Handloading With Acme “Lipstick” Bullets

Part I: Sixguns

My copy of the Oxford Dictionary defines “Acme” as “the highest point; the peak of perfection.” In the old Road Runner cartoons Wile E. Coyote was always getting products from a company called Acme. These were designed to catch the high-speed little bird, however, they definitely were not at the highest point as they never worked.

Acme’s 158 SWC .38 was loaded in John’s custom Smith & Wesson Model 27.

The New Acme

Now, Acme is being applied to a relatively new line of bullets and in this case the name is definitely apropos. I have been shooting hundreds upon hundreds of Acme Bullets in both sixguns and semi-automatics the past couple months and if they are not at the highest point, the peak of perfection, they are certainly exceptionally close.

Acme Bullet Company itself labels them as “Lipstick” Bullets due to the bright red coating. This is a HiTek coating applied to cast bullets of a 92-6-2 alloy with the 92 representing 92 percent lead and the others tin and antimony. Acme says the coating is bonded to the bullet on a molecular level and completely encapsulates it. Acme lists several benefits to the coating.

It prevents lead-to-bore contact which, of course, virtually eliminates any leading.

Since there is no wax or lube on the bullets, there is less smoke, making them very range friendly especially if shooting indoors.

The coating helps facilitate feeding in semi-automatic pistols and can be shot through polygonal rifling.

They also claim higher velocities without leading and I also experienced higher velocities than expected. An example of this was their 158-gr. SWC coated bullet loaded over 14.0 grains of #2400 in .357 Magnum brass which gave me muzzle velocities right at 1,465 fps in a relatively short 5-1/2″ length barrel.

John got more than “lip service” accuracy in a Smith & Wesson .45 Mountain Gun and .45 Auto Rim Model 625.

No Drop Shipping

If you have ordered many boxes of bulk bullets shipped to your home address, you have probably experienced the same problem I have. This is a universal problem and it seems to make no difference whether the bullets are shipped by USPS, UPS or FedEx. When the packages arrive at my door I find them sitting on the porch with the cartons broken open and bullets spilling out. This does not happen with Acme Bullets.

First their bullets in lots of 100 are enclosed in a sturdy plastic bag and placed in a wooden box. These wooden boxes are also tacked shut so it takes a little effort to pry them open. They then place these boxes in the shipping carton and any unused space is filled with packing. My mailman was probably not very happy with me or Acme for my last shipment, however, three Priority Mail boxes each weighing over 30 lbs. arrived at my doorstep in perfect shape.

Another problem that often happens with bulk bullets is the count. More than once I have loaded a large amount of ammunition and found 500 bullets actually turned out to be more like 496 bullets. This does not happen with Acme. Every lot of 100 I have loaded finds me with 2-3 extra bullets. Not only do I not run out of bullets before I run out of brass, I also have these extra bullets for taking pictures.

Not only are they great bullets, they come packed in a laser-cut wood box, protecting the
bullets far better than the typical cardboard box of other companies.

Pleasing Accuracy

Currently I have been using Acme bullets in diameters of 0.358″ for use in .357 Magnum loadings, and aside from the higher-than-expected muzzle velocity I also was quite pleased with the accuracy. Most of my sixgun reloading thus far with Acme bullets has been with 0.452″ diameters for use in the .45 ACP, .45 Auto Rim and .45 Colt. We will also look at .45 ACP loads in Part II that will cover semi-automatics. For this part my loads in .45 ACP in full moon clips and .45 Auto Rim have both been used in Smith & Wesson revolvers as has the .45 Colt loads.

My loads of choice for the .45 Auto Rim are assembled with Acme 225-gr. round-nose and 225-gr. flat-nose bullets. These are designed for the .45 Colt, however, they work just as well in the .45 Auto Rim. The .45 Auto Rim cartridge dates back to the early 1920s and is nothing more than a .45 ACP cartridge with a thick rim added. This rim allows the use of .45 cartridges in the cylinder of a .45 ACP revolver without the use of moon clips.

One of my favorite Perfect Packin’ Pistols is a Smith & Wesson Model 1955 which has had the barrel cut from the original 6-1/2″ to an easier carrying 4″. With its heavy barrel, this sixgun looks much like a 4″ .44 Magnum. Both of these Acme bullets loaded over 7.0 grains of True Blue are in the 800-830 fps range of the original .45 ACP Hardball loads and provide very tight groups right at 1″. With the 230-gr. Acme “Lipstick” bullet loaded over 5.5 grains of Sport Pistol and shooting through a 6-1/2″ barrel Model 1955, groups are in the same muzzle velocity range and also provide the same tight groups. All of these loads are good choices for everyday carry, at least for me.

Bring On The Colts

Switching to the .45 Colt, my loads are assembled with the typical 255-gr. SWC and 250-gr. RNFP bullets offered by several suppliers of cast bullets. However, this time instead of the lube grooves being filled with lubricant, the entire bullet is coated with Acme’s “Lipstick” coating. Unlike .45 ACP bullets, these bullets have crimping grooves.

Both of these bullets were loaded over 7.5 grains of Unique and 7.5 grains of True Blue. Depending upon the sixgun, muzzle velocities range from about 725 to 800 fps. Several years ago, in fact long before The Clinton Lock appeared on S&W revolvers, one of the Classic sixguns offered by Smith & Wesson was the HEG .45 Colt. This double-action revolver reminiscent of those provided by Smith & Wesson in the early part of the 20th century has a very slim 6-1/2″ barrel with a tall Patridge gold bead front sight.

With either bullet or either powder charge mentioned, it shoots very well with muzzle velocities closer to 800 fps and excellent accuracy. For normal everyday use with either .45 Colt or .45 Auto Rim sixguns, all these loads suit me just fine. They will certainly handle anything I am likely to come up against in any place I frequent these days. In our second installment we will look at Acme Bullets in semi-automatic pistols.

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