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Thread: Marketing Spin, Hype and Bullet Myths

  1. #1

    Default Marketing Spin, Hype and Bullet Myths

    Since the topic came up on cajun53's bullet construction thread, and I don't want to get off topic on that one, I thought maybe we could have a discussion about what is marketing hype and fact from the bullet manufacturers. Since marketing in the US also includes comparing the benefits of your product v. the failings of the competition I was wondering how many of the "failings" are consistent failures in brands that have been around for years and are still thriving brands. How much of the marketing spin or even hunter expectations that have been created by long deceased gun writers? For example, Elmer Keith criticized the Partition for sometimes shedding its nose. If my now rapidly failing memory serves me right, when I was a kid Nosler showed pictures of mushroomed partitions in their some of their advertising. It was at least implied that the Partition would hold together and make a perfect mushroom unless it hit bone at close range. Today the advertising shows the front half gone and a peeled back jacket. I believe it was Big Al that made a recent post about how the new Partition is more accurate but doesn't have the same terminal performance as the old ones made on screw machines. How much of the current advertising by Nosler is a continuing response to Keith's criticism and how much is because the manufacturing change had an unintended consequence that had to be spun into a virtue? Or, is all of this just myth? How about anything less than 90 - 100% weight retention being a failure? Is there really an all purpose bullet, and if there is why does every big manufacturer (don't include smaller manufacturers like Northfork that have one basic design that is modified for bullet weight and velocity windows) offer a variety of bullet designs and styles? Do X series bullets have a high failure to expand rate or is the small (compared to say a Woodleigh) frontal diameter of a fully expanded X design mistaken for lack of expansion, considering the number of people who claim nonexpansion on bullets that passed through and were lost to the countryside? I'm not asking about the virtues of complete pass throughs v. expending all the energy in the animal. That's a separate topic. I'm interested in how the marketing compares to field experience, and rumors and urban myths that abound about different bullets. I'm curious about what your opinions are about this. BTW what exactly constitutes a bullet failure with a Partition, the base tumbling and losing it's rear core in a dead animal? How would you know if the animal didn't die?

  2. #2

    Default

    WOW!!!! If you don't mind I will just shoot my Woodleigh, TSX, A-Frame, and TBBC and Partitions and just keep killing everything I shoot with them. They all work are we would not be shooting them. Wish I hadn't got so excited about my 180gr load in my 300WBY, of course I was just as excited about my 240gr load also as I was about my 225gr TBBC in my 35 whelen, and my 220gr A-Frame load, you all know what I mean, DON'T YOU??????????
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
    THE MIND OF A SCHOLAR
    THE HEART OF A CHILD
    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  3. #3
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default bullet hype

    Hmmm this is kinda like the campfire arguments and long winded discussions from 50 years ago about the 270 vs the 30-06 You've posed a multi-faceted question with comments but...

    I used to have and shot some of the old, turned Partitions. They were simply not as accurate in anything I tried as the more recently made Partitions. What's the point of shooting an inaccurate bullet no matter how well it holds together? BTW that change in process of the Partition bullet was made a long time ago! I've seen bullet failures or unpredictable performance from a few types- specifically: any number of hollow points, the Nosler Solid Base and its more current reincarnation the Ballistic Tip, the conventional Hornady taper jacketed "hunting bullet". I've seen bullets over-penetrate. Can't have it both ways on disabling injury that will kill quickly no matter the energy the bullet carries through the air at common rifle velocities. I've seen heavy 500 gr solids, that are the ultimate in penetration, pass thru very large tough animals, cause very limited injury and deposit a large percentage of their energy on the dirt beyond. But there were for sure two holes.... OhhhK. Was that bullet failure? Sure didn't kill very effectively! But had feet if not yards of penetration! Can't have it both ways.

    Also- some related hype, common lingo terms still being thrown around as gospel that bug include- this, that or the other animal "dropped", was "knocked down" or was "dumped" or in describing a long shooter- "reach out and touch"! OK sounds good to the uninformed or inexperienced but have little base in reality. Seems like hype to me.

    A cartridge-bullet example more to the core of the current question: if two 30 cal, 180 gr bullets, one of a number of premium taper jacketed or thick jacketed or bonded or partition types and the other an X type, are shot out of two different guns at vastly different velocities. Which will kill more quickly or better at any given range?? Current hype says the one that is tougher built and penetrates better will kill better. That may or may not be depending upon target. The 180 grain taper jacketed, bonded, thick jacketed or partition out of the muzzle at 2700 fps hits the target carrying 2500 ft lbs of energy and sheds all or nearly all the energy within the animal and the 180 grain X out of the muzzle at 3100 fps hits the target carrying 3300 ft lbs of energy but only deposits 2500 ft lbs within the target (the remaining 800 ft lbs is shed on air or dirt beyond). Which one is better? I certainly don't know. I think the energy deposited will have something to do with the size of the wound channel. If both bullets hit only soft or low density tissue the X may shed far less energy in the target than in the previous example- let's say it only sheds 1500 ft lbs energy in the target- would it still be superior? I don't think so but may have more margin for error for all targets at all ranges considering penetration but then again so would a round-nosed, tungsten core solid.

    BTW the above example is a comparison between published 30-06 and 300 Win Mag velocity and energy data at muzzle and impact at 100 yds- it was not pulled out of thin air. The energy shed numbers are guesses based on a lot of examinations of bullet wound channels and sources indicating estimated bullet pass-through velocities. However, a bullet carrying 2500 ft lbs of energy that does not pass through will deposit 2500 ft lbs of energy in the target- that's a given.

  4. #4

    Default What's the difference

    Since I live & hunt on the "dark Continent" but cannot afford to hunt dangerous game, charge stoppers don't really feature in my world.

    But, due to gun control laws & BS, I am limited to 1 hunting rifle, hence I thaught a 300 WM would be the most versatile i.e. can load up light weight screamers for long range spingbok or shove 220gr at meaninful velocities that are flat shooting enough to remain versatile out to 200m.

    However, push those 220gr to fast and they will come apart & at close range, meat damage is a real problem.

    So I have decided that a 220gr @ 2660fps would be a good balance. Max point blank range is 200m when zeroed @ 150m i.e. does not "deviate" more than 3" above or below LoS out to 200m.

    Meat damage would be acceptable at close range (in theory) & a half decent bullet should hold together (still not decided on the bullet type)

    Anyway, after all this theorising, I compared the trajectory of the 30-06 220gr @ 2410fps & the 300 WM 220gr @ 2660 fps and the difference in Max point blank range negligable, approx 200m.

    So why bother with premium bullets, higher velocity and more recoil. I should just load my 300 WM to 30-06 velocities and be done - no difference.

    OR HAVE I SERIOUSLY MISSED SOMTHING HERE???

    I would be interested in a different take on the issue & suggestions on 220gr bullet type for max 300 WM velocity.

    P.S. I have been using the original 200gr X bullets @ 2750 fps with no complaints , however it's a bit like using artilary on the smaller stuff, but hey it works. Also never recovered a bullet yet.

    Meat damage is a little excesive close up - this again suggests 220gr @ 30-06 velocities i.e. hevier & slower = less meat damage.

    Any thaughts???

  5. #5

    Wink bullet hype

    Howdy BT: My primary experience has been with Zipedo (great in the 22-250) for hunting antelope, deer & elk. I've used a lot of Speer Hot Cors, Noslers, Sierra Game Kings, and Barnes X and they all lived up to the hype and performed well. For the last 20 years, I've used Barnes X exclusively for big game hunting, and couldn't be more satisfied with their performance. I've had no failures, nor have I seen any from my friends or customers...and I shoot them at fairly high speeds. Years ago, I had some failures, but they were primarily due to my ignorance...using the wrong bullet for the task at hand with improper velocities (usually to high). Yeh, I was a speed freak then...if I couldn't wear a barrel out in 500-1000 rounds, then I considered them underloaded (does this ring a bell for some of you?) Ciao.
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

  6. #6
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    Everything is a trade off, and you first need to figure out what your appication is to decide what type of bullet to use. Asside from solids for use on thick skinned dangerous game, here is where I see the application of various bullets.

    If the impact velocity is 2000 fps or less, a cast bullet with a large meplat works very well, and there is no worry about lack of expansion.

    With impact velocities of 1800-2400 fps, the conventional cup/core bullets perform reliably, you can expand that velocity range from 1700-2700 fps, but on the upward end you might have problems with excessive expansion and insufficient penetration. Even though the nosler partition is considered a controlled expansion "premium" bullet, I'd still use it for this velocity window, I'd just consider it perhaps the best bullet for this use.

    If you're launching bullets at 3000 fps or more, you really need a "premium" bullet, ie a bonded core or expanding mono-metal aka X bullet. The more lightly constructed bullets simply can't be relied upon for such extreme impact velocities. Conversly, I want these bullets going at least 2000 fps when they hit.

    So not necessarily hype, one simply has to match their bullet to their application. I'd consider a conventional 30-30 170 gr sp as a poor choice in a 300 RUM, just as I'd consider a 180 gr X bullet a poor choice in a 30-30.

  7. #7
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    Default how solids are used

    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post

    I've seen heavy 500 gr solids, that are the ultimate in penetration, pass thru very large tough animals, cause very limited injury and deposit a large percentage of their energy on the dirt beyond. But there were for sure two holes.... OhhhK. Was that bullet failure? Sure didn't kill very effectively! But had feet if not yards of penetration! Can't have it both ways.
    Ummmmm, thats not how solids work.

    You are actually supposed to hit something in the CNS or drive mechanics with a solid and not just poke holes in stuff and say they failed.

    Hitting a hip/leg/shoulder bone that breaks down the movement of an animal or spine, brain or heart... even if it is on the far side from you(hence the need for penetration) is the design and proper application of a solid.

    When a solid fails to hit bone or heart or spine or any CNS function, yet had energy to pass out of the animal and into the dirt, it is the hunter who failed!!!, .....and I say BRAVO!!! to the people who made that fine bullet, and can I have a case of them?!

    jedi

  8. #8
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    Default works for me.

    Not in any particular order Speer, Hornady, and Sierra.Loaded and hunted with all of them for the past hum to many years. THEY ALL WORK. Thats my nickles worth.

  9. #9

    Default

    I have been struggling with this myself. Recently, I shot a load using speers that will group sub-moa. I recently tried some barnes TSX that dont group with a d***, so do I hunt with the speers? In my book, I will hunt with what is most accurate in my rifle, and meets the qualifications for the game. People have been harvesting game for years without the "modern" bullets. I figure I can as well.

  10. #10

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    I agree. I suspect that most "bullet failures" are ego covers for marksmanship failures. Shoot well, and I bet most any bullet fired within spec velocity is going to do the job.

  11. #11
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    So long as you're not pushing the speers too fast, they will work fine. If you are pushing them over 3000 fps, and you take a shot up close, you might not like the results.

  12. #12

    Default

    Paul

    Regarding the Speers. The "marketed" benefit of the hot core construction is bullet improved bullet integrity by preventing oxidation of the core,which can result in the core slipping and separating from the jacket. The Hornady manual states that an added benefit of bonding a core with heat is that it anneals the jacket so it opens up more reliably. Now, some bullets with soft copper jackets are known for high weight retention and large mushrooms because, as I understand it, the soft jacket doesn't fragment and the expansion rates of the jacket peeling back and the lead flattening to create the mushroom are better matched. My question is, could Vernon Speer have made the assumption that oxidation caused core slippage and found a partial solution to the problem of separation, but misinterpreted the reason why his solution worked so well? What do you think?

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    Default hawk bullets

    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer55 View Post
    Paul
    Now, some bullets with soft copper jackets are known for high weight retention and large mushrooms because, as I understand it, the soft jacket doesn't fragment and the expansion rates of the jacket peeling back and the lead flattening to create the mushroom are better matched.
    hawk bullets

    http://www.hawkbullets.com/maintest.htm

    jedi

  14. #14
    New member George's Avatar
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    Smile Solids?

    Quote Originally Posted by jedi rifleman View Post
    Ummmmm, thats not how solids work.

    You are actually supposed to hit something in the CNS or drive mechanics with a solid and not just poke holes in stuff and say they failed.

    Hitting a hip/leg/shoulder bone that breaks down the movement of an animal or spine, brain or heart... even if it is on the far side from you(hence the need for penetration) is the design and proper application of a solid.

    When a solid fails to hit bone or heart or spine or any CNS function, yet had energy to pass out of the animal and into the dirt, it is the hunter who failed!!!, .....and I say BRAVO!!! to the people who made that fine bullet, and can I have a case of them?!

    jedi
    OHHHK, Then I guess those who use solids for things other than elephant head/brain shots are supposed to target only major skeletal parts? UHHH sounds good on paper or banter but... from a practical standpoint I'm not so sure. BTW... I don't shoot solids but have witnessed results of those who have... like on big bears. I think the largest major skeletal part of a bear is probably the pelvis And no, the implication was not bullet failure but choice-of-bullet failure

  15. #15
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    Default

    To me the word "premium" bullet means; predictable, reliable, consistant, controlled expansion.

    Some are and should be more controlled than others.

    What makes them premium and justifies the price is what is done in design or manufacture or the type of material used to bring about the above performance when used in the field.

    What makes them failures is that they are marketed as a bullet for all occasions and uses and they are actually for specific uses and velocity ranges.

    Some are of similar design with different material used, other completely different design with the same material and some add something extra like bonding, alloyed core or tapered jackets to keep the performance where it should be.

    "Special techniques" of construction are used by different companies. Fusion bonding is forming the core then swaging into a jacket in a die for final shape with a solder flux in the jacket, then heated to melt the flux to solder core to the jacket. This flux reduces the oxidation between jacket and core helps the bonding process. This soldering of the core also heats the copper jacket, and through cooling of the jacket it can make it softer or harder depending on alloy, the temperature and rate of cooling. A Woodleigh has a tougher jacket with a softer core, the Kodiak has a softer jacket with a harder core.

    These brands are of similar construction with variations from "softest to toughest".

    The Hawk....pure lead core with soft annealled copper non-tapered jacket. Conventional cup and core design with carefully selected non-alloyed lead and copper. Different jacket thickness can be ordered for specific application. Very high weight retention for a typical "mushroom " expansion. Great quality control but has velocity limitations. Best in the 1600-2400 fps range.

    Woodleigh...pure lead core with non-tapered gilding metal (copper/zinc alloy)jacket, fusion bonded to the core. Different jacket thickness varried with application. (same diameter different use/velocity). Conventional design with jacket selection and bonding to control amount of expansion. Very high weight retention. Heavier caliber have thicker jackets and are tougher bullets. Velocity range 1800-2600 fps.

    Kodiak.....lead alloy core with gilding metal tapered jackets, fusion bonded to the core. The bonding process also anneals the jacket and makes it softer, more malleable. Typical "mushroom" expansion. Very high weight retention. Velocity range 1800 to 2800 fps.

    Grand Slam....lead tri-alloy core (hard) in tapered gilding metal jacket with scored nose and thicker shank, hot poured cores to hold jacket and core together. Tough bullet but narrow velocity range for best performance. Lower weight retention but high wounding capability within velocity limitations. Velocity range 2200-2900 fps.

    Next we'll try dual core bullets then monolithic bullets.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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