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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Homogenous Copper versus New York Times

Homogenous Copper versus New York Times

31 May 2018
@ 09:06 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Hi all, just posting this so that if my words are changed in any way, the original response can be seen here, post dated.

Question:
Hi Nathan,
My name is ... I'm an reporter for The New York Times. I'm reaching out to you because I'm exploring the environmental effects of lead ammunition and I'm trying to get a better sense of the hunting community's feelings toward alternative ammo materials like copper. Specifically, I'm looking to learn the reasons a hunter might have for preferring lead ammunition over copper. Based on what I've gathered from reading your analysis of copper ammo on the Terminal Ballistics Knowledgebase, along with other comparisons of the two types of ammo, the hesitance to use copper seems to stem from these issues:

Some hunters fear switching to copper will mean sacrificing accuracy, since copper bullets must be made longer than their lead counterparts to compensate for their light weight, and longer bullets tend to be less stable in flight. Copper is also a harder metal that doesn’t fragment as easily as lead does, which some hunters say makes it less likely to inflict deadly damage.

Are you able to tell me whether my understanding is correct, and make me aware of any important points I might have missed? If possible, it would be great to have your emailed reply in the next few days.

Thanks, ....

Response:

Hi ..., sorry, I was very busy yesterday, my sincere apologies for this.

To begin with, the article I wrote online should provide you with clear and concise information. The photos and video provide evidence to back up claims.

Your questions do show some misunderstandings so I will address each in turn as succinctly as possible.

Regarding accuracy:

It is important to understand that mass production of affordable rifles poses accuracy limitations. Not all rifles are inherently accurate, in fact a major proportion of rifles are not. Add to this human error whether as a result of skill levels (e.g youths learning to shoot) or natural field errors (wind drift or animal moves just as the shot is taken) and it is very easy for the hunter to miss his mark. A proportion of rifles do not shoot a hard copper bullet with great accuracy, whether as a result of the twist rate (bullet length versus stability) or as a result of heavy copper fouling. The result of these errors combined with a poor bullet design is slow killing.

Regarding killing:

Your statement reads "which some hunters say makes it less likely to inflict deadly damage". The way you have angled this, is as if to say that you believe this is a matter of opinion. Please choose your words carefully. It is a fact that homogenous copper cannot produce wide wounding at low impact velocities in the same manner as a fragmenting bullet. Now understand this - the cartridges we are using are getting smaller each year. As people spend more time on computers and working in cities etc, they are no longer as physically strong as they once were. The rifles have become lighter to ease carry weight but along with this has come an interest in small, low powered, low recoiling cartridges. There are also states which only allow low velocity black powder cartridges to be used for certain hunting situations. In contrast to this, homogenous copper bullets work best when driven at high velocities and or when used out to moderate ranges only. When used in low powered cartridges and or out to extended ranges (e.g. mountain hunting), wounding can be narrow. Add to this the problems of rifle accuracy, human error and animal movement and the result is slow killing. Game may take hours or even days to expire from narrow wounding. Over penetration is also a concern (bullets passing through and striking other animals) as are ricochet events and also forest fires caused by the heat of deformed copper projectiles after striking hard materials.

Although you may believe that the major bullet makers have no concern for the environment, the truth is far from what some might have you imagine. The people who make the lead core projectiles have over many decades gone to great lengths to test the bullets in the field, continually improving killing performance, showing great concern for the animal hunted. These are men and women who love the land and have a deep respect for their heritage. When you hunt (whether as a bullet maker or regular hunter), one quickly develops a high level of empathy for game as the hunter is forced to confront his or her own mortality when claiming another life. The modern fragmenting lead core bullets have been optimized to produce extremely fast killing in the most ethical manner possible but most importantly - taking into account the realities of cartridge power, rifle error and human error.

However, one of my main concerns is that newer start up companies sometimes display a lack of long term field experience. The small companies making homogenous copper bullets sometimes make misleading claims and quite often use environmentally friendly' concepts to drive sales. When we buy into this type of marketing hype, everybody loses (perhaps with the exception of the growing bullet making company).

The true strengths of homogenous copper can be found when hunting very large bodied game or when hunting at close ranges to moderate ranges using very high velocity cartridges. Under these conditions, copper is able to produce both excellent wounding and deep penetration. Used in this manner, copper is immensely reliable.

It is simply a matter of understanding the strengths of Homogenous copper versus its limitations. By understanding its limitations, we put the animals first, not our opinions, or sales or environmental beliefs. Banning one type of bullet in favor of another without understanding the mechanics of wounding is simply unethical.

Given the choice, hunters believe that an animal should be treated respectfully, the life taken like a light switch flicking off rather than a lingering death. They feel that any animal suffering immense pain for hours or days is unethical and that the bullets designs should always address this as a primary focus.

It is also a myth that hunters fear change. Hunters actually embrace change to the point that they very much look forwards to the latest catalogues within the industry. Were it any other way, the gun and ammunition companies would fail abysmally at each new product launch. Hunters are keen to obtain any edge in the field and most especially with regards to ethical killing. So when hunters reject copper, it is inaccurate to blame the hunters as fearing change. What hunters fear, is causing unnecessary suffering to game.

Please be aware that during 2016, a non-lead fragmenting bullet design was put forwards to the state of California by an innovative bullet maker, but that his design was completely rejected. Since speaking to this bullet maker about this (and having tested his bullets on game), I no longer believe that the state of California has a true concern for game animal welfare. I now thoroughly believe that this subject has been used for political posturing. I also believe that hunters are now being treated with the same form of bigotry that was once assigned to native peoples. On the one hand, we are fine when watching a documentary showing a lioness hunting zebra and we are now finally OK visualizing indigenous people hunting in various locations. Yet on the other hand, any westerner that hunts is seen as primitive and un-evolved at all levels, whether emotionally, intellectually or based on current spiritual belief systems. Western environmentalists want to be closer to the land, yet exclude themselves from it as if any human with white skin is unnatural. This guilt based thinking simply drives us further form a true union with the land and our place within it.

I hope that helps to explain some of the major issues. Again, please use the online article to learn more about the mechanics of wounding and fast versus slow killing.

All the best.
Nathan.

Replies

31 May 2018
@ 09:09 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Guys, I don't want this to be another pro / con debate thread. I want you to see the politics for what they are and not waste your energy otherwise, getting tied up in knots.
31 May 2018
@ 10:04 am (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Well, I'm fascinated to see what comes of this.
Kudos for providing the reporter a full response. I hope they use it well.
31 May 2018
@ 10:06 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Message sent as of the time of this post.
31 May 2018
@ 10:07 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Thanks Joshua, kind of you to say. I did spend some time hovering over the delete button. Your words are comforting.
31 May 2018
@ 01:07 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Your response and back ground information is fantastic. You're spot on regarding the intentions of the State of California as well as other anti-hunters around the country.

Well done Nathan!
31 May 2018
@ 04:14 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Bravo Nathan.
31 May 2018
@ 11:06 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Very well written, Nathan.

It would be interesting to hear from our fellow members from the Eastern states on whether or not this request was perhaps as a result of an intended ban on lead projectiles in New York, etc.

It would not surprise me if, even after extensive research, the reporter's story was "edited" by his uppers as to content and context. Just because he may understand and accept the reality, does not mean that the owners/publishers will agree with his findings. Or they could just use CNN file stories for their "facts" and go with what they think the public should know.
01 Jun 2018
@ 11:38 am (GMT)

Luis Vazquez

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Very well said Sir, you explained it to her in a nice and respectful manner. Great job not letting her twist words around and explained it in detail not leaving room for error

I am curious to see what they publish in the end.

Beat regards

Luis
01 Jun 2018
@ 02:01 pm (GMT)

Jim Moseley

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Well done Nathan. Hope we get to see the final piece they print.

Jim
02 Jun 2018
@ 01:53 am (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Well stated Nathan. It will be interesting to see the information they come up with from those concerned with unintentional "collateral" lead poisoning of scavengers. Given all the other stupidity happening in the world I wouldn't be surprised if this story gets buried.
05 Jun 2018
@ 06:45 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Just an update. Since sending that email, I have not received any reply, no ackowledgement. Make of that what you will.
05 Jun 2018
@ 09:24 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
A brief survey of their historical articles on the subject would suggest the answer you gave wasn't the one they were hoping for haha.
07 Jun 2018
@ 10:46 am (GMT)

Alvaro Piqueras

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
I opened the thread thinking “here goes Nathan shooting wet newspapers again”

LOL

Apart from that, well written (as usual)!
07 Jun 2018
@ 11:40 pm (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Quote:
Just an update. Since sending that email, I have not received any reply, no ackowledgement. Make of that what you will.


This is likely a story that will show up sometime when they have space to fill - a more feature-like piece and not hard news. Its a good sign that it hasn't shown up yet. It may mean that they are digging deep and trying to get both sides. As a journalism student in the old days I learned not to judge media too harshly until the story came out. Even then its important to try and see both sides despite what you may believe going into it. Almost every story has at least two sides, often more.
08 Jun 2018
@ 05:52 pm (GMT)

Simon Crowther

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
This is an interesting topic, particularly as it inviolves the New York Times.

One of Barack Obama's last acts before he left office, was to confiscate large areas of publicland in the US. This is very much in line with United Nations Agenda 21.

Unfortunately UN Agenda 21, now 2030 is not a conspiracy theory as many Kiwis believe it is an actual UN framework. They pretend it doesn't matter because it is voloutary, but it is a blueprint that is steasily coming together.

New Zealand is very heavilly subscribed to Agenda 21, see here:

http://www.wakeupkiwi.com/agenda-21-new-zealand.shtml

Most Kiwis that I have spoken to about this think I'm mad, well don't say I didn't warn you.

One of the implications of Agenda 21 is to disenfranchise the population from rural areas and get them living in cities, the land will be confiscated, slowly and incrementally.

They'll just keep 1080ing, introduce more and more legislation, making it harder and harder to hunt and own firearms, until we all give up.

If you don't take steps to recognise the problem and confront the government, you will lose the magnificenbt public hunting and wikderness spaces that we're so lucky to have here in New Zealand.

Call me mad if you will but Labour, National or any other party, I trust them not one iota.

04 Aug 2018
@ 05:05 am (GMT)

Aaron Peterson

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Excellent write up Nathan, as usual. I applaud your efforts. Too bad it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
01 Dec 2018
@ 04:05 am (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Just ran across this and thought I'd share. Nathan - is this the guy from the NY Times that spoke with you?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/24/reader-center/vegetarian-hunting-ammunition-lead-bullets.html

Pretty even handed piece on hunting I thought, though not nearly enough info on the copper vs. lead debate. If you are bored and really want to be entertained read the "comments" section. A couple of the commentators hit the issues with copper pretty well. Many of the commentators seem to be living in an alternate universe, which they probably do I guess.
01 Dec 2018
@ 06:51 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Hi Mark, yes that was the reporter.
01 Dec 2018
@ 06:53 am (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Another version of the article - this one deals with the lead vs copper issue but it doesn't dive into the differences in performance. Its too bad they didn't include that aspect if for no other reason than to help inform hunters that they need to speed it up and get closer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/24/us/ammunition-lead-bullets-condors.html

The Barness TTSX chalked up another one shot bang flop whitetail buck for me this year, but it was only 75 yards away - just the way I like them :)
01 Dec 2018
@ 02:10 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
These articles are based on premises that the author takes as factual and settled, which are anything but. I especially love the "fragments in the milk jug" test and the "x-rays of game". Taken by who? What study? Any controls? Any evidence that lead projectiles have lead to the decline of condors?

There are effective lead-free projectiles on the market, but they're not solid copper. And most folks are not interested in them. It's about brand loyalty and nothing else.
05 Dec 2018
@ 03:28 am (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
Hi Lane -

I started thinking a little more about those claims of condor mortality and did what I should have done in the beginning (and what the reporter probably did) - I Googled it. Here is a link to the 5 year review of the Condor Recovery Program published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013.

https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Region_8/NWRS/Zone_1/Hopper_Mountain_Complex/Hopper_Mountain/Sections/News/News_Items/PDFs/_California%20Condor%20Five%20Year%20Review_2013%20Final%20Published.pdf

Interesting, if a little thick. Your info can be found on page 19. Looks like they have been taking it in the shorts with lead - particularly in Arizona. Being humans, we can (and will) interpret this info with whatever bias we want to put on it. But there are the numbers.
05 Dec 2018
@ 03:39 am (GMT)

mark korte

Re: Homogenous Copper versus New York Times
There is a much more in depth discussion of this on pages 26 thru 30 of the link supplied above.
 

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