Bullet "Catching" or "preservation

whatwouldscoobydoo

Well-Known Member
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

Scooby
 
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Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
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 though........how are the bore and rifling markings going to be compared? Borescope? Sectioning of the barrel and microscopic examination? I'm really interested :thumb:
 

deeangeo

Well-Known Member
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.
ATB

Nosler Reloading Forum View topic - .25 caliber bullet test
 
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Southern

Well-Known Member
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 ).
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
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?
 

teyhan1

Well-Known Member
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
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
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.
 

enfieldspares

Well-Known Member
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!
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
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
 

whatwouldscoobydoo

Well-Known Member
Sorry i obviously haven't made myself clear here. It would be to capture a .22LR not an air rifle trying to step up from air weapons.

Will test milk jug and clay block at next available time.

Kinetic hammer to remove bullet head and push through the barrel with dowel or cleaning rod?

Great ideas very much appreciated!
 
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Southern

Well-Known Member
A .22LR shot into most things other than a pool of water, will deform too much to leave any rifling to examine. You should use a long and heavy bullet, the slowest subsonic you can find. Try shooting some milk jugs of water set in front of the clay blocks.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
Fill 10' pf 6" PVC with water, stand it upright, and fire a sub into it from about 15 ft above the mouth of the pipe. ~Muir
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
You can do it with a .22 or air gun, but the pressure wave off a centerfire handgun will split the pipe.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
You can do it with a .22 or air gun, but the pressure wave off a centerfire handgun will split the pipe.
We're talking 22LR weren't we? Or did I screw it up? ~Muir

I've used clay blocks with subs. This was, IIRC, a 5 pound block hit at 25 yards with an Aguila SUB...no... A PMC Moderator, actually, but still made by Aguila and virtually identical to the Eley,

 
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Hedgehopper

Well-Known Member
Fill 10' pf 6" PVC with water, stand it upright, and fire a sub into it from about 15 ft above the mouth of the pipe. ~Muir
An adaptation of Muir's idea could be to use the 6" pipe, fill with water and seal with a rubber membrane (balloon or condom) and then use horizontally which should be easier on a range. with only 6" of depth the pressure on the membrane shouldn't be too great.
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
Works better horizontally, with some air space at the top to compress and absorb the pressure, than shooting down into it. Be sure you shoot straight into it, so you don't nick the side.

What kind of clay did you use, Muir? I use blocks of potters clay, right out of the bag. 2 blocks will just barely trap a 170-gr 8mm bullet at 1,200 fps ( no expansion ), about a 1 inch hole most of the way. I tried it in a 6 foot length of 6 inch PVC and it broke all to pieces. I have a 30,000 swimming pool which works great, so long as my wife does not catch me.
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
Sorry i obviously haven't made myself clear here. It would be to capture a .22LR not an air rifle trying to step up from air weapons.

Will test milk jug and clay block at next available time.

Kinetic hammer to remove bullet head and push through the barrel with dowel or cleaning rod?

Great ideas very much appreciated!
Perfectly clear to me, some folk just don't read posts fully :D

As others have said a water trap is the way to go, sand is too abrasive and anything solid will just destroy the bullet, have you ever looked at the scrap lead piles below steel back stops? Not much left, I collect some from one of my clubs and use it to melt down to make 12g slugs and it resembles lead shavings and normally the only bits you can recognise as being bullets are a few large calibre ones the black powder boys have used when not using enough powder.

why not get in contact with http://www.helstongunsmiths.com in Cornwall as they do firearms forensic training for government agencies and ask what's the best way of capturing bullets.

Did you not also want to look at the different case markings (magazine, chamber, firing pin etc) individual firearms make to ammunition to see how forensics match shootings with firearms when the bullet is either not retrieved or is too damaged to get data off? or is it purely just bullets you will be studying.
 

brock and norris

Well-Known Member
we have a large number of take off / shot out barrels in the workshop. We would willingly donate some for the purpose of academic study. We would of course remove the chambers so that there would be no licencing implications to yourself .Yours respectfully Mike Norris Brock and Norris Custom Rifles
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
Perfectly clear to me, some folk just don't read posts fully
Time of your comment: 07.19

Time of post mentioning clarifying calibre: 23.45

Time of edit to add 'EDIT: a 22LR' in OP: 23.46

Your turn............

Looks as though a water trough is the only viable method then. (Assuming of course, that the 30m indoor range is cleared for .22LR use and ricochet danger is given due consideration)
 
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