There are two forms of expanding big game hunting bullets. The initial are conventional copper cup bullets and the second are premium or, controlled expansion, bullets. Premium bullets are considerably more expensive than conventional bullets. At what point does the excess cost become justified?
The reduced cost conventional hunting bullets have a lead core that is encased in a copper jacket. This copper jacket is what is supposed keeps the bullet intact during the expansion process as it’s being driven at high speed, in to the vitals of the game animal. The task for bullet companies is to make a bullet that may remain intact and retain a top percentage if it’s weight over a vastly different velocity range. The impact velocity of the bullet can differ from as high as 3400 fps for a bullet fired from a magnum cartridge into a game animal at close range, to as little as 1700 fps for a bullet from a smaller cartridge striking the game animal at 400 yards away. This scenario may be compounded by the truth that the close shot from the magnum could strike the shoulder bone of a large, tough animal such as a moose or buffalo and the long range shot may be put in the softer behind the shoulder area of a small-bodied deer or antelope. A mainstream bullet simply cannot be made to do perfectly or even satisfactorily under every situation. The bullet maker is left to make a bullet that is, in many situations, a compromise. This results in less than satisfactory results, at times. The bullet in the close shot may disintegrate and fail to penetrate sufficiently, while the bullet in the long shot may fail to expand properly, leading to minimal tissue destruction.
It’s generally known a conventional bullet will perform reasonably well for an effect velocity as high as about 2700 fps. Beyond this time, the performance may become erratic. There are many of stories of how a bullets from high velocity cartridges such as the Weatherby Magnums, disintegrated on impact and failed to penetrate, leading to long tracking jobs or lost game. barnaul 9mm luger These bullet failures are what led to the creation of controlled expansion, or premium, hunting bullets.
Premium bullets have revolutionary designs that allow them to be driven to magnum velocities, while still delivering outstanding terminal performance. The first ever to arrive on the scene is the Nosler Partition bullet, which has a copper partition at around the midpoint of the bullet. The bullet tip is made to start expansion easily at lower velocities, but once the expansion reaches the partition it is stopped, producing a large portion of the bullet remaining in-tact, therefore driving deeply in to the animal’s vitals. The Swift A-Frame bullet improves with this design by adding a bonding process, which fuses the jacket to the core, leading to much more retained weight. It’s this retained weight that ensures outstanding performance, especially on very large game. The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullet is another excellent design, which has a lead core only in the forward portion of the bullet, while the rear part is solid copper.
Just like the Swift, it is also bonded. Once the expansion reaches the solid rear part, it is progressively stopped, therefore ensuring the bullet retains most, or oftentimes, all it’s weight. The Barnes TSX bullet is perhaps the most revolutionary premium bullet of all. The complete bullet is constructed of pure copper and includes a hollow nose cavity which promotes expansion. The TTSX and MRX versions, use a plastic tip to advertise expansion and to increase their Ballistic Coefficients. These bullets expand to form 4 sharp petals which slice while they spin and travel forward, creating immense tissue destruction. They often retain 100% of these weight and are demonstrated to be extremely deadly. There are other premium bullets from various bullet companies with bonded cores which are vast improvements over conventional bullets. Many of them are Woodleigh Weldcore, Nosler Accubond, Hornady Interbond and Remington Premier Core Lokt.
When does the excess cost of premium bullets become justified? They do whenever using a high velocity cartridge where in fact the impact velocity of the bullet will exceed 2700 fps, particularly when hunting large game where deep penetration is needed. Also, use premium bullets whenever using light-for-caliber bullets or when using any smaller than normal caliber, such as a.223 Rem on deer. Also, anytime dangerous game like grizzly, cape buffalo or lion are hunted, reduced bullet is obviously the very best option, whatever the cartridge being used.
Considering the expenses of the various expenses that get into any hunt, the excess cost of premium bullets is negligible. Some well-informed hunters use premium bullets for their big game hunting. I’m one particular hunters.