Federal Trophy Copper MZ Muzzleloading Bullet

by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Illustration courtesy of Federal Premium Ammunition
Illustration courtesy of Federal Premium Ammunition
James R. Clary Ph.D.
James R. Clary Ph.D.

Los Lunas, NM -(AmmoLand.com)- When this Federal bullet was introduced, it was touted by many writers as being the “end all – be all” of muzzleloader bullets.

According to the sages it was going to make all saboted and powerbelt bullets obsolete. And, Federal's advertising makes this bullet sound like the “final answer” for all muzzleloaders:

Federal Premium is redefining modern in-line performance with the all-new Trophy Copper Muzzleloader Bullet. Its exclusive B.O.R. Lock MZ System provides outstanding accuracy in a non-sabot design that's easy to load, scrubs fouling from the breech and ensures consistent bullet seating. The system's foundation is a polymer cup that's permanently attached to the bullet base. The force of ignition pushes the cup forward onto raised bands along the bullet shank, expanding its diameter. This engages the rifling and seals the bore, optimizing velocity and accuracy. The rear of the B.O.R. Lock MZ cup features a hard, fiber-reinforced polymer ring that scours fouling from the breech as the bullet is pushed into place. This decreases the need to clean between shots and makes it easy to seat the bullet at the exact same depth for every shot. Because there's no bulky sabot, required loading force averages about half that of most sabot bullets. Like other projectiles in the proven Trophy Copper line, the copper-alloy bullet features a polymer tip, with a deep, hollow cavity and skiving that allows for consistent, devastating expansion.”

Not so fast. We may be just plain old country folks, but we are skeptical when salesmen come around promising to solve all of our problems. “Trust me” is their favorite line, “we are the experts.” Granted, Federal Premium ammunition is some of the best on the market. No argument there…. but, how about their new muzzleloading bullet? Does it live up to the Federal reputation or is it just another bullet? There was only one way to find out ….. take it out and shoot it.

Federal Trophy Copper MZ, CVA Aerolite, Harvester Scorpion PT Gold, Shockwave SST bullets (left to right)
Federal Trophy Copper MZ, CVA Aerolite, Harvester Scorpion PT Gold, Shockwave SST bullets (left to right)

Before going to the range, we compared the Federal Trophy Copper MZ (270 gr.) bullet with the CVA Aerolite (250 gr.), Harvester Scorpion PT Gold (260 gr.) and Shockwave (Hornady) SST (250 gr.) . We are not ballistic experts; however, it seems logical that the smooth surfaces of the latter three bullets will be more aerodynamically stable and “fly” better than the Federal with its “on-board” accessories (polymer sleeve and fixed fiberglass-reinforced base). However, only range tests will confirm or refute our conclusion based on that observation.

Per Federal's recommendation, we used our 1:28″ twist rifles for the tests. With the recommended two-pellet load (100 grains) of Triple7, the Federal Trophy Copper MZ was fired into ballistic gel at 80 yards. The results were rather startling, to say the least. Not only did the bullet not expand, it had apparently tumbled, prior to impacting the gel and went in backwards. From the picture below, one can see the path of the bullet entering the gel on the left and the polymer sleeve after it detached from the bullet. This picture also confirms that the integral polymer sleeve and fiberglass disc base remain with the bullet in flight.

Federal Trophy Copper MZ bullet & sleeve in ballistic gel @ 80 yards
Federal Trophy Copper MZ bullet & sleeve in ballistic gel @ 80 yards

We took two unfired Federal bullets and removed the polymer sleeve with its fixed base and the ballistic tip. We weighed them as well as two of the fired bullets and they all weighed exactly the same – 251.1 grains. Federal was correct on that point, the bullet does retain 100% of its weight. The picture below compares a fired bullet (left) with an unfired bullet (right). It clearly illustrates that there was no expansion.

Fired Trophy MZ bullets (left) & Unfired Trophy MZ bullets (right)
Fired Trophy MZ bullets (left) & Unfired Trophy MZ bullets (right)

Since our tests with the ballistic gel indicated that the bullet can tumble, we didn't have much hope that it would be accurate, but we had to try. We fired three rounds at 100 yards, using the Caldwell Lead Sled for stability and obtained the following results:

Three-shot group at 100 yards with 270 gr. Trophy Copper MZ bullets
Three-shot group at 100 yards with 270 gr. Trophy Copper MZ bullets

In the hope that we could get a more satisfactory group, we set up a new target and fired 7 more rounds, allowing the barrel to cool between rounds. Those results are recorded in the following target:

Seven-shot group at 100 yards with 270 gr. Trophy Copper MZ bullets
Seven-shot group at 100 yards with 270 gr. Trophy Copper MZ bullets

We could not get satisfactory groups with the Federal bullets. I suppose it's possible that we got a “bad” batch of bullets and that someone else might obtain better results with a different batch. However, only additional testing can determine that.

Looking at the above target, a shooter on the range next to Jim remarked, “Well, it isn't minute-of-angle, but it might be minute-of-deer, if you were lucky.”

That pretty well sums up our conclusion.

For comparison, in case you are wondering, the following targets are typical for the CVA Aerolite, Harvester Scorpion PT Gold and Shockwave SST bullets at 100 yards from the same gun with a two-pellet Triple 7 load.

 

250 gr. CVA Aerolites,    260 gr. Harvester Scorpion PTs, 250 gr. Shockwave SSTs (from left to right)
250 gr. CVA Aerolites, 260 gr. Harvester Scorpion PTs, 250 gr. Shockwave SSTs (from left to right)

Our conclusion? The Federal Trophy Copper MZ is not a bullet that we would want to go hunting with.

James R. Clary, Ph.D.
Contributing Editor, Guns & Shooting Online
Field Editor, Universal Hunter Magazine
Associate Editor, N.A. Muzzleloader Hunting Assoc.

Mary H. Clary, B.S., R.N.
Women's Editor, Guns & Shooting Online
Associate Editor, N.A. Muzzleloader Hunting Assoc.
Field Editor, Universal Hunter Magazine

34
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
21 Comment threads
13 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
25 Comment authors
PaulDonald PrattW. E. DuffSmokin 50Danny Loveday Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
W. E. Duff
Guest
W. E. Duff

Wanted Reduced Smokeless powder Load for my Savage ML II. I am beginning to think I am the only ML shooter not wanting to kill a bear or shoot 300 yards. I am a young 80 year long time shooter. I reload for 4 different center fire military rifles. I have learned it does not take a magnum to kill a piece of paper. I would like a 1500 fps load with a bullet under 300 grs. REMEMBER the Savage is a true smokeless powder ML rifle. My reason for having the Savage is I do not like to clean… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

Hi, this is a late reply but just saw your request. I shoot my ML10 year round. The only powder I use is AA5744. If you want an easy loading hunting load try 43gr. Powder with a a Light field Alpha Gold bullet/ sabot combo. I’ve killed over 20 whitetails with that combo . I also disagree with the author of this article. I shoot the federal bore locs with the same smokeless charge and they’re very accurate. The key is making sure you’re compressing the charge adequately. The manufacturer doesn’t recommend shooting them with smokeless but I’ve run about… Read more »

Danny Loveday
Guest
Danny Loveday

I bought 2 15 rd packages of this bullet and shot 7 rounds out of an original Rem 700 MZ using 2 50 gr 777 pellets. The results were 2 2 rd groups of touching bullets but in different places on the target, 2 rounds went wide and hit the target sideways. The last bullet was really high and to the left of center. This gun shoots dead on at 25 yds using 245 gr Power Belts with 2 50 gr 777 pellets. I was hoping to find an accurate, easy to load bullet to replace the Power Belts which… Read more »

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

These are great bullets in the right gun. It has to be in most cases 1:27 twist or faster 1:27 1:26 1:24 also they like velocity and at least 150 grain loads . I wonder on light 100 grain loads weather the base fully seats on the bullet? I have freind using them who shoots 100 grains max load of loose pyrodex and found that if when loading he compressed the bullet into the base his groups improved greatly, of course you can’t do this with pellets as you will crush them. I use them in a Remington 700 ultimate… Read more »

Ken R
Guest
Ken R

Worst flying muzzleloader bullets I’ve ever fired. I bought a new CVA accura and two pack of federals new go to bullets. Gun would not hold a good 3 shot group if its life depended on it. I was starting to think my CVA accura was a piece of junk being I’ve always be a TC guy. So after many failed attempts sighting in the federal bullets I decided to try my go to Thompson sabots and bullets. Wow spot on clover leafs at a hundred yards all day long.

Raymond Williamson
Guest
Raymond Williamson

I agree with Jeff. I have fired these out of my Rem. 700 Ultra MLZ. I get one hole @ 100 and sub minute @ 200 and sub minute @ 300. 130 gr BH 209 CCI mag primers. I have Barnes bullets that shoot way less out of my CVA Accura
V2. Maybe some of you should try understand Muzzle loaders. Powder,charge, primer, bullet may act very differently in the same brand rifle. Don’t accept anything as fact match your “charge” so to speak to the rifle.
Ray

Josh F
Guest
Josh F

I shot is bullet out of my CVA and Traditions and they tumbled as well. I’m glad I came across this article because I thought I was only one having this problem. With one shot it actually left a perfect bullet imprint as if the bullet was standing upright.

Raymond Williamson
Guest
Raymond Williamson

Black Horn 209, CCI mag primers, 120 powder charge for CVA 2, 130 for Remington 700. Consider you ability in the mix. Shoot from a solid rest to set the range accuracy. Then yon know that the rifle is true. The rest is how you execute the shot. Last option is off hand. Breath control, full view in the scope, no less than full view in the scope. No shadows in the scope.The main thing is be VERY consistent in the loading process. DO NOT use pellets. Pellets are NOT consistent. Powder seats the same each time pellets do not.… Read more »

MIKE GOELTZENLEUCHTER
Guest
MIKE GOELTZENLEUCHTER

Did anyone ever try using basic 2F black powder? I never liked pellets or pyrodex. I just bought some for my old used CVA WOLF. I have little experience with INLINE always been pretty much old school hawken fan.

ole one eye
Guest
ole one eye

The 270 gr trophy copper are fabulous in our Rem 700 ultimate mzldrs, 2″ at 100 and 4″ at 200. Not impressed? My hunting buddy and i are doing this with the Remington peep sight on these guns and we’re old geezers barely able to see that far. After Colorado this September we’ll scope em up and take these coppers to 3 or 400 yards no doubt. We excavated the bullets and expansion was perfect mushrooms unlike the Barnes which also shot well but failed to expand at all, have pictures if anyone wants them comparing the two, nowhere to… Read more »

Rich
Guest
Rich

I just shot 3 groups using my Redemption muzzloader 1-28 twist and 2 -50 grain pellets of White hots fromI IMR each group was 1-1/2″

Curtis Brinkmeyer
Guest
Curtis Brinkmeyer

excellent shooting bullet out of Savage ML with 45 grains accurate arms 5744 powder

Curtis Brinkmeyer
Guest
Curtis Brinkmeyer

These bullets shoot great from Savage ML with 45 grains of accurate arms 5744. The Savage has 1 in 24 twist though

Jerry Spangler
Guest
Jerry Spangler

Hello Jerry, Jerry Spangler here. Would like to give you a note. I believe Federal specs using in a 1 in 27 twist barrel. Just like another reviewer said, not all bullets are made for every barrel. I would recommend trying a Barnes MZ expander remove the sabbats and replace with a harvester Crush rib sabot. The black fit a 45 caliber and they also make green to fit a 44 caliber bullet out of a 50 caliber muzzleloader. I use the following along with 250 green wire white hot pellets. I get outstanding results out of my original Remington… Read more »

Donald Pratt
Guest
Donald Pratt

What was your group size? and range? with the savage and were you using a scope/

Oakley richards
Guest
Oakley richards

They shoot like cork screws out of my Thompson. I shot a couple in the fall and sight seemed all right. I wasted a deer season because when I tried them again I could not hit the paper at 100 or50or25 yards. I switched to some other sabots which shot bull eyes. I got taken for the price of two cards of these worthless bullets. I would have missed deer at 25 yards. No wonder I missed a big buck.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

The t/c encore,pro hunters don’t shoot much of anything good that’s why they sell aftermarket bergala barrels for them. Ive had a encore and pro hunter and neither shot well. I now have the Remington ultimate and it shoots these into a 2.78 inch group at 300 yards 26 inch barrel 1:26 twist the federal seem to like a faster twist and velocity I use 130 grains of blackhorn pushing them 2306 fps, and im getting one Hole groups at 100 yards 1.6 at 200 2.3 at 250 and 2.78 at 300

Howie
Guest
Howie

These work the best in my traditions pursuit xlt with the knox recoil using 777 mag pucks. I have shot 6 different name brand copper bullets and these by far were the most accurate in my smokepole. It even got a little better using 120 gr of blackhorn 209 but after all,i use it for deer hunting not match score shooting. I was also getting 3 to 3/12 inch groups out to 200 yds from a fixed bench rest no recoil. Remember you can’t take to heart anything from these “Experts” or test. Each gun shoots differently that’s why all… Read more »

Ray Williamson
Guest
Ray Williamson

The major issue with muzzle loading is being very consistent in your loading habits. Very, That’s why I do not use pellets. You will never get really good groups with pellets, Minute of angle nor sub minute.

John
Guest
John

How on earth do you explain the Youtube videos of this bullet cutting the same hole in video after video from different producers? This is the first negative review I have read.

David
Guest
David

First and most importantly I’m not trying to down anyone. I’m planning on trying these bullets for myself next week. I believe that video tells no lies and as for all the bad reviews I can only guess it may be the lack of experience with the operators. I am one that likes to read the reviews but don’t hold them to heart. Like someone stated earlier experiment with your gun and what you use. I’m certain that muzzleloaders are just like rifles, no two like the exact same loads. Get out and have fun learning what you can do… Read more »

Raymond Williamson
Guest
Raymond Williamson

Right on. No two barrels are the same. Oh the shoot well out of my TC Pro Hunter. 120 gr BH 209, CCI mag primer

Ray Williamson
Guest
Ray Williamson

I have used this bullet in my CVA-2, and my Remington 700 MZL. The videos show truthful results. I use BH 209 120 and 130 gr by volume. The Winkelmen has his reputation at stake when he makes a video, he says it like it is. I think I misspelled his name, Sorry. I have given up center fire rifles and now only hunt with Muzzleloaders. Muzzle loaders require consistent loading habits, CONSISTENT, pellets are not consistent because the some time crush, powder charge, primers With BH 209 use only CCI 209M or Federal 209A, only. If shooting 777 some… Read more »

Mattysad
Guest
Mattysad

This site was point on with my experience with the new federal Bullets. I wasted $50 on two packs of these bullets. Getting ready for a two week deer hunting trip to Canada I am always looking for the best product. I fired all 30 rounds using my Thompson Center Pro Hunter Encore Endeavor and it was spitting them all over the map. I never knew which way to zero in on my scope as every shot was so different. I’d get close to the point of aim at 50 yards then moved out to 100 yards and sometimes I… Read more »

Eric
Guest
Eric

You have learned the most difficult thing about bullet selection , ones that don’t work in your rifle. People always ask what bullets you use and some work some don’t have to try them out, Even powder change can give different results. Then again instead of saying you wasted $50 you can tell the wife I need to go to the range again to find an accurate load.
Some manufacturers are making sample packs to try out different bullets without buying 50 of each. Have fun.

Riedog
Guest
Riedog

Any groups with 150gr ? Just curious if valocity would help.

Jerry French
Guest
Jerry French

I’ve just gotten home from the range. I don’t know what’s wrong with their rifle, or perhaps their shooter, but I got 1 1/2″ groups with these new bullets. That’s better than some centerfire rifles. If you believe this site, I am sorry for you. Good hunting.

jerry smith
Guest
jerry smith

I just started with a muzzle loader. using TC with 28″ barrel with 1 in 28 twist. bought several bullets, aerolite and federal but come to find out I have to shoot copper bullet for my hunt so have just been shooting the federal. I sort of assumed that a 2″ or 3″ group at 100 yards was what muzzle loaders did. All my normal guns are set up to shoot at less than minute of angle. Any suggestions for a different copper bullet? (as a note my hunt requires open sights and with that at 100 yards 3″ is… Read more »

Rbdjr
Guest
Rbdjr

I also have done my own test over the last 2 years, Thomson Center Encore, I can not say anything about bullet expansion, but for the last 20 years I have not shot anything that’s even close as accurate as the Federal Premium, and the easiest by far to load shot after shot with no cleaning, 2″ groups at 100 yards. I have tried the bullets here and many others and accuracy was best with federal premium. But as I stated before the tumble part and expansion I can’t comment on ?

Eric
Guest
Eric

Some bullets just don’t work with some barrels . Thats why practice with what you use can be extremely important.

Raymond Williamson
Guest
Raymond Williamson

Something that may be over looked. If you are shooting pellets, they are inconsistent. sometimes you crush them sometimes you don’t ” different results”. That’s why I do not shoot pellets. 777 powder way better than pellets, However I only shoot BH 209 in my Rem 700, and CVA V2. Works Very Very well. Not cheap but I owe the animal I am hunting for me to be the most accurate. 2-3 inch groups @ 100 for me are NOT good enough. 100,200,300 are all sub minute groups, off the bench. Very close the same hunting while in solid seated… Read more »

The Rifleman
Guest
The Rifleman

WOW! I would have never expected such bad performance from a product from Federal! I was seriously considering purchasing this new Federal muzzle loader offering when I first read about it. I was really impressed with what Federal was saying about this new bullet, and the very cool features it had. It really did appear to be the “end all – be all” in muzzle loader bullets. Unfortunately, it appears that nothing could be further from the truth in that! In any event, I am glad that I read this article before I wasted my money, and possibly worse, both… Read more »

Smokin 50
Guest
Smokin 50

Why don’t you try it before writing it off! I bought 3 different bore size bullets and federal came out with flying colors 1.5 in. group at 100 yds. Traditions Pursuit ! You have to find out what your gun likes to eat…!!! Buy only 1 Pk. of different bullets instead of $50 of 1 kind . That’s how it is for any muzzleloader,rifle, or pistol . Use good judgement instead of poor comments. Muzzleloading for 50yrs.!!

ROBERT J.
Guest
ROBERT J.

Federal needs to go back to the drawing board with this projectile,all things show there would be more wounded or maimed game!