The Partition Gold Puzzle


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Q: It would appear that Nosler dropped the Partition Gold bullet in favour of the original Partition bullet. Or did they? I know you had no use for the latter, and enjoyed great success on game with the Partition Gold. What’s your take on this?

– Dave Jordan

A: The Partition Gold was a redesigned version of the original Nosler Partition from Combined Technology – a joint venture between Nosler and Winchester that offered optimum expansion, weight retention and deeper penetration on big game. You are right: in direct contrast to the poor performance I had with the original Partition, the Partition Gold gave outstanding performance on game.

The major design differences were that the Gold version had a special moly coating baked on at high temperature, and the partition was moved further forward, which positioned a higher percentage of mass behind the jacket partition. This resulted in higher retained weight during expansion and deeper penetration. Also, it was common for the original bullet to shed the front end and lose 40 percent of its weight, which limited penetration. Thickening the jacket of the new bullet just forward of the partition resulted in retention of the front core and around 20 percent more weight than the original bullet – 80 against 60 percent.

They also folded over slightly more of the jacket at the rear and lined the rear cavity of the jacket with a single-layer steel insert to prevent the jacket rupturing and shedding its rear core.

These changes made the Partition Gold a much tougher bullet than the original Partition. I found that the Partition Gold held together at much higher impact velocities (up to 3400fps in my .270 Weatherby) which made it a top choice for magnum rifles. I was disappointed when Nosler announced they were dropping the Partition Gold, but it provided me with food for thought. It would make good sense if Nosler dropped the original and replaced it with the improved Partition Gold. If they did so, they made the transfer without any fuss or bother or fanfare of trumpets. I wonder!


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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