Top 5 Boutique Bullet Companies

posted on May 3, 2016

I have a love for projectiles. After all, it is the bullet, and only the bullet, that touches our target, whether we punch paper or hunt the largest of game. My dad showed me a long time ago the benefits of premium bullets, in both performance and accuracy. Together, we cobbled together handloaded ammunition for our .308 Winchesters, and enjoyed deer season with a different sense of pride, not only in making the shot, but in the fact that we had made the ammo ourselves. This led to a love of experimentation and product testing, especially in the field performance of projectiles. Please don’t read that to say that projectiles from the major manufacturers are bad or unworthy, but rather that I, and many other handloaders, enjoy using that which is different from the mainstream. Here are some of the companies that make wonderful bullets; some are loaded in small batches of factory ammunition, some are available in component form only. Either way, I’ve come to enjoy these products. 

Swift Bullets
Bill Hober’s small company makes just two bullets, but they are two of the best ever made. The A-Frame is an update of the Nosler Partition idea, in that there are two lead cores separated by a piece of gilding metal. The jacket and core are bonded, to reduce the risk of over-expansion. The A-Frame usually retains over 90 percent of its original weight, and gives phenomenal penetration. I feel that the A-Frame is possibly the very best bullet available for larger game species. The Swift Scirocco II is a different story: polymer tip, boat tail, thick jacket that is bonded to the core; the Scirocco makes a very good long-range bullet, as it has proven to deliver match-grade accuracy, yet will hold together very well on the large bodied game.

North Fork Technologies
Mating a pure copper bullet to a small lead core, contained in the front portion of the bullet only, the North Fork semi-spitzer is a different kind of bullet. North Fork uses small grooves, cut perpendicular to the axis of the bore, to reduce pressure and help keep the bore clean, and it actually works. I’ve had nothing but good results from North Fork semi-spitzers. They perform exactly as advertized: they give good expansion, yet are designed for penetration, and they do just that. My 6.5-284 loves them, printing three-shot groups of right around ½” at 100 yards. North Fork also makes an all-copper solid bullet for the big beasties of Africa, and I can report the same successful results with them.

Cutting Edge Bullets
Cutting Edge makes all-copper (or all-brass in some models), lathe-turned projectiles of a rather radical design. The Raptor model—my particular favorite—is a hollowpoint bullet which is designed to have the sides of the cavity break into ‘blades’, which cause significant initial damage, while the remainder of the bullet stays at caliber dimension to give great penetration. The MTH (Match-Tactical-Hunting) bullet uses a driving band to seal the gasses and deliver hair-splitting accuracy. Cutting Edge’s designs have worked for me here in North America as well as in Africa. Cutting Edge offers the Raptor in a handgun bullet as well, in most popular calibers.

Hawk Bullets
Hailing from New Jersey, Hawk Bullets offers a truly custom bullet experience. They offer bullets of varying jacket thicknesses, so you could tailor the bullet to the application at hand. Want a lighter jacketed bullet for your safari gun? Hawk can do that. Want a cannelure on your bullet? Hawk will do that for you as well. They use a pure copper jacket, which is annealed to keep it soft, so that it will adhere to the lead core, for proper expansion and penetration. They don’t use a traditional (solder) bonding process, but their proprietary construction technique will give enough structural integrity for deep penetration. I like the fact that Hawk offers many of the oddball bullet diameters; as a matter of fact, I just picked up some excellent .330” diameter 200-grain round tip bullets, with .035” jackets, for the .318 Westley-Richards I’m building.

Falcon Bullet Company
For those that play the gun games, a large quantity of ammunition is required, and that can get rather expensive. Falcon Bullet Company makes some affordable cast-lead projectiles that perform very well. Available in most popular pistol calibers, and in many proven bullet weights and configurations, Falcon has something for every pistol shooter. I’m a huge fan of the 230-grain round nose bullet for the .45 ACP, as well as the 158-grain semi-wadcutter for the .38 Special and .357 Magnum. In addition to their cast lead projectiles, Falcon also has a proprietary coating to help reduce leading, called FalCoating. The deep red color makes your loaded ammunition look like deadly little lipstick tubes, and they are plenty accurate. For the rifle crowd, Falcon offers a .308” diameter 165-grain flat nose lead or coated, perfect for the .30/30 Winchester, .300 Savage or .308.

Want to read more from Philip Massaro? Check out the stories below:

• Top 5 .22 Long Rifle Loads
5 Reasons Round-Nose Bullets Are Still Cool

Top 5 Dangerous Game Loads

Top 5 Turkey Loads
5 Rifle Cartridges That Need to Make a Comeback
Top 5 Safari Calibers
5 New Year's Resolutions for Hunters
What Your Favorite Rifle Cartridge Says About You
America's Most Wanted Cartridges
America's Strangest Game Laws
What Your Favorite Rifle Cartridge Says About You, Part II
Top 5 Overrated Rifle Cartridges
Top 5 Underrated Rifle Cartridges
5 Cartridges You Might Not Know About
Top 5 Wildcat Cartridges
An Ode to the Ruger Mini-14
Top 5 Hog Loads
Top 5 Deer Bullets
Why .30-30 Winchester Will Never Die


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