There are a couple of things to talk about this time – The National Rifle Association of America annual meetings in mid-May and bullet rear ends. I suppose the antis might link the two subjects differently, but that’s another story.
This is just a heads-up that the 138th Annual Meetings and Exhibits of the NRAA will take place May 14-17 at the Phoenix, Arizona Convention Center.
There will be all kinds of meetings, seminars and get-togethers day and night during the annual meetings, but the fun part is the exhibit hall where virtually all major companies in the shooting sports industry display their wares. We’re talking fun here.
This year they are within pretty easy driving distance of much of California.
On another front, there has been some interest shown in the coverage I have done regarding high tech bullets. It seems logical to discuss one of the ways makers have been able to improve the accuracy of their projectiles. It is via either a very thick and tough base, or a totally “solid” base.
Since most bullets from hunting rifles spin at more than 200,000 revolutions per minute when they are in flight, even slight irregularities anywhere on or in the bullet can adversely affect accuracy. And, since they are pushing through the air for long distances, their aerodynamic noses help them not only fly farther, but go more truly to the mark. All of that is fine, but there is a not-so-well understood phenomenon that has been all but designed out of the high tech bullets.
Traditional lead core, jacketed bullets are made from a lead core swaged into to copper jacket. The jacket typically is of equal thickness throughout.
That works great under many scenarios (especially when everything about the firearm is virtually perfect, etc.), but not always, and especially when really high pressure, over-bore loads are used.
There is a tiny fraction of a second when the bullet leaves the case and engages the rifling of the barrel when the forces on the base of the bullet can cause the bullet to bulge out a tiny bit and then be squeezed back down as it enters the bore and at the same time, the bullet can engage the rifling slightly off-line. If this happens the same way every time, no problem. But if it doesn’t, it can cause slight inconsistencies in accuracy.
For decades, I didn’t pay much attention to it, because there are many other things that can cause bigger problems. But, the phenomenon can exist, and it has been eliminated by making the base of the bullet solid copper (or the entire bullet copper, as is the case with many unleaded bullets), and then having the jacket go from really thick near the abase to thin at the nose (which also affords a way to control the expansion after impact).
Computerization has not only made these high tech bullets possible, but it has made it possible to manufacture them in cost-efficient ways. Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at email@example.com.