Terminal performance of bullets

RockyMtnMT

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I personally like a bullet that holds about 50% retention. I shot a ton on elk with these type bullets and I feel you get a quicker better kill than with a high retention. For what we hunt in US there really isn't a huge need for high retention bullets. Also price for high retention bullets is usually more.

That's my opinion but it just that. I don't think anyone can say one kills better than the other between high retention and fragmenting bullets. In different situations each has an advantage over the other.

If you are able to produce both types I think you should and let the market decide. I see a huge advantage if you have a load work up for your high retention bullets and a guys decides for a particular hunt wants more frangible type, you can just buy the other type and not have to work up another load. I think that would be a great option to have.

That is a great way of looking at it.

What should we name the two Hammer Hunter lines? Lets hear it. This could be fun. We'll see, may have to start a new thread to find good names.

Steve
 

RockyMtnMT

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We would really like more input on bullets that come undone vs bullets that have high weight retention. Please give your opinion and why.

Steve
 

scfam

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I am not sure how to grab a photo from another thread so maybe Roy will add his photo to this thread.

Roy tested the Hammer Hunter .375 395g bullet into his bullet catching media for testing terminal performance of bullets. The bullet split from nose to base into several large pieces. This is not my preferred terminal performance. It causes more damage than I like. We tested this type of bullet on a couple of deer last fall with 30cal bullets. They simply turned the chest cavity into soup. They cause more collateral damage than I like. I know a lot of people will really like this type of performance. So the conversation that we have been having is weather or not to have two lines of hunting bullet. One line that is higher weight retention roughly 80% with the nose shedding petals. The other where the bullet splits into three large pieces nose to base with a few smaller pieces. Our testing has shown the same thing that Roy encountered. The bullet splits into 30 large pieces and they stay on track with deep penetration and a combined large wound channel.

I would like to have the LRH forum member chime in on this and give their opinions. What type of bullet terminal performance do you prefer?

Right now I am fairly sure that we will do two lines. They would be identical in every way other than what they do on impact. There would be roughly a .5 grain difference in weight depending on the size of the bullet due to the density of the material. Both materials are completely lead free and more than 99% pure copper.

Thanks for your help.

Steve

I want all energy left in animal because I prefer to hunt with moderate calibers like .257, 6.5, .277, and .300. For deer, 50% retention works well. For elk, I'd rather keep it north of 70%. Nosler ballistic tips fit the bill for deer and antelope. Accubonds better for elk, and TTSX better for elk if I'm really on the light side with my rifle and need every inch of penetration I can get. I would never hit a deer with anything over 180 grains in any case, nor really do I find any need to do so with elk either. With a 375 on deer, I'd use a HIGH retention bullet so it exits the deer before destroying everything! Messy otherwise....
 

RockyMtnMT

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I want all energy left in animal because I prefer to hunt with moderate calibers like .257, 6.5, .277, and .300. For deer, 50% retention works well. For elk, I'd rather keep it north of 70%. Nosler ballistic tips fit the bill for deer and antelope. Accubonds better for elk, and TTSX better for elk if I'm really on the light side with my rifle and need every inch of penetration I can get. I would never hit a deer with anything over 180 grains in any case, nor really do I find any need to do so with elk either. With a 375 on deer, I'd use a HIGH retention bullet so it exits the deer before destroying everything! Messy otherwise....

Energy left in an animal is an age old discussion. It takes energy to cause a bullet to deform. What kills an animal is shutting off the central nervous system. This happens by causing the blood pressure to drop to a point that it can no longer function or by hitting it directly. Direct hit to the cns is low percentage. Hemorrhage is a higher percentage. Enough blood lost and consciousness can not be maintained. So for me the question is how to best cause that blood loss. Bullets cause blood loss by tearing vs say an arrow that cuts. Cuts bleed much faster that tears. So bullets need bigger tears. So the quest for a bullet is create a large permanent wound channel that doesn't close up behind the bullet in order to bleed freely. This can be done by a bullet coming a part and the pieces all causing their own wound channels. With most bullets the pieces that come off are quite small and lose momentum quickly. The Hammer bullets fragmentation is generally bigger and will carry momentum further. Our bullet design that is coming completely apart is generally breaking into three major pieces that carry momentum deep into the target. The first time this happened to us in testing we looked at it as a bad thing. We found that we can control it somewhat by changing the hollow pt. A lot of different dynamics at varying velocities. The little bit that we shot it into animals (2 deer) we thought it caused too much damage. My bullet quest started 25 years ago because I did not like the blood shot meat loss after good bullet placement. My preferred bullet design sheds the nose to the depth of the hollow point in a few large pieces, then the remaining ~80% squares on the front to displace matter perpendicular to the direction of travel through the animal. I want it to go all the way through. As the bullet slows down it causes less destruction. The slower it goes the smaller the wound channel.

The evolution of our design...

We started with an alloy and design that we thought was perfect. Working with annealing and such. Assumed that the low velocity was working as we designed it to. Figured out that annealing did not give the intended result, and our low velocity impacts were not good enough. The velocity floor was ~2500 fps. Not good. We hit the brakes on product launch. Started testing alloys to find what we wanted. Most important to find one that would function below 2000fps. The fragmenting Hammer bullet is what we settled on so that we could head for market. We felt that we would not be letting anyone down as they would definitely make animals dead and function well below 2000fps. At high vel they function as we wanted. So we stocked up on raw material for the various bullet sizes. Meanwhile we continued testing other alloys. We since found another alloy that functions as we prefer through the velocity range. We have more of the 'preferred' alloy coming to cover the range of bullet calibers. Takes months to get the raw material. We had pretty much figured that we would just phase from one alloy to another as there is no difference in ballistics other than terminal. Knowing that some guys would really like the explosive nature of the one alloy, we discussed two lines, and decided not to. So now Roy's testing has brought the discussion back. He was pretty excited about it, so we felt it worth forum discussion. I am not too sure that the demand for two lines would be enough to warrant keeping two different alloys on hand for manufacturing.

Keep the thoughts coming.....

Steve
 

can1010

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what is the lowest velocity that you have seen the bullet come apart at. if your bullet works the way you want at high velocity but comes apart at low velocity might be a good thing. we all have seen pictures of the gaping holes of close range high velocity impacts here even on entry. you never know where that animal will show up.
 

RockyMtnMT

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what is the lowest velocity that you have seen the bullet come apart at. if your bullet works the way you want at high velocity but comes apart at low velocity might be a good thing. we all have seen pictures of the gaping holes of close range high velocity impacts here even on entry. you never know where that animal will show up.

We got everything to work down to 1800fps. This is kind of an industry standard so we felt good about getting to that number. Did not try to find the lowest possible. Once we got them to work at 1800 we stopped. Did not seem worth the effort. Some were down closer to 1700fps, but we just used 1800fps as the standard. The only one we did not try was the .375 as we do not have a rifle capable of firing it. What we did find in testing was that the higher the sectional density the easier they opened. The .375 was designed for a future personal build, but it was so impressive that we had to add it to the lineup.

Steve
 

snox801

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I love the idea of two lines of bullets. For me it really depends on the size bullet. I found as bullet size gets smaller I like it to drive deeper. Many have found this while trying to use .223 and even 300 blk for pigs. That was my experience anyway I needed more depth. Now on larger calibers I want explosions cause with a large bullet it will by nature drive in farther cause of the extra weight. So if I nail a moose with my .375 and it explodes it would do sooo much damage it wouldn't matter. I also like to pick based on game. Deer I like a soft bullet pigs and African game I want a more solid because the fur is coarse and usually cover in mud makeing a solid a better choice.
 

Timber338

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Pretty cool that you can get two different types of terminal performance with just a change in alloy. I tend to agree with what snox801 - smaller bullets need to be a bit tougher. And also like Royinidaho, some reliable % of weight retention is a good thing. But that is what has worked for me with a lead bullet... solid copper is going to deform differently than copper/lead, and will likely have a different style of terminal performance.

I don't know if there is a perfect solution, but in my experience, the Accubond has been about as close to the best all around bullet that I have ever hunted with. It has always held on to at least 50% weight retention on the close shots, but still opens reliably on long shots. I'm not sure what the solution is with an all copper bullet, but I think we can all agree that Barnes bullets are too durable for long shots.

It's great that your Hammer bullets are bringing more innovation to bullet performance, and if you keep in touch with the customers, exactly like you're doing, you'll be able to adjust as the results come in over time. I really like the new ideas and solutions you guys are coming up with.
 

RockyMtnMT

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Roy is fixing to work with the big .338 shortly. That bullet we sent him is with the higher retention alloy. I am anxiously waiting for his result. It's funny, I know what our results are, but I can't wait to see if he gets the same thing. So far his tests have mirrored ours. That and I think he likes yanking my chain. I'm an easy mark.

Steve
 
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