Hunting Bullet Guide
By Chuck Hawks
Introduction to Part Two
Hunting bullets are the focus of the Hunting Bullet Guide articles. This article is Part Two of the series and addresses big game hunting bullets by manufacturer and bullet design or type. Part One addresses the subject by caliber, bullet weight and application.
The purpose of this series is to assist the reader in choosing an appropriate jacketed, expanding bullet for hunting big game animals. For our purposes, "big game" starts at animals weighing perhaps 80 pounds and goes up from there to animals as large as pachyderms.
I use Winchester's "CXP" (Controlled eXPansion) 1-4 scale to describe the various classes of game animals (1=varmints, 2=medium game, 3=large game, 4=thick-skinned dangerous game), so if you are not familiar with it, please read the article "The CXP Rating System for Hunting Cartridges." I have previously written fairly extensively about the subject of hunting bullets and most of those articles can be found in the same place, under the "Bullets" heading on the Rifle Information Page here on Guns and Shooting Online. Links to all of the bullet makers mentioned in this series are provided on the Guns and Shooting Online Links Page.
Unfortunately, there are so many hunting bullets from so many manufacturers, in so many calibers and weights, that is it is simply impossible to deal with every bullet individually. Due to limitations of space and time, only bullet designs from widely known and distributed manufacturers are included. These are A-Square, Barnes, Federal, Hornady, Nosler/Combined Technology, Remington, Sierra, Speer, Swift, Winchester and Woodleigh.
All hunting bullets are designed for limited purposes and to perform properly over a finite range of velocities. Some ammunition manufacturers' catalogs and/or ballistics tables indicate the class of animal for which each load is intended (principally Winchester and Federal), but most do not. At least one bullet manufacturer (Hornady) provide specific velocity range and application (intended game size) information in their reloading manual, but most do not. However, most of the bullet makers' reloading manuals at least indicate the general purpose of each of their basic bullet designs. The ammunition manufacturers' catalogs and the bullet makers' reloading manuals are usually the best sources of information about their various bullets.
Hunting Bullets by Manufacturer and Type
A-Square offers three bullet lines of unique construction. A-Square calls this their "Triad" of bullets and offers all three types in diameters from .338" to .620".
These three types of bullets are the Monolithic Solid, Dead Tough and Lion Load. All A-Square bullets are of round nose design with parallel sides. They may be interchanged (as long as the caliber and bullet weight remains the same) without changing the point of impact. Thus, the same rifle could be used with three different types of bullets for large predators, heavy hoofed game and pachyderms on the same safari.
The MONOLITHIC SOLID is just that. It is a leaded bronze alloy bullet that does not expand, even when fired into the largest and toughest animals. Its purpose is extreme, straight-line penetration on dangerous CXP4 animals.
The LION LOAD soft point is the opposite approach, a specialized bullet designed to debride (fragment) on impact, thus creating maximum stopping power when used in frontal or broadside shots on big cats. Its effect has been likened by A-Square to pressing the muzzle of a 20 gauge shotgun against the animal and pulling the trigger. A special brittle jacket and core are responsible for this bullet's performance.
The DEAD TOUGH is the A-Square bullet of interest to most hunters. It uses a tapered, inner belted, jacket and a bonded core to insure controlled expansion and deep, straight line penetration over a 1400 fps range of impact velocities. The impact velocity range is approximately 1500-2900 fps. A-Square claims that the Dead Tough is suitable for taking animals ranging is size from small deer and impala to Cape buffalo.
In addition to the calibers served by the full Triad of bullets, A-Square offers monolithic solids in .284", .308" and .323" diameters, as well as a 180 grain Dead Tough .308" bullet. A-Square bullets are available to reloaders and in A-Square factory loads.
Barnes is primarily known today as a manufacturer of solid copper (X-BULLET type) projectiles, which they originated. The basic version today is the Triple Shock X-Bullet (TSX), available in hollow point and plastic tipped variants.
The TSX is basically an X-Bullet with three driving bands around its circumference. These bands reduces friction on the bullet's trip down the bore and gives the copper displaced by the rifling lands somewhere to go (besides packing into the barrel's grooves). Copper fouling is a problem with solid copper bullets. The TSX line has replaced the first generation X-Bullet and second generation XLC bullet lines. Barnes Triple Shock X-Bullets are offered in Federal, Weatherby and Cor-Bon factory loaded ammunition, as well as to reloaders.
One of the friendly tech reps at Barnes Bullets told me that all X-Type big game hunting bullets, regardless of caliber or weight, are designed to initiate expansion at impact velocities of 1600 fps. Effective expansion will occur at impact velocities in excess of about 1800 fps. TSX bullets, HP and tipped, are known for very deep penetration (they usually shoot clear through CXP2 animals) and very high weight retention. Barnes also produces an extensive line of Banded Solids (homogeneous non-expanding) rifle bullets in calibers from .22 to .600 NE.
Federal Cartridge, a subsidiary of ATK, manufacturers some of their own bullets. Others they purchase from various specialty bullet makers. Federal's principal proprietary bullet is the Jack Carter designed "Trophy Bonded Bear Claw," to which Federal purchased the rights years ago. They also load a non-expanding Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solid.
The Trophy Bonded Bearclaw looks like the rear of a Barnes X-Bullet grafted to the front portion of a Swift A-Frame bullet. The front core is protected by a tapered jacket, to which it is fusion bonded. There is no rear core, just a solid copper alloy bullet shank. The front part of the bullet expands, the rear cannot. This design is reputed to retain about 95% of its original weight and is noted for deep penetration. It is recommended for CXP2 and CXP3 game, including the largest dangerous predators in suitable calibers. There is also a Trophy Bonded Tip bullet of the same design with the addition of a plastic tip to initiate expansion.
Federal's Trophy Copper is a solid copper alloy bullet with a plastic tip and four shank bands, instead of the three bands seen on the Barnes Tipped TSX, with which it is intended to compete. It is useful for a similar range of animals.
The Fusion bonded core bullet is available only in Fusion brand ammunition. This bullet is a lower cost alternative to the premium bonded core bullets. Its lead core is electro-chemically fused to a jacket of uniform thickness (not internally tapered) by a proprietary process said to give results mimicking those of more conventional bonded core bullets. The jacket extends all the way to the tip of the bullet, reminiscent of the discontinued Speer Mag-Tip.
The Fusion bullet was originally designed primarily for deer hunting, although the line has expanded into calibers and bullet weights clearly useful for hunting CXP3 game. Most recently, Fusion has introduced Lite (low recoil loads for CXP2 game) and Safari (for CXP4 game) loads
Hornady is a major supplier of bullets to reloaders and offers several lines of bullets. The hunting bullets that concern us here are the InterLock, SP-RP, SST, InterBond, GMX, MonoFlex and FTX (Flex-Tip). Hornady also offers these bullet in their various lines of factory loaded ammunition and Hornady bullets are also used in other brands of ammunition, including Remington and Weatherby.
The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading specifies the application (medium game, large game and dangerous game), as well as the appropriate muzzle velocity range for every Hornady hunting bullet. Rather than duplicate pages of copyrighted material, I refer you directly to the source. The Hornady Handbook is available in most gun shops, sporting good stores, and book stores as well as online from various sources including the Hornady web site.
The InterLock is their basic soft point type bullet. It incorporates a tapered gilding metal jacket, cannelure and Hornady's InterLock ring that mechanically locks the jacket and lead alloy core to prevent core slippage during expansion. Most InterLock bullets come with a Spire Point (SP) and a flat base, but there are round nose, flat point and boat-tail versions available where applicable. This has been a very successful and versatile hunting bullet design suitable for CXP2 and CXP3 game in appropriate calibers and weights. It is basically the bullet that made Hornady's reputation. InterLock bullets have been offered in Weatherby factory loads for many years, as well as in Hornady Custom and Light Magnum factory loaded ammunition and, of course, to reloaders.
The SP-RP (spire point - recoil proof) is a variation of the InterLock that is designed for use in hard recoiling, medium bore rifles and on heavy game. This tough, lead core, InterLock type, spire point bullet lacks an exposed lead tip to prevent its being battered in the magazine. It is made only in .338, .358, 9.3mm (.366) and .375 calibers.
The SST is an InterLock type bullet with a plastic tip and a boat-tail base. It is a quick-expanding bullet with a very high ballistic coefficient (BC) for long range shooting, yet it incorporates a cannelure and the internal InterLock ring. It is offered in Hornady factory loads as well as to reloaders. Remington uses a similar Hornady produced bullet that they call "Accu-Tip" in selected Remington factory loads.
Hornady's premium bonded bullet is the InterBond. The InterBond is similar to the SST in form, but there is no cannelure. The core is chemically bonded to the jacket to positively prevent core/jacket separation. This bullet is intended to combine rapid initial expansion with high weight retention for deeper than normal penetration. InterBond bullets are available in Hornady factory loads and to reloaders.
The Flex-Tip is a boat-tail spitzer bullet reminiscent of the SST with a softer plastic tip that can safely be used in the tubular magazines of traditional lever action rifles. This expands the MPBR of the affected calibers compared to the flat point bullets traditionally loaded in these cartridges. At present, Flex-Tip bullets are offered exclusively in Hornady factory loaded "LEVERevolution" ammunition in .30-30 Winchester, .308 Marlin Express, .32 Winchester Special, .338 Marlin Express, .35 Remington, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45-70 and .450 Marlin calibers. They have proven very effective on CXP2 and CXP3 game in appropriate calibers.
The GMX is a homogeneous gilding metal bullet with a red plastic tip and two bands in its shank. It is intended to compete with the Barnes Tipped TSX and other homogeneous copper or gilding metal bullets. The Mono-Flex is a variation of the GMX with a soft plastic tip suitable for use in rifles with tubular magazines. These lead free bullets feature deep penetration.
The DGX (dangerous game expanding) bullets were developed specifically for Class 4 game. They use the copper clad steel jackets and hard lead cores of the Hornady DGS (solid, non-expanding) bullets, but have an exposed lead flat point intended to expand on initial impact. The result is controlled expansion and deep penetration.
Nosler manufacturers bullets in Bend, Oregon and has grown to be one of the largest premium bullet makers in the industry. Most famous for their Partition bullets, Nosler also offers their very successful line of Ballistic Tip bullets and a line of bonded core, plastic tipped bullets called AccuBond. Their gilding metal tipped bullet is the E-Tip. They also produce a homogeneous solid bullet for thick-skinned game. Nosler bullets are available to reloaders and are featured in many brands of factory loaded ammunition including Nosler, Black Hills, Federal, Norma, Weatherby and Winchester.
Nosler also manufacturers bullets for Winchester Ammunition under the Combined Technology (CT) name. CT bullets are available in factory loaded ammunition from Winchester. The bullets include the Ballistic Silvertip (a black oxide "Lubalox" coated version of the Nosler Ballistic Tip) and the AccuBond CT (a black oxide "Lubalox" coated version of the Nosler AccuBond).
Nosler bullet jackets are manufactured by a more expensive impact extrusion manufacturing process, creating bullet jackets from copper alloy (gilding metal) slugs, rather than the cup and draw method used for most bullets. This is required to manufacture the jackets for the dual core Partition bullet, but is also applied to the Ballistic Tip and other Nosler bullets to create their internally tapered jackets.
Ballistic Tip bullets took the market by storm. These popular spitzer projectiles use colored plastic tips to initiate the rapid expansion of their lead alloy cores. Impact extruded, tapered gilding metal jackets and a solid boat-tail base control expansion and support the resulting mushroom. Ballistic Tip hunting bullets from .30 caliber down are designed for CXP2 game (maximum weight 400 pounds). Ballistic tip bullets in calibers over .30 are designed with a heavier jacket intended for reliably harvesting CXP3 class game. Ballistic Tips boast high BCs and are considered long range bullets. They are also usually very accurate bullets. The minimum impact velocity needed to initiate expansion is 1800 fps.
AccuBond bullets combine the high BC, accuracy and rapid expansion of the Ballistic Tip with a bonded core to retain 60-70% of their initial weight. These white tipped bullets are suitable for a wide variety of CXP2 and CXP3 game in appropriate calibers and bullet weights, including the largest and most dangerous predators. The minimum impact velocity needed to initiate expansion is 1800 fps.
Partition bullets are really two bullets in one. There are two lead alloy cores separated by a solid partition of gilding metal jacket material. The front core is encased in a relatively thin tapered jacket to insure that adequate expansion is initiated when the bullet strikes even the smaller species of CXP2 game. The internal partition positively prevents the bullet from opening beyond that point, retaining the rear core for deep penetration, even in heavy CXP3 game. Recovered Partition bullets retain about 60% of their initial weight regardless of how violently the front part of the bullet expands. The minimum impact velocity needed to initiate expansion is 1800 fps. The Partition bullet has earned an outstanding reputation in the field as a killing bullet.
E-Tip is Nosler's homogeneous gilding metal tipped bullet. It is equivalent to the Hornady GMX or Barnes TSX-Tipped bullets and features very deep penetration. The minimum impact velocity needed to initiate expansion is 1800 fps. All E-Tips are boat-tail designs.
Remington has long been one of the most creative of the big ammo companies in terms of its bullet designs. In addition to offering a number of specialty bullets procured from other manufacturers (Swift and Hornady in particular), Remington produces their own original bullet designs. Some of these have been extremely successful.
The Core-Lokt is the most famous Remington bullet. It is factory loaded in a great many calibers for the Remington Express ammo line. Core-Lokt bullets are also available to reloaders in consumer bulk packs in calibers from .243 to 8mm. It is an outstanding flat base, soft point design that features a tapered gilding metal jacket that is thin at the tip and thickest around the middle of the bullet. This "inner belted" design controls expansion and retains a good portion of the bullet shank for deeper than normal penetration, yet allows nearly 2x diameter expansion of the front part of the bullet for maximum tissue destruction. Core-Lokt bullets also have a cannelure to allow crimping and help retain the core. Core-Lokt bullets come in Pointed, round nose, flat point and hollow point styles, depending on caliber and intended application. They are suitable for CXP2 and CXP3 game in appropriate calibers and weights.
The Core-Lokt Ultra is a bonded core bullet with a heavy Core-Lokt type jacket. The nose is of the Mag-Tip type with no lead exposed. The bonded lead alloy core and heavy, inner belted jacket retains most of the bullets original weight for deep penetration. Remington claims that this bullet expands reliably at all ranges from 50 yards to 500 yards (impact velocities unspecified). Core-Lokt Ultra bullets are available in Remington Premier factory loads in calibers from .243 to .338. They are suitable for CXP2 and CXP3 game, including dangerous game, in appropriate calibers and bullet weights. Core-Lokt Ultra bullets are also available to reloaders.
The Bronze Point was the first tipped bullet, predating the CIL Sabre Tip and the later Nosler Ballistic Tip by decades. It uses a flat base and a bronze alloy tip to initiate expansion of the lead alloy core. The gilding metal jacket has a cannelure to mechanically help retain the core during expansion. This bullet is designed for CXP2 game and is available in only two calibers, .270/130 grain and .30-06/150 and 180 grain, in Remington Express factory loads.
AccuTip is the Remington tipped bullet. This is a plastic tipped spitzer bullet with a secant ogive profile made for Remington by Hornady. The 140 grain .284" AccuTip is a flat base design; all of the other big game AccuTips are boat tail bullets. (There are also AccuTip varmint bullets, which are similar to Hornady's V-Max bullet.) AccuTip bullets are designed for fast expansion. They use a tapered jacket and a cannelure to help retain the core. Remington specifically recommends AccuTip big game bullets for deer size animals.
Remington's proprietary homogeneous (lead free) bullet is the Copper Solid. This is a polymer tipped, boat-tail bullet with two bands in the shank, like the Hornady GMX. Like others of the type, it delivers very deep penetration and up to 1.8x expansion at high impact velocities.
The last I heard, Sierra was the best selling brand of bullets for reloading in the U.S. They are famous for their match bullets and also make a wide variety of varmint and big game hunting bullets, some of which are offered in Federal and Sellier & Bellot factory loaded ammunition.
Sierra hunting bullets generally have a reputation for excellent accuracy, rapid expansion and quick kills. They are particularly popular with experienced hunters. Sierra Bullets are constructed with tapered gilding metal jackets and lead alloy cores. Sierra varies the jacket thickness, jacket taper and core hardness to control bullet expansion and penetration.
Of principle interest here are the Pro Hunter and GameKing lines of hunting bullets. These are medium to heavy weight (for caliber) bullets designed for harvesting CXP2 and CXP3 game.
Most Sierra Pro Hunter bullets have pointed soft point (spitzer) noses, but where appropriate Sierra offers semi-pointed, flat point, round nose and hollow point styles. These are reasonably priced, flat base bullets with gilding metal jackets that are suitable for a wide range of applications in calibers from .243 to .45-70.
The somewhat more expensive GameKing bullets all have spitzer points and boat-tail bases for a high BC. GameKing bullets are the closest thing to a Sierra MatchKing bullet that is appropriate for use in a big game hunting rifle. Sierra regards the GameKing as a long range bullet and it is so described on their web site. Available calibers range from .22 to .375.
The Sierra reloading manual includes detailed descriptions of all of their bullets and conveniently recommends specific hunting loads for their Pro Hunter and GameKing bullets in every available caliber. Sierra has so far eschewed adding plastic tips or bonded cores to their bullets, maintaining their bullets perform superbly in their present form; a contention with which I would have to agree.
Speer is owned by the same company (ATK) that owns Federal Cartridge and CCI. Speer bullets are used in Federal factory loads and Speer is also one of the major bullet makers supplying reloaders. In addition to big game hunting bullets, Speer produces varmint, match and special application bullets.
Speer markets several lines of big game hunting bullets, all of which use gilding metal jackets. These include (in order of construction from lighter to tougher) the Boat Tail, Hot-Cor, DeepCurl and Grand Slam. Point styles include spitzer, semi-spitzer, flat point, hollow point and round nose, depending on application. Most Speer big game hunting bullets are flat base designs, the exception being those in the Boat Tail line. Unfortunately, Speer does not provide specific velocity/expansion information about their bullets.
The Speer Boat Tail bullet is a conventionally constructed soft point spitzer with a 13-degree tapered heel. It is designed primarily for long range shooting, where velocities have usually fallen off. This bullet uses a tapered gilding metal jacket to control expansion and is the fastest expanding design in the Speer line. It is recommended for the smaller species of CXP2 game in the small bore calibers and non-dangerous game in medium bore calibers.
Hot-Cor bullets are the heart of the Speer line. This soft point bullet is manufactured by pouring the lead alloy core into the gilding metal bullet jacket in liquid form at 900 F degrees. Speer claims that this reduces the possibility of core slippage during expansion. A tapered profile jacket and the specific lead alloy of the core control expansion. Speer recommends their Hot-Cor bullets for animals at the upper end of a given rifle cartridge's capability, which includes all CXP2 and CXP3 game in appropriate bullet weights and calibers.
The DeepCurl features a jacket electro-chemically bonded to a lead core at the molecular level. These are flat base bullets. Most are spitzers without an exposed lead tip. They are suitable for Class 2 and Class 3 game in appropriate calibers and bullet weights. DeepCurl appears to be the equivalent of Federal Fusion bullets for reloaders.
The GRAND SLAM has been Speer's premium bullet since 1975. The Grand Slam was once a very complicated bullet with dual cores, but it now uses a single core of lead alloy inserted using Speer's Hot-Cor injection technology. These are spitzer and semi-spitzer style flat base bullets. The shank of the Grand Slam's tapered gilding metal jacket is up to 45% thicker than standard game bullets and a cannelure is used to help lock the core in the jacket. To help initiate expansion there are internal flutes in the nose of the jacket. The jacket extends to the tip of the bullet to eliminate battering in the magazines of hard kicking rifles. Grand Slam bullets are appropriate for the larger species of CXP2 and all CXP3 game and have a good reputation as all-around bullets for mixed bag hunts.
Swift Bullet Company
Swift makes the premium A-Frame partitioned, bonded core bullet and the Scirocco II, a second generation, plastic tipped, bonded core bullet. The former is available in calibers from .22 to .509 in many bullet weights, while the selection of the latter is more limited, ranging in caliber from .22 to .338. All Swift bullets are made with lead cores and tapered, pure copper jackets. Swift bullets are available to reloaders and are also used in Remington Premier and Federal Premium factory loaded ammunition.
Most A-Frame bullets are semi-spitzers, with point profiles intended to avoid battering in box magazines, although the line also includes at least one flat nose and several round nose bullets. The A-FRAME is a tough bullet that features a heavy copper mid-section wall to positively limit expansion. The pure lead front core is bonded to the tapered copper jacket for controlled expansion up to 2x diameter and the rear end of the jacket is folded over the back of the bullet to retain the rear core for deep penetration. In ballistic gelatin testing, A-Frame bullets retained up to 95% of their original weight and expanded to a maximum of 2.2x original diameter. Impact velocity is between 1850 and 3325 fps.A-Farme bullets are highly respected for use on tough and dangerous game in appropriate calibers and bullet weights.
Swift also offers "Lever Action Series" A-Frame bullets, designed for use in rifles with tubular magazines. These have thinner front jackets at the bullet's flat point to aid expansion at impact velocities as low as 1250 fps to initiate expansion and about 1800 fps for a decent mushroom. Swift claims they will function properly at impact velocities up to approximately 2700 fps and are suitable for animals from deer to dangerous game, depending on caliber. Available in calibers .30-30, .348, .45-70, .475 and .509
The Scirocco was the first bonded core, plastic tipped bullet and all Scirocco bullets feature a 15-degree boat-tail base and a secant ogive nose to maximize ballistic coefficient. Swift reports that in their testing Scirocco II bullets mushroomed to a mazimum of 2.5x original caliber and expand effectively at impact velocities from 17500 fps to 3325 fps, retaining an average 84% of their original weight. They claim that no other tipped bullet is tougher than Scirocco II.
In addition the Combined Technology Ballistic Silvertip (a Lubalox black oxide coated Ballistic Tip) and AccuBond CT (a Lubalox black oxide coated AccuBond) bullets produced for Winchester Supreme ammo by Nosler, Winchester continues to offer proprietary bullets, including the Power Point, Silvertip, Extreme Point, Power Max Bonded and Power Core 95/5 bullets in their Super-X line of ammunition, as well as XP3 and E-Tip bullets in their Supreme ammo lines.
The Extreme Point, used in Winchester Deer Season XP ammunition, is a lead core, gilding metal jacketed spitzer bullet with a flat base and an extra large polymer tip. It is designed for use on thin-skinned Class 2 game (specifically North American deer), opening quickly against light resistance and causing a wide wound cavity for quick kills. Available calibers include .243, .270, 7mm and .30 in Winchester's Deer Season XP ammunition.
The Power Point is a flat base, soft point bullet with a tapered gilding metal jacket and a cannelure to help control expansion. There is an exposed lead tip and notches in the tip of the jacket to help initiate expansion. It is available in spitzer, round nose and flat point styles in Winchester factory loads for a wide variety of cartridges. Power Point bullets are also available in 100 count bags to reloaders in a limited number of calibers and bullet weights, including .224", .277", .284", .308", .308" (.30-30) and .310" (7.62x39). The Power Point is primarily designed for CXP2 game, where it has a solid reputation for quick kills. The heaviest bullet weights in suitable calibers are also recommended for CXP3 game. It has proved a reliable game-getter for decades and is the most popular bullet ever made by Winchester.
The SILVERTIP is the long running companion to the Power Point. This is basically a flat base, soft point style bullet with considerable lead exposed at the tip. Except that the lead at the tip isn't actually exposed. It is enclosed in a thin aluminum alloy nose cap to protect it in the magazine and slightly delay expansion. The Silvertip has a tapered gilding metal jacket and cannelure, much like the Power Point, but lacks the notches in the nose of the jacket. Winchester has always promoted the Silvertip as a deeper penetrating bullet than the Power Point. It is mostly loaded for CXP2 game, but in 180 grain .308 Win. and .30-06, 200 grain .348 Win., and 200 grain .358 Win. factory loads it is rated for CXP3 game. The traditional Silvertip bullet has been replaced by the CT Ballistic Silvertip (with which it should not be confused) in many calibers and loads.
Power Core 95/5 is homogeneous gilding metal (95% copper, 5% zinc) bullet with a protected hollow point tip and a boat-tail base. Like other solid copper-alloy bullets, typical weight retention is near 100%. It is offered in calibers and bullet weights most suitable for Class 2 game, such as .243/90, .270/130, 7mm/140 and .30/150 in Super-X factory loads.
Power Max Bonded is a soft point bullet with a soft lead core bonded to a gilding metal jacket. Winchester particularly recommends this bullet for close range shooting. It is supplied in Super-X factory loads.
The XP3 replaced the CT Fail Safe in the Winchester Supreme line. The front half of this Lubalox coated bullet is solid gilding metal with a plastic tip, while the rear half contains a lead core. Imagine the front half of a Barnes TSX tipped bullet grafted to the rear half of a Nosler Partition. The plastic tip is intended to initiate expansion earlier than the hollow point of the previous Fail Safe bullet, creating a larger wound channel. The tail of the bullet ends in a short boat-tail. In addition, the rear core is bonded to the gilding metal jacket to prevent core loss even if the bullet flips a complete 180-degrees after impact. This complicated bullet is available in "Supreme Elite" factory loads and is particularly recommended for CXP3 game.
These Australian made bullets use heavy, gilding metal tapered jackets and lead cores bonded to the jacket to insure deep penetration and retention of the core. Hence the name Weldcore.
Woodleigh offers soft point and protected point WELDCORE bullets, and also solid (FMJ) bullets. They are available to reloaders and also loaded in Kynoch (British) factory ammunition, Federal ammunition (USA), and Romey ammunition (Germany). Following is a quote from Briel Jackson, editor of Guns & Game magazine, Australia Published October- December, 1997 Issue No. 16, as reproduced on the Woodleigh web site:
"I have never used a Weldcore on game or in test medium and not have it expand, nor have I ever used one in either case and had it fail to penetrate adequately. It is recommended that they should not be used when an impact velocity greater than 2900 fps is likely, this would be akin to shooting an animal at 50 yards with a 300 Magnum. I haven't tried it, but at this velocity I imagine they would expand back to nothing. It is recommended that impact velocity be kept above 1900 fps, though as stated, in my experience, Woodleighs will open up nicely at impact velocities less than this, especially if they hit something solid."
I wish that all bullet makers would provide at least the minimum and maximum acceptable impact velocities for their bullets, but few do. Swift specifies minimum and maximum impact velocity limits for their Scirocco II and A-Frame bullets and Hornady indicates the muzzle velocity range and recommended usage of all of their bullets.
Winchester and Federal indicate the recommended usage for their factory loads. Winchester originated the CXP 1-2-3-4 (controlled expansion) system, but has transitioned to animal silhouettes on their box ends to indicate usage. Apparently four classes of game animals was too complicated for some customers to figure out. Federal simply uses the numbers 1 through 4 without the CXP prefix: In either case, Class 1 represents varmints and small game; Class 2 equals medium size big game, such as deer, sheep, goats and antelope; Class 3 means large game, such as elk and moose; Class 4 is heavy, dangerous game such as buffalo, rhino and elephant. Practically everyone else comes up short, providing little or no concrete velocity/expansion information about their bullets.
Click to go to the Hunting Bullet Guide, Part One: Caliber and Weight
Copyright 2005, 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.