Heavy bullet subsonic .357 mag for integrally suppressed rifle

elwarpo

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Integrally suppressed my Ruger 77/357

Since I want to shoot subsonic ammo, I am looking for a heavy bullet. I hit the speed limit of ~1000 fps, so the only way to increase energy for hunting is to increase bullet weight. I read a lot online and pretty much all of the info is for revolvers. They discuss maximum length for the cylinder length... That is less of an issue in a rifle. I have seen reload info for 200 grain, but not much heavier. 200 grain bullets are much faster than I want to go, so can lose a bit of case space (prefer not) and go to a longer OAL.

1) What is the maximum bullet weight possible (I have seen 210 grain) but hoping for a 240 grain?
2) Does anyone make a heavier bullet plated or jacketed bullet than 180grain?


680047390[1].jpg
 
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RegionRat

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Take a look at the Hornady Sub-X and see what you think. It is intended for the 350 Legend and it may require a look at your twist rate. It amounts to a 357 dia 250 grain FTX bullet.
 

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    I'd try the .350 Legend FTX bullets. Like someone said, they're the same diameter as a .38 Spl/.357 Mag (.357"), so as long as you have a proper fast twist, it would probably be your best bet, short of having to cast your own lead heavies...
     
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    elwarpo

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    Awesome finding out about the SUB-X, thanks!
    Stock Ruger 77/357 comes with a 1:16 twist, so can stabilize heavier bullets. With a 1:16 twist I should be able to stabilize the 250 sub x, as long as length is under 1.17" (berger bullet stability page). I emailed both Hornady for bullet length and Suppressed Weapons Systems for barrel twist rate, waiting on replies.
     
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    jrhtx

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    Their web page says it's a 8" barrel but not that it is a replacement, just lightweight.

    I SBR'ed a 77/357 and with a 12" barrel (yea, wish I had gone shorter but could only get about another inch w/o stock mods) 6.3-6.5 gr of Unique with a 180 gr XTP should have you about 1050. I have read feeding is an issue with longer bullets. I had problems with loading the 180XTP's to max mag length. There some 190-210 cast bullets out there, not sure if anyone is still making a 230, but I haven't tried cast.

    There was a long thread on ARFcom on sub 357 loads and rifles. Lots of people shooting cast but several of the companies they were using are no longer in business.
     

    FuhQ

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    Knowing what I knew about making my own subsonics for my .308 Win and .300 BLK rifles, and how magnum pistol powders react at those bullet weights and case capacities...

    Regardless of what bullets you choose, I'd look into using Hodgdon CFE-BLK or Trail Boss powder to keep case fill relatively full, and SPM (small pistol magnum) primers to avoid hang-fires and other issues. 😉
     

    elwarpo

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    Knowing what I knew about making my own subsonics for my .308 Win and .300 BLK rifles, and how magnum pistol powders react at those bullet weights and case capacities...

    Regardless of what bullets you choose, I'd look into using Hodgdon CFE-BLK or Trail Boss powder to keep case fill relatively full, and SPM (small pistol magnum) primers to avoid hang-fires and other issues. 😉
    Thanks, plan on Win 296 powder (should keep the case full) and Win SPM primers. Have both and Will start reloading soon.
     

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    elwarpo

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    So got a reply from hornady. The length for the 250 is 1.240". The Speer Hotcor 250 is 1.250" The 180gr xtp is 0.754" this means a 0.5" longer bullet.
    The 38 case is 1.155" long
    The 357 mag case is 1.290" long
    The mag case is only 0.135" longer, and max OAL only 0.04" longer.
    OAL for 357 mag is 1.590"
    This means the bullet will be set back to 0.35" from the back of the rim.
    For comparison, you can load a 38 special with a 180 grain to a OAL of 1.547 with a bullet 0.754 or 0.797from the back rim.
    While it may be possible using a fast powder, it is too much of a risk to use the long tapered 358 rifle bullets.
    So figure 1" max length for the bullet, leaving about 0.6" for powder. I also will measure the inside of the mag to see if I can go longer than 1.590"

    I emailed several bullet companies and am waiting on a reply. I am also worried rifle bullets will not expand at 1000 fps.
     
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    jrhtx

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    The 77/357 mag does not feed well with long loads. You are going to have to play with the length to see what will feed.
    I am down to 1.600 for a 180gr XTP feeds OK, not great, just OK. It's not just mine. Another guy shooting factory 77/357, 16" threaded, loads a little shorter.
     
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    Yondering

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    Integrally suppressed my Ruger 77/357

    Since I want to shoot subsonic ammo, I am looking for a heavy bullet. I hit the speed limit of ~1000 fps, so the only way to increase energy for hunting is to increase bullet weight. I read a lot online and pretty much all of the info is for revolvers. They discuss maximum length for the cylinder length... That is less of an issue in a rifle. I have seen reload info for 200 grain, but not much heavier. 200 grain bullets are much faster than I want to go, so can lose a bit of case space (prefer not) and go to a longer OAL.

    1) What is the maximum bullet weight possible (I have seen 210 grain) but hoping for a 240 grain?
    2) Does anyone make a heavier bullet plated or jacketed bullet than 180grain?


    View attachment 7927647

    I've loaded up to 270gr for 357/38 subsonics, but mostly use a 255gr cast hollow point I designed for hunting. I've used them in an 1894 Marlin and currently a Contender, as well as a slew of subsonic 35 cal rifles. A few points:

    - 35 cal is probably THE most versatile caliber for subsonic loads. Lots to choose from, and don't feel like you have to go with the heaviest possible bullet. Look for the bullet performance you want/need first, rather than just chasing weight.

    - If you want to get the most potential from subsonic loads and heavier bullets, you should be looking into cast bullets. Not the commercial hard cast stuff, but medium-soft bullets with decently sized hollow points. Imagine something like the old 38 Special 158gr lead hollow points, with more shank behind them. This is an area where doing it yourself can offer huge advantages over buying something off the shelf; nobody makes anything like my 255gr bullet, for example.

    - With lead bullets, the rifle bullets are fair game - you can easily size them down to whatever diameter your rifle's throat is. Don't worry about bore diameters, make them fit the throat without being jammed too tightly to extract. That might be anywhere from .358" to .362" or even larger; ruger is pretty generous in their throat dimensions.

    - For solid non-expanding bullets, there's really no point at all in chasing anything heavier than about 180gr with a large flat nose. That'll punch clear through a deer or bear easily, and more weight adds nothing to the terminal effect. Round nose, and even worse the spitzer rifle bullets, are a significant step down in terminal effect. There are NO conventional jacketed 35 cal bullets above 180gr that will expand at subsonic speeds; don't expect anything but penciling through with the rifle bullets.

    - The 357 Mag case is limited for really heavy bullets by too much internal case taper. The 38 Special cases can fit much heavier bullets when loaded to the same OAL as a 357 Mag.

    I do have some "Black Bullets" 230gr Sledgehammers, basically a wadcutter. But they don't feed in most magazine fed actions.

    255gr hollow point at various impact velocities. Ignore the yellow text, that was for a different discussion.
    hLIVpq5l.jpg


    Same bullet as a solid (270gr) and hollow point (255gr) next to the .358" 200gr Hornady SP and a cartridge of my own design.
    9Db5Y6Jl.jpg


    And again in the 35 Remington:
    YQmfJZRl.jpg
     

    elwarpo

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    Thanks, I load my 358 win with 250 grain sierra hotcor for my FAL and ar10. I get a bit of expansion at 1100 fps. Being in the Houston area means sea level so 1100 is still subsonic by a bit. I have considered casting and a 220-230 pure lead. It should expand nicely at 1100 fps in my 77/ 357 once I drill a 1/4" hole about 1/8" deep. I would taper it to feed better at around 1.60".
     

    Yondering

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    Hmm. What media are you testing in that's showing some expansion? Only time I've seen that is people shooting into sand or some other "test" media that's not actually testing anything like shooting an animal.

    I'm at sea level too, and 1100 fps isn't anything I'd call subsonic for these purposes. It may not be as loud as a full powered round, but it's a LOT quieter at 1,000 fps, and quieter yet at 900-950. Don't go by the technical numbers, go by how it sounds. The boundary between subsonic and supersonic isn't an abrupt transition, as far as what we hear anyway, it's a somewhat gradual range. You probably won't hear the difference at a shooting range with muffs and other people shooting, but out in the woods with naked ears it can be a big difference from one end of that range to the other. Worth experimenting with it.

    Also, there's a hell of a lot more to making a hollow point work well than drilling a hole. If you're going to expect good results, it's worth buying a bullet mold with a well designed tapered hollow point punch. Anything that makes a straight wall hole like a drill bit is pretty inferior, with a much narrower performance window. No need for pure lead though; pure is around 5-6 Brinell, something in the 10-12 Bhn range will shoot more accurately and hold together better on impact while still expanding really well if the hollow point is adequately designed. Like the pics I showed above.
     
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    elwarpo

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    Media is hogs. 2 of 3 0.358 Sierra hotcor I recovered mushroomed. The third that did not mushroom hit bone and bent (I suspect is was not completely stabilized and was yawing when it hit bone. I am not saying full mushroom but definitely wider than bore. I normally hunt hogs in warmer weather (I am in SE Texas) which raises the speed of sound, I have loaded 900-1200 fps in ~50 fps increment. At 900-950 fps I do not get reliable cycling of my AR10, and the FAL will barely cycle with max gas to the system. I tried the Hunter supply 300 grain flat points @ 1200 fps and they work nice (you hear a bigger thunk when they hit). the 2 I shot were not recovered. I know not subsonics but am still working up a subsonic load.

    You are correct about true subsonics (900) being quieter than the borderline subsonic loads (1000-1100), for me the priority is hearing safe and action cycling for 358 Win. I do not have a fancy sound meter, but the one my buddy brought out (mid quality one he uses to check noise levels at work, he is in EHS) showed my 1100 fps are hearing safe suppressed with 1 of my 2 cans (132 and 143 db at my ear). I do get some noise from the gas system that makes it louder.
     

    Yondering

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    View attachment 7932126Media is hogs. 2 of 3 0.358 Sierra hotcor I recovered mushroomed. The third that did not mushroom hit bone and bent (I suspect is was not completely stabilized and was yawing when it hit bone. I am not saying full mushroom but definitely wider than bore. I normally hunt hogs in warmer weather (I am in SE Texas) which raises the speed of sound, I have loaded 900-1200 fps in ~50 fps increment. At 900-950 fps I do not get reliable cycling of my AR10, and the FAL will barely cycle with max gas to the system. I tried the Hunter supply 300 grain flat points @ 1200 fps and they work nice (you hear a bigger thunk when they hit). the 2 I shot were not recovered. I know not subsonics but am still working up a subsonic load.

    You are correct about true subsonics (900) being quieter than the borderline subsonic loads (1000-1100), for me the priority is hearing safe and action cycling for 358 Win. I do not have a fancy sound meter, but the one my buddy brought out (mid quality one he uses to check noise levels at work, he is in EHS) showed my 1100 fps are hearing safe suppressed with 1 of my 2 cans (132 and 143 db at my ear). I do get some noise from the gas system that makes it louder.

    Show some pictures of those expanded bullets then. Frankly, I'm having a hard time believing you, unless those bullets hit something hard - shoulder socket, skull, maybe the plate if it was a large older pig. Personal experience has shown that those do not expand otherwise, certainly not to any meaningful degree. Besides, if you already know some bullets that work for you, why are you asking here?

    And dang - if you need to reduce your load to 1100 fps to get 143 dB, you need a better can. You can do that with full power rounds with a decent suppressor. Decent subsonic loads with a decent can should be in the 120-ish range from a properly tuned AR.
     
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    elwarpo

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    That 143 db can is made for .50 (not BMG, Bowers Vers 50) so has a big hole at the end so does not suppress anything smaller than 44 well but works great with 45 on up. I bought it for my 500 beowolf AR, which I no longer have, but sometimes run it on other rifles, often on the rifles of hunters who do not own cans. Some suppression is better than none.

    132 DB was from my .46 can on the FAL with gas on (hybrid 46). FAL actions make a lot of noise, if I turned off the gas it is much quieter (no readings). The FAL gas system is much more adjustable and reliable, so I use it more, the issue is since it is piston driven, it dumps gas at the gas block and this gas makes noise so you hear more (higher DB).

    Do not have the bullets but will post some up when I go hunting in the fall, it is too hot now, (high 90s). The recovered bullets were from older hogs we body shoot. I have shot 30-40 older hogs with that load, and I do not go looking too hard for the bullets, so the ones I recovered had less penetration, so hitting something hard like bone is very possible. We head shoot the smaller ones (just behind the ear) so we do not waste meat, and the bullets usually just zip through. When I see a bunch of hogs, I head shoot the smallest one first so I have some meat, then keep shooting the bigger ones till they are gone.

    FAL has a modified Winchester 700 barrel, while the AR has a Wilson 358 win barrel.

    20220812_090330[1].jpg
     

    Cascade Hemi

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    I went down this path not too long ago. 38SPC brass is easier to get consistent velocities than 357 brass due to smaller case capacity and ignition. Further, this is a rimmed cartridge in a rifle action so you're not strictly bound by most of the published load data. The frame and brass will hold 50Kpsi+ pressure which means you can use faster compact powder to make the max velocity at higher chamber pressures. Your primers will be the limiting factor and you'll want rifle primers. I make 1000FPS with 158gr HP using E3 to give you an example. E3 is going to be too fast for 250gr but AutoComp or AA#7 probably won't be. The fast powder will sound better too.

    Also, exposed lead bullets through your silencer is going to lead the baffles. My preference would be jacketed bullets. I stopped at 158gr HP because they still expand, they sound good with really fast powder, they don't lead my silencer, and they kill what I need them to kill (small critters).
     

    Yondering

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    38 Special brass only has smaller case capacity than 357 if you're loading to the shorter 38 Special OAL, meaning the bullet has to jump that gap to the throat. If you use 38 Special brass at the same OAL as a 357 load, it has greater internal capacity due to the heavier/longer case taper in the 357 brass. This becomes obvious when you try to load long heavy bullets in 357 brass. Apples to apples, 357 Mag brass has less internal capacity, not more.

    On the subject of lead, cast lead is far more forgiving (partly due to greatly reduced start pressure) for subsonic loads, but yeah, lubed cast lead is bad in a suppressor. Powder coated cast, as shown in my pictures above, works as well or better than jacketed when done right.
     
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    Cascade Hemi

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    38 Special brass only has smaller case capacity than 357 if you're loading to the shorter 38 Special OAL, meaning the bullet has to jump that gap to the throat. If you use 38 Special brass at the same OAL as a 357 load, it has greater internal capacity due to the heavier/longer case taper in the 357 brass. This becomes obvious when you try to load long heavy bullets in 357 brass. Apples to apples, 357 Mag brass has less internal capacity, not more.

    On the subject of lead, cast lead is far more forgiving (partly due to greatly reduced start pressure) for subsonic loads, but yeah, lubed cast lead is bad in a suppressor. Powder coated cast, as shown in my pictures above, works as well or better than jacketed when done right.

    It depends on the length of the chamber and bullet. If the cartridge length is limited by the chamber they will have the same capacity. In the case of the 158 I'm using, you can seat the bullet below flush if you tried hard enough. It doesn't really matter though, OP will run out of case capacity with 250s and 357 brass so he won't have to worry about too much. Either way, he's going to need compact/dense powder which was the point.

    My results with powder coated lead through a silencer was not positive but I didn't do the coating. My preference is HP through pistol silencers because they generally do not have exposed lead bases. Working up sub sonic pistol loads isn't exactly hard, regardless of the bullet.
     

    Yondering

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    It depends on the length of the chamber and bullet. If the cartridge length is limited by the chamber they will have the same capacity. In the case of the 158 I'm using, you can seat the bullet below flush if you tried hard enough. It doesn't really matter though, OP will run out of case capacity with 250s and 357 brass so he won't have to worry about too much. Either way, he's going to need compact/dense powder which was the point.

    My results with powder coated lead through a silencer was not positive but I didn't do the coating. My preference is HP through pistol silencers because they generally do not have exposed lead bases. Working up sub sonic pistol loads isn't exactly hard, regardless of the bullet.

    Nope. Most 357 Mag rifles are limited by magazine length or action length (1894 etc), unless you have a Contender. And when loading to that max OAL, 38 and 357 brass DO NOT have the same capacity. 38 brass has more capacity, and will also hold heavier/longer bullets than 357 brass.

    Go back to the reloading bench and test that yourself if you don’t believe me. It’s pretty obvious when you start looking.

    You probably tried Hi Tek coated bullets instead of powder coating. They are NOT the same thing, and Hi Tek is not as good for suppressor use, but it’s what most commercially coated bullet makers use. The coatings in my pictures above are powder coatings, and there is no exposed lead when it’s done right.

    The main problem is loading for lead bullets requires a different knowledge set than jacketed bullets, but most people here don’t know that and try to load them like jacketed, unsuccessfully.
     

    Yondering

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    Their 200gr RCBS clone with the hollow point could be an excellent subsonic hollow point, if you could get them to cast it in their softer alloy. They list it with their harder rifle alloy, but appear to be willing to work with people on custom orders. I cast my own, but if I were buying commercial cast bullets for subsonics I'd give these guys a try; I'd ask for that bullet in softer alloy, and delivered "as cast" so that I could powder coat them myself. They don't need a gas check for subsonics either, with good powder coating.

    Powder coating bullets is pretty easy with a bare minimum of equipment, and cheap Lee push-through sizing dies fit in an ordinary single stage press and work great for this application. That's an easy way to dip a toe in to semi-custom cast bullets.
     
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    elwarpo

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    Their 200gr RCBS clone with the hollow point could be an excellent subsonic hollow point, if you could get them to cast it in their softer alloy. They list it with their harder rifle alloy, but appear to be willing to work with people on custom orders. I cast my own, but if I were buying commercial cast bullets for subsonics I'd give these guys a try; I'd ask for that bullet in softer alloy, and delivered "as cast" so that I could powder coat them myself. They don't need a gas check for subsonics either, with good powder coating.

    Powder coating bullets is pretty easy with a bare minimum of equipment, and cheap Lee push-through sizing dies fit in an ordinary single stage press and work great for this application. That's an easy way to dip a toe in to semi-custom cast bullets.
    I would avoid powdercoating bullets, under combustion the coating degrades into very toxic carcinogenic chemicals. Read the sds for the coating and look up combustion products. Using and baking the powdercoat also contains toxic materials.
    I am a chemist and have been inventing paint for 35 years have many patents and dozens of published technical papers, so do know coatings.
    Here is an example sds from PPG
    PPG sds
     
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    Yondering

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    I would avoid powdercoating bullets, under combustion the coating degrades into very toxic carcinogenic chemicals. Read the sds for the coating and look up combustion products. Using and baking the powdercoat also contains toxic materials.
    I am a chemist and have been inventing paint for 35 years have many patents and dozens of published technical papers, so do know coatings.
    Here is an example sds from PPG
    PPG sds

    Nope. That theory has been postulated and disproven a number of times already, going back long before you ever heard of powder coating. You're missing two important facts:
    - The coating is a thermoset polymer, and behaves differently once cured than the powder does prior to curing.
    - The coating does not combust at any point during the firing process. This is plainly evident by looking at recovered bullets. There are no "combustion products" of the coating from firing powder coated bullets.

    I don't care what your degree is in, there's always room to learn about a subject from people who've been doing it for years, before you come in and try to "teach" them about it.
     

    Cascade Hemi

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    I don't care what your degree is in, there's always room to learn about a subject from people who've been doing it for years, before you come in and try to "teach" them about it.

    It's his thread and you're coming off as an insufferable know-it-all. You gave your opinion, now let some of the other kids in the class have a turn. Sheesh.
     

    elwarpo

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    Nope. That theory has been postulated and disproven a number of times already, going back long before you ever heard of powder coating. You're missing two important facts:
    - The coating is a thermoset polymer, and behaves differently once cured than the powder does prior to curing.
    - The coating does not combust at any point during the firing process. This is plainly evident by looking at recovered bullets. There are no "combustion products" of the coating from firing powder coated bullets.

    I don't care what your degree is in, there's always room to learn about a subject from people who've been doing it for years, before you come in and try to "teach" them about it.
    Please prove it scientifically (via PM so we do not clog up this thread). I will then respond with my data via PM. Then we can post up here what is correct.
     

    Yondering

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    Please prove it scientifically (via PM so we do not clog up this thread). I will then respond with my data via PM. Then we can post up here what is correct.
    No, you can go ahead and do some google searching. It's been discussed plenty over the years. Better yet, look at some physical evidence showing that the powder coating doesn't burn during firing.

    Think about the fact that powder coating has been used pretty commonly for about 10 years now in the US, and longer than that in Europe. You're not the first person to think of this. And if you're as knowledgeable about polymer chemistry as you claim, the fact that these coatings are a thermoset should mean a lot.

    Like any polymer (this coating is just polyester), if this stuff were to burn, obviously it'd make toxic fumes, I don't argue that. But don't ignore the most important detail - that the powder coating does not combust in the firing sequence. That renders the rest of it moot; if there's no combustion, there are no combustion by-products.

    Cured powder coating doesn't "combust" at any temperature the lead bullet can handle; it retains its integrity while the lead melts, and then it turns black and chars to ash - I've seen this many times when re-melting recovered bullets. So any powder coating that's not discolored obviously didn't reach anywhere near "combustion" temperatures.

    Here are some more pictures of recovered powder coated bullets that I have on hand. I can provide a lot more pictures if you want more evidence. But of course getting your own experience is worth more than any pictures or theories; that part has to be up to you.

    O1eX4DNl.jpg

    do36qRJl.jpg


    Edit - here's another pic showing bases. They all have soot in the rifling and on the bases from powder combustion, but it can be scrubbed off. No evidence of coating burning that I've ever seen.
    gLO1EBel.jpg
     
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    Yondering

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    It's his thread and you're coming off as an insufferable know-it-all. You gave your opinion, now let some of the other kids in the class have a turn. Sheesh.

    No, I'm saying an entire industry's experience is worth more than some newcomer's theory. Experience trumps theory every time.

    If the OP is a hands-on person that's able to examine actual results instead of only considering book theory, he'll come to the same conclusion as everyone else who's considered that theory.

    I'd like to point out that the OP is the one acting like a know-it-all from my perspective, both about subsonic bullets and the coatings. When you've seen what works and have used it for years, some newcomer acting like they know better is exactly what a know it all sounds like.
     
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    Cascade Hemi

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    No, I'm saying an entire industry's experience is worth more than some newcomer's theory. Experience trumps theory every time.

    If the OP is a hands-on person that's able to examine actual results instead of only considering book theory, he'll come to the same conclusion as everyone else who's considered that theory.

    I'd like to point out that the OP is the one acting like a know-it-all from my perspective, both about subsonic bullets and the coatings. When you've seen what works and have used it for years, some newcomer acting like they know better is exactly what a know it all sounds like.

    duty_calls.png
     
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    brazz04

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    If you really want to see his head explode, address him as yonderling...
     

    Haney

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    And we are pointing out that you are too.
    Who is this "We" you speak of ? Funny you say "we" when this is your first post in this thread . Just shows your typical trolling method , you seem to enjoy trolling and just waiting to pounce with a gutless comment .
     
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    spife7980

    Luchador
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Feb 10, 2017
    11,407
    11,725
    Central TX
    Who is this "We" you speak of ? Funny you say "we" when this is your first post in this thread . Just shows your typical trolling method , you seem to enjoy trolling and just waiting to pounce with a gutless comment .
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