Detonating Boomerite with a pistol

We have long known that Boomerite detonates at lower velocities if the bullet has a flatter tip. But we have never had reliable detonation with a pistol. As I reported a few days ago I made up some 145 grain loads for my .40 S&W gun. I bought the bullets 10 to 15 years ago just for this but I it wasn’t until now that I finally got around to loading them for Boomerite testing. With a near maximum load I get just over 1400 fps at the muzzle. The truncated cone bullets have a pretty wide flat area:

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I visited Boomershoot last weekend and among other things I mixed up a batch of Boomerite and tested the hot 145 grain loads. With the weather being a little cold, 34 F, I expected I would have to be pretty close to get detonation. And maybe I wouldn’t be able to get detonation at any safe distance. I put on my flak jacket, eye protection, ear protection, and got back 15 yards. This should be a target velocity of about 1330 fps. I squeezed off a shot—BOOM! Okay, that worked.

How about 25 yards? That would result in about 1280 fps at the target. Another squeeze yielded another earth shaking boom from a seven inch target. Okay then. It’s good enough.

This means I can use my handgun for Boomershoot cleanup if I want to.

13 thoughts on “Detonating Boomerite with a pistol

  1. I’ve been thinking that it would be super fun to run a tube full from a .357 lever to start a high intensity round. I just wasn’t sure if there would be positive detonation.

  2. Discovering a pistol load handy for range cleanup is nifty, but…it would seem a setup like Rolf’s would, in the long run, be more reliable and easier, if not quite so handy as a hip-mounted tool.

    When I lived in FL I bought 140 grain truncated cone hard cast bullets from a local casting outfit, which made them for Cowboy Action users (I used them both for very light recoiling downloaded ammo for newbie class students who showed up with an airweight .38, and as projectiles in competition loads for ICORE, using 38 Short Colt brass).

    I’d think a lever 357, equipped with a sling, would be a very useful range cleanup tool. A rifle would allow cleanup from greater distance, the sight radius greater accuracy, the velocity increase greater cleanup reliability, and sufficient ammo capacity to be useful. True, not as handy as 2 lbs on the hip, but I’d venture that if such a tool was made available, you might find people willing to pay for the privilege of performing cleanup.

  3. One day there will be a comment thread like this about phased plasma rifles for blasting new crates on the Moon , and the requirements for a phaser pistol to clean up the ejecta that rains back down at a quarter gravity. And Joe will end it with, “And that is how Moon Rain of Death came to be.”

    • One day I will need to tell the story about how I was asked to think about how to create the letter “E” on the moon large enough to be seen by the naked eye from earth.

      (A Microsoft millionaire took an interest in my experience with explosives.)

        • No. This guy wanted to establish a moon base as a stepping stone to him being the first man to set foot on Mars. Having his initial on the moon was his means of reminding others (a couple people in particular) that he was more successful than them.

          After doing some calculations I pointed out to him the line width of the letter would have to be about 70 miles. It’s a non-trivial problem. He didn’t blink. The essence of his response was, “Use lots of explosives.”

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