.375 A Frame bullet failure follow-up

Rick Cox

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IMG_3115.jpg

Last June as some may remember, I had a Swift A Frame bullet disintegrate on the head of a Cape buffalo without hitting anything other than skin. This was hunting with Pawprint Safaris. Here is the follow up from that (very rare) incident.
The short story is that I took a shot at a Cape Buffalo at a range of 30 - 35 yards, in light that was fading. I am not sure what happened as I felt calm and confident. I aimed at the lower middle of the chest and pulled the trigger. The bull staggered backwards but ran off. We found him the next day and finished him off.
Upon examination it was evident that the bullet had hit him in the side of the face behind the mouth and cut a gash in the skin, then penetrated about 2" into the cheek muscle. It did not hit bone or teeth. A shard of the bullet was found at 2" of penetration.
IMG_3115.jpg

This bullet and the bullet that killed the buffalo were sent off to Swift for analysis. Their response is below.

Hello Rick,
Bullet #1

- Terminal Grain Weight- 127.2

- Percent Weight Retention- 45%

- Terminal Diameter- .375

All of our bullets strength is engineered to the front of the projectile. The frame or cross member stops the backwards eruption on impact and controls expansion. This bullet somehow got turned sideways, either before it entered the animal or in the wound channel. This is not an uncommon occurrence. When this happens though three things take place.

1) Kills/Stops penetration

2) Flattens the bullet out on the side of the shank

3) Breaks off the front part of the bullet at the frame

In this case for Bullet #1 all three things took place. How this happened I cannot tell you, but I have no doubt whatsoever this bullet got turned sideways. I have seen this before, but it is a very rare occasion.

Bullet #2

- Terminal Grain Weight- 261.0

- Percent Weight Retention- 87%

- Terminal Diameter- 7.60

This bullet performed as designed. While it is canted, due most likely from a quartering entry or ended up on bone. These is absolutely nothing wrong with the performance of this projectile.



Bullet #3

- Terminal Grain Weight- 275.1

- Percent Weight Retention- 92%

- Terminal Diameter- 7.15

This bullet is classic A-Frame is a fully developed projectile. Most of our bullets look just like this, but we get a lot that will look like bullet #2. There is nothing wrong with either one.
This is common to hunting as each animal is different, bullet placement isn’t always the same, skin thickness, and size of bone varies dramatically. Our bullets work better than other projectiles do and are very very dependable. We have manufactured for 34 years, but when a bullet gets turned the strength and integrity is diminished.
I’ve attempted to answer your question in a frank and honest manner and I thank you for using our products. I hope you will continue to use them in the future.

Best regards,

William D. Hober │ President

Swift Bullet Company

PO Box 27 │ 201 Main Street Quinter, KS 67752

Phone: 785-754-3959 │ Fax: 785-754-2359





...

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Rick Cox <email>
Wed, Oct 10, 1:59 PM


to Swift
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Thanks for your reply.
Just to be clear, I did not feel there was an issue with either #2 or #3. #2 hit a giraffe neck (@75m) dead centre about 2' under the chin pulverizing the spinal column. #3 was the bullet that actually killed the wounded buffalo (@ about 35m), going diagonally through the left shoulder, both lungs and the top of the heart, the far ribs, stopping under the hide. I simply included them as they were from the same batch of bullets, and I felt that you may find the comparison interesting.

Thanks for your concern in this matter. I am convinced I must have hit a branch. There was a 1" green sapling in the vicinity of where the buffalo was standing that was sheared cleanly off but I felt it was a few feet too far to the left of where I felt the buffalo was standing. This would also explain the fact I did not hit where I was aiming- low centre of chest. I was calm, confident and focused. But the light was fading and he was in shadow. We'll never know for sure.
I would not hesitate to use A Frames in the future or recommend them to others.
Regards, Rick Cox.
 
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Ridgewalker

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Thanks Rick for sharing this. I suspect your analysis is correct. So many opportunities for things like this to happen. Like any failure issue, multiple repetitions need to be analyzed before one should come to a conclusion.
Thanks again for following up on this!
Best
 

Bullthrower338

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Thanks Rick for sharing this. I suspect your analysis is correct. So many opportunities for things like this to happen. Like any failure issue, multiple repetitions need to be analyzed before one should come to a conclusion.
Thanks again for following up on this!
Best
I clean missed one of the biggest bull elk of my life hitting a damn branch that I never saw and couldn’t believe my arrow was sailing off to space. It happens, glad you recovered your bull quickly
 

bruce moulds

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rick, the more you think about it, bullet no 3 did not fail in the pure sense.
even it the state shown in the picture, if it had full velocity it would have penetrated more than it did.
it must have lost velocity, direction, and energy as you suspect hitting something prior to the buffalo.
a lesser bullet than a swift might not have got there at all. a moot point.
bruce.
 

Rick Cox

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rick, the more you think about it, bullet no 3 did not fail in the pure sense.
even it the state shown in the picture, if it had full velocity it would have penetrated more than it did.
it must have lost velocity, direction, and energy as you suspect hitting something prior to the buffalo.
a lesser bullet than a swift might not have got there at all. a moot point.
bruce.
Johan van Wyk (Pawprints PH and partner) postulated that the bullet was travelling sideways as it hit the 'cheek' of the buffalo which 'caught' it much the same as the catchers mitt. It broke up before entering the cheek as could be seen by the raking tracks left by the shrapnel that were past the final entry point. As Pieter Erasmus (Pawprints PH and partner) said, had the bullet actually penetrated it would have broke the neck of the buff, but all the energy was expended on the heavy hide. The bull staggered heavily back when hit and everyone there thought is was a killing shot, but it was the bull reacting to the impact of the bullet, that was most likely travelling sideways, as Swift experts have stated. That and the loss of mass before final entry resulted in the lack of penetration.
As a side note, I also used 300 grain Woodleighs to take other game. These were very effective and seemed to have more violent and greater expansion but did not exhibit the same degree of penetration as the A Frame normally does. I think these would be a great option for big cats or perhaps North American game.
 

Shootist43

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Thanks for sharing Swift's answer to your inquiry. Those unseen branches have caused most of us problems or a clean miss.
 

CAustin

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I think it good business thatSwift responded. You got a nice buff.
 

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FANTASTIC report from Uncle Ron!!
He Combs them all with the same brush!!
 

hgr2

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This August I tipped a 338 cal 225 gr. TTSX on some brush in front of a blue wildebeast. We followed a good blood trail for +- 5 hours spotting him a couple times along the way. Also saw a couple irregular intrance wounds on other game from other folks in our party. If the bullet makes contact with anything before reaching the target it's anybodies guess what effect it will have.
 

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