federal fusion

How Federal Fusion Pioneered Bonded Core Ammo

Whitetail deer are the most popular big game species for hunters in North America by a country mile. While a wide variety of rifle ammo will reliably kill deer, the folks at Federal Ammunition saw an opening in the market a few years ago. They felt what the rest of us hunters often feel: overwhelmed by the sheer number of hunting ammo choices on the market. So they set out to simplify things by designing and marketing their new Federal Fusion line of hunting ammo specifically for deer hunters. Since then, many other big manufacturers have followed Federal's lead and rolled out similar lines of deer hunting ammunition like the Hornady American Whitetail and Winchester Deer Season XP.

So, aside from Federal's marketing strategy, what initially set Federal Fusion ammo apart from the competition? In short, Federal started loading their Fusion ammunition using bullets with bonded cores. Nowadays, bonded core ammunition isn't a new idea. It's a common feature with most premium hunting ammo used by hunters pursuing massive, challenging, and or dangerous game like elk, moose, brown bear, and African plains game.

federal fusion

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However, whitetail deer are much smaller than other creatures, and premium ammunition isn't usually necessary for quick and ethical kills. Sometimes, using a premium bullet can be a handicap if it does not expand upon impact with a thin-skinned animal like a deer. Premium, controlled expansion ammunition is often much more expensive than typical deer hunting ammunition.

Federal tackled those issues by designing their soft point Fusion bullet with a skived tip to enhance bullet expansion and improve terminal performance upon impact. At the same time, the manufacturers bond the molecularly fused jacket to the bullet's lead core, which enhances weight retention and dramatically reduces the odds of core-jacket separation. The result is a bullet designed for rapid expansion, yet with reliable deep penetration on a deer-sized game.

Federal Fusion

Interestingly enough, Federal also sells their Fusion ammunition at a similar price point to other popular brands of deer hunting ammo like the Remington Core Lokt, the Winchester Super-X, and the aforementioned Hornady American Whitetail and Winchester Deer Season XP.

Federal Fusion rifle ammunition is currently manufactured in just about every popular deer hunting caliber (plus a few not so popular ones) used by North American deer hunters: .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .270 Winchester, .270 Winchester Short Magnum (270 WSM), 7mm-08 Remington, .280 Remington, 7mm Winchester Short Magnum (7mm WSM), 7mm Remington Magnum (7mm Rem Mag), .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum (300 Win Mag), .300 Winchester Short Magnum (300 WSM), 7.62x39mm Soviet, .338 Federal, .338 Winchester Magnum, .35 Whelen, .45-70 Government, and .450 Bushmaster.

Federal also sells a version of their Fusion ammo customized for use in modern sporting rifles called the Fusion MSR. It's currently manufactured in .223 Remington, .224 Valkyrie, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blackout, .308 Winchester, and .338 Federal. The manufacturer also produces Fusion Handgun ammunition in several popular handgun hunting calibers. These include the .454 Casull, .460 S&W, .50 Action Express, and .500 S&W calibers. Federal claims to have perfected those loads—the bullet weights and muzzle velocities have better recoil without losing lethality. For that reason, Fusion Handgun ammo may not be the best choice for bear defense.

Please note that Federal Fusion ammo contains lead, so you can't use it for hunting in California. If you need or prefer to use lead-free hunting ammo, consider Barnes VOR-TX or Nosler E-Tip ammo instead. Suppose you're looking for some good deer hunting ammo that's reasonably priced and still gets the job done. In that case, Federal Fusion ammunition might be perfect.

Like what you see? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on the Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on Facebook & YouTube and subscribe to his show: the Big Game Hunting Podcast.