Nosler Partition ammunition has lasted the test of time.
Partition bullets have always reminded me a little bit of Rocky Marciano. I know it’s a weird comparison, but they really do have a lot in common.
If you watch Rocky in those grainy old images, you can see that his style, or lack thereof, isn’t always pretty, but it always gets the job done. Rocky never lost, and the Nosler Partition can make that same boast. Partitions aren’t high-tech and they seldom work perfectly by modern bullet standards, but they can always be counted on to work well enough.
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The Partition was one of the original inventions of John Nosler and has been available to the shooting public since 1948. This bullet is essentially an H-shaped jacket with the top portion of the bullet designed to open reliably on impact and generate a sufficient wound channel, while the bottom portion is tightly crimped to keep the lower half of the bullet together under all conditions.
This design makes the Partition a kind of ballistic insurance policy. The hunter can gamble with the front portion of the bullet: it might expand perfectly and retain all its weight, or it might break up considerably from a high velocity impact. If the front half hangs together, then all is well, but if it does begin to come apart the hunter can count 100% on the fact that the rear portion of the Partition will stick together and offer some retained mass.
When the Partition first began to get popular, it was widely considered to be the perfect bullet. These days the shooting public has become somewhat obsessed with perfect weight retention in bullets and the Partition has lost some of its luster, but it’s still a very popular choice among big game hunters who know a good thing when they see it.
Those who pick on the Partition’s lack of weight retention don’t really understand that it wasn’t necessarily designed to stick together perfectly. John Nosler wanted a bullet that could be counted on to perform, in some capacity, under all conditions. The Partition fills this bill in that it offers normal performance at longer ranges when the velocity of flat-shooting rounds like the 300 Weatherby have ebbed off.
A Partition that hits a deer at 400 yards will have a nicely opened tip, with some petals, and most of its weight retained. This level of performance makes the Partition a pretty good long range bullet.
If the same bullet strikes a deer at 50 yards, the front portion of the partition is liable to come apart, but the rear portion will hang together and continue on its way. This makes the Partition a fairly good short-range bullet.
Rolling all this flexibility into one bullet has made the Partition a popular choice for more than 60 years.
For more on the Partition’s technology, check out this video from NoslerInc .
With the current trend towards more high tech designs, many shooters might pass over the Partition in preference to a shinier model. This would be a mistake; the Partition has a reputation that it has earned and shouldn’t be disregarded just because it’s an old fashioned design. Nosler ballistics show that the bullets can do what they’re intended to do. The Nosler tip is unlike any other. It’s available in a number of calibers, and able to satisfy plenty of firearm customers.
My advice would be to buy a box and see if they shoot well out of your rifle. If they are accurate, load them up for hunting season and don’t worry about how old the design is.
The Partition hasn’t changed over the years, but neither have bull elk.