When somebody tells you that they’ve “tested” a hunting bullet, you really should take it with a bit of skepticism most of the time. Accuracy on the variety and functionality in ballistic gel testing are useful indicators, but the actual proof is in a heavy meat pole. Even then, repetition and a selection of field situations are essential to convince discerning hunters of the merits of a new bullet. Even with all the chance I have right here in Alaska, it can take years to produce a vetted track record of an ammunition’s functionality on distinctive varieties of game. That is why a lot of massive-game hunters locate a bullet they trust and finish up sticking with it. If it is not broke, why repair it?
But if there was ever an best proving ground for high-quality hunting ammunition, it is Africa. The game-wealthy hunting grounds in Africa supply the most useful aspect in testing hunting ammunition—opportunity for shots at game, and lots of it. So it was in Africa that I got to field test Norma’s new Bondstrike bullet.
The Bondstrike was a new providing for 2019, unveiled at SHOT Show. To the relief of quite a few six.5mm haters, the loaded Bondstrike ammunition is at the moment only provided in 180-grain, .30-caliber cartridges. It is marketed as a extended-variety, higher-B.C. bullet that is bonded but will expand reliably. I looked at the pamphlet at SHOT, just like every person else, and had no thought that I would be placing it to the test in South Africa nine months later. The bullet itself has an impressive B.C. of .615, and a bonded jacket that thins towards the front, enabling for expansion at reduced velocities, but maintaining the bullet collectively at higher velocity. Generally, bullets that expand reliably at extended variety will come apart up close, and tougher bullets will pencil-hole (not expand) at extended variety. The soap blocks we shot at a variety of ranges showed a dramatic wound cavity inside a couple inches of entry, but the bullets had good weight retention and penetration.
For my hunt in Africa, I shot .308 loads out of a Bergara B14 Ridge Rifle with a 22-inch barrel. On the variety, the mixture shot beautifully. I was in a position to shoot sub-MOA groups at 100 meters, and then I stretched out the variety till I had fantastic DOPE out to 800 meters.
We had the chance to hunt a selection of plains game, which have the reputation of getting really hardy, difficult critters of varying physique size and anatomy. The most many have been the impala and blesbok—both modest, fleet-footed antelope, equivalent in size to pronghorns. I was in a position to take 4 total, a single male and a single female of every, with shots involving 100 and 220 yards. I anticipated there to be a distasteful exit wound on these smaller sized antelope, but that wasn’t the case. A single shot by means of the lungs place them down speedily, with clean exits on all and catastrophic internal harm.
Even on larger, tougher game at close variety, the bullet yielded equivalent outcomes. I shot an old wildebeest cow (notoriously difficult animals) at 80 yards, suitable by means of the boiler space. The bullet zipped out, even though obliterating each lungs, and placing the animal on the ground inside 20 yards.
The bullet worked effectively at typical hunting ranges and continued to execute at longer ranges, also. Anything in Africa, it appears, is noted for getting difficult, and that is in particular accurate for zebra. I created two speedy pass-by means of shots on a Burchell’s zebra at 440 yards and 455 yards, and the animal went down speedily. The internal harm wasn’t as catastrophic as it was at the 200-yard variety, but on an animal the size of a large caribou—and substantially thicker-chested—it was nonetheless impressive functionality, along with excellent penetration.
Now, for most people, like myself, hunting shots beyond 450 yards are handful of and far involving. I am not an advocate of “long-variety hunting.” But, I have carried out lots of target shooting at extended distances, and you can not attest to a bullet’s extended-variety effectiveness with no in fact placing it to some use. Our PHs told us to shoot ostriches and baboons at any distance we had an chance (they’re regarded as varmints like coyotes right here in the U.S.). I was in a position to take 3 baboons at 275, 495, and 814 yards, and two ostriches, at 615 yards and 843 yards. The .308 wasn’t winning any speed contests, but even even though creeping along at half a mile, the Bondstrike did its job, and the far ostrich was the only animal that the bullet did not exit.
This appear at how the Bondstrike performed is extra of a bean counter’s take. The actual factors for hunting in Africa are a great deal deeper than recording the quantity of animals taken and the yardages of every shot (the adventure of the hunt deserves it is personal story, so keep tuned for that). But eventually, it is functionality and information that matter when we’re speaking hunting ammunition, and I saw what I necessary to see. Dirty-thirty shooters are not the kind to be simply talked into the most current and greatest, but I’m satisfied to say that I would have zero reservations working with this bullet on any game animal in North America. I am also hunting forward to obtaining some of these bullets as quickly as they come to be out there in element type for handloading.