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Posted: Mar. 14 2007, 05:00 ET

I have been seeing a lot of stuff on TV lately on the gun channels , future weapons etc. I have began to wonder if it is feasable to make homemade Sabots from old plastics. I know that most of the ones for sale ( but in limited sizes) are made out of nylon, but it would seem to me that PPE would work as well. Now I want to know how hard it would be to make a way to make our own sabots; it appears that there are many advantages for using sabots from increased velocities to less barrel wear. However they come in limited sizes , I am in need of 8mm and a few other calibers that I would love to work with; yet those do not seem to be commercial available ; so it gets down to wondering if we can figure out a way to make them at home . A 30/30 approaches speeds of 3800 fps with a sabot , and I sure would like to get into a 8mm , and it would also be nice to be able to shoot something besides just .223 bullets. ANy and all ideas welcome... does not seem to me that this one should be so tough to do and get a heck of an increase of velocity and flatter shooting .

Posted: Mar. 14 2007, 08:10 ET

Making a WORKING sabot, I dont think would be that hard. Now, a sabot that works WELL may be a different story. Be fore-warned, this is all hypothetical since 1) ive never shot sabots and 2) ive never made sabots.

I would *imagine* that the thing with hold plastic (IE: 2L soda bottles) would be that it would melt, now I really probably couldnt explain why a soda bottle would melt but a nylon chunk wont, but I do seem to recall more than a few times a flash of heat (not even that hot) melts or vaporizes a given amount of plastic. Maybe nylon is just better. I dont know.

Assuming it wouldnt melt, then you just need to worry about accuracy. If you get a plastic stock (rod) and turn it down on a lathe and drill out an exact center hole and what not, im sure your accuracy would be alright, but if your thinking of casting or something, I would think your accuracy may suffer.

Oh and with the first issue, I would worry about bore fouling. Nylon I know is self lubricating, the same cant be said for other materials.

Of course Im sure your wanted solutions not problems, so I would suggest, if you can, turn down nylon stock. McMaster would have some no doubt in a size you could use, if that doesnt suit your fancy, then feel free to cast plastic (if you know how, I sure dont), but I would suggest casting them into oversize rods of their own so you can turn those down.

And if you dont have a lathe, or just want a proof of concept, then cast your own sabots in... Well... something that can hold molten plastic. If thats how you planned it. Im sure there are tons of ways to go about a project like this, and I only hardly talked about two.

Posted: Mar. 14 2007, 10:26 ET

I'd use Delrin as a material.. a tad expensive.. but you should be able to reuse the sabots made out of it as it is really tough material and very machineable.

Posted: Mar. 14 2007, 13:29 ET



Posted: Mar. 14 2007, 23:23 ET

Years back I turned some nylon .357 bullets for penetration tests.   They shot pretty good but didn't do what I wanted.  I turned them from 1/2" nylon rod.  

It shouldn't be much more trouble to bore and slit them so they would separate from the projectile upon firing.

I would think that .22 or .17 cal bullets would be candidates for 8mm sabot rounds.

Posted: Mar. 17 2007, 02:58 ET

I read on lever action guns that they were not able to set off flash paper glued to the bottom of bullets by fireing a cartrige. I am not sure if that applies or not , but I would think that PPE ( shopping bags and soda bottles) would be less problematic than flash paper. I was planning on moulding in perhaps either a aluminum or plaster of paris mould. Still looking at the concept. I know that I keep seeing sabots used in the new military rounds ... such as the 5.8mm.

Posted: Mar. 17 2007, 03:07 ET

I know the military is testing, and has in service some saboted rounds, but I am  unaware of any caliber that is widely using sabots. I seem to recall reading that saboting anything smaller than .50 or .30, and you lose a lot of benefit. I know snipers are strictly forbidden from using sabot rounds in their .50 rifles... FWIW.

Though slightly off topic, I know the battleships 16" guns had for them developed am 11" GPS guided round with terminal laser guidance, it had a range of over 100 nautical miles. Not bad for a ship built in 41...

Posted: Mar. 18 2007, 02:39 ET

pop bottles are commonly made out of PET(Polyethylene Terephthalate ). just to let u know. a cast nylon sounds good. if u got a good enough mold u might ba ably to make many, like aluminum or steel.

Posted: Mar. 18 2007, 02:52 ET

Id hesitate to fire a steel sabot out of any rifle, aluminum may be more forgiving, but if you were casting metal sabots, I would try copper. After all, its what bullets use.

Though thinking about it, why would you make a metal sabot? It likely wouldnt be much lighter than a bullet from that same caliber your saboting, and coupled with the actual projectile I cant see much of an advantage in the way of velocity, trajectory, or anything else for that matter.

I would stick with nylon, delrin (I forgot about that until mentioned), and even teflon if you want to pay for it. Im sure other materials could be used to, but if your testing untested materials, I would be sure to use a cheap barrel, just in case you build up excessive, and hard to remove fouling, or try something hard (metal) and scratch the bore.

Posted: Mar. 18 2007, 02:54 ET

oh, sory guys, a steel or aluminum mold for the casting, i pressed post before i read the message:p

Posted: Mar. 18 2007, 02:55 ET


Much better haha.

Id go with aluminum, easier to work (if your making your own). Go for steel if you can, but it takes longer to heat up from what I recall (I use to cast my own lead bullets)

Posted: Mar. 19 2007, 02:33 ET

Aluminum may have too much shrink when cooling the mold. Steel will have less and hold a better tolerance. That will fit the slug to bore with no slipping across the rifleing. You need the spin for a accurite round. There are some homemade injection machines. It is a press and a tube with a heater (350 degress). Put in your plastic,have your mold clamped to the bottom. And when it melts press into mold and repete. Good luck!

Posted: Mar. 19 2007, 03:30 ET

Lee makes their molds out of aluminum and I never had a problem with them, and that of course uses molten lead which is much hotter than molten plastic. Once the mold is heated up, your good to go. It also cools down much faster than steel (which may or may not be a good thing, for me it is)

Posted: Mar. 19 2007, 04:07 ET

Duster plastic shrink more than lead and it has to fit just right or it will not work well. The bullets diamiter to bore is where you have to have a perfect sabot fit to get the spin on the bullet. If it is not tight it will be like a smooth bore shotgun insted of a rifle. To tight you will have a pressure spike not good. Done right it should be plus or minus .0002 depending how you want it to shoot. Do you want a tight group or a patern?

Posted: Mar. 19 2007, 06:29 ET

You could make a larger mold to compensate for the shrinkage, and originally I thought you meant the Al would expand/shrink.

Also, for a tight fit, couldnt you put a sort of cavity at the base of the sabot?

Posted: Mar. 20 2007, 03:09 ET

most plastic molds have shrinkage accounted for in the construction of the mold for the type of plasic being used, especialy for precision made types of parts.  i have being scroungin for parts for my molding press, and sabots will be probably one of the first types of parts i will be making. fortunatly i work in injection molding so getting material/material data/drying times/temps ect. should be easier.
  But most plastic shops might be interested in giving u some nylon or acetal regrind for free or realy cheap, hell show up with some beers or somthing like that, might make some good friends too.:D :D