What makes a bullet a good bullet?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by cordj549, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. cordj549

    cordj549 Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    please excuse me , i am new to all this awesome long range hunting stuff. im really trying to learn what makes some bullets better than others. Their are so many choices it can be an overwelming decision of what ammo to use. I have a new accurized sendero 7mm rem mag with a trigger job and a vortex viper 6.5x20 scope. I will be using this gun for hunting mule deer , and elk .I have been told about the amax 162 grain , Berger 168 grain , Barnes 150 tsx. what makes each bullet different and or better . its really confusing i see berger bullets doing awesome things on the best of the west show. but then i also hear that barnes is the way to go because of copper bullet retains all of its weight. i am looking at hunting 500 yards at the most. what makes a bullet more accurate than other bullets in the hunting bracket. also what makes one bullet a better kill choice than others. please help a new comer to understand . all advise will be well appreciated
     
  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    The Berger and the Barnes are totally different bullets really. IMO, one is designed for high weight retention, the other for terminal shock and better flight/accuracy. Personally, I wouldn't want to try a Berger on a close range point of shoulder shot (hitting heavy bone before the vitals). In contrast, I would be skeptical of a Barnes performance at extended or long ranges and hitting only the lungs/maybe a rib.

    They both serve their purpose, I've used them both. Have no complaints of either.

    Perhaps one of the Berger or Barnes guys could give you a better, more detailed discription of their product.

    I've not yet used the A-Max on game, but will soon be trying it.
     

  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,829
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Welcome.

    1st, any given bullet will not perform perfectly in all shot senarios. A berger will be good for some senarios, an Amax will be better for others and a barnes will be better for another.

    IMHO, the ACCUBONDS and Interbonds are about the best 'overall' 'hunting' bullets. They have decent BC's (good BC's are needed for energy retention and forgivness in the wind), are very accurate and peform well on game over a wide variety of circumstances. They are a good balance between all things.

    There are other bullets that have much higher BC's but typically come unglued when shots are take up close and other may not expand below 1800FPS. You need to find a balance.

    That said, alot depends on your caliber choice. I have two main calibers. One is a 308 and the other a 338 Edge. Each will require a totally different bullet type to perform best. For example, my 308 has a starting velocity that is lower than many other calibers. I need two things. A high BC for energy retention and windage. The other thing I need is a bullet that will expand at lower velcoities. Compared against a 300RUM, a bullet with sufficient expansion properties for my 308 at 800 yards will come completely apart when fired out of a 300RUM at 300-400 yards. A 300 RUM will need a much stouter constructed bullet than my 308 will to perform the best. That is, in average circumstances. There are always exceptions. The 338 Edge is designed for one thing. Raw energy past 1/2 mile. Part of what makes this doable is the availability of VERY high BC bullets. With all of the weight, size and material of a 300 grain bullet, I can afford to shed some weight inside the animal regardless of shot angle or placement. What I really am looking for here is very high retained energy and very low wind drift. I sacrifice some bullet construction for a very high BC. That said, when I know shots will be close I load some 225 or 250 ACCUBONDS to hold up on the closer shots. This is a different approach than with my 308.

    I hope that helps you get started.

    M
     
  4. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,503
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    If it were me, to fill your requirements I would get me some 160 Nosler Accubond bullets and never look back. It has been my experience that they hold together well at high velocity for close shots and they still open up fine at longer ranges and the BC is not bad.
     
  5. RockZ

    RockZ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    899
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Close range performance of the 160 accubond is great.
    I shot two deer at 30 yds with my 7mm , both shoulder shots. DRT
    Nice entrance hole and a mess inside. No exit.
     
  6. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,068
    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    You'll get a lot of different opinions on this on this and if you want to get a good overview do a search on the subject using the various bullet names and "terminal ballistics"

    This being a Long Range Hunting site, a "good bullet" will have a "good" BC to extend bullet range and buck wind as well as have "good" terminal characterstics and the latter requirement is the most subjective. Some like highly frangible, "explosive" bullets to create a lot of damage and others like controlled, reliable expansion for deep penetration and exit wound. I prefer the latter.

    I have read hundreds of posts on pretty much all the offerings in all the various cartridges and one thing you will notice is some inconsistancies in experiences.

    I have used a lot of different types of bullets (most before my LR days) and all but one game animal went down immediately or very quickly. The one (whitetail deer) that didn't was poorly hit the first time, gut shot a second time by another hunter with a 218 B, and I shot it a third time at point blank broadside through the lungs. It ran off into a nearby subdivion (in PA) and the chase was over, deer lost. I was using 243 core-lokts... Point being, most any modern "hunting" bullet will usually get the job done... some maybe more consistantly than others.

    As you read the various reports, there is not a bullet that will have both glowing and some negative reports.

    Most LRH members would consider 500 yds as medium or even short range shooting. At 500 yds, with a 7mmRM, you can be a lot less picky. MY choice (and I have hunted many years with the 7mmRM) would be a 150 E-Tip. They are monometals and have essentially the same BC and they are tough bone crushing bullets. I like them better than the Barnes bullets because they have a little better BC, are made of guilded metal vs copper and their tips are not as prone to damage as the Barnes bullets.

    MY favorite bullets at this point are the GS HV's. They are a high BC monometal with very good terminal performance and very spendy.

    Hope that helps and do some researching to form you're own opinion.
     
  7. Long Trang

    Long Trang Active Member

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    A-MAX bullets are designed for target shooting accuracy with high ballistic coefficients (BC), they are not designed as hunting bullets. Yes, you could very easily hunt with an A-MAX, and even drop your deer or elk, however, you will get less expansion than hunting bullets; thereby more penetration. If you're one who uses the 'right tool for the right job', A-MAX is not what you're looking for.

    When it comes to the 'better' bullet, you have two factors to consider. As stated earlier, a high BC helps the bullet resist wind drift and is typically more aerodynamic than its lower bc counterparts. But, this high bc (represented by a # like 0.475) often has a price of lowering the bullet's expansion power upon striking the target. Hunting bullets, on the other hand, are designed for expansion upon hitting your target and that price is usually a lower BC. So, essentially, as Michael indicated, you're looking for a balance between the two factors. Check out the sites regarding Barnes, Berger, Hornady, etc and find the bullets that have the higher BC and execute the type of terminal ballistic (damage upon target) you like the best. That will give you your balance, and 'best' bullet.

    Also, as stated before, you're talking a maximum of 500 yards. That range is not excessive. At that range you really need not worry about choosing the right bullet. A standard hunting load should do just fine. What you could do, if so inclined, would be to choose a lighter load for mule deer and a heavier hitter for your elk, to avoid excessive meat damage.

    Good luck.
     
  8. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,992
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    "What makes a bullet a good bullet?" One word,,,,, consistency!,,,,,,,, which leads to,,,,,,,,,,, repeatability!
     
  9. FreeTrapper

    FreeTrapper Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    For big game shooting where destroying edible meat is not desirable, and being one who recommends shooting any big game animal intended for the freezer through the lungs, I would say that a "good" bullet is one that delivers violent rapid expansion in the lung cavity area! Nosler Ballistic Tips perform this task very well. They also provide the long range qualities that result in flat trajectories.

    Shooting through edible meat to reach the vitals (lungs) is something to be avoided if possible, but there are times when you have to take whats offered and get the job done. I don't want a bullet that opens up like the Ballistic Tip does for that work, and while any "good" big game deer hunting bullet will destroy a lot of meat, for reaching the lungs through bad angle shots, I recommend the Nosler Partition. In my main "go to" hunting rifle, I shoot two bullet configurations in the same weight and from the same manufacture; Noslers in a BT and Part. The BT is in the chamber and the Partitions are at hand if needed. They shoot to the same POI for all practical purposes.

    A "good" bullet is one that you have deemed as such through research, trial and field proofing against intended targets. We all have our own personal "good" bullet... You will find yours and join a group of opinionated hunters who will defend thier choice with total dedication! Enjoy!
     
  10. Jammer1

    Jammer1 Active Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    I have been using the 168 Gr Amax on deer for the last five years in my 21 in barreled 308 with outstanding results. Not one animal has taken a single step after being hit. It absolutely does not have an underexpansion issue as was posted earlier. On the small whitetails and pronghorns that we have in our area, they simply cannot be beaten.

    I would not however attemt to use the same bullet on elk or at a very high velocity such as one of the larger 30 caliber magnums.
     
  11. BigSkyGP

    BigSkyGP Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Over kill, in my experience.

    I bought some 180gr Hornady SPBT 300WM, from a buddy he had a lot of it, and didn't want to sell it to just anyone, he made an offer I couldn't refuse. Plus I'd tried some in my rifle and was pleasently surprised, it shot real well.

    I took it antelope hunting, antelope aren't big enough to expand 180gr Hornady. Probably a good thing, shot placement still makes DRT @ 100yds the first time. Maybe I didn't learn my lesson, there was a lot of 180gr I'd picked up. I used it the next year as well, I had a 20mph gusting cross wind @260yds, I was afraid I'd mess up the shot, and mess up the antelope. So I used rule of thumb, and tuched off 2" infront of the eyesocket. Neither one lost meat, to mention.

    Is it the right bullet? It fills the freezer with DRT performance.
     
  12. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,068
    Joined:
    May 21, 2008

    Where did the bullet impact?
     
  13. BigSkyGP

    BigSkyGP Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    In one eye, out the other. It was more WAG than SWAG.

    It's kinda sad, my cusin thinks I'm a sniper. It's okay, I call him a spotter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2011
  14. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,068
    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    I was wondering because the ballistic calc has that bullet drifting about 8" give or take in a 20 mph crosswind.