From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pointed Bullets in a Lever Gun???

Hornady has done it again.

Headquartered in Grand Island Nebraska, Hornady Manufacturing has introduced a pointed bullet round that is safe to load in lever actions with a tubular magazine.



Calling it "LEVERevolution" Horandy has added a soft ballistic tip to pointed bullets in the 30-30, 35 Remington, 444 Marlin, 45-70 and 450 Marlin calibers.



Since the inception of the tubular magazine fed centerfire firearms we have always been cautioned to NOT load pointed bullets in these guns. In a tubular magazine the rounds are stacked on top of each other with the point of one pressed against the primer of the one in front of it. When the firearm recoils with pointed bullets loaded in the magazine this can and will fire the primer/s of rounds in the magazine with devastating results.

That is why until now there has been an industry wide caution on using only roundnose or flatpoint bullets in firearms that have a tubular magazine.

There is some claim with this new ammunition, that also boasts improved ballistics that the 30-30 is now a genuine 300 yard gun. I'm sure some of the claims Hornady is making with this new inovation will be proved in the field and it is an exciting new product.

Pointed bullets in a tubular magazine are really nothing new to me though as I have been using them for years.

There are a number of companies that have made bolt action, semi-auto, and pump action guns in the venerable old 30-30 caliber that do not use a tubular magazine. Loading information in the several of the loading manuals has for years listed pointed bullet loads for the 30-30, and yes I have used them with great success in lever action firearms without incident.

There is one caution I have must offer in regard to using any other poined bullets except those specifically designed by Hornady for use in lever action firearms;

WHEN USING POINTED BULLETS IN A LEVER ACTION FIREARM DO NOT LOAD MORE THAN TWO ROUNDS TOTAL IN THE FIREARM, ONE IN THE CHAMBER AND ONE IN THE MAGAZINE.

In most hunting situations you won't have time for more than one or two shots at most anyway.

Back in the mid 70's I did a great amount of experimenting with pointed bullets in a lever action Model 94 in 30-30 caliber. Most of the shooting that was not at paper was done on the Southern New Mexican out-of-control Jack Rabbit and Coyote populations with great success.

Even given the powders available then, and keeping within the standard pressures for the cartridge, we were able to accomplish some pretty long range shots at these vermin.

At that time the pointed bullets were designed to function at higher velocities and I do not believe that the speed with which the 30-30 shoots was enough to ensure reliable and consistant expansion. Since our target species was rabbits and coyotes expansion was not a concern. My main goal was better accuracy and a bit longer range and that was accomplished.

Much of the loading data I used involved the 130 and 150 grain Speer bullets and data from Speer's reloading manual # 9.

The effect these rounds had, or would have had on deer was not known to us as only one time can I recall using one of these loads on deer, and it was well within the normal range of the 30-30 anyway. Since the projectile exited the deers body it was not recovered for examination. It did the job though.

I'm sure I am not the only one that did this kind of experimenting, but I did have a lot of fun with it and have considered again loading some of those types of rounds in the last few years.

I may not have to now, this Hornady ammunition looks promising and I can't wait to try it.

If you do decide to experiment for yourself with pointed bullets in a tubular magazine please head the following Century old advice;

WHEN USING POINTED BULLETS IN A LEVER ACTION FIREARM DO NOT LOAD MORE THAN TWO ROUNDS TOTAL IN THE FIREARM, ONE IN THE CHAMBER AND ONE IN THE MAGAZINE.

The new round from Hornady would be an exception to that, of course.

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