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BBM .45 auto hardcap shotshells.

* Some time ago, we tested BBM Hardcaps, and were not to impressed with their performance. Since that time, however, BBM has changed their manufacturing methods and now have a shotshell for the old .45 auto that really works.

Basically, the Hardcap consists of a thin metal jacket, such as might be used to surround a conventional full-jacketed lead bullet, that surmounts a load of either #6 or #9 shot in a standard .45 ACP case. The powder charge (type unknown except to BBM) is compressed into virtually a solid mass behind the shot column. No conventional wad is used. A paper sleeve around the shot column prevents barrel leading and reduces pattern spread. A Hardcap looks for all the world like a regular .45 ACP full metal jacketed cartridge. It feeds just as well as a hardball round. In fact, standard cartridges and Hardcaps mixed in a magazine will feed perfectly.

The cap weighs 20 grains, and the shot charge another 180 grains for a combined payload of 200 grains. Leaving the .45 Auto barrel at a bit over 1,100 feet per second, the Hardcap shot load has more combined muzzle energy than a standard 230-grain bullet. This energy is quickly dissipated as the shot pattern spreads, limiting the practical effective range of the Hardcap to less than 20 feet when it is fired from a standard 5-inch barrel. Since the prime intended purpose of Hardcaps is to eliminate snakes or small varmints at close range, pattern spreads of 12 inches at 10 feet and 24 inches at 15 feet are quite acceptable. At a distance of 6 feet, patterns average about 8 inches, which means that the light metal cap with its accompanying horde of pellets would be potent medicine as a close-range defense load without the danger of excessive penetration exhibited by solid bullets.

BBM makes an 8-inch "Extender" barrel for the .45 Auto with a 3-inch sleeve at the muzzle end that is slightly larger than bore diameter. The first 5 inches of the Extender barrel is conventionally rifled, making it possible to fire regular bullets as well as Hardcaps through it. The sleeve is vented by 42 holes that allow propellant gases to escape before the shot string leaves the muzzle, so there is no scattering effect from emerging powder gas. The Extender barrel reduces pattern size dramatically. At 15 feet, patterns average about 9 inches, and at 30 feet the shot swarm is contained within an 18-inch circle.

Revolvers seem to give smaller patterns than a standard barrel in a .45 Auto. Hardcaps fired from a Smith & Wesson Model 25 with a 6-inch barrel printed a 12-inch pattern at 15 feet. Others who have tested Hardcaps in revolvers report similar results.

At the suggested retail price of $8.50 per box of ten, Hardcaps are definitely not plinking fodder, but for those who have need of a potent, reliable shotshell in .45 ACP caliber, Hardcaps are the ticket. They are far and away superior to any shotshell yet devised for this popular caliber. Many .45 shooters will want to have a few rounds in stock just for the fun of it.

Hardcaps will soon be available in 9mm Luger caliber as well, and components may be on the way for those who would like to roll their own. More information may be obtained by writing BBM Corporation, Dept. GA, 221 Interstate Dr., West Springfield, MA 01089.
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Glaze, Ralph C.
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Aug 1, 1984
Words:572
Previous Article:Ruger 10-inch Mark II autoloader.
Next Article:Parting shot.
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