Hi all, just posting this so that if my words are changed in any way, the original response can be seen here, post dated.
My name is ... I'm an reporter for The New York Times. I'm reaching out to you because I'm exploring the environmental effects of lead ammunition and I'm trying to get a better sense of the hunting community's feelings toward alternative ammo materials like copper. Specifically, I'm looking to learn the reasons a hunter might have for preferring lead ammunition over copper. Based on what I've gathered from reading your analysis of copper ammo on the Terminal Ballistics Knowledgebase, along with other comparisons of the two types of ammo, the hesitance to use copper seems to stem from these issues:
Some hunters fear switching to copper will mean sacrificing accuracy, since copper bullets must be made longer than their lead counterparts to compensate for their light weight, and longer bullets tend to be less stable in flight. Copper is also a harder metal that doesn’t fragment as easily as lead does, which some hunters say makes it less likely to inflict deadly damage.
Are you able to tell me whether my understanding is correct, and make me aware of any important points I might have missed? If possible, it would be great to have your emailed reply in the next few days.
Hi ..., sorry, I was very busy yesterday, my sincere apologies for this.
To begin with, the article I wrote online should provide you with clear and concise information. The photos and video provide evidence to back up claims.
Your questions do show some misunderstandings so I will address each in turn as succinctly as possible.
It is important to understand that mass production of affordable rifles poses accuracy limitations. Not all rifles are inherently accurate, in fact a major proportion of rifles are not. Add to this human error whether as a result of skill levels (e.g youths learning to shoot) or natural field errors (wind drift or animal moves just as the shot is taken) and it is very easy for the hunter to miss his mark. A proportion of rifles do not shoot a hard copper bullet with great accuracy, whether as a result of the twist rate (bullet length versus stability) or as a result of heavy copper fouling. The result of these errors combined with a poor bullet design is slow killing.
Your statement reads "which some hunters say makes it less likely to inflict deadly damage". The way you have angled this, is as if to say that you believe this is a matter of opinion. Please choose your words carefully. It is a fact that homogenous copper cannot produce wide wounding at low impact velocities in the same manner as a fragmenting bullet. Now understand this - the cartridges we are using are getting smaller each year. As people spend more time on computers and working in cities etc, they are no longer as physically strong as they once were. The rifles have become lighter to ease carry weight but along with this has come an interest in small, low powered, low recoiling cartridges. There are also states which only allow low velocity black powder cartridges to be used for certain hunting situations. In contrast to this, homogenous copper bullets work best when driven at high velocities and or when used out to moderate ranges only. When used in low powered cartridges and or out to extended ranges (e.g. mountain hunting), wounding can be narrow. Add to this the problems of rifle accuracy, human error and animal movement and the result is slow killing. Game may take hours or even days to expire from narrow wounding. Over penetration is also a concern (bullets passing through and striking other animals) as are ricochet events and also forest fires caused by the heat of deformed copper projectiles after striking hard materials.
Although you may believe that the major bullet makers have no concern for the environment, the truth is far from what some might have you imagine. The people who make the lead core projectiles have over many decades gone to great lengths to test the bullets in the field, continually improving killing performance, showing great concern for the animal hunted. These are men and women who love the land and have a deep respect for their heritage. When you hunt (whether as a bullet maker or regular hunter), one quickly develops a high level of empathy for game as the hunter is forced to confront his or her own mortality when claiming another life. The modern fragmenting lead core bullets have been optimized to produce extremely fast killing in the most ethical manner possible but most importantly - taking into account the realities of cartridge power, rifle error and human error.
However, one of my main concerns is that newer start up companies sometimes display a lack of long term field experience. The small companies making homogenous copper bullets sometimes make misleading claims and quite often use environmentally friendly' concepts to drive sales. When we buy into this type of marketing hype, everybody loses (perhaps with the exception of the growing bullet making company).
The true strengths of homogenous copper can be found when hunting very large bodied game or when hunting at close ranges to moderate ranges using very high velocity cartridges. Under these conditions, copper is able to produce both excellent wounding and deep penetration. Used in this manner, copper is immensely reliable.
It is simply a matter of understanding the strengths of Homogenous copper versus its limitations. By understanding its limitations, we put the animals first, not our opinions, or sales or environmental beliefs. Banning one type of bullet in favor of another without understanding the mechanics of wounding is simply unethical.
Given the choice, hunters believe that an animal should be treated respectfully, the life taken like a light switch flicking off rather than a lingering death. They feel that any animal suffering immense pain for hours or days is unethical and that the bullets designs should always address this as a primary focus.
It is also a myth that hunters fear change. Hunters actually embrace change to the point that they very much look forwards to the latest catalogues within the industry. Were it any other way, the gun and ammunition companies would fail abysmally at each new product launch. Hunters are keen to obtain any edge in the field and most especially with regards to ethical killing. So when hunters reject copper, it is inaccurate to blame the hunters as fearing change. What hunters fear, is causing unnecessary suffering to game.
Please be aware that during 2016, a non-lead fragmenting bullet design was put forwards to the state of California by an innovative bullet maker, but that his design was completely rejected. Since speaking to this bullet maker about this (and having tested his bullets on game), I no longer believe that the state of California has a true concern for game animal welfare. I now thoroughly believe that this subject has been used for political posturing. I also believe that hunters are now being treated with the same form of bigotry that was once assigned to native peoples. On the one hand, we are fine when watching a documentary showing a lioness hunting zebra and we are now finally OK visualizing indigenous people hunting in various locations. Yet on the other hand, any westerner that hunts is seen as primitive and un-evolved at all levels, whether emotionally, intellectually or based on current spiritual belief systems. Western environmentalists want to be closer to the land, yet exclude themselves from it as if any human with white skin is unnatural. This guilt based thinking simply drives us further form a true union with the land and our place within it.
I hope that helps to explain some of the major issues. Again, please use the online article to learn more about the mechanics of wounding and fast versus slow killing.
All the best.
copied from Nathans web site terminal ballistics research...... be interesting to see what does get published.
You shot it You pluck it !
Them who eats the most duck eats the most feathers!