On p.85 of GunDigest (printed version) July 6, 2009 edition there is an informercial about a safety bullet which locks up a gun thus preventing an accidental discharge. I thought I understood how it worked until I saw a deep groove in the middle of the cartridge with thick wire in it. So I don’t know jack. Please, someone, explain like you would to a child.
Here’s the web-site for these; essentially, they act to lock a gun up tight (by expanding the split plastic “bullet” into the leade and/or chamber) so that if someone tries to use that gun without removing the “safety bullet”, the gun becomes useless (at least without some minor gunsmithing). The web-site has several pictures to explain its operation.
Thanks, but… the large crimp which retains the plastic part has what appears (at least in the magazine photo) to be a wire wrapped around in the groove. Why is that wire in the crimp groove? Is that so the crimp does not open?
There have apparently been several versions of these, so that “wire” was likely a way to stop the plastic segments of the “bullet” from pulling out of the case after the round has been fired; if the crimp/cannelure wasn’t deep enough or strong enough, I can imagine that it would be fairly easy to pull those segments past the “crimp”, so they likely added the wire to strengthen the hold of the case on the “bullet”.
The wire ensures that the plastic bullet stops prior to leaving the case, which it likely would do if the wire wasn’t there. When the cartridge is fired, the wire cannot expand any more than the walls of the chamber will allow, which keeps the crimped portion of the case from expanding out and allowing the projectile to keep going.
Having obtained one of these for the collection can tell collectors the unit comes with a special tool to remove the plastic bullet once it has been fired. The unit must be sent in to the manufacture for “recharging” if you want to us it again.
There is a great article, I think written by John Moss, on these safety devices in the IAA Journal a few issues ago :-)
The Safety bullets with the wire are an early style of the load. The wire has not been used for some time. These were a very early version that is still pictured on the website. In the early testing, an occasional round would not retain the plastic expander. This was a very small portion of the rounds tested, so they tried the wire to make sure the expander was retained. Later they discovered that when they bought primed cases to load, the source had mixed some magnum primers in with the standard primers, and it was the magnum primers that were blowing out the crimp. They made sure they only used standard primers and eliminated the problem
The design continues to evolve and the current production has a new design of the aluminum expander plug that thickens the baseplate and bevels the intersection of the baseplate to the pin to reduce the corner stress. These changes significantly extend the service life of the expander plug. They also encountered feeding problems on the Beretta M92 and the new 9mmP production has a bevel on the tip of the plastic expander instead of the sharp corner. There have been other variations. I have a 38 Special pack where the rounds are dummies and the rod is aluminum-clearly an earlier version.
No end to the variations on cartridges. I am convinced that nobody has a complete set of anything. That is what makes this hobby so much fun.
About a year or so ago I got a “COLLECTORS EDITION” of these. Note that none have the ring around the collar. The rods, one plastic, one aluminum, are for tapping the “projector” back into the hull. Two sizes for applicable calibers. Not sure if they’ve expanded their offerings. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got on them.
I’m told they are expanding their offering and will do another collectors edition. Note that the guy who runs Safety Bullet is an IAA member, and his price on the collector’s edition will be very reasonable I understand.
I just got a response from Mike Worley, the marketer of Safety Bullet. Here is what he wrote: "Yes I am just putting together the package now. I have not even started on the package design yet. Its going to have all the Safety Bullets that I make in one package the 380 - 9 - 357 - 38 - 44 mag and 45 ACP . I want to make it something that we collectors could really enjoy showing to all our friends and fellow collectors.
I am woking on 10 other calibers also and hope to have them ready to go in 4 to 6 weeks. It takes a little time from design to testing to delivery."
Would not it be cool to have a special IAA logo adorn box?
Its going to be a couple of weeks before I can start on this project so tell everyone to give me at least 30 days to put it all together.
For anyone who wants to have a collectors set, it is available from:
Safety Bullet LLC
PO BOX 10311
Panama City, Fl 32404
The Collector set will have the 380 - 9 - 357 - 38 special - 40 cal - 44 mag and 45 ACP in it for $59.95 if you know of anyone that wants one tell them to contact me, F.Michael Worley.