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Hey everyone,

 

I've been bullet casting and hand loading for a while mostly lead and sold copper, but now I’m interested in trying to cast aluminum bronze rounds because of its high strength. If anyone has ever worked with aluminum bronze before id really appreciate some information on what a good ratio of aluminum to copper would be to yield the hardest metal. Any information on the smelting and combination of these two metals would also be appreciated.

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I would imagine one of the moderators will move this over to the metal casting part of IFI.
As aluminum bronze is a common alloy in marine applications (prop shafts) information, and ingots shouldn't be imposible to find.
The only value I can.think of for using this material for pistol ammunition is to defeat body armor, and frankly 119 grain ball will defeat most (IIA) armor. As will aiming for the pelvice, in which case I would recommend something like a silver tipped glasser safty slug. The pelive contains 4 major vessels, and nerve bundles, as well as moving the least on a moving target. The standard body armor defeat drill is two in the chest, two in the pelvice and one in the head.
You might also check out a .50 cal forum as I've heard of folks casting bronze for them. Specifically for "hardened" target applications. As ATF takes a dim veiw on the sale of steel jacketed API rounds.

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Smelting is taking ore and making metal from it.  As refining Al is something like 10 times as expensive in energy costs as melting scrap Al.  I would strongly suggest you do NOT smelt Al.  Copper is easier to smelt from ore but the ore is rather hard to come by and scrap copper is easy to find. Did you mean "melting"?

 

My friend who made Al Bronze would melt the Al and then stir copper wire into it; the molten Al dissolving the solid copper.  Look into degassing your melt as well and I would suggest you check out backyardmetalcasting.com a website dedicated to casting.

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The only value I can.think of for using this material for pistol ammunition is to defeat body armor,...
You might also check out a .50 cal forum as I've heard of folks casting bronze for them. Specifically for "hardened" target applications. As ATF takes a dim veiw on the sale of steel jacketed API rounds.

 

 

They also take a dim view towards handgun ammo designed to defeat body armor. It's been a while since I hand loaded and read all the regs, but monolithic solids in handgun ammunition in hard materials was borderline at best at the time. The newer push of some areas to lead free ammunition has brought copper based solids more acceptability, but I believe to be legal they still have to be  capable of being defeated by standard police body armor or the ATF designates them as AP..

 

 

Bronze solids in rifle ammo gained popularity with loads for dangerous game. The ability to make bullets that wouldn't fragment under impact with bone and heavy muscle tissue and continue to drive on, as well as possibly still being capable of some expansion at the point made these a useful solution when you absolutely positively have to make it stop NOW. The added bonus was that these were lighter than normal lead based "solids" thus allowing an increase in velocity as well as the ability to stay in one piece.

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I would imagine one of the moderators will move this over to the metal casting part of IFI.
As aluminum bronze is a common alloy in marine applications (prop shafts) information, and ingots shouldn't be impsible to find.
The only value I can.think of for using this material for pistol ammunition is to defeat body armor, and frankly 119 grain ball will defeat most (IIA) armor. As will aiming for the pelvice, in which case I would recommend something like a silver tipped glasser safty slug. The pelive contains 4 major vessels, and nerve bundles, as well as moving the least on a moving target. The standard body armor defeat drill is two in the chest, two in the pelvice and one in the head.
You might also check out a .50 cal forum as I've heard of folks casting bronze for them. Specifically for "hardened" target applications. As ATF takes a dim veiw on the sale of steel jacketed API rounds.

Thanks for the reply Charles,

 

I recently had to sell my fn 5.7 after I fell on some hard times, and I'm investing in a much cheaper Baretta 9mm. I would love to be able to cast steel rounds, and simply add a copper jacket. The lowest velocity rounds for the 5.7 were about 2200 fps, and going to a 9mm is a major drop in velocity. The goal of this venture of mine is to hand load a round that can defeat a trauma plate since plates and vests are widely available to the general public now for a fairly low price, and you never know what you may run into in a home defense situation these days. The most durable bullet molds I found were cast from steel, but as my knowledge on the subject is quite limited im not even sure if I could use these with molten steel

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I think you could come up with a good accurate method of casting steel bullets for slightly under US$20,000 Probably want an induction furnace, vacuum degassing and precision machined molds that take into account shrinkage of the particular alloy you want to use.

 

On the other hand you could probably machine them for a tenth the set up cost;

 

Making your own is of course much more expensive than buying them as casting of steel is not easy, cheap or safe.

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The body armor defeat drill is really my suggestion, steel rounds would be best turned for that application. Dan Helms was teaching it to City of Tempe PD in 89-90, just after the LA incident. The secret with the 9mm is to practice on 1" targets and have your training partner do any thing to ad stress to your drills. I" dulling targets are the bomb. For home deffences, the mosberge 500 slugster with 2 3/4" law enforcement loads are hard to beat, and .50 saboted slugs for the long shot or hardened targets (trama plate might stop it but its still like getting hit by a 20# hammer)

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I have seen a study wherein the .50 slug being fired from a shotgun has the most potential for downrange (open air travel) "collateral" damage/wounding, as it will travel farther than most other rounds excluding, of course, .50 cal rifle,  making it a poor choice for a home defense round.

I have strongly advised against 00 Buck for apartment dwellers for the same concerns.  

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True, a standard slug has a 75 m max effective range where the .50 has a 150 m range, but wenchester 00 law enforcement load has rather low recoil and a very consistent pattern up to 25 m. Lke you I would recommend the safety slug and excellent gun handling skills for home defense.

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At most home defense ranges just about any standard shot load will act like a slug. I doubt I can get more than 40' max length in my house and to do so I'd have to sit on my kitchen stove and shoot someone backed up against the far living room wall across the dining room. Typical range upstairs is most likely less than 15'. The shot will still be in the cup at that range. 7 1/2 bird shot is going to hit as a single mass at that range, 1 oz of BB duck loads will probably penetrate a bit more, but it will still most likely hit as a solid "slug" rather than have a chance to spread at any range I might have to use it in the house.

 

 

If for some reason I need to go thru something 7.62 ball penetrates 3/8" mild plate at 300 meters if I remember right. Since I can keep all 10 rounds inside 4", rapid fire, standing to prone in 70 seconds, with a  reload, even with my bolt action, I doubt I'll have any issues.

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The problem with light loads/small projectiles is lack of penitration leadin to wounding instead of death. In our law suit happy country it's better not to have a wounded/ maimed assailant lying on the witness stand. You need a high probability of a kill, and 00 at 15m can generate a 80% plus one shot kill.
Now understand, if you chose to have a firearm for self/home defends, you must have proper skills and training, and firmy understand and fallow the rules of safe gunn handling, and the local laws.
1: A gun is always loaded (it's useless other wise, and more peaple are accedently shot and killed by "unloaded" guns in the US than by intention)
2: Do not put your finger on the trigger untile you intend to fire
3: Do not let the barel cove anything you do not want to destroy
4:Always check your targets (know what you are shooting at, know what's behind it, all the way to maximum range, be aware of possible deflected rounds and over penitration. You are responsible for that round, and any damages, inner us or deaths caused by it)
Fire arm handling and safty is not as easy as Hollywood makes it look, it is a highly paras able skill that must be practiced diligently and constantly or your fire arm becomes a liability instead of a safty tool.

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@Charles Stevens - "It's still like getting hit by a 20# hammer"

And a blacksmithing forum is about the ONLY place that I'd accept that some one actually knows what being hit with a 20# hammer might actually feel like. :p

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+Projectiles made from steel would likely cause two major issues...one they would not allow the impression of the steel rifling to push into the slug....and of course the wear on the barrel would be horrible..Finely surface of similiar materials tend to gall in heavy use...

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Seem to remember a bunch of mil surplus FMJ ammo was steel jacketed.  Was a little harder on the bore than most other stuff out there but worked just fine.  But then it still had a lead core so expansion into the rifling worked vs a solid steel bullet.

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.50 cal projectiles were lathe turned from WW2 until Vietnam from mild steel, on multispindle cam machines such as Acme and New Britain. If I was going to make any type of hard bullet, whether bronze, steel or whatever, I would aim to do it on a lathe. Of course, I neither recommend or condone doing so...

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Never saw a steel .50 round. All of the ones I have seen , including WWII vintage were copper over a lead, or tungsten core with tracer/incendiary/etc elements.

Berrylium copper bullets are considered AP by the BATFE.

Now having my 2¢ added, I am dubious of this thread. New poster with a handle of jok3reod (joker) asking about making bullets to defeat body armor = troll? Hmmmmmmm?

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Or is trying to get in trouble discussing such things on an open forum; I've heard of very few home invasions with the perps wearing body armour.  My SiL was a LEO and gave me a pump shotgun as we live away from town. First in line is birdshot, the next is buck.  The birdshot is the "warning" load except that if they are close enough to not get in a second shot the bird will do, the bird will do...

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Never saw a steel .50 round. All of the ones I have seen , including WWII vintage were copper over a lead, or tungsten core with tracer/incendiary/etc elements.

Berrylium copper bullets are considered AP by the BATFE.

Now having my 2¢ added, I am dubious of this thread. New poster with a handle of jok3reod (joker) asking about making bullets to defeat body armor = troll? Hmmmmmmm?

Not sure if I can find the article now from the Precision Machined Parts Association but steel bullets were produced primarily for aircraft rounds and the practice began around 1943 during the height of World War 2.  I assume the ballistics would not be good at long range but most aircraft combat was not conducted at extreme yardages.  I have no idea how many slugs were ultimately made but the article I read showed an old picture of the setup and parts/bullets coming off an Acme.

 

And I agree with your closing comments...

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You guys covered most of this , but I'll add my .02 anyway.

Casting lead is one thing, copper is usually swaged from solid. On top of copper being a pain to cast, any voids/casting defects could be an issue. A 9mm going 1200 fps out of a 1:12 barrel will be spinning 72,000 rpm. Not all that fast in the world of firearms, but a void will throw it off course and a defect could potentially come apart once it leaves the barrel.  Plus you would still have to size it so you might as well swage it. Aluminum bronze over 10% starts to get brittle and even lower is still hard as a cob. How would you size it? You'll have the same issue with defects. Zinc is much easier to deal with.

casting steel, really?

Ap is one thing if you're talking about rifle rounds. There is an unlimited(for now) supply of perfectly legal surplus ap on the market.  It's a different story when talking handgun rounds. ap handgun rounds are illegal to buy and sell in all 50 states. You can thank the media for that. Remember the teflon "cop killer" bullets? According to the media the teflon coating allowed it to magically squirt through kevlar. When in reality it merely saved wear and tear on the rifling. Not sure of the legality of manufacturing handgun ap for your own personal use.

 

 

mark

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