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Thread: WWB 9 mm question

  1. #1
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    WWB 9 mm question

    I hope this forum is ok for this question if not please move it. My son gave me a box of Winchester White box (100 rds) 115 fmj. The color of the bullet is different than any other that I have ever seen. Instead of the "normal" copper color the bullets are the color of the brass. They do not have any copper color at all. Anyone know what the jacket is?
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  2. #2
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    My pre-coffee guesswork for today...

    ...and strictly from memory...

    I don't usually spout guesswork on these things, but it's hard to be definitive without a chemical analysis (or other testing) of the bullet jacket, or by asking the manufacturer directly. I have rarely seen explanations of the jacket material itself on mfrs' websites, unless they are touting a specific alloy as an advantage.

    It is probably a variant of the many, many alloys and substances from which bullet jacket materials are made:

    > Pure copper, which early on was found to foul barrels and required strong ammonia dopants to dissolve the copper which was deposited in the bores.

    > Bronze, which is copper and tin. It was soon found by the French that a little metallic tin in the form of a powder or thin strips of foil added to the powder greatly reduced this copper fouling, and it wasn't long before someone added the tin to the copper jacket material directly to reduce this metal fouling.*

    This alloy, if I recall correctly, was called Lubaloy by the Winchester folks. It is simply a form of bronze. The percentage of tin varied by manufacturer, and this variation showed up as a difference in color. This is also called "gilding metal," because copper and tin in the right proportions looks like gold. This is the jacket material which is the most commonly used in "conventional" bullets. I point out that "bearing metal," or Babbit metal, is copper, tin, and a high percentage of lead. Bearing metal "runs" good against steel without galling.

    Some early standard propellant powders sold for reloaders in this country had tin added to them, in which case a "1/2" was added to the powder name -- as in "Reloder #7," which, if tin was added, would be called "Reloder # 7 1/2."

    > Brass, which is copper and zinc. Some bullets are made from this material, but again, it is hard to tell without chemical analysis. And it usually appears lighter in color than bronze.

    > Steel, in its softest form, which is almost pure iron, with a copper or bronze wash on it to provide both lubrication and corrosion resistance.

    Some lead bullets look as if they have jackets, but are merely plated with variants of the above.

    Nowadays, with the high price of copper, manufacturers may vary these alloys to make the most economical bullets, and I would guess that your lighter-colored bullets are simply made of an alloy with less copper, and possibly with some lead added in there.

    I frankly would not be concerned about it, and I hope this gives you a "general" enough answer to satisfy you. If it shoots well and doesn't foul up the barrel, that should be just fine.

    I am sure those more adept at search engineering will have more to contribute.

    Terry, 230RN

    --------
    *
    In one case, Townsend Whelen designed some bullets for the National Matches which were pure copper-jacketed, but plated with tin. These were called "tin can" bullets, and shot fine if they were used properly, without grease as a lubricant. However, many competitors still used grease, and the increased pressures broke many rifles, and it was withdrawn from the Matches.

    The problem was that the tin plating practically "soldered" the bullets into the necks of the cases, and they would not "pull" normally, although they showed excellent accuracy. This was fine, if no lube was used, since the initial pressure of firing would expand the necks and release the bullets.

    However, most competitors in those days (1920s) were used to using grease on the bullets, and the coating of grease which inevitably found its way onto the necks of the cases, interfered with the neck expansion which would release the bullets. Therefore extremely high pressures were developed, even way above "proofing" pressures. The ammo was hastily withdrawn in the middle of the matches, and other ammunition quickly substituted.
    Last edited by 230RN; November 16th, 2008 at 12:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    Wow 230RN, very nice summary report of bullet jacketing materials. I learned something today
    “When you understand the nature of a thing, you know what it is capable of.”
    -Miyamoto Musashi

    "Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions."

  4. #4
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    230 Thanks for all the info..............good thing this was pre coffee for you or Oleg might need a bigger server
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  5. #5
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    btw the color of the WWB bullet is almost the same color as a Barnes Zinc "solid" varmit bullet
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    I just thought of it. It might be cupro-nickel, which is another bullet jacket material I forgot about.

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