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Non Conventional Bullets

(Non Cons)

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, petals or blades shear off during penetration. 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 blades tend to shear off during terminal penetration. They are long blades, 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 cavity 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 were starting to shear. 

you can plainly see as the blades started to shear off, 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 begin to move away from the center of the wound channel in a star pattern. Again, 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. In addition, 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 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 petals 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 petals alone!

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....................

One of Sam's good friends took a 330 gr NonCon Brass HP .416 caliber on a recent buffalo hunt. Sam had to work to convince this guy that this bullet would do the job for him. Below read what he had to say after shooting two buffalo with the brass NonCon. This was 2010. 

Hey Sam:

Thanks again for loading the .416 Remington Mag rounds for me with the Non-Con bullets. As you know, I used them a few weeks ago on two cape buffalo I shot in Zimbabwe. The 330 grain bullets performed remarkably well. These cape buffalo were my 12th and 13th that I've taken and I have to say I have never seen buffalo go down so quickly. Both animals were shot from approximately 70-80 yards with classic behind the shoulder shots and both buffalo were down within 20 feet. I recovered the bullets from both animals and they performed as you thought they would. The vitals of both buffalo were absolutely shredded. You'll see from one photo that the heart from the big bull looked like a grenade had exploded in it. The bullets traveled through bone and tissue and were embedded under the hide on the opposite shoulder. I have killed buffalo with a .375 H&H, .416 Remington Mag, .450 Dakota. .450 Nitro Express, and a .577 Nitro Express with a variety of bullets and loads. Nothing I have used to date has performed like these bullets have. No dangerous follow up through thick jess bush was required which greatly pleased the PH, Trackers, Game Scout and Client! As always, no bullet construction will make up for poorly placed shots, however, I have witnessed the devastating efficiency of these bullets with proper shot placement and plan to use them in the future for all my dangerous game hunts. Thanks again.

Your friend,


Doug was out again in 2011, hunting with long time friend and PH Cliff Walker here is what Cliff had to say about his year spent with his own 577 Nitro and BBW#13 Solids, and again Doug's experience with the NonCons.

In a letter to Sam he wrote;

Dear Sam:

I’m here in our camp in Rifa along the banks of the Zambezi River, reflecting on my hunts of the past season. I appreciate the cartridges you sent over loaded with the #13 solids and the Non-Con bullets. 

Their performance was truly remarkable.

The calibers that were used on my hunts included the .577 Nitro Express, .416 Remington Mag, and the .300 Jarrett.

I personally used my .577 to take down a charging hippo, a fleeing wounded Cape buffalo, and a backup shot on a trophy bull elephant. The bullets were devastating and immediate shock and stopping power on the animals was as dramatic as I’ve witnessed in my 17 year professional hunting career. In all three cases, the animals hit the ground within seconds. The charging hippo plowed into the ground at my feet, the elephant dropped where it stood, and the fleeing Cape buffalo received a “Texas heart shot” and went down within 10-15 yards. I recovered the bullet from the buffalo under the hide of the chest. The bullet had blown through 5 feet of muscle, gut, and bone.

Most recently, my friend Doug Stein and I hunted Cape buffalo and various species of plains game. Doug was using the Non-Con bullet in his model 70 Winchester in .416 Remington mag. We ambushed a large mature buffalo after a brief stalk and Doug placed a shot behind the shoulder from approximately 35 yards. The stunning and swift shock on the buffalo’s system had him stumbling within a split second. The wounded buff tried to run with the other buffalo, however, he pulled up within 30 yards allowing Doug the time to place a 2nd shot behind the opposite shoulder. The 2nd shot literally swept the buffalo off his feet. I can tell you the geyser of blood rising from the wound was like none I have seen. Without being too graphic and over descriptive, I tell you this to properly describe the extraordinary amount of instantaneous hemorrhaging of the wound channel. Upon inspection of the buff’s vitals, I was amazed at the severity of the bullet wound including the multiple secondary wound channels from the bullet petals. No long walk required to follow up this buff!

Additionally, I was able to witness the .30 caliber Non-Con bullets used on a variety of other plains game species from Doug’s trusty .300 Jarrett. Without exception, each animal dropped in its tracks. The .30 caliber bullets included the plastic tip to help stabilize the bullets on longer shots over 200+ yards. The bullets performed with remarkable and consistent accuracy on each shot.

I plan to continue using these bullets in my rifle on all my future hunts. Thanks again for introducing me to these wonderful bullets.


Cliff Walker

Professional Hunter

Walker/Watson African Safaris

[email protected]

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Working closely with Cutting Edge Bullets we are developing an entire line of "NonCons" in several big bore calibers that will match up with our CEB BBW #13 Solids that are so successful.

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.

Of course I was not the only one using the new BBW#13 NonCons in 2011. There were several other folks in the field with them as well.

Mr. Jake Lasken took the .375 270 BBW#13 NonCon and the 9.3 255 BBW#13 NonCon to Australia.

I am new to all of this... but I just got back from Australia, and wanted to share some of what I realized using 275/.375 and 255/9.3mm Cutting Edge Bullets' NonCons on 'smaller' game, Down Under.

I ended up loading his 20" Steyr Pro Hunter in .376 Steyr using ADI powders, which actually are relabled and sold in the good old USA under the Hodgdon brand. Ended up with a load pushing the 275 NonCon from his Steyr at right around 2,500 fps. Just sighted it in briefly, and went hunting. Also got to take a cherry, very rare 24" Mannlicher-Schoenauer, 1952 model in 9.3x62 with the 255 NonCons (well, I almost got to take the 9.3x66... sort of). These also were doing right at 2,500 fps from the longer barrel.

I am carrying the .376 Steyr with the 275 NCs, and just as we round a corner... there stands a pretty big, black pig in about a foot of water, munching on water lillies. Up snaps the .376, I hold at the top of the back, because it looks kinda far, and launch a Cutting Edge Bullet 275 NonCon at 'only' 2,500 fps. The large pig (200 lbs or so) drops/splashes at the shot, and for a short while, it looks like someone threw two cordless cake mixers in the water!

All told, 8 of 9 really nice boars were taken using the 275/.375 Non Cons from the .376 Steyr at 'only' 2,500 fps. Most dropped at the shot, none went farther than a few steps. Always a 'Ga-Zinta'... and always a 'Ga-Zouta'. And typically, the entry hole is caliber+ with the hide cleanly cut out like it was punched with a cookie cutter, and the exit hole is maybe 30~50% larger in diameter, and more jagged. Without even opening them up, it was interesting to place two spread fingers about an inch away from the entry hole, jostle the position of the hide to line up with the BIG HOLE in the shoulder blade, and clearly see inside the critter. Ouch! Even more impressive, when you do the same to the exit side of the hide. Finger sized hole in the impact shoulder blade, and almost thumb sized in the exit shoulder blade- of course for a bullet to do this, a rib or two on both sides were also shattered.

The insides were always a mess, hamburger and such. When we 'butterfly' the far shoulder blade- cutting open the 'armpit' skin, and flipping/laying the leg up and away over the top of the spine, I would find the finger sized hole from the base penetrating through, and sometimes even a petal from the nose. I only recovered two of these, but they came in right around 9-grains. On one boar, shot at around 60 yards, one petal exited the far side, through the thinner part of the shoulder blade, about 2 inches from the base core exit. After a while, there was no need to keep doing autopsies. Same results whether perfectly broadside, quartering to or away... yawn, yawn, yawn. So... this is what can you expect from a 275/.375 CEB Non Con at only '2,500 fps' , in fair sized feral boars. Alisdair was soon won over with how my friend Miles and I were shooting, and was really impressed with the Non Cons' extra-ordinary performance.

The little 9.3 that could-

Still loaded to ~2,500 fps (both cartridges were loaded with the Hodgdon equal of H4895) from the longer barreled 24" full stock Mannlicher, the 9.3 was 'only' shooting a 255-grain Non Con. It made no difference at all, in comparison to the 275/.375. Given a well placed shot to the chest, pig drops where is stood, kicks a bit perhaps, then all is quiet. One memorable event, happened when we were walking a dried up creek bed, As Alisdair and I came around a bend, he pointed out a black pig sleeping, and tucked against the undercut on the far side, perhaps 60 yards distant. I dropped to one knee, slammed it with a 255/9.3 and all was quiet, EXCEPT for the other two right next to it that jumped up and milled around. The slick Mannlicher ejected a casing and ate up the next round- bang, drop! I stood up, the lined up on a smaller boar- only about 80 lbs, and hit him on the mid-snout as he faced me. Down he went. The entry hole on his muzzle, looks exactly like the prior photo on this thread, of a buffalo who took two on his snout. What amazed me though, was the fact that he pretty much was gutted from sternum back, as the bullet angled down and out between his rear legs, spilling everything in the sand. Humane? You bet...

Summary- the Bottom Line

Other traditional bullets were also loaded and shot, as well as other mono-metal expanding ones. They all worked okay, when driven to around 2,500 fps- which is what one would expect. But hunting is more than just 'things working OK'. Miles and I had CONFIDENCE every time we pulled the trigger and launched a Non Con. We knew what would happen, that there would be no tracking, and towards the end, we carefully metered out the Non Cons, loading them in the chamber, and using the 'other stuff' in the magazine. Pretty much, we never had to dip into that reserve!

There are more--and below, please see my plains game hunt with the 9.3 B&M and the 210gr ESP Raptors--500 MDM and the 350 ESP Raptors.

Remember just above I stated that with the copper non cons that the

petals or blades did their best to hang onto the main body of the bullet, and when they shear it's within the wound channel. This is true, however we discovered that if the hollow point cavity is not as deep, instead of .5 inches, it is .350 inches, then the petals tend to shear exactly like the brass hollow points. With the petals not being as long, they cannot hang onto the main bullet, and shear in a predictable pattern, a star pattern, away from center.  

After the test conducted above I instructed Cutting Edge Bullets to make a run of .500 caliber 395 gr BBW #13 Hollow Points, with a .300 deep cavity to see if we could duplicate the star burst that occurred just above and with the brass NonCons, only consistently with a Copper NonCon. We were successful in that endeavor, and the 395 Copper NonCon shoots to the same POI at 50 yds as it's companion solid, the 425 Copper CEB BBW #13.

I tend to lean towards this mode of operation with the non cons at this

time. There is much left to be tested and learned about these, but I can't see any compromise or downside with them. I have seen a lot of them at work, and intend to test a lot more of them in the field.

ESP Raptor (Enhanced System Projectile)

Now I am going to show you something that is beyond "Non-Conventional" and that is Cutting Edge Bullets newest addition, the ESP Raptor! ESP (Enhanced System Projectile) Raptors have a BBW#13 NonCon profile on one end, a BBW#13 Solid profile on the other end. The bullet is designed to operate both ways, solid or NonCon. In addition, they are designed to operate with a Talon Tip added in the NonCon end to enhance Ballistic Coefficient 2-3 times more than the NonCon, extending range considerably.

They are all "Light For Caliber", being made of brass they are long. However, even the light for caliber Raptors out perform all conventional bullets tested within any given caliber, even the heaviest of caliber! The newest 9.3 (.366) 210 gr ESP Raptor is an excellent example of this as it out performed all 9.3 bullets tested, other than the BBW#13 DGBR NonCon and Solids. It out performed all the Barnes, Swifts, Noslers, Woodleighs, even up to 320 gr Conventionals.  

The ESP Raptor is going to be available from Cutting Edge Bullets in all major calibers from .224 up through .510 caliber. We here at B&M are doing the test work on all the Raptors and will not be available in caliber until tested and proven. Some have not been approved yet because of stability issues. Terminals are INCREDIBLE to say the least on all of them. Some Raptors have even been to the field already and performance has been beyond any expectations we could even imagine.  

Early 2012 I went to South Africa to hunt with my long time friend and PH Andrew Schoeman. My main objective in this hunt was for thin skinned plains game and to put the 9.3 B&M and the 210 ESP Raptor to the test. Along with the 9.3 B&M I also took my newest 500 MDM, a gunkote rifle with a short barrel of 19 inches, and shooting a brand new 350 gr ESP Raptor!

I had the 9.3 210 ESP Raptor running 2900 fps in a new 19 inch 9.3 B&M. The 500 MDM was running the 350 ESP Raptor at 2750 fps. In both of these we had just developed the new style Talon Tips with a small hollow point drilled through the middle. This small HP was just right to cause the tip to destroy itself on contact, and actually enhance the shear points of the Raptor NonCon.

I shot 2 hartebeast, 3 impala, 3 zebra, 2 wildebeast and two blesbok with the 9.3 B&M with the 210 ESP Raptors. Most of these animals dropped to the shot, never to move again. Blades sheared at 1.5-2 inches upon entry and on impala/hartebeast size animals the blades went completely through vitals and ended up in the far side of the chest cavity wall. On zebra/wildebeast size animals the blades sheared exactly the same manner, and were caught up on the far side of the vital tissues. Animals such as the zebra took off in a mad run, dead on their feet within 50 yards. One of the wildebeast dropped in it's tracks.

9.3 B&M and the 210 ESP Raptor

Personally I have used many conventional bullets on exactly these sort of game animals and I have never witnessed the amount of trauma and damage inflicted by these 210 Raptors in any other medium caliber rifle. Vital tissues such as lungs and other tissue was devastated. Blades sheared and worked with the center bullet for those first 5 + inches of penetration, blades then worked their way from center and become individual projectiles that sliced & diced their way through vitals, vessels and other tissues. Entry wounds were massive because of the shearing of the blades, exits were not as massive. Not one bullet was recovered regardless of angle or bone being broken. All 210 ESP Raptors exited. Below are some photos of damaged internal vitals from the 210 Raptor.

 With the 500 MDM and the 350 ESP Raptor I took 2 oryx, 2 wildebeast, and an eland. Same scenario some dropped to the shot, others made a last mad death run and literally died on their feet. Of particular interest I made a very bad shot on one of the wildebeast. This animal was "Gut" shot, as I took a running shot, and obviously I am not so good at that! I really wanted to kick myself as I knew were were in for an entire day of tracking and trying to catch up with this animal! After 15-20 minutes of tracking, not a drop of blood, we found the wildebeast "Stone Cold Dead", inside 300 YARDS! Upon study, there were NO VITALS TOUCHED. The massive amount of damage done to the animal actually put it down in 300 yards--I had never even heard of anything like this! Gut shot wildebeast stone cold dead in 15-20 minutes inside 300 yards. This bullet is devastating to say the least.  

The .500 350 ESP Raptor at 2750 fps was incredible. Impacts were taken extremely hard. Blades sheared as normal and were devastating to vitals especially when still working close to the bullet. It did not matter if bone was contacted, the bullet continued in a straight line destroying everything in it's path. Blades penetrated through the vitals, again slice and dice. Blades do not penetrate because of mass, they cut their way through tissue. Trauma was massive to say the least.

None of the 350 ESP Raptors were recovered. All bullets exited. On the one oryx which entered point of the shoulder, this bullet exited just in front of the right leg, a total of 3 feet of penetration before exiting, and after breaking all the bones in the shoulder. Penetration is incredible, as is the damage and destruction done in between.

A "NonCon" at its best!  

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!"