Wow Hoot. Excellent work and documentation. So much for the 225 blowing up theory. Did you find any difference in the terminal diameter? I'm a fan of the going the other way theory (in regards to bullet grain weight that is)
I didn't do enough shots to say conclusively which one has the greater or lesser terminal diameter. They all are amazingly similar in performance. Water filled milk jugs are not what I would call calibrated test media. I had just as many failures as successes in the water shots due to the bullets for whatever reason, deciding to veer off and exit the jugs before coming to a halt.
I can say this for certain. These bullets are speed sensitive. I did not slow them down enough to even come close the lower end of their expansion window, but I sure saw my share of over expansion from being at the upper end. It wasn't just the lighter weight ones. The 250 is just as sensitive as the 200, but by virtue of the lesser weight, you are more likely to come up with loads that go too fast with the 200.
The 450b is capable of generating more, safe velocity than these bullets can handle at close range shots and I mean all three weights. For the person looking for bullets that perform superbly at modest velocities, these are hard to beat. For the speed demon trying to push the maximum, safe limits of their 450b, these are IMHO, not the best choice. That statement is based upon how they behave when shooting water-filled, thin-skinned milk jugs. The point being. In any measurement endeavor, the results are unique to the environment that generates them. My testing process is flawed
as a hunting scenario in that I shot my tests at 5 yards. IE near muzzle velocity of the loads. As one member astutely pointed out, the BC's we are encountering with this caliber yields typical losses in velocity of 300 fps at 100 yards. Worse further out. I however, was only interested in putting clean, reliably performing loads through my rifle and as such, did not load them down to simulate 100 or 200 yard velocities 5 yards from the muzzle. Every testing scenario has it's flaws.
If you look at the images of the expanded rounds, the 225 to me, looks like the best performer. That would be a slanted observation. Since I had no experience or load data to go with for the 225, I erred on the side of caution, yielding loads that clocked only 2000 fps at the muzzle (34 gr Lil Gun). That's technically the equivalent of 100 yard velocities of that round loaded to 2300 fps muzzle velocity. The 250 was loaded to 2200 fps muzzle velocity (36.5 gr Lil Gun) and the poor 200 loads I did a few weeks ago came out the muzzle at 2400 fps (41 gr Alliant 2400). I don't have unlimited R&D funds overflowing from my pockets, so my effort is at best, a glimpse of the performance curve. I may in the future, try determining the lower speed limits for acceptable expansion. Hornady certainly could have and may have already done this work. If they did, I have not seen their in-depth results published anywhere.
So, take all the conclusion parts of this effort with a grain of salt.