Smiley Barrel Ramp Modification Revisited
For those unfamiliar with the term, a "Smiley" is a bullet that has been deformed by the feed ramp as it hurtles back and "chisels" the bullet nose as it rests in the magazine underneath the top round, which is now in the process of feeding. The Smiley round will be the NEXT round to be fed, and the cycle will repeat.
Hereís a pic of a few Smilies, courtesy oldgranpa, one of our resident Smiley experts:
I designed a ramp modification that became known as Flyerís "Rampectomy". Itís a deep, semicircular cut made into the front of the ramp, allowing the barrel to come to the rear as hard as it pleases without zapping any innocent bullets in the schnozzle. Hereís a couple shots of a modified ramp, from different angles:
One theoretically possible result of a Smiley is not good... it could result in a compressed powder charge. This could cause a simple malfunction at best, and a catastrophic failure complete with shooter injury at worst. Thankfully, no such malfunction has been reported yet, and general consensus appears to be that while occasionaly present, the setback of the bullet is insufficient to affect pressure levels to any significant degree.
Another possible Smiley negative is simply one of accuracy. Iím not certain anyone could actually quantify it, but Iím pretty sure a Smiley-equipped bullet isnít going to contribute greatly to a one-hole group!
The most troubling possibility is that it could very well make a hollowpoint fail to perform itís main duty in life - to expand. Personally, I prefer hollowpoints over ball... and when I shell out major bucks for a box of premium Cor-Bon or other JHP, I expect them to ACT like JHP. The Smiley ramp mod addresses and eliminates this last concern very well.
Itís best to abandon our friend the Dremel tool for the majority of this mod and save it for the final polishing. A set of fine needle files, available in Craftsman form at your friendly neighborhood Sears store, are just right, and are a good idea to have anyway in your gun tool box.
Start the cut right in the middle of the ramp front, making the initial notch with the triangular file. Work the cut until itís wide enough to use the half- round file, and continue filing inwards, deepening the cutout while being careful not to overrun the edges of the ramp in the process.
Use your P-3AT with the slide off but with the assembly pin reinserted to help out here. Put some snap-caps or, carefully, live rounds in the mag and seat fully. As you progress, fit your barrel lug down onto the assembly pin and push to the rear, allowing the barrel to cam down. Youíll see how youíre coming, as gradually the cutout takes shape. Finally, you should be able to pull the barrel fully rearward, and have the ramp just clear the bullet nose.
Now, carefully blend the cut and surface of the ramp into one smooth, flowing contour. I suggest using a bit of oil on the steel, changing it often as your round things off. Be sure not to alter the angle of the ramp where the bullet actually touches it as it is fed from the mag... this shouldnít be hard, as the contact point will be well above the cutout.
NOW you can drag out the Dremel and finish things off! Polish things up till you can see yourself in the ramp, then enjoy Smiley-free shooting.