Hollow point bullets

Why no hollow-point bullets for big game?


Q: There are plenty of hollow-point bullets available for varmints, but very few are available in calibres and weights for use on big game. What is the reason for this?

– Ron Perkins

A: Jacketed hollow-point bullets designed for varmint hunting perform very well for their intended purpose, which is explosive expansion when little resistance is encountered.

Most of the ones I have used, however, were more inclined to ricochet when striking the ground at long range where impact velocity had dropped off. Soft-point bullets with lead core exposed at the nose are less likely to do this.

Bullets intended for big game must have a thicker jacket in order to control expansion. Bullet makers have found it difficult to design a hollow-point that will expand to a larger frontal area at reduced impact velocities. 

If the jacket is too thick, the hollow nose will collapse inward and prevent the bullet from expanding.

If the jacket is too thin, the bullet will expand too readily and lack penetration on game.

This is why controlled-expansion bullets with part of the lead core exposed at the nose, and bullets which have tapered jackets and plastic tips to initiate expansion have proved so successful. 

All-copper monolithic bullets like the Barnes X-Bullet, Hornady GMX and Nosler E-Tip are exceptions because the walls of their nose cavities can be made quite thin for low-velocity expansion without seriously affecting weight retention.


Like it? Share with your friends!

What's Your Reaction?

super super
6
super
fail fail
17
fail
fun fun
15
fun
bad bad
12
bad
hate hate
10
hate
lol lol
8
lol
love love
8
love
omg omg
2
omg
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.

0 Comments

Send this to a friend