There are two forms of expanding big game hunting bullets. The first are conventional copper cup bullets and the 2nd are premium or, controlled expansion, bullets. Premium bullets are considerably more expensive than conventional bullets. At what point does the extra cost become justified?
The lower 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 through the expansion process as it’s being driven at top speed, into the vitals of the overall game animal. The process for bullet companies is to produce a bullet that will 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 right into a game animal at close range, to as low as 1700 fps for a bullet from a smaller cartridge striking the overall 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 put in the softer behind the shoulder section of a small-bodied deer or antelope. A mainstream bullet simply cannot be made to execute perfectly as well as satisfactorily under every situation. The bullet maker is left to produce a bullet that is, in lots of situations, a compromise. This leads 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, leading to minimal tissue destruction.
It is generally known that the conventional bullet will perform reasonably well for a direct effect velocity of up to about 2700 fps. Beyond this time, barnaul 7.62×39 the performance can become erratic. There are plenty of stories of how a bullets from high velocity cartridges including the Weatherby Magnums, disintegrated on impact and failed to penetrate, leading to long tracking jobs or lost game. These bullet failures are what resulted in the creation of controlled expansion, or premium, hunting bullets.
Premium bullets have revolutionary designs that enable them to be driven to magnum velocities, while still delivering outstanding terminal performance. The first ever to arrive on the scene could be the Nosler Partition bullet, that includes a copper partition at around the midpoint of the bullet. The bullet tip is made to start expansion easily at lower velocities, but after the expansion reaches the partition it is stopped, resulting in a large portion of the bullet remaining in-tact, therefore driving deeply into 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, leading to even 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 very good design, that includes a lead core only in the forward portion of the bullet, while the trunk part is solid copper.
Just like the Swift, it is also bonded. After the expansion reaches the solid rear part, it is progressively stopped, therefore ensuring the bullet retains most, or in many cases, each of it’s weight. The Barnes TSX bullet is possibly the most revolutionary premium bullet of all. The whole bullet is constructed of pure copper and has a hollow nose cavity which promotes expansion. The TTSX and MRX versions, work with a plastic tip to promote expansion and to improve their Ballistic Coefficients. These bullets expand to make 4 sharp petals which slice while they spin and travel forward, creating immense tissue destruction. They often retain 100% of these weight and are which can be extremely deadly. There are other premium bullets from various bullet companies with bonded cores which are vast improvements over conventional bullets. A number of them are Woodleigh Weldcore, Nosler Accubond, Hornady Interbond and Remington Premier Core Lokt.
When does the extra cost of premium bullets become justified? They do whenever utilizing a high velocity cartridge where in actuality 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 example a.223 Rem on deer. Also, anytime dangerous game like grizzly, cape buffalo or lion are hunted, a premium bullet is definitely the most effective option, regardless of cartridge being used.
Considering the costs of the various expenses that go into any hunt, the extra cost of premium bullets is negligible. Some well-informed hunters use premium bullets for all their big game hunting. I am one particular hunters.