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J. Frank Norfleet

Round nosed bullets in the Rifle

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I know someone will blast me for asking this question, but here goes. I've known shooters who have no qualms about using round nosed bullets in their SASS rifles. They contend there is no danger of a round nosed bullet setting off a round in the tubular magazine. That made me think, how many of you out there make a regular practice of it?

Edited by J. Frank Norfleet

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Round nose bullets probably won't set the others off, I'm not willing to take that chance myself; really wouldn't be to fond of someone else doing it at a match either.

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The funny thing is that I reload RN Flat Points in my .30-30 but all my factory ammo is round nosed.

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I'd not worry about most straight-line magazines, because a primer needs a pretty tight point of impact to go off. A Henry design, with a spring loaded follower (that has to be compressed to load the magazine, then released to set down on the cartridges) which can slam a column of cartridges together with quite a bit of force - now that I would get very cautious about using a round nose slug in.

 

Good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708

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During the military trials in the 1870s or so, the Marlin 1881 repeatedly had magazine explosions, which led to their removal from the trials. Using RN bullets.

Edited by Mad Dane, SASS#5536

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Like Michigan Slim stated, lots of 30-30 Factory ammo is round nosed as are many reloading bullets for them round nosed. However, I'm just like Justin Wilson on that, being a safety man, I wear a belt AND suspenders. Cant take a chance on having a problem.

 

For my thinking, it's plain stupid to use round nosed bullets in a tubular magazine, when flat nosed bullets are readily available. Might never have a problem with RN bullets, but RNFP bullets are inherently safer by design.

 

RBK

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During the military trials in the 1870s or so, the Marlin 1881 repeatedly had magazine explosions, which led to their removal from the trials. Using RN bullets.

Those trials took place in 1882, only one rifle failed(#16) of the lot tested.

How that could be compared with today's ammo, is be on me. :unsure:

OLG

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The cartridge case makes a difference too:

 

.38Spl.

DSCN0378.jpg

.30-30

DSCN0377.jpg

 

There are "round" nose bullets, and then there are "rounder" nose bullets...

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I know someone will blast me for asking this question, but here goes. I've known shooters who have no qualms about using round nosed bullets in their SASS rifles. They contend there is no danger of a round nosed bullet setting off a round in the tubular magazine. That made me think, how many of you out there make a regular practice of it?

It's probably quite safe, and I can understand doing it if folks can't find flat point ammo to reload with. However,

if it could happen, and you could avoid it, why wouldn't you?

 

I've already developed accurate loads using the 250 LRNFP from Missouri, using TB powder, I'll just stick with that.

 

SC

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I've actually taken a primed case put it in a vice used a pair of pliers to hold a round nose bullet and beat the bullet with a hammer and it did Not go off. I've done it several times same result. Try it for yourself. Also thousands of rounds over many years out of my 66 and 73's but I say this if your not comfortable with it then don't do it. Dusty Boddams

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I've actually taken a primed case put it in a vice used a pair of pliers to hold a round nose bullet and beat the bullet with a hammer and it did Not go off. I've done it several times same result. Try it for yourself. Also thousands of rounds over many years out of my 66 and 73's but I say this if your not comfortable with it then don't do it. Dusty Boddams

:lol: Dang Dusty, that was the kind of field test and testimony I was looking for!

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For a primer to be ignited, it has to be hit HARD and FAST

Give me an example of any magazine with 10 rounds in it that the rounds are hit HARD & FAST when loading or waiting to be chambered? Exception - a stunad (idiot) that releases that spring in a 1860 from the muzzle that slams the follower down the magazine with force

I load round nose - flat nose and speer points in any of my magazine rifles with no concern that a primer is going to ignite, though the only speer points are the Ideal 311413 in a 30-30 for lever action matches

311413_169g.gif

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I can testify without a shadow of a doubt that a round nosed bullet can and will set off a primer in a tube magazine rifle!! It doesn't even have to be that round of a nose on the profile!!

 

Several years ago, my wife bought me an 1860 Henry replica rifle. She had it slicked up and short stroked and completely gunsmithed for S.A.S.S. competition. I had already heard about the Henry's reputation for ammunition going off in the magazine and I took it seriously. I shot ONLY bullets that were "RNFP" and made sure that my ammo and bullet suppliers knew it!!!

 

As I got more competitive, I started using a 160 gr. RNFP bullet in both my rifle and pistols. On a hot afternoon after a monthly match, I decided to get in a little extra practice. I was staying at the range, (there was another match scheduled for the next day) so I went and took a shower, ate some lunch, and returned to the range area. It had only gotten hotter and I'm sure fatigue had an effect on me as well. I was almost through. I had eight rounds of the previously mentioned ammo left, and proceeded to load up the Henry for a few single shot drills to complete my practice. I slid the last cartridge into the magazine and as I went to lower the follower into the magazine, it slipped out of my sweaty fingers. When it hit the front cartridge, it slammed and six of the eight rounds exploded, sending the follower hard into the front of the barrel swivel and blowing brass shards out of the slot in the magazine and peppering my nether regions with brass shrapnel.

 

When we examined the bullet profile of the 160 gr. projectile, we found that it had a very slight crown on the flat portion. I still have the remains of the exploded rounds and it can be seen that several of the primers have the SLIGHTEST concave dent in them! We modified the mold for the bullet to correct the problem.

 

I am even more conscientious about loading the Henry since that incident. I also inspect numerous examples of any new bullet I purchase for use in it or ANY tubular magazine rifle! I figure that it's just PLUMB DUMB to ignore that level of experience. Even ten years down the road, I STILL occasionally pick a piece brass out of an uncomfortable place!!

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I used round nose bullets once when I could find no RNFP. The whole match I wondered if it was such a good idea. Why wonder? Play it safe.

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Can't find the test at the moment, but a number of years ago, an ammunition company did extensive testing on this as they made heavy hunting ammo for tubular magazine rifles. Their testing concluded that high primers caused the explosions more than round nose or pointed bullets. When a high primer was slammed into the primer pocket due to the recoil, it would go off, even with flat nose bullets. This company switched to small rifle primers in their .45-70 and such cartridges to try to prevent the inertia of the heavier large primers. Not sure if it was worth it but it was their solution.

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So Blackwater, what Garrison Joe said was a possibility actually happened to you. By a "crown" do you mean more of a point?

Boggus Deal, the tests you cite were for the heavier recoiling .45-70, and they solved it by making sure the primers were seated and going to small primers.

This has been interesting, thank you all

JFN

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When I first started in CAS I didn't cast lead bullets, and the most readily available .45s were 230-grn lead roundnose, and I shot them for at least two years before I started casting. I never had a problem -- but I still don't think it's a good idea. I think you are unlikely to set off a primer with a round nosed bullet. I think you will definitely not set off a primer with a flat nose bullet.

That little gap between "unlikely" and "definitely" is the area where I define safety, and I'd rather be on the safer end of things. Your mileage may vary.

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I have used RN Jacketed Soft Point bullets in a .33 WCF Winchester M1886 before I could get the now-discontinued Hornady JFP .338- 200 gr. bullets. The recoil of a .33 WCF is on the order of a .30-30 or perhaps even a .30-06. The rifle had a maximum capacity of five rounds in the tubular magazine. Never had a problem.

 

HOWEVER...that being said, I used ONLY hard-cast FLAT POINT bullets with a meplat (tip) 3/8" in diameter in my .44-40 tubular magazine rifles...just to be on the safe side. In addition, I make sure when priming the cases that the primers are flush or slightly below the case head, either using a primer seating gage or running my thumb across each case head after priming.

 

I, too, wear a belt and suspenders! ;)

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With all the flat pointed ammo for sale, why buy round nose bullets for your rifle. If you already have some round pointed ammo, shoot them in your pistols. You likely would not be injured too badly if a round goes off in your mag while shooting, but it is your arm, hand, fingers and face, not mine.

Edited by Gold Canyon Kid #43974

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as I went to lower the follower into the magazine, it slipped out of my sweaty fingers. When it hit the front cartridge, it slammed and six of the eight rounds exploded,

Not a function of IF but a function of WHEN. The 1860 is the only tubular magazine I have heard that sets off a chain fire when the spring is released quickly at the muzzle

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Only witnessed it once, Remington factory round nose lead round nose .38 spl. yellow box in 1866 carbine Uberti. CAS match in Dalton, GA. 2nd shot ignited 3 rounds blew side plate off & deformed and blew out mag tube. No injuries as no one close to the side plate. Val Folgett found us a side plate, unfinished rough cast, as it was an early 1xx serial number Navy Arms gun and I was able to salvage the gun. It's still in use today with the caveat not to use round nose bullets.

One of my pards blew his hand up a bit with a 1860 Uberti Henry with rnfp 44-40 bullets when the follower slipped. So a round nose bullet shouldn't be that much of a stretch to see you don't want to be that guy.

I've been shooting and officiating in all kinds of matches for many decades. I've seen every kind of firearm in those matches suffer a failure. The majority were ammunition based, some of those were factory rounds.

The round nose flat point bullets designed for the specific caliber ie: 30-30 are made to be safe in that loading. The fmj pointed round nose .308 bullets for loading rounds into the chamber from a box magazine obviously shouldn't be in a tube mag and the manufacturers and the loading manuals point that out.

We've had this argument among shooters since I can remember reloading starting in 1973 and i guess we'll have it forever. Please just tell me if you're using sharply rounded bullets so I can stand back a bit more while timing you. Anyone who has ever watched me run a timer notices I stay pretty clear just as I never stand in front of a door while knocking on it anymore.

 

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J Frank

I remember the rounds Blackwater had detonate. The tips were made from a nearly flat tip drill bit when manufacturing the bullet mold. It was a maybe .010-.015 cone to it.On casual inspection a "flat tip". Under magnification you could see there was a "tip". It worked just like a firing pin, Again this was a Henry style loading system and did not happen on firing just at the loading table. Where, firing should not happen. Im glad my buddy had minimal injury and the gun was fixable too.

my$.02

Imis

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Hot dang. So now Hornady manufactures Leverevolution ammo with spitzer points. What's your concern?

 

 

Very special polymer tips that are "major league" cushions instead of "firing pin substitutes." Yep. The invention and testing of those sure do not justify using regular pointy bullet tips (lead or other metal) in lever guns.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I've shot the lever revolution 44 mag in a Winchester 94. Those are good shooting rounds. The polymer tip really provides a superior ballistic bullet to safely use in tube mag guns. There's no need to guess when a company puts it resources and expertise into providing a quality product.

I know from running ranges people are going to do whatever suits them and justify their actions anyway they can regardless of rules, manufacturers recommendations, and often in spite of common sense. It's human nature, most of what little knowledge I've retained is from my screw ups.

In the end it's simple, I prefer everyone leave the range in as good a state of health as they had on arrival.

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So Blackwater, what Garrison Joe said was a possibility actually happened to you. By a "crown" do you mean more of a point?

Boggus Deal, the tests you cite were for the heavier recoiling .45-70, and they solved it by making sure the primers were seated and going to small primers.

This has been interesting, thank you all

JFN

 

That is correct. A Imiss pointed out, the deviation from flat was actually less than .015". The primers were properly seated. I was using, and STILL use Federal primers. This WAS an aberration, but I'd heard of it happening before and have heard of it since.

 

I also was told of another explosion in a full tube magazine rifle, similar to the incident cited by Joe West. In the incident I heard about, the shooter had loaded round point ammo into a Winchester copy, (I don't recall if it was a '66 or a '73). When the shooter staged his rifle in a slanted rack standing at about 65 degrees from horizontal, the stock slid off of the raised rim around the bottom of the rack and hit in the bottom, an approximately 1 1/2" drop. Some of the ammo fired off in the mag tube, rupturing the tube, damaging the loading gate, and bending the side plate on the rifle.

 

In my experience and opinion, it ain't worth the risk!!

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IMO

 

most of these can be tracked back to high primers and /of , bad QC in the casting process , that being said

 

the 1866 and 1873 Ubertis are not and were never built correctly , due to the use of the large cal mag tube being used on all cals

 

the cutting down of the follower spring , makes it more likely for the rounds to be able to move foward due to recoil

 

having never had a 60 , I will go with what Blackwater has said ,

 

some will scoff at MY thoughts , another point , I do NOT recall , seeing any ads showing anything but RN pistol ammo (1880 -1900)

good chance there are some , but I ain't seen them

 

Chickasaw Bill

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My Rossi '92 38/357 didn't like 38 w FN, so I found a cast RN bullet from Georgia Arms with near max 38 AOL that feeds very well in both Rossi '92 357 and Yellowboy 38spl. I could not find a FlatNose bullet that would load to near max 38 AOL, so this cast RN was my solution. This also works well in Ruger 357 Blackhawks and Uberti/NavyArms 38spl OpenTops.

 

As such I always use CCI Primers for Rifle (stock springs) and Federal Primers for Pistols (light springs).

 

Have been reloading/shooting this configuration since 2010 when I got hooked on CAS.

 

Wrote an article on our LVR website:

http://lonesomevalleyregulators.org/CAS_Reloading.php

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I've been shooting round nose 96gr lead in my 38/357 marlin & 73 since 2006. Haven't had an issue yet and I shoot around 40,000 annualy, that's not counting my wife and two kids ammo. Anyway that's my two cents worth,

 

Your Pal,

Slick McClade

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We dont allow round nose bullets to be used at our range because of the possibility of one going off in the tube.Another reason is Insurance.I was talking to Ruff Cobb about it & he said it happened to him once.He hasn't used RN in his rifle since.

 

Largo

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I guess it's a good thing nobody told the owners of 1886 Winchester 45-70's not to shoot RN bullets in them for the last 130 years.

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