Pointed Bullets and Tubular Magazines

“Don’t use pointed bullets in tubular magazines!” We’ve all heard that warning. The reason is because the cartridges are in-line, and the point of one bullet rests against the primer of the next. The jostle and rearward force of recoil can cause the point to act as a firing pin and set off the cartridge in front of it. Even if you had such a detonation, you wouldn’t have bullets zipping around as if they were fired because the cartridges are not contained tightly as they would be in a chamber, but it would be lively at least.

Because pointed bullets have superior exterior ballistics, though, there have been efforts to make it safe to shoot pointed bullets in tubular magazines. The French Lebel is one example. Its cartridges are almost wedge-shaped and cases have an annular ring around the primer. Combined, those features cause the bullet points to ride in the rings instead of resting against the succeeding cartridge’s primer.

Remington Model 14 and 141 rifles have spirals impressed into their tubular magazines to align the cartridges more in a corkscrew fashion instead of in-line, keeping the points off of the primers.

Generally, tubular magazines must use flat-point or round-nose bullets.

Generally, tubular magazines must use flat-point or round-nose bullets.

The most recent effort to safely use pointed bullets in tubular magazines comes from Hornady in the form of its LEVERevolution line of ammunition. Bullets in this line have a pointed tip so you get the enhanced exterior ballistics, but the points are made of a soft synthetic that compresses under pressure. Because it compresses, it squashes instead of denting a primer.

Pointed bullets won’t make your .30-30 into a .308 Win., but they will extend your effective range.

Pointed bullets won’t make your .30-30 into a .308 Win., but they will extend your effective range.

Using pointed bullets won’t make your .30-30 into a .308 by any stretch, but using pointed bullets will extend your lethal range, and you can do it safely.

 

 

 

Scott Mayer

www.tacticaltshirts.com

www.john1911.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.
Scott Mayer

Latest posts by Scott Mayer (see all)

  • Years before he gained fame as an AutoMag gunsmith and Class III dealer, Kent Lomont mangled his left hand via a magazine tube blowup in his custom Winchester Model 71. He was using hard cast roundnose projectiles in a .450 Alaskan conversion. His mentor Elmer Keith even mentioned the incident in his Guns & Ammo column.

    • Hmmm….didn’t know that.

      Marky

      • Elmer Keith covered it in the September 1968 issue of Guns & Ammo. According to Lomont’s own account, it severed his thumb and forefinger at the first joint, and crushed the bone above the first joint in his middle finger. The remainder of his thumb was dislocated, and his hand was split almost to the wrist.

        • Have to admit…yuk.

          Marky

          • It took several surgeries, but doctors saved the majority of his hand. A Google Image search can pull up a couple of later photos where Lomont’s left hand is visible. The index finger was left significantly shorter, and there is scarring on the middle finger.

  • MickeyG

    Got a Remington 141 in .32 Remington made in 1936. Great shooter, but hard to find ammo

  • Mikial

    Carried a 30-30 lever gun for several years deer hunting out west. There were times when I unloaded the gun and noticed little divots in the primers of the rounds in the magazine. I still have a nice old Marlin 30-30 lever gun in my collection, but I stick with the round nose ammo made for lever guns.

    • No imagine those rounds loaded with natoriously soft federal match primers???

      😬

      Marky