top of page

Non Conventional Bullets

The Bullet of the Future!

I truly see this as the next step up from our premium expanding bullets. We call them"Non Cons" for a reason, they are totally "Non Conventional". They work in a different manner from which our conventional expanding bullets work, Swift A, Woodleigh, Hornady, Nosler, all of our premium and non premium lead core jacketed bullets.

Our "Conventional" wisdom has always taught us that any time a bullet starts to breakup, jacket/core separation, loss of weight, that our penetration starts to decrease radically, and when this occurs there are times the bullet may not reach vital organs. It has happened many times in the past with all of us, either a bullet may not be constructed for the velocity we run it at, or possibly hitting heavy bone and the bullet breaks up, or we choose the wrong bullet for the job at hand.

It took me a very long time to get clued in to the Non Cons and how they work. Like many shooters, it's very hard to get past "Conventional Teachings" and reach outside the box.

What exactly is a "Non Con"?

Non Cons can come in several different configurations, some I am only now discovering. A solid copper hollow point that has 4 or 6 blades/petals that peel back and shear off as it penetrates, a solid brass hollow point, same configuration that does the same, blades shear after 2 inches of penetration then begin to radiate from center. I will explain this just below in detail. Another one that I recently lumped in the Non Con category is the North Fork Expanding Cup Point.

OK now you say "Michael is Nuts", we just got through saying that anytime a bullet starts to break up or loose weight, we take a chance of not getting enough penetration, and now he is saying that's exactly what some of the Non Cons do? This is where we leave our "Conventional Teachings" and get outside the box.

Let's start with a Copper Solid Hollow Point, much like the HPs I have been getting from Lehigh/SSK for the last few years. Hollow Point copper solids with 6 blades. As velocity increases these petals tend to shear off during terminal penetration. They are long petals, about 1/2 inch, they tend to want to hang onto the main bullet, copper is more malleable than brass, so these shear along the path of the wound cavity, causing massive trauma within the wound channel as they shear. The remaining slug then becomes a large flat nose solid, and continues to penetrate, deeper as the petals shear. So, as the bullet looses weight, as the petals shear off, "Penetration Increases"! It does not decrease--but in fact increases, destroying tissue that otherwise would have never been touched, increasing trauma and destruction of tissue.

Below is just about a perfect example of two of the same bullets, in one instance no shearing effect and in the other the blades or petals have sheared.   Effectively once those petals or blades have sheared, the remaining bullet becomes a full Solid at that point, and keeps penetrating.  If the petals remain on the bullet, the bullet remains a conventional expanding bullet, where the petals are basically forward parachute that keep the bullet from penetrating as deep.

You can plainly see as the petals shear, penetration increases. This is true in animal tissue as well as test medium. As one increases velocity you increase trauma inflicted and penetration with these bullets. I used a 470 gr SSK/Lehigh Copper HP on 13 Australian buffalo with the 500 MDM, and the effect was incredible. Trauma inflicted was massive, animal reactions were like nothing I had ever seen before. Most bullets exited.

Below you can see the trauma inflicted to a witness card 4 inches inside the test medium. This is a massive amount of trauma. 


Moving to the Brass Hollow Points we see a little different mode of operation with these. Brass being more brittle the blades shear off more consistently, instead of trying to hang onto the main bullet, they shear at 2 inches of penetration evenly, and all at the same moment. These begin to move away from the center of the wound channel in a star pattern.   Penetration is far beyond any conventional lead core premium, even Brass Non Cons that are much lighter in weight and SD tend to penetrate further than any conventional expanding bullet. The brass blades that shear penetrate far beyond what I thought they would be capable of, destroying vital tissues within the body cavity. These blades act as secondary missiles destroying, slicing and dicing tissue beyond the main wound channel, and again the remaining slug continues to penetrate like a flat nose solid in a straight line.

Something additional I learned about the brass NonCon in Zimbabwe in 2011 is that once these blades shear, around 2 inches in both test medium and animal tissue, the blades are working close to the bullet from Shear Point to around 5 inches of penetration before they begin to move far enough away from the center bullet to become secondary projectiles. During this short amount of penetration the blades are ripping tissue in conjunction with the center remaining bullet causing a massive amount of trauma. As animal tissue is elastic, and would under normal circumstances collapse back into the main wound channel, the area of penetration that the blades are ripping with the center bullet, this tissue is ripped and becomes part of the permanent wound channel, greatly traumatized, and enlarged beyond elastic return.

Recently with one of the bullets you see above a deer was shot at 100 yards, the blades sheared in the exact same manner as the test work, and 5 of the blades exited the other side of the animal in a pattern, 12 inches away from the exit of the main slug. Even I would not have thought that much penetration possible with the blades alone!  This is the reason I call them "Blades", they do not push their way through tissue, they slice and dice their way to deeper penetration.  

Naturally these blades would not exit an animal the size of a buffalo, or moose. However they will do a lot of damage to internal organs, causing more trauma and destruction of tissue.

This video of a Non Conventional bullet in Ballistic Gel will show you exactly how a Brass NonCon works....................

Just returning from a June 2011 hunt in both Zimbabwe and South Africa I put two of the BBW#13 NonCons to work on buffalo. The .500 caliber 460 gr BBW#13 NonCon from Cutting Edge Bullets, and the .458 caliber 420 gr BBW#13 NonCon HP. In total I shot 6 buffalo, 4 with the 500 MDM and 2 with the 458 B&M. Velocity of the 460 BBW#13 NonCon in the 500 MDM was 2450 fps, and the 420 BBW#13 NonCon in the 458 B&M was 2250 fps. These bullets performed exactly as they did in the test work above, blades sheared inside the body cavity, ripping and tearing vital organs to pieces, inflicting great trauma, while the remaining bullet continued to penetrate deeper than any conventional ever could, and in fact destroying tissue that no conventional bullet would ever touch. In most all cases, exiting the animal, with the exceptions of frontal chest shots, that would go beyond the stomach of cape buffalo! None of the buffalo went further than 10-20 yards before piling up stone cold.  

This might be a little ugly, but I want to show some of the damage done to buffalo hearts done by these Bullets on frontal shots.

These are the most devastating bullets I have ever seen or used on buffalo.

I consider the North Fork Expanding Cup Point a Non Conventional bullet.

While it's mode of operation is very much like a conventional bullet, it limits the amount of expansion to the point that penetration is incredible with these bullets, causing great trauma to target along the way. I has no petals or blades to shear off.   

In comparison to conventional premiums the Non Cons go far beyond where the Conventional is left behind. Typical penetration of big bore buffalo bullets in .458 caliber, Nosler Partition, Swift A, and Woodleighs all penetrate between 19 inches and 24 inches in this test medium. The Non Cons continue beyond that and all the while producing great amounts of trauma to target.

I used the 450 gr .500 caliber North Fork CPS on one buffalo in June 2011 and the reaction was instant. This cow buffalo dropped to the shot, never got up again. Pushed for time and being in the field I never got photos of the destruction of tissue on this buffalo. But it was massive. Penetration was complete, breaking bone along the way. An incredible bullet.  

It has become somewhat of an inside saying, "I have never seen anything like this!". This is the common reaction and words stated by Professional Hunters, hunters when they first use these NonCons, skinners in the skinning sheds, observers, shooters, and even myself! While I have tested these extensively, hundreds of them now in various calibers, and now having been to the field with them the last couple of years, they still amaze me with the amount of destruction they can do. 

There is zero doubt in my mind, these are the "Bullets Of The Future". Once one goes to the field with these, you will never go back to a "Conventional Bullet". I won't.

Conventional Bullets are now on the "Endangered Species List!"


bottom of page