What Makes Penn Bullets Unique
Casting bullets is hardly a new technology
having been done for a very very long time. Commercial casting of bullets
with automatic machinery for general sales to the public has been around
a lot less.
Cast bullets were (and in most cases
still continue to be) a low cost alternative to high priced jacketed bullets.
There was a price to be paid in the early days for these lower priced projectiles.
That price manifested itself in the form of poor performance, severe lead
smoke, velocity limitations to under 1000 fps and generally
being unsuitable for any hunting applications.
Twenty-five years ago I could not
find good cast bullets to load when I started reloading and being on a
very tight budget, cast bullets were all I could afford. I decided with
some help from a friend that I would start to cast my own. I started with
a book on reloading and casting written by John Wooters. With casting pot,
a Hensley and Gibbs mold, some lead, and a lube /size machine I went to
work to make my first cast bullets.
To say that the results were less
than spectacular would be an understatement.
By nature I am curious person blessed
with very good mechanical skills inherited
from my father. I started to read and research everything
I could find about cast bullets only to find that there was not a lot of
info out there. I researched metallurgy on lead alloys. I studied mold
designs and I spent 5 years researching bullet lubricants in developing
my own lubes. In short anything to help me make a better bullet. After
handcasting for several years and developing better cast bullets I started
to sell my bullets locally to support my shooting hobby.
Demand for my product grew and I decided
to go into the business full time. I bought my first casting machine and
spent thousands of dollars modifying it to make it produce bullets the
way bullets should be made. Since the machines at that time were crude
I had to develop the tooling as well.
Many of the improvements in casting
technology were developed here.
The process has been and still continues
to be an evolutionary one.
By never being satisfied and always
pushing the edge of development and listening to our customers needs is
what has garnered the companies reputation for being the best.
Today, our cast bullets have come
a long way. Bullets capable of being shot in excess of 2000 fps. without
the need for a gascheck. Bullets capable of delivering accuracy levels
that oftentimes exceeds the performance of expensive jacketed bullets due
to their ultra low weight deviations. Specialized designs with broad meplats
and silver based alloys that provide devastating hunting performance on
large dangerous game for today's super magnum handguns.
While cast bullets continue to offer
the highest performance/ cost ratio of any bullets available today, they
are many times not just the most economical choice but the best choice
In the beginning I mixed and blended various
alloys and had shooters try these different alloys to determine what would
and would not work. Softer alloys were fine for low velocity work and harder
alloys were fine for higher velocity use. For the first several years I
basically made two alloys that I did all my handcasting with. One
for sub 1000 FPS loads and one for magnum loads up to 1500 FPS. This worked
out reasonably well until the first casting machine arrived. The volume
one machine can use is considerable so the problem became one of supply.
The next step was to purchase metal from a foundry that would blend it
to your needs.
While this seemed O.K. and the
metal was good it suffered from being variable in its quality and expensive.
After dealing with several foundries and finding pretty much the same thing
I decided to set up my own foundry to mix and blend all of my metal needs.
It was during this time that many
bullet casters referred to purchasing Virgin metal for use in their bullets.
The fact was that the metal they purchased from various foundries was new
to them but hardly virginal. Purchasing all new never before used material
would have placed the price of the alloys beyond the realm of practicality.
Foundries were buying recycled materials and blending it to meet their
customers needs. Since bullet casting was a very small percentage of the
foundries business and price was always an ever present concern to the
bullet caster the foundry simply gave them material that was close to their
needs. Sometimes the material was exceptionally good and other times not
Having total control in choosing what
raw materials I purchased gave me the opportunity to be more discretionary
than the various foundries. After securing regular suppliers I was able
to maintain a higher degree of consistency.
Now there are some bullet casting
companies out there that would have you believe that there is something
magical or special about their secret mixes when nothing could be further
from the truth. I was certain that my customers would not be taken in by
the slick ads and high prices. Shooters tend to be a conservative, suspicious
Certainly they would not mail order
expensive cast bullets when they were perfectly happy with my product would
they? .... You betcha! Once again advertising hype pays off. The
promise of the Search for the Holy Grail of Cast bullets was finally over.
Here was the answer: SILVER!!! By gosh this solved everything according
to the ads. It absolutely amazed me the number of people who just had to
try this. Was it cast bullet nirvana? ... Hardly. One by one the
customers came to buy bullets only to admit that the magic bullets shot
no better and surprisingly in many cases WORSE than the bullets they had
been buying all along, and the prices that they paid!!!
Lets face it; advertising costs big
bucks. I know, been there, done that. Two and one half years advertising
a 2/3 page ad in American Handgunner, one year in Shooting Times and most
recently the Cowboy Chronicle. Somebody has to cover those ad costs and
guess what? ... Its you. I backed away from advertising because the cost
was spiraling out of control and people just did not want to pay those
hyper inflated prices for cast bullets. The economy portion of the shooting
equation was gone. Today I rely on the word of mouth kind. The type of
advertising that no money can buy.
But what about that Silver thing?
I will let you in on a little secret. My bullets have just as much silver
in them as theirs do. Silver is a trace element from the lead mining process
and its not present in high enough percentage to make a significant impact.
Adding silver in enough quantities to make a difference would drive the
cost beyond anything reasonable for everyday use for most cast bullets.
The special Casull Alloy that I developed
for high pressure loads like those found in the .454 Casull does contain
enough silver to make the alloy more ductile and stronger and less prone
to fracturing under high pressure loadings than the regular alloy.
(Which by the way is a very strong alloy in its own right) However its
cost limits its application only to special bullets and applications that
can benefit from such an alloy.
Today I blend alloys for blackpowder
applications (soft) to applications for the newest super magnums.
No one can offer you better for less.
I guarantee it!
for lead, tin, and antimony at an all time high, (due to high demand from
China and India) the prices for all types of bullets have risen
considerably. Many casters faced with rising costs have closed their doors
as they no longer can be profitable. In the last several months over a dozen
bullet casters that I am personally aware of have closed.
Some have decided to raise prices. Others have resorted to a
one price including shipping to bolster their bottom line knowing full well
that by double or triple charging for shipping on each and every box they
are padding the total cost to the consumer. Shipping 2 or 3 boxes does not
double or triple shipping costs. One only has to look at the rate chart to
know this is not true. With the advent of the Postal Services new flat rate
that I utilize, shipping is a great bargain. (For news about USPS flat rate
Still others have resorted to raising prices and lowering
quality. The method for this is the addition of scrap materials to the mix
to extend their supply. This manifests itself in weight deviations of
several grains between bullets. Aside from destroying any potential for
accuracy the consumer is taken advantage of and is left with a bad
experience regarding cast bullets.
Having spent 20 years trying to educate the shooting public
to just how good cast bullets can be, its a little disheartening to see this
happen to the industry. In time prices should settle down but in the
meantime I have no intention of lowering quality to save a few bucks. You
have my word on that.
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