The Bradshaw-Martin SWC

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Being a handloader, I’m always looking for something new to try, experiment with, or experience, be it caliber, bullet, powder or gun. Yeah, I’ve been known to put the carriage before the horse, buying ammo, brass or bullets for a gun I didn’t have yet, in my zest to try new things.

Here’s how I stumbled onto a sleek, sexy little number of a cast bullet. I know, I’ve been breathing in too many lead fumes, but some of you will understand.

Here’s Tank’s borrowed Mountain Man mold in use for the Bradshaw-Martin 194 SWC.
The mold performed flawlessly.

Some History…

Again, through the marvels of the Internet, I’ve been fortunate to meet all kinds of like-minded people. David Bradshaw is one of them. He’s a pioneer in the silhouette shooting game and had a hand in helping design the Ruger Maximum, in .357 Maximum, working with Bill Ruger.

I became acquainted with David while posting about the value and virtues of shooting Powder Coated cast bullets. David was a nay-sayer and after several back and forth exchanges with me, I simply mailed some PC bullets for him to try out. The metaphorically light bulb lit-up, just as it did for me. He was convinced there was indeed, a place for PC cast bullets, but he carried things a step further.

The Bradshaw-Martin SWC

David, with the help of Lee Martin, the host of SingleActions.com, a gun forum, put their ballistic brains together, designing a cast bullet for the .357 Maximum. Using Mountain Molds, a company specializing in producing bullet molds from people’s own design, Lee downloaded the program and filled in the blanks to David’s specifications. A week later, a mold was in their hands.

Lee cast, PC and sized the semi-wadcutter (SWC), gas checked (GC) bullets, keeping some and mailing a bunch to David. To say both David Bradshaw and Lee Martin can shoot, is an understatement, as you shall see.

About The Design

David told me he knew it had to be a GC design from the beating the bullet base would take when a large charge of powder would be blistering its behind from the fiery inferno of burning powder. He also wanted maximum ogive in the bullet head for superior ballistic coefficient, while at the same time having a larger meplat than a typical silhouette bullet, for better tissue destruction, when used a hunting bullet.

I really like the way he thought this bullet out as a multi-purpose, flat shooting, long range, hunting bullet. It may prove to be the ultimate heavy, SWC designed bullet, yet.

When I first saw it, I could see Elmer Keith’s nose profile, albeit stretched out, of his famous Lyman 358429, the GC base of Ray Thompson’s 358156 and Lyman’s 358627, a jumbo 215 grain GCSWC. Whether by luck, or design, David managed to grab all the strong points of the above designs and morph them into one, single bullet mold, utilizing the strengths of each.

Here we see the characteristics of several bullets the Bradshaw-Martin captures.
(L to R) A 173-grain Lyman 358429, designed by Elmer, the Ray Thompson GC 358156
and lastly, the Lyman 358627. The Bradshaw-Martin stands alone, on the right.

Loading The Bradshaw-Martin SWC

David came up with a pet load using 18.5 grains of H4227 sparked by a Remington 7 1/2 SRP. He deep seats his cast PC GC SWC, so the cartridge case is crimped over the front driving band. Several other powders were tried, and all showed great results.

When asked, David simply stated it was a carry-over from his youth, when he would swage his own bullets with a C&H press using copper cups, and he crimped over the cup into the exposed lead head of his homemade semi-jacketed bullets.

He stated there is less air space and believes a more consistent burn occurs this way. When you see his results, you’ll agree.

Here are some different angled shots of the Bradshaw-Martin 194-grain SWC.
I told you it’s a sexy bullet!

Shooting Results

I know David is over 70 years young, but boy can his eyes still focus on that front sight! Years of shooting silhouettes, and deer, with iron sights, have kept them in top form. David told me his 5-shot average with his Ruger Maxixmum is usually around 4″ at 100 yards. He has shot several groups in the 2″ range, and even a few flukes that went under 2″ but chalks it up to dumb luck, as if we could all be so lucky. His best at 200 yards, with iron sights, is 4.6″. Wow! That’s some kind of shooting.
I think David’s results are proof of a successful design.

Then There’s Tank…

I got into the mix after Dick Thompson cast several hundred bullets with his mold and then loaned it to me so bullet happiness could be spread, far and wide.

I have plans to shoot this slug through a Marlin 1894C carbine and several .357 Magnum revolvers. I’m curious how it will shoot in these shorter magnums, for guys who don’t have .357 Maxi’s. I’m betting it will shoot in spades!

I’m out of room here now, but I’ll post my results at a later date, I promise.

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