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Thread: Gibson, not Camp or Ayoob, right about Win vs Rem FBI Load Lead Softness

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    Gibson, not Camp or Ayoob, right about Win vs Rem FBI Load Lead Softness

    Okay, 38 Special revolver guys, some newly-compiled data has cleared up a question for us: Whose lead is softer in the FBI Load, Winchester's or Remington's? Two of our best gurus, who are usually right about everything, have issued conflicting opinions.

    Here's what the late Stephen A. Camp wrote: "The bullet at the left is from Remington and is softer than the deformed, flattened one on the right, which is from Winchester." He showed pictures of Remington SWCHP bullets that had deformed more than had their Winchester counterparts fired from the same gun into the same medium.

    link: http://hipowersandhandguns.com/38%20...r%20LSWCHP.htm

    But here's what Larry Gibson wrote: "I have pulled several Winchester bullets and they are dead soft at 5.5-6 BHN."

    link: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-quot-Hardness

    Who's right?

    If the Winchester bullet is dead soft lead, the Remington bullet couldn't be softer. But Camp had found the Remington bullet deformed more readily.

    So, for the past few years, I have wondered what the truth is. Anybody else wonder about that?

    Recently I found the answer in the gold mine of data recently published by LuckyGunner.
    link: http://www.luckygunner.com/labs/revo...cs-test/#38spl

    Their tests, all shot through heavy clothing into gel, show that the Remington bullets expanded at 824 fps and above, but not at 818 fps and below. The Winchester bullets expanded at velocities of 814 fps and above, but not at 784 fps and below. When you line up two of those data points, you see this:

    818 fps - Remington does not expand
    814 fps - Winchester does expand

    So, Gibson is proven correct about Winchester being softer. But Camp was right about the Remington bullet expanding more readily. It wasn't due to the alloy, though, but the velocity. The reason Camp thought that the Remington bullet was softer is that he assumed the two loads had similar velocities, which they do not. He was testing expansion from 2" and 4" barrels without knowing the velocities generated by the two different loads. Here it is from the LuckyGunner data:

    2" Winchester 750 fps average
    2" Remington 802 fps average

    4" Winchester 839 fps average
    4" Remington 921 fps average

    By the way, Massad Ayoob was tricked into the same wrong conclusion as Stephen Camp was. He wrote this:

    "When I ran across rare failures to expand, it tended to be the relatively hard Winchester bullet, which was hardened to eliminate complaints about excessive leading. On the other end of the scale, the Remington brand -- used for many years by DEA in the backup guns of its agents and the hideout guns of its undercover operatives -- always seemed to open even when fired from snubbies, DEA instructors told me . . ."

    So, our own Larry Gibson was right---the Winchester bullet is dead soft, and expands at a lower velocity than the Remington bullet. BUT, the Remington load, including its present "HTP" iteration, apparently, is significantly faster, and so expands better in snubbys.

    HEY, WINCHESTER, PUT SOME MORE GUN POWDER IN THE CASE, AND WE'LL BUY YOUR AMMO!
    HEY, REMINGTON, TAKE THE ANTIMONY OUT OF YOUR ALLOY, AND WE'LL BUY YOURS, TOO!

    Do you think they heard me?
    A box of premium carry ammo is too expensive at about $30, so I've spent $1,000 on molds, lead, lube, primers, and powder over the past 10 years to make some that's cheaper!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Are both hollow points the same shape and size? Have you or anyone else given a thought about that? Or is it just jump on and hang on?
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    L B S: Sounds good to me!

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    Here's a picture of the two HP bullets. I don't know if this is current.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Rem_vs_Win_FBI_Load_Bullet_Shape.jpg 
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ID:	198027

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy

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    When I was still shooting distinguished revolver matches, the factory Remington 158 RN was pretty accurate at 50 yards. I was trying to meet or exceed the accuracy of the Remington load so I did a lot of testing to improve performance. The Remington averaged 770 FPS from a 6" S&W 14 and the just about the same from a 6" Dan Wesson 715.

    It is also correct that some of the Remington loads were soft lead because even at that speed, I personally seen severe leading on model 64 and 65s when I was training staff using those revolvers and shooting thousands of rounds. Now this leading was the exception not the rule and you can see a great deal of variation from lot to lot of ammo even with the same brand and bullet. The Winchester (and Federal) did appear harder but not as accurate as a general rule. I never did detailed testing of Winchester or Federal because the Remington was better at 50 yards. YMMV

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    Interesting.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Just looking at the photo one cannot tell the internal design to the bottom of the cavities. Still will ask are the cavities the same or not?
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Assuming the chronigraphed velocities are always relatively the same over time is probably unwarranted. Various lots of ammo do not necessarily generate lower or higher speeds all the time compared to something else. Ask me how I know that. Yes, in regard to this ammo.

    Given velocities can vary 100 plus fps with powder forward to powder backwards positioning, it is also possible expansion failures have a lot to do with where the powder is when the gun is fired. This can create expanding and nonexpanding bullets fired from the same gun and the same box of ammo.

    There are too many velocity variables present to believe a Winchester bullet will always be slower and a Remington faster. Actual results suggest velocities could be the other way around the next time.
    Last edited by 35remington; 06-20-2017 at 06:12 PM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    35rem, of course you're right about how ammo velocity varies, but within those variables, I think this velocity difference between Rem and Win is real. Here's another data point to help the discussion along:

    1989 FBI Ammunition test 3" Barrel Model 13s

    Remington 871 fps
    Winchester 808 fps

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	FBI_1989_Test_Summary.jpg 
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ID:	198028

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Well, the last lot of Winchester I shot did 940 from a four inch and 850 from a snubby and I will find similar results posted elsewhere. Not hard for me to dig some up. Incidentally the same snubby does 750 with the same ammo powder forward.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    I think the most helpful data will be Rem and Win tested together, because of the variables you mentioned.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Here ya go, Win and Rem tested together.

    http://www.perfectunion.com/vb/handg...#/topics/84375

    Note the difference between lots of Winchester compared to Remington. Note also the velocity variation between lots.

    Winchester always substantially slower?

    No.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    35rem, thanks for link! I'm copying the most pertinent data below. It seems to me that when compared to the more current Winchester offering, we are seeing Remington 37 to 67 fps faster, which is right in line with the 1989 FBI info and the 2017 LuckyGunner info. Right? bmcgilvray states that the older box of Winchester is c. 1980.

    2" Barrel
    875 Remington
    808 Winchester (newer)
    843 Winchester (older)

    4" Barrel
    942 Remington
    905 Winchester (newer)
    943 Winchester (older)

    6" Barrel
    964 Remington
    922 Winchester (newer)
    949 Winchester (older)

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Yes, and I am telling you my last lot of Winchester gray box ran with the Remington. That is another data point personally contributed. I am sure I can find more.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Before we start arguing in detail about whether what we have seen is true for all the ammo we have not personally shot or tested, let us not miss the most relevant point:

    Where the powder is in the case when the gun is fired probably has more to do with whether the bullet expands or not than brand of ammo used. That variable overshadows anything else to some degree. That is the thing both Ayoob and Camp missed that goes furthest in explaining variable expansion especially from snubbies.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    Last edited by Three-Fifty-Seven; 04-28-2020 at 12:35 PM.
    John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Does the hollow point shape and volumn contribute to the expansion of said bullets or is the hollow point an also ran? Does anyone know this? Has anyone even examined the hollow point shape of are you just dukeing it out over velocity because you don't know?
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Low Budget Shooter's Avatar
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    44mag, I would like to answer your question, but I don't know how to compare those cavities. How would you like me to?

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Looking at my old data from the mid '70s chronographing the older White Box 158 LSWCHP +P out of my old duty 5" M15 S&W (I still have this revolver) and a 4" M15 S&W which was my duty revolver at the time of the tests using an Oehler M12. The velocities are from 10 shot tests.

    Attachment 198030Attachment 198031

    The velocity out of the 5" M15 S&W was 960 fps with the start screen at 10'.

    The velocity out of the 4" M15 S&W was 923 fps with the start screen at 10'.

    The test ammunition came out of the same box of Winchester ammunition. The LE agency I was the firearms/officer safety instructor for adopted the Winchester 38 SPL 158 LSWCHP +P in early '75. The ammunition was rotated and replaced every 6 months. That included the rounds the officers carried and the extra box of ammunition in the patrol vehicles. Note the "9-75" date written on the box. That was when that box was put in one of the patrol vehicles.

    I doubt the original test I conducted back in early .75 was with ammunition out of that same box. However, it probably was with ammunition out of the same case. on September the 8th, 2011, just before moving to Arizona from Washington, I chronographed a 10 shot string out of the pictured box using the same 5" M15 S&W. The test was done with an Oehler M35P chronograph. The velocity was again 960 fps. A second test was done the same day of ammunition from the same box shot in my 7.94" Contender test barrel using an Oehler M43 PBL to measure psi also. The muzzle velocity was 1046 fps (ES 52 fps, SD 16 fps)at 17,900 psi(M43).

    As the firearms instructor I soon implement training at every other quarterly firearms training/qualifications the LEOs would fire their carried duty ammunition (the Winchester 158 LSWCHP +Ps) in realistic scenarios. every 18 months I also had the LEOs shoot a 50 round TRC (Tactical Revolver Course) with the ammunition carried in the vehicles (rotated out every 6 months) for qualification. The officers cleaned their weapons, I inspected them and then issued new ammunition prior to their leaving the range. We never had any leading issues with the Winchester ammunition.

    Larry Gibson

    My old 5" M15 service revolver in case anyone is interested;

    Attachment 198035

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Surely you can look into the cavities with a critical eye or even do a water volumn test by weighing the cartridges with the HP cavities empty the filling them with water and re weighing them to find out.
    We Know Mass Cannot Be Weighed But It Has Newtonian Weight And That Is Derived From Kilograms And Kilograms Can Be Converted to Pounds. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed. But How is the kilograms obtained? Can Kilograms Be Weighed? Evidentally Yes It Can. But, Still Mass Cannot Be Weighed So Kilograms Must Not Exist. Funny Isn't It.
    One good thing out of this the next time I'm at the doctors and they want to weigh me I'll tell them mass cannot be weighed.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check