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Old 04-25-2003, 04:48 AM
WESHOOT2 WESHOOT2 is online now
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Coming Now -- "thunderheads"

So I have occasion to receive samples of ammunition components (don't be jealous) for my perusal and possible endorsement, but I rarely ever get to publicly praise a new product because most don't pass my personal critical criteria.
I am picky / fussy / cranky / anal.

Mr. Robert Palermo of Penn Bullets some time ago sent me a (unsolicited) 'samples' pack of his superb cast bullets for a look-see, and I was most impressed (lead bullets are hard to make right).
I praised them publicly.
So he sent me something.................different.

"Thunderhead"

I opened a box of 45 Colt bullets.
Looked like a cylinder.
Hard (enough, but not 'too'), beautifully molded, well-lubed (some red stuff), but it was their shape that intrigued me; they are cylindrical.
Below the crimp groove they appear (and measure) like a conventional 255g LSWC in shape, beveled base, and bands.
Above the crimp groove they simply rise to their full height measuring .443".
That's a BIG meplat!
Weight was a fairly consistent 269ish, varying only in tenth-grains. So far so good, but IMNSLE bullets that look good don't mean diddly; function is paramount (this bullet is claimed to function through certain rifles, but I can't address that).
Bullet OAL is .665", short enough to work in most any cylinder. Sizing was consistent at .452", and the 'cylinder' portion above the crimp groove was right on at .442-.443" (BIG meplat!)
All in all, a 'nice-looking' bullet.
Cylindrical, like a wadcutter, but with almost half sticking up from the case mouth.

So my initial thought was "These things can't possibly fly straight or hit concentrically when driven fast and zooming out at distance; gotta 'tip'.

Testing required.

So I tested.

Test platform: 45 Colt Redhawk, stainless, 5.5" tube.
Data collection: 50-60F, humidity 40ish, light winds, PACT ONE (12 ft), 5-75 yd targets.
Equipment: Bonanza Co-Ax press; LEE (size, seat), Lyman ('M' flare), Redding (Profile Crimp) dies; all charges weighed.
Components: new Winchester brass case, Penn Bullet 270g "Thunderhead"; CCI, Federal, Winchester primers; OAL 1.577".

I will offer some load data, but please remember that THESE LOADS WERE DEVELOPED IN MY GUN -- START LOW AND WORK UP SLOW.
SAFETY FIRST

All given loads exhibited tremendous accuracy in MY gun, but as always your results may vary.
Not all tested loads are offered, but I feel my limited sampling can give a good idea of potential. As my usual practice, I consider accuracy (and consistent velocity when the bullet must do 'work') my measure of a successful load.

Here we go!:

270g Penn, W-W case, Federal 150, ('heavy' crimp -- ALL loads received a 'heavy' crimp using the superior Redding Profile Crimp die), 12.5g Vihtavuori Oy 3N37.
av = 1037fps / H = 1043 L = 1032 / ES = 10.2 / SD = 4.4
Nice.

270g Penn, W-W case, Federal 150, 14.0g Hodgdon HS6.
av = 1079fps / H = 1090 L = 1061 / ES = 29.6 / SD = 11.6.
Nice.

270g Penn, W-W case, Federal 150, 10.0g Hercules Unique (yes, I have Unique, yes, it's old).
av = 967fps / H = 978 L = 952 / ES = 26.0 / SD = 13.6.
Stiff.

270g Penn, W-W case, Federal 150, 11.0g Alliant Power Pistol.
av = 1061fps / H = 1079 L = 1048 / ES = 31.0 / SD = 12.8.
Stiff.

270g Penn, W-W case, Winchester LP, 19.0g Vihtavuori Oy N110.
av = 958fps / H = 987 L = 935 / ES 51.9 / SD 22.1.
Soft, and this powder shows great velocity potential; more testing required -- safety first.

Now for some serious stuff. The next two loads are 'up there', and extreme caution is MANDATORY when moving in this direction. NOT for you-know-which guns. NOT to be exceeded UNLESS: you KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING; you have access to a chronograph; you have a full and complete grasp of handloading processes; you understand fully the ramifications of 'loading heavy'; you accept full personal responsibility if you bend-or-break your gun, or get hurt.
Okay?

270g Penn "Thunderhead", Winchester case, CCI350, 26.0g Winchester W296.
1301fps.
This load 'felt' relatively 'soft'. I believe I can increase this charge some, but I'll do a very careful 'mapping' before proceeding further. I'll start my 'mapping' at 24.0g and work up in .2g increments, fire and record a minimum of 12 rds at each charge weight, and carefully measure my fired cases, too.
I've already bent my 44 Redhawk
This process will allow me to 'see' how each increase changes velocity, and as I raise the charge I can easily observe any abnormal velocity change.
Even I practice safety first (stupidly at times, but still safely).

270g Penn "Thunderhead", Winchester case, CCI350, 26.0g Hodgdon H110.
1389fps.
Done; NO room (safety-wise IMO) for more.

As stated earlier, all loads posted exhibited excellent accuracy, and some loads (including both 'hotties') were fired on paper at 73 yds (longer-distance testing will commence as soon as the mud hardens).
ZERO 'tipping' or ANY 'flight-failures' were noted; ALL holes were perfect.

So what's the big deal?

I see this bullet design as perfect for 44 Special defense ammo (big heavy bullet going kinda slow; flat front), 45 Colt defense ammo (especially with the ultra-light guns now chambered in this fine old cartridge), and animal hole-making.
Further testing on game animals will determine if the bullet maintains a true course after impact, but I'll for now assume it will (I been wrong before; testing required).
It's short enough to fit most cylinders, yet offers maximum weight.
It has that awesome meplat, which seems to give 'correct' results in real-life experiences.
It's accurate, like a wadcutter.
It can be driven fast without leading (in my gun), and there is no apparent instability in its flight path, even at distance (gotta make the BIG meplat! strike perpendicular and such).

So I endorse this product; any other users?
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Old 04-25-2003, 12:33 PM
Pauly452 Pauly452 is offline
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That was very interesting. I am not familiar with this brand of bullets. I wonder if they can be used at 454 Casull pressures? Your description sounds like they could be hard enough.
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:03 PM
WESHOOT2 WESHOOT2 is online now
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SO ASK

www.pennbullets.com

IMNSHO if loading zippies for 454 Casull perhaps a 'better' weight range might be 320-350g.
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Old 04-25-2003, 09:03 PM
msmith msmith is offline
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As far as lead bullets go, I use Penn Bullets exclusively. Mr. Palermo does good work, and is a nice guy too.

I have a Freedom Arms 454 coming next week. I am going to get some of the Penn Bullets for it. I may have to try some of the Thunderheads too.
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2003, 06:35 PM
Still Creekin Still Creekin is offline
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About a year ago I function tested and chronied some LBT 280 grain OGWs in .44 These are Veral Smiths version of the cylindrical bullet. I believe he made them in most calibers. These had an meplat just .01 smaller than the bullet diameter so they could be seated out into the cylinder throats, (more than 1/2 the bullet out of the case, increasing case capacity). They had to be driven to about 1,200 fps to get good accuracy to 25 yards, and nothing I could do would make them hold a group at 100 out of my Dan Wesson, but boy did they hit hard! I was shooting at a gravel pit and they were blowing dirt back through the target stand on impact. I'm a big believer in maximizing meplats to the limits of function, and the required range performance, on cast bullets intended to be used for real. BD
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  #6  
Old 04-28-2003, 07:31 PM
Pauly452 Pauly452 is offline
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Re: SO ASK

Quote:
Originally posted by WESHOOT2
www.pennbullets.com

IMNSHO if loading zippies for 454 Casull perhaps a 'better' weight range might be 320-350g.


Thanks for the link.
I am thinking that 270 is a tad light. I have been using 300 g XTP's.
Now I gotta run and check out that website.
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Old 04-28-2003, 10:46 PM
robert palermo robert palermo is offline
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It's always gratifying to see a new bullet (especially experimental ones) that when brought to fruition delivers on its expectations. Time and cost factors can really limit the development of new bullet styles especially if they are not sucessful. I was aware of some the accuracy problems that Veral had with some of the bullet styles that he developed. Thunderheads were designed to overcome these limitations by using some design features incorporated in some target cast rifle bullets. The front bore riding/ full diameter rear drive bands feature of these types of bullets had often lent themselves to some pretty impressive performance in rifles but had not really been exploited for pistol use. It's performance will now allow me to develop other versions in other calibers (most notably 41 and 44 and maybe even a heavier version in .45) I wish to Thank WESHOOT for the wonderful detailed write up and load development which I know all too well can be very time consuming and demanding. I hope to avail myself of his services again as new designs are developed.
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  #8  
Old 04-29-2003, 07:01 AM
Still Creekin Still Creekin is offline
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Weshootz & Robert Palermo, I've been working along these same design parameters for .45 acp for the past year. If you're interested email me at bdallam@NOSPAMime.net (remove the NOSPAM of course). Robert, whose casting machines are you using? BD
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  #9  
Old 02-22-2004, 05:10 AM
WESHOOT2 WESHOOT2 is online now
YES, IT'S LOADED
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
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Age: 50
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Still Thundering............

I noticed this bullet (thank you Mr. Palermo of Penn Bullets) is still generating interest (over on The High Road).

Any meat-takers?
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