The clear winner of the penetration contest was Garrett Cartridges of Texas with their 250-grain Hammerhead bullet, getting 32" of penetration from the 20" Marlin. Close behind at 29" was the 260-grain Cast Performance FNLBT bullet. The 220-grain LeHigh Penetrator came in 3rd with 23". Penetration channels were all very similar with the three non-expanding bullets but my choice for deer hunting would be the 240-gr. Swift Bonded Core A-Frame. It produced penetration depth similar to the .30-06 control load (18" penetration with a 180-grain Barnes X-Bullet) but achieved this with a much broader penetration channel. Also, the expanded bullet was not a mushroom shape but a near prefect flat nose. Recovered bullet weight for the two were 219 and 210 grains.

The Swift bonded A-Frames expanded to nearly identical diameters with one achieving 0.603" in diameter and a second achieving 0.626". The nearly identical weight retention, penetration depth and expansion make this a very reliable load for deer, hogs and black bear.