One Company’s Light-For-Caliber Projectiles Shred
The Traditional Concept Of Hollowpoints.
The general function of a hollowpoint has not changed since its conception. No matter the material, be it a jacketed lead core or solid copper, the bullets are designed to expand, not to turn. While most makers have gone the traditional route in regards to the hollowpoint production, one maker has taken a different approach.
Cutting Edge Bullets out of Drifting, Penn. has changed the way we look at modern projectiles. President Dan Smitchko started the machining company back in 2001 producing precision parts utilizing Swiss-style CNC lathes for the medical, aerospace and nautical industries, among many others.
With the steady growth of the machining side of the business, Dan wanted to develop his own product line. Bridging his passion for business with long-range shooting and hunting, he set out to produce a better long-range bullet.
Seeing voids in the industry when it came to precision, trajectory and terminal performance, he went to work. After 47 different prototypes and a year’s time he had produced a technologically advanced copper bullet with features that included the patented “Seal-Tite Band,” (which helps reduce fouling) in turn giving the end user greater precision.
A discussion on the advancements in the long-range hunting and shooting community would take an entirely separate article; however, I will note, the World Record Unlimited Class .50 BMG group was just broken with CEB bullets.
A nice 100-lb. sow taken with PHD .45 ACP ammo from 30 yards. This is
quality ammo you can trust your life on in the field or on the street.
This is but a small sampling of the bullets produced by CEB. The company produces
different projectiles in different calibers for various applications.
Beyond the advancements in precision, CEB took it a step further in the realm of terminal performance. This is where we start discussing a radical different approach to hollowpoints. Cutting Edge’s non-conventional hollowpoint design dubbed the “Raptor” are available in both rifle and handgun projectiles. Depending on its intended application, the bullets are produced in brass as well as copper. Material is mostly determined by application as well as velocity. It should be noted the handgun line of bullets are — per ATF regulations — made of copper. This design has changed the standards of weight for a particular caliber, allowing the user to get the benefits of added velocity and less recoil without giving up the terminal effectiveness.
The Raptor design was not conceived overnight, and it’s worth the time to give a bit of backstory on its development.
Back in early 2011, Michael McCourry (the “M” in the B&M series of rifles) approached Dan to produce the bullets that would meet his strict standards as an avid dangerous game hunter. Michael had already been shooting a solid, which was then known as the BBW 13, designed to provide the utmost straight-line penetration possible. Now, his goal was the production of a trauma-inducing bullet to match, now known as the Safari Solid.
So with this partnership the testing began, each bullet was thoroughly vetted in both the lab and the field. Through numerous subtle design changes and countless hundreds of game animals taken all across the globe, the Safari Raptor and its family of bullets have been perfected. These bullets have changed the norms in regards to weight for a particular caliber.
Unlike a traditional mushrooming hollowpoint, the Raptor employs a “hollow cavity breakup.” Three, four or six blades radiate away from the wound channel, while the base acts as a solid, crushing bone and ripping tissue as it continues to penetrate, and — in most cases — exit.
Each bullet is specifically designed for its application and velocity spectrum. With this design perfected and proven in a line of rifles, the next step was to apply this same technology to a handgun line for all major hunting and defensive calibers.
Bullets are produced both in brass and copper; both start as solid bar stock.
Weight Isn’t Everything
Many believe without weight you can’t achieve penetration. Since all CEB handgun bullets are machined out of solid copper, they were considered light for their caliber. For example, the .45 ACP 150-grain Raptor matches the OAl of a lead core 230-grain FMJ. The fear of many users was that light-for-caliber bullets would not penetrate deeply enough. With traditional hollowpoint design, the bullet’s momentum would slow even more rapidly due to the lack of mass and the parachute effect of the bullet. CEB-designed bullets will out-penetrate their lead core breathern strictly because of design, and to quote Michael McCourry, “The best way to enhance a caliber is through a better bullet.”
So what does this bullet technolgy offer that a standard hollowpoint does not? First is trauma. The Raptor’s radiating blades create massive wound cavities which in turn make four separate tissue lacerations followed by what is called the “blunt trauma base.” This gives the user the best of both worlds — the penetration of a solid and the trauma of expansion.
Many years ago, Ross Seyfried wrote about softnose cast bullets and their use during a trip to Australia with the .475 Linebaugh. The softnose added trauma but was still able to penetrate deeply. This is what the Raptor design brings to the table with a modern production and greater precision. I have seen hundreds of pictures taken of dangerous game, claimed by these bullets … the trauma is impressive. The handgun bullets are a fairly new product for CEB.
A bullet here is being turned out of solid bar stock.
A blend of old and new. A 100-plus-year-old design, enhanced by
precision bullets utilizing modern engineering.
The Personal Home Defense Line
I want to focus on their Personal Home Defense ammunition line. PHD ammo is available in .380, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. For my testing I focused on the 150-grain .45 ACP. All PHD ammo is loaded to standard pressures and meets the FBI’s testing protocols for penetration using four layers of denim followed by ballistic gel. Why standard pressure? Because these bullets give more than ample penetration, so why endure more recoil if it is unnecessary? This in turn gives the shooter faster recovery time and more shots on target when you need it the most. During my testing, due to the lighter weight bullets, the perceived recoil is greatly reduced compared to standard lead-core loadings.
I can speak about the gel shots and barrier testing, but to be honest it doesn’t prove anything in a real-life situation. The goal of your defensive handgun and ammo is to stop the threat. I wanted to take this test a bit further and put this line of ammunition to (what I consider) the ultimate bullet test — hog hunting with a 1911 loaded with PHD ammo.
Precision products are made from the best materials on the best machines.
A small sampling of parts, which are produced at Cutting Edge Machining Solutions.
Dial 1911 For Hogs
The plan was set. I wanted to apply the PHD Ammo in .45 ACP to a proper bullet test. Pigs are to handguns what buffalo are to dangerous game rifles — they can test your equipment to its fullest. With a short window, I booked my hunt with Osceola Outdoors. I had now given Mike Tussey what I would consider an almost impossible task … especially when hunting pigs. There are no guarantees — it’s called hunting for a reason. Mike assured me we could get it done. The confidence he projected really impressed me, and he knew his properties and pigs.
So with only one day to hunt we headed out early. Around 6:30 a.m. a good 180-lb. boar showed himself. This pig was keen and very skittish. He made his way in to about 20 yards, but would not allow us to move into position for a shot. Suddenly he spooked, disappearing like a ghost.
By 8:30, with no action, Mike picked me up and we headed to a nearby area where the feeder had yet to go off. We had about a 250-yard stalk to get there, moving slowly and cautiously. At around 50 yards we could hear the pigs. Having never hunted in South Florida, I soon discovered how misty the air could become, and was only able see a couple feet in front of me.
We stalked in to about 30 yards. A good sow was feeding toward me, giving me a quartering-towards shot. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. My preference has always been a broadside or quartering-away shot, especially knowing the limitations of my chosen weapon. I stood up from my crouched position and put my front sight at the point of the shoulder and the pig dropped on the impact of the bullet. I accomplished my goal: taking a hog with a defensive caliber. That alone was excitement enough, but what we found during examination of the bullet track was remarkable. The blades traveled over 8″ through tissue, slicing the lungs. Two blades were recovered in the far shoulder and one in the backstrap. The base was never found. It had penetrated through the off side.
A little 150-grain bullet put a 100-lb. hog in the dirt with one shot. To say I was impressed is an understatement, but the look on Mike Tussey’s face was pure shock. I think he became a believer in Cutting Edge Bullet technology.
While I am not saying a 1911 is the ideal choice as a hog hunting platform, the goal was to test this defensive ammo to the max. If I am putting my life on the line in a defensive situation, I want complete confidence in the ammo I carry. Many who look at the onslaught of new bullets and their testing stats can get overwhelmed. For me, after being a voyeur to the bullet technology in the rifle world while dangerous game hunting, I had to see for myself what the PHD line ammunition could do. No matter how many lab tests you see, nothing proves a caliber more then actually seeing the field results. For me, the PHD and the Raptor line of bullets has changed the way I look at hollowpoints.
By Matthew Cosenzo
For More Info:
Cutting Edge Bullets
“The Vindicator,” produced by Big Rob’s Gun Leather.
Rigged for Pigs
While I had a many holsters I could have used for this hog hunt, I have been in the market for a new field rig. A buddy recently told me about Big Rob’s Gun Leather, Rob Dorris, owner and operator creates everything from field to concealment rigs.
After having a few conversations with Rob, I gave him a blank slate and the go ahead … but with just two parameters. I wanted the holster to be based off the Bruce Nelson professional design, and it had to be brown. Rob already makes a very unique pancake design with hidden belt loops, which keeps the holster low profile and snag free — a fantastic design, although the pancake concept doesn’t work for me, personally.
A few weeks after placing my order, I received my package just in time for my South Florida adventure. It was a very short deadline but Rob came through.
I opened the box and to say I was impressed is an understatement. Quality, craftsmanship and design were all spot on. Rob calls this holster “The Vindicator.” He gave it a rough outside appearance while keeping the inside smooth. It protects the finish of the gun well and allows for a super slick presentation.
Finally, Rob matched the holster with mag pouches and a reinforced belt. Quality leather and design go a long way when you are carrying for extended periods of time.
For More Info
Big Robs Gun Leather