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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hornady superperformance

Cutting Edge Handgun Bullets

Author: John Haviland / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Aug 01 2014

Cutting Edge Bullets incorporates unique features into its rifle bullets machined from copper and brass. When Cutting Edge recently expanded its line to include handgun bullets, it transferred some of its rifle bullet designs to its copper handgun bullets. The Raptor and Personal Home Defense handgun bullets are turned on a CNC lathe with wide, deep hollowpoints with four petals that peel back and break off on impact. Solid bullets are cut with a broad, flat point for straight and deep penetration. These three bullets are quite different from conventional handgun bullets and require attention to handloading techniques.

Cutting Edge handgun bullets tested during load development include, left to right, (1) .357-caliber: 105-
grain PHD, 140-grain Raptor, 165-grain HD Solid, (2) .41-caliber: 135-grain HG Raptor, 180 HG Raptor,
220 HG Raptor, (3) .44-caliber: 150 Raptor HP, 200 Raptor HP, 240 Solid, (4) .45-calber: 150 Raptor.

Cutting Edge handgun bullets are long for their weight, because they are made of relatively lightweight copper, and their hollowpoint is nearly half as deep as the length of the bullets. A .357-caliber, 140- grain Raptor is 40 percent longer than a Sierra .357 140-grain jacketed hollow-cavity bullet. A .41-caliber, 180-grain Raptor is about 25 percent longer than a Speer .41 210- grain Gold Dot.

To reduce that potentially longer bearing surface, Cutting Edge handgun bullets are machined with full-diameter bands with narrower sections between them. The 240- grain, .44 Solid has four bands .430 inch in diameter. These full-diameter bands engage the rifling lands. The three relief portions between the bands are slightly narrower than bore diameter, so the tops of the lands do not engage the bottom of the grooves. The diameter of these grooves measure .416 inch on the .44 bullets. The front groove is even a bit narrower. Cutting Edge states these grooves reduce fouling. While noticeable streaks of copper appeared in all four handguns used after firing as few as 15 bullets, the fouling was only a thin wash of copper – an hour’s soak with Gunslick Foaming Bore Cleaner and a few strokes with a brush removed it.

This photo is from Cutting Edge and shows a Raptor 200-grain
bullet shot from a .44 Magnum into ballistic gelatin.
They have sheared off.

Solid copper bullets typically do not expand when fired to seal the bore as tightly as jacketed bullets with a lead core. Cutting Edge solves this problem with a SealTite Band that “ensures there will be no pressure escaping around the bullet when fired.” The SealTite Band is the front band on its handgun bullets and is .001 inch wider in diameter than a barrel’s groove-to-groove diameter. On Cutting Edge .41-caliber bullets, the SealTite Band is .411 inch in diameter and .431 inch on .44-caliber bullets.

These long bullets occupy quite a bit of powder space in cases, and recommended powder charges are somewhat lighter to compensate. Powder charge weights are at least 20 percent less for Cutting Edge bullets compared to jacketed lead-core bullets of the same caliber and weight.

Personal Home Defense (PHD) bullets are lighter-weight hollowpoints available in calibers from .22 to .45. The nose of a PHD bullet has cuts along its side that form four petals when the bullet strikes a target and the nose expands. The petals break off and fly out like blades from what Cutting Edge calls the “Blunt Trauma Base.”

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