Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Nomen Nescio

    so, solid-copper bullets for when we actually try this for reals? ;-)

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      haha. You just get copper dust shooting out the barrel instead of lead ;)

    • no name

      We used stainless steel, and depleted uranium for the bullet. Smooth bore no rifling, and reinforced breach. That. Is all I will say.

  • SpudGun

    We’ve all thought about doing this, haven’t we? If this project ever did become a reality, my biggest problem would be to get all 35 squirrels to line up in a row.

    I could nail them to a plank, but that kinda defeats the sporting purpose.

  • gunslinger

    But what kind of barrel would you need? because that’s a change from .22 to .50

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      gunslinger, yep, it would need to be rebarreled. The problem is that modern day bullet cannot handle the extreme velocity that such wildcats can produce. There have been many attempts at simular overowered, under sized cartridges.

  • dg

    I dont care what it takes someone needs to develop an alloy that would work for this. Practical: heck no, expense:more than 50cal id imagine, but it would be way to cool. Even if they were dummy loads this needs to be done and marketed. As for the name try “22 gladiator” or something with a little more ‘cool factor’ than Xpress.

  • Paul_In_Houston

    My memory may be playing tricks on me, but I SWEAR that when I was a kid (more years ago than I like to think) there was a comic book story in which a .50 caliber round necked down to .22 was featured, playing up “hydrostaic shock” as making it so terrible and lethal. Late ’50s, I think.

    (Yeah. What WERE we teaching our kids through the comics back then? :-)

    -

  • Crabula

    I would seriously like to know how long the barrell would have to be for all of the gunpowder to combust before the bullet exited. You know, to obtain optimum efficiency without wasting half of the powder-charge after the bullet is half way down range.
    Definately not a good cantidate for a new sbr cartridge. :)
    Then again, I can’t think of much that this would be a good cantidate for.

  • Ken

    10,000 fps? lol…

  • XxleoxX

    this is the reason i got to TFB :)

  • Tim

    what about titanium bullets? haha. it would raise the price to somewhere around 50 bucks a round but hey. i’d pay that to shoot it once.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Tim, the problem is that the bullet has to be softer than the barrel! And if the barrel is to hard then the rifling cannot be cut accuracy, mean lower accuracy.

      Firearms technology almost always is about tradeoffs and finding an optimal solution.

  • Tim

    hahaha well, i geuss i have lots to learn, thanks for the info.

  • Komrad

    Maybe you could do it with some sort of sabot.

  • SB_Pete

    LOL, well, you’d get bragging rights for sure at least. I believe the uninhibited expansion speed of nitro cellulose powders is right about 5000fps though, so you actually wouldn’t get much more velocity than a .204 Ruger. Lots of nifty sound and fury though. Perhaps it could be advantageous in propelling some sort of really long solid tungsten dart type projectile out of a 50″ bbl? lol.

    I want one on my bookshelf for sure though ;-)

  • Caleb

    I don’t know about you guys, but,
    I believe this is a great idea.
    All you would need is a barrel of optimum length to let all of the powder burn.
    But, if the riflings in the barrel (and the barrel itself) were made out of tungsten-carbide,
    and,
    you used monolithic bullets that are of a tough alloy like titanium,
    this could be pulled off.
    The only problem would be finding someone dumb enough to shoot it.
    Well….maybe not…

    • Chris

      I readily acknowledge that water and gas are to very different mediums, but, except for the compressability of gas, they do tend to function much the same, I have an analogy to this idea…

      Shoving that tiny projectile down any barrel with that much pressure would be like forcing 100 gallons of water through a garden hose in a tenth of a second.

      Can it be done? Probably. But why, other than the cool factor? In order to burn that much powder, assuming the cartidge was carrying a full load, the barrel would probably have to be something on the order of 7 or 8 feet long to make full use of the pressure.

      I’d be more worried about the rifle coming apart in my hands than I would about whether or not I hit the target.

      Yes, I know this is not a real round, but a guy at work was talking about this tonight, which means that someone, somewhere, thinks it’s real and is telling people about it.

  • Mu

    Hmm, this makes my idea of recreating the German 7.92×99 anti-tank round on a .50BMG case look like a minor task.

  • nateF

    there have been stories of palistinian terrorists using this. they use a discarding sabot, so that the full thing is a plain .50 cartrige, just using a metal tipped plastic round. the plastic would fall off quickly after leaving the barrel, and the powder burns like any normal .50. the bullet does have issues with effectiveness though. the friction of a little piece of metal going that fast will turn it into a drop of molten copper, and when it hits, it is more like what happens with an ap round, burns its way through.

  • crimson30

    For those interested in this sort of thing, here’s a good thread on the matter: http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=311773

  • chris

    if only it would hold together, i’d love to know what fps thats doing lol

  • http://epicmaster.wordpress.com Roper1911

    Steve, no offense, titanium(Rockwell scale: B70, Method B is use on softer metals) is softer then barrel steel (Rockwell scale: C50, method C is used on harder metals, C50 equals about B100-120) , I’d still suggest a cobalt-steel-tungsten alloy barrel for the thing though, that round would push some PSI…

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

    Roper1911, interesting, but a Titanium alloy would be harder, right?

  • http://epicmaster.wordpress.com Roper1911

    Titanium alloyed with the appropriate metals(tungsten carbide, nickle-cobalt) can be harder than steel,[random amateur metallurgist thought coming in 3...2...1...] instead of a titanium bullet, try a cobalt-bismuth alloy bullet (with out using the charts 60 parts Bismuth to 40 parts cobalt sounds good), that way you have ultra high velocity integrity and still retain some mass. make sure to powder the cobalt to about the grain of table salt or it won’t dissolve into the bismuth right; that way you don’t need a 2750F furnace.

  • Redchrome

    Some years ago I saw some gimmick rounds where a guy had necked a .50 BMG case down to .17. He did one as a full-length case; and another as an extreme example of a ‘short, fat magnum’ where the case was maybe an inch and a quarter long.. it had barely any sidewall to it. Must have taken a lot of patience and time on a lathe to thin the walls down enough to be able to do that.

    I’ve heard of people making up .378 Weatherby-.22 wildcats, and I heard they tended to blow up… there’s just too much powder being rammed down too small a hole, and the throat erodes away almost immediately. (they do supposedly get 6000fps tho).

    I don’t know what the propigation speed of nitrocellulose powder is, or what the practical limits of bullet speed are; but as some anecdotal baselines, I do believe that some tank cannon projectiles (presumably High Velocity Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot) exceed 6000 fps. This is noteworthy when you consider how short a tank cannon barrel is, compared to a rifle barrel. In terms of length to caliber ratio, they’re like long-barreled pistols. :)

    Another anecdotal value is the handloads for .30 cal sabots with 55-grain bullets.

    http://www.eabco.com/Reports/report04.html

    Basically, it seems that you can’t get much faster than about 5000fps. They claim 5300fps for a 55-grain bullet in the .30 sabot from a .300 Weatherby; but I’d like to see some independent confirmation.

    Larger bores are much more efficient at transmitting powder burn into velocity. This is mostly because the increased area at the projectile base allows more pressure to be expended on the bullet. A side-by-side comparison of .44 Magnum vs. high-pressure .45 Colt loads will demonstrate this.
    http://www.foxwebdesigns.com/Area51/JLSixGun/articles/gunnotes.html

    For really high velocities, I’d try to get ahold of some of the .50 BMG sabots the military/Olin has for SLAP rounds, and stuff them with comparatively light bullets into a .50 McMillan Fat Mac case with a monstrously long barrel. It would be barely man-portable, and throat erosion would be a problem (like it is with any of these massively overbore rounds); but you could probably go pretty fast with it.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=139053

    Still, as is pointed out above, we’re starting to hit the limits of how fast we can burn the powder. The highest-velocity guns are the size of buildings, and burn hydrogen to build the pressure to rupture a diaphragm and drive very small things at exceedingly high speeds (orbital velocities) to see what happens when you throw debris at a spacecraft or the like. I know NASA has one.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Redchrome, very interesting.

  • Redchrome

    Actually, now that I think of it, I wonder how fast you could go with an APFSDS round from a 12ga. shell? Fundamentally it’s not that different in dimensions from a modern tank cannon. Limiting factor is that shotguns aren’t built for high pressures.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Redchrome, yep, they are low pressure rounds so that is the limiting factor.

  • Bryan S.

    Wonder how it compares to the .950?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.950_JDJ

  • John Waters

    I am dreaming of looooong barrels and deep draughts of slow burning powder…. Anyone have any Hodgdon 570 laying around, still?

  • j

    Max velocity of firearms is roughly 5000 fps

  • Bulldog13

    In regards to the question of titanium bullets and if they are manufactured. As far as I am aware no one produces that kind of round commercially. Especially not for civilian use, however; I have been making several different rounds for the 9mm, .357 mag, .45 lc, .45 acp, .223, 7.62×39, 7.62x54R, .308, 30.06, .410, 20 ga., and 12 ga. in different alloy’s. Most of what I’ve been using has consisted of is titanium, tungsten, chromium, iridium, tantalum, and iron. The results have been quite impressive.

  • RayJN

    I remember reading about this back in the late 60’s. The guy that made it had a smooth bore after about 1000 rounds. I have no idea of the load he used