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Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by RMulhern, Jun 22, 2012.
The Rifleman's Journal: Ballistics - Heavy Bullets
Great post! Every long range hunter should read this. This is exactly what I see in the field when comparing lighter faster muzzle velocity offerings to slower MV heavier offerings. And when you go past 1000 yards the proof is much larger.
Everyone should read this then try it for yourself. Much of what you read in posts, or see with on a balistic calculator on your PC can be inaccurate.
Thanks for the read.
Anyone that hasn't spent some time reading what German Salazar writes is missing out.
I guess I'll have to go test those Berger 180's in my 7 mag. They have been collecting dust for almost a year.
Good article. Still planning on using the 150s I have for my first testing with the new barrel when I get it, but I'm now thinking more seriously about trying out some heavier ones
I've known German for quite a few years! I had the opportunity several years back to coach members of the US Palma Team out at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility and at the Whittington Center at Raton, New Mexico and I think German was there on those occasions. He's a top notch competitor and if you give him an inch he'll take a mile and whip your azz!!
I read the article and nothing interesting or surprising here. Any shooter can check there muzzle velocity and run it through a ballistics computer and get the same information. Just no meat and potatoes in the article. He got the muzzle velocity of six bullets at the same pressure and then used that velocity in a ballistics program to calculate velocity and wind drift at 1000 yards using the manufacturers listed BC. Results are as anticipated with any ballistics program. No actual testing here. If he had verified the calculations it would have helped his article. As is he is just a guy who checked his velocity and ran that through a ballistics calculator with listed bc's. He should have checked the results of actual 1000 yard testing with each bullet to verify actual bc and results. Then he would have had an article. I am sure he is a nice guy. He just doesn't know how to write an article.
The entire article is flawed because he used weight of the bullets as his determing factor and base for his article. BC is the determining factor and not weight. One thing he said is good for a beginner. BC's are like diamonds, they are forever. If beginners are interested in shooting beyond 1000 yards look at only the highest bc bullets in your caliber. Run those through a ballistics program at your anticipated velocity for your cartridge. Then make a decision. Some specialty bullet makers have high bc bullets that are lighter than other bullets at the same bc and can be driven at very high velocities. Then you have the best of both worlds. BC is the key and not weight.
Then as hunters go from beginner to gaining experience they will begin to learn how to pick the best bullet for the anticipated range they intend to aquire a target. By including some lighter high bc specialty bullets into consideration the shooter can get a specific bullet to best fit their personal hunting situations. They will learn performance is a combination of velocity and ballistic coefficient. Weight is not in the equation in some cartridge/bullet and hunting situations. In some smaller calibers at long range weight can be critical because of the affect of sectional density and mass on a live target. This can depend on bullet construction.
One example of this is the testing of the 225 grain .64 bc 338 caliber bullet in numerous 338 cartridges over the past year. I have a thread under rifles, bullets, barrels and ballistics that gives some good info on this subject with actual testing and can allow anyone to plug data into a ballistics calculator and see if this bullet would help them in their style of hunting at the ranges they most expect to aquire a target. With a velocity increase of around 500 fps over the 300 grain bullets and a solid .64 bc ballistics can be sensational to beyond where most guys would shoot at an animal.
Also the testing I have begun on the 260 grain .76 bc Cutting Edge bullet. On average I am shooting this bullet 250-300 fps faster than 300 grain bullets in the 338 cartridges I have tested it in so far. Hunters just need to run the numbers and see if bullets such as these would help in their situations. There are several others I have tested in other calibers that also gave excellent results. There are other specialty bullet makers however I can not comment on them because I have not tested them in the field. As I do I will report on those also.
You must admit that CE bullets brake all the rules because they are so long for there weight so having a much higher BC and penetrate beter than the normal bullets most people are using and comparing here.
LTLR, I expected your responce to be as so. You forget one very important part of the equation. Heavier bullets do retain velocty better and do become the faster bullet down range. Sure BC is a part of the equation but only a part. As I stated in my post, my results do come from actual field testing side by side. I find the heavier bullets I have tested to have less drift. So essentially adverised BC's numbers become irrelevent. And believe me there are some exagersted BC's out there, especially in solids. The proof is on the target shown by drift in inches or sometimes feet.
On a ballistics computer enter data for two bullets with identical ballistic coefficients. One bullet at 150 grains and the other at 300 grains weight. With weight being the only change in the data. See what the results are. The two will probably be identical no matter the weight entered.
I don't think I forgot any important factors in the equation. The same bc should fly the same. The key is finding the best velocity/BC combination with adequate weight/construction to do the job. A heavier bullet will not drift less just because it is heavier.
LTLR I disagree, this why I posted about the inaccuracies out here. Have you ever left your computer program out of this and done some actual wind drift testing? I have. It is not easy and requires several rounds fired so as to eliminate the fact the wind could be varying. But here is what I do. Two targets located at the same distance in an area that has flat terrain so a more constant wind is possible. Then with a helper watching the kestrel fire the lighter bullet with the higher MV. Next shot I alternate to the other target with a heavier bullet and a slower MV. I try to fire with the same wind at the rifle. Note that at impact the programs will usually say the heavier bullet is now faster. But this is not about speed. It is indeed all about drift. I only test with the dial up method for elevation as I feel I get a better / finer point of aim with using center crosshairs. I feel hold over leaves room for error. I use no windage correction. I am only interested in seeing actual drift. I have tested bullets with almost the same rated BC's however as in most cases the heavier bullet will indeed have a slghtly higher BC. I can not think of one time where the heavier bullet didnt have less drift than the little bullet with a faster MV. I have paid the dues and done this alot. You can take it, leave it, or do it for yourself to see. I have done it enough times that my confidene is good about this test being accurate.
This is why I thought this article was good and had something to offer readers. Not only one but two highly respected shooters (one a maker of high end barrels) have come up with the same results as I did. Thats good enough for me. 3 out of 3 ain't bad. Elevation for a shot is a controlled correction we can master. Wind drift is another story. It is by far more important for hunting than many other things as far as shot placement. This is why I do the testing before I settle on a bullet.
I sent this off to all my buddies who think I am nuts for shooting the heavy stuff.
Bryan Litz commented (in an older thread I couldn't find) on the higher BC lower weight mono bullets and said that they won't actually fly the same as a higher weight bullet of the same BC (assuming the bullets are the same caliber).
The way it was explained to me is to think of wiffle ball and a baseball of the same size and shape (identical BC so to speak) and throw them both as hard as you can. The wiffle ball will start out much faster but it loses its velocity at a quicker rate because it doesn't have enough weight to maintain its momentum. This extreme loss of momentum in the wiffle ball allows the baseball (heavier) to carry its momentum further and deflect less in the wind. Obviously this is an extreme example because the weight of a wiffle ball and baseball are dramatically different, but it really helped to illustrate the point to me.
If this example is wrong I'd love to be corrected, but it helped me gain a theoretical understanding of the principal, and it echoes what Broz preaches about all the time.