AccuBond vs Partition: What’s the Difference

The story of John Nosler and his innovative approach to developing quality bullets that greatly enhanced hunting technology is the stuff of legend.

A Canadian, Nosler was disturbed that a bull moose wouldn’t drop with well placed bullets from his 300 H&H.

He began a lifetime passion of bullet design, ballistic testing, and production of the finest big game designs on the consumer market. He released his first design in 1947 to wide acclaim.

What is a Nosler partition?

An innovation hit the hunting world with Nosler’s first partition design. It was innovative, unique and there was nothing even close to the design of this bullet at the time. The name says it all, “partition.” Rather than a single lead slug shaped into a bullet, the partition was two separate lead components, separated by a partition.

The design offered a controlled bullet expansion, along with deep penetration, a deadly combination on even the largest game animals.

A dual core lead bullet inside a single jacket with a slight partition separating the two components created a mushroom effect on impact that greatly improved the stopping power of high powered hunting rifles in a wide range of cartridges.

The problem with earlier competing designs was that the bullet either expanded too quickly, in effect smashing against the hide or an elk or moose with little penetration, or it passed cleaning through the animal, avoiding vital organs and allowing the animal to escape with minimal damage.

Combining penetration with expansion created a bullet that penetrated a tough bear, moose, or caribou hide, then literally mushroom in size creating a wound channel that brought the game down instantly on a well placed shot.

It is difficult to imagine the excitement today since this technology is routine, but it changed hunting in the late 1940s and into the 50s.

What is a Nosler AccuBond?

New and improved is a marketing ploy that we hear much too often, but in the world of quality bullets, Nosler came up with a design that was revolutionary, maybe not as monumental as the introduction of the original Partition, but a great innovation.

The AccuBond copied the performance of its ancestor, the Partition. Technology has improved over the last seven decades, allowing modern, “Space Age” alloys and bonding techniques to be used in bullet design.

The AccuBond is an aerodynamic design, sleeker, with a very different appearance than the original Partition.

The key difference with the AccuBond is that it is an extruded jacket, with the internal components bonded together rather than two separate bullets placed in alignment with a single partition between them.

The AccuBond offers a very accurate big game bullet available in a variety of cartridges that is usable for a wide variety of North American big game, and suitable for use in African safaris as well.

Standard AccuBond

The standard AccuBond is designed to expand at velocities of around 1800 feet per second. That’s impact velocity, not muzzle velocity, so the shooter needs to be aware of the ballistics of the cartridge they are firing since some caliber retain their speed better than others, and some drop precipitously after relatively short flights.

What those ballistics mean to you, is that long range shots are not as effective in bullet expansion as shorter shots are since the velocity slows with distance and may be under the minimum required for the AccuBond bullet to expand as designed.

Long Range AccuBond

The big difference between the standard AccuBond and the long range version is the minimum speed of the bullet to initiate expansion. The 1800 feet per second requirement of the standard eliminated it for longer range shooting beyond 400 yards with many calibers.

The lower speed of the long range AccuBond greatly extends the range of the bullet. At a requirement of 1300 feet per second for proper expansion, the long range AccuBond extends the mushrooming performance of the bullet substantial.

Calibers that couldn’t maintain 1800 feet per second speed beyond 400 yards are now reliable to much longer shots thanks to the long range technology.

The breakeven point of the standard AccuBond and the long range AccuBond is approximately 500 yards, below that range there is no appreciable difference in performance, but as the distance increase, the long range version is clearly superior.

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What’s the difference between the Partition and the AccuBond?

In terms of ballistics the two bullets share similar performance, it’s internally in their design that the differences become apparent.

If you were to cut each of them in half lengthwise you might be able to notice the internal difference in the design. When you’re jacking one into the chamber for a shot on a mule deer, elk, or black bear at 350 yards, you won’t notice a lot of difference in the two rounds.

The big difference is the Partition is two separate pieces of lead, designed to work with each other inside the bullet jacket when they reach the target. The AccuBond is a single extruded bullet.

The jacket on the AccuBond is heavily tapered, with a boat tail base and a white polymer tip.

The Partition arrives with a flat base and a standard, grey colored lead nose.

Both are designed to keep approximately two-thirds of their original weight when they began to expand after hitting a target.

Which is better?

Better performances is always the qualifying standard, but in these two bullets, there is no appreciable difference at ranges below 500 yards.

The Nosler Corporation clearly states this in their product information, even indicating there is no difference in accuracy in most of the platforms they’ve tested these two bullets on.

The Nosler caveat is “Partition users will not see a gain by switching to AccuBond unless their particular firearm shoots them more accurately.”

Rather than making a blanket statement on which one is better or if they are the same, the manufacturer leaves it up to the individual user to decide.

The performance of the long range version of the AccuBond in comparison to the Partition is a different issue.

The long range version is the better of the designs since the bullet does its mushrooming magic at much lower impact velocities.

Final thoughts

Nosler produces two great bullets in the Partition and the AccuBond. Traditional hunters prefer the look of a lead tip compared to the futuristic design of the AccuBond bullet, but the performance is the same between the two designs at standard hunting range. Beyond the 500 yard standard, you might want to try the long range Accubond.

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