FMJ bullet failure?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by brewer12345, Feb 28, 2021.

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  1. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Anyone experienced separation in a FMJ bullet? I shot a 25ish pound beaver (small) at 35 yards or so last night. I was using factory 145 grain FMJ Win ammo in an American Ranch 350 Legend rifle. Bullet hit and obliterated the head, but unfortunately the angle was just right for it to continue plowing through the body. When I cleaned the critter I found the mashed up jacket next to what remained of the core in a hindquarter. The two pieces weighed 93 grains and change, so obviously some material was shed as it made a high speed course through the beaver's heavy skull.

    Normal to see? I purposely used FMJ to limit meat loss and hide damage. I plan to fiddle around with cast loads this summer, but I was also thinking about trying 9MM pistol bullets perhaps in FMJ flavor and perhaps this is not the nest choice.
     
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  2. Deadeer

    Deadeer Member

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    Sounds like the bullet did its job considering what it went thru. The 180gr Win bullets dont expand much on deer from our experiences yet.
     
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  3. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Were you looking for varmint type performance where the head exploded and the rest of the animal was still usable. Sounds like a job for a 22 mag or something small to leave you with a prize.
     
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  4. Stevel

    Stevel Member

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    Depends on the base of the bullet. If it is exposed lead on the bottom of the bullet as it turned in the animal it could have expanded / fragmented and shed the jacket.
     
  5. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    I’m a little more pragmatic...

    At which point did it fail?
    When it went through the skull, or when it smashed through the rest of the body lodging in the hind quarters?;)

    It’s not like you planned on using the bullet again, right?:D
     
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  6. noylj

    noylj Member

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    Dead is dead
    Bones are hard and skulls are harder and rifle rounds have a lot of energy (35 yards) and it all got dumped in the beaver (25 lbs).
    A round with more energy than a 30-30, advertised for increased penetration being fired at very close range on a very light animal...
    It worked as well as it could.
    There are fmj where they place adhesive between the jacket and lead core.
     
  7. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    The bullet failed to do what he expected.
    A lot of people forget fmj bullets can upset and create havoc. Others forget they can pencil through.

    On the OP. A more round nose style fmj will be less likely to upset than a pointy one.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    FMJ is typically not intended for hunting, the lead is not bonded to the jacket, and they separate easily. I have been after a beaver, but no luck yet.
     
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  9. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    At a hundred feet, I wouldn’t expect there to be much left of a 350 Legend bullet, or a beaver!:D
     
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  10. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    If I wanted to eat it. I would probably wait for a sideways shot.
    I haven't shot the legend yet. Also don't know how heavy the jacket is.
     
  11. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That.
     
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  12. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I'm assuming this is an open base FMJ and shed it's mass when the bullet tumbled. You might do better with a hardcast 9mm bullet and less velocity. Even if it tumbles, damage will be less catastrophic. The best answer would be headshots with a 22 magnum or 22 hornet with Vmax or a 330 connibear.
     
  13. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I have never used fmj for hunting before, so this is interesting stuff. I'd imagine the suggestion that the bullet tumbled and the core slipped out of the back of the bullet is right on.

    I try for a moving away or side headshot, but it was night and I took what I knew to be a headshot. The other two I got over the weekend were the head shots I usually expect with no meat damage. The rifle is handy and very accurate for this purpose, so no regrets. If I can get similar accuracy, I am thinking a 180 or 200 grain cast bullet at 1000 to 1500 fps will be even better.
     
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  14. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Haven't shot anything bigger with it. What kind of expansion have you seen? If I hunt deer with it I will use the hornady 170 grain offering or a handload.
     
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  15. Deadeer

    Deadeer Member

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    All regarding deer...

    180gr shows zero expansion on 4 deer I know of, but all deer dead within yards. All neck/spine with pencil holes in and out.

    I handload the 170gr. Killed one large buck, quarter away at 80yd. Did not exit or hit ribs, but ended under skin on far side. Perfect mushroom. 75yd run thru briar thicket, so so blood.

    I got 165ftx now to handload. Have one box factory but no shots. I feel these will be perfect weight for expansion and penetration.

    150gr deer season xp... know of 12 deer killed. All but one exited. Fast, flat, deep penetration, great ¹expansion and trauma. Somehow, its kicking butt the best! Has a big ballistic tip, and is the primo factory round we have seen and used. Unfortunately it's not available as a hand loading component.

    I used the Hdy 200ftx in a 357max rifle at 2200fps for years. Longest shot was 146yds on a good buck, shot straight on, found perfect mushroom in rear leg. It smashed it's way thru, killed instantly, and has always impressed. Killed truckloads with it, always expanded nicely and exited except that one. It might be too long in the Legend to fit in an AR mag with enough powder to get it moving along fast enough to expand. It is .358, where as the Legend is .355. I bought a Lee .356 resizing die to squeeze down those larger bullets.
     
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  16. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    If you want to limit damage, you need to use round nose FMJ's. A 110 gr. FMJRN for use in a .30 Carbine would be ideal for limiting hide damage. The pointed FMJ boat tails tend to tumble, making a mess along the way, while RN's tend to travel straight and true.

    35W
     
  17. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    The factory fmj is actually a rnfp. I suspect the flat point transmits a fair amount of shock on impact. Mostly I depend on the vast majority of shots hitting the head to limit damage.
     
  18. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Thanks. I have a case of the federal fusion loads as well. Wonder how well they expand.
     
  19. Archie

    Archie Member

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    I understand the use of FMJ bullets for hide preservation. I'm not sure if the beaver is a 'game animal' or a 'pest', which could easily determine the 'hunting'/expanding point question.

    However, to your specific question, I would suggest somewhat lesser velocity in this application. Probably won't work well for deer, but an FMJ is not the bullet for hunting deer anyway. The cast bullets you consider might be a good answer.
     
  20. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Heh, my buddies and I consider them game animals (and mighty fine eating), but the ranger that gave us the night permit considers them pests.

    Yeah, I know the FMJ loads are too much horsepower, but I never had a chance to cast and do load workup before the season. Now that the season is over, I will cast a couple different bullets and fool around with loads based on trail boss, unique and 2400. Since I also use this rifle to shoot muskrats, less power will be good. I already know that 22LR is insufficient for beavers and I don't own a 22 mag, so it is either 350 or 223. Would rather use a heavy 350 cast bullet going slow than a 223 going faster. Fireballs at night are blinding.
     
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  21. Archie

    Archie Member

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    I was speaking of legal status, not anyone's person motive. But it seems to agree with everyone involved. Except perhaps Br'er Beaver.

    That all makes perfect sense to me. (if that matters.) Carry on.
     
  22. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Never hurts to have a second set of eyes when you go off the rez in reloading.
     
  23. kelbro

    kelbro Member

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    Beaver skulls can wreak havoc on bullets. I pulled one out of a trap when I was a teenager that had slug embedded in its skull that had healed over. I've also seen 22 mags bounce off their heads.
     
  24. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I shot one right in the head with a 22LR solid and all I found was a broken cheekbone. Fortunately I made 4 more hits and sealed the deal. No more 22LR for these things. I am guessing a 180 or 200 grain cast bullet at modest velocities will seal the deal with authority.
     
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