For those of you who follow TTAG on Facebook and Instagram, you probably saw that I nabbed myself a pretty tasty little buddy this past weekend during the opening day of deer season in Texas. The gun I used for that shot was the same as last year, but there was one difference: the ammunition. I was using Lehigh Defense’s 110gr Controlled Chaos round instead of my traditional Barnes 110gr, and after putting it to the test I think I’m ready to review it. Quick warning: this article contains a somewhat graphic picture of what happens when this round impacts a deer . . .
For hunting ammunition, Tyler and I have both moved from traditional lead bullets to solid copper. Lead is great for target shooting, but when you’re trying to shoot yourself some food it makes sense to keep the possibility of heavy metal poisoning out of the picture. Lehigh Defense apparently agrees, and so their 110gr offering is similarly a solid copper projectile. While other projectiles of this same class use serrations in the copper to aid in expansion, the Controlled Chaos round simply has a large hollow point and a deep hole in the center.
The composition is cool, but accuracy is king. For that, I now turn to the boxplots. Those just joining us should refer to this article for a rationale behind the way I do consistency testing. Just remember that lower is better. I compared the Lehigh Defense 110gr Controlled Chaos rounds to PWS’s loading of the Barnes 110gr projectile, a similarly hunting-focused product loaded by a company I like.
The result: Lehigh Defense is faster and appears to be more consistent. The velocities are normally distributed (instead of the clustering around the bottom that PWS exhibits) and the box appears smaller as well. For the same weight of projectile, Lehigh Defense pushes their projectile almost 300 fps faster.
While it may be a hotter load than PWS’s, it’s about on par compared to the factory Barnes load. Barnes 110gr 300 BLK loads run right around 2350 fps, and Lehigh Defense is only about 50 fps faster. That makes the ballistic profiles of the two bullets about the same over distances where you would be using the cartridge, so the two can be used almost interchangeably. In fact, I double checked it on the range and at 50 and even 100 yards the two rounds were impacting within an inch or two of each other vertically. So if you run out of Lehigh Defense ammo, you can swap in some Barnes from your local Academy store without a problem.
In terms of overall consistency, Lehigh Defense’s 110gr offering is on par with the best of them. 50% of the rounds chronograph within 22 fps of each other, which is better than either the PNW “Match” ammo or CMMG’s offering.
So Lehigh Defense is consistent and stacks up well against the competition. But the real question is how well it performs in the field. For that, I loaded up their ammo in my 300 BLK rifle and headed out to a deer blind that Tyler had set up in a field on his ranch. About an hour and a half (and a light nap or two) later, this little buck walked straight past the blind at about 25 yards. I raised the rifle, and hit him with a single shot. He immediately dropped, and never moved a single inch ever again. After field dressing him, we found out why.
It looks like Lehigh Defense round did some serious damage to the deer’s vital organs. When we opened his ribcage, we found the heart and lungs completely destroyed. The cavity was filled with blood, which is exactly what you want to see. The deer was killed quickly and humanely, suffering only momentarily. What really struck me was that while the entry would was huge (the right side of the rib cage), there was no corresponding exit would. The bullet expended all of its energy within about eight to ten inches of ribs and flesh and then stopped. Perfect for just about anything here in Texas.
Lehigh Defense makes three different loadings for the 300 BLK cartridge, this 110gr bullet as well as some nasty looking 174 and 194 grain loads. Both of the other products are subsonic though, so while they look like mean and nasty rounds they’re limited by their initial velocity. I tested the 110gr first to see if Lehigh Defense’s ammo worked as advertised, and after seeing the rather impressive results I’m going to have to go back out and try to test the other two loads as well. For science. And bacon, preferably.
Specifications: Lehigh Defense 110gr Controlled Chaos
Caliber: 300 AAC Blackout
Average Velocity: 2406 fps
Velocity IQR: 22 fps
Projectile: Custom Solid Copper 110gr Hollow Point
MSRP (Box of 20): $24.95 (Lehigh Defense Website)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Accuracy: * * * *
Within 10% of the most consistent 300 BLK ammo I have ever tested.
Terminal Effects: * * * * *
For things like deer and hogs, this will be absolutely perfect. Larger game might require a larger application of velocity.
Availability: * *
Available through their website and maybe one or two other places. But if you run out, Barnes’ 110gr is interchangeable in terms of ballistics.
Reliability: * * * * *
Zero complaints. Works every time, always cycled the gun.
Overall Rating: * * * * 1/2
If I could get my hands on more, this would be my new go-to hunting round. The problem is availability, and hopefully that will be fixed shortly.