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Federal’s Terminal Ascent Hunting Rounds Have You Covered At Any Distance

Brian McCombie

Federal Terminal Ascent
Terminal Ascent hunting rounds are sold in 11 calibers including 6.5 Creedmoor.

As longer-range hunting became more popular, some big game hunters discovered a problem with their ammunition. The same bullet that would take down a deer or hog at 100 yards without a hitch had a higher chance of wounding the same animal at 400-yards and beyond, even with the exact same shot placement.

What was going on?

In reality, most traditional big game rounds need high velocities for the projectiles to expand, and bullet expansion, of course, is a big part of a hunting bullet’s knockdown power. Those velocities are present at 200 yards and under, but as distances increase and the bullets themselves lose speed, that same 150-yard deer killer can become a 500-yard deer wounder. 

Not good!

Federal Premium Ammunition and its staff took on this problem. 

Federal engineers began their work by examining and testing out a wide variety of tipped bullets; most of these bullets, they soon found out, failed to expand consistently at distances past about 600 yards. Some failed at even closer distances.

Federal ammunition
Shot at 100 yards into testing gel, a 30-caliber 175-grain Terminal Ascent bullet.

The same engineers also realized a hunting bullet might well have to be used on a close target, too. So, the challenge was to make a bullet that would expand reliably at longer-range distances, yet still hold up when that big wild boar stepped out of the brush at 40 yards. 

The result? Federal Premium’s Terminal Ascent hunting rounds. The bullet’s bonded construction allows it to penetrate deep on close targets, while the patented Slipstream™ polymer tip initiates expansion at velocities 200 fps lower than comparable designs. The bullet’s long, sleek profile offers an extremely high ballistic coefficient, and its AccuChannel™ groove technology improves accuracy and minimizes drag.

Currently, Terminal Ascent rounds are available in: 6.5 Creedmoor 130-grain; 6.5 PRC 130-grain; 270 Win. 136-grain; 270 WSM 136-grain; 280 Ackley Improved 155-grain; 28 Nosler 155-grain; 7mm Rem. Magnum 155-grain; 308 Win. 175-grain; 30-06 Spring. 175-grain; 300 Win. Mag. 200-grain; and, 300 Win. Short Mag. 200-grain. All are sold in 20-count boxes.

Federal Terminal Ascent
Cut-away of a
30-caliber 175-grain
Terminal Ascent

If you are a handloader, Federal also offers its Premium Terminal Ascent bullets as components. These bullets are available 130-grain .264, 136-grain .277, 155-grain .284. 175-grain .308, and 200-grain .308. All are packaged in 50-count boxes.

Now, one way to create a bullet that will expand well at longer ranges is to give the bullet a very thin jacket, similar to the kind used on varmint loads. However, as noted earlier, what happens when a big game animal suddenly appears up close? 

At these ranges, the bullet is moving at near-peak velocity, causing the thin-jacketed projectile to essentially blow up on impact, resulting in shallow penetration, low weight retention and poor terminal performance. 
In other words, a wounded animal.

Federal engineers needed to design a bullet that would ensure all-range performance, close in and at far distances. 

After much trial and error, the Federal engineering team drilled a hole all the way through the center of the bullet’s tip. Upon impact, that hole would allow target media into the front end of the bullet to initiate expansion. The engineers tested that concept and it worked perfectly. It extended the performance range by a few hundred yards.

Further testing and development lead to another breakthrough—one that not only improved terminal performance but also improved accuracy and decreased drag. The engineers found that they could actually close up the front end of the tip and still get a high BC. The bullet would still expand on those low velocity impacts, because the front end of the tip would break off and reveal the channel, allowing media to enter.

This discovery allowed Federal engineers to maintain the small, aerodynamic meplat of a solid polymer tip while getting the same guaranteed expansion at distances where other bullets fail to open consistently.
The Terminal Ascent design is so unique, Federal Premium holds a patent on the tip’s hollow core that initiates expansion even when the bullet is traveling at lower velocities.

If you are looking for a hunting round that provides top performance at any distances, take a hard look at Terminal Ascent. 

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