From: Norman Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: (Fwd) Re: Need ultra-light/squib load info - old wives
Date: 7 May 2000 19:54:52 -0400
## But, be careful. Squibs are very
## dangerous. So are light loads.
## Light powder loads are prone to
## detonating and splitting cases.
#This seems to me to be in the category of gun myths. Several gunzine
#reloading writers researched this over the years, and some performed
#their own tests on light loads. None could either document or replicate
#"detonation," or even excessive pressure, from very light handgun
#loads. Common wisdom seems to be that gun blowups attributed to light
#loads are actually cases where a shooter firing light loads fired a
#primer-only squib that, unknown to the shooter, left a bullet in the
#barrel. The following shot is where the excessive pressure develops,
#not because of powder detonation, but because of the stuck bullet.
#Of course, I'd be interested in reading about any _documented_ cases
#where a light load was determined to have caused a "detonation."
Category of gun myths, it is!
I have experimented with ultra light loads for more years than
some of the people on this net have existed and have not ever
found one that is dangerous. This assumes that one has the
requisite knowledge required to do responsible handloading -- no
light loads of the very slow powders, awareness that stuck
bullets do occur, no jacketed bullets for ultra light loads,
inherent dangers of fillers, etc.
I have some very successful 7mm Mauser, .30-30 and .45-70 loads
using 700X and bullseye that are quiet as a pellet gun yet will
easily dispatch coyote size animals. The .45-70 cup point filled
with silicon grease will kill and gut them in the same operation
if a frontal shot is acquired.
Not that my experiments are new. Many articles about ultra-light
loads have been published over the years. One complete section
of an old NRA reloading book that I have is devoted to the ultra-
lights. The same is true of using "regular" cases for magnum
loads and loading "equivalent" loads in magnum cases.
None of this is to say that the inexperienced handloader should
attempt that of which he has no knowledge. It is my contention
that one who gets into the loading business without first reading
everything that he can get his hands on is irresponsible and
dangerous to all around him. At the same time I have found great
satisfaction in doing what few others have done -- safely and
Some material that I have written and some things that I have
learned about the ultra-lites:
I have some very successful 7mm Mauser, .30-30, .308 and .45-70
loads using 700X and bullseye that are quiet as a pellet gun yet
will easily dispatch coyote size animals. The pure lead .45-70
cup point filled with silicon grease will kill and gut them in
the same operation if a frontal shot is acquired. Note that all
of the below refers to the true ultra-lites, not to "mid range"
loads that are far less critical but far more powerful and noisy
than the ultra-lites or squib loads as some authors refer to
them. I have played with the ultra-light loads quite a bit over
the years and have learned a few useful and a few hard lessons.
The first is that one DOES NOT use ANY jacketed bullet in the
ultra-lites. Removing a jacketed bullet from a barrel is someth-
ing that a sane man does not want to do. During the development
of the ultra-lites one will positively get bullets lodged in the
barrel. If one is not prepared to live with this fact of life,
do not read further. Lead bullets are not difficult to remove
and pure lead types are very easy to push out. Failure to do so,
however, will ruin you, your rifle or both. BE VIGILANT!
Developing an ultra-light for one's rifle and conditions takes a
little time and effort. The reason for this is that the result
is to provide the quietest, yet most dependable load that is
possible. A change in any component or condition is likely to
result in bullet lodged in the barrel. For instance, some loads
that my notes say were dependable at the tested conditions either
did not fire or caused bullets to lodge in the barrel at lower
temperatures. Primer type changes also have had the same
A good starting point for the .45-70 is 3.0 gr of Bullseye or
700X with about any oversize bullet (or round ball) that you have
on hand. The bullet will be (preferably) pure lead and of flat
point, wad cutter, or hollow point design. For really explosive
results use a pure lead cup point filled with grease. I cannot
begin to describe the damage that a .44 or.45 bullet of the
latter description will do, even at the very low velocities
encountered with the ultra-lites. Work up or down by 1/2 grain
increments, depending on desired results.
Paco Kelly claims to have put a 450 gr. pure lead bullet through
the heart lung area of a coyote at 50 yards using 2 1/2 gr. of
Bullseye in his .45-70.
It is important to use oversize bullets or round balls because,
otherwise, the low pressures will not cause sufficient obturation
and accuracy will not even exist, let alone be good. Many shoot-
ers use .460 commercial round balls in the .45-70 with good
results. They are a logical choice for those who are not set up
to make their own bullets and work very well.
I use magnum primers on the theory that they will be more likely
to ignite the small amounts of powder better. Since I do not
have my records here I am unable to confirm the validity of the
theory. Use whatever works.
No matter what some of the articles say, I have not been able to
get much more than 25 yards accuracy with any of the TRUE ultra-
lights. One can see the bullet fly downrange and it veers wildly
after about that distance. The gyroscopic stability just is not
there at those low velocities. For my neighborhood cat hunting
purposes, this is more than adequate.
Incidentally, there is considerable published material available
about squib load development, its hazards and problem solutions.
Below are some selected references from The Fouling Shot, now
called The Cast Bullet, the official journal of the Cast Bullet
Association. There are many more in NRA loading manuals, etc.
Note that some of these articles are about reduced loads in
general and some may not be devoted exclusively to they ultra-
IS THE .35 THE CLASSIC CALIBER FOR CAST BULLET
MARSHALL, JR., FRANK 26-05 60 PIX, SPEAKING
COMMENTS ON SUB-SONIC LOADS
BURMEISTER, ROBERT 27-09 30 PIX
THE REMARKABLE ROUND BALL IS RIGHT FOR BREECHLOADING RIFLES
MARSHALL, JR., FRANK 28-08 57 SPEAKING FRANKLY
ULTRA LIGHT LOADS FOR THE 6MM
WILCOX, CHARLES 31-13 7
44 CALIBER LEAD LOADS
MARSHALL, JR., FRANK 34-08 60 PIX, SPEAKING FRANKLY
NEW DATA FOR .30 CAL. SQUIB LOADS
HARRIS, C.E. 36-06 30 PIX, ALBERT'S 154 GR.
MARSHALL,AJR., FRANK BA44-05 40 PIX, SPEAKING FRANKLY
MEMBERS HELP WITH .44 LOADS
EDITOR 52-23 7
SILENT BUT DEADLY
KELLY, PACO 53-06 39 PACO'S POINTERS
WHISPER LOADS FOR THE RUGER .45/70
MATTHEWS, P.A. 55-29 20
ON SMALL GAME LOADS
BARNISKIS, A.E. 58-07 35 ANDY'S ANGLE
MORE ON "SILENT BUT DEADLY" LOADS
HARRIS, C.E. 58-23 35
THE RUGER NO. 3 IN .30/40 KRAG
BOWKER, R.N. 61-26 14
HANDGUN AND RIFLE VARIETY LOADS
KELLY, PACO 63-06 36 PACO'S POINTERS
PACO ANSWERS SOME QUESTIONS
KELLY, PACO 64-05 8 PACO'S POINTERS
SMITH, VERAL 67-18 105 PIX
CB SQUIB LOADS IN THE .30-06
LEWIS, TED 85-13 16
The SILENT BUT DEADLY article by Paco Kelly is particularly
appropriate for across the board info on quiet-but-good-killer
I have been working with some ultra-light loads in a 7mm
Remington Rolling block and loads that shoot about 1 inch at 25
yards go to about 8 FEET at 50 yards -- really enlightening! At
these low velocities one can watch the bullet start out straight,
then, as it's dynamic stability wanes, go into a dramatic curve.
Kicking the velocity (therefore the rpm) up a couple of hundred
feet a second increases the accurate range.
A wax wad sheet for bullet base use is now sold by CF Ventures.
It is a hard red wax of some kind. Claims state that its
use will prevent and even remove lead from barrels. I cannot
tell as I have not gotten around to testing altho I have had some
in my bench for several years.
I have used it as an over-powder wad to hold the powder of my
ultra-lite loads up against the primer for improved ignition in
the straight cased cartridges such as the .45-70, .44, .45
and .38 Special. Do not use this approach with any other than
ultra-lites for fear of chamber ringing.
Long barrels are quieter, with a given powder charge - no
Smaller bores are quieter, with a given powder charge - probably
because the frontal area of the high pressure wave is smaller.
The wax sheet rammed up against the powder charge positively
gives better ignition and permits same with very small charges.
Again, DO NOT do this approach with other than the ultra-lites.
Power (energy) will never be great because of the small powder
Pure lead projectiles with grease filled cup points will expand
even at the 300-400 fps velocities. I have shot some into VERY
soft redwood at velocities so low that there was not full length
penetration of the 350 grain, .45-70 bullet, yet expansion was
the size of a quarter!
My best all around effort so far, for quietness, is the 7 Mauser
out of a Remington Rolling Block with a 30 inch barrel. No
pistol loads have been REALLY quiet because of the short barrels.
Hope this helps. I would like to hear of any interesting findings.
From: Norman Johnson <email@example.com>
Subject: Ultra-Light Loads, hollow points, and pellets
Date: 13 Jul 2000 03:37:36 -0400
At 10:49 PM 2/18/97 -0500, John Alexander wrote:
#Enjoyed your ultra-light load article in the Cast Bullet. Hope you
?will write more and give more accuracy data for your different
calibers. There are a lot of people now living where the neighbors
#don't like the sound of shooting so there must be quite a bit of
#interest in quiet loads.
#I used (37years ago) to shoot starlings on the roof of an neighboring
#appartment house in Washington D.C. with 22 air rifle pellets out of a
#Remington 722 in 222. Killed some starlings but never got the art
#prefected before I was able to move to Montana and shoot at bigger
#game. Also used 3-4 grains of Bullseye behind a 40 grain Sierra hornet
#bullet in a Sako 461 222 for squirrels for several years. Four grains
#was enough to prevent bullets sticking in the bore and I took squirrels
#out to 50 yards, but this of course wasn't an ultra light.
Recently I have been experimenting with .22 pellets loaded into .223 cases.
Curious as to what a little bit of powder would do, I started with 0.6 grains
of 700X and the noise was too much -- worked down to 0.3 gr. for acceptable
noise. I use a tiny tuft of kapok to hold the powder against the primer hole
for consistent ignition.
I have not yet had the opportunity to shoot these for accuracy, velocity or
pellet damage. In-the-garage tests have been gratifying, however, as the
pellets will fire through both sides of a tin can while the primer-only driven
pellets only dent the can.
#You mention hollow pointing CCI CB longs. I have been using these for
#head shots on racoons raiding our bird feeder. They work ok for that
#but would like to have more damage on crows and other pests that don't
#offer head shots. Could you please let me know what size hollow-point
#works and how you do it.
Years ago there was an article in the Fouling Shot, now called
The Cast Bullet, that had plans and photographs for hollow point-
ing ammunition, handloaded or commercial. It uses a drill press
and works very well. Issue #67, pg. 18, by Veral Smith.
I hollow point .22LR bullets with "The Cavity Maker" sold by Ron
Allard Enterprise, RFD 2, Box #47,Ware, Maine 01082. He has
frequent ads in Shotgun News. $14, I believe.
It comes in either 1/16" or a 3/32" version. This tool can be
used with a drill press or hand drill and makes a straight cylin-
drical hole. I often finish by putting a taper in the hollow
cavity by hand using a No. 2 high speed center (a machinist
friend gave me one of his that had one end broken). This taper
provides a very thin bullet mouth which opens quickly.
To make these rounds REALLY explosive, fill the cavities with a
non-separating grease of some kind. I find that silicon grease
does not separate for several years.
To make sure that these tiny cavities are full, use a large
hypodermic needle on a syringe. This will assure that the grease
fills from the bottom up. With the needle removed, the syringe
will pull the grease in. Attach the needle and fill the cavi-
The above treatment will allow even the 700 fps or so CB Longs
open well on small game.
From: Norman Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Ultra-Light Loads, hollow points, and pellets
Date: 14 Jul 2000 03:44:46 -0400
# I do understand that we are talking "ultra-lites"... This load would be
#used in a garage setting at about 20 feet... What do you think of 1/2 grain
#of W/W #231 as a starting load in a 5.56 (.223 Rem) cartridge ?? If you
#have any load data for this cartridge could you please forward it..
Sounds pretty good as I like (when using .22 pellets) 0.6 gr. of 700X. I
wanted it quiet but strong enough to go through both sides of a tin can at 20
feet. Starting with 1.0 gr. was too loud but working down to 0.6 grains did
Be sure that you use a little tuft of Dacron or kapok to hold the powder
against the primer to assure consistent ignition.