A comparison of Zylab with WSS bullets in the Patriot Pistol.

By Peter Molyneux

  

 The Moravian Arms "Patriot" Pistol.

Readers will be familiar with the Moravian Arms "Patriot" .32 nitro muzzle-loading Pistol, made in the Czech Republic specifically to comply with the British Firearms Acts, to provide an accurate target pistol and allow continued practice of ISSF-type disciplines in the UK. The pistol has been reviewed elsewhere and I will not reiterate the features and practice of the pistol here.

The pistol uses a "Zylab" branded, specially-made .32, swaged and gas-checked bullet which is now unobtainable apart from existing old stocks, however Western Shooting Supplies are offering a cast version (without the gas check) to keep the pistols shooting.

I bought the last remaining stocks of the Zylab bullets from Edward Lee at Western Shooting Supplies and he kindly included a box of 100 cast bullets for me to try. Here are the results of my experimentation.

 The WSS (left) compared with the Zylab (right) bullet.

Top view of the bullets: WSS (left), Zylab (right).

 

Dimensions

Make

Diameter

Length

Weight

Comments

Zylab

.311

.505 to .507

98

Very consistent dimensions and weight normal with swaged bullets. Dry, easy to handle lube.

WSS

.312

.481 to .485

91-94

Weight variation may be due to uneven casting spur cut-off and variable weight of the grease/wax lube.

The Zylab bullet is swaged and left plain on the bearing surface, it has a domed centre nose and a copper gas-check is pressed onto the base of the bullet. This is ostensibly to prevent melting of the base of the bullet by the powder and leading in the blocks and barrel. All the lead surfaces are coated in a grey, noticeably slippery, dry lubricant.

The WSS bullet is obviously cast, with variable amounts of spur left on the base; however this is not excessive and only changes the weight by plus or minus 2 grains or so. It is presumably a target bullet for .32 S&W long case, it has a short SWC style of nose and has 3 grooves, two are obviously grease grooves and one looks more like a crimp groove for use with cartridge cases. It is both slightly shorter and lighter than the Zylab. The bullet has two nice, wide driving bands, one at each end of the bullet; suggesting it will be adequately stabilised by the rifling. It is lubricated by a sticky brown "dip" type lubricant which covers the ends as well as the bearing surface. They are considerably less pleasant to handle than the Zylab bullets, but accuracy counts more than aesthetics.

Both bullets have a raised boss on the nose, making them a very short SWC rather than full wad cutter. This helps to reduce damage to Linotex type anti-splash-back curtains and allows their use on indoor ranges.

The recommended load by Moravian Arms uses Winchester primers with one grain of Bullseye driving the Zylab

bullet. I found this combination to be very accurate (as accurate as a .22 Walther GSP pistol) but dirty in use, with bullet seating becoming difficult quite quickly.

This is why I had already been experimenting with different powders and have found Vitavouri N310 to be accurate and clean burning. Therefore all these loads are made using Winchester small pistol primers, 0.8 grain Vit. N310 (using the power thrower supplied with the pistol) and Zylab or WSS bullets. Ten shot groups were made from both the 5 shot blocks supplied with the pistol. All shots were fired offhand on a 25 metre, well lit, indoor shooting range (http://www.1066rifleandpistolclub.co.uk/).

I then measured the vertical and horizon group size, ignoring called flyers but not shots that looked good but were outside the normal group. I then found the diagonal to give an index of group size. Note: this is not a recognised figure of merit, only my own indicator of group size, combining vertical and horizontal dispersion.

Purely for reasons of time, I have based the results on 50 shots with the WSS and 80 shots with the Zylab bullets; shooting offhand. It is my intention to try other bullets in time and I have some Silvalube round nose and wad cutter bullets to try. HBWC (hollow base wad cutter) bullets are generally not suitable because they are too long for the loading blocks

.

Shooting results.

Bullet

Vertical dispersion

Horizontal dispersion

Sample size

Root (V2+H2)

Zylab

81.5

82.1

8 targets

115.68

WSS

61.4

88.6

5 targets

107.79

Note:

Called flyers are ignored but shots that were felt to be good are included even if outside the main group.

The WSS groups are approximately 30 mm higher than the Zylab groups.

 

Conclusion

It appears that the WSS bullets are at least as accurate as the Zylab, indeed on the performance here, they would appear to be more accurate. I have found no evidence of leading in the blocks or barrel. I therefore consider them to be a good alternative as well as being available, lower cost and made in the UK. Altogether a win, win, win result, certainly worth trying a couple of hundred.

Article by Peter Molyneux.