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Thread: Bullet "Catching" or "preservation

  1. #1

    Bullet "Catching" or "preservation

    A long post but bear with me,

    I'm currently studying my Bsc in Forensic science at uni, got chatting to a lecturer who was annoyed at how hard it was to do any ballistics work with students. So i suggested approaching my club and asking to do a guest day that i would RCO to give students a chance to do some live firing, ( at the moment you can do your masters project on legality of air weapons by sticking 50 shots of different pellets through a chrono in a lecturers garden and writing it up properly). This has all been given the green light and will be used as proof of concept for the uni to build a range, because that is all the proof you need to spend a few thousand when you charge each student 9,000 a year!!! (rant over).

    The thing the lecturer is most interested in being able to do is capture an intact projectiles (EDIT: a .22LR) to compare barrel markings (such as you would to match or eliminate a firearm to a crime) does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to do this on and indoor gallery range with a steel backstop? I'm apprehensive of using a water butt because i have never done it or seen anyone do it and a misplaced shot will flood the range?

    Cardboard box full of sand?
    Argos catalog?
    Gel? (a pricey option)

    There are still lots of possibilities and variables the only thing set in stone is that it will have to be on a 30m indoor gallery range.

    Thanks for your time and any response will be highly apreciated.

    Report to follow

    Last edited by whatwouldscoobydoo; 15-01-2015 at 00:46.

  2. #2
    My first thought would be to fire the pellet at a shallow angle into a water trough. The danger of this though, is that too shallow an angle will result in the pellet ricocheting off the surface of the water.

    Any impact onto a completely solid surface will distort the pellet beyond recognition, but from experience I know the skirt is likely to survive a lot of impacts that would cause the dome to deform. Maybe shooting into a thin-walled plastic vessel (such as plastic milk jugs) filled with water will give you the results you want?

    Another possibility worth consideration is to hang rubber sheeting a few inches in front of your steel backstop & fire the pellets directly onto that? Loosely-wadded paper might also be worth a look at? It's an interesting project! I can see a few experiments being needed before you get the results you're after

    One thing intrigues me are the bore and rifling markings going to be compared? Borescope? Sectioning of the barrel and microscopic examination? I'm really interested

  3. #3
    It can also be done firing through plastic water jugs/containers...often a thoroughly soaked telephone directory is also used after the first container to simulate bone. These are the kind of 'field tests' carried out on short ranges in the USA - often with e.g. .308Win. .30-06 and many many other rifle/pistol cartridges & calibres.

    You can find some examples on the Nosler bullets website under bullet testing headings. Usually there are plenty of pics. too.

    Nosler Reloading Forum View topic - .25 caliber bullet test
    Last edited by deeangeo; 14-01-2015 at 23:45.
    Blaser K95 Luxus Kipplaufbüchse .25-06Rem. Schmidt & Bender 8x56, 110gn Nosler Accubond = Game Over!

  4. #4
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  5. #5
    What pellet diameter, weight in grains, and muzzle velocity, and distance to target?

    You cannot use steel, because it will deform the bullet too much, especially just soft cast lead. Wet paper is too tough, and a dry catalog is tougher. Gel lets you see into it. If your loads are subsonic, you can use Jello. There are inexpensive ballistic gels which work well at pistol velocities.

    I would suggest potters clay, moist as it comes in a block. Cut it with a wire ( which any pottery shot has), into slices like a loaf of bread, one inch thick. Move it over, and put a piece of wax paper behind it. Repeat, until you have a loaf of clay with a dozen spacers in it. Sit each slice on a board cut to the same width. Now you can move the slices apart and find the bullet, retrieve with plastic tweezers ( if you want to minimize messing up the clay ), close up the block, and shoot into another section again.

    I have used this to capture .30 caliber, 7mm, and 8mm bullets, shot at 1,200 to 1,800 fps ( you need at least 2 blocks of clay, line up 3 ). If it is close to exiting the second block, place a gallon plastic milk jug back there some sheets of Kevlar hanging loosely from a line. The bullet will drop to the floor, so put something to catch it. ( Just loop up the Kevlar, if you have enough ).

  6. #6
    Another thought just struck me.........I was assuming you were firing the pellets at the legal 12ft/lbs, but if this wasn't an issue you could use PCP rifles and let the pressure drop enough to allow you to retrieve intact pellets shot into fabric padding. Pellet velocity wouldn't matter a fig if all you're after is a set of empirical results?

    Again though, with an air rifle the only identifiers are going to be the rifling marks on the pellet skirt, so obtaining an intact projectile is one thing, determining an effective method to match the marks to the rifling without destroying the barrel is another. Unless, of course, this is what you have in mind anyway?

  7. #7
    SD Regular teyhan1's Avatar
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    Why not get a short piece of scrap barrel and hammer a round through it with a suitably sized steel rod. Without a chamber it is just classed as a metal tube
    “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”........Dalai Lama

  8. #8
    I used to shoot my pellet pistol in the house, down a long hallway, from front porch to back porch. To keep down the sound, and expense, of a steel .22 LR bullet trap, I just made a box to hold my target, with sand in the bottom. At the back, I hung three sheets of woven Kevlar made for an archery stop, sewn together. The bottom was free, so it could give. In the bottom of my little box was an inch of fine sand. The pellets just fell into there almost without damage. I was shooting them at 900 fps, .177 match pellets.

    You can scratch an ID into each pellet with a needle, up inside the skirt.

  9. #9
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    Why not get a short piece of scrap barrel and hammer a round through it with a suitably sized steel rod. Without a chamber it is just classed as a metal tube
    Bang on! Wooden dowel, fresh lead alloy bullet and you are away! Thinking out of the box but bang on!

  10. #10
    Because recovered bullets will have been shot at normal velocity into solid objects
    comparing them to a perfect bullet hand formed in the barrel is no comparison

    water capture is the tried and tested routine

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