Nosler's new line of lead-free, centerfire rifle hunting ammo is worth taking a look at.
John Nosler famously designed the bullet we now call the Nolser Partition after experiencing poor bullet performance on a moose hunt in 1946. The Oregon-based company still produces the lead-core bullets like the Partition as well as bullets developed later on like the AccuBond and the Ballistic Tip. However, the company has also introduced a new line of lead-free ammunition in recent years: the Nosler E-Tip.
States like California have started mandating the use of lead-free ammunition in the past few decades. At the same time, many hunters have also become more concerned about lead contamination in their food. As a result, demand has dramatically increased for high-quality, lead-free bullets for hunters.
The big ammunition manufacturers responded with numerous examples of gilding-metal or copper bullets like Hornady's GMX, Browning's BXS, Winchester's Copper Impact Deer Season XP and, of course, Barnes VOR-TX ammunition.
Nosler made their contribution to that growing list of hunting ammo in 2007 with their lead-free Expansion Tip (better known as the E-Tip) bullet.
Made out of a copper alloy, the E-Tip bullet has a green (in contrast to the blue and red tips on Barnes and Hornady bullets) polymer tip to help initiate expansion. Along with the boat-tail design of the bullet, the polymer tip also helps increase the ballistic coefficient and improve the long-range performance of the E-Tip.
Additionally, the E-Tip has a hollow cavity beneath the tip (which Nosler calls an "Energy Expansion Cavity") to further enhance expansion and energy transfer. At the same time, the solid copper alloy construction of the bullet and Nosler's "Expansion Control Ring" both help achieve uniform expansion, enhance weight retention and ensure reliable penetration.
Unlike the Barnes TSX and TTSX, the Nosler E-Tip has a smooth profile without any grooves cut into the bullet shank.
Nosler advertises 95-percent weight retention and recommends a minimum impact velocity of 1,800 feet per second for reliable expansion. The company claims there's no upper impact velocity limit for the E-Tip bullet and that it'll still perform as intended at all practical impact velocities.
Though it's only been around for a few years, the E-Tip has received high marks from many big-game hunters who like the rapid expansion, high weight retention, superior penetration and overall reliable terminal performance of the bullet across a broad spectrum of impact velocities. Among other hunters, Randy Newberg is a big fan of the E-Tip bullet for elk hunting.
Nosler Ammunition didn't initially offer E-Tip factory rifle ammunition, and the bullet was primarily used by handloaders for the first few years. However, that all changed in 2016 when Nosler started manufacturing their E-Tip line of factory ammunition.
Nosler currently produces their E-Tip line of ammunition in the following calibers: .22 Nosler, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .26 Nosler, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, 7x57mm Mauser, .280 Ackley Improved, 7mm Remington Magnum, .28 Nosler, .300 AAC Blackout, .30-30 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .30 Nosler, 8x57 JS, .33 Nosler, and 9.3x62mm Mauser.
Additionally, they manufacture the following loads in their Trophy Grade line with E-Tip bullets: .223 Remington, .25-06 Remington, .270 WSM, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 WSM, .300 Remington Ultra Mag, .300 Weatherby, .325 WSM, and .338 Winchester Magnum.
Finally, the E-Tip bullets are also available in these loads from the Nosler Custom Handloaded line: .257 Weatherby, .26 Nosler, .260 Remington, .264 Winchester Magnum, 6.5-284 Norma, .270 Weatherby, .280 Ackley Improved, .280 Remington, .300 H&H Magnum, .300 Remington SA Ultra Mag, and .338 Winchester Magnum.
Available in just about every major centerfire rifle cartridge, the Nosler E-Tip is suitable for hunting types of big game, ranging from the diminutive Coues deer in Arizona all the way up to moose in British Columbia.
Interestingly enough, the most E-Tip bullets also have a higher ballistic coefficient than TTSX bullets of comparable size and weight. For this reason, many Nosler E-Tip loads have a slightly flatter trajectory and retain a little bit more energy at longer range than the Barnes VOR-TX loads.
The E-Tip does not have a gigantic advantage over the TTSX in terms of external ballistics, though. However, assuming the E-Tip shoots as accurately in your rifle as the TTSX, if you want every advantage possible on that trip of a lifetime hunting red stag in New Zealand or mule deer in the Henry Mountains of Utah, then the E-Tip might be the right bullet for you.
All things considered, the E-Tip is a great nontoxic hunting bullet for hunting in states like California. However, it's also very well designed and effective bullet overall and is very popular among hunters who just want a lead-free bullet that helps them cleanly harvest game.
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