.40 Taurus correction, some additional info, clarification request


#1

Hi, The .40 Taurus cartridges are so very uncommon, that in the 25 years since they were produced, the only photos ever posted in the Forum date to March of 2009! The post was titled: “.40 Taurus variations.” By simply weighing two specimens, I have discovered that the captions (bullet weights) accompanying the photos are incorrect, they’ve been reversed. The .40 Taurus was loaded with early Gold Dot hollow point bullets constructed with eight segments. The only two bullet weights used were 155 grains and 180 grains. The actual 180 grain hollow point bullet is the one with the much larger cavity and thinner walls. It was designed to expand at a slower speed. It is incorrectly identified in the post as a 155 gr. bullet, and vice versa. One typical loaded .40 Taurus cartridge with a 180 grain bullet weighs 224.2 grains. One typical .40 Taurus cartridge with a 155 grain bullet weighs 199.4 grains. The .40 Gold Dot bullets produced for the .40 Taurus project are the only .40 Gold Dots that I have ever seen with bullet cannelures. The .40 Taurus , a revolver cartridge, utilized a roll crimp, while the .40 S&W and the 10 MM auto cartridges use taper crimps, and need no bullet cannelures. Something about this made me curious. This will not look good, if sometime in the future I am subjected to a “competency hearing” by greedy relatives unwilling to wait for Nature to take it’s course, but I pulled a bullet from a 180 grain specimen using an inertial bullet-puller. I wanted to compare it to a .40, 180 grain, eight-segmented Gold Dot bullet with no cannelure that I had pulled from a CCI 10 MM auto Blazer cartridge from the same time period. Interestingly, the bullet in the taper-crimped 10 MM auto cartridge took much more force to remove than the roll-crimped .40 Taurus bullet. Had I been thinking, I would have counted the number of “whacks” that it took to remove the bullet from each cartridge. Well, next time (hah!). The cannelure in the .40 Taurus bullet is fairly wide and deep. A substantial amount of lead has been displaced by the cannelure. Placed side by side, bullet noses down on a hard surface, the bullet ogives appear identical. However, the bullet shank and over all length of the cannelured .40 Taurus bullet is longer than it’s un-cannelured compatriot. That is what I was curious about. My RCBS dial caliper, accurate to .001 inch, measures: 0.628" and 0.616" respectively. The cannelured .40 Taurus bullet weighs 182.1 grains and the plain bullet weighs 180.1 grains. I’m guessing that both bullets started with the same weight lead core. The cannelured bullet, by virtue both of being longer, and by having many short ridges in the cannelure itself, has a larger surface area, which required more copper plating to cover, making it weigh slightly more. Or perhaps the 2 grain difference can be explained by simple variations in manufacturing tolerances. I guess we’ll never know, unless someone out there feels like pulling 10, 180 grain .40 Taurus bullets so we could get an average weight … Didn’t think so, LOL!. As an aside, the circumference of a coin that is completely covered in ridges is known as a “reeded” edge. Does anyone know if a cannelure that is completely filled with ridges is correctly referred to as a “reeded” cannelure, or is the term specific to coins? Thanks. Also, I’m trying to nail down just how many .40 Taurus cartridges may have been produced. I think far fewer than the 7 MM CCI rimfire cartridges, also produced for Taurus. In the original “.40 Taurus variations” post, the author states that in a brief conversation with a Brazilian collector and former Taurus employee, which had taken place 9 years earlier in 1998, he was informed that “CCI had provided Taurus ( the company) with 500 cartridges.” I’m a little dubious about this figure. To the best of my knowledge, all of the .40 Taurus ammunition was hand loaded in small batches for testing, typically 5 rounds at a time, with the next 5 round test having an incrementally larger powder charge. CCI can not have been too happy when Taurus abruptly cancelled both the .40 Taurus and the 7MM CCI rimfire projects. In a situation such as that , would CCI really have tasked a highly skilled member of their R and D department with monotonously cranking out 500 rounds as a going away present to Taurus? My source, a retired CCI employee, would have been the guy who loaded them, and he doesn’t remember any 500 round batch, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t have happened. It was 25 years ago, and he is 85 years old. I’m 65, and my memory has more holes than well-aged Swiss cheese… “Hope springs eternal,” and in a conversation with the gentleman, I had inquired about any possible.40 Taurus ammunition boxes. I received an emphatic “No. There wasn’t enough made to bother.” So there’s that. In a reply to another Forum post " 7mm cci rimfire" from Feb. 2013, concerning how much .40 Taurus ammunition was produced, the author of the original “.40 Taurus variations” post in 2009 wrote: “Later we were told that the only surviving specimens found in the Taurus factory were not more than 50 and by that time we had about 40 in our hands.” “We” in this case refers to AACAM, the Argentine collectors organization. If possible, would the author of the two posts please clarify the two statements? Was the original “500” figure a misprint, or had 450 rounds been fired in testing, given away as souvenirs or otherwise lost to attrition, prior to your statement: “the only surviving specimens found in the Taurus factory were not more than 50.” Thank you very much, Bill Hartlein.


#2

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the correction, that 2009 post was mine but I didn’t notice that the captions were reversed. Also, all the anechdotical information mentioned in that post came from the Brazilian collector that showed up with about 40 examples in two consecutive visits, but we never saw any documentation. I’m afraid that all I can confirm is the approximate quantity we received from him, without distinction of the bullet weight, since I noted this later and didn’t take further notes of the quantity of each variant.

Regards,

Fede


#3

Hi Fede, Thank you for your reply. I keep running into the same roadblock in my search for information. Almost all of the people who may have worked on the .40 Taurus project have long since retired, and most of them have passed on. The survivors are all elderly, and it’s asking quite a lot for them to remember small details about something they did 25 years ago. For example, I don’t even know for sure if CCI referred to the cartridge as the .40 Taurus, with a decimal point before the 4 or as the 40 Taurus, with no decimal point. My source can’t remember. I have a series of clear plastic bags left over from the developmental testing. Each bag holds five fired cases and has hand-written notes in marker pen such as: " 40 Taurus" “155 gr. Gold Dot” “X.X gr. BE-84”. Some bags have work order numbers and some don’t. I don’t want to violate the Forum’s prohibition of publishing loading data so I won’t get specific. None of the notes on the bags use a decimal point before the 40 but do use decimal points after “gr.” Does this mean that CCI referred to the cartridge as the “40 Taurus” with no decimal point, or was this just one employee’s shortcut? Until I find something on an official CCI letterhead, I’m not prepared to say. Thanks again, Bill.


#4

FWIW: ANSI & SAAMI omit the decimal point from official cartridge designations using English units.


#5

Hi Daniel, That’s interesting. Thanks for the info. The retired CCI employee who worked on the 40 Taurus project also worked on developing an aluminum case, Berdan - primed variation of the British .380 MK 2Z revolver cartridge. The ammunition was to be for a police force in a former British colony in Asia who still used surplus British revolvers. A single CCI box labeled “EXPERIMENTAL” “Sample” “.380 MK2 Z” is still known to exist. It’s label does use a decimal point before the “.380”, so the lack of a decimal point before “40 Taurus” may be a clue as to how CCI referred to the 40 Taurus cartridge internally. I have no information at all as to how the Taurus company referred to the 40 Taurus cartridge. Thanks again, Bill.


#6

Bill and Daniel - I have, in a small collection of non-commercially offered
CCI cartridges I keep, one of the .380 British Mk2 revolver cartridges, made,
I believe, with the hope of a contract for Singapore or Malaysia, I am not sure
which.

Contrary to the box label described above, which I do not have, the headstamp
is purely commercial:

N CCI R 38 S&W

Note the American designation of the caliber, which is NOT preceded with a period.
I suspect that the bunter was made with some idea that they might offer the cartridge
on the domestic commercial market, but I have no documentation to that effect.

The bullet is the typical British-style conical-shaped FMJ GM RN projectile, which I
believe weighs somewhere around 175 grains. The case, is, of course, Aluminum and
the primer cup is nickel-plated.

John Moss


#7

Hi John, The CCI Sample box (partial) contains a mix of the 38 S&W headstamped cartridges that you describe and a very few un-headstamped cartridges as well as fired cases of each type. The label also reads “173 gr. TMJ bullets” That would be Totally Metal Jacketed bullets. There is a handwritten notation of a small amount of Bulls Eye powder and a muzzle velocity worthy of a slingshot. I’ll post a photo of the box as soon as I’ve figured out how to use my new digital camera and macro lens. It’s a pretty neat box. I know of no other headstamps for this cartridge. Bill Hartlein


#8

Bill - would like to see the box label, for sure! didn’t know about the unheadstamped
versions, only the ones with the more or less standard CCI Aluminum-case headstamping.

I knew the nominal bullet weight was 173 grain, but with none to weigh, I chose to take a
middle ground, as so-called 173 grains loads are known to have a weight spread of 8
or 9 grains. Knowing CCI, I would guess that there bullets are very, very closed to listed
weight, on the box label. thanks for confirming that the nominal weight is 173 grains. I
try to be cautious when I step out of my comfort-zone of auto pistol ammo.

Good thread.

John M.


#9

In my small but slowly growing collection of .380 cartridges to go with WWII Webley Mark IV revolvers I have, there are three aluminum-case CCI rounds shown below. The top cartridge is a dummy with no primer, no headstamp, and no knurled bullet-crimping cannelure showing. The middle round is live, with a nickel-plated primer cup, the “N CCI R 38 S&W” headstamp having no period before the “38,” and a visible cannelure. The bottom example is probably a new primed empty because is has what looks like a live primer. But it has no headstamp and does have a polyethylene plug inside about halfway down that looks like a gas check. Its case mouth is slightly irregular. Are they really unusual?


#10

Mel - great pictures. My understanding of this cartridge is that there
was only a very small trial run, and that the contract fell thru. Even if
that information was inaccurate, these were not made for commercial
sale, so 99% or more of them would have ended up on the Malay
Peninsula. Very hard to get ammo in those countries - possession of
military cartridges, like narcotics, is a death penalty in some of them,
I am told - unless they officially export surplus rounds, as has happened
with Malaysian NATO and 9 mm, at least.

I was told this a proposed police contract.

I didn’t know, until this thread, that there was an unheadstamp version.
Very informative. One more to look for, although these are just part
of a very little side collection for me.

JLM


#11

Mel your lower example is a ca. 1987, unfinished example of an experimental 40mm grenade propulsion cartridge.


#12

Mel

    June 20

In my small but slowly growing collection of .380 cartridges to go with WWII Webley Mark IV revolvers I have, there are three aluminum-case CCI rounds shown below. The top cartridge is a dummy with no primer, no headstamp, and no knurled bullet-crimping cannelure showing. The middle round is live, with a nickel-plated primer cup, the “N CCI R 38 S&W” headstamp having no period before the “38,” and a visible cannelure. The bottom example is probably a new primed empty because is has what looks like a live primer. But it has no headstamp and does have a polyethylene plug inside about halfway down that looks like a gas check. Its case mouth is slightly irregular. Are they really unusual?


#13

And to complete the set…a loaded unheadstamped example. As usual, sorry for the poor photography.