used in big bore British double rifles. The .458 Winchester Magnum remains one of the most popular game cartridges, and most major ammunition manufacturers offer a selection of .458 ammunition.

 

500 S&W Mag R

.500 S&W Magnum. The .500 S&W Magnum (12.7×41mmSR) is a fifty-caliber semi-rimmed handgun cartridge developed by Cor-Bon in partnership with the Smith & Wesson “X-Gun” engineering team for use in the Smith & Wesson Model 500 X-frame revolver and introduced in February 2003 at the SHOT show.[5] It has two primary design purposes: as a hunting handgun cartridge capable of taking all North American game species, and to be the most powerful production handgun cartridge to date.

And there you have it.

How did you do at identifying the cartridges? As noted, a lot of these I could not ID just by looking at them, though most of them I recognized once I examined the cartridge base for headstamp info. Two I was unfamiliar with (the .500 Jeffery and the .50 Alaskan), and one I had to break out my calipers in order to figure it out: the 14.5 JDJ. Because it’s headstamped as a 12.7 x 99mm, or BMG, cartridge. Once I realized the projectile was larger, then I guessed what it must be.

And no, we’re *not* going to be testing these or anything. It was just something fun to share.

Jim Downey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2, 2020 Posted by | .44 Magnum, Discussion., Links, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dealing with power.

About 40 years ago, when I was an idiot teenager (yeah, I know — redundant, particularly in my case), we got this ’48 Willys Jeep. Since the engine was shot, we dropped an Olds V-6 in it. This was, essentially, like strapping a rocket to a skateboard. And it was too much power for idiot teenage me to handle.  Twice I snapped the driveshaft on the thing, just dumping the clutch too damned quickly. Twice. My uncle (who I lived with) was certain that I had been racing or something similar. The truth was, I didn’t even have that much of an excuse; I had simply goosed the engine too much and popped it into gear too fast. The original driveshaft just couldn’t handle that much of a power spike.

This is kinda what happens to your poor .45 ACP firearm when you decide to run some .45 Super through it.

With the Jeep, we wound up putting a more robust driveshaft in it. And I learned that if I wanted to keep driving it, I needed to be less of an idiot.

This analogy holds to how you should approach handling .45 Super power out of your .45 ACP gun. Chances are, very occasional use of these much more powerful loads won’t cause any problem in a quality, modern-made firearm. But if you’re smart, you’ll either greatly limit how many times you subject your gun (and your body) to that amount of power, or you will take steps to help manage it better and extend the life of your gun.

Typical ‘standard’ (non +P) .45 ACP loads tend to have a maximum pressure of between say 15,000 PSI and about 18,000 PSI. When you get past that, you get into ‘over-pressure’, or +P territory, up to about 23,000 PSI. This is the range most common modern firearms are built to handle safely.

But .45 Super generates more chamber pressure than that. How much more? Well, it’s a bit difficult to say, since there is a surprising dearth of data readily available. Neither my 49th Edition of Lyman’s Reloading Handbook nor my 13th Edition of Cartridges of the World have data for the .45 Super. Real Guns has some reloading formulas for .45 Super which give results consistent with our tests, but there are no pressure specs listed. Hodgdon Reloading has some pressure specs (in C.U.P.), but all their listed results for .45 Super are well below what our tests results were. Wikipedia lists .45 Super as having a maximum pressure of 28,000 PSI, and given that .460 Rowland is usually considered to run 35,000 – 40,000 PSI, that is probably in the correct ballpark.

I have written previously about converting a standard Glock 21 from .45 ACP over to .460 Rowland, and what is involved with that. Specifically, a new longer barrel with a fully-supported chamber which accommodates the longer case of the .460 Rowland, a 23 pound recoil spring, and a nice compensator to help tame the recoil. I also changed out the magazine springs, using an aftermarket product which increases the spring power by about 10%. This is because even with the other changes, the slide still moves much faster than with .45 ACP loads, and the increased mag spring power helps with reliability in feeding ammo. But even with all of that, shooting full-power .460 Rowland loads tends to cause damage to my magazines (as seen in the linked post).

Do you need to do all that in order for your firearm to handle frequent use of .45 Super loads? Well, I think that if you want to use a .460 Rowland conversion kit, it *will* tame the amount of recoil more than enough, but I don’t think that it is necessary to go quite that far. I should note that I have now run several hundred .45 Super loads through my Glock 21, and the gun has operated flawlessly — WITHOUT any damage to the magazines.

Converted G21 on left, G30S on right.

Converted G21 on left, G30S on right.

Rather, I think that the smart thing to do is to start off with going to a heavier recoil spring, perhaps swapping out a metal guide rod for a plastic one (if your gun comes with a plastic guide rod). Stronger magazine springs are probably still a good idea, to aid with reliable feeding. If suitable for your gun, add in a recoil buffer. These are the steps I have taken with my Glock 30S, and am planning for my Beretta Cx4 Storm. So far I have put a couple hundred .45 Super loads through the G30S with this configuration, and it has operated without a problem — again without any damage to the magazines.

As I said in my previous blog post, I still think that the .460 Rowland is a hell of a cartridge. But I think that the .45 Super offers almost as many advantages to the average shooter, with less hassle. I would still recommend that anyone who intends on shooting more than the very occasional .45 Super loads out of their gun consider making some simple changes to handle the additional power and extend the life of their gun. Don’t be like the idiot teenage me; deal with the power intelligently.

 

Jim Downey

 

 

November 1, 2015 Posted by | .45 ACP, .45 Super, .450 SMC, .460 Rowland, Data, Discussion., Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments