March 12th, 2016

Are Polymer-Copper Matrix Bullets the Future for Pistol Ammo?

Ruger ARX polymer copper matrix Bullet Cheaper than Dirt
Photo from Ruger ARX Ammo Review in Cheaper Than Dirt Shooter’s Log.

Take a good look at this unusual ammunition. We think you are looking at the future of handgun ammo — at least for range and practice work. This patent-pending ammunition features a 100% lead-free bullet blended from polymer (plastic) and copper powder. The polymer-copper matrix (PCM) composition offers three major benefits: 1. the bullets do not ricochet; 2. the bullets are lighter and therefore faster than conventional projectiles; and 3. the bullets are environmentally friendly. We think this is a big deal — we predict matrix pistol bullets will become extremely popular in the years to come.

At the 2016 SHOT Show Media Day, we shot ammo with PCM bullets in a half-dozen handguns. The ammo performed flawlessly, without a hitch. In .40 SW and .45 ACP pistols, the felt recoil was considerably less than with conventional lead-core ammo (the difference was less noticeable with .380 ACP and 9mm Luger).

Ruger is now offering Ruger-branded ARX ammo with polymer-copper matrix bullets. This ammo will be produced under a licensing agreement with PolyCase Ammunition, the Georgia-based business that originally developed this bullet technology.

While Ruger is touting this ammo as a self-defense solution, we think the most common use of this new ammo will be for indoor practice, plinking, gun games such as IDPA, and use on steel and reactive targets. If you like to shoot steel, matrix bullets make sense. The polymer-copper matrix bullet basically disintegrates into very small fragments when it hits metal.

This video includes extensive tests of Ruger 9mm ARX ammo:

Ruger ARX Ammo with Injection-Molded Matrix Bullets
The fluted projectiles are injection-molded from a polymer-copper matrix. This offers many advantages. First, being completely lead-free, these bullets can be used at indoor facilities that prohibit lead-based ammo. Second, because the composite bullets weigh 30% less than comparable lead-based projectiles, shooters experience less recoil (even though velocities are higher). Third, the composite matrix bullet has low-ricochet properties. When these bullets strike metal, they are designed to disintegrate, rather than ricochet. This makes them well-suited for indoor use, or use with metal plates.

Ruger ARX Ammunition Ammo Injection Molded Matrix Composite Copper Nylon Polymer

Ruger’s new ARX line of lead-free ammo features injection-molded bullets that are much lighter than conventional projectiles, caliber by caliber: 56 grains for .380 ACP, 74 grains for 9x19mm, 107 grains for .40 SW, and 114 grains for .45 ACP. The lighter bullets fly faster, but ARX ammo still offers reduced perceived recoil.

ARX Ammo for SALE
.380 ACP
9mm Luger
.40 SW
.45 ACP

Shooting Wire Editor Jim Shepherd reports that ARX ammo delivers on its low-recoil promise: “Having spent time testing the PolyCase ammunition (largely in Ruger firearms), I know the reduction in felt recoil isn’t just hype. While firing PolyCase ARX ammunition in calibers ranging from .380 in small concealed carry pistols (including a Ruger’s LCP) up to .458 SOCOM in modern sporting rifles, the lessened felt recoil was noticeable.”

Polymer-Copper Matrix Bullets Show Good Penetration
Despite their lighter-than-average weight, ARX bullets show good penetration in ballistics gelatin, thanks to their unique, fluted-tip design. This video shows penetration tests:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 8 Comments »
January 19th, 2016

Media Day at the Range 2016

2016 Media Day Range

Media Day Range

Scores of manufacturers showcase their products at the SHOT Media Day event, held each year in Boulder City, Nevada. This year we saw some legendary names (such as Colt and Winchester), as well as new, 21st-century gun-makers (such as Tracking Point). Savage and Kimber had some surprising new offerings, and we saw impressive new optics from Zeiss and Minox. There were some interesting trends. Many firearms were equipped with “factory” suppressors. Ruger, much to our surprise, showcased a Ruger 10/22 takedown rifle fitted with a Ruger-branded suppressor. It was extremely quiet. Many of the handgun manufacturers, including Ruger and Walther, supplied ammunition with composite polymer matrix bullets. These bullets are significantly lighter than conventional pistol bullets of the same caliber (the reduced bullet mass did lessen felt recoil with 9mm and 45 acp pistols). The polymer bullets are lead-free, and they don’t ricochet, so they are both more “eco-friendly” and safer when used on steel targets.

New Savage 110 BA Stealth Rifle

Savage 10 ba stealth rifle

Savage unveiled a modern, “monolithic” metal-chassis tactical rifle. Designed to compete with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), the new Savage 110 BA Stealth has an AR-type hand grip, skeletal buttstock, and a low-profile vented forearm. This rifle will be offered in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor while a slightly bigger model will be offered in .300 Win Mag and .338 Lapua Magnum. Savage says that all the 110 BA Stealth models will feature “factory blue-printed actions” for improved accuracy. MSRP varies from $1200 to $1600 depending on caliber and configuration. It should be available starting next month.

The model on display, chambered in .308 Winchester, proved accurate in the hands of Ed M. of 65guys.com. Ed liked the trigger and the fact that the rifle uses PMags. The stock, based on a design by Drake Associates, is very light but also very rigid. Ed thought this stock would work well on barricades in tactical matches. Steve L. of 65guys.com said there is “pent-up demand” for a rifle like this, and he predicts the 110 BA Stealth will be a big seller for Savage.

Savage 10ba Stealth media day

New K6 Revolver from Kimber

Kimber .357 Mag Revolver

Kimber, known for its 1911-type semi-auto pistols, has introduced an all-new K6 .357 magnum carry revolver. Kimber’s hammerless wheelgun was very nicely crafted and had one of the smoothest double-action pulls we’ve tried. The trigger pull was long, but very consistent and smooth. With the Kimber, you don’t feel a series of “stages” or transitions as you do with most other double-action revolvers. The other impressive thing about the new revolver is the finish — the stainless is very smooth and shiny, the result of “much hand polishing” according to Kimber engineers.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown with Factory Suppressor

Ruger 10/22 Takedown with suppressor

The most fun we had all day was at the Ruger booth. There we got to test a Ruger 10/22 Takedown fitted with a Ruger-branded factory-made suppressor. This little rifle was a hoot to shoot, and with the suppressor in place it was amazingly quiet. We really liked this set-up and the take-down system worked brilliantly — just pull one lever, then twist and the barrel section comes off. For those states where you can own a suppressor, we strongly recommend this configuration. The “can” is sold separately and buyer must still comply with all applicable state and Federal laws.

Zeiss Victory V8 4.8-35x60mm Rifle Scope

Zeiss Victory V8

zeissv802

Zeiss showed off its impressive Victory V8 line of riflescopes. These offer an 8X zoom ratio, with handy BDC turrets — just dial the yardage indicated on the turret (you can custom-order BDC rings calibrated for your favorite load). The new V8 scopes offer many impressive features. We shot a rifle fitted with the new 4.8-35x60mm V8, which features a very beefy 36mm main tube. The glass was bright and ultra-sharp. Zeiss claims 92% light transmission. Fiber optic technology provides a very precise red dot in the center of the reticle. This was visible even in bright sunlight. Zeiss will offer three other V8 models: 1-8x30mm, 1.8-14x50mm, and 2.8-20x56mm.

APO .338 Lapua Magnum

APO Ashbury .338 Lapua Magnum

Ashbury .338 Lapua Magnum

Bigger is apparently better when it comes to serious tactical rifles. There were quite a few rifles chambered for the powerful .338 Lapua Magnum Cartridge. We tried out a .338 LM from Ashbury Precision Ordnance. With some help from a laser rangefinders, we were able to put rounds on a large steel plate at 960 yards. The trigger was nice and the suppressor reduced felt recoil. This was a nice rifle, with a comfortable cheek-piece and ergonomic grip.

Minox MD 88 Spotting Scope

minox02

We noticed a BIG front objective on a brand-new Minox spotting scope — one of only two in the country. This new spotter features low-dispersion glass and dual focusing rings — a large “fast focus” ring and a second smaller, fine focus ring. The price, including 20-60X eyepiece, will be around $1750.00. Jason Baney, who works for EuroOptics, says this new Minox spotting scope compares well with other spotters that cost considerably more.

Blaser R8 Professional Thumbhole Fancy Wood

Blaser

If there was one rifle I wanted to take home with me, it was this nice Blaser R8 “Professional Success” model with a fancy wood new thumbhole stock. This rifle was very comfortable in all shooting positions. The gun balanced well and the straight-pull Blaser action is fun to use. It can be cycled rapidly without disturbing your position on the rifle.


This is always something new and unusual on display at Media Day at the range. This tracked one-man rig provides all-terrain mobility so disabled persons can enjoy hunting and wilderness recreation.

atv disabled power sled

Permalink Handguns, New Product, News 2 Comments »
October 2nd, 2015

NEW Ruger Handgun Ammo Features Molded Bullet Technology

Ruger ARX Ammunition Ammo Injection Molded Matrix Composite Copper Nylon Polymer

BIG news in the shooting sports industry — Ruger has entered the ammo business. Ruger now offers high-tech handgun ammunition, using licensed polymer-composite, lead-free bullet technology. According to the Shooting Wire: “Ruger’s new lead-free ammunition will be produced under a licensing agreement with Savannah, Georgia-based PolyCase Ammunition.”

Ruger’s new ARX line of lead-free ammo features injection-molded bullets that are much lighter than conventional projectiles, caliber by caliber: 56 grains for .380 ACP, 74 grains for 9x19mm, 107 grains for .40 SW, and 114 grains for .45 ACP. The lighter bullets fly faster, but ARX ammo still offers reduced perceived recoil.

ARX Ammo for SALE
.380 ACP
9mm Luger
.40 SW
.45 ACP

Ruger ARX Ammo with Injection-Molded Matrix Bullets
The fluted projectiles are injection-molded from a copper/polymer matrix. This offers many advantages. First, being completing lead-free, these bullets can be used at indoor facilities that prohibit lead-based ammo. Second, because the composite bullets weigh 30% less than comparable lead-based projectiles, shooters experience noticeably less recoil (even though velocities are higher). Third, the composite matrix bullet has low-ricochet properties. When these bullets strike metal, they are designed to disintegrate (into a powder), rather than ricochet. This makes them well-suited for indoor use, or use with metal plates.

Shooting Wire Editor Jim Shepherd reports that ARX ammo delivers on its low-recoil promise: “Having spent time testing the PolyCase ammunition (largely in Ruger firearms), I know the reduction in felt recoil isn’t just hype. While firing PolyCase ARX ammunition in calibers ranging from .380 in small concealed carry pistols (including a Ruger’s LCP) up to .458 SOCOM in modern sporting rifles, the lessened felt recoil was noticeable.”

Ruger Ammunition pistol ammo PolyCase

PolyCase Molded Bullet Design Technology
For over a century most bullets have been mass-produced with a process called cold-forming. Lead and copper were shaped with brute force in punches and dies to create projectiles. While this is still a viable and effective way to produce bullets, other manufacturing methods are now available. By applying injection-molding technology, Polycase has developed a new type of bullet that has many advantages, as least for handgun applications. Bullets weigh approximately 70% as much as lead bullets with similar profiles. Lighter weight means higher velocities and less recoil. In addition, PolyCase bullets are lead-free, and low-ricochet — two qualities important for indoor and close-range training. The injection-molding process also reduces weight variations (compared to cast lead bullets), and ensures excellent concentricity. Molding also allows unique shapes that are impossible to produce with conventional bullet-making methods (see photo).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
January 11th, 2015

NEW PolyCase Ammunition and Injection-Molded Bullets

Georgia-based PolyCase Ammunition has developed innovative polymer-based composite cartridge cases and injection-molded bullets. With a patent-pending design, the polymer cartridge cases are lighter than brass or steel cases, yet are heat-tolerant, and relatively easy to manufacture. These cases will be initially produced for .223 Remington, plus a variety of pistol cartridge types (.380 ACP, .38 SPL, 9mm Luger). PolyCase cartridge cases blend patented heat-resistent polymers with metal elements in the case base. According to the manufacturer, “the net effects are greatly reduced weight (compared to comparable loaded ammunition), durability… and competitive pricing.” Other companies have experimented with polymer cartridge cases in the past — none have successfully perfected the technology in a commercially successful product. Could PolyCase be the first?

Polymer Polycase Ammunition injection molded bullets Georgia

PolyCase Ammunition — Material Characteristics
– PolyCase Pistol Cartridge Cases are 11.5 to 20% lighter than brass-cased ammunition.
– PolyCase Rifle Cartridge Cases are 23 to 60% lighter than brass-cased ammunition.
– PolyCase Cartridge Cases are self-lubricating — a positive factor compared to brass or steel cases.

Polymer Polycase Ammunition injection molded bullets Georgia

PolyCase Bullets — Injection-Molded Blend of Copper and Plastic
PolyCase has developed its own unique bullets for use in pistol ammunition. PolyCase Cu/P™ bullets are precision injection-molded from a cutting-edge copper-polymer compound. These molded bullets will be offered in both polymer cases and conventional brass cases. (Early in the design process, PolyCase determined that molded bullets work well in both brass and plastic cases). PolyCase co-owner Paul Lemke (Lt. Col. U.S. Army, Ret.) says: “We are able to use essentially the same molds to produce bullets for brass casings and bullets for our polymer casings”.

PolyCase Pioneers Injection-Molded Bullet Technology
Powdered metal has been around for decades, but blending powdered metal with polymers and injection molding precise parts is a fairly modern process. While processes like sintered metal bullets and pressure-formed shotgun pellets have become commonplace, PolyCase is the first American company to produce and sell a completely injection-molded bullet.

Polymer Polycase Ammunition injection molded bullets Georgia

For over a century most bullets have been mass-produced with a process called cold-forming. Lead and copper were shaped with brute force in punches and dies to create projectiles. While this is still a viable and effective way to produce bullets, other manufacturing methods are now available. By applying injection-molding technology, Polycase has developed a new type of bullet that has many advantages, as least for handgun applications. Bullets weigh approximately 70% as much as lead bullets with similar profiles. Lighter weight means higher velocities and less recoil. In addition, PolyCase bullets are lead-free, and low ricochet — two qualities important for indoor and close-range training. The injection-molding process also reduces weight variations (compared to cast lead bullets), and ensures excellent concentricity. Molding also allows unique shapes that are impossible to produce with conventional bullet-making methods (see photo).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 13 Comments »