140 A-MAX fails in flight to target @ 2950 fps At an F-Class match last weekend in Donaldsonville, LA, my daughter had four of her last 20 shots fail in flight about 50 yards after firing. She was shooting 140 grain A-MAX bullets at 2950 fps from a 6.5-284 with a custom Lilja barrel with 1 in 8" twist. The bullet failures were obvious from the lack of hole in the target and the easily visible puff of smoke about 50 yards down range from the firing point. The bullet appeared to vaporize in flight. The load was originally developed in Colorado and provided fine service there for several hundred rounds without a problem. The Colorado ranges have much lower ambient pressure than Louisiana, about 30% lower than sea level pressures. We first started to notice a problem last summer after moving to Louisiana when one or two shots were occasionally lost during the last 20 shots of an F-Class match when all the other shots were 9s or 10s on a 600 yard F-Class target. However, in that case, no one was watching the bullet trail to see what may have happened in flight. After the fist shot was lost in Donaldsonville last week, two experienced spotters begin watching closely and easily detected the bullet failures in flight. It was a hot day (95 deg F) by the time the bullets failed, but since H1000 is a reasonably temp-stable powder, I would surmise that any heat related effect was most likely due to the bullet rather than the powder. An additional point of interest is that my wife and daughter have both shot the 139 grain Lapua Scenar from the same rifle without any problem in recent weeks. One gentleman at the match noted that he has also had problems with A-MAX bullets failing in flight at the Donaldsonville range, and he thinks it may be related to the plastic tip. The question of whether plastic bullet tips can melt in flight has been raised before, but without definitive answer. The conditions were certainly optimal in this case: hot day to raise the starting temperature of the bullet tips combined with (possibly) slightly elevated muzzle velocities, and high ambient pressure which would maximize drag (thus heating) of the tip. The hypothesis of spin-induced bullet failure seems less likely because all the failures occurred in the last match of the day. Since the bullet failures occurred, we have come across several threads discussing Eric Stecker's investigations and Berger's remedies of similar problems by making jackets thicker in their match bullets. In that case, it seems clear that the problem was related to jacket thinness and melting the lead with bore friction and heat transfer. We have written to Hornady describing these events. They have apologized and sent my daughter a ball cap rather than replacing the bullets to make up for her inconvenience. My daughter has moved on to 139 Lapuas and requested the cap instead of replacement bullets.