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So I was sitting in traffic today and started wondering...... How does good, old-fashioned lead RN ammo perform in all these ballistic tests we subject our horrifyingly expensive "defense" ammo to? Just thinking about it, I could see some advantages to lead, the first of which would be expansion. No, it wouldn't be uniform, but it would be doing some radical shape shifting in whatever it was in at the time. The RN shape would aid penetration and not be prone to the HP short stop. But I don't know if I 'm thinking clearly, because maybe that very same softness would lead to the same lack of penetration as the HP because the bullet would "pancake" out and stop. I know we've beaten the "best ammo" question about the head for too long, but I thought this was an interesting enough thought to see what everyone else has to say. Any lead tests?
Scatmanblues
 

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I would have about as much confidence (within the limitations of expectations of what pistols are) with plain, heavy, solid, lead bullets as I do with hardball or any heavy hollowpoint.

The only difference being that fully jacketed bullets, going a bit faster, will penetrate tactical barriers better. Of course hardcast lead bullets will penetrate very well indeed.

I might add that I have never done any objective tests of my own using solid soft lead bullets alongside other types. But my opinion is based on having fired into, and seen alot of lead bullets recovered from, various materials - as well as the recorded objective tests and experiences of others.

[This message has been edited by LAK (edited 11-16-2001).]
 

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I have not seen worthwhile expansion - seldom even deformation - of hardcast pistol bullets shot into any usual home test medium, water, paper, or dirt. Gelatin testers report no expansion from factory swaged RNL bullets.
A traditional muzzleloader firing soft lead at velocities at or above magnum revolver speeds will get expansion, but that is a different kettle of fish.
I see no practical difference between RNL and FMJ.
 

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Originally posted by Jim Watson:
I see no practical difference between RNL and FMJ.
I would agree with this statement. Even shooting LRN into hardwood lumber doesn't do much to deform a hard cast lead bullet.
 

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I put a 0.429 caliber hard cast lead bullet through the lungs of a buck at 110 yards about two weeks ago. It passed right through him, and judging by the exit wound, did not expand a great deal. He ran 50 to 70 yards, expired, and he is in the freezer. With a .451 caliber projectile, we're starting with a large diameter from "the git-go". Perhaps the placement of the shot is the key, or perhaps the difference in performance between lead and the newer self defense rounds is the time required for the desired effect to occur assuming a well-placed shot and adequate penetration. This is to say that time-to-incapacitation may be the point to ponder. Although my heart was pounding, and my senses were at a peak, the buck was not returning fire.
 

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I have seen plain (pure or near pure) lead deform, bend, flatten etc on all kinds of things.

Hardcast bullets on the other hand are often more resistant to deforming than FMJs.
 

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Last weekend I shot a 135# wild hog in the head with a 200gr. moly SWC, at 1015 fps out of my HK. It punched a perfect hold in his head the skin had a perfect circle in it, He droped his dog fighting ways at the crack of the sound. This is the only time I have done this and would not have done it if it weren't under the right conditions. Safer for my dogs than using a rifle at the time. Well this bullet entered between the eyes for six feet away and was found in his jaw muscles agaist the jaw bone. The bullet retained its shape. It was impressive to say the least..
 
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