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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?

What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?

10 Mar 2023
@ 08:17 am (GMT)

Aaron Peterson

Hello all. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, and I apologize for that. This post will likely be pretty long as a result of me trying to get you all caught up on the situation.

I’ve been active in some other forums, some of which I probably need to just cut the cord and move on, yet something keeps me there with the feeling of I’m still helping at least some get better info through all the BS.

So anyway, as a bit of a disclaimer, I’m fully aware and agree with the mindset of monos and their limits and required considerations in regards to hunting applications, and more specifically long range hunting or any time impact velocities are on the lower end. Due to these limitations and the constant misinformation of lead toxicity, I have avoided monos for my personal uses, even though I’ve used them to see for myself.

All that said, I have a sprouting ammo making business and want to provide my customers with options, some of which may end up hunting in areas where lead is banned. I try to keep well informed of what’s out there and how things perform as well. I’ve been following along with companies like Hammer, Cutting Edge, Apex Outdoors, etc and they’ve kept my attention. One of those in particular has really managed to rub me the wrong way, and mostly due to at least one of the owners and even the customer base they seem to attract. I don’t really want to get into it too much, but I’ll tell you it’s not been great at all. I’ve seen many people turn away from them due to their behavior alone. Their bullet performance isn’t exactly great either, but they refuse to take any constructive criticism and they see it as an attack and a threat. It’s really quite ridiculous.

Trying to stay on topic here… these newer companies I mentioned above have been producing copper bullets with the principle design of shedding petals, rather than retaining them like a more traditional mono like Barnes, Hornady GMX/CX, Nosler E-tip, Maker, Badlands Precision, etc, etc.

This type of terminal behavior is similar to like the LeHigh Defense Controlled Chaos, where as they shed their petals, they shed weight. This helps transfer a ton of their energy into the animal in the form of hydraulic force. The shank that’s left behind has a caliber-size flat front that continues to push through the animal, typically exiting. That flat front experiences a lot less opposing force than a wide mushroomed bullet does, and then also produces a lot of perpendicular force vs what a more pointed or rounded shape would. It loses momentum at a lower rate than a traditional mushroomed bullet does, but it’s definitely far more effective at creating wide wounding than something like a FMJ.

It’s honestly not a terrible concept, and I believe it’s one of the better routes to take with a mono to achieve more reliable and sufficient wounding, if it does indeed work and is indeed reliable at doing so.

I’ve seen Hammers struggle with the reliability and consistency, and I truly think it’s due to the very small cavity they put in them, teamed up with the really soft copper alloy they use. Without any additional form of weakening the ogive and forcing the petals open, they can suffer from necking and then not opening at all. The result is a bullet that tumbles through the animal and the resulting wounding can be very unreliable and inconsistent.

So fast forward to about this time last year, when Apex Outdoors started releasing info about their upcoming bullets, called Afterburners. They’re an aluminum tipped mono hunting bullet, designed to shed its petals. Their cavity is much larger, has been broached, and there’s even a beveled edge at the mouth to allow the aluminum tip to force open the petals upon impact. They also feature a bore rider rather than multiple drive bands like Hammer and others use. While drive bands are great at reducing friction in the bore and allowing for more MV, they are terrible regarding the amount of drag they produce in flight and any increase in MV is very quickly lost in flight due to the increase in parasitic drag. A bore rider reduces bore friction and doesn’t increase parasitic drag in flight. Plus, being tipped also increases their aerodynamics and the result is a bullet that is way higher in BC than any Hammer or similar bullet. Needless to say, they grabbed my attention.

I reached out to the owner, Mark Dille, and we started some great back and forth communication and I learned a ton about his bullets and this type of design principle. He’s a wealth of knowledge and definitely a great guy to chat with. He’s night and day better than the guys at Hammer, I can tell you that.

So as soon as Mark’s bullets became available, I purchased some so that I could test them for myself during the upcoming whitetail deer season here in Missouri. I have that whole testing documented and can post it if anyone wants to see. I may do it anyways lol.

So long story short there, his bullets performed extremely well for me, albeit I didn’t get any long range shots in, so not as thorough of a test as I’d like, and as a result I haven’t made a final determination just yet, but I’m confident in them.

The point is, I do believe in the concept and I’m excited to see his new line coming out soon. I’m curious if anyone else here has any experience with Hammers, Apex Outdoors, Cutting Edge, etc and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I feel more confident that I can share my true feelings on this forum too without tiptoeing.

I’m not ready to switch to monos yet for my personal hunting, but I’ll definitely be looking into offering the Apex bullets to customers that need such a bullet.

Also, I just wanted to give a personal shout out to Nathan. I’ve definitely learned a ton from you and I owe my own success in my endeavors into bullet construction research, testing, and even teaching to you. Thank you, and your family for everything you’ve done not just for me, but for the whole hunting and shooting community worldwide.


10 Mar 2023
@ 09:08 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?
Hi Aaron, thanks for your kind words. If you can, try to hold off publishing any verdict until you do have long term experience with your new projectiles. The internet as you know is already clogged with short term results etc.

One thing I have been trying to get folk to understand, is that low speed limitations are not simply applicable to long range hunting. Weak, low energy cartridges are becoming popular, as are shorter barrels. By the same token, factory ammo speeds have not improved all that much in recent years while many hand loaders are not exactly willing to go the distance and find out what type of loads their rifles are capable of. Copper adds an additional problem (OAL's) to this mix. I therefore think that long range is really a side issue and that copper bullet makers (or testers) really need to develop a better understanding of the subject of humane killing well before looking at how to generate an income from bullet making.

The trouble is, most people just don't know what they are looking at, the modern man cannot understand what he sees in front of him as he has lost his ability to engage critical thinking. There is a big difference between some wanker from an ammo company looking at a computer screen vs someone tracking some poor wounded animal through the bush or over a ravine, then spending the next hour or so studying and photographing wounds, then repeating the whole process over and over again in order to determine true outcomes.

Do not take any data from spine shots.

Do not just look at 'good shots'. Put a great deal of focus into the bad shots (gut / liver etc) as these are what can be expected from seasonal hunters using common factory rifles (i.e. 2-3 MOA accuracy). To be good at researching, you have to put yourself in other peoples shoes and not pass things off as for example "its a good bullet if you hit the right spot - its not the manufacturers fault if people can't shoot". Well guess what, things don't always go perfectly in the field and not all rifles are as advertised on the stupid websites. So again, study the bad shots.

In any case, yes I think there is merit to what you are suggesting. Ideally, the bullet should shed a good portion of its weight for general deer hunting. Most of our traditional lead core bullets shed 50% weight. Everyone complained but the bullets actually worked. Hopefully you are on to a good thing with the bullets you are testing.

The key words here are fast and humane killing. All other matters must come second to this.

A bit garbled as I am on the go. Though some possible negative tones here, I hope there is something positive you pick through.
10 Mar 2023
@ 09:47 am (GMT)

Aaron Peterson

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?
Hey Nathan,

Thanks for the reply, and I definitely agree with pretty much everything you’ve said. I completely understand the points you’re making, and agree.

I definitely search for bullets that help you stack as many odds in your favor as possible to achieved desired results, and that would be a quick clean and humane kill. Crap definitely happens out here and you need a bullet that is as forgiving as possible to errors. You can’t count on being perfect, and no one is.

Lead core bullets such as TMKs, ELDMs, and even Bergers of the hybrid ogive variety continue to be my go-to and those that I recommend to others. They’re what have continually proved to be the most forgiving, most reliable, and most consistent in producing quick and clean humane kills, and at all distances.

Any yeah, I’ve seen a lot of spine shots that give the illusion of great results, but it’s just that- an illusion. That said, I also agree the bad needs to be considered with the good in order to give you a full picture.

There is definitely still a huge issue with many people have no clue how to properly comprehend what they see during a hunt. I’ve seen so many people post pictures and give descriptions of what they concluded that nowhere near matches up to the evidence they actually present. I’ve seen so much evidence of tumbling and spine shots that are described as something else. There are lots of examples out there that the result they got was due more to excellent shot placement than bullet performance alone. They don’t seem to understand this though, even when you try to explain it to them. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I’m just trying to show I’m on the same page, or at least in the same chapter as you.

I was only scratching the surface on so many things that deserve to be discussed in more detail with my initial post there. And I know I still have a lot to learn and that’s what I want to do.

Maybe I’ll just start a few different threads on different subjects that seem to be hot topics in other places to hopefully get some good discussions going. And the emphasis there is GOOD discussions, not pissing matches full of opinion and who’s more right. I’m not a pot stirrer.
12 Mar 2023
@ 10:08 am (GMT)

Paul Townlian

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?
Y'ello. A fellow Missouri boy here.

I agree with your sentiments of the group speak on other forums. While I am not a member on other groups (other than those involved more with archery or climbing/ambush methods for mobile hunting), I am a heavy reader and like to explore the anecdotal advice of others. The group speak, at least here in the states, in regards to calibers and more so bullet choice is disturbing to say the least. Huge reputable companies and personalities advocating copper outside of its effective velocity threshold. Hornady's own podcast can be tough to listen to at times. You see lots of old school hard rules of "1500f/lbs" of energy with zero knowledge or interest in bullet performance, short of others anecdotal advice and what the distributer markets on the box.

Hammer in particular is a weird one with the devotion. Its a regular Jonestown in some circles... Copper have a cult like following, many by choice and not legal coercion. As do ELDXs is seems. I myself have no experience with copper but its a subject I've done a lot of reading on since absorbing Nathan's work. I'm glad you are looking into ways to make copper better imitate the effectiveness of lead and not be all about weight retention.

Just curious, as a fellow Missouri guy, how many people look at you like you have two heads when you tell them you deer hunt with match bullets haha??? I tell people what I use and you'd think I told them their baby is ugly. Outside of a few individuals on long range forums, no one will even entertain the thought of a match bullet being used on game. However, when the 6.5cm made its splash on the hunting seen years ago people were singing the praises of the efficacy of the AMAX on elk at 700 yards! It was established common knowledge it seemed, and now no one draws the connection that the AMAX is the precursor to the ELDM and that those low velocity expansion advantageous can be utilized in other calibers. Its not some magic sauce exclusive to the 6.5.

I really like and have fantastic results with a short barreled, suppressed 308 in the timber. Match bullets at mpbr are par for the course. I really wish companies like Hornady would educate more people on media like their podcast on what these bullets are capable of when used within the correct parameters. I understand not advertising it on the box to avoid the dissatisfied low information buyer who pays no attention to such details as impact velocity and game weights, but something would be better than nothing, and Id think if someone were sitting through an hour long podcast they have enough interest in the subject to broach the subject of match bullets on game.

Food for thought, along the lines of what Nathan alluded to, perhaps try a short barreled rifle for your research to simulate low velocity strikes? Might be a more consistent way to gather data in the woods of Missouri without having to sit cattle and soybean fields in the hopes of getting a long range poke.

As a side note, Ive known a few people who use copper in 16in barrels and are determined to think, all that matters is an exit hole. They might as well be bow hunting with field point. Ive recommended match bullets, but the response is typically that "they're inhumane" and for "punching paper".

..but hey, maybe I'm a match bullet kool-aid drinker haha. Nathan makes a fine kool aid with a hearty serving of data, pictures, and predictably verifiable results one can try for themselves. I can't say the same for some other bullet types, like hammer. If the bullet didn't work, you did something wrong or made a bad shot. The bullet is infallible. By that logic all archery hunters should should just hunt with field points; shoot the deer in the heart and lungs each and every time. Dead is dead, simple as that...

Great topic!

13 Mar 2023
@ 08:48 am (GMT)

Howard Audsley

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?
How about the perspective of yet a third guy from Missouri? I see the copper vs. lead bullet as being a bit like the steel vs lead shot issue from years ago. Despite being far inferior to lead, steel was eventually mandated to the detriment of a lot of crippled ducks and geese that limped off to die a horrible death. Some of us quit hunting waterfowl over it.

So if your research into copper bullets is in anticipation of something of the sort, then good on you for getting ahead of the curve. But lacking a mandate, if you gave me the copper bullets, I probably would not use them.

Back to Missouri whitetails. We have a family heirloom rifle my dad bought 50 years ago. Standard out of the box Rem has now been used by 4 generations to make one shot kills on deer. None have ever been taken beyond 200 yards. For all that time, the rifle has been fed factory ammo. Standard issue Remington or Winchester ammo.

As the family has expanded, so has the number of rifles being used. One of those was a Mossberg Patriot youth gun in 243 Win. With ammo shelves bare, I offered to begin reloading for it. My first test loads missed the paper target entirely at 100 yards. Discovered it was shooting 10 inches to the right. That was how I found it and it had already killed 3 deer that way. Incredible. How was that possible? Those deer are often taken at archery range.

But sometimes they are not, and such was the case a few years back when a hunter made took an ill advised shot and wounded a very nice trophy buck at about 250 yards. Ill advised as the shooter didn't have the marksmanship skills to make such a shot from the position he was in. The buck made it to a property fence line, then left a blood trail a few hundred yards more before blood trail ended in heavy cover. So that trophy animal was lost. Worse, it caused a lot of heartburn with the neighbor who didn't like hearing about the wounded trophy deer or trespass onto his property to recover it. None of it a good situation.

So how to prevent such a thing again? Best solution is when a deer is shot, it drops where it stands. The BANG/FLOP. A combination of an accurate rifle and and right that is capable of doing the deed, then placed in hands of an accomplished shooter who can take advantage of the rifle's ability.

Which brings me to my final point. One of the best resources to pull all that together is TBR. Nathan's work. His goals ought to be the blueprint for the rest of the hunting world to follow. And out of all that, the one thing that caught my eye was his work on wound research, and in particular, the discussion of hydrostatic shock. If his claim that the cutoff point is approximately 2,600 fps......and I have no reason to doubt what he says is true..........there is a lesson there to be learned by the entire deer hunting world. Shot placement and what calibers and bullets are preferred, and what happens when you get outside that. Very enlightening.

So my goal for our hunters is to now make sure the guns they are using are going to have appropriate bullets traveling 2,,600 fps plus at impact, and that combined with proper shot placement ought to anchor them where they stand. Working to get all guns shooting 1 MOA or better, then working to make sure the guys on the trigger understand the ballistics goals and from a marksmanship perspective are capable of taking such a shot. And doing that under hunting conditions.

To circle back to OP's original question.........there are literally millions of hunters in eastern US that face same situation and conditions. There is a reason why millions of deer are taken each year with factory rifles pulled out of the box and shooting generic factory ammo. These are often no better than 2 to 3 MOA guns, but that is all they have to be to work. The most improvement will not come from a different bullet, it will come from improving the shooting skills of the masses.

13 Mar 2023
@ 09:07 am (GMT)

Howard Audsley

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos? appears I never finished my thoughts. The main point was the validity of Nathan's hydrostatic shock comments.

On the 243........those shots were mostly under 100 yards, so 100 grain soft point hunting bullets still cooking along at 2,900 fps, or so and most sent thru chest cavity, punching large holes in the lungs. If fit's Nathan's scenario for hydrostatic shock. Nervous system shuts down, they bleed out and die before they recover.

Long 250 yard shot.......bullet likely dropped below 2,600 fps, and either caught back half of lungs or liver.......did not go down.....left a blood trail, but still got away.

Have watched numerous you tube videos of guys using 6.5 creedmoors. As long as distance is close, bang/flop. Distance out where bullets running 2400 fps or so, and almost all deer will travel some distance before going down. Everywhere from a few yards to a hundred or more.

Posed the hydrostatic shock theory on some forums and got a bunch of smart ass comments from a bunch of arrogant pricks, but none every answered my questions.

Based on my limited anecdotal evidence, it holds water. Young relative came on last year. He is a decent shot with his 308, but had never shot a deer before. i asked what his aim point would be and he didn't have an answer. I suggested he go centerline of fore leg and halfway up........he is now 2 shots, 2 kils and both were under 100 yards and both were bang/flops.
13 Mar 2023
@ 10:52 am (GMT)

Aaron Peterson

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?
Thank you for the replies, my fellow Missourians! Unfortunately I don’t have the time needed for a full reply, so I’ll have to come back later, but I agree with you guys on most accounts. I’m fully onboard and agree with Nathan’s teachings. I have and have read all his books minus the Small Arms one, and I’d love to have a copy of it as well.

To clarify, I have an ammo manufacturing business that is barely even starting out right low, due to me wanting to first finish my current career first. In the meantime, I’m trying to prepare myself for the future. I have no intentions of pushing copper bullets for hunting and particularly for any customer hunting where lead has not been banned.

In an effort to not miss out on a particular market, I keep my eyes open for actual decent lead free bullets that I could offer my future customers. Our own local lead free bullet manufacturer, Dynamic Research Technologies, is my first choice. The Afterburners from Apex Outdoors haven’t attention as a potential second option. That has yet to be decided on though.

What I wanted to quiz Nathan and the rest of you on is any knowledge and wisdom you might have and be willing to share with such bullet designs.

I tried to give a brief background into why and how I got to this point. There’s definitely a lot more too it, and I regret I haven’t been active here during the last few years as this has unfolded.
14 Mar 2023
@ 03:51 am (GMT)

Howard Audsley

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?

Since you are getting into the ammo business, you would be a good source to answer a few questions. A loaded round being a combination of brass case, primer, powder and bullet.

What would be your source for the brass? Are you making your own or can you contract to have someone like Starline make them for you?

Same for the primers?

Have participated in some heated ammo debates during past couple years and among reloaders, general consensus is what is needed is one or more sources of primers. That being the one bottleneck nobody can get past. Get a primer plant up and going and you will make a lot of friends in a hurry.

14 Mar 2023
@ 06:58 am (GMT)

Aaron Peterson

Re: What are your thoughts and experiences with petal-shedding monos?

Since you are getting into the ammo business, you would be a good source to answer a few questions. A loaded round being a combination of brass case, primer, powder and bullet.

What would be your source for the brass? Are you making your own or can you contract to have someone like Starline make them for you?

Same for the primers?

Have participated in some heated ammo debates during past couple years and among reloaders, general consensus is what is needed is one or more sources of primers. That being the one bottleneck nobody can get past. Get a primer plant up and going and you will make a lot of friends in a hurry.

Yes, I’d source brass from manufacturers like Peterson, Starline, Lapua, etc.

I’d make bulk orders of primers from Federal, CCI, Winchester, etc

Making my own brass and/or primers would be such a high expense I’d never be profitable as a small business.

Even Hodgdon won’t build their own powder manufacturing facility due to the cost and liability to operate it. And if you don’t know, they don’t own a single powder manufacturing facility other than their Pyrodex faculty. They simply own labels, such as Hodgdon, IMR, Winchester, Accurate, etc. The St Marks facility in Florida is operated by General Dynamics and they make the Winchester labeled powders. All of the Hodgdon Extreme labels powders, plus IMR 8208 XBR, come from the ADI Thales plant in Australia. The list goes on.

There are only a few primer manufacturers as well. There is supposedly another in works in Texas, but I believe that will be a slower process than they realize and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t end up happening.

And yes, with current HUGE demands on the industry and reduction in workforce, shipping constraints, as well as obtaining raw materials, those companies that are currently making components and loaded ammo have simply not been able to keep up.

I’m glad I still have a full time income from my current day job, because there’s no way I’d be able to be profitable running an ammo company right now as my some income. That’s because there’s no way I could get the required components to keep up. Everyone is facing the same issues and unfortunately there’s no easy solution.


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