Cor-Bon DPX Hunter Premium Rifle Ammunition
By Chuck Hawks
In 2006 Cor-Bon, long known for their high performance personal protection, hunting, match, and cowboy action handgun ammo, entered the hunting rifle ammunition field. The new line is known as "DPX Hunter" and it features Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullets.
As you might expect from Cor-Bon, DPX Hunter is premium ammunition, carefully assembled from first class components. According to Pete Pi Sr., Cor Bon waited a long time for a bullet that they regarded as ideal for hunting rifle ammunition before taking this step. The Barnes Triple Shock X-Bullet (TSX) provides the accuracy, weight retention, and penetration worthy of being loaded in ammunition bearing the Cor-Bon name.
I question whether any hunting bullet can be "perfect" in all circumstances, but the reports on the Barnes TSX bullet from the field have generally been very positive. Cor-Bon, of course, did their own extensive bullet testing, building on their previous experience with the Barnes all copper X-Bullets used in their successful DPX handgun ammunition line.
DPX Hunter ammunition is initially being offered in .223 Rem, .22-250, .243 Win, .25-06, .270 Win, .270 WSM, .270 Wby. Mag, .280 Rem, 7mm Rem. Mag, 7mm RUM, .30 Carbine, .30-30, .308 Win, .30-06, .300 WSM, .300 Win. Mag, .300 Wby. Mag, .300 RUM, and .45-70 calibers. Note that the ballistics quoted for DPX Hunter loads in the Cor-Bon ballistics chart are sometimes taken in barrel lengths that differ from the norm.
The ballistics for most factory loaded rifle cartridges are taken in 24" test barrels, and Weatherby Magnum ballistics are usually derived from 26" test barrels. Low powered cartridges such as the .30 Carbine, .357 Mag, .44 Mag, and 7.62x39 Soviet are customarily tested in 20" barrels. But Cor-Bon has seen fit to kick over the traces and test some of their new DPX Hunter loads in short barrels, short barrels being one of the popular trends in rifles today. Thus the following calibers/barrel lengths: .223/16", .30 Carb./18", .30-30/18.5", .45-70/18.5".
I'm not sure of the wisdom of this, as .223 hunting/varmint rifles usually have 22"-26" barrels, the vast majority of .30-30 rifles wear a 20" barrel, and today's standard .45-70 rifles come with 22" barrels. Except for the .223, such barrels are shorter than the 24" test barrels used by the major ammunition companies for these calibers, to be sure, but not as short as the Cor-Bon test barrels. I applaud Cor-Bon's motives in the interests of honesty, but wish that they had used a 20" test barrel in .30-30, a .22" test barrel in .45-70, and a standard length 24" test barrel in .223. (Yes, I know that the U.S. Army's 5.56mm carbine has a 16" barrel, but most hunters are not using Army rifles.)
For this review Pete Pi Jr. provided Guns and Shooting Online with DPX Hunter ammo in .30-30 Winchester and .270 Winchester calibers. The .30-30 load provides the following ballistics, measured in an 18.5" barrel:
And, here are the Cor-Bon specifications for the .270 Winchester load, measured in a 24" barrel:
These numbers are a little higher than normal, particularly for the .30-30, which typically chronographs closer to 2200 fps from an 18.5" barrel with standard factory loads.
Our .30-30 test rifle was a new Marlin 336XLR, with a 24" barrel. This configuration was designed to get full velocity from Hornady's breakthrough LeverEvolution plastic-tipped .30-30 ammunition. But, in our testing, the 336 XLR rifle achieved better accuracy with the Cor-Bon DPX Hunter ammo than with the Hornady load for which it was designed! (The review of that rifle can be found on the Product Review Page.) The DPX Hunter shot a smallest 100 yard, 3-shot group of only 5/8", and a mean average group size of 1.21 inches.
The 336XLR rifle achieved better accuracy with the Cor-Bon DPX Hunter ammo than with the Hornady load for which it was designed! (The review of that rifle can be found on the Product Review Page.) The DPX Hunter shot a smallest 100 yard, 3-shot group of only 5/8", and a mean average group size of 1.21 inches.
Our .270 test rifle was a new Weatherby Vanguard SUB-MOA rifle, also equipped with a 24" barrel. In our testing, the SUB-MOA Weatherby achieved excellent accuracy with all loads. But, the smallest individual group shot by that rifle, measuring only 1/2" at 100 yards, was achieved with Cor-Bon DPX Hunter ammo. The average group size from the Weatherby was also, amazingly, 1.21".
These are outstanding results using hunting ammunition in hunting rifles. Anyone who likes the idea of Barnes TSX bullets in top quality, exceptionally accurate factory loaded ammunition should definitely check-out Cor-Bon DPX Hunter ammo.
Copyright 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.