News About Thunderheads
The desire for cast bullets
with large frontal areas (The Meplat) has finally come of age. In the beginning,
hard cast bullets were never recommended for hunting use in handguns. The
bullets being too hard would not provide any expansion and would just shoot a
hole usually all the way through. Conventional wisdom at that time dictated high
velocity expanding bullets (hollowpoints) except that the technology of jacketed
hollowpoints at that time was nowhere near what it is today.
In many applications the hollowpoints just plugged up and acted like a solid or the jacket was so fragile that it would fragment on impact without providing any serious penetration to the vitals.
One would have to pay homage to the great Elmer Keith and his pioneering work with the 44 magnum and 240 grain Keith Style Bullet ( Semi Wadcutter configuration) in providing some of the earliest insights into handgun hunting. This would include the famous 600 yard. shot at a mule deer with the .44 magnum. Later other pioneers in the field would lend their insights into handgun hunting. Chief among these would have to be J.D.Jones of SSK Industries who has advanced handgun hunting by a factor of a thousand having literally written the book on handgun hunting calibers with his world famous J.D.J. Handcannons and the special J.D.J. calibers that go with them.
I met J.D. many years ago when I first started out at the P.G.C.A. gun show. J.D. asked about casting his special heavyweight bullets (especially the famous .44 caliber 320 grain SSK Bullet) for him and the rest is history. I produced bullets for him for several years before going direct with the line of SSK Heavyweight bullets which I still offer to this day.
Others who pioneered improvements in handgun hunting would have to include Linebaugh, and Dick Casull.
All of these people discovered that cast bullets in these handguns performed best at taking game (especially large game) provided the bullets were cast hard enough and had larger frontal areas.
Veral Smith of LBT (Lead Bullets Technology) developed a series of larger than normal frontal area bullets (WFN for Wide Flat Nose and LFN for Long Flat Nose) to improve upon the performance of the famous Keith type semi wadcutter. Elmer believed that the shoulder of the SWC bullet would cut a full diameter hole through game the same way it cuts a perfect hole on paper. Unfortunately this is not what happens. In recovered bullets it was discovered that the shoulder was being wiped away leaving only the nose profile to carve its way through to create the wound channel.
Verals designs were an improvement over the SWC and developed a small cult following among bullet casters. The main drawback was in the area of accuracy as the reports were extremely variable and the bullets did not seem to do well at long distances (over 50 yards) Veral had many versions with and without gas checks so it may have been the case of finding the right design and load combo to make them shoot well.
Thunderheads are an outgrowth from the bowling pin shooting crowd and cast target rifle bullets. A group of shooters had approached me to produce .38 caliber 230 grain bullets for use in revolvers for bowling pin shoots. Incorporating a dual crimp groove so the bullet could be used in .38 special cases or .357 magnum cases. The shooters wanted a maximum meplat design that would reliably take pins off the tables.
After I started to offer some cast rifle bullets it was noted that the better performers were designs that were bore riding designs. (The front portion of the bullet being just undersized enough to ride along the the surface of the lands to cut friction and the rear portion being full size in the driving band area.) The next bullet I offered was the .45 caliber 270 grain Thunderhead Design with the bullet meplat being .443. This was considerably larger than the WFN designs which were typically 30 to 40 thousandths under full diameter at the nose and offered no bore riding features. The bullet was an immediate success receiving tremendous reviews on various forums on the Internet. The accuracy of the bullet was quite good all the way out to 100 yards. The demand for different calibers and weights of this design have been overwhelming and is currently in progress. Check back occasionally to see the new developments in this bullet style.
To read a write up of the .45 caliber 270 grain Thunderhead bullet which appeared on the 1911 forum CLICK HERE.
Thank you for letting me be of service to you, Bob Palermo/ President. email@example.com
Return To Penn Bullets Home Page