“Every ingot produced by every respectable gold source and every respectable jeweler has a stamp made in it before the metal completely cools. It is supposed to state origin, weight and purity. When someone pays you in Krugerrands you either have to know a jeweler willing to take the risk for a fee, have acquired the stamp of a jeweler, or have jewelry made a coin at a time” I explained.
“Why did you take payment that way?” asked Slim. “Seems like an awful lot of hassle.”
“They were laying around and there was room in the small pouch in the front of a back pack” I answered. “Same for the diamonds, well, the first batch. I had someone convert cash to nice big near flawless diamonds a few times too. Honestly I got the idea from a Russian drug lord. He was shipping drugs and guns to some warlord in some part of Africa who was paying him in diamonds and Krugerrands. That’s also where I got the first diamonds and Krugerrands.”
“I didn’t think any of us ever whacked a Russian. They are pretty ruthless” Slim uttered in almost a questioning manner.
“You guys kill up close and personal like. Ordinarily, I don’t. That bathroom thing was an exception. Given all of the people in the place getting away had a very high probability. Ordinarily I prefer a big hunk of lead from a long way off. You can have all of the security you want, but, if the dude wants to step out on his balcony overlooking his empire, security cannot protect him. You can almost always find something higher within a mile and a half.”
“That’s too far for anyone” exclaimed Giant.
“Back in my youth it was not. Today, probably. Even if I could see that well and do the math without a spotter, I would need a mounted gun. Hard to sneak something that size into a building or up the side of a mountain. You need size and weight to dampen the recoil of the round. The longer the shot the more size and weight a bullet needs which increases the amount of necessary recoil. Eventually the recoil reaches the point of killing the shooter. That’s why you will never find a shoulder fired Howitzer. Bazookas and other rocket propelled stuff have to be used. They each have their own range and trajectory issues.”
“The one thing I’ve never understood is this fascination with a full metal jacket” I continued. “It wears the barrel horrifically and reduces the range by reducing the effect of rifling in the barrel.”
“Has to do with keeping the bullet together and target penetration” volunteered Slim.
“It was a stupid solution, therefore it became popular, most likely because it was cheap” I stated.
“Share with us your wisdom o’ wise one” said Stretch in the most sarcastic tone I’ve ever heard him use. We all laughed and laughed loud. Once we recovered I responded.
“The design of the bullet doesn’t change that much. A fairly sharp tip of hardened metal. You can even use carbide steel. Better if you can obtain platinum or iridium which one can get from used spark plugs. Some say Osmium would be the best, but I have no idea what that is or how to find it. That tip has a central shaft which goes to a wider base. With carbide steel you have to have flange rings along the shaft to help hold the lead in place. With platinum or iridium the bulk of the bullet can be the metal. It only needs texturing to keep the lead on until it gets out of the barrel.”
“It takes practice and patiences to come up with the proper mold. Given the distance and amount of powder required the outer layer of lead peels off in flight making ballistics useless. They also make teller glass, Kevlar, and most every other thing we think of as ‘bullet proof’ just a minor distraction. Hell, you’ve probably all heard of those ‘Rhino Rounds’ which were made from polymers, and designed to penetrate body armor.”
They all shook their heads in agreement.
“Well, handmade bullets like I described are no-where-near-legal” I continued. “Then again neither is killing for hire. Well, not if you get caught. We’ve all been hired by various governments through their clandestine operations to do just that. When you are sent to off a Russian drug lord who is paranoid enough to have supposedly bullet proof glass in every window of his re-enforced walls and there is no way to get a Henry in the kitchen, you make the bullet. The only other option is great big ordinance taking out the entire building and most likely several around it. When he sits down to have an evening drink in front of the fire, you take the shot from a long way away. Then you nurse your crippled shoulder down the hillside losing pieces of the gun along the way.”