What to do?

The problem ... We have a big bore PCP pistol. It normally shoots in the 63-71 fpe range with round ball and slug. We want the max. versatility from it. It's shrouded so it's quiet - but we can't just go shooting it anywhere because it's very powerful. We wish to use it for varmint control in the barn. In addition to "extreme caution" as to where and when we shoot ... what factors of projectile design could minimize ricochet - minimize over penetration - minimize long range travel - and retain accuracy?

Your e-mail responses follow ....


....something similar to a Sheridan slug. This would allow a great deal of surface area (flat or slightly rounded point) on the nose of the slug to transmit most of the energy to the target. Also, this design limits the range and penetration of the projectile due to it's low B.C.

Just my opinion as a mechanical engineer;)

Shorter range therefore needs to be less dense than lead for lower BC .
Less ricochet therefore maximum deformation or fragmentation to expend
energy at target or first contact in case of miss.

Perfect round must therefore be an "Ice slug". Silicone your largest slug
mold. Place in freezer so initial water seals the mold when added. Make up a
few to keep in the freezer for special guests.

The large slug should provide enough mass with water's density, ice will
fragment easily on impact with squirrel or surroundings, and the larger
frontal area with less density should decrease maximum range.

Here - good responce - format I can't just highlight and copy. Won't type it all out. Here's the outline ...

Use smaller pistol

Sabot round in larger pistol

... approx. 40 grain hollow poin with power turned down - accuracy questionable.


Hey Gary,

How about using a small ball with a sabot.

Let me see,now iv read everything on this site at least Twice
(but the memory aint what it used to be), so now i think i would.....
AARRGGH the Pressure..i think i would use a heavy wad cutter at low
OR design a hard wax ball..hehehe
How about you shoot Soft Wood plugs.

Alright Gary, I accept your challenge...now its getting interesting! I think
what you need is a lightweight projectile that will come out fast and flat
for short distances, but that has relatively high drag and a low ballistic
coefficient so that it bleeds off speed and energy quickly.
How 'bout
casting up some soft aluminium slugs with a nice flat-nose (wadcutter)
design....? (should minimize ricochet also)

About the topic that you presented today in the Homestead, I have heard
somewhere that the police department uses a different kind of ammo when they
are in front of a riot or a disturbance. I believe that the bullets they use
are made out of rubber or maybe sand bags shot from a shotgun. The idea is
to stop the people without hurting them, too much or even killing them.

Using that same principle, you just have to create a 32-caliber cartridge,
to insert the 32-caliber sandbag and the problem is solved. I discarded immediately the idea of a rubber slug because of
the ricochet problem, IMAGINE THAT!

Gary I'm an accountant with a very rigid and structured formation. It's very
hard for me to think out of the box.

When I was a kid my Dad would buy the 22 shot shells. You could shoot the pigeons in the barn without going through the side.
So buy the smallest shot and make a sleeve, like they use for shotguns to carry shot out of barrel.. I would make one out of bio-degradable material. Like, light weight cardboard or the newer corn based stuff..
Or make a new rifle that has same gauge/diameter as commercial product such as a .410 if you wanted to make rifle for that purpose. Basically an air shotgun. A whole new line.
The range wasn't to far on the .22 shot shells. If I remember right, at 20' the pattern opened up enough, that you could start missing. But that makes it more sporting.
Also on the shot shells they would foul up the barrel real fast with the rifling. So the sleeves would have two functions in a rifled barrel.

3 things to try:

first, turn a few slugs out of round nylon/delrin stock. While shoot
(relatively) fine for a short distance then lose most of its kinectic

second, you could make some frangible stuff out of something like superglue
and very small shot. Lube up a slug mold and pack the mixture in. let it
cure and testfire. Might try cornmeal instead of shot. Biodegradeable, and
will mostly dissolve.

third, dont miss!

I await your answer!

Hi gary,

The latest picture looks like you shot the siding on the barn with a .32 wadcutter.

I've thought about it all day and the only solution I could come up with
was a
plaster projectile. It would still hit with a wicked punch at close
range but be lighter
and not have the energy to carry the distance as far.
It would
hopefully disintegrate if it
hit anything (preferably the intended target).

I understand that the coppers use them when they storm into a crack
house. A twelve
guage round will blow a door knob through a door but not kill anyone on
the other side.

Hi Gary,

It would appear that "Maxwell" the coffee can mouse was dispatched witha a center of mass shot. Also, I am betting that the can was full of water as there appears to be no dmage to the opposite side of the can. Must be a hollow point design with a huge cavity.;)

Very Warm ... but ... the can was empty and there is a hole in the other side. Still - very close.

okay try the glazer safety slug idea. only use a gelatin capsule full of # 9 shot. or just the slug hollow point jacket with the shot in it, with wood glue to hold them in.

Interesting photos there, especially that paper-puncher hole. Must be firing drill bits to get an edge that clean! ; )

I'd guess you're using a lightweight cylindrical slug of some sort. The gunpowder community has tried almost everything under the sun in search of the perfect slug: aluminum, zinc, copper, brass, steel, monel metal, tungsten powder, bismuth, plastic, you name it. I've used some rubber bullets that were meant to be shot with just a primed case (no powder at all) and were both fairly accurate and reusable. Didn't bounce as much as you'd think with the right target, and while surprisingly noisy (primers are LOUD) they could be safely fired indoors. Unless the environment is a factor it just keeps coming back to lead though, hard to beat its sectional density for the cost.

Could it be a wooden dowel, sort of like an "airgun arrow" but with a blunt tip? Could it be a plastic "capplug" of the right diameter that just happens to fit? Could it be a custom turned HDPE/teflon rod section? Could it be a great big 'honkin Diablo-type pellet just like some sort of uhairgun? Yeah, that's gotta be it, a larger-than-life "Beeman Laser Pellet". Or, it could be something completely different. Gary, who'da though you were such a big tease! : )



I think that the answer to the quiz is a Hollow Point Slug, but with a
particular design. I don't have a bit of knowledge about the dynamics and
the ballistic performance of a particular slug. The way I see it is that the
slug should be as light as possible and the hole in the front of the slug
should be almost as large as the diameter of the slug and should be deep
close to the base of the slug. In that way the walls of the slug will be
weak and most of the mass will be at the bottom. I hope it flies straight.



Whoopp - whooop - WHOPPP!!!!!

We have a winner!!!!

Is this what you had in mind Julio?

And, just maybe ... it could be swagged from a buckshot ball ... ;?)

I'll prepare the page of pics now of the results.

Sorry ... made it this afternoon and somehow neglected to link it here.

More pics and such of the slug and tests