At Miguel’s insistence suggestion I started the Monster Hunter International book series.

I’m doing them on Audible as I pack and work around the house to get it ready to sell it.

I know, it seems like something I should have stared long ago, but in my defense, I’m much more of a hard core science fiction person and am wary of fantasy.

I’m enjoying them immensely and am now into Monster Hunter Alpha, the third book, in as many weeks.

It is clear that Larry Correia is an absolute fucking gun nut and knows his shit.

At the same time, I am who I am and I cannot deny my nature.

And my nature is a metallurgist and weapons engineer.

“Better killing through metallurgy” is on my business card.

And I realize I can save MHI both a shitload of money on ammunition and improve the terminal performance of their ammunition.

Have I mentioned that this is exactly what I do for a living in the real world?


Silver kills monsters and the undead.

MHI uses a silver ball inserted into the top of a JHP, as Correia himself states, a ripoff of the Corbon Power Ball.

Again, a testament to his gun guy credentials to write about a relatively obscure round of ammo.

So assume a silver ball the size of a BB (0.177 in).

A standard BB is mild steel and weighs 5 grains.  A silver BB of the same diameter would be 7 grains.  That would be 62 silver BBs per ounce of silver at $20 per ounce.  Two mags full from an MHI H&K UMP45 is $20 in raw silver alone.

And the silver would only have the contact surface area of a BB which is 0.092 in².

Silver plates wonderfully well on copper.  Copper is actually used as a silver plate substrate.  So if you have a silver belt buckle, its steel plated with nickel, then plated with copper, then plated with silver.

Let’s assume that MHI loads their own ammo because they use custom bullets.

Silver playing isn’t that hard to do.  Lots of small scale knife makers and jewelry makers do it all the time.

Some silver nitrate and a DC power source and you’re set.

So what I would do is start with an all copper bullet like the Barnes Tac-X and do an electrolytic silver plate before loading.

A few microns of silver would be less than a grain per bullet and would make the silver surface area the total area of the expanded hollowpoint.  More contact surface area, more terminal performance.

The silver will survive the trip down the barrel.  The copper plating on plated lead bullets does, the bullet wouldn’t be any good if it didn’t.

So what you have is a 85% reduction in silver costs and radically increased terminal performance.  The same two mags from a UMP45 would have $3 worth of silver in them and still be more effective.

It also adds diversity to ammo choices as any copper bullet of any caliber could be washed in silver.

(A thin electrolytic plate is known as a wash)

Hell, they could buy regular FMJ and do a silver wash.  Silver plated fragments from 5.56 would be highly effective as well.

I know, I know, it’s a fantasy book.

But I can’t help it.  I’m very fucking good at my job.


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By J. Kb

10 thoughts on “What happens when a metallurgist weapon engineer reads fantasy”
  1. Doesn’t the government in the books use a similar round? Not silver plated copper but some kind of sintered bullet with silver traces – not as much penetration but it affects monsters ability to regenerate more as the silver fragments cover a greater area than MHI bullets.

  2. Now, let’s take that a little further…
    First, perhaps we can use something like a Lehigh Defense cavitator, penetrator or defense round; or, maybe even better, one of their all-copper max. expansion rounds with the plating on both the inside and outside of the petals.
    There are also many copper alloys with a fraction of silver in them (typically less than a percent, based on a quick perusal at – and there’s a time suck). Would those work? If so, making the bullet right out of a standard alloy might be an approach.
    Dang it, there goes the rest of the afternoon…. Fun books, agreed. Wait till you get to his “Forgotten Warrior” series.

  3. Don’t tell us about it. Tell Larry Corriea.
    I would not be surprised if he uses that in a future book.
    One thing that Larry has demonstrated is that he is VERY interested in supporting writers, and open to listening to new ideas. In fact, one of his recent novels had the plot developed during a session at a ‘con. Yeah, the bulk of the story came from the attendees. Look for Gun Runner, if I remember correctly.
    Larry may use your input to make the next MHI novel that much better. But, if your ammo is too good, the hunters might have it too easy, or Larry will have to create tougher monsters…

    1. I tagged him on Twitter with a link to this post. So yes, I did tell him. But I still wanted to flesh it out here because this is my medium, darn it.

      1. Hope Larry reaches out.
        One of the things I like about Larry’s writing is how well the universes are crafted. They are believable, and adding some input from a metallurgist to improve Milo’s character would be fantastic.
        Looking forward to reading about MHI’s new bullet design.

  4. I’ve only read is first book mysefl, enjoyed it quite a bit though.

    Honestly I think such a thing would fit right into his universe just fine.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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