Federal Fusion Rifle Ammunition:
By Chuck Hawks
For the fall 2005 hunting season Federal unveiled a new ammunition brand called "Fusion." The reason for the separate brand identity is that the entire Fusion line is loaded with bullets featuring bonded cores.
All calibers use bullets made by Federal's proprietary "molecular-fused" jacket technology. In this "electrochemicall" process, to quote the Fusion literature, "the jacket is applied to the core one molecule at a time to totally eliminate separation and assure mass integrity." The core is a pressure-formed lead alloy and the jacket is pure copper. A skived tip promotes initial expansion. Fusion bullets feature a perfect center of gravity and high ballistic coefficients (BC).
If I have correctly interpreted the process, the bullet is basically made by copper plating a (vitamin capsule shaped) pressure formed lead alloy core slug. Then the plated core is pressure formed into the correct bullet size and shape and the tip skived. Presto, a Fusion bullet.
The Fusion web site (www.fusionammo.com) is larded with techno-speak mumbo-jumbo (but does use an innovative little flame cursor). This approach is often the modern advertising equivalent of the old adage, "If you can't sell the product, wrap it in baloney and sell the baloney."
In this instance, however, that is not the case. The Fusion bullet, in our testing, does offer excellent accuracy and dramatic but controlled expansion. These bullets are expressly optimized for hunting CXP2 game (basically deer), but based on their controlled expansion they probably have a wider range of application, although this has not yet been proven in the field. Strip away the advertising hype and what is left is an excellent product, perfectly able to stand on its own merits.
The nice folks at Federal (ATK) were kind enough to provide us with a supply of Fusion ammunition in caliber .270 Winchester (150 grain), which we tested in a Weatherby Vanguard SUB-MOA rifle. We were able to compare the Fusion ammo with four other factory loads in this rifle, two premium and two standard loads (Cor-Bon DPX Hunter 130 grain Barnes TSX, Winchester Supreme 140 grain AccuBond CT, Winchester Super-X 130 grain Power Point, and Winchester Super-X 150 grain Power Point).
The result was that the Fusion ammo produced the smallest average group size (0.895") of all the loads tried. This is a very accurate rifle that produced excellent results with every load, and many sub-MOA groups, just as the name implies. But when push came to shove it was the Fusion load that came out on top. Every rifle is an individual and your results may vary, but I regard this as an impressive start for the new brand.
As of this writing, Fusion rifle ammo (there is also a Fusion handgun ammo line) is available in the following rifle calibers and bullet weights, with more loads to be added in the future: .234 Winchester 95 grain, .25-06 Remington 120 grain, .270 Winchester 130 and 150 grain, .270 WSM 150 grain, 7mm-08 Remington140 grain, .280 Remington 140 grain, 7mm WSM 150 grain, 7mm Rem. Mag. 150 and 175 grain, .30-30 Winchester 150 and 170 grain, .308 Winchester 150 and 165 and 180 grain, .30-06 Springfield 150 and 165 and 180 grain, .300 WSM 150 and 165 and 180 grain, .300 Win. Mag. 150 and 165 and 180 grain, .338 Win. Mag. 225 grain.
The bottom line is that is you hunt with factory loaded ammunition and have not yet tried Fusion cartridges in your rifle, you should. It may not replace the brand you're using now, but then again it might!
Copyright 2006 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.