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Ammunition

BWA 10×100: New Cartridge with 100-Year-Old Roots

BWA 10x100
Mr. Louis “Lou” Murdica, 1991 Bench Rest World Champion testing the BWA 10×100.

Blackwater Ammunition is a company to watch. Today’s announcement is one example of why.

At SHOT Show 2020, Blackwater Ammunition announced a new caliber: the BWA 10×100.

The BWA 10×100 is a new design with some very modern technology, but it has roots that stretch back to World War I.

Before I get into the details, let me share that the initial load developed for this cartridge generates more than 11k ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle. Now, let’s talk about this new monster caliber.

Case

Case dimensions and properties are highly important aspects of cartridge design and load development.

The new 10×100 BWA cartridge has the same base diameter, rim thickness and primer pocket as a .50 BMG cartridge. Additionally, the overall length (OAL) of the 10×100 BWA is the same as the .50 BMG.

In other words, many, if not most, .50 BMG rifles can be converted to 10×100 BWA with a barrel change. The bolt, extractor and ejector all work the same with the 10×100 case.

10x100 BWA

The 10×100 BWA case is 1mm longer than the .50 BMG. That may not seem like a lot, but according to the company, it allows up to 20% more powder to be loaded in each round. But, that may not be the only thing impacting case capacity.

Case technology also plays a role in this new cartridge.

Back in 2018, Blackwater Ammunition and its parent company, Precision Ballistic Manufacturing (PBM), introduced a new case technology that used a two-piece design. According to the company, the pieces were machined from solid metal. This is different than standard brass manufacturing that starts with a small “doughnut” of brass that is drawn (stretched) multiple times.

It is likely that the machined case is stronger than a drawn case. If so, the walls of the case could be thinner and still provide the same strength. Thinner walls would allow for a greater case capacity.

Bullet

As you might expect, the BWA 10×100 sends large, heavy projectiles downrange. How big? How heavy? How fast?

Right now, Blackwater Ammunition only released data on one load, and it is a doozy.

With a 420-grain monolithic Carobronze bullet, Blackwater Ammunition is able to get 3,500 fps at the muzzle. If my math is correct, that puts the muzzle energy at more than 11,400 ft-lbs. Much like the .50 BMG, you can take out lightly armored vehicles with those kinds of numbers.

[Note: If you’re not familiar with Carobronze, it is a dense, homogeneous copper alloy that is often used in the aerospace industry. It is said to offer very low friction and a high surface hardness – 90 points on the Brinell scale.]

In a head-to-head matchup, the .50 BMG can still generate more raw power. For example, the Federal American Eagle .50 BMG pushes a 660-grain bullet to more than 2,900 fps. That’s roughly 1,000 more ft-lbs of energy.

Keep in mind that energy doesn’t dictate accuracy, nor is an established .50 BMG load vs the first load of a completely new caliber a fair comparison. It is, however, an interesting starting point for the inevitable comparisons and discussions regarding these two rounds.

I’ve reached out to Blackwater Ammunition for additional information on the cases and cartridge. As I get additional information, I will share it here.

In the meantime, I hope you chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.

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Ammunition

Federal Terminal Ascent Ammunition

Terminal Ascent Bullet Performance at 1000 yards

Announced in time for the 2020 SHOT Show, Federal Premium unveiled a new line of hunting ammunition called Terminal Ascent.

In simple terms, this is a new line of ammo that claims:

  • match-grade accuracy,
  • deep-penetration at all ranges,
  • reliable expansion at low velocity,
  • high weight retention and
  • lethal terminal performance at all ranges.

While this ammo might be considered long-range hunting ammunition because of its great performance at distance, the reality is it is an “all-range, all-velocity” line that is said to perform no matter where your target is.

Let’s jump into some of the features of this new line.

General Construction

Federal designed these loads to blend the best characteristics of expanding big game ammunition with the exceptional accuracy of match-grade rounds. While compromise loads can leave the user unsatisfied with all aspects of a round, Federal Premium believes the Terminal Ascent line successfully combines all of the best attributes.

How did the company manage this?

Bonded Design

Many hunters want high weight retention as this is a good indicator that the bullet will stay in one piece and penetrate deeply. When taking a game animal, a shoulder shot is common meaning the bullet has to penetrate heavy bone to reach the heart and lungs for a humane kill.

Federal Terminal Ascent Long Range Hunting Ammunition

Hitting an animal at close distances means the bullet velocity will be high, which can cause over expansion and fragmentation in some bullet designs. A bonded round means that the jacket and core have been joined during the manufacturing process and will not separate when hitting a target.

In other words, bonded bullets are unlikely to shed weight and are likely to penetrate deeply enough to hit vital organs.

Terminal Ascent bullets have a solid shank: a thick copper base that supports the lead core. Combined with the bonding process, the shank helps ensure the bullet has high weight retention after hitting the target.

Slipstream Tip

Polymer tipped bullets were once seen to be a gimmick by some in the industry. Performance in the field tells a different story. It now seems that nearly every manufacturer has at least one bullet line with a polymer tip.

Slipstream Tip on Terminal Ascent Bullet Ammo

While the Terminal Ascent bullet has a polymer tip, it is not a common plastic point. Rather, it is a patented hollow core tip that initiates the expansion of the bullet at lower velocities.

During the testing of other polymer tipped bullets, Federal engineers determined that the expansion of bullets was inconsistent once the range reached 600 yards. This was due to the velocity loss at those ranges.

Initial experimentation showed that drilling a hole in the very tip of the bullet allowed for expansion at lower velocities which extended the useful range of the bullet by several hundred yards. With a hollow polymer tip, target media would enter and cause expansion – very similar to how the hollow point bullet works.

However, the hole at the front of the tip degraded the bullet’s flight characteristics. It almost seemed to circle back to square one. Would you need a polymer tip for your polymer tip?

The solution was a hollow polymer tip that did not have a hole in the exposed end. Through experimentation, the Federal design team discovered that the point of the hollow tip would break off on impact with the target. That would allow target media to enter the polymer tip’s hollow core and initiate expansion.

Federal Premium Terminal Ascent Hunting Ammunition

This design – called the Slipstream Tip – greatly improved the expansion of the bullet at lower velocities while maintaining the ballistic characteristics of the standard polymer tipped rifle bullet.

Another aspect of the Slipstream Tip that enhances performance is the choice of material. Federal uses the same polymer as it uses in its Trophy Bonded Tip which puts the softening temperature at 434Ëš F.

Terminal Ascent vs Precision Hunter Tips

It appears to me that the Terminal Ascent line is a direct competitor to the Hornady Precision Hunter line. In that line, Hornady uses a Heat Shield tip to prevent tip softening and to improve expansion at distances beyond 400 yards.

Is the Terminal Ascent better than the Precision Hunter? I have no way of even guessing at how the two match up in the field. And the bullet weights used by each company are different in each caliber. So, there is no direct comparison of the G1 BC either.

Except for two cartridges: the 300 Win Mag and the 300 WSM. Both companies selected 200-grain bullets for these cartridges. Here is how the factory specs match up:

 

Terminal Ascent Velocity

Precision Hunter Velocity

Terminal Ascent G1 BC

Precision Hunter G1 BC

300 Win Mag - 200 grains

2,810 fps

2,850 fps

.608

.597

300 WSM - 200 grains

2,810 fps

2,820 fps

.608

.597

I’d argue we can’t make any definitive statements about the two based on this information alone. However, it would seem the two lines are going to be in the same ballpark of performance. I’m looking forward to seeing field results.

AccuChannel Grooving

Federal developed a new process for adding grooves to a bullet shank to improve accuracy and reduce barrel wear and fouling.

For many people, the engineering for the new AccuChannel Grooving is getting into the weeds a bit. So, I’ll keep it simple.

Essentially, engineers performed a series of experiments and learned how to reduce the number of grooves needed on a bullet shank to achieve the same level of performance. By reducing the number of grooves, you can improve the ballistic coefficient (BC) of the bullet.

Likewise, the team found a way to improve the groove geometry to further reduce drag on the bullet.

Loads and Specs

 

Bullet Weight

Velocity

Energy

G1 BC

6.5 PRC

130 gr

3,000 fps

2,598 ft-lbs

.532

6.5 Creedmoor

130 gr

2,825 fps

2,304 ft-lbs

.532

.270 Win

130 gr

3,000 fps

2,598 ft-lbs

.493

.270 WSM

136 gr

3,240 fps

3,171 ft-lbs

.493

.280 Ackley Improved

155 gr

2,930 fps

2,955 ft-lbs

.586

.28 Nosler

155 gr

3,200 fps

3,525 ft-lbs

.586

7mm Rem Mag

155 gr

3,000 fps

3,098 ft-lbs

.586

.30-06 Sprg

175 gr

2,730 fps

2,897 ft-lbs

.520

.308 Win

175 gr

2,600 fps

2,627 ft-lbs

.520

.300 Win Mag

200 gr

2,810 fps

3,507 ft-lbs

.608

.300 WSM

200 gr

2,810

3,507 ft-lbs

.608

Ammo will be sold in 20-round boxes. Suggested retail pricing will start at $42.95 for a box and go up from there. Actual pricing is set by the dealer, and I expect to see many of these loads closer to the $30-35 range.

Final Thoughts

Terminal Ascent Ammo from Federal at 2020 SHOT Show

The final word on these new loads will be offered once they make it into the field. But for now, this line looks impressive. I am eager to see what they can do.

If you get some on the range or out on a hunting trip, how about leaving your observations in the comments below. I’ve got a lot of readers who appreciate hearing how these loads perform in real-world conditions.

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Ammunition

Winchester Hybrid-X: New Defensive Ammo

Winchester Hybrid-X

Winchester Ammunition announced a new defensive ammo called the Hybrid-X. The Winchester Hybrid-X ammo merges multiple bullet technologies to provide rapid incapacitation of a violent attacker.

But, is the new design an improved manstopper or just a gimmick? Although the ammo has a long way to go to prove itself, I think the line has some merit. Let’s take a look at what it is, where it may have drawn some inspiration and what it actually does in a testing medium.

The Basics

The new bullet design combines a polymer tip, a copper jacket and a segmenting lead core. As the bullet strikes the target the core is designed to break into smaller projectiles and, according to Winchester, “deliver massive energy transfer.”

Looking at the illustrations of the bullet, it would appear that the polymer tip makes up the majority of the rounded cone on the leading end. The segmenting core appears to have something akin to a wadcutter profile.

Initially, the new ammo will be offered only in 9mm. However, the company is likely to expand the line based on consumer feedback and request. The 9mm load uses a 124 grain bullet and is loaded to +P pressures. At the muzzle, the bullet’s measured velocity is 1,225 fps. Although the design is uncommon, the bullet’s weight and velocity are in line with other conventional loads.

Quik-Shok: Inspiration from the past?

Rounds like the Hybrid-X have been made in the past. For example, legendary defensive bullet designer Tom Burczynski designed a projectile called the Quik-Shok. This bullet technology was licensed by the defunct Triton ammunition company that sold the rounds in a wide variety of calibers.

According to an article written by Burczynski in the book Street Stoppers, the Quik-Shok bullet fragmented into three parts upon impact. Compared to typical fragmenting self-defense loads of the time, the Quik-Shok round delivered deeper penetration (about 10″.) Burczynski wrote he designed the load “primarily for law enforcement use in hostage situations or special situations where extremely rapid incapacitation is paramount.”

Winchester Hybrid-X new ammo

The Winchester Hybrid-X appears to be a different animal, though the concept is appears to be similar to that of the Quik-Shok. It is likely the company engineered this round to penetrate to the arbitrary 12″ minimum depth of the FBI testing protocols. If so, this load may offer a significant alternative to both citizens and law enforcement agencies deciding on what to carry.

Range Testing

Recently, Rob Pincus became the first person outside of Winchester Ammunition to test the Hybrid-X ammo. Pincus is the director of the Personal Defense Network and a firearms trainer.

According to Pincus, the Hybrid-X ammunition “ran flawlessly” in multiple compact and full-size self-defense handguns. Pincus also said that accuracy with the round was “solid.”

Winchester Hybrid-X penteration testing

Pincus shot a number of these new rounds into Clear Ballistics testing medium. Clear Ballistics makes a synthetic alternative to ballistics gelatin that is used for FBI testing. While it is not identical to the “official” testing medium, it does offer an early look at potential performance.

All shots into the Clear Ballistics blocks were made at 12′ and with two layers of cotton clothing over the facing side of the block.

From the photos Pincus provided me, it appears the 9mm load penetrated to about 7-8″ before it broke into its designed shards. These pieces continued to penetrate deeper into the block. It appears in the photo above that two of the pieces penetrated to about 12″ and a third went to about 13″.

Winchester Hybrid-X ammo review

“I’m still a fan of the modern bonded hollowpoint,” said Pincus. “Rounds like the Defender round or the “D” from Winchester’s Train & Defend line are my primary choice for self defense. However, the Hybrid-X is an impressive option for a non-traditional approach. The design offers the feeding characteristics of a ball round but with far greater wounding capacity.”

Pincus said that a video of his testing will be posted at the Personal Defense Network in the near future.

Final Thoughts

I’ve always liked the idea of this kind of bullet. None of the segmented bullet designs to date, however, have ever managed to convince me to move away from traditional hollowpoint designs.

The testing information and photos provided by Pincus are suggestive that Winchester Ammunition has a product that offers better performance than older fragmenting bullet designs. Additional testing through barriers and with traditional ballistics gelatin will likely be instructive on how far the company has moved the design forward.

I look forward to seeing testing of this ammunition, and expect Winchester will have demos run at the 2018 SHOT Show.

Note: This article has been updated to include first hand testing information from Rob Pincus. Thanks to Pincus for giving me permission to use his photos in this article.