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Offline Omnivore

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45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« on: December 04, 2018, 08:56:26 PM »
It's been asked several times here, so I decided to try it in the Uberti 3rd mod. Dragoon.

Sabots for 45 caliber guns are fairly rare compared to fifty caliber sabots, but Midway listed a 45 sabot from Harvester Muzzleloading, called a "Crush Rib High Pressure Sabot".  They're made to take a 40 caliber bullet.

I just took shipment today, so of course the first thing I had to do when I got home is try them for fit.

THEY FIT!

Shown is the "Crush Rib" sabot with a Hornady 10mm 180 grain XTP jacketed hollowpoint bullet over 30 grains of Olde Eynsford 3F powder in the Uberti Colt Dragoon.  This seems to be a full load for that gun.  I other words, the powder charge would need to be reduced if one wants a lube cookie in there.  The sabot/bullet combination fit snug, but not overly so.  It should be pointed out that for loading most conicals on the gun, the loading port had to be opened up to make room.  Although I had previously opened this gun's loading port, I would need to open it up a bit more for these sabots.

Test firing will have to wait for a bit, but I wanted to report that this sabot does apparently fit the gun very well with a 40 caliber (.400") bullet.  This gun has .452" chambers, close to the chamber mouth anyway, whereas my Uberti Remington Army revolvers have .450" chambers, and Pietta 44s are closer to .447".  That five thousandths spread probably won't be a huge problem, but we shall see.

I don't know what purpose this will serve, but I wanted to first see if it can be done, and see how these saboted bullets shoot.

These particular bullets from. Hornady are designed to perform in the 40 S&W and also in the 10mm Auto, so they are a compromise.  At 10mm velocities (circa 1250 fps) they may sometimes over expand, and in the slower 40 S&W they're still supposed to open up OK.  That means they should actually do their intended job from a Dragoon or a Walker revolver loaded up with black powder.

Not that I believe I'll be switching to use jacketed 40s in these guns, but it may be fun to experiment. 

We were discussing the use of various lead-free alternatives too, and this looks promising as one of those alternatives.  Lead free 40 cal bullets are readily available, and something like a jacketed or a copper solid should NOT be used in these guns at full 45 caliber.  Thus the sabot option looks pretty attractive, so far, as a lead free solution.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline drobs

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2018, 11:20:06 PM »
Very cool! Looking forward to hearing your shooting tests.

You might also try a cloth patched 40 cal bullet. Just for grins.
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Offline Yolla Bolly Brad

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 11:32:49 PM »
I'm glad to hear your investigating this Omni. It's of concern to all us Californicators that might want to carry a cap gun on a hunting trip.
Brad Potter, hardware junky.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2018, 04:58:27 AM »
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline Capnball

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2018, 05:18:29 AM »
http://1858remington.com/discuss/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=11941.0;attach=13333;image Could you utilize the snakeshot capsules and launch a close range snake eliminator? That HP looks intimidating, but your pure lead HP would probably do more damage and maybe be more accurate, don't know until you range test them and let us know. For limited velocity, pure lead has always "delivered" throughout history.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2018, 12:40:44 PM »
Capnball; I've loaded shot as loose ammunition, no sabot, retained by an over-shot card.  The pattern expanded extremely quickly, forming a doughnut pattern with a hole in the middle about 8 - 11 inches at ten yards.  I sort of lost interest in shot after that, unless I were to remove the rifling from a Colt barrel making it a dedicated shot pistol barrel.  I just never had enough interest to actually do it.

Here's the sabot/XTP 180 combo in a 25 grain paper cart intended for the Colt. Walker.  I think I could get 40 grains in the gun with that combo, but wanted to start small.  The sabot carts are as easy to make as with plain, full caliber bullets.  Don't know how the paper will affect loading and shooting, but could always go with a powder-only cart and place the sabot/bullet on top separately if it turns out to be an issue.

Ssb; yes, there's been a lot of discussion, but no detailed range reports from firing these in percussion revolvers.

We can discuss the "whys" later, though lead free is certainly one possible reason.  First I wanted to see how it actually shoots.  If that works out, then other people can decide if sabots make any sense for them.

I'll try these on water jugs, and half gal cartons, just as I did with my cast and my swaged hollowpoints, and recover some of the fired bullets.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2018, 01:03:18 PM »
Here's the 35 grain, sabot/XTP 180, paper cart in the Walker.  Yup; 40 grains should fit fine, I think.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2018, 01:25:55 PM »
As for an earlier assertion that the sabot petals might curl back, exceeding the wide diameter of the forcing cone to get caught up within that few thousandths of an inch caliber gap; I don't see that as a possibility.  We'll find out how they shoot, soon enough.  Probably this weekend.

I still don't have my deer tag filled, and the last day of the season is this Saturday.  If I don't get a deer on Friday morning however, I think I'm done for the year.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Capnball

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2018, 04:46:52 AM »
I can't hardly wait for the range report. I never have had any luck with shot thru a rifled barrel over 2" long. I thought maybe a plastic capsule would prevent the rifling from interfering with the shot pattern and do well once the capsule cleared the bore. Just shot in the cylinder would not protect the lead from the lans and groves. Natchez sells the shot capsules, long transparent blue ones like CCI uses. Smoothing out a bore for dedicated shot use would work. I might get some and try them in my Colt Dragoon. Anyway, hope you get good results this weekend.

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2018, 12:39:53 PM »
Illustrating a couple of issues here.  First, as mentioned previously, the length of the sabot/bullet stack is extreme.  It's hard to define its "effective length" because the sabot has a prominent hollow base, but after taking several measurements, and subtracting a little to account for the hollow base, I'd put the "effective length" at about 0.820" - .0.830".

That limits the powder charge to about 20 grains in an Army chamber.  Here's a photo of the sabot stack (sabot with 10mm 180 grain Hornady XTP) next to a (poorly cast) Lee 450-200-1R bullet, for comparison.

Another issue is the variety of chamber diameters found in the Italian repros.  The sabots loaded fine in my Uberti Dragoon (.452" chambers) and Uberti Walker (.450" chambers) but, contrary to my prediction, failed to load properly in my Pietta Remington (.447" chambers).  The sabot cannot be inserted deep enough to get the bullet under the loading position in the gun, so I had to resort to the cylinder loading stand.  With 20 grains O.E. 3F it is a full load.  You can see however that one or more of the sabot's petals seem to have come detached during the seating process, in three out of four sabots loaded.

Due to the petal detachment I expect accuracy of this load in this particular gun to be less than acceptable, but to me it wouldn't matter; the chambers are too small for this sabot/bullet combination, and I wouldn't use this pain-in-the-neck load in the gun regardless.  One would have to either ream the chambers to a larger diameter, or use an undersized 40 cal bullet, or use one of the aforementioned Ubertis which accommodate the sabot and have more chamber capacity.

I may try this load in the Uberti Remington revolving carbine though, which has .450" chambers.  That's going to leave me a lot of guns to clean after one shooting session...

Also, no lube (fouling mitigation) option has yet been decided upon.  If one absolutely needed to use lead-free loads, and a sabot was the only good option, we are told that Black MZ is a substitute powder which needs no lube.  I haven't tried it.  In the Dragoon there would room for a lube cookie and about 25 grains of black, and in the Walker a lube cookie and about 35 grains of black.

Further, although I am using 40 cal jacked HP bullets, I do NOT want to turn this into a jacketed HP verses lead HP or lead solid bullet comparison.  Rather, this is about the ability to use copper solids, sintered metal powder frangible, or other lead-free solutions that are too hard to use as full caliber bullets against the rifling in these soft steel barrels.  Actual bullet design and terminal performance is a different subject.  Let's not conflate the two.

I would NOT, for example, use this load just so as to have a jacketed hollowpoint.  There's no reason for that whatsoever, being that jacketed bullets are made for the higher pressure, modern, smokeless powder loads to eliminate barrel leading.  In a black powder gun, you can use pure lead hollowpoints and get the desired terminal effects without a copper jacket, and without the limitations, bother, and increased cost imposed by using a sabot.

Someone else mentioned paper patching.  I have no experience with such, nor do I recall anyone having tried them in a percussion revolver and giving a range report.  I have seen people who, having failed to bring the proper sized round ball, have used cotton patched ball in revolvers and seem to have done OK.  Could that undersized ball be made of the lead-free HEVi-Shot material, or bismuth?  I would think so.

Ideally, of course, a full caliber, soft lead projectile is the way to go.  We are exploring less-than-ideal alternatives.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2018, 02:13:08 PM »
There are some paper carts loaded with 35 grains of O.E. 3F, a lube cookie, and the saboted 180 gr XTP.  That makes a totally full load in the Uberti Walker.  So it's a choice of max loads; either 40 grains and no cookie, or 35 grains and a cookie.  I'm going with the 35 and the cookie.  BP needs some fouling mitigation.

I'll shoot a few today, but I'll wait until next weekend, when I'll have new sensors for the chronograph, to do any more testing.

(Oh boy; being that a heavy, greased felt wad destroyed one of my sensors, what would a shed sabot do?  I might should come up with a way to protect the sensors...)
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2018, 04:36:10 PM »
Did some shooting with the Walker.  27 degrees F, light breeze, low sun in my face.

All loads fired; 35 grains O.E. 3F, lube cookie, sabot, 180 grain 10mm XTP hollowpoint, Remington #10 percussion cap.

I started out shooting some one-gallon plastic water jugs because, although this isn't about specific bullet performance, we are all curious what a JHP designed for 40 S&W and 10mm will do.  (I could have told you, because years ago I chronographed a bunch of 180 grain lead bullets from my Pietta Remington NMA, and so I knew that 30 grains of Pyrodex could propel them to hot 40 S&W velocities).

The first shot at nine yards blew up the jug and went clean through my bullet stop.  That's the first time that's happened, so I know we're getting good velocity.  The second shot was captured, and is shown in the photo.

Recoil from this load is, as expected, light and snappy.

I then did a comparison shot from a Glock Model 20 pistol in 10mm, same setup, using a reasonably "full power" load that averages about 1250 fps.  Interesting comparison.  A full power 10mm load causes this bullet to begin to fragment in a water jug.  There were fragments of lead in the remains of the jug, and on the face of my bullet stop, and what was left of the bullet was clearly way over-expanded and had lost a lot of weight.

The bullet fired from the Walker however looks pretty good, meaning it's reaching a velocity within its design parameters.  it's still a bit over-expanded, but KEEP IN MIND that pure water is MUCH more dense than, for example, lung tissue.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2018, 04:52:49 PM »
I then loaded up six and shot for group at 30 yards.  It did OK, considering my cold fingers, but not great.

To explain the target; the first shot is the highest one, and right.  I then changed my grip to provide more support on the gunnel of my pickup bed for the remaining shots.  The next four are very nice, landing within about 2.5", but I can't tell you what happened on the last shot, which is the lowest, and right.

Also, this gun prints my 200 and 225 grain cast bullets very nearly on center at 30 yards, whereas the saboted 180s seem to print low and right.  A sight adjustment would be in order for this load.

I found three shed sabots at about seven to ten yards from my shooting position, but one of them I found at 18 yards.  The latter one is not opened up as much as the others, so you do the math.  Maybe the presence of lube in the load is causing some of the sabots to stick to the bullet a little bit...

I have no interest in finding just the right load for the sabot and 40 cal. bullet.  Mainly I wanted to test the viability of such a load, and, as far as I'm concerned, I would consider it a highly viable option.  If Black MZ powder truly needs no lube, I think it would be my choice for further experimentation if I were to peruse the use of sabots in these guns.

Certainly any bullet designed to expand at 40 S&W velocities will be viable in a 44 percussion gun, at least those with more chamber capacity than your standard '60 Colt and Remington Army models.  Even the Army models, with 20 grains of an energetic BP or BP substitute, would make a decent sabot-eater.

And let's not obsess on the issue of the performance of hollowpoints.  That isn't the issue, necessarily. Solid bullets, or lead-free round balls (of around .400 to .402" diameter), even, are always an option, and would achieve greater penetration for a given weight.

Note that the recovered, fired sabots exhibit no sights whatsoever of having "caught in the cylinder gap".  Other than having some soot on them, they're very tidy, and even almost pristine.

HOWEVER; loading these long sabots in the gun in the field, though doable, was a bitch, even though my Walker has been modified to take wide nose 225 grain lead bullets.  At one point I decided it was easier to knock out the wedge and remove the barrel, then shove the sabot in, rather than try to get it under the loading ram of the assembled gun.  The other five rounds I loaded on the gun without disassembly, with some effort, using a "push stick" I managed to fashion from the environment.  One would need to open up the loading window substantially, on any gun, before these sabots would load easily.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 05:00:34 PM by Omnivore »
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2018, 05:13:46 PM »
Also; the back sides of these two bullets have something to say;
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)

Offline Omnivore

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Re: 45 sabot, 40 cal bullet
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2018, 05:34:06 PM »
Oh, I just realized; I lied.

I said that all shots had a lube cookie (between powder and sabot), but in fact that first shot, which penetrated my bullet stop (about 20 layers of terry cloth) and was lost, was top lubed.  The GF1, which I consider to be a "summer lube" would have clogged the hollow point with what would have been, in today's cold weather, the approximate consistency of candle wax.  First shot, cold gun too.  That MIGHT have prevented the bullet from opening fully, thus explaining the extra penetration.

The bullet fired from the Glock at 1250 fps, penetrated considerably fewer layers of the cloth than did the one I recovered from the Walker, as, if you understand the trade-off between trauma and penetration, would have been predictable.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.   James 1:25 (KJV)

So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.   James 2:12. (KJV)