This article appeared in Magnum in April 1996 and is reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.
GS HP Bullets
By Koos Barnard
GS Bullets fired from a .223 Remington into a sandbank and recovered by Colin Pankhurst of Queenstown.
The development of 'monolithic' expanding bullets (solid copper, with a cavity drilled or punched in the front to permit expansion up to a certain point but no further) has brought widespread joy among discerning hunters. SA now has several manufacturers of monolithic hollowpoints (MHP) - the latest to arrive for testing were those of GS Manufacturing (Port Elizabeth). GS (Gerard Schultz) makes MHPs in calibres from .224 to .458. I tested samples in .308 (168gr) and 7mm (140 and l50gr). The first thing that struck me was the superb finish: quality control is extremely strict at GS. Each bullet is individually 'miked' to ensure it is within 0.005mm of specification in size and taper, and visually inspected for flaws - Gerard guarantees his products. I weighed ten bullets of each sample, and if there were any variations, my scale was not precise enough to show them; all weights were as claimed on the boxes.
In my 7x57 both the l40gr and l50gr produced MOA three shot groups at l00m. My 7mm Rem Mag however, did not like these bullets: I could not get it to group better then 2" at l00m. The .308 bullets worked extremely well in my .30-06: three consecutive 3-shot groups measured 0.374", 0.472", and 0.562". I also fired several two-shot groups at 200m and all measured well below 1.25". I was impressed.
As copper is less dense than lead, monolithics are longer than conventional lead-core bullets of the same weight. Long bullets require a tighter rifling twist to impart the spin needed to stabilize them. The reloader of MHPs must consider this when choosing a bullet weight. To assist reloaders, Gerard puts a sticker on the boxes of bullets for which he recommends the minimum revolutions per minute (rpm) for proper stabilization. To calculate rpm in your barrel: First ascertain the rifling twist in inches - a standard .243 Win's barrel twist should be 1:10 (one turn in 10 inches). Divide your number (10) into the number 12, then multiply the result by the velocity you require in feet per second (eg 3000fps). Finally, multiply that answer by 60. In our example then: 12 divided by 10 = 1.2. 1.2 x 3 000=3 600.3 600 x 60=216 000. If the label on the box says this particular bullet needs a minimum of 200000 RPM to stabilize it, you can use that bullet in your rifle at your desired velocity. If, however, your velocity is only 2700fps, your final answer is 194 400 the chances are you will not get good accuracy out of that bullet at that velocity: you must either increase the rpm by increasing the velocity (provided it is safe to do so) or choose another bullet.
Gerard feels that, in general, MHP bullets have two problems: they either do not expand sufficiently (or at all) because they are too tough (or velocities are too low); or else the front section breaks off in fragments without forming a proper mushroom. To obviate this he uses a copper alloy soft enough to form a good mushroom without breaking up. This also results in less meat damage, since there are no shrapnel-like fragments to cause secondary bruising. To test his claim I fired two l50gr bullets (2834fps) into a sandbank from 15m; the recovered bullets weighed 146 and 148.5gr and both mushroomed perfectly. I then fired two .308 bullets from l00m into well-soaked telephone books and three press-wood baffles. The bullets penetrated 64 and 70cm; the first lost a small part of the front section, but retained 83% of its weight. The second mushroomed beautifully and retained 97% - impressive performance in both cases. Gerard assured me his bullets would expand at velocities as low as l800fps. I fired two 168gr bullets from my .30-06 (2790fps) at 300m into wetpack; both expanded, the front section folding back to form three perfect petals. In both cases weight retention was 100%.
My field tests were limited to small game: I shot two duiker and two springbuck with the 168gr bullet, deliberately using a light load to test expansion. 50.5gr S365 produced just over 2400fps from my .30-06 Ackley. The first duiker was shot behind the shoulder from about 75m; it ran 20 paces before going down. The wound channel indicated good expansion and the exit hole was about the size of the old 20c piece (24mm). The second shot was from just over l00m - I aimed high on the shoulder, hoping to break the spine, and the ram dropped on the spot. The bullet broke the spine, held together and exited ahead of the opposite back leg. There was minimal damage to the back straps (rugbiltonge) and the exit hole was again about 25mm.
The first springbuck was 200m away; the bullet entered behind the shoulder between two ribs, breaking a rib on exiting. The exit hole was l2mm in diameter; the hole through the lungs indicated that expansion did take place. The second springbuck was shot at 165 paces; the bullet struck low on the shoulder, broke the front legs and passed through the bottom of the heart and lungs causing almost instant death. The exit hole and absence of meat bruising clearly indicated that the bullet's front section did not break up.
Johan van Vuuren of Sauer's Gunshop in Kimberley used a 140gr GS bullet in a 7x57 for a frontal neck shot on a big hartebeest bull; the bull went straight down and Johan was impressed with the penetration of the light bullet. I know one should not base an opinion on such limited tests, but I have no doubt that Gerard Schultz offers a quality product. His bullets are well made, accurate and, although tough, they will expand at lower velocities. GS bullets are not the cheapest you can buy, but they are not expensive because they peform so well. If you require a specially designed bullet, Gerard can make it - for orders of 500 or more.
Gregor Woods recently tried GS's l30gr .270 bullet with 53gr and 57gr S-365, which produced groups of 1.2" and 0.9" respectively. GS's .375 bullets will be included in the test of premium grade bullets for dangerous game, scheduled for the May issue.
GS Bullets recovered from game L-R:(1).243 85gr bushbuck 185m; (2) .243 no
details; (3) 7mm Rem Mag 140gr black wildebeest frontal; (4) .303 Epps 150gr
GS Custom Bullets comments: This article was the first press exposure we had and appeared in April 1996. The practise of determining the exact r.p.m. requirement for a given bullet, although precise, is too much trouble for most reloaders. We now specify the suitability of a given bullet for a particular caliber by twist rate and muzzle velocity; same result, but easier to work with. Our caliber range has now also expanded to include .177 to .577 and a range of more than
140 different bullets.
GS Custom Bullets,situated in Port Elizabeth on the East Coast of South Africa,
manufactures solid copper, turned, monolithic bullets for hunting and sport shooting.
These bullets are used by hunters on several continents, hunting from the smallest of
antelope to the largest of dangerous game, using the smooth HP bullet, as well as the
more popular HV, FN and SP bullets with the patented drive band concept. GSC bullets
are configured for the highest possible ballistic coefficients. SP bullets are mainly
used for sport shooting. All GS Custom Bullets are moly coated.