What is meant by the term Express cartridge or bullet?
Speaking with strict accuracy the term "Express" cartridge refers to a type loaded with a stiff charge of powder and a short light bullet, a combination utilized to gain high velocity and a consequent flatter trajectory before the days of smokeless powder and steel-jacketed bullets. For big game shooting these bullets were generally cast with a hollow point, hence the terra Express is sometimes taken as meaning this type of projectile alone, but in reality the substance of the first statement is correct. Such proportions of powder and lead were not accurate enough for target work, being designed for killing big game at short and medium range only. Good examples of the Express cartridge are the .38-90-217, .40-110-260, .45-125-300, and .50-110-300, all Winchesters. For purposes of comparison we will take the .40-110-260. To make a target cartridge capable of the accuracy of the old Sharps Creedmoor rifles a bullet suitable to balance up this charge of powder would have to weigh somewhere near 550 grains. The Winchester .45-70-330 hollow point cartridge is one of the most popular of this type of shell and has done considerable game killing in this country. Notice that the bullets of the regular .45-70 weigh 405 and 500 grains. To increase their execution when used on dangerous animals, hunters would sometimes slip a .22 blank shell into the hollow pointed bullet, rim outwards. This produced a terrible effect upon animal tissue, exploding when a Done was reached Such a combination was not safe to be worked through the magazine of a repeater, some hunters claiming there was always a certain element of danger when using them in even a single-shot rifle.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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