Originally Posted by Michael Eichele
What bc and temps are you using to come up with the altitudes you predicted?
I used the manufacturer's BC and checked the "standard atmosphere at Altitude" button at JBM. Yes, the temperature and humidity come into it, but there's a much bigger change in air density with a few thousand feet change in altitude than with the entire range of humidity or 20 deg F.
I lean toward AMAX because we tend toward cartridges and bullet weights that give 2900 fps. We've never lost an animal or had a long tracking job due to too much expansion in rapidly expanding designs. I have lost animals and had difficult tracking jobs due to insufficient expansion and expansion failures in hollow point and controlled expansion designs. I've also gotten lucky and anchored an animal on the second shot after the first shot penciled through the lungs.
A few years back, we were testing the performance of the 110 VMAX in deer at 3500 fps. It was total fragmentation and about 8-10" of penetration. We recovered all the deer within 100 yards on broadside lung shots. One hypothesis I have regarding claims of overexpansion and failure to reach the vitals on deer sized animals is that the bullet has struck an intermediate object before hitting the animal in these cases. We had several cases of the years of a bullet failing to reach the lungs (apparently blowing up on the shoulder) and in every case, careful investigation revealed the intermediate object struck by the bullet before reaching the shoulder or chest of the deer. It was a small tree or tree branch in most cases, but in one case the shooter managed to hit the deer in spite of shooting through a 2x6 rest in the tree stand!
In 6.5mm and larger, AMAXs at 2900 fps will all give at least 12" of penetration, and many of the higher sectional density bullets go 16-18". Penetration increases with range. This is fine for deer and cow elk, and the higher sectional densities are suitable for bull elk and hogs if the shooter can refrain from bad shot angles. We're also very happy with the accuracy of the AMAX, the shot to shot consistency of BCs, the lot to lot consistency of POI and BC, etc.
Over the years, we've seen Noslers and Bergers have more issues with lot to lot changes in POI, accuracy, and BC. I don't think that hollow point match bullets can ever match the shot to shot BC consistency of plastic tipped bullets. Yes, you can trim the noses for BC consistency, but then the BC is lower, and you've tweaked the expansion characteristics.