Frequently Asked Questions

       Please check out our frequently asked questions below.  If you still have questions beyond what's explained below or information you may find in our loading procedures or Mark's Bench, please check our forum or email us with questions.  We will be happy to help.

Q: Why are the bullets you recommend in your Afterburner line so light?  I'm worried about penetration on the larger game I plan to hunt.

A: We've designed our Afterburner line for both deep penetration and high shock, two things normally difficult to accomplish at the same time.  In relation to penetration, momentum and parasitic drag are the two prominent factors dictating depth of penetration with parasitic drag being far more significant.  Momentum is mass multiplied by velocity, whereas energy is one half the mass multiplied by velocity squared.  In summary, momentum calculations are far more sensitive to bullet weight than energy calculations, which favor velocity more.  Parasitic drag is something very complex to model for a deforming bullet, but its effect closely relates to the temporary wound channel, which represents the total displacement of material from the bullet while it is traveling through the medium.  The permanent wound channel, which represents the wound channel that has permanent damage after the bullet has run its course, such as the remaining hole size, tissue tears and ruptures, etc. is something else.  More on that in a bit.

 

The front section of our Afterburner line is designed to shear off very quickly, retaining between 65-75% of the original weight with a flat front for a slightly larger than full diameter wadcutter profile. The petals will radiate outward doing their own damage as an ancillary benefit.  Because the process of getting from ballistic shape to terminal shape is so rapid, the parasitic drag exerted on the bullet during this early stage transition, is much lower than that of a traditional expanding mushroom.  This allows the bullet to retain more of its original velocity once it achieves its terminal shape.

 

Furthermore, a surface normal (90 degrees) to the direction of travel, which a wadcutter is, displaces material more quickly than a rounded front cross-section (mushroom).  This higher displacement speed more effectively supersedes flesh's ability to elastically conform to the bullet as it passes by.  Upon exceeding this elastic threshold, flesh will tear.  In effect, this means the permanent wound channel for a wadcutter shape, as the bullet continues through its target, becomes a much larger percentage of the temporary wound channel, improving efficiency, and therefore effectiveness, greatly.  The wadcutter profile itself imparts less parasitic drag than the larger, rounded mushroom, allowing it to retain even more original velocity as the bullet progresses.

 

This higher velocity during and after the first 12 inches, along with the wadcutter profile, are both critical in maintaining a large, effective, deep, permanent wound channel, especially on angled shots requiring long distances before reaching the vitals.

Both the high muzzle velocity and superior ballistic coefficient of the Afterburner ensure impact velocities are the maximum possible, accentuating the terminal performance described above even more.  We anticipate that our lighter Afterburner bullets may penetrate deeper with a more dramatic hydrostatic shock effect than anything you're typically accustomed to shooting.

Expanded Bullets - With Words.png

Q: The Afterburner bullets seem light for the recommended twist rates.  Why?

A: There are two things at play here.  One is gyroscopic stability, and the second is terminal stability.  Both are very important and needed in a hunting bullet for game.  Gyroscopic stability (SG) refers to the stability during flight.  This stability is easier to achieve than terminal stability, which is the bullet's ability to remain facing nose first and continue in a straight line after impact.  Our bullets may shoot well in a marginally stabilized system with an SG as low as 1.2.  However, the bullets fired in this scenario are likely to veer or tumble upon impact.  All of our Afterburners are designed for an SG of 1.5 or higher for the twists recommended to ensure proper terminal performance.

 

For a given caliber and barrel twist rate, bullet length and weight are the largest contributors in determining the SG of a bullet.  The longer a bullet is for the same weight, the more twist it needs for stability.  Since our bullets are solid copper with a lightweight tip, they are longer than most other bullets due to the increased length to weight ratio.  That, coupled with the contoured design making them even longer than bullets with a similar material construction, adds to that effect.  These are the reasons behind why faster twists are required for our Afterburner bullets versus like-weighted bullets from competitors.

The good news here is that due to the extremely high ballistic coefficient, nothing is given up in the way of trajectory, quite the opposite.  With higher BCs than most competitors' bullets weighing two to three weight classes heavier coupled with higher potential muzzle velocities due to lower bore friction and lighter weights, Afterburners will undoubtedly be the flattest shooting, best wind bucking bullets you've shot to date.

Q: How fast can I push your bullets?

A: To tell you the truth, we are not sure, but would expect 4000+ FPS acceptable for the Afterburners.  We haven't been able to push them too fast yet but have witnessed 3490 FPS in initial testing.  We designed them to handle anything that can be thrown at them in the way of velocity.  More velocity should just be a good thing from our perspective as long as it's safely achieved.

Q: What other bullet lines do you plan to have?

A: This is a difficult answer as we're laser focused on the Afterburner at the moment.  However, we will continue our predominantly hunting focused approach, looking to release our short-range, dangerous game bullets utilizing our same patent pending technology incorporated into our Afterburner line.  After that, it would be difficult to guess, but we will be listening to what our customers say and would like to see as we progress.

Q: Why didn't you design your Afterburners for 100% weight retention?

A: The answer to this can be an entire book, but in brevity, here it goes.  The most efficient shape for a permanent wound channel is a wadcutter.  A mushroom does not create that shape.  The front of the Afterburner exists on the bullet for aerodynamic properties.  It's purpose is served once the target is reached.  At that point, it is better served by removing it rapidly from the rest of the bullet, so that the bullet can become the aforementioned wadcutter profile.  As an ancillary benefit, the petals are of a size that they create secondary wound channels penetrating deeper than one would normally anticipate.  The resulting shock and penetration imparted on the target with the shearing nose, wadcutter design is more effective than a full retention design.

 

Furthermore, designing a bullet to ensure 100% weight retention at higher velocities creates physical and metallurgical challenges detrimental to other aspects of the bullet's performance.

Q: What is the minimum velocity the Afterburners will perform at?

A: This is a bit of a floating answer as different calibers will exhibit their own behavior, but in general, we'd like to see a minimum of 1650 FPS for proper performance.  This is not only in reference to expansion, but also in maintaining a straight path through the intended target and ensuring the petals shear off.  We give a failing grade to a somewhat expanded bullet that hooks and veers around as it progresses forward with little to no stability or trauma.  We know ours will still expand much lower than the recommended minimum velocity, but we expect high performance at all velocities considered.  Below is a picture of the 153 grain, .308" caliber bullet fired into wet newsprint at 1644 fps.  Total penetration was 13" for the base (dead straight) and 5" - 6" for the petals.  All petals radiated away from center in a consistent pattern, signifying early separation when rotation was still high.

1644 FPS - Results.png

Q: I like to seat my bullets .###" off the lands.  I see that I can't do that with your bullets as you list a fixed value.  Why did you make them that way?

A: This part of the patent pending design on our bullets was carefully thought out.  Distance off the lands is a component of the shot start ignition phase, the most important part of the burn cycle.  Many target shooters actually bury the bullet into the lands, where that would be a poor practice for hunting applications for obvious reasons.  Naturally, it is assumed that being as close to that, say .020" off the lands satisfies requirements for hunting, but yields near target-like consistency.  The argument is logical.  However, this is actually not the case.  In that case, the bullet has been placed into one of the most sensitive positions in relation to shot start ignition.  The bullet does not have much momentum prior to engaging the throat and lands; however, it has some.  Hence, any variation is magnified shot to shot as the bullet tries to engrave its way into the barrel with only a little momentum helping it, especially if the case has a light hold on the bullet which allows it to release at lower pressures.  Pressure curves for loads developed like that are more likely to vary wildly.  Check out Mark's Bench at the bottom under Pressure Sensing Equipment where pressure curves are displayed and talked about in different scenarios.

 

It is better to crimp with assertion, holding the bullet firmly so as to make the release distinct and with a respectable amount of pressure behind the bullet.  With the proper crimp, this is repeatable, and allows the bullet to release at predominantly the same point in time from the case.  This, coupled with starting back further, roughly .120" - .280" off the lands, ensures the bullet has a substantial amount of momentum and pressure force behind it during the engraving process.  This higher momentum into the throat/lands reduces variation, shot to shot, and even rifle to rifle for developed loads.  Reduced variation is always a good thing for repeatability, especially when environmental conditions change such as temperature or bore fouling.

Where seating depth is normally utilized to tune a load, crimp strength is used in its place for Apex Outdoors bullets.  We recommend a half turn down beyond bottoming the die out at full ram height as Lee Precision suggests for starters.  From there, more or less crimp can be utilized to optimize the burn cycle to find the sweet spot if needed.  This is very effective and a preferred method to adjusting seating depth.  We designed our bullets to work within a system as impervious to variation as possible.  We expect our bullets to present one of the most forgiving load development experiences you've ever had.

Q: Do your bullets contain lead and can I use them in lead-free restricted areas?

All of our bullets are 100% lead-free and may be used lawfully in the state of California.

Apex Outdoors Non-Lead Approval - Califo