Federal Fusion - not expanding?

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Zeissman

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

My brother and I have been up in Perthshire over the last week on the hinds. He had his 6.5x55 Sako 85 and I was using my 0.308 Sako 75. We were both using Federal Fusion (140gn in the 6.5 and 150gn in the 308). which both of our rifles love in terms of accuracy and I have used for about five years on reds.

We have never had a problem with Fusion in the past on similar trips and have always found that it is exceptional at dropping deer on the spot if we do our bit. This year, almost all of our deer ran on but keeled over after between 25m and 150m. All were heart/lung shots and varied in range between approx. 60m and approx. 220m. On inspection, the rounds seem to have made a very neat hole on entry and an only marginally less neat hole (about 1") on exit of even the largest hinds. There was less damage to the vital organs than normal which ties in with what we saw. Given that there are a lot of variables between the shots fired, has the composition of Fusion changed over the last year or so?

In the past, I have even found Fusion not exiting a beast so I am slightly perplexed by our latest experiences. We have both purchased a job lot of that particular ammo in the last six months so all rounds are roughly the same age.

Any ideas welcome.

All best,

Z.
 

timbrayford

Well-Known Member
Try chronographing them if you can, there may be a velocity issue if the bullets are not expanding sufficiently.

atb Tim
 

Southern

Well-Known Member
Chronograph your Fusions, but if the MV looks fine, and they are hitting where you aim and killing deer in a few seconds, they are working. There are a lot of factors. Maybe your other Fusions struck a rib going in and got a good start on expansion. And any game can be hit perfectly and run off a ways.

Any deer bullets, from Fusion to TSX, should expand at impacts over 1,800 fps. Once you cross a velocity threshold, they really don't get the initial upset which keeps expansion progressing. You can see this most dramatically in defensive pistols, where a bullet engineered for a .357 but fired from a snubnose .38 will not expand at all. I can shoot a 170-gr RN SPT from my 8x57 into damp potter's clay at 1,400 fps and it will penetrate 30 inches without deforming. Bump it up to 1,900 FPS impact and it will mushroom to almost 3X diameter and penetrate just a foot. That slow bullet at 1,400 fps will still blow a hole over an inch wide through most of that clay, traveling in a straight line, so it is still very lethal. The original 8x57, 7x57, .303 Enfield, and 6.5x54 Mannlicher are proof of that.
 

lochty

Well-Known Member
I've been using 140 grain Fusions in my 7mm 08 for the last 2 years. Lately, been getting some odd results with the bullets entering okay, but turning through 90 degrees and ending up lodged in liver, guts or loins (?) twice. From the bits I have managed to retrieve, it looks as though the copper case has turned into a spiral shape, which probably accounts for it going off in odd directions. I changed to 150 grain Federal softpoints, which do the job as well, with more predictable results, so as soon as I get rid of the last 10 or so fusions, I'll be sticking with the softpoints from now on......
 

rutland

Well-Known Member
I use 150gn fusions in my 30.06 and have been having some unexplained stray flyers, after my last trip to Scotland I decided to replace my z5 scope and go back to my
original habicht thinking it was this as I had only changed that and the bullets, the previous bullets being 150gn federal power shok. I have just come back from another trip and have had the same odd strays, I zero at 1" high at 100 yds and always check before an outing but seem to be shooting over the top of reds at 200 yds on reasonably flat terrain, rifle is clean moderator tight barrel free floating , I know a lot is operator error but this is happening too often,
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
Never had any luck with federal
found the 130gr .270 rounds I tried very messy
Not particularly accurate or consistent

Wonder if they are producing a harder batch that is not expanding
differnt building alloy, harder lead alloy, slower powder burn rate could all do that
 

Cris

Well-Known Member
Hmm just had my confidence knocked in Fed power shock 130 270's. Last batch were tight grouping. Now they won't group and drift high?? Moved to RWS and group improved again??
 

Zeissman

Well-Known Member
Thanks Tim and Southern,

Interestingly, I did have to adjust up and left on re-zero by three cm at 100m a couple of months ago which is probably when I changed over to the new batch so I will chrono. Given all the variables between two calibres and the success that we've had for the previous five or so years with Fusion (shooting probably forty or so similar hinds), something must have changed to have two such consistent result patterns.

We had a few entry holes through ribs which didn't seem to make much difference this year. It will be interesting to hear what Federal have to say.
 

Zeissman

Well-Known Member
I've been using 140 grain Fusions in my 7mm 08 for the last 2 years. Lately, been getting some odd results with the bullets entering okay, but turning through 90 degrees and ending up lodged in liver, guts or loins (?) twice. From the bits I have managed to retrieve, it looks as though the copper case has turned into a spiral shape, which probably accounts for it going off in odd directions. I changed to 150 grain Federal softpoints, which do the job as well, with more predictable results, so as soon as I get rid of the last 10 or so fusions, I'll be sticking with the softpoints from now on......

This seems like the obvious solution. Sounds like you have plenty of velocity if the jacket has come away from the bonded core. It might be that this bonding process is not that consistent.
 

10.9

Well-Known Member
We had a guest last season using fusion in 270 and found they werent expanding as we thought they might, as he only shot about 10 animals we just put it down to "it happens sometimes". On closer inspection there didnt seem much of a lead soft point to them , at arms length they almost looked like FMJ. Not sure if they are meant to look like that .
 

Zeissman

Well-Known Member
We had a guest last season using fusion in 270 and found they werent expanding as we thought they might, as he only shot about 10 animals we just put it down to "it happens sometimes". On closer inspection there didnt seem much of a lead soft point to them , at arms length they almost looked like FMJ. Not sure if they are meant to look like that .

Looking at them this morning, you are right. I am sure that more lead used to be visible at the tip. I have e-mailed Federal and will let you all know what comes back.
 

lochty

Well-Known Member
Yes, that's what they're meant to look like. Never had any problems with Federal in the past, just with these. And also with the 120 grain ones. But the 150 grain softpoints will do just fine. I have ordered some Winchester 140 grain softpoints to give them a try as well....
 

Zeissman

Well-Known Member
Have heard back from Federal this evening. Their response is as follows (and no, there was no pre-amble!):

"The bullet has not changed since it was invented, what you described is unusual, we would not expect a powder change would make such a difference. All powders have to give pressure and velocity that is reliable. Without a chance to examine the bullet we would not have an answer.

Thanks
Federal
MS"

Shame that there doesn't appear to be an obvious answer. Also a shame that there was no chance of retrieving a bullet as they were all probably a foot or so into the hillside and probably looking exactly as they had done when they were chambered!

 

Wills

Well-Known Member
I Shot three hinds the other week with some fusions. They didn't drop like they would with a 270. Also the exit was about the size of a £2 coin. If this is what is to be expected of this caliber, I will only use it for roe and foxes. Death dash was a lot longer. I have some 140grn ssts to try..
 

Zeissman

Well-Known Member
I Shot three hinds the other week with some fusions. They didn't drop like they would with a 270. Also the exit was about the size of a £2 coin. If this is what is to be expected of this caliber, I will only use it for roe and foxes. Death dash was a lot longer. I have some 140grn ssts to try..

Thanks Wills,

Which calibre were you using?

Z.
 

WildBoarHunter

Well-Known Member
I shot three wild boars on a driven hunt last year using 180 gr Fusion in 308 win. I hit one behind the front shoulder, so it got a good hit, but it kept running for about 200 meters and still required a follow up shot when found. I hit the second too far back in the intestines. That one we tracked for about 2 km but we never retrieved it. The blood trail was modest, only a drop or two here and there. Should be a lot more blood for a hit like that. The third one also got away, there wasn't even any blood trail to follow - but I'm sure it was hit because it was a close distance shot and the boar split from the group after the shot. All this led me to believe, that the Fusion may be too solid for soft tissue hits, simply not expanding enough in such cases. Not good for driven hunts, where a lot of the hits are not exactly perfect. Slightly softer bullets work better in such cases. I stopped using it after this case. Oryx is a softer bonded bullet, but still retains a lot of weight and so should work better.
 
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