Copper disappointment..

Marble

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I live in California and I am required to shoot copper. I would prefer not to. We have killed lots of animals with the copper bullets. They have performed okay. I use them in a couple 7-08 rifles and a few .243s.

Last night my buddy, shooting a 30-06 using Hornaday ammo (unknown grain, but it was lead), made a bad shot on a buck. He basically went in the last rib on the right side and into the left hind quarter (gut shot). I told him to give the buck a bit, which he thought was 5 minutes, before he decided to go check it. I tried to express my opinion but he wanted to go check. We didnt see it go down.

Long story short, the buck was not dead. It got up and I had to go find it. I found it bedded down 30 minutes later at 45 yards looking at me, put a bullet 3 ribs behind shoulder. Bullet stopped at the skin under the back strap on the far side. Probably traveled 15 to 20 inches through the deer.

When we started skinning the deer out, his bullet was at the surface of the meat. Very nicely mushroomed. We got down to where mine was and my bullet was at the surface also. Not nicely mushroomed. No expansion at all.

Needless to say I was disappointed in the expansion of the copper bullet. It did break a rib on entrance and the entrance hole was rather large. So large I thought it was an exit. Maybe 2 inches. Exit the size of the bullet.

The copper bullet is a 140 grain TTSX with a muzzle velocity of 2800.
87a7b4bb8e3f8dc4cde420e77f5bf57e.jpg


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jhm2023

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That bullet looks like it did not enter the animal straight on which would explain the large entrance, bent over tip and no expansion. I'm guessing you hit something before the animal or the bullet wasn't stabilized properly. If it would have entered straight on and not expanded like that, you wouldn't have found it inside the animal. I'm pretty confident it yawed before impact for one of the reasons I mentioned above and then was tumbling inside the animal. That's my .02 anyway.
 

ljalberta

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Something seems for sure off. If that was the extent of the bullet expansion, I would have expected it to pencil right out the other side at 45 yards.

I have seen reports of this happening at lower velocities though.
 

OXN939

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I'm pretty confident it yawed before impact

+1. I had a Nosler Parition do this exact thing on a whitetail one time. Bullet looked very similar to OP's and entrance wound was elongated and about the length of the projectile.
 

AKDoc

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That bullet looks like it did not enter the animal straight on which would explain the large entrance, bent over tip and no expansion. I'm guessing you hit something before the animal or the bullet wasn't stabilized properly. If it would have entered straight on and not expanded like that, you wouldn't have found it inside the animal. I'm pretty confident it yawed before impact for one of the reasons I mentioned above and then was tumbling inside the animal. That's my .02 anyway.
^^^^^^I think he is correct^^^^^^.

I've hand-loaded and hunted with Barnes TSX's and TTSX's for over a decade, and they have always performed perfectly.

Below is a 270grn TSX from a 375H&H that I recovered from a bull moose last week:
IMG_6603.jpeg
 

RadDad

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That bullet looks like it did not enter the animal straight on which would explain the large entrance, bent over tip and no expansion. I'm guessing you hit something before the animal or the bullet wasn't stabilized properly. If it would have entered straight on and not expanded like that, you wouldn't have found it inside the animal. I'm pretty confident it yawed before impact for one of the reasons I mentioned above and then was tumbling inside the animal. That's my .02 anyway.
I have a stupid question… What else can make a bullet not stabilize correctly/tumble other than hitting an object before the animal? Is that like if the twist rate of the barrel isn’t fast enough? I’ve heard that needs to be a consideration when using cooper ammo. Only asking because I’m also in CA and want to start loading my own ammo. Want to make sure this doesn’t happen to me!

- RadDad
 

jhm2023

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I have a stupid question… What else can make a bullet not stabilize correctly/tumble other than hitting an object before the animal? Is that like if the twist rate of the barrel isn’t fast enough? I’ve heard that needs to be a consideration when using cooper ammo. Only asking because I’m also in CA and want to start loading my own ammo. Want to make sure this doesn’t happen to me!

- RadDad
Yes, too slow of a twist rate can cause the similar issues. Projectile length has a big effect on the SG (gyroscopic stability) and some also forget that a twist rate that may stabilize a particular bullet in the air may not be enough to keep the bullet pointed nose forward inside of an animal which can cause less than desirable effects in terms of bullet function. I like to use the JBM stability calculator when choosing a bullet for a rifle and try to achieve an SG of 1.5 or better.
 

MattB

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Yes, too slow of a twist rate can cause the similar issues. Projectile length has a big effect on the SG (gyroscopic stability) and some also forget that a twist rate that may stabilize a particular bullet in the air may not be enough to keep the bullet pointed nose forward inside of an animal which can cause less than desirable effects in terms of bullet function. I like to use the JBM stability calculator when choosing a bullet for a rifle and try to achieve an SG of 1.5 or better.
I think this is an important point to note - just because the bullet is stable in flight doesn't mean it will remain stable after impact. Having researched Hammer bullets quite a bit, it seems that post-impact stability can be an issue with marginal spin rates.
 

HuntHarder

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Interested to know the specifics of your rifle? I had the opposite experience this year. Had to use a buddies gun on a moose hunt (long story) and he shoots 180 gr barnes. I hammered a moose at 50 yards and he was DRT. Found the bullet in opposite hide and the expansion was phenominal. Actually made me want to start reloading barnes again.
 

Macintosh

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Am I understanding correctly that the pictured bullet is a 140 grain 30caliber ttsx? Or is it a hornady bullet, gmx or their new solid? I ask because the unexpanded bullet pictured above has 4 grooves and looks quite long to me for 140gr, I’ve got two 168gr ttsx from factory barnes 30-06–hard to see in the photo but I am fairly certain these only had 3 grooves. I know various weight barnes bullets are designed to expand at different velocities—obviously 2800fps ahould be fine but wondering if this could influence it somewhat. Can you confirm exactly which bullet that is?
 

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def90

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Am I understanding correctly that the pictured bullet is a 140 grain 30caliber ttsx? Or is it a hornady bullet, gmx or their new solid? I ask because the unexpanded bullet pictured above has 4 grooves and looks quite long to me for 140gr, I’ve got two 168gr ttsx from factory barnes 30-06–hard to see in the photo but I am fairly certain these only had 3 grooves. I know various weight barnes bullets are designed to expand at different velocities—obviously 2800fps ahould be fine but wondering if this could influence it somewhat. Can you confirm exactly which bullet that is?

This shows 4 rings/grooves..

 

Macintosh

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True, but its also theoretically a 7mm bullet in the link you posted, not .30. Barnes image for websites is likely the same image for different bullets as well, ie they likely dont take separate images for every single combination of caliber/weight. I’d still like to confirm which bullet this is—I now see the op mentioned the cartridge the lead bullet was fired from, but did not say what cartridge the copper buller was fired from—I had initially misread it and though he’d said it was fired from a 30-06. If its not a .30cal bullet then thats probably why it looks different to me.
 
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def90

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True, but its also theoretically a 7mm bullet in the link you posted, not .30. Barnes image for websites is likely the same image for different bullets as well, ie they likely dont take separate images for every single combination of caliber/weight. I’d still like to confirm which bullet this is—I now see the op mentioned the cartridge the lead bullet was fired from, but did not say what cartridge the copper buller was fired from—I had initially misread it and though he’d said it was fired from a 30-06. If its not a .30cal bullet then thats probably why it looks different to me.

The OP never stated what cal he was using, his buddy shooting lead was using the 30-06, OP stated he uses these bullets in 7-08 and 243.

Edit.. i posted after reading your first couple sentances. Looks like you achnowledged the shooter dodn't say what caliber he used.
 

Macintosh

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Exactly. Barnes also doesnt offer loaded 7-08 ammo in 140gr, so just wanted to confirm bullet, cartridge, handload, etc. the other posters mentioning a tumbling bullet from an impact before the animal makes sense. Ive been using ttsx in 150 and 168gr 30-06 and 120gr 7-08 and have had nothing but good results, but I have a smallish sample size and I know barnes makes different weight TTSX with different velocities in mind so was interested in knowing the exact bullet.
 

Gabulldog91

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I had the same thing happen to me 2 times last year same bullet just in its .264 variant. No expansion, 0 blood, luckily stumbled upon both deer while looking but could have ended poorly
 

SDHNTR

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This is a confusing post. You buddy was using lead, but in CA? You shot his buck and then shot one of your own? Bullet was at surface, but it went through 15-20" of deer? Huh?

It's simple, that bullet deflected. I have a similar Barnes that I shot as a finisher into a boar, knowingly through some brush, and it looked the same. Wasnt the bullets fault.
 

Macintosh

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Currently? Nothing on their website in 7-08 that isnt using hornady-manufactured bullets?
Regardless, I misread the original
post and much of my question was from my mis-read—apologies, I dont want to derail this. I imagine it was some brands factory ammo using a ttsx or a handload from the mentioned 7mm-08, just wanted to confirm.
 
OP
M

Marble

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That bullet looks like it did not enter the animal straight on which would explain the large entrance, bent over tip and no expansion. I'm guessing you hit something before the animal or the bullet wasn't stabilized properly. If it would have entered straight on and not expanded like that, you wouldn't have found it inside the animal. I'm pretty confident it yawed before impact for one of the reasons I mentioned above and then was tumbling inside the animal. That's my .02 anyway.
I actually had the same thoughts. I've been to a few autopsies where bullets hit other objects first before they went in and caused entrance hole like this. Those other bullets, non copper, were falling apart on impact.

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