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The Solid Bullet Debate

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Unread 06-22-2009, 02:59 AM
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Re: The Solid Bullet Debate

Originally Posted by noel carlson View Post

If you have a .338 barreled with a 10" or tighter twist, the projectiles will be available in 2-3 months.

Contact me.

Just happen to have a 10 twist in the 338 Edge so I'll mark my calendar and continue to follow the reported progress. Thanks,

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Unread 06-22-2009, 08:35 AM
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Re: The Solid Bullet Debate


First, my apologies for all the typos and spelling errors on my previous post. I was struggling to keep my eyes open as I typed and did not bother to proof it.

Next, don't get me wrong about my skepticism.. I believe there's always a way to build a better mouse trap. But I think we need to becareful about assumptions and learn from previous experiences. I am all for a fail-safe tip or whatever is devised to improve BC and provide reliable expansion. To what degree we define reliability may be up for debate also... 99%??? The previous mentioned bullets are probably at least in the 90% relaibility category, maybe upper 90's?

1400 fps is a good low end opening velocity. Why the upper end and what happens if you exceed it? I wouldn't think a monometal would have an upper end velocity?

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Unread 06-22-2009, 11:16 AM
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Re: The Solid Bullet Debate


The upper end velocity limitation is the consequence of a small percentage of tellurium in the copper.

This reduces machining time by increasing cutting speed, and is why this projectile is capable of opening at such low velocity... it also has a tendency to expand a little too well at high impact speeds (the grenade effect). A tin/bismuth/silver bonded core is overlaid with a tin/indium core to moderate the expansion rate. The petals will still shed at unusually high velocities however.

Everything is a compromise... even with "magic".
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Unread 06-22-2009, 04:50 PM
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Posts: 292
Re: The Solid Bullet Debate

This is what I get for thinking I could take Father's Day Weekend off from the forums. I did not expect this thread to be on its 7th page when I got back to it. I'll attempt to catch up.


Several pages ago you posted a response that included the following statement:

It may be sorting gnat **** from pepper, but us blackpowder guys have feelings too! (And for some reason the smilies won't work for me so just know I'm trying to interject some humour, not be a dink!)
My apologies. When I say that solid bullets don't make it to the range on match day I am referring to center fire matches. I forgot about the many muzzle loaders who shoot competition all over the world. Your point is made and my excluding these shooters was not deliberate but an oversight.

My limited knowledge of muzzle loading will show itself quickly but don't all or most muzzle loaders use lead? If this is true then it may speak to Bryan's point on this material density consistency. It may also just be an easier material to cast and its density lends itself to better overall performance (forming and shooting).


I agree with you that this is hardly a debate. Berger offers a product and you are offering a product. From everything I have read these products are very different. In the end only a rifle will be able to tell us which is better. It may be true that each is better in certain applications.

You suggest that your bullet is not revolutionary. I disagree because even though characteristics of your bullet and the system you speak of have been around for a long time they are not available to the shooting public. Further, based on your report they have only recently been used as a system. This is also revolutionary in shooting since so few developments involve a shooting system.

I look forward to your offering becoming readily available and the resulting improvements to the shooting experience. Based on your performance claims, I should consider myself lucky that you are only offering a 338 cal bullet.

Moving our discussion to this thread was based on my desire to separate it from the Barnes article conversation. I have no basis on which to debate with you further. My opinion of existing solids has not changed. You do not defend or imply that you want to defend existing solids. I wish you luck in changing these perceptions with your new solid.

To All,

A brief word about bullet failures to perform as expected. (This is a sidebar discussion that was mentioned in other posts on this thread and has nothing to do with my discussions with Noel) We are pursuing this topic because our goal is to enhance the rifle shooting experience. If we can achieve 100% performance (no bullet has achieved this) then the rifle shooting experience will be enhanced.

We spent about 5 years solving the "bullet failure to reach the target" result. This is what led to our making the bullets that are part of our Target line with thicker jackets. I mention this because we have proven that we do not ignore such results and will not stop until we find a solution that does not reduce the precision performance of our bullets.

One of the greatest challenges with "hunting bullet failure" is the infrequency of the results. If it were related to the manufacturing process then we would expect more failures within given lots. The reports have been so infrequent that we have not had one lot mentioned twice.

Another tremendous challenge to overcome is the many wide ranging variables that exist in the shooting system and the target. I am not suggesting that every failure is the fault of the shooter but the many variables in the shooting system (which includes the shooter) makes it difficult to zero in on a root cause.

To date, no one who has used factory loaded ammo that comes with the Berger Hunting VLD has reported a failure to perform as expected. It is also true that far fewer animals have been taken with factory loaded ammo using Bergers than those that were hand loaded.

Additionally, when the target is an animal and not a sheet of paper the variables that exist within a population of all the animials shot by our bullets further complicates the analysis. Everything from size, shape, impact location, impact velocity, bullet path, state of the animal and toughness of the animal affects the outcome.

We are committed to enhancing the shooting experience and will publicly discuss our progress on this project. I am not afraid of negative results but am very concerned that we do not dismiss and ignore them like some other brands might.

To strengthen your shooting skills go to the range.
To strengthen the shooting sports take a new shooter with you.

Berger Bullets

Last edited by Eric Stecker; 06-22-2009 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Unread 06-22-2009, 11:28 PM
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Re: The Solid Bullet Debate


That was a class response.

I trust that my earlier statement, regarding the value of a debate, can be better interpreted as regards specific solid projectile designs.

As a category, there is tremendous potential in solids design, and I have not even addressed less conventional projectile configurations in this thread. Very little work has been done in this field ever since the heavy-hitters in engineering moved on to more rewarding areas of endeavor better than seventy years ago. That really is how far back we have to reach, to see the path forward in ELR small-arms development.

My primary focus is in military application, because I believe the dangers we face as a nation have changed in a qualitative way... with indications going back as far as the Reagan administration, through 9-11. When an attacker is more likely to come at our soldiers with a Toyota-mounted heavy machine gun, than a T-72, you can be sure the rules of warefare have fundamentally changed.

I have not really appreciated the benefits to the sporting community this work could have, but I do agree with you that if a manufacturer is foolish enough not to learn from their own mistakes, they have subsidized the learning curve of their competitor.

To anyone else that might have questions/comments feel free to continue. I saw this thread as more of a theoretical, and applied mechanics discussion of projectile design anyway. The accounts of field experience, especially in terminal ballistics, which some of the posters have offered has been both welcome, and valuable to me.

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Unread 06-25-2009, 07:49 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 11
Re: The Solid Bullet Debate

Noel has developed a hunting version of the ZA.338/6.0 bullet, with a polymer tip. Snipers Hide member Rockz provided the test by firing the bullet into wet newspaper @ 500 yards, MV 2990 fps.

L to R: ZA338/6.0 Hunting(257 gr), Recovered(197gr), ZA338/6.0 Match(274 gr), 300gr Lapua Scenar

Top: Unfired Bottom: Fired recovered projectile

Expanded projectile frontal view.

Expanded projectile lateral view.

The following is a link to the discussion on the Snipers Hide Forum:

Last edited by Aragorn50; 06-25-2009 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Added link
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Unread 06-25-2009, 08:13 PM
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Re: The Solid Bullet Debate

This prototype bullet is identical to the current version from the first band forward. Revisions aft of the forward band added stability, boosted BC, and increased weight by 9 grains in the one which will be released publicly. The core in this projectile was non-bonded, and lost one petal completely upon impact.

Experiments with this bullet design in a hollow-core (therefore a lower mass) configuration, as depicted in photograph, fragmented the nose entirely with high predictability... hence the ease of a frangible version should this be desired. All that is necessary is a deeper hole, and a pure bismuth core.

Look closely at the engraving pattern. You will see that the bullet body has no engraving marks. What is not visible is the difference in engraving width. The forward band has a wider engraving pattern as a result of side swaging, and becomes progressively narrower in following bands, until the primary rear sealing band is reached. The primary-band maintained a perfect gas seal.

This effect was produced in a constant twist barrel, and the axial-aligning process took place within just the distance of the footprint length.

Last edited by noel carlson; 06-25-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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