There are two types of expanding big game hunting bullets. The initial are conventional copper cup bullets and the next are premium or, controlled expansion, bullets. Premium bullets are considerably more pricey than conventional bullets. At what point does the additional cost become justified?
The reduced cost conventional hunting bullets have a lead core that’s encased in a copper jacket. This copper jacket is what’s supposed keeps the bullet intact through the expansion process as it’s being driven at top speed, to the vitals of the game animal. The task for bullet companies is to generate 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 less than 1700 fps for a bullet from a smaller cartridge striking the game animal at 400 yards away. This scenario could be compounded by the fact the close shot from the magnum could strike the shoulder bone of a big, tough animal such as for instance a moose or buffalo and the long range shot may be placed in the softer behind the shoulder part of a small-bodied deer or antelope. A conventional bullet simply can’t be made to do perfectly or even satisfactorily under every situation. The bullet maker is left to generate a bullet that’s, in lots of situations, a compromise. This contributes to less than satisfactory results, at times. The bullet in the close shot may disintegrate and neglect to penetrate sufficiently, as the bullet in the long shot may neglect to expand properly, causing minimal tissue destruction.
It’s generally known that the conventional bullet will perform reasonably well for an impact velocity as high as about 2700 fps. Beyond this aspect, the performance may become erratic. There are lots of stories of how a bullets from high velocity cartridges such as the Weatherby Magnums, disintegrated on impact and failed to penetrate, causing long tracking jobs or lost game. These bullet failures are what generated 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 to arrive on the small pistol primers in stock 2022 scene may be the Nosler Partition bullet, which has a copper partition at around the midpoint of the bullet. The bullet tip was created to start expansion easily at lower velocities, but once the expansion reaches the partition it is stopped, resulting in a large portion of the bullet remaining in-tact, therefore driving deeply to the animal’s vitals. The Swift A-Frame bullet improves on this design by the addition of a bonding process, which fuses the jacket to the core, causing even more retained weight. It’s this retained weight that ensures outstanding performance, especially on 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 a corner part is solid copper.
Just like the Swift, it can be bonded. Once the expansion reaches the solid rear part, it is progressively stopped, therefore ensuring the bullet retains most, or in many cases, every one of it’s weight. The Barnes TSX bullet is perhaps the most revolutionary premium bullet of all. The entire bullet consists of pure copper and includes a hollow nose cavity which promotes expansion. The TTSX and MRX versions, make use of a plastic tip to advertise expansion and to improve their Ballistic Coefficients. These bullets expand to create 4 sharp petals which slice while they spin and travel forward, creating immense tissue destruction. They often retain 100% of these weight and are proven to be extremely deadly. There are other premium bullets from various bullet companies with bonded cores which can be vast improvements over conventional bullets. Many of them are Woodleigh Weldcore, Nosler Accubond, Hornady Interbond and Remington Premier Core Lokt.
When does the additional cost of premium bullets become justified? They do whenever utilizing a high velocity cartridge where the impact velocity of the bullet will exceed 2700 fps, specially 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 for instance a.223 Rem on deer. Also, anytime dangerous game like grizzly, cape buffalo or lion are hunted, a premium bullet is obviously the most effective option, whatever the cartridge being used.
Considering the expense of the many 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 of those hunters.