Cutting Edge Brass Bullets
By Rocky Hays
The name "Cutting Edge Bullets" (http://site.cuttingedgebullets.com/) is appropriate to their products in more ways than one. Every bullet they make is cut on computer numeric lathes. This process gives them the ability to make bullets that could not be made by standard bullet manufacturing processes. Cutting Edge bullets are either solid copper or solid brass.
The bullet bodies are actually undersize. The bullet body is machined to land diameter, intended to ride on the lands of the rifling. Either at the back or the center of the bullet there are one or more ridges that are sized to the groove diameter. The ridges engage the grooves of the rifling and provide a gas seal. This idea was adopted from WWII battleship guns, which had approximately quarter inch wide and quarter inch deep rifling in the barrels, making it impossible for a steel jacketed 16 projectile to engage the rifling. Thus, at the back of the projectile there was a large copper band that engaged the deep rifling, provided the gas seal and imparted spin to the projectile. Cutting Edge has taken this idea and adapted it for our rifles by their design and manufacturing techniques.
Their solid copper series include three different designs: Matched Tactical Hunting (MTH), Matched Tactical (MTAC) and Flat Base Hunting (FBH-HP). The MTH are available in calibers from .22 through .50 BMG. The MTAC are available in 6mm through .50 BMG. All are spitzer-type bullets. We will be reviewing the copper series bullets at a later date.
Their solid brass series include the Dangerous Game Brass (DGBR), Dangerous Game Brass Hollow Point (DGBR-HP) and the ESP Raptor. The DGBR is available in .22 through .62 calibers. The other two are available in .22 through .50 BMG calibers. The brass series features what Cutting Edge Bullets calls The BBW #13 Nose Profile, which is a blunt-nose bullet with a 13 degree taper.
The ESP Raptor bullet is a combination of the DGBR and the DGBR-HP, with the rifling engagement ridges in the center of the bullet and one end of the bullet a hollow point and the other end solid. Both ends have the 13 degree taper. Consequently, the bullet can be loaded with either end forward, as a hollow point or as a solid point. Either way, it is a boat-tail.
The hollow point is computer numeric control machined into the tip of the bullet. It is unlike any hollow point available anywhere else. It is designed so that on impact, six segments separate from the main body of the bullet to take their own paths. In addition, for the brass hollow points, there are plastic tips available that snap into the hollow points, making them plastic-tipped spitzer boat-tails.
The brass bullets we received from Cutting Edge Bullets for testing were 450 grain Dangerous Game Brass (DGBR) in .458 caliber (2012 MSRP $29.28 for 18 bullets); 280 grain DGBR in 9.3mm caliber (2012 MSRP $60.29 for 50 bullets) and 255 grain Dangerous Game Brass - Hollow Point (DGBR-HP) in 9.3mm (2012 MSRP $74.44 for 50 bullets).
The rifles we used in testing these bullets were a Browning 1885 High Wall in .45-70 with a Redfield 2Ύ power wide view scope and a CZ 550 American Safari Express in 9.3x62mm with a Weaver Super Slam 1.5x6x30mm scope. These rifles have proven to be accurate and reliable with several different bullets.
It should be emphasized that Cutting Edge bullets are not suitable for every caliber and every load. In requesting bullets for testing, I did not do enough homework and mistakenly requested bullets that could not be loaded to their full potential in the .45-70 rifle. The load I have developed for the .45-70 is a 350 grain flat base moly-coated Barnes X-Bullet with 52 grains of IMR3031 at 1825 feet per second (fps). The 450 grain DGBR bullet from Cutting Edge Bullets is long at 1.412 inches, compared to a 500 grain lead bullet at 1.20 inches. Loading the .45-70 to an overall cartridge length of 2.8 inches meant that the Cutting Edge bullet seats into the cartridge over 0.2 inches deeper than normal. This left only enough room in the case for 46.5 grains of IMR3031, solidly compressed, yielding a muzzle velocity of 1590 fps. That is the .45-70 load we used in our testing. The DGBR bullets are designed for deep penetration and should be driven at as high a muzzle velocity as possible. The DGBR 450 grain .458 bullets would be more suitable for use in .458 Winchester Magnum rifles. This problem could arise in other calibers, so do your homework before ordering.
Guns and Shooting Online staffers Chuck Hawks, Jim Fleck, Gordon Landers and I shot the .45-70 for record from the bench rest, using a Caldwell Lead Sled. At 100 yards, our three shot groups with the 450 grain DGBR bullets were good: Jim shot a 2 group, Chuck shot 1-5/8 and I shot a 1-1/8, which is about the same size group I shoot with the 350 grain X-Bullet. With the 9.3x62mm CZ and the DGBR-HP 255 grain bullet, Chuck shot a 1-½ three shot group, Gordon's best group measured 1-3/8 and mine measured 1.
The DGBR-HP bullets will accept plastic ballistic tips which improve the ballistic coefficient of the bullet. I did testing over the chronograph and at 200 yards with plastic-tipped DGBR hollow points and the DGBR solids. The average muzzle velocity of the hollow points was 2431 fps and the muzzle velocity for the DGBR solids was 2418 fps. The hollow points with no ballistic tips shot groups averaging 2-½. The DGBR hollow points with ballistic tips shot groups averaging 2-1/8. The DGBR solids shot groups averaging 2-3/8.
Cutting Edge Bullets make two plastic tips that can be used in their hollow points. One is a full spitzer (generally suitable for use only in single shot rifles, due to the increased bullet length) and the other is a shortened, semi-spitzer shape intended for use in repeating rifles. In the 9.3x62, both tips made the overall length of the bullets too long to feed in the magazine. If the plastic tips are to be used, the bullets must be seated deeper into the case. In the 9.3x62, I didnt feel the plastic tips improved the trajectory enough to warrant using them. They may be more beneficial with longer range calibers, such as .270 Winchester.
To test the performance of the DGBR-HP, I used a medium consisting of ½ inch layers of oriented strand board (OSB). I can stack these boards up in any number of layers and after firing through them the layers can be separated to see the trajectories of each segment of the hollow point bullets. After firing four rounds into OSB at 100 yards, I found that DGBR-HP bullets functioned exactly as claimed. I recovered the first segment in the 4th layer and all six segments had separated by the 7th layer, while the center core exited out the back of 12 layers. This performance was consistent with all four shots.
Cutting Edge bullets are intended for hunting; they are not plinking bullets. They are expensive, but technologically advanced. Even though homogenous (usually copper or gilding metal) bullets are available from other companies, Cutting Edge Bullets has taken their solid brass bullets to the next level. The bullets function so well that I could see building a custom chambered rifle around them, especially a medium or big bore safari rifle in 9.3mm, .375, .416 or .458.
Copyright 2012 by Rocky Hays and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.