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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
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.”

My Ruger .41 and .44 Magnum revolvers produced impressive velocities with the lighter-weight PHD bullets, but velocities were at least200 fps slower than those stated in Cutting Edge’s data. The fact that my powder charges weighed abouta grain less than Cutting Edge’s maximum loads explains part of that slower velocity. Also, Cutting Edge used QuickLOAD ballistics predication software to develop its loads.

This group was shot at 25 yards with Cutting
Edge 150-grain Raptor bullets fired from a Colt
Gold Cup .45 Auto.

Raptor bullets are the heavier weight hollowpoints and are available in all popular calibers from 140 grains for the .357 Magnum to 340 grains for the .500 Smith & Wesson. Velocities from my revolvers were quite a bit slower than those listed by Cutting Edge. The .357 Magnum turned in lower velocities with Alliant 2400 with the three bullets listed in the table, so those results were not included.

My Ruger .41 and .44 Magnum revolvers shot good groups at 25 yards with Raptors loaded with several powders. The size of some of the other groups listed in the load table should mostly be ignored. When they were shot, the temperature was zero, the wind was blowing, and I was shivering like the last leaf on a tree.

This group was shot at 25 yards with Cutting Edge 140-grain
Raptor bullets fired from a Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum.

Cutting Edge makes solids in more traditional weights, from 165 grains for the .357 up to 400 grains for the .500 S&W. How nonexpanding bullets perform along their path, though, is what is important to hunters. A solid bullet with a relatively narrow, flat point drills only a pencil-width hole through game. A wide, flat point provides more resistance and creates a wide wound channel. The flat noses of the .357 165-grain and .410 220-grain Solids are about three-quarters as wide as the bullets’ diameters. That’s about as broad of a flat as any solid or cast bullets available in those calibers. Combined with their long length, the Solids provide lethal penetration. I’ve heard 190-grain Solids, fired from a 10mm Automatic, penetrated over 30 inches through ballistic gelatin. The Cutting Edge handgun bullets do offer some unique features to hunters. Fifty Cutting Edge handgun bullets are

Cutting Edge 200-grain Raptor HP bullets shot tight groups from a
.44 Magnum revolver. However, velocities were several hundred feet
per second slower than those listed in Cutting Edge’s reloading data.

$76.44 for .45-caliber, 150-grain PHDs; $59.28 for .44-caliber, 240-grain Solids; and $68.64 for .357-caliber, 140-grain Raptors. That’s still a bargain for the few shots taken on a hunt.

Contact Cutting Edge Bullets at 75 Basin Run Road, Drifting PA 16834; or online: cuttingedgebullets.com.