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Old April 6, 2014, 06:47 PM   #1
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Federal Fusion 308 minimal expansion on game

Recently my son used Federal Fusion 308 150 grain ammo to take 2 caribou using a model 70 featherweight. Both were bulls, maybe 200-225 lbs. This was the first time we've used the Federal fusion. It grouped a little better in his new rifle than the Remington corelokts he used in his old gun, so we decided to give them a try. It also helped that we could actually find them to purchase here in town.

When dressing the animals, I was somewhat perplexed by the exit wound on one of the chest shots since it was pretty much indistinguishable from the entrance wound. I don't remember noticing anything odd about the wounds on the second animal he took, so I don't know if expansion was normal or not there.

On one of our animals, my son took a second shot to prevent the animal from disappearing into the woods. We recovered this bullet in the meat of the neck. It didn't hit any bones, but I didn't follow the wound track, so I don't know its exact path through the animal.

The shots were approximately 250 yards. I would have expected this to be well within the range where we could expect reliable expansion on game. Federal's ballistic table on the box shows an expected velocity of about 2300 fps at that range. Probably somewhat lower with the featherweight's shorter barrel (2200 or so?)

The recovered bullet is shown next to an unfired 150 grain fusion disassembled from the hunting ammo my son used.

I'm curious about other's experiences with expansion of this bullet line on big game.

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Old April 6, 2014, 08:20 PM   #2
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From GanderMtn.
This specialized deer bullet electrochemically joins pure copper to an extreme pressure-formed core to ensure optimum performance. The result is high terminal energy on impact that radiates lethal shock throughout the target. This energy is optimized through mass weight retention, a top-secret tip-skiving process, and superior bullet integrity. 20 rounds per box. Manufactured by Federal. Ships ground only.
My take on this is (translation): Don't pay any attention (or ask) about bullet expansion because we have great weight retention. And our 'top secret tip-skiving process' allows for the fantastic weight retention; breaking the tip off on contact, fracturing like a target or match bullet would but retaining most of its weight. So you better hope the hydrostatic shock kills the animal, because the projectile may not.

Looks like this great idea isn't working our for federal, or you just got a bad lot.
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Old April 6, 2014, 08:33 PM   #3
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Thanks To you , both, Musher, & Sierra. I bought some of the same 150gr.
in .308
Also go some .223 fusion. Haven't shot yet. Good to know something about them , other than metric equivalent info. & stats.that Federal supplies on their site.
FNH Scar 17 s --Black ; cause it goes so well with my formal wear, for those special occasions. Customized Mini 14 ,& ATI stock and a 3.5 lb.-- Pittsburgh trigger. / Colt Python 8 in.Nickel / Colt Gold Cup N.M. ; Voere * KDF in .270 ; N. frame SMITH AND WESSON revolvers; and TC Contender in 41 Magnum .

Last edited by CleanDean; April 7, 2014 at 11:03 AM.
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Old April 7, 2014, 08:35 PM   #4
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I'm a bit surprised as well. I've never used them on game, but have tried a box or so in the past. I've read nothing but good things from others who have used them though. They obviously worked, or you wouldn't have recoverd the bullet or caribou. I'm thinking a rare bullet failure. Sometimes the shot angle, range, where it hits etc. just combine to produce less than optimal results.

When choosing bullets everything is a compromise. Some expand really fast, kill game quick, but offer poor penetration if you have to shoot through them at bad angles.

Others expand less, take a little longer to put game down, but will penetrate much better from those bad angles. The Fusion, along with many others are among the latter group.

You make your choices and take your chances. I read about failures going both ways. A different bullet might have expanded too much, never reached the vitals and allow the caribou to run for a few miles before expiring.

Velocity pays a big part. All of the Federal ammo I've chronographed reached, or exceeded published speeds, so I don't think that is the case here. I do have my doubts about the bullets listed BC on Federal's website. They show .414. I have some 150/155 gr SST's and Berger bullets with BC's around .415-.440. Just looking at the Fusions, I don't believe it's .414. They certainly look a lot closer to some bullets with a BC of around .3. A bullet with a BC of .414 should be at around 2300 fps at 250 yards. A .3 BC bullet starting at the same speed would be just about 2000 fps at that range. That could make a difference at that speed.

I've seen a lot of the Barnes copper bullets after recovery. At speeds of over 2200 fps they look just fine. Under 2000 fps and they look just like the photo you have of the Fusion bullet.
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Old April 7, 2014, 09:22 PM   #5
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Can't speak for the 308, but I've had good results from the 223 round. My daughter took a deer this past season. 71yards range, round expanded perfectly, stopped in hide on off side. I must admit surprise at the poor performance you received.
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Old April 8, 2014, 12:55 AM   #6
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They obviously worked, or you wouldn't have recoverd the bullet or caribou
Well, bullet placement counts for a lot even if you don't get expansion, but I could have gotten ball ammo for a lot less money!

I wish I'd paid more attention to the wound track on the second animal. Don't really remember if the exit wound looked like an expanded bullet track or not.

Still, out of 3 rounds I believe 2 failed to expand. Ranges and animal size seem to be well within the specs for this load as marketed.

I too wondered about the velocity. Could be a combination of "optimistic" BC, a 22" barrel, and 250 yards took it just below the expansion velocity.

The 223 expansion at short range is consistent with this theory as well.

I may run a few rounds through the crony to see what muzzle velocity looks like.

Anybody taken animals at 200+ with this bullet?
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Old April 8, 2014, 10:15 AM   #7
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I could see one cartridge bullet with bad expansion. But two defective out of the same box. That's troubling news. It almost appears your Son bullets were near their spent ranges showing so little expansion. I suspect your Son won't be buying anymore Federal Fusion anytime soon.
I understand your situation of so little choice found around your town concerning ammunition. Perhaps for your hunting ammo needs next time. Maybe its best to stay with what you two already know about Remington core-lokt's. " They work!!"
Sorry I can't offer any specific info about or experiences with Fusion ammo. I just never had enough enthusiasm in wanting to buy some.
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Old April 8, 2014, 10:49 AM   #8
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I've used Fusion 150 grain ammo in a .308 before and I got massive expansion but the range was closer. I've also used the 165 grain fusions and have been pleased with them as well.
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Old April 8, 2014, 03:38 PM   #9
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If they are not expanding at 200+ yards they may work pefectly for me with a .308 at less than 75 yards.
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Old April 8, 2014, 03:59 PM   #10
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We did have good luck with the core lokts on moose at similar ranges. Through and through for broadside shots. Appeared to have good expansion. I've also used them on deer in years past with uniformly good results. Unfortunately they were tough to come by when we were load testing earlier last year.

So far, I haven't turned up much in the way of reports of failure to expand for the fusions. It's possible it's a bad batch.

I suppose at some point I'll ask Federal what they think.

Might be easiest just to load some corelokts to group well in this rifle.
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Old April 8, 2014, 04:55 PM   #11
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Perhaps you could email Federal a picture of the recovered bullet.

I mostly use the 165 grain Fusions in 308 and in every critter I've shot the bullet gave good performance with ranges from 30 to 175 yards. The only 150 gr Fusion I used on a critter was at 80 yards and it did great.
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Old April 9, 2014, 12:30 PM   #12
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Keep us updated. I would be curious to see what they say.
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Old April 9, 2014, 09:37 PM   #13
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The first time I shot a bullet and got that kind of performance on game would be the last time I shot that bullet. I happily pay the asking price for Barnes TTSX and my only surprises have been happy ones.
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Old April 9, 2014, 09:56 PM   #14
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Did the shot hit low or anything? It's possible that it's not exactly the bullet's fault, rather the cartridge was mischarged/undercharged, and the bullet possibly left the barrel at a significantly slower velocity than it should have. The bullet pictured looks a lot like what a bullet that was designed for 1800-3000fps impact velocities, but ended up hitting at 1500-1600.
Even if the bullet was manufactured faulty, I would think that a bullet with exposed lead at the tip, would open up a bit more than that at velocities over 2000fps.

Also I will agree that a BC of .414 for that bullet seems a bit optimistic but it's also important to remember that G1 BC is not constant. It changes at different velocities. The bullet may have a higher BC at .300win mag velocities, while at .308 velocities it could be lower, or visa versa. Depending on the velocity they tested at, it could skew the numbers a bit.
Just my $.02
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Old April 9, 2014, 11:38 PM   #15
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Yes, it probably doesn't matter what Federal says. I won't likely use the round on game again.

I can't imagine the velocities were off by so much. At 250 yards a 500-600 fps drop in velocity would have dropped something like an additional 9-12". The rounds would have hit very low indeed (or missed).
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Old April 12, 2014, 07:54 AM   #16
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I'm glad that you shared these photos because it made a believer out of me.

During my lifetime, I've only killed two caribou. That was on a hunt to Saskatchewan many years ago. My .308 ammo was 180 grain Remington core-lokt and performance was quite good (as usual).

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old April 12, 2014, 08:44 AM   #17
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Good grief. I've shot 30-30 150 grain Power Points into soft dirt at 550 yards (shooting at a 5 gal. bucket on cultivated ground) and gotten that much expansion.

Stuff like this makes me reluctant to switch from proven old loads.
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Old April 27, 2014, 04:33 PM   #18
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I have been shooting 308 180 grain Fusions since they came out. Granted I have used them on only Georgia Whitetails, but they have always got the job done. Everything from 15 yards out to 280 yards.
On the exit wounds I have had some bigger than others, mostly all have been thru and thru so no recovered bullets.
On the 200 lbs. Hog I shot with one, had good expansion but did not exit. Found the bullet on far shoulder. (Sorry don't have the bullet for a picture)
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Old May 14, 2014, 09:53 PM   #19
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Thanks for the info. Disappointing on the one hand. Should give good penetration on the other hand. Interesting.
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Old May 16, 2014, 02:01 PM   #20
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I'd say its a bad batch of bullets. You should contact Federal. I have always had good expansion with Federal Fusions in .223 (62gr) .7mm-08 (120gr), and and 30-06 (150 and 180gr).
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Old September 10, 2018, 06:19 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 2damnold4this
I mostly use the 165 grain Fusions in 308 and in every critter I've shot the bullet gave good performance with ranges from 30 to 175 yards. The only 150 gr Fusion I used on a critter was at 80 yards and it did great.
I'm going to see how well the 265 grain Fusions group for me in the morning.
I just shot the Remington Barnes 168's this morning, and wasn't thrilled with the grouping I got compared to Federal ammo. I've got a thread going here about best ammo for Cow Elk. We'll see.
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Old September 10, 2018, 06:35 PM   #22
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It's hard to beat an Accubond.
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Old September 11, 2018, 09:01 AM   #23
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You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
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Old September 11, 2018, 10:36 AM   #24
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Good luck on your hunt.
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Old September 15, 2018, 01:08 PM   #25
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Sometimes things just don't always work as advertised. I doubt it's even a bad lot - it's just Murphy.

I'd keep using one will open like a charm more than likely.

You have a sample size of "one", which proves absolutely nothing.
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