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Aluminum bullets

Wild TurkeyWild Turkey Member Posts: 2,427 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2014 in Ask the Experts
Has anyone ever tried aluminum bullets, either jacketed or pure?

Some of the alloys have mechanical properties similar to lead so I was wondering how it would behave.

Due to much lower density there would be length, etc problems but less mass means less powder, etc.

It seems like a simple way to produce light bullets for large bore rifles that could be loaded to similar velocities as lead bullets for plinking, etc

Lots of possibilities but lots of problems too I'm sure.

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    p3skykingp3skyking Member Posts: 25,750
    edited November -1
    I would suppose it's like throwing a wiffleball. No range and a light wind would send it off course.
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    charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 6,579 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Aluminum has be tried with unsuccessful results as far as I know. Poor sectional density is one issues. Aluminum oxide (rapidly forms on bare Aluminum) is like sandpaper.

    Plastic sabots. I always wanted to make 7mm BTHP work in my 458. Perhaps 3D printing will make it possible.
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    rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,650 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Aguila use to make segmented, (for fragmentation ), Aluminum personal protection bullets. The ones I shot were in 9mm. They didn't work, worth a dam. To light a powder charge for reliable function.

    Years back I did a lot of experimenting, with lightweight personal protection bullets. They will function fine, if you use fast burning powder. And increase the powder charge enough, to compensate for the reduced weight of the bullet.

    IMHO. Aguila didn't want to go that route, for liability purposes. In my experiments, with the homemade light bullets. As I recall the 9mm wouldn't work, unless the light bullet had a muzzle velocity in excess of 1700 FPS. A lighter recoil spring would make a substantial difference. But than you run into the problem of battering, if you were to shoot conventional ammo.
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    Wild TurkeyWild Turkey Member Posts: 2,427 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Interesting comments -- lots of knowledge on this board.

    Would a long Aluminum rod in a sabot-type round work?

    What about swaging an aluminum core into a metal jacket?
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    rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,650 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Wild Turkey
    Interesting comments -- lots of knowledge on this board.

    Would a long Aluminum rod in a sabot-type round work?

    What about swaging an aluminum core into a metal jacket?


    No expansion with either. Because of the light weight as compared with conventional lead cored bullets. Penetration would be less. The segmented bullets, that the Mexican's made were a good idea. But muzzle velocity probably had to be in 1800 FPS range, for reliable function and penetration from all platforms.
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    XXCrossXXCross Member Posts: 1,379 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    At one time I believe both Remington and Winchester made what they referred to as a "metal penetrating" bullet for pistols and revolvers. They were in 45ACP and had an aluminum core and the standard copper jacket...slightly truncated. I don't recall the weight (lighter than 230gr) and they had a velocity somewhere around
    1200FPS. (Fast for a 45) They were intended for use by Law Enforcement.
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    nmyersnmyers Member Posts: 16,881 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Does anyone know what load US Air Marshals use? I saw a training video that showed extremely fast follow-up shots, apparently with little recoil or muzzle flip.

    Neal
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    MIKE WISKEYMIKE WISKEY Member, Moderator Posts: 9,986 ******
    edited November -1
    the British made .303 ammo with an alum. instert in front of the lead base. they would 'tumble' on impact and cause a severe wound.
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    richardaricharda Member Posts: 405 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The "metal penetrating" factory .38, (and .357,) & .45 handgun ammo loads mentioned above had solid zinc alloy bullets, not aluminum.

    Also, the round for the original Spanish CETME assault rifle used a gilding metal half-jacketed aluminum-core bullet, but it was never adopted by any country.
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    TxsTxs Member Posts: 18,801
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by nmyers
    Does anyone know what load US Air Marshals use? I saw a training video that showed extremely fast follow-up shots, apparently with little recoil or muzzle flip.

    Neal
    Nothing exotic.

    One I spoke with was issued a .357 SIG and Speed Gold Dot 125gr. ammo.
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    beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Never tried this.

    Aluminum is simply too light for conventional bullet applications. Its cheap enough that if this worked, people would already be doing it.

    There are things you can do to Al to reduce the oxidation (Al oxide is highly abrasive), but the bottom line is that pure aluminum weighs 2.7 g/ml; lead is 11.3 g/ml. Lead is more than four times as dense.

    While I'm sure there are specialized bullet applications where Al could be an asset (and I think some examples were give above), for conventional applications (which comprise over 99.95% of bullet use), Al is simply too light.

    Conventional bullets made out of Al will be more easily deflected along their flight path, lose velocity much faster due to increased air resistance, offer poorer accuracy, and poor terminal penetration.

    Best use of Al for ammo is for cartridge cases, though even there, I think mild steel is functionally better as a cheaper substitute for brass.
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    competentonecompetentone Member Posts: 4,698 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Wild Turkey

    What about swaging an aluminum core into a metal jacket?


    An aluminum core is used in a number of the 5.7x28 rounds made for the Five-Seven pistol: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_5.7×28mm
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    Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,373 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I shot some of the Aquila IQ .45s.
    The best I could tell from a comparison of size, shape, and weight, they were made out of zinc, not aluminum. The ones I shot into water broke into three segments, some with the base coming off to give four projectiles. M. Ayoob said they had a good reputation in South America where name brand gringo bullets were hard to get.

    Some decades ago, a guy put a .30 carbine barrel on one of the Army Rolling Block pistols. It shot pretty well with regular ammo, but when he turned some bullets out of aluminum and drove them at high velocity, accuracy was very poor.

    The original Winchester pistol Silvertips in low velocity calibers like .38 and .45 had aluminum jackets. They had a lube groove with a little bullet lube in it. A shooter here got some with the lube missing and soon had an aluminum fouled barrel. Winchester replaced the ammo, but he was still left with a hard metal fouled barrel and no known way to clean it.
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