If it’s Funny Once…

Someone on one of the gun forums commented that now that I’d nailed the .38 tumbling bullet I needed to try to do something for .32 Caliber. OK, why not? So today I re-swaged some 100gr LFPs. I used the same die as the .38s, which meant I had to re-size them after.

The modified bullet is on the left, the stock bullet is on the right. The stock bullet is .570″ long, the re-swaged bullet is .616″ long.
Loaded ammo is a bit longer than standard ammo, which is 1.280″ long. With these bullets the OAL loaded length is 1.320″

I loaded these with 4.2gr of Unique with a Federal Magnum small pistol primer, which was good for 1018fps. and 230 ft./lbs of energy from the 4″ test gun, and 931fps. and 190ft./lbs of energy from the 2″ test gun. I fired the 4″ test gun first.

The top image is contrast-enhanced, on the bottom is the raw image.

The bullet passed entirely through the block, leaving a jagged permanent wound cavity nearly half an inch wide. The bullet didn’t tumble, but the ragged wound track indicates something was going on; the wound track the unmodified bullet leaves is an intermittent, thin silver line. Some aspects of the PWC make me suspect the bullet was cork-screwing through the gel.

Next I tried the 2″ gun, a Colt detective Special. The wound-track was essentially identical to the one from the 4″ gun.

The 2″ test gun, a Colt Detective Special in .32 Colt New Police (.32 S&W Long) This gun was made in 1949.

Since the bullets both passed entirely through the block I reduced the charge to 3.5gr. of Unique and tested it from the 2″ gun. This load made 893fps, and 177ft./lbs.

The red dots indicate the ends of the wound-track. the shot was fired at a slight downward angle.

Once again the bullet passed through the block, but this time the wound-track was perceptibly smaller and the shot curved slightly downward. Once again the bullet did not appear to tumble.

Interesting results. I decided to modify the bullet further and see what that yielded. Once again I loaded the bullet over 4.2gr of Unique. The results in gel were interesting.

The nose of the bullet is significantly longer and the bearing-surface is shorter.

This bullet stopped in the gel at 10-1/2″ and ended point-first. It certainly didn’t tumble, but created significant disruption for the first 5″ after penetration before streamlining. The disrupted zone looks like the bullet was corkscrewing in the gel. The widest part of the PWC is around 1/2″ or slightly wider. Just above the track from this bullet you can make out the thin, interrupted silver line produced by a stock bullet.

So, no tumbling but interesting all the same. All of the shots from the short-nosed bullets produced a significantly larger PWC than the stock bullet with excellent, possibly too much, penetration. furthermore the bullets did not streamline, but maintained a wider-than bullet diameter track all the way through the block. The last, long-nosed bullet under-penetrated at 10-1/2″ and streamlined halfway through the PWC. The long-nose bullet also curved more than the other bullets, which essentially travelled almost straight.

On the whole if I were to use one of these bullet designs for self-defense it would be the first, short-nose bullet. Because the bullet never streamlines the overall size of the PWC is probably larger. Also the bullet is definitely going to penetrate heavy clothing, which is sometimes a concern with standard-velocity .32s.

It seems that despite the fact that they don’t tumble this could indeed be a useful bullet design. I think more testing is needed.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 30 December 2020

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