Ammunition Bullets

Will the jacket and core of ELD-X bullets separate since they're not bonded?

ELD-X Bullet Jacket/Core Separation

High-velocity impacts may occasionally cause the ELD-X bullet jacket to roll back past the InterLock ring during penetration, leading to jacket core separation as the bullet comes to rest. When bullets stop inside an animal, the elasticity of the flesh, and especially the hide, pulls the bullet backward into the animal and often flips the direction of the bullet around due to the weight being heavier on the frontal expanded area. Bullets expanded past their InterLock may separate at this point. While some may argue that this is a negative jacket and core separation, it is happening after the penetration, not at the beginning. The extremely light bullet jacket cannot penetrate to the offside of the animal without the lead core.

The ELD-X is a revolutionary new style of bullet and raises the bar for all projectiles. It is unconventional in its capabilities and its performance. As far as recovered bullets are concerned, the lethality of ELD-X bullets speaks for itself. For further explanation, please see below.

ELD-X Bullet Terminal Performance Explained

Hornady ELD-X (Extremely Low Drag – eXpanding) bullets are designed to provide reliable expansion at both conventional and extended ranges. Coupled with high ballistic coefficients (BC) and match-grade accuracy, these hunting bullets are as good on the range as they are in the field. Designing a bullet that will expand at conventional 2,800 to 3,200 feet per second (fps) down to as low as 1,600 fps is no small task. Typical tipped or soft-point style lead-core bullets stop expanding reliably at 1,800 fps or slightly lower. Solid copper or copper-alloy style bullets typically need well over 2,000 fps to expand reliably. Over the years, hunters have tended to use match bullets for their long-range (low-velocity) needs as they offer the accuracy to hit targets at longer ranges and the bullets had a better chance at disrupting (though not expanding in a traditional fashion) to help cause damage. The match bullets' (especially BTHP designs) disruption is rarely consistent and can include anything from tumbling to fragmenting to passing through like an FMJ bullet and depends more on what it hits to cause disruption than working by design. Another downside of using match bullets for hunting is high-velocity (close range impacts tend to make match bullets fragment on impact and not reach penetration depths needed for humane kills on game.

The ELD-X bullet provides deep penetration and reliable expansion at both ends of the velocity spectrum. This sets it apart from all other bullets on the market. Achieving this kind of terminal flexibility requires unconventional performance. For a bullet to expand at 1,600 fps, it is imperative that the frontal area open up, or mushroom, very quickly. Conventional bullets that expand at low velocity will blow up or fragment upon high-velocity impacts. Conversely, bullets that are designed for deep penetration at close range (high-velocity impact) won’t expand at low velocity and rarely provide the accuracy needed for longer-range hunting nor have high enough BCs to retain energy and reduce wind deflection. ELD-X bullets are designed with a thin-jacketed frontal area that expands at low velocity and a gradually thicker jacket and InterLock ring that keep the shank together to penetrate at high-velocity impacts. The nose of the ELD-X is designed to expand by being initiated by the Heat Shield tip. Contact of the tip and game animal forces the tip back into the jacket, starting the expansion process. Expansion of long-range, lower-velocity impacts is limited by the continually thickening jacket design and typically resembles a traditional mushroomed bullet. Eighty to 90% weight retention can be expected, and 20 to 24 inches of penetration is common.

At closer-range impacts, the nose rapidly expands due to the higher velocity. Some of the thin jacket material that guarantees lower velocity expansion may be shed in this process until the thick-jacketed portion of the nose is reached. This slight shedding of the thin nose section typically results in retained weights of 50 to 60%. Even though more weight is lost, terminal performance is almost identical to that of longer-range impacts with penetrations of 20 to 24 inches and very large wound cavities. If impact velocities are high enough, the ELD-X will continue to expand until reaching the high InterLock ring, where expansion will be slowed dramatically due to the thick shank of the jacket. Unconventional in its performance, the ELD-X may not resemble traditional designs, but its wound channel and penetration characteristics are equal to or greater than traditional designs at traditional ranges.

Hornady engineers have worked hard to design the ELD-X bullet to balance between expanding quickly but not expanding too quickly. A mechanical Interlock ring is swaged high on the shank to help keep the jacket and core material together. While any traditional “cup and core” bullet can suffer from jacket and core separation, it is not common. Keep in mind that an average bullet encounters severely more energy upon impact when hitting game than it did to form the bullet during manufacturing. With all of the various angles at which bullets encounter tough hide, bone and tissue, there is a tremendous amount of impact on the bullets and occasionally strange things can happen. While bonded bullets may not allow the separation of jacket and core materials, they are not typically capable of the accuracy needed for extended-range shooting.