solid copper bullet performance

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by stevotary, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. stevotary

    stevotary Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have expertise on solid copper bullets like Barnes TSX and federal trophy copper? Do they retain the same energy down range? Are they good for long range hunting on deer, elk in 300wm? Shooting them at metal at 800 yards they seem to not have as much punch as the lead core. Do they have a lower sectional density? I know there accuracy is good.
     
  2. stevotary

    stevotary Well-Known Member

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    If a copper bullet is used it will be longer than a lead bullet of the same weight due to density differences what effects would this have on:

    1. bullet interception on approach to the barrel rifling?
    2. since the bullet is longer does it will have a better ballistic coefficient ?
    -will this better BC make up for the lack of density?
    -how do the two compare to downrange terminal velocity at , let's say 800 yards seeing both weigh the same
    3.how would the two compare with a cross wind? copper has more surface area to be affected
     

  3. Shane Lindsey

    Shane Lindsey Well-Known Member

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    I would look at the minimum impact velocity needed to make it function. Not sure what Barnes has posted now. I think you would be fine for hunting at those ranges, but because the solid requires higher velocity to function properly, I don't think they are necessarily a "long range bullet" unless they will open below 1500 FPS.

    Shane
     
  4. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    I have used three diff monometal bullets. None of yours. GS Custom HV, Nosler E-Tip, and Cutting Edge. I was not so happy with the Cutting Edge terminal performance. Nosler and GS both work very well. I don't think I shot anything past 500 with the Nosler. The GS has been exceptional out to 900 so far for me. I have also shot under 100 with very good results. Terminal performance is perfect and never have an animal that looks like it was hit by a hand grenade.

    Steve
     
  5. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    In recent years solids have improved a bunch, like most all bullet designs from top manufacturers. We are lucky to have so many great choices today.

    There are 2 schools of thought involved when you talk about solids, "mono metal" bullets compared to lead core copper jacketed bullets. Most shooters have strong feelings as to what and why they choose. If they like one, they usually do not like the other. These two types of bullets simply work very differently. And none of them are perfect at all distances or impact velocities.

    Since I have used both, and I am an avid shooter of a 300 win, I will answer your questions directly as truthful as I can.

    1: Do they retain the same energy down range? Yes, and no. the same weight bullet at the same velocity will have the same energy at point of impact. The bullet with the higher BC will retain velocity longer and will it will have the most energy at target. At closer distances the mono bullets are more likely to pass through. This is due to the fact they expand less. So it is believed that a highly expandable bullet will deliver more energy into the animal as it stops there and the animal takes it all. At longer distances, lets say 500 yards, it is likely both bullets will pass through. In this case the bullet that expands most will do the most damage. At vey long distances 1000 plus, where velocity is slowed it is more difficult to get the solid to expand and this is the main reason I have switched to lead core , high BC bullets.

    2:Are they good for long range hunting on deer, elk in 300wm? Again yes and no. It depends on what you call long range. At 500 yards, yes in most cases, 300 and below the solid will do a fine job. 600 plus I much prefer the accuracy and expansion of the lead core bullets.

    3:Shooting them at metal at 800 yards they seem to not have as much punch as the lead core. Do they have a lower sectional density? This is an observation and I can not answer it truthfully without more data. I would look at the BC of both bullets you are comparing. If they start at the same velocity, and sometimes even if the higher BC starts out a bit slower, BC will determine which bullet arrives with the most velocity and energy. If they are of equal weight.

    Since you are asking about a long range bullet for the 300 win. I will offer you my testing thread from last season. In it you will find many big game animal kills from many distances. Also impact velocities and terminal damage photos of the bullets performance. I suggest you give it a good look and then decide if you like the performance you see.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/comparing-berger-210-vld-215-hybrid-88657/

    I will add that meat damage in any animal I have shot was directly related to bullet placement. Way more so than bullet type. If you shoot the animal in the shoulder or the hams with any type bullet expect meat loss. Place the bullet in the vital area through the ribs and meat loss will be kept to a minimum.

    The thread above is long, but there is good solid real world data there as it happened. I hope it helps you understand a little more about how bullets work.

    Jeff
     
  6. jfseaman

    jfseaman Well-Known Member

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    I load copper for hunting in California. Though not that experience I have come to believe:

    1. Old rifles need to use lighter copper bullets to maintain accuracy.
    Data: My 270 WBy 12 twist was fine with 130 lead. Copper 130s go sideways. I worked up a load with 95grn copper and it's sub moa.
    Data: My 243 M70 Featherweight will shoot up to 100grn lead but copper must be below 85grns.
    2. Copper does not have the sectional density so it won't carry as far.
    This is just pure physics. No getting around it. Go faster.
    3. Long range is possible with copper. Go faster.
    Data: I load for a friend as we shoot the several of the same calibers. He has taken large feral pigs at over 1000yrds.
    Notes: The rifle was specifically built with a twist for Barnes 180 TTSX and is very sub moa.

    To me it is easier to get a copper bullet with the same aspect ration length to diameter as the lead bullet to shoot well but you will need to go faster for down range energy.
     
  7. Beng

    Beng Well-Known Member

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    To elaborate on jfseaman's post, the necessary twist rate for sufficient stabilization of a bullet is a function of bullet length. The longer the bullet, the shorter the twist rate, required to stabilize the bullet.
    Since copper and brass are less dense (lb/in³) than lead, the same mass of copper requires more volume than lead. Thus monolithic copper bullets have to be longer than their respectively heavy lead core counterparts. Longer bullets require a shorter twist rate to stabilize properly. Thus a 130gr monolithic copper bullet might need a shorter twist than a 130gr lead core bullet, ss long as Bullet design is similar. Meaning, we aren't comparing flat base, round nose copper bullets to 15cal secant ogive, boat tail lead core bullets.
    A 100gr .243cal monolithic copper bullet has the same sectional density as a 100gr .243cal lead core bullet.

    sd=m(gr)/7000*cal(in)²

    Ballistic coefficient is not a function of bullet lenght, but of ogive and boattail design. An aerodynamically very efficent design is, due to its long ogive and boattail, usually a long bullet, but not all long bullets are of this design and thus not all long bullets are aerodynamically efficient (have a high bc).
    Since monolithic copper bullets are naturally longer than lead core bullets, you can create round nose copper bullets nearly as long as lead core VLD type bullets of the same mass and caliber. The former, of course, have a much higher form factor and thus lower bc.
    ps: even better example:
    The .284"cal 175gr TSX is .06" longer than the .284"cal 175gr SMK, the formers formfactor (i7) is .577 lb/in² higher(worse).

    bc=sd/i

    Just making sure those new to ballistics understand too.
    If you are interested in ballistics stevotary, then I can highly recommend Bryan Litz' "Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting". It will explain everything you need for longrange hunting and gives good suggestions for further study.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  8. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Beng's explanation was spot on.

    SD is a function of mass and cal. A 180 gr .308 cal bullet copper bullet has the same Sectional Density as a 180 gr .308 lead core bullet. The dfferense is in the density of the material (specific gravity). If both bullets have about the same form factor, the copper bullet will be a little longer and have a slightly lower BC because being longer, it will induce more drag. It will also require a tighter twist rate.

    Just like lead core bullets, mono metal bullets have different terminal characteristics depending on the design and material of the bullet. They are made from different hardness of copper and the E-Tips are made of guiding metal very similar to jacket material. Some have tips and some have hollow points.

    I am one of the few who do not have a personal preference based on what the bullet is made of. The bottom line for me is, 1) How well my rifle likes them - accuracy 2) Terminal ballistic characteristics 3) External ballisitic characteristics - BC to weight/SD to velocity 4) Cost

    As of yet there is no perfect bullet for every situation.

    The cup and core bullets in the 338 cal and down have a little better BC to SD factors than the monos. When you get above 338 cal, that starts to change.

    Mono's tend to be more controlled expansion and are better at penetrating bone and dense muscle.

    Cup and core bullets range in controlled expansion types (Bonded, Partitions, A Frames, etc) to highly frangible (Bergers, Amax, etc). The more frangible, the more damage they will do in soft tissue like lungs and liver but the less likely to penetrate dense muscle and bone.

    I do lean more toward controlled expansion thinking, but the vast majority of my shots are lung shots and the best bullet for that is a Berger. But... in the rare case i have to make a quartering shot through muscle and bone, I would feel better with a controlled expansion type bullet. The question is, which is most practical overall?

    I used to load E-Tips for short to mid range hunting and Bergers for longer range.

    Of all the mono's I like the, the GSC HV bullets the best for terminal ballistic design but I could not get the 308 177's to group less than MOA out of "my" rifle. There is very little room for seating adjustment with them and unless you have a very short throat they make a big jump to the lands.

    In my new 300 RUM, I will be trying 230 Bergers, 200 CEB's and 177 GSC HV's. All these bullets will perform well terminally to well past 1000 yds. The 230 Bergers will have the clear advantage past 1K. Accuracy will be the first consideration in selection. I may even go with a 2 load line up again to cover all the bases.

    CEB terminal performance

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/cutting-edge-bullet-kills-98388/

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/cutting-edge-bullets-terminal-performance-67985/

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f19/updated-10-29-terminal-performance-6-5mm-130gr-ceb-99656/

    GSC terminal performance. The GCS conceept is lighter bullets, higher velocity which doesn't work well with cup and core bullets.

    GS CUSTOM BULLETS - FAQ - Expansion and Weight Retention

    Of the mono metals, I like CEB and GSC the best.

    Advantages and disadvantages of each.

    CEB's seem to be easier to load for accuracy, but my experience has been limited.

    CEB's are about 2/3rds the cost of GSC's

    CEB's are quicker to order

    GSC's probably have better terminal performance including lower opening velocities down to 1600 fps. However, the lower opening velocity is due to a larger hollow point meplat opening, which degrades BC. I base the terminal performance assessment on what I've read, no first hand experience yet.

    GSC's can get a little more velocity than CEB's of same weight based on my experience, about 30- 50 fps more

    Both CEB and GSC will make custom projectiles to your specs.
     
  9. stevotary

    stevotary Well-Known Member

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    Awesome information. Thank you! I have read Bryan Litz's book cover to cover. He was really down on Barnes because of sectional density and grooves. I have shot them and they perform really well as far as accuracy, but not sure on terminal balistics long range.
     
  10. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    Hey Mark,

    I just ran #s on the 230 berger vs the 177 GS. I guessed that you would run the Berger @ 2900 fps??? and the GS @ 3500 fps. Just got done running it in a 30" a couple of days ago to 3600 fps with H1000. But at the two velocities that I used the Berger does not catch the GS in drop or the most important windage all the way to 2000 yards. The Berger Has 2 more ft lbs of energy at 1300 yards. At 1500 yards the GS is still traveling at 1593 fps the Berger is at 1406 fps. I am not sure where the clear advantage of the Berger comes in at long range. At 1500 yards the Berger has 1010.5 ft lbs of enrgy vs the GS @ 997.4 ft lbs. I think that may be further than either one need be shot at big game. Just my .02

    Steve
     
  11. Beng

    Beng Well-Known Member

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    Just stay way inside the min speed limit and shoot the harder parts of your prey. That way ttsx should work even at long range. Don't expect bang flop results though, ttsx bullets are designed to undergo only limited sd changes in the target medium, thus and because of the loss of velocity, energy release will be limited too. Especially compared to rather frangible lead core bullets.
    A fragmenting design (like the GS or german MJG) should be superior at long range. Im talking just theoretically though.
     
  12. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    The Barnes bullets are OK, but they just don't have the BC's that other bullets do for long range. If I was shooting at short to mid ranges only they would be a viable option. That said, I like the E-Tips better for short to mid range hunting.
     
  13. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Steve,

    In a nitrided 27" 300 RUM barrel with RL33, I'm expecting close to 3200 fps with the 230's. In my old 26" Sendero barrel, I was getting a little shy of 3500 fps with the 177's with both Retumbo and RL17, however the RL17 load was less than 90% capacity. I'm thinking the nitrided barrel might be a little friendlier to RL17 and the 177's and might see 3600 fps or so. I'm also a little skeptical of the BC claim for the 177. I think it's probably in the mid to upper .5 range and time should tell on that soon.

    If I use .6 and 3600 fps for the 177's and .74 and 3200 fps for the 230's, the 230's catch the 177's in velocity @ 1300 yds with 53 gr more mass. At 1K the 230's have a 400 ftlb of KE advantage over the 177's and even better relative momentum advantage. The 230's take the windage advantage from the get go although it is close through out with a 10 mph corrrection of 5 MOA for the 230's vs 5.6 MOA for the 177's @ 1300 yds.

    The 230 Hybrids are going to be hard to beat in the 30 cal down range. In fact they are the best LR bullet ballistically in the 30 cal. If accuracy is equal between the 2 I have to go with the 230's. The only possible advantage the 177's would have is closer range penetration through muscle and bone and in that case, the 200 gr CEB's would be at least equal and probably better than the 177's.

    Back when the 210 VLD's were king of the heap so to speak, the 177's would have given them a lot better competition. The 1600 fps opening velocity is a big plus when it comes to deer size game, but not sure how much advantage it is in trying to use a 177 gr bullet on elk size game at those lower velocities.
     
  14. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    That would be amazing velocity for a 230. I have not heard of many getting that from a 200g AB with that barrel length. Given this kind of performance with the 230 berger you should be able to run the 177 up around 3700fps.

    The faster you push the GS the better the bc should be. As it slows it will degrade. When you get up over 3500 fps this should be so.

    If the Berger sheds half it's weight in the first few inches you are left with 115g to finish the job. VS 142g in the GS at 80% retention. Momentum is definitely on the side of the GS.

    Steve