November 28th, 2007

Drive Band Bullets From GS Custom In South Africa

There was much interest in the solid bullets featured here yesterday. In particular, many readers were interested in the drive band design shown on the LM-105 bullet.

GS Custom solid bulletsThe drive band design was created and originally patented by GS Custom Bullets in South Africa. GS Custom originally designed and produced these distinctive drive band bullets in 1997. According to GS Custom, “the first LM 105 bullets were in fact manufactured and tested by us in South Africa in 2003 [and enhanced in 2005]. It is possible that Mr. Moeller developed a similar looking version on his own. We have further developed the bullet early this year to increase accuracy and barrel life over the 2005 design.”

GS Custom solid bullets

GS Custom has been making bullets since 1983. It currently has a range of 226 different bullets for tactical, hunting and sport shooting, of which 172 are drive-band bullets. GSC SP Bullets, such as the orginal LM-105 design, are turned monometallic copper bullets. They are Long Range VLD Match Bullets of advanced design to minimize barrel wear and maximize speeds.

Ordinary (non-drive-band) solid, lathe-turned bullets look beautiful, but in the larger sizes there are some problems associated with solids. Gas sealing can be worse than jacketed bullets, and solids have been known to copper foul barrels more quickly than conventional bullets. The hardness of the bullets is tough on throats as well.

To overcome this issues, GS Custom puts drive bands on its bullets. Designer Gerard Schultz explains how the drive bands work: “Bullet engraving pressure is very light — this gives lower temperatures in the throat area of the barrel and extends barrel life. The transition from case to barrel is much smoother than [conventional] bullets — this reduces vibration and improves accuracy. SP Bullets are manufactured in such a way that the drive bands seal gas sooner and more effectively than conventional or grooved bullets. This reduces gas blow-by, reduces temperature and extends barrel life. Longer and faster shot strings can be made without the damage that would normally occur due to heat build-up. Barrels remain clean longer and are easier to clean — shot strings are extended and wear is reduced.”

Schultz believes that drive band technology allows increased speeds over conventional bullets of comparable weight. The added speed means wind drift is reduced, trajectories are flatter, and time of flight is reduced. The lathe-turning production process also allows the bullet to be optimally pointed for the highest possible BC for a given bullet weight and length.

GS Custom sells its bullets through an international dealer network, including Custom Brass & Bullets in the USA.

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