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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever cut the point off of a FMJ rifle bullet to make it an expanding bullet for varmint purposes? I have searched the interweb and gotten should I say varied responses. The main concern from those saying it is a bad idea is that the lead core gets blown out the tip of the bullet due to FMJ bullets being open based. I am not sure I believe that as the lead core should be bigger in diameter than the open tip.

Anyway, what are the thoughts on here.

I have a butt load of Hornady 55gr FMJ bullets purchased in a moment of weakness. Although I know they will kill the critters I shoot at, it is not nearly as humane (or fun) as using an expanding bullet.
 

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Some things that are “common knowledge” I prefer not to test…..thinking this is one of them.

Does make logical sense that an open based FMJ could become a “tube” if the nose was opened as well….those old reports probably have a basis in fact, although maybe having the jacket get stuck and the core ejected is not common, believe it can happen.


Basically...where is the “win” in finding out?
 

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FMJs do NOT expand when the tip is cut off or hollow pointed. The wound channels are all together different which means its a bad idea.
 
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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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You could try loading them backwards; wouldn't get too carried away with the charge weights as the bullets will take up more of the powder space. Doubt they'll feed, but the larger exposed base may give some 'splatter' to them.

Don't think I would bother unless that was literally the last bullet on earth I could get for reloading.

FMJs tend to have terrible accuracy, anyway, and 'bad accuracy' and 'varmits' generally means you're going to miss a lot.
 

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Find someone with a "butt load" of hollow point or soft point bullets and work out some kind of trade.
..
 

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Instead of guessing or repeating internet chatter, how about some actual experience? Note I am not advocating doing this, just providing others’ experience doing what the OP asked about.....





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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Carpe - Thanks. I had already read both of those. Both people who had done it and others that said they seen rifles blown up.

I thought I might get some more structured advice on this forum. Then after I posted, I searched this form and found this has been a subject on here a few times before. I googled first instead of searching on this forum.

After reading the answers that some of you have already posted on similar threads, I have a pretty good idea of the likely outcome. Looks like the juice is not worth the squeeze. Guess I will use them on steel and targets.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Real Barnes bullets are nothing more than a piece of copper tubing "swaged" around a lead core. While they didn't come apart in the bore they did come apart in critters. Dont see the difference here.

RJ
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Part of the problem with getting advice about "fmj" bullets is that they aren't necessarily all exactly the same. Yeah the same basic design - open base and closed tip - but what the core is made of, if there are multiple pieces in the core, how thick the jacked material is, how far back the tip is cut.... etc., etc. ..... all can affect the outcome.

So maybe it works with limited testing with one gun and one batch of bullets... but not so well for the next person with different setup.

Too many variables to know for sure, in advance.
 

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Back in the 1960's , plenty of WWII - Korean War , Surplus 30-06 ammo , in belts for aircraft machine guns all FMJ ...some even AP (black tips) and tracers ... We had more ammo than we could shoot . It was dirt cheap and plentiful ... I still have some loaded rounds and empty primed cases that I pulled the bullets from .
Experimented with filing the tips off FMJ bullets to create expanding points for hunting .
Tried cutting off different lengths of the tips to expose more or less lead core .
Shot into dirt / wet newsprint / water filled milk jugs ... expansion was never that good . Jacket material is just too thick . The best way to handle FMJ was pull the bullet , remove the powder , resize the case neck (Lee Loader neck sizes) and replace powder charge and seat a new speer or Hornady 150 gr. soft spire point hunting bullet .
Give you bullets a flat point and see what happens ...military 30-06 weren't worth the effort .
Gary
 

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gwpercle--- My experience exactly. I shot hogs with 'dum dum' .303 Brits and GI ball alike...fish, too. I never had one perform 'well' on anything including paper.
 
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Another consideration, depending on the hunting regulations in your locale, is that FMJ bullets may be prohibited for such use. They are outlawed where I am, and it's unlikely that any user modifications are going to be considered transforming them to legal projectiles in the eyes of the authorities, should you be checked afield with them in your rifle.
 

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Cutting the tip off the bullet will lighten it and it will fly faster with the same powder charge. But, the center of balance will be shifted forward, and the ballistic coefficient and sectional density will change. If you have the ability to cut them consistently to the same length and maintain the weight within 1/2 grain you'll end up with a bullet that can be tested for accuracy and what it does upon impact. Only then will you know whether it was a waste of time or whether you ended up with a good bullet.

A game warden checking your ammo won't care whether you or the factory made the bullet. It's not a FMJ. It's now a HP or a soft point bullet.
 

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I had an old friend who helped me get into reloading who shared so much advice. I shot a deer once with store bought , Russian “ Hollow Points that were merely Hard bullets with a hole in the top. The bullet went right through the deer and it ran off and we found it a day later. My buddy would take these so called hollow points and remove the bullet, pour the powder into a pill bottle then recharge the powder and replace the bullet with the same weight of modern HP.
 

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A game warden checking your ammo won't care whether you or the factory made the bullet. It's not a FMJ. It's now a HP or a soft point bullet.
Says you. If he's knowledgeable enough to identify that the bullet was originally an FMJ, you could end up in court arguing your case, which probably won't go in your favor. Cutting the tip off a non-expanding bullet doesn't turn it into an expanding type, as most commenters here have attested to.
 

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I had an old friend who helped me get into reloading who shared so much advice. I shot a deer once with store bought , Russian “ Hollow Points that were merely Hard bullets with a hole in the top. The bullet went right through the deer and it ran off and we found it a day later. My buddy would take these so called hollow points and remove the bullet, pour the powder into a pill bottle then recharge the powder and replace the bullet with the same weight of modern HP.
I've removed FMJ bullets from steel import cartridges (7.62 X 39 m/m) and replaced them with Hornady 123 Soft Point Bullets, with no issues.
 

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Says you. If he's knowledgeable enough to identify that the bullet was originally an FMJ, you could end up in court arguing your case, which probably won't go in your favor. Cutting the tip off a non-expanding bullet doesn't turn it into an expanding type, as most commenters here have attested to.
Full Metal Jacket means just that - FULL. It is no longer a full metal jacket bullet. It has been modified to no longer be what it was. It is an now an open tip bullet. A game warden simply wouldn't care. People have been modifying things to suit their needs since forever. Don't be so afraid.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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Full Metal Jacket means just that - FULL. It is no longer a full metal jacket bullet.
And every state I've lived in, the game rules expressly state "Full metal jacket, or any non expanding bullet design". You'll remember that per the argument the JAG used to be able to use an OTM in combat, it's because it doesn't expand.

Scalping a FMJ doesn't change it's design.. Maybe the game wardens are nincompoops where you live, they are the ******** here; and know more about shooting than most people ever will.
 

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"Scalping a FMJ doesn't change it's design." Making changes doesn't change the design? Are you reading what you're writing?

Shooters have been modifying inexpensive FMJ ammo for decades.

Here's an easy one: put a .224 FMJ in a drill and hold the tip against a block of wood with fine sand paper to remove the tip. Then hold the sand block against the ogive to thin the jacket while it spins and VOILA - a soft point. Works for .308 too. By removing metal slowly you can make them very consistent in weight. No need to buy the expensive stuff.

Changing the bullet changes the design.

Been doing it for decades because FMJs were so cheap and I bought thousands.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Really it's how the laws are written where you live. Start with that, and see how much leeway the wardens have interpreting them.

Lots of bother for something that might, or might not work.... but up to you.

As an example, I have been at ranges were FMJs were banned; the sign on the wall clearly said that a bullet had to be a soft point, hollow point, or have a plastic tip. So if there was a tiny hole in the end.... I'd guess that counted.
 
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