Legal Disclaimer: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. It is up to the reader to determine whether or not they can utilize such information, and more importantly, to know each and every law, statute and/or other regulation as may be relevant. The reader agrees to hold the website and the author blameless and free of liability for any and all actions of the reader. Additionally, testing new and unproven types of ammunition may be hazardous and even dangerous and should only be conducted by a Firearms Professional utilizing firearms that are adapted and capable of handling any and all possible malfunctions that may result from poorly constructed ammunition.
Each and every Prepper, and in my opinion, every Homesteader should be both able and willing to take part in the construction and maintenance of firearms. This should include all of the necessary maintenance and repair of existing firearms in addition to the means and ability to create new firearms, primarily through the use of a machine shop and not from plastic three-d printing. Numrich Arms is an excellent source of most materials that will be necessary and/or beneficial, with the exception of Actions for the firerms which may be manufactured in a properly equipped machine shop.
My father did fairly well supplementing his meager social security income through the repair and even the creation of many firearms. While it did not make us very popular with some federal agencies, the local Sheriff was a frequent guest on our thousand meter firing range. (My dad set it up with meters as it made more mathematical and “logical” sense than establishing it in yards according to him)
Hot Hollow Point Copper Jacketed Rounds
Standard Copper Jacketed Hollow Points can often be fired in compressed loads that send them downrange at higher velocities. Whether or not this is a good idea depends on the purpose of the ammunition and its intended usage. Ammunition I carried in my sidearms on my homestead was substantially different than the ammunition I carried in town.
On the homestead, I did not have to worry about the ammunition penetrating walls or hurting or even endangering my neighbors … as they lived roughly five miles away as the crows fly. Thus, the ammunition I kept in my sidearm(s) on site, was designed for maximum penetration and damage. In fact, the rounds I made were tested and proven effective even against grade three military Kevlar, which at one time was a standard worth noting.
Standard Copper Jacketed Hollow Point Rounds
When coming in to town, I would not always have the benefit of knowing when or where or even how I may need to utilize my firearms, so penetration became a detriment, though I still needed to maintain the maximum effective capacity of the firearm to generate “stopping-level” wound cavities with a single shot. This is where the standard hollow point comes in. When the standard hollow point encounters a solid object, such as a brick or concrete wall, it generally breaks apart and will not penetrate to endanger whatever may be on the other side … though it will tend to penetrate wooden walls so care must be taken, even in a firefight, to know your surroundings and be aware of the potential for collateral damage.
When the standard hollow points hit flesh however, the copper jacket should break off and the hollow point should “mushroom” out, creating an extended wound cavity in the target to stop it quickly … again without having to worry too much about over-penetration and the potential for collateral damage. Still, there may be times and occasions when a little added “oomph” may be beneficial or even necessary.
Subsonic vs Supersonic Hollow Point Rounds
It will be necessary to have experience in the machine shop, with the micrometer and an understanding of ballistics flight patterns at both supersonic and subsonic speeds for these rounds to be effective. As a rule, I tend to slow these rounds down to as close as manageable to the subsonic range without actually going sub-sonic, though they have tended, in my experience at least, to begin extensively losing ballistic stability and effectiveness at anything more than one thousand feet per second. I have found that generally, rounds kicked out somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hundred and fifty feet per second tend to be the most effective.
Drilling Out Hollow Point Rounds
A standard drill press will allow for the Hollow Point Rounds to be drilled out, though care must be taken not to drill them out too close to the base or ballistic instability will result. (If you cannot effectively engage your target and hit it, it will never matter how good the rounds are, you have already signed your own death warrant) Pellets are ideally (and aerodynamically) shaped for this purpose, but are difficult to find calibrated under .17 caliber and thus, are generally too large, even for the more sizable .44 special or magnum rounds.
Thus, the standard BB or even certain types of steel shot are more ideally suited for this purpose. The original hollow point round should be drilled out deep enough to allow for the insertion of a single BB in smaller rounds, though it may be possible with larger calibers to drill the hollow point out deep enough to allow for two of the BBs to be inserted, though one tends to be just as effective as the other in my experience and the single BB tends to interfere less with the overall ballistic stability of the round(s).
Drilling must be measured out carefully with a micrometer, not only to ensure that the insertion is made directly and exactly into the center of the round, but also to ensure that the drilling does not extend too deeply into the round itself. Aerodynamics change drastically at supersonic speeds … even if only slightly above the subsonic ranges, and thus, requires a certain, solid depth to be maintained at the base of the round.
Not only does the base of the round take the brunt of the initial explosive force that drives the round out of the barrel, but will be subject to constant (and intense) pressure during the initial portion of the flight of the round. Any bullet with a base that is too thin will result in the round tumbling out of control and only hitting the target as much out of luck as from any result of the applied accuracy of the shooter.
Hydroshock Hollow Point Rounds
I prefer to add between a half drop or a drop of water into the hollow point cavity just above the BB if it is possible. However, it should be noted that rounds capped with wax or paraffin will be subject to melting or leakage that may again interfere with the stability (and thus the accuracy) of the rounds being created.
There is talk among some circles that liquid mercury is a more desirable substance to use, though in my experience, this has tended to throw off the ballistics entirely and rarely led to anything more than very inaccurate tumbler rounds ineffective for anything other than firing blindly into a large pack of coyotes in the middle of the night … and just hoping I can hit something. Since I tend to focus more on accuracy and effect, the water serves the purpose quite well … and will even penetrate the threads of many otherwise bulletproof materials.
Wax, Paraffin and Plastic
One may suppose that after such a tedious and trying challenge as that which was described above, that the hardest part of the round making would be complete … and one would be incorrect in such an assumption. Capping this round, and it will need to be capped, will mean the careful placement of wax, paraffin or even plastic into the tip of the round.
While it may no longer appear to be a hollow point round, the basic principles of the hollow point round will remain in place regarding impact and entry wounds … though the actual wound cavity should be greatly enhanced through the utilization of such a round as these. This means, effectively putting a nose-cone on the round … and doing that in such a way that it will not adversely interfere with the ballistic stability of accuracy of the round being discharged.
In my case, I was fortunate enough to have a dad who was a virtual miracle-worker in the machine shop and he ultimately created a mold whereby we could simply smelt the plastic material down and create our own caps for quite literally any caliber round that we could reload. (read: virtually any caliber ever made) Paraffin and wax will work fine, but there are undue concerns that need to be taken into consideration.
First: that cap must be molded and shaped in order to retain much of their original form during the flight of the round. Since even the lead itself will soften under the pressure and strains of the discharge, this effect is magnified with wax and parrafin.
Furthermore, the wax and the paraffin will both lose shape in excessively hot weather … and should never be kept in a magazine during hot weather … whereas plastic works suitably well for virtually all of these purposes. Again however, the molding and shape must be exact, though testing of these shapes in the early phases of custom created rounds can be half the fun … especially if it is a family activity.
Utilization of Custom Created Rounds
It may be tempting to show off your handiwork to all your friends the next time you head out to the firing range, though it should be noted that these rounds are not semi-wadcutters or simple lead rounds designed for plinking paper targets. These rounds are built specifically to increase the wound cavity and to increase the overall capacity of the round to stop its target with a single shot … while at the same time, preventing over-penetration and any potential for collateral damage.
The copper jacket and original lead round should break apart as they otherwise normally would when hitting flesh, creating numerous, jagged wounds and minor wound cavities. The addition of the water and the BB should further expand the original wound cavity along the initial trajectory of the round at penetration.
It is imperative that any and all testing only be conducted in firearms that are capable of handling any misfires and/or malfunctions and only in the presence and under the guidance of a trained professional. It is best to conduct testing these days with the added benefit of high-speed cameras and “reactive targets” … including ballistic gel, watermelons or other similar melons, water filled gallon (and five gallon) jugs and other similar targets wherein the actual impact and expansion of the rounds can be tested and the effectiveness and the accuracy perfected.
At the end of the day, the effectiveness of the round is wholly dependent upon the accuracy of the round and the ability of the shooter to hit their target during the engagement. As long as the shooter can effectively engage and hit their target, any chances of collateral damage should be greatly reduced, while at the same time greatly increasing the ability of a single round to eliminate the threat.