FUB’s Vs. FAB’s

| Think Tank |


By Tank Hoover

Those smitten by the silver stream of steaming hot lead alloy know the difference between a FUB (frickin’ ugly bullet) and a FAB (frickin’ awesome bullet).

FAB’s get all the glory and are the photogenic superstars of those afflicted with cast bullet obsession. They are perfect in every sense. They’re proud of their sharp-shoulder edges, complete body fill-out and shiny complexions. They are the “perfect cast projectile and performer.”

FUB’s on the other hand are the less-perfect, wrinkled relatives of FAB’s from the same mold, but appear to be second-class citizens to the Obsessive Compulsive crowd. Like most of us, they are not “perfect.” Born from the same genetic components as FAB’s, they are characterized by rounded shoulders, dents, divots and other deformities.

Stubborn in nature, FUB’s are impatient, usually the first children cast from the mold. As both alloy and mold warm up, FUB’s disappear and FAB’s start dropping from the mold.

I got to thinking about the difference of the two characteristics during a rather chilly casting session. The outside temperature was in the low teens and my garage was not much warmer, about 20 degrees. The energy robbing cold was sucking the heat from my RCBS casting furnace causing my alloy and mold to stubbornly heat up. As a result, I had more than the usual amount of FUB’s for me.

Normally, I just dump the FUB’s back into the lead pot, giving them a chance to redeem themselves into FAB’s. But then, a devious diabolical idea popped into my head. What if I Powder Coated (PC) the FUB’s and shot them anyway? Would it really make that much of a difference? This could be a major break-thru for the casual caster not afflicted with OCD.


A new Arsenal mold was used in this test. You can see
the difference between the FAB’s (right) and the FUB’s.

The Plan

So I proceed to PC my batch of freshly born bullets, in this case, an Arsenal Mold .32 caliber, 98 grain classic Keith bullet. I then separate them into two piles, FUB’s and FAB’s. Out of approximately 250 bullets, 50 are FUB’s and 200 are FAB’s. Being a 5-cavity mold, this indicates the first 10 cycles or so produces the wrinkled wonders until the mold and alloy heat to proper temperature.

I then load the bullets, 25 each into brand new Starline .32 H&R brass over 6 grains of Hodgdon Longshot, sparked with Winchester SPP. I will be shooting them in a Ruger Single-six chambered in .32 H&R. My plan is to shoot two groups of 25 rounds at 25 yards with the gun sandbagged. This will give a good indication of the difference involved between the two different bullets.

Time To Shoot

Range day was cloudy, about 50 degrees and I have the range to myself. My 6.5″ Ruger Single-Six, a faithful and frighteningly accurate friend is rearing to go. I know from previous outings the 6 grains of Hodgdon Longshot with bullet from 90-120 grains is a punchy, accurate load chronographing in the neighborhood of 1,220 fps. Every time I shoot this gun with this load its power surprises me.

I’m shooting over a sandbag rest at 25 yards and aiming at 2″ fluorescent orange squares with factory iron sights. I shoot five shots from each box of FUB’s and FAB’s, alternating them. I then let the barrel cool for a few minutes to keep things as consistent as possible. I shoot 25 rounds from each box.


The proof is in the pudding. The FUB’s did better than expected,
but the FAB’s are definitely more consistent.


I’m impressed with the accuracy of this bullet born from the Arsenal mold. While culling the good, the bad and the ugly into two piles, my preference and prejudice for FAB’s shines through, although I confess to feeling bad for the FUB’s.

I gotta admit, what the FUB’s lack in looks, they make up for in attitude. Overall group size was basically the same as the FAB group. The big difference was the FAB group chewed out a consistent hole about the size of a quarter, with a few rounds around the circumference of said hole. The FUB’s, on the other hand were more of a large group. The FAB’s were more consistent, which isn’t surprising.

What Would You Do?

Ironically, as I was driving down the lane leaving the range, a fawn hobbles across the road in front of me. Her left front hoof was missing, though she was getting around fine, as deer are so resilient. Since hunting season wrapped up three weeks ago, I’m guessing her hoof was shot off.

For hunting loads, I would personally use only the best of the best, and do, for upmost accuracy, just for this reason. The last thing I would want to do is cripple an animal to save myself the hassle or time to cast perfect projectiles. Same for loads used in competition. Why not give yourself every advantage? For plain old paper punching there is nothing wrong with using the wrinkled wonders.


Ruger Update

Jeff “Tank” Hoover

Being “Ruger’s” 13th birthday today, I thought it would be nice to give an update on the dog with a warrior’s heart.

It’s been roughly 20 weeks since Ruger, our black lab, had a near fatal incident with a large benign tumor on his spleen. Emergency surgery, a lot of prayers and lots of love helped Ruger fully recover — heck, even made him better than before! Since surgery, he no longer moans and groans while getting up or lying down. Between sleeping 20 hours a day, he’s spunky and spry, when awake. He loves pouncing on his plush squeaker toy animals, playing tug of war with his crazy rescue brother, Cooper, a mixed-up border collie/golden retriever — and going for walks. He still rides shotgun in my ’98 Tahoe and loves it.

Nicknamed the “Shadow Walker,” Ruger can still appear out of thin air while someone is eating at the table, and looking at you with his big brown eyes saying, “Save some for me. Please?” This sweet, affectionate old boy is a keeper for sure and one who will break some hearts when its his time to go. But let’s not go there yet!

I just wanted to share his progress with you and thank all of you for all the well wishes and prayers. I know they made a difference. Everyone deserves a dog as good as our Ruger!

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