Italian experimental pistol/rifle bullets

From left : 9 mm , .40" , .429" THV type tip , .429" , .451" , .308"

Lathe turned brass , lighter than standard bullets .
I was told that the pupose of the holes was to offer a vent to gases in order to reduce recoil.
Who tried these bullets told me that he noted no difference comparing them with other standard bullets of the same weight

Are these PCT (Pressure Cooker Technology) bullets?

Well, at least they are nice to see - and have!



They should work to reduce recoil, to a certain extent, but the cost to make them would be very high. Much more expensive than simply porting the barrel.

Accuracy would probably go right out those holes, along with the gasses.


you are right .These bullets didn’t went beyond the experimental stage since they were far too expensive to make

Pivi - although many of us could look at these and know they probably would not perform well, it is an interesting concept, and something I am not aware of having been tries with bullets before. It is kind of nice to see something new under the sun, even if a failure. A lot of “new” innovations in firearms and ammunition turn out, with a little research, to have been tried and found wanting fifty to a hundred years ago.

John Moss

A similar concept was used in the experimental lubricating bullets made at the Fábrica Nacional de Palencia, Spain, in the '60s. These bullets were tried in 7,62 and 7,92 calibers.

The bullet was drilled from side to side and also in the base. The base drill was in communication with the horizontal side drills. The cavities were filled with graphite, which on firing was expelled from the bullet due to the pressure of the gases and the centrifugal force, thus lubricating the interior of the barrel.

The holes were not visible in the finished cartridge, being positioned at the case’s neck.

According to Molina-Orea, Cartuchería Española, 1992, page 729, the ballistics in the 7,92 x 57 variation were very good, although there’s no doubt that the gases would escape the side holes after the graphite was expelled.

Does anybody know if similar lubricating cartridges were made in other countries?

Not the same thing but there were the lead self-lubricating bullets of many years ago. Not sure of the brand name but someone will chime in with the details.

Graphite is a poor lubricant for the inside of a barrel. Are you sure that they didn’t use molybdenum disulphide or something like that? Regardless, simply coating the outside of a bullet provides more than enough lubricant so there is nothing to be gained from having a cavity filled with it.



Graphite is a poor lubricant for the inside of a barrel. Are you sure that they didn’t use molybdenum disulphide or something like that? Regardless, simply coating the outside of a bullet provides more than enough lubricant so there is nothing to be gained from having a cavity filled with it.


No, the authors mention powdered graphite specifically. This wouldn’t hold on the bullet, I think, except if the bullet was dipped in it just before firing.

Just a little correction : the experimenter noted no difference with other bullets of the same weight about RECOIL .

That design was studied for reducing chamber pressures too .I will ask some more details about these odd bullets


That’s a neat concept. Ported barrels have a couple inches worth of bullet travel to vent gases and I could see where the vented bullets would leave little time to do that. Would be real cool to see a stop action series of photos of one leaving a barrel!

Here is the S&W self lubricated bullet Ray mentioned. UMC made this one.


Bullets can be graphite coated by impact plating such as is done with Moly, or it can be applied when suspended in a solvent, such as the old Dri-Slide lubricant.

And yes Pivi, lubricating a bullet will reduce chamber pressure but it will also reduce velocity. So you have to increase the powder charge to bring the velocity back up. At least that is what is supposed to happen and it usually does. But, shooters using Moly coated bullets have noted that sometimes the coating does nothing.

So the net gain in ballistics is zero. There is no proof that coating increases accuracy and little proof that it reduces barrel wear. But, every generation has to see for themselves and so bullet coating comes around every 20 or 30 years. The last time was in the 1990s.


The Wesson patent lubricated lead bullets worked well but were expensive to manufacture. Unlike Pivi’s brass bullets the lead “plug” inside the brass lubricant tube used to push the lube out also sealed the escape holes to keep the powder gases from escaping.
Can imagine the gas rushing out of the brass bullets would never escape out any hole the same from bullet to bullet causing very erratic accuracy. Like the experements of Franklin Mann when he cut bullet bases at an angle.


My experience with graphite coating of lead pistol bullets has been limited but it was tried a lot about twenty years ago. Merely tumbling the bullets in powdered graphite results in some adhering to the outsides but it comes off on your fingers/ clothes and its messy.

There was (is?) a product called Zebrite which is a high graphite content stove blacking for shining up pot bellied and coal or wood fired kitchen stoves. It comes in a tube and resembles shoe blacking and dried hard.

In the seventies and eighties we were tumbling home swaged bullets in this stuff to coat them with a lubricant. There was also a commercial brand of bullets called “Black Widows” that looked like they were coated in something very similar. I think I still have some somewhere.

My results were not good. It all seems to depend on whether the bullet deforms into the shape of the rifling or is shaved by entering the rifling. If it is shaved then the lubricant gets shaved off as well. Then the lands of the rifling are in contact with raw unprotected lead and leading ensues.

This is the basic problem with any form of external bullet coating.

The bullets in the picture are solid brass, a light metal anyway, and would have a low cross sectional density and as a result a poor BC. So they would probably lose velocity something like twice as fast as an eqivilent lead bullet. It all depends on whether the experimenters saw that as a problem or they were happy to live with that.

Wasn’t one of the early libricating bullets (American) called the “Hoxie” bullet?

However, the principles are not the same. The only resemblence is the use of holes in the bullet, but the uses mentioned after the initial response are irrelevent, in my view, to these bullets, as the holes are there for a totally different expressed purpose than lubrication. Apples and Oranges, in my view.

John Moss


Hoxie bullets had a small steel ball embedded in the tip to aid in expansion. Nothing whatsoever to do with lubrication.

Discussing them would take us onto a third tack. You’re right. We do tend to get off track at times (OK, every time) but that’s what makes the Forum so interesting. That’s why it’s necessary to read every post even though the title may not interest you.


Ray - no third track at all with my question and your answer. I was just flat out wrong. Of course the Hoxie was not the Self-lubricating bullet. Wonder where my head was on that one.
It has nothing to do at all with this subject, just with my mistaken memory.

Thanks for correcting me on that one! I generally agree that there are no “dumb questions,” but my question there was certainly an exception!

John Moss