Tag Archives: Lead

Rifled Slugs for Slugging Rifles

Guest Blogger, Robart Schaefer

If you need to determine the bore diameter of a firearm, whether it be to get the exact SluggerHV_box_slugright size for cast bullets, or perhaps to identify the caliber, one of the best ways to do that is to slug the bore. This involves pushing a piece of lead, a slug, through the barrel and then measuring it. Usually, this requires a fair bit of pounding, especially if you do not have a slug that is close to the bore diameter. I have developed a method, however, that requires only a few light taps from a non-marring hammer and a standard cleaning rod.

Most shooters are familiar with “rifled slugs” for shotguns like these from Remington: Most people believe, or assume, that the grooves on the outside of the slug are there to cause the projectile to spin, thus giving it stability. This is partly true, although it is a clever bit of marketing to give a helical shape to the grooves; they do little for stability. The stability comes from the center of gravity being in the front of the projectile, like a badminton birdie. The primary purpose of the grooves is to allow the slug to stay in contact with the inside of the bore, creating a tight seal and not destroying the barrel when it exits through the choke, the restriction at the muzzle of most shotguns. The grooves give the ridges a place to swag into without causing undue pressure.

So, “What does this have to do with the price of beer in Milwaukee?” you might ask. Well, I bought an old Swiss Vetterli rifle at a gun show, and I want to shoot it but, 10.4x38Rmm Swiss Vertterli rimfire is just about as rare

as hens’ teeth. With these archaic, and foreign, cartridges it can be difficult to find reliable information on them. In fact, this cartridge was dropped from Swiss military use before 1900 (that’s before the internet so there is literally no information on it). The lack of information is made worse by the fact that a lot of cartridges of this era were paper patched so many publications will list the bore size as the lead projectile size which is 1410991432-Black-Powder-and-Round-Balls-packagingabsolutely incorrect because there would have been paper taking up the extra space in the bore.

When I went to slug the bore of this rifle, I had no pure soft lead (recommended for this operation) that was close to the diameter; my only two choices were 36 and 45 caliber round balls. I was standing in my shop thinking how to make a 45 caliber ball smaller in diameter when I realized I didn’t even know how small to make it, and all I really wanted to do was make it easier to push through the bore. Well, this is how shotguns do it so it should work for my needs, too.

First, use a pair of pliers to form consistent grooves around the equator of the ball. (if you have trouble finding the equator, look in the tropics, where you can find bright red tourists, drinking out of coconuts).  I used a pair of dial calipers to check the diameter was close enough to the bore diameter so that the ball would start into the muzzle of the gun.

Many types of lube will work for slugging, my favorite is Lucas Red n Tacky #2 grease.  They use it in race cars, so you know its the right choice for an old black powder rifle. Place the ball in the muzzle being careful to keep it straight (this makes it easier to push through the bore).

Use a non-marring hammer to start the ball into the bore.  You should only need a couple of light taps to get it started.  This could be a done with a muzzle loading ball starter if you have one of an appropriate size.  Then just push the ball through the bore.  I used a 3/16″ brass rod, but a one piece cleaning rod would suffice.  The force required is akin to seating a patched round ball in a muzzle loading rifle.

The slug came out with the ridges of the rifling clearly impressed into the grooves of the ball.  The groove diameter of my rifle is .419″ and is has a bore diameter of .397″.

 

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Junk Science and Lead Bullets

Below is an Associated Press story about lead in ammunition.  Note that no scientist is going on record in this article and the there is no evidence presented.  Just could be or maybe.

Since the Jackson area is part of the Yellowstone caldera there are large amounts of heavy metals and minerals found in the area.  Isn’t it more likely that the lead found in the blood of animals in the area comes from their diet.  What happened to you are what you eat?  The predators and scavengers of the area feed on the animals of the area and drink the same water.  Why would they not have heavier levels of lead in their blood.

Being higher on the food chain mean predators and scavengers food sources have already concentrated environmental metals and contaminates in their tissue.  So it is easy to see why such predator and scavengers have more lead in their blood.  I hate junk science, and worst of all, tax payers probably paid for these “scientists” to be out there pushing their personal agendas.

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Researchers say the distribution of nonlead ammunition to hunters in Jackson Hole is likely helping prevent lead poisoning of ravens, eagles and other scavengers.

This is the second year researchers have tried to gauge the impacts of hunters using lead-free ammunition on the levels of lead found in the blood of big-game scavengers.

Researchers distributed nonlead ammunition to some 100 hunters who had 2010 permits for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

Biologists then captured ravens and eagles and measured the level of lead in the birds.

Previous research has shown that lead in ravens and eagles rise during hunting season and then drop off after hunting season ends.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide says researchers plan to hand out more lead-free ammunition next hunting season.

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Filed under ammo, brass, bullets', Firearms, hunting, politics, Second Amendment

Update on North Dakota CDC Study

When I first reported on this study the full text of the study was not available. If you would like to read the entire report it is available as a PDF at the site below.
http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/ND_report.pdf

Share this information with your hunting buddies. I was talking to a Fish & Game officer in Wyoming who told me that this lead scare has some long time hunters worried. There is no reason to be concerned read the study for yourself, folks who eat game meat have less lead in their blood than do your average city dwelling Liberal Democrat. I have noticed that many of the places where this study is mentioned do not provide access to the full results, wonder why? 😉

One fact that is over looked in this whole trumped up issue is that our bodies metabolize lead in 30 days. It is only cumulative if you are constantly ingesting it in relatively high levels. Don’t let the Anti-Crowd scare you away from game meat, it is one of the healthiest forms of protein you can eat.

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CDC Study on Lead Contamination of Hunters.

Are lead bullets, or bullets containing a lead core a credible danger to consumers of game meat shot with them?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released by the North Dakota Department of Health, showing no evidence that lead or “traditional” ammunition pose any health risk to those who consume harvested game meat.   Recent scare tactics by anti-hunting and anti-gun groups have included the suggestion that lead poisoning can occur from eating meat that had been killed with any bullet containing lead.  Anti-hunting groups want to call for a ban on ammunition or bullets containing lead.  This study by the CDC proves that there is no threat to humans of lead contamination from game meat.

In looking at the study results, the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that of the average American. In other words, if you were to randomly pick someone on the street, chances are they would have a higher blood lead level than the hunters in this study.

Also of note, the lead levels of children under 6 in the study had a mean of just 0.88, less than half the national average. Children over 6 had even lower lead levels. The CDC’s level of concern for lead in children is 10.

Also demonstrating their understanding that game harvested with traditional ammunition is safe to consume, the ND Department of Health, following the release of the CDC study results, encouraged hunters to continue donating venison to local food banks as long as processing guidelines were adhered to.

The Peregrine Fund — an organization dedicated to eliminating the use of lead ammunition for hunting, was among those pushing for a ban on lead in North Dakota.  These politically driven groups understand that while an outright ban on hunting would be nearly impossible to achieve, dismantling the culture of hunting one step at a time is a realistic goal. Banning lead ammunition is the first step of this larger political mission. We can only hope that with the conclusive CDC results concerning the safety of traditional ammunition, legislatures across the country will listen to science and not anti-hunting radicals.

 

Facts Hunters Should Know from the CDC Study . . .

1. Consuming game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition does not pose a human health risk.

2. Participants in the study had readings lower than the national average and well below the level the CDC considers to be of concern.

3. Children in the study had readings that were less than half the national average and far below the level the CDC considers to be of concern.

4. The study showed a statistically insignificant difference between participants who ate game harvested using traditional hunting ammunition and the non-hunters in the control group.

5. Hunters should continue to donate venison to food pantries.

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Filed under bullets', Firearms, hunting, politics