Fun read again. Been a few years down the pike...Here is a review of Hammer Bullets done by Kirby Allen on Facebook.
Well, this has been a long time coming. Last year a couple fine fellow Montana boys came to my shop to pick up a few rifle projects they had me do the barrel work on and when they came to pick up the rifles, they brought some rather interesting bullets to have me look at. They were strange designs with stange wave patterns on the ogive of the bullets and ribs on the body of the bullets and then with a rebated boat tail. Before I go any farther, these two men were Steve Davis and Brian Holtmeyer and they were the owners of a new bullet company called Hammer Bullets (www.hammerbullets.com). They were making custom lathe turned hollow point, solid bullets designed for big game hunting.
They invited me to help them test some of their bullet designs to help them with some ballistic data for their new bullets and to test some new designs in some of my rifles. I certainly agreed!!! At this time, I was preparing to go on a whtetail hunt in Sask. Canada with Northern Giants Trophy Ranch. Figured this would be a heck of a chance to test these bullets as I was planning on taking one of my APS Raptor THunter rifles with me on this hunt chambered in my hot rod 7mm Allen Magnum.
I had just developed a load using the then new 195 gr berger Hybrid target bullet from Berger loaded to 3250 fps in the 26" Raptor THunters barrel. Had nothing but great things to say about the berger bullet but I was a bit nervous to see what this bullet would do on a big northern whitetail as the shooting ranges could range from quite long range but just as likely could be at 50 yards..... This concerned me a bit so I decided I would see what these new Hammer bullets would do as they would certainly be a safer choice for close range impacts out of my 7mm Allen Magnum.
The testing started with some of their 177 gr prototype Hammer HP RBBT bullets. After a few weeks of testing we came to the conclusion that some tweaks needed to be made to these and other calibers as we were seeing relatively low BC numbers for what we were expecting to see.
I was amazed at how quickly Brian and Steve modified their designs and had new bullets headed my way in very short order. We were running out of time but the bullets they had gotten me shooting extremely well past 1000 yards, BC was a bit lower then we wanted still but much better and simply put, we were just out of time before the hunt was upon us so we went with what we had.
The 177 gr Hammer prototype load I was using was a very mild in pressure yet still produced 3425 fps out of the relatively short 26" barrel length. I had maxed this bullet out at nearly 3500 fps but decided to pull the throttle back a bit as an extra 75 fps would really mean nothing in the field.
The design of the Hammer bullets is such that the bands on the bullet body greatly reduce baring surface to the bore and as such, reduced friction and allows more velocity for similiar length bullets. For comparision, the 177 gr. Hammer 7mm bullet is roughly 25 thou longer then the Berger 195 gr bullet. The 195 gr bullet can be driven to 3300 fps in this barrel length but longer 177 gr Hammer can be driven nearly 150 fps faster. Yes its lighter but to make a comparision the other direction. This rifle will drive the Barnes 168 gr. LRX to 3420 fps with very similiar chamber pressures and its DRAMATICALLY longer then the Barnes and has a higher BC and extra bullet weight.
Will not give exact load data here and that is not important anyway. WIll say however that I was using RL33 and Fed-215 primers and a 3.700" over all length.
Setting this rifle up for the hunt, i knew it was very likely that shooting range would be between 50 and 300 yards so I did not want to zero this rifle with a really high mid range because of this so I ran the numbers. If you can imagine, zeroing the rifle at 295 yards, the trajectory never gets over 2.6" high midrange trajectory. at a full 1000 yards, this load only needs 15.2 moa. BC from actual bullet drop came out to around .575. Not bad for a solid HP bullet of this weight.
On the hunt, a monster Canadian whitetail broke the timberline at around 80 yards and I pinned both shoulders putting him down without a step. The 177 gr Hammer made a 1/2" entrance wound and a 1/2" exit wound but there was a mess all in between. Very good results. Not a serious ballistic test but a VERY serious terminal test. Passed with flying colors. A conventional bullet in this situation would have caused EXTREME tissue damage to say the least!!
When I got home, I wanted to get more results on a cow elk but that did not work out thanks to a pack of wolves and a late to hibernate grizzly bear. I was however able to harvest nice whitetail doe at a bit over 300 yards the last day of the season. On this doe however, the exit wound was HUGE.
Studying these results with Steve and Brian we all decided that the reason for the extreme damage on the doe was likely because the bullet was only marginally stable and when the bullet impacted, it tumbled on penetration. This is one of the things that has always impressed me with these two boys, they always want to test and improve their design and they work hard to do just that!!
This rifle had a standard 9 twist so it was very reasonable to think a bullet of this length while was stable in flight, on impact could easily be unstable in penetration.
Not only that, but if the big 177 gr. was only marginally stable in flight, this may be the reason for the lower then expected BC at ranges past 800 yards. Again, these are all prototype bullet designs in the process to come up with a fully tested production bullet design.
To test this theory, Brian and Steve made me a very nice looking 155 gr Hammer which should be perfectly stabilized with the 9 twist. The first thought that popped into my head was, "HOW FAST WILL THIS **** ROCKET GO!!!" I was not disappointed.
With very mild pressures, the 155 gr Hammer ripped out of the 26" barreled 7mm Allen Magnum at blistering 3660 fps with top loads but I settled back down to 3600 fps. This has always been the idea of the Allen Magnums, plenty of horsepower so you never need to run them to red line to get amazing performance. With this load, impacting ONLY 1" high at 100, its zeroed at 235 yards, 6 moa low at 600 yards and 15.6 moa low at 1000 yards. For a 155 gr bullet weight, that is quite impressive.
This bullet proved to have a BC running around .5 to .52 over 1000 yards at this velocity. Putting it up there with the better 7mm bullets in this weight range. However, BC is not the main feature that makes these bullets special. Its their ability to be driven very fast. Again, I was pushing 3600 fps with very mild pressures. This is the key to these bullets.
All of the loads I tested with the 177 gr. and 155 gr. Hammer 7mm bullets consistently ranged below 3/4 moa with most at 1/2 moa. Out of this relatively light rifle at these velocities, more then happy. At distance, they shot at least to the same moa level. Even past 1000 yards, it was EASY to hit 1/2 moa sized targets with first shots. These new bullets really do shoot. They are extremely fast and have GOOD BC numbers.
The lighter 155 gr Hammer also had a redesigned boattail which was longer then the original design which helped with BC. The BC of these bullets proved to be MUCH more consistent over a variaty of ranges. Again, Steve and Brian were constantly redesigning to improve their products. Something that has always impressed me with them.
A couple months later I had a rifle come into the shop that a customer had bought a used 270 Allen Magnum barrel that he wanted installed on this rifle. This barrel was one of my old 8 twist 3 groove designs and these barrels proved to be very hard on conventional bullets once they got some rounds down the barrel. This barrel was no different, it was ripping apart the conventional cup jacketed lead core bullets.
As such, I got ahold of Brian and Steve to see if they could make me a 277 cal bullet that I could try in this rifle. In a week or so, a package shows up from Hammer Bullets with some beautiful 168 gr. Hammer HP bullets. These bullets had much longer conventional boat tails so I was hoping for alot in these bullets. Remember that the original prototype 177 gr. 7mm bullets produced around .575 BC.
Now, the 270 Allen Magnum used to be the workhorse in my wildcat stable. The reason is because its so easy to load for, neck down a 7mm or 300 RUM case, load up a fireforming load and fire, out comes a 270 Allen Magnum fully formed case. When Wildcat Bullets went out of business and we lost the 169.5 gr ULD RBBT and the 195 gr ULD RBBT, the 270 Allen Magnum pretty much died off.
This new 168 gr Hammer could bring new life into my old warrior. This barrel had a 30" finish length. Now the Remington brass I was using has become quite soft, even more so in the past few years then before. As such, it simply will not take alot of pressure. Even with that, the 270 Allen Magnum was able to drive the 168 gr Hammer to 3380 fps. With the new Norma brass, we will see if we can get a bit more out of this old girl very soon. For testing bullet BC, I zeroed the rifle at 100 yards.
The first good news was that while this barrel was dusting conventional bullets, these new Hammers were drilling consistent 1/2 moa or smaller three shot groups at 100 yards. Zeroed at 100, this bullet needed 17.25 moa to be dead on at 1000 yards. Going off actual bullet drop, that comes out to a .620 BC, pretty darn good for a 270 bullet but again, the Hammer has its velocity advantage. It can be driven easily 100 fps faster then conventional lead core 270 bullets of same weight.
The Hammer bullets gave this old 270 Allen Magnum new life!!!
Since this time, Brian and Steve have gotten their web site up and running and offer many different bullet options from 243 cal up to 375 cal. They make bullets for conventional twist barrels as well as the longer more exotic bullets for the fast twist barrels.
Its very difficult to compare these bullets to conventional bullets. Yes, a conventional lead core bullet has the potential to have higher BC in the smaller calibers, but these bullets have a very good BC on average and then they bring the velocity potential that far exceeds anything a lead core bullet can offer. Then add to that these bullets simply shoot. In every rifle I have shot them in with appropriate twist rate for the bullets being fired, they all show at least 1/2 moa accuacy potential.
Then one needs to remember that you can easily get by with 20-30 grains less bullet weight compared to a conventional lead core bullet. For example, the 155 gr 7mm Hammer will far outpenetrate a 175 to 180 gr. conventional lead core cup jacketed bullet design on big game. If you want to recover a bullet, better shoot a big game animal lengthwise!!!
Soft tissue damage to vitals has been very impressive yet not excessive when used in barrels with appropriate twist rates. It is clear that there is plenty of expansion to transfer kenetic energy. The high penetration velocity only aids in this hydrostatic shock that we all hear about!!!
For someone wanting a bullet that will work extremely well from the muzzle to 1000 yards (easily well past this in the larger calibers), want a bullet that is very fast and also a bullet that will be able to survive any impact velocity, you really need to give these bullets a try. They are not cheap but in all honesty, they are very comparible to any premium bullet on the market today.
In the larger calibers, they have some truly special bullets that will produce impressive performance numbers. I have some very special projects in the works that they have agreed to help me with when I can get a chance to take a breath and do them. We are predicting these projects could possibly take us past the 4000 yard barrier with LEGIT, CONSISTENT precision. Not this stuff you see on line these days where a huge group of people put up four monster gongs at 4200 yards and shoot all day and then get lucky at the end of the day and have a single bullet accidentally land on one of the gongs.
No, we will be going for a combination that will offer at least consistent 2 moa performance at that range. More to come on that.
If you want to put a supercharger in your rifle, get ahold of Steve and Brian and see what they recommend for your application. From what I have seen, you will not be unhappy with the performance, ballistic or terminal!!! Plus, they are just great guys who love the outdoors, shooting, family and America. They get my full endorsement for their products!!!
Check them out at www.hammerbullets.com
ullets done by Kirby Allen on Facebook.