For over a century, ammunition and bullet companies have worked diligently to produce the best hunting projectile possible. Sometimes the technology was the challenge – could you imagine if Jack O’Connor and Elmer Keith had today’s projectiles? – and sometimes it was the cost of bullet production, and thereby the cost to the consumer, which had an effect on success.
Federal – who, through its Premium ammunition line has embraced many different premium bullets – has been spending lots of time tweaking and refining their own bullet lineup.
There are most definitely some fantastic bullets in the Federal stable,
like the Trophy Bonded Tip, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Edge TLR and Trophy Copper. But for the budget minded, Federal’s Fusion offers a lot of
performance for the price. While the Fusion is most definitely designed to be a deer hunting bullet, it is that and more; it is also effective on feral hogs, black bear, antelope and caribou.
It gives an excellent blend of expansion and deep penetration, due to a couple of design features that are very important to the success.
FIRST, AND PROBABLY most important, the copper jacket is electro-chemically bonded to the core, to virtually eliminate jacket/core separation. Perhaps this warrants a bit of explanation, for those unfamiliar with the process, and why it is a game changer.
A traditional cup-and-core bullet consists of a lead core with a copper jacket drawn around it. Most have a bit of lead exposed at the nose – or meplat – in order to let the front expand in the classic mushroom configuration, but if the impact is too violent the jacket and core can and will separate, and the penetration will most definitely suffer. Chemically bonding the two components allows the bullet to expand uniformly and maintain its structural integrity for deep penetration.
The process allows for traditional materials and designs to be used, with just the addition of the bonding process.
The second design feature that helps the Fusion deliver the goods is a skived ogive. The skiving allows the nose of the Fusion bullet to mushroom at very low velocities (read: longer ranges, once the bullet has had an opportunity to slow down), yet the bonding process will hold it together if the impact velocities are high at close ranges.
The Fusion is all about performing across a wide spectrum of hunting situations. Federal uses a pressure-formed lead core to give uniform densities and weights to the bullet’s core, resulting in excellent
accuracy and consistency. If a bullet’s core has any voids, bubbles or other inconsistencies, the accuracy will surely suffer; I’ve found the Fusion to be a very consistent design.
For most of the rifle calibers – excluding the .30-30 Winchester and
.45-70 Government loads – the Fusion bullets are of a spitzer design, yet the very tip is flat. While this will certainly handicap ballistic coefficient values, it will make little difference at sane hunting ranges, and by that I mean inside of 300 yards or so.
Federal markets the Fusion as a boattail bullet, and while there is a small boat tail on most of the bullets, it is a slight one, nothing like the true long-range bullets. But then again, the Fusion is about performing at traditional hunting ranges, and I’d say that if you’re the type of hunter who feels comfortable with shots on deer at 500 yards and over, there may be different bullet designs for you.
THE FUSION IS an affordable bullet, with many of the popular deer calibers like .270 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield carrying a street price of $22 per box of 20 cartridges; that’s a deer hunter’s dream. It is available in most popular calibers, from .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington, up through the .243 Winchester and .25-06 Remington, to the 6.5×55 Swede and 6.5 Creedmoor, to the 7mms and .30s, and up to the .338s and even the .375 H&H and .45-70 Government. The classic deer calibers need no explanation, but loads like the 62-grain .223 Remington certainly take the little cartridge into the realm of a deer/hog gun, and the 225-grain .338 Winchester Magnum, 300-grain .375 H&H Magnum and 300-grain .45-70 Government load will work well for bear, elk and African plains game of all sizes. What we have here is a load that is flexible in the field, yet affordable for practice, especially for the magnum calibers.
Federal also offers the Fusion bullet in component form, currently in five different calibers: 6.5mm (140 grains), .277-inch (130 and 150 grains), 7mm (140, 160 and 175 grains), .308-inch (150 and 180 grains) and .338-inch (200 and 225 grains). This allows the hand loader to customize the load for their particular rifle, and enjoy the Fusion experience.
While you may have noticed that factory-loaded ammunition has bullets
with a cannelure, the component bullets do not. This takes away the ability to roll crimp your cases, but improves the ballistic coefficient of the bullet.
DOES IT SHOOT? Absolutely, it does. I have had Fusion ammunition give excellent results in many different rifles and cartridges. I have also had the component bullets give accurate and consistent performance in standard cartridges like .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield, as well as in .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum. And does it get the job done terminally? Hard yes to that as well; the whitetail does that have succumbed to this bullet didn’t go far at all before piling up. My little Ruger 77 MKII in .308 with handloaded 150-grain Fusion bullets makes one of the most effective whitetail rigs ever, putting three shots into less than an inch at 100 yards, at 2,790 feet per second – not too fast and not too slow, but as Goldilocks would say: “just right.”
While the Federal Fusion ammunition and component bullets are a wonderful value, please do not think that they are second-rate in any
way. As a matter of fact, they are among the best projectiles available, when you consider their primary application.
Whether you prefer factory ammunition – Federal uses the same reloadable
cases, the same excellent primers and primer sealant, and same powders as their Premium line – or are the hunter who likes to handload his or her own hunting ammunition, the Fusion line has something to offer. We’re all deer hunters at heart, after all.
STORY BY PHIL MASSARO • PHOTOS BY MASSARO MEDIA GROUP