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Re: Hunting FMJs

15 Aug 2014
@ 05:53 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

That kind of takes us back to the beginning of this thread Jared. In your last post, you spoke about the bullet wanting to travel base first. As you know, we prevent this by spinning the bullet.

Over the years, I have found that once an FMJ bullet is stable, it will often produce straight line penetration. If it tumbles after hitting bone, the wound channel can be violent but more often than not, on raking shots, by the time the bullet loses stabilty, it has also lost energy as you alluded to earlier.

As for the .303 ammo. This was our national cartridge so to speak. Those of us who hunted during the hey day of the Enfield purchased our ammo in round drums or cloth bandoliers in clips, 50 per bandolier from memory. The same rules applied with the early tipped bullets. If the bullet did not hit something hard to upset it, it travelled straight through. If the bullet hit bone, it could destabilize and we would then see extremely wide wounds. But this ammo soon dried up, leaving us with the final Mk 7 load (full lead core) which we generally filled off or filed off and drilled. My notes on this are certainly not unique, this performance is or at least was common knowledge in new Zealand.

The new Sierra .311 SMK is much like the early paper tipped .303. The ogive has no lead whatsoever. Nevertheless, to obtain reliable fragmentation, the tiny HP needs to be opened up.

I have shot a lot of German ball ammo over the years. I never saw the results you quoted from the research you looked at. As you say, I may not have shot that particular load. I still suggest you maintain a level of caution with respect to the test data you quoted- even if there are photos. A good example of this can again be found at the beginning of this thread. I stated excellent results with Norinco .223 ammo in a slow twist rifle. The photo evidence was given to help explain what Eugene Stoner was trying to achieve. Marty came straight into this thread and stated abysmal results with the same ammo in what I am guessing was a 12 twist rifle. I fully trust Marty. All we can learn from this is that unless we go to great lengths to ensure the ammo is unstable, we cannot rely on FMJ ammo to produce wide wounding in a reliable manner. There are just too many ifs buts and maybes.

On a more somber note, military ball will often destabilize if it hits a soldier's webbing / equipment etc. This subject is not generally addressed as a function of wounding.

I hope that helps.


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