June 2012

Barrel Firelapping Revisited: Beartooth Bullets Kit Examined

Nearly a decade ago we reported on the NECO firelapping process, and used it on several guns over the years. Now we have discovered another system which we much prefer.

Also, the collective information as to the internal dimensions of revolvers, i.e., their dynamics, has been expanded to areas not many shooters have investigated, either because they didn’t know about them, or they just didn’t care. As long as most of the shots hit where they were supposed to things were left alone. But what if they could be improved? What if a somewhat faulty set of dimensions or a rough bore of a revolver or auto pistol could be altered by the shooter to improve accuracy?

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To that end we acquired a kit from Beartooth Bullets, P.O. Box 491, Dover, Idaho 83825, (208) 437-1865 (or at beartoothbullets.com, $49 plus shipping & handling). The kit included a box of 100 lapping bullets in your choice of caliber, two steel plates, a four-ounce can of lapping compound, a huge bolt that fits into your loading press where the dies screw in, and a technical manual (mailed separately). The manual was called “Technical Guide,” and was written by Beartooth headman J. Marshall Stanton in clear, unambiguous English, which was a revelation after having struggled through the somewhat foggy NECO manual. The subtitle for this manual is, “A Comprehensive Guide For Attaining Unsurpassed Performance Using Cast Bullets.” Sold separately for $15, the manual goes into great detail on how to do just that.

We had been working with several revolvers that shared the same problem. The barrel was too tight where it was screwed into the receiver. This area often gets compressed from normal assembly, resulting in a choke that pinches or resizes the bullet. The gun can’t shoot its best because the bullet is now too small for optimum contact with the rifling during the rest of its passage through the barrel. While this can happen to both cast and jacketed bullets, and holds true for rifles as well as handguns, we will concern ourselves in this report with cast bullets fired from one revolver and one 1911 pistol, both of 45 caliber. The revolver was a Cabela’s (Uberti) 4.6-inch barrel in 45 LC, and the 45 auto was the recently tested Taurus PT-1911, which had a strong tendency to collect lead.

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