Monday, December 29, 2008

Levergun Shooters Take Note

It has been a while coming but Hornady's LEVERevolution bullets are finally available to handloaders. This is big news. Since there are those who do not read themselves to sleep with handloading books let's start at the beginning. Lever action rifles have always had one weak point, that tube magazine under the barrel. With those magazines we cannot use sharp pointed bullets for fear that a sharp pointed bullet might set the primer of the next round off. Considering that our own personal hands are wrapped 'round the fore end with that mag tube running through it, it is a valid worry.

This is why leverguns are woods rifles, the flat point and round nosed bullets are like trying to win a footrace in hip waders. But a couple-three years ago Hornady came up with a sharp pointed bullet that will work in a lever action rifle. They found a plastic tip that was stiff enough to maintain it's shape, yet soft enough to not set off a primer.

This just about instantly extends the range of your levergun by a hundred and fifty or two hundred yards. Figure a .30-30 Winchester or .35 Remington levergun. We figure those as running out off steam by about a hundred and fifty yards. Where a rifle that could fire a spitzer bullet at the same speed is a three hundred yard gun.

These bullets aren't cheap but then today, no bullet is. They are available for most of the calibers used in lever actions. In .30 caliber they have a 160 grain bullet that might just bring the ol' thutty-thutty into the 21st Century.

The old .35 Remington has a 200 grain bullet, so far they haven't released one for the .357 Mag carbines out there. I would imagine it's coming soon, though, they make a nifty little 140 grain bullet with that sharp point for their factory loads. I suspect that bullet over a hot load of H110 or LilGun would zap a Texas Whitetail out past two hundred steps.

The folks shooting .44 Magnums or .444 Marlins have a nice 265 grain slug, start that one off at some 2250 feet per second from a .444 and you could bombard cities better than the Palestinians and their stupid rockets.

I'm looking hard at the bullets they make for my .45 Colt rifle. Here there are two, a 200 grain and a 250. Now I have clocked over 1900 fps out of the 24 inch barrel of my '92 Winchester clone with a 250 grain bullet, that same action is used for the .454 Casull Mag so I would probably make that weight bullet fly faster. I haven't bothered because those flat point bullets lose speed so fast. But with these pointy ones? Hmmm.

Guys with the '86 Winchesters and 1895 Marlins have a couple of bullets, too. Guys with a .45-70 or one of the others, the .45-90s and such have a sharp pointed 325 grain that would reach out way past Fort Mudge. Winchester fifties and the .50 Alaskan would be taking a long poke with the 300 grain pointy bullet.

Now these bullets aren't the end all and bee all of levergun bullets. There are a lot of times I'd want a bullet for something up close and big, say I lived where there might be an old sorehead Grizzly Bear popping out of the bushes with mayhem on his mind, I'd want my levergun loaded with the heaviest bluntest bullets I could fit in there.

It might be a while before the loading data for some of these bullets is found in every manual, too. But still, this is a big step.

So far the only folks I know of who are selling these bullets are the Potterfield gang at Midway USA. There may be others but I know Midway does, they're on the January flier on the "new products" page. I like to call them, 1-800 243-3200. They have country music while I'm on hold.

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