Experimenting with Bullets
Experimenting with Bullets
The crank and the practical man go to work experimenting, they try this and that, varying the size of the bore and twist of barrel, powder, quantity and grade, the temper of bullets from pure lead to different proportions of tin, etc., and the result of all this is, we have a great variety of bullets of the various so-called calibers, while in point of fact there are very few, if any, of them what they are called. All this is very confusing to the uninitiated. The manufacturers of the various arms have by a long series of experimenting decided upon a standard size of bullet to be used in their different calibers, and the manufacturers of ammunition all make the bullets to that standard and they will not vary .001 of an inch as they come from the factory. There are, however, some who differ in their opinions as to what diameter of a bullet should be for their rifles; they will push a bullet through the barrel, and if the impressions of the rifling on it are not deep enough to suit their ideas, they decide that a bullet of the standard size is not large enough and may condemn the mould. Others there are who desire to have their bullets smaller than the standard size and point to their fine records to prove that they are correct, which is simply a verification of "Many men of many minds."
Of course, a bullet should fit so as positively to prevent the escape of the gas by the side of the bullet; all of the pressure generated by the ignition of the powder should be kept at the base of the bullet to expel it. If gas escapes through the barrel past the bullet, so much force is lost, and if the escapement is greater on one side than on the other, it will deflect the bullet and make the flight irregular, and accuracy under such conditions is out of the question. Some of the best authorities think a bullet when seated in the barrel by hand should fit to the bottom of the rifling so as to shut off positively all gas before the powder is ignited; others think that a space should be left between the length of the bullet and the- bottom of the rifling, the space to be closed up by the upsettage of the bullet at the time of the explosion. As to how a bullet of the standard size will fit a barrel depends wholly upon the bore and the depth of the rifling. Variations in both of these points are found, as well as in everything else; there are no two rifle barrels alike any more than there are two human beings; each has his own individuality and must be humored in accordance with his peculiarities. The bore of a rifle is the size of the smooth hole in the barrel before it is rifled, which is commonly called the caliber; this, however, is not the size of the bullet. The diameter of the bullet is determined by the depth of the rifling and should be large enough to shut off the gas. The depth of the grooves in the ordinary rifle barrel is from .001 to .004 of an inch according to the ideas of the various manufacturers, or those of the shooters who may order them in accordance with their peculiar notions. It must be remembered that it is the barrel, not the shells, that the bullet should fit properlv to get good results. One great advantage for the Ideal reloading tool over all others is that it has a bullet sizer as well as a bullet mould combined with the loading chamber in a convenient and handy form. The moulds thus can be made so as to cast the bullets a trifle above the standard size, allowing the use of any mixture of metal that the shooter desires; and, after the lubrication is in the grooves, they can be forced through the sizing die, this will press the lubrication solidlv into the grooves, wipe off all surplus grease, and at the same time make the bullet perfectly round.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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