From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners

A joint effort by Glen E. Fryxell and Robert L. Applegate

 

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Glen E. Fryxell

 

Rob L. Applegate

 

About the Authors

 

          Glen Fryxell has been fascinated with guns and hunting his entire life, and started hunting early, primarily with a bow and arrow during his teen years, and more recently with handguns. He obtained his B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1986. Professionally, his interests have centered around environmental chemistry, nanostructured materials, molecular self-assembly and biomimetic processes. On the personal side, he is a hunter, shooter, reloader, and guitar player (of marginal ability). He has been casting bullets and reloading since the 1980s, and has hunted primarily with handguns over the last 20 years, taking dozens of head of big game and thousands of varmints, over much of the western US. His fascination with the use and performance of cast bullets in the hunting fields, in conjunction with his technical background in materials science and chemistry, led him to study the fascinating field of metallurgy in his spare time in an effort to more deeply understand bullet performance in the hunting fields.

          Rob Applegate was born with an innate passion to explore anything mechanical. If it moved, or had moving parts, he could not resist the temptation to dismantle all of the various parts in their entirety and find the causes of all the various movements and the forces behind the movements. In short, he was fixated on levers, grooves and pressures.

          The keen interest he had in mechanics manifested itself with firearms. As a little boy, he sat in stillness and watched with awe as his father patiently dismantled his sporting weapons and carefully cleaned and oiled each part before reassembling the rifle, revolver or shotgun upon which he was plying his gifted skills. This interest continued throughout all of his young life and beyond high school.

          His post high school education was centered around learning as much as possible about mechanics and eventually led to further education as to all of the various methods used to make the parts necessary to assemble machines of all types. After twenty five years of working "under the time clock", the opportunity presented itself for Rob to become a full-time gun maker.

          Being an avid shooter and tireless experimenter, Rob eventually became interested in casting bullets for a couple of old rifles passed down through the family to his dad. Bullets for the .40-82 Winchester were not readily available back in the late '50s and '60s, so Rob decided he would make his own from the Winchester mould that was with the old '86. At that time, all that Rob knew about casting bullets was that "you melt lead in an iron pot, poured it into a mould, and after it cooled you opened the mould and out fell a bullet". Ahem, to say that he had much to learn is an understatement! But learn he did. As time passed, his skills and knowledge about casting bullets improved, along with this skills and knowledge about machining and tool-making.

          Most of his work as a custom gun-maker centered around single-shot and lever-action rifles, as well as revolvers. Nearly all of his barrel jobs and related work was for firearms that were dedicated solely for shooting cast bullets. Whether they were black powder cartridge rifles, or the highest quality cast bullet bench rest rifles, the majority were to be used shooting cast bullets. All of the work on rifles and revolvers eventually led to the culmination of a dream and desire that Rob had had since childhood -- to make a bullet mould. Once he had refined mould-making to his satisfaction, he decided to make moulds on a full-time basis. For a number of years he made mould cherries and bullet moulds.  During these mould-making years he learned more about bullet design than he thought possible. Eventually, several personal crises befell him, and the shop had to be closed. With most of these tragedies behind him, he would like to share some of his knowledge with the bullet casting fraternity.

          With Glen Fryxell's excellent help in all aspects of the entire bullet casting science, we have compiled a work that is hoped will provide assistance to those who desire to shoot cast bullets in handguns. Glen is one of Rob's closest friends.

 
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