Good read with lots of good information. can't wait to see some terminal performance.
I spent a few days with the new Cutting Edge Bullets "Raptor." This is a lead-free projectile, made for precision shooting and hunting and is NOT designed to penetrate body armor. It appears to be internally skived and has a huge hollow point so that the bullet will fragment, losing the front 1/3 or so in the form of "petals." This will cause several jagged secondary projectiles to fan out into the animal, and the rest of the shank may continue to penetrate. This is my understanding of the function, but I did not recover any of the projectiles, and have yet to shoot any hogs with the bullet. I was shooting them at steel, and they appeared to have disintegrated.
The purpose of this outing was to see how these bullets fit into the 6.8 X 43mm case, find the best load, asses accuracy and see how much velocity could be gotten from this 85 grain bullet. Kudos to CEB for choosing 85 grains, as this put the length just a hair over that of the Barnes 95 TTSX. This makes for easy loading and allows for the use of some of our favorite, usual powders. I will not be posting the actual powder charges I shot. Please forgive me, but I was loading for max velocity, and I used some powders that are still not commercially available. I pushed these to the limit, and I will be sending some of those loads out for pressure testing, before I post the charges, since they are likely going to be MAX for this bullet.
Overall, the best commercially available powder was Re 7. The performance is so similar to the 85 TSX, I was able to generally extrapolate our favorite loads, and this bullet seems to parallel it closely, but of course, you should always treat each load as if it were an individual. This means that Re 7, will be among the best choices, and somewhere in the 29 grain range will be excellent, but you must work this bullet up as you would any other. I believe it is going to shoot well with several powders, since it is so well made.
I want to thank Cutting Edge and Dan Smitchko, for sending these for testing. I received the bullets packaged nicely in boxes of 50, with the tips separate. Here are the bullets, side by side, some with tips installed and some without. Somehow, I managed not to get a picture of the gaping maw of a hollow point, but you can see the truncated section without tips, and when hollow, it is huge. The tips are made of plastic.
For reference, some other bullets against which to compare. From left, Barnes 110 TTSX, 110 TSX, 95 TTSX, and then the CEB's with tip installed, and one without tip.
Tested bullets weighed between 85.0 -85.1 grains with the tip installed. NOTE: Cutting Edge recommends that you work up loads and then shoot the bullets without the tip installed first. The reasoning is that you will use up fewer of the tips while working up loads, and I can see where that might make sense as I believe the bullets and tips are sold separately. CE says that the bullet will fly the same with or without tip, and that probably is true, but be forewarned that you will have to measure with the tip installed at some point in the process, if you want to assure that you are under the AR mag length restriction of 2.305". You could just test seat a bullet in a dummy case to find out your OAL with tip, but I will make it even easier for you.
Just load the bullet to the first full-diameter driving band, so that it is sitting in the case mouth. This will result in an OAL of 2.295", with the tip installed, which is perfect for mag length (provided you own good 6.8 mags) and I have found this to be one of the most consistent OAL's for almost any bullet I shoot. IIRC, the OAL without the tip was something like 2.165". This bullet is built so that it seats with two of the bands in the neck, and the boattail sitting in the shoulder area, which gives approximately 100% capacity with the 6.8 X 43mm case. Here's a picture of the loaded round, so that you can see the position of the bullet's driving band, once seated. No crimp is necessary:
I had no set back in my AR, and feeding was perfect with the tips installed. I can see right now, that without the tips, you risk hanging the cavity up on the feedramps, but I did not try this, and can't say for sure it will not feed well, sans tip. The bullets also fed perfectly in my Rem 700 bolt gun. Notice that the ogive is essentially a "2 stage" taper. That is, you see a section of the bullet fore of the driving band, which is .275, and then the strong taper of the tip, which ends in the meplat. Only the driving bands are .277. This feature reduces bearing surface area, and I believe this is why I got higher velocity than I initially expected. I like this design.
Now for some numbers. Please remember that these are going to be max charges, so I do not think any of you should strive for these velocities right out of the gate. Work your loads up at about 5% less than you would start with the 85 TSX, and carefully ascend from there. The fastest load was with a blended powder, very similar to AA2200, the next fastest was Re 7. None of the other powders tried equaled these two, and that is exactly what I expected. If you really like 4198, try it. I don't like it as much as Re 7, but YMMV. AA2200 is pretty similar to the best proprietary powder I used, but it burns just a little slower.
*All loads used 2.295" OAL, SSA fired brass, CCI 41 primers.
Load 1 (using Re 7), from a Rem 700 Bolt gun, with 19" barrel.
Load 1 from 12" Ko-tonics, chrome lined barrel:
-error (low bat)
* Load 1 gave MOA to 200 yards
Load 2 (double-based, ball powder) from Rem 700 19" bolt:
Load 2 from Ko-Tonics 12" barrel:
* load 2 was well under MOA out to 200
.....wow. I'd say that from the way the AR recoil & ejection felt and the way the primers looked, we are producing 57,000-58,000 PSI in order to get these velocities. I have an adjustable gas block (I adjusted it to this load, so the timing was perfect), FA carrier, enhanced bolt, and Tubbs spring. This gun usually does not show a swipe until just at 59,000-60,000 PSI. I also shot some rapid fire on the range, and saw just the faintest, shiny swipe mark, but no ejector flow whatsoever. The primers looked good throughout. With the bolt gun, I never experienced heavy bolt lift.
The groups were fantastic. This 3 round group was fired from the bolt gun, at 150 yards (notice the 200 yard pig just over its back) :
This is a 5 shot group, again, fired from the Rem 700 bolt. Three rounds went right in on top of each other leaving a "smudge" dead-center on the plate and then two others opened up the group to a...well ....group, rather than a bug-hole. <label for="rb_iconid_10">
</label> For reference, those bolt heads on the hog are 7/8" <label for="rb_iconid_10"></label><label for="rb_iconid_10"></label>This group measured approx 0.7" CTC, and remember, that's 200 yards.
OK, the accuracy is definitely there. Now we have to shoot some animals with this bullet to see if the function rivals that of the Barnes TSX / TTSX, which would probably be its nearest competitor. It is going to be hard to beat, but this bullet can be shot so fast, that despite a relatively low BC, its super flat w/r/t the trajectory, out to 300. Presuming a MV of around 3150, I noticed less than one mil dot holdover with the 300 yard target, which puts the drop somewhere around 7" with a 50/200 yard zero. The 85 TSX, going 3000, has about 8.7" drop, with same zero.
For those of you wondering, I did shoot the 85 TSX, 85 MPG, 95 TTSX and CEB Raptor side by side, and the POI was very close, almost touching out to 200 yards, from both guns. As expected, the Raptor, going 100-200 FPS faster, impacted slightly higher at 300 because of less drop below the LOS. That means, I can hold right under a hogs back with the Mil dot or D-740 at 300.
It looks like we have another great 6.8 bullet, but I will not be able to judge terminal performance until I see some carnage. <label for="rb_iconid_6"></label>
Last edited by HTR; 04-23-2012 at 12:36 AM. Reason: some grammatical mistakes
Good read with lots of good information. can't wait to see some terminal performance.
Thank you for your concise in-depth review.I'm sure you will like the "Carnage" even more than the accuracy.
HTRDo you allow reposting of your review?
10-4 Good Buddy, I Got My Ears On.
Sorry, 70s flashback.
"Don't go ninjiin nobody that don't need ninjiin."
Will do Sir.
good report. is there any chance we can get some images of what these "petals" will do in ballistics gel?
Aero Pricision flat top upper, Black hole weaponry stainless heavy profile barrel 1:10, Plumcrazy complete lower with six position milspec stock (proudly using an all plastic fire control group), UTG free float quad rail, UTG swiveling bipod, Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40mm scope, PRI QC muzzle brake, Cproducts 15 round mags, Command Arms Cheek piece bundle, UTG m4 butt pad, DPMS style single rail gas block
Awaiting the live tissue testing.....
"I figure we are gunman because we are better then most, and it beats branding cows or digging copper" -Appaloosa
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.-Thomas Paine