Hunting Ammo and Bullet Fragmentation by Ed Hale

I provide this thought provoking article for your education and mine on choosing your hunting bullet.  Outdoor Life, in the article below, has more on the lead in rifle bullets used to kill deer and other big game for food. Man has been killing and consuming wild game shot with lead for hundreds of years. We  are still here, but can we do better? 

Also, below is a Power Point Presentation on the Minnesota Study regarding lead fragmentation. Lead fragments have been found as far away as 18 inches from the wound with some high speed bullet types. Most slow muzzle loader or shotgun show no lead particles.The DNR report has x-ray images that you can see with your own eyes.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you don’t want lead in your game meat you can shoot rifle bullets without lead in them. This is a 100% guarantee of “no lead” Or shoot a shotgun slug or muzzle loader that is slow enough not to fragment.


Shoot bullets whose lead is bonded to the jacket and is proven to retain most of its weight. Bonded bullets are new on the hunting scene in the past decade and add to the value of a controlled expansion bullet that often provides an exit wound and a blood trail.

The  Nosler’s E-Tip : E in E- Tip® is for Expansion and retains virtually 100% of its copper weight, curles into a perfect mushroom, and leaves no copper in your barrel or the game you hunt.

On the Nosler AccuBond; I have killed game with the Nosler AccuBond® and find that it is true to its name and holds a high weight retention.

I hear good reports for high weight retention for Barnes Bullets made of soft copper and mushroom well but find that they leave copper in some of my rifle barrels not a big detractor just scrub your barrel well and more often.

The Hornady InterBond® bullet is a bonded lead core to the copper jacket and has high weight retention as does the Swift Scirocco® a bonded bullet that uses pure copper for the jacket and not gilding copper. Pricing of bullets for hunting are a little more for bonded and copper but they are worth it! Here is a chart of cost per shot using a .270 Winchester as an example. Note: Winchester makes a copper bullet not included here, maybe another article. 

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It looks like copper is slightly more per shot but data shows that they retain the most weight of the two types bonded vs copper and fully mushrooms or petals. Both bonded and copper stay together often leaving an exit wound for a blood trail. But only copper leaves no lead fragments in your meat! Choose you Bullets…WISELY!




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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.