Smith and Wesson "NYCLAD" bullets

david s

Member
A coworker and I were having a talk with another co worker a bit less than half our ages. The conversation was about how shooting has changed over the years. This conversation covered the 1960's thru today. A part of the conversation was about defensive hand gun ammo and how for the most part until the early to mid 1980's it was pretty poor. One of the early attempts was the S&W Nyclad ammo. It was a fairly soft lead pistol bullet coated with what I assume was a plastic nylon product. It worked pretty well. The lead was soft enough to expand and the coating prevented leading all the while forgoing the expense of a bullet jacket. This got me thinking about today's HTC/Powder-coated bullets. Is there a easily applied product that is cheaper and easier to use as a coating than the spray or shake and bake coatings. Something that you could just dip and let dry yet still be cheap? The thought process my mind takes when I'm trying to be lazy.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
The Hi-Tek coating is a liquid. It does require baking. The baking is critical as it is required for the chemical reactions to occur that let the coating polymerize.

A liquid coating that doesn’t require baking? BLL is as close as I know of.
 

Bret4207

St Lawrence river valley, NY
I still have about half a box of Nyclad 38 Spec. They are my factory type carry loads for the 38 Bodyguard when I don't want to carry homegrown stuff. Good ammo! I thought I was about the on;y one that remembered it. I think Federal loaded it.
 

Cherokee

Well-Known Member
I bought several 1000 of those 38 and 9mm Nyclad bullets (not ammo) back in the 70's from the LGS and loaded/shot them up over the next 30 years. I wasn't impressed with their accuracy but they shot clean and would have been good defensive bullets as they did expand easily.
 

david s

Member
Please remember that this occurred in the early 1980's. For expansion testing our hand guns the media we used were called Ponderosa Lemons. Think volley ball sized lemons with a 3/8 to 3/4 inch thick skin and a tough fibrous fruit inside. Maybe 7 to 9 pounds apiece. The fruit wasn't used for anything (to tough) and I had a tree in the yard. So the media testing served two purposes, targets and clearing the yard. One of life's true win wins. Two or three lemons for 38/9mm or 4/5 maybe 6 lemons for 41 or 44 magnums. A 220 Swift and they are absolutely amazing. Any way long before I ever heard of ballistic gelatin we expansion tested our hollow points in these. Most didn't expand the Nyclad always expanded. As Cherokee stated not the most accurate load but clean and reliable. I don't really want to reinvent the Nyclad rounds I was just wondering if there is anything simpler than powder coating.
 

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
I had a large batch of Nyclads too. They were originally developed by Smith & Wesson for their duty ammo. IIRC, the std velocity 38 Spl Nyclad 125 gr hollowpoint loading was called the "Chiefs Special" load, after the revolver they were specifically developed for. They were know to expand at any sane velocity. Later, after S&W divested themselves of their ammo division, Federal Cartridge picked up the Nyclad project and continues to make runs of it off and on in their standard whimsical manner. I think they're back on hiatus again. I'm not aware of any "do-it-yourself" coatings that would be the same or similar. The Nyclad bullets I had always struck me as being coated with some sort of thermoplastic, but I no longer have any samples left to examine.

ETA: There are four boxes of the original S&W loaded Nyclad "Chiefs Special" on Gunbroker right now. https://www.gunbroker.com/item/802292805
 
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Ian

Well-Known Member
Federal is making some sort of polymer-coated bullets again for their loaded ammunition, no idea what the coating is.

In my mind it doesn't get much easier than shake-dump-bake-dump-size-load-shoot.
 

david s

Member
I'm a size/lube-load-shoot type myself. I can see the appeal of the shake n bake though. Most of my thought process on this has been ease and economics. I don't recall the Nyclad ammo being any more expensive than the generic Win/Rem blasting ammo at Woolworth's or K-Mart's of the time. Some how who ever actually produced these bullets was able to do so fairly cheaply. The first part is probably pretty simple. Swage pure lead into the appropriate shape. The coating part though not a clue. Using 1970's technology they were able to coat the bullets and prevent leading on a fairly large scale. I may very well have the process back wards. Cut lead wire, coat, swage. The cheapness secret may have been the fairly large scale, dont know. I was trying to think of a common product that could be applied easily and cheaply and produce similar results. I couldn't figure any thing out so I figured to toss the idea up and let every one else shoot it down. It was (is?) a half way decent product that lasted longer than most commercial casting companies. If it could be adapted to the home caster cheaply and easily it would be another option to the size/lube, tumble lube and Hi-Teck/Powder Coat methods. To cheaply dip and let dry sounded pretty good to me, may very well be wish full thinking.
 

Ian

Well-Known Member
I still have four Lyman 45s bolted to the bench and there isn't any dust accumulating on their handles. That said, the powder coat has the advantage of being 100% heat proof in storage and enables shooting plain-based bullets through suppressors without lead fouling, both attributes being of great appeal to me.
 

Rally

NC Minnesota
Seems to me I read somewhere that the coating was an acrylic wax. Couldn't tell you where I read it, but that is my recall. Didn't Federal also make a hyper velocity .22 LR that appeared to have the same coating on it?
 

Pistolero

Well-Known Member
I have some Nyclad ammo on hand. It is definitely not a wax, hard, tough clear polymer, and probably a nylon
material based on the name. The only ammo I have handled that is Nyclad was .38 Spl HP.

Bill
 

popper

Well-Known Member
Some have used epoxy paint and a hi-temp caliper type paint with decent results but it ain't cheap. I tried electro-plating the PC on lead, like wheel rims. Doesn't work well. IIRC the way nylon is made it cold easily be a coating on lead.