Where is the balance between weight and speed?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by backyardsniper, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. backyardsniper

    backyardsniper Well-Known Member

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    I posted a thread here recently on the effectiveness of the 208 amax on elk. There were lots of very helpful responses, some of which got me thinking on another question. What is the ideal weight for hunting bullets in each caliber. This caused me to spend a great deal of time today on the ballistic calculator.

    Let me explain what I'm thinking before I get to the question. If you were going to shoot only extremely long range at targets where you know you have a lot of time to range and figure wind then we all agree I think the heavier and the higher the BC the better. Lets use the 300wm for example. Right now my plans were to shoot the 208 amax which I think I can safely push to 2850-2900 in my 27in broughton 5c 300wm. I ran the numbers on the berger 190 at 3100 which I think is do able. I have not used this one but used to regularly get 2875 from the 210 in a 24"5r. If anyone is using these in a 300wm please feel free to give us some actual data. It takes roughly 26moa depending on atmospherics and altitude to reach 1K with the 208 at 375ASL where I live. The 190 gets there at 23moa with almost the same wind drift.

    Now, I'm saying this based on a rifle that I plan to employ as a hunting rifle that may be shot from 30yd to I would say 800yd and maybe 1000 absolute max. Like 800yd on elk sized game 1000yds on whitetail sized game due to retained energy considerations and shooting skill level. The 190 gives you a 30" flatter trajectory at 1000yds. That is a lot more room for error in a hunting situation where lets say a deer is at 750yds when you range it then he moves to 780 before you take the shot. I know a bullet of that weight class has plenty of energy at those ranges because I see the Best of the West guys spanking stuff at 900-1100 yds with 168gr berger 7mm. Is there any guys out there running the, what we will call mid weight bullets, instead of the heavies for this reason. I understand the sectional density thing too but I think the 190 have plenty of that probably comparable to or better than the 168 class7mm stuff.
    Just looking to get some opinions and thoughts on the subject. Remember were talking about a Longrange hunting rifle , but you want to be able to employ it in all conditions and positions with the most forgiving trajectory possible to help account for field error while still packing enough thump to handle business at the maximum range you intend to shoot.

    Thanks guys
     
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Each rifle/cartridge combination has an optimum bullet weight. For Trajectory, Velocity and energy.
    And if you run the ballistics and make a bell curve of each where they all meet and then drop off
    the chart will tell you what the optimum bullet weight is for a given cartridge. It may not be what you want to use or need but it is the optimum .

    Some times a lighter bullet may have more of everything you want for the distance you want to shoot (If you are going to limit your shots to 500 yards the lighter bullet may have the advantage)

    In other words there is no reason to use a high BC Bullet if shorter distances are the norm, But for extremely long distances are the norm High BC Bullets are a must IMO.

    Run the numbers and combine each element and it will answer your question.
     

  3. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    For me, I always limit the rifles effective range well before the expansion velocity threshold, and like to keep the KE up too. Due to these two things, I usually shoot the bullet that performs the best 200 yards inside the rifles max effective range. Mostly because closer shots are normal for me (350-600).

    In my .338 RUM I shoot 250's and don't see myself going back to the 300's any time soon. I actually see it as an advantage in the mid-long range game, where I can hold off out to 500 yards pretty fast and don't even need to hold off fur until 300 yards. The steel doesn't notice a difference to 1100 yards either.
    I guess I like to keep it around 3000 fps for hunting loads.

    All that said if all you can get is heavies, I would shoot them over a mid weight with a crappy B.C.
     
  4. antitactical

    antitactical Well-Known Member

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    My buddies and I have been working on this. A couple of us have 7mm stws (i am not trying to convert this to another stw thread). With this cartridge we have come to the conclusion that the 180 Berger shoots its best in the 2950-3050fps range. Push them any harder and they scatter. Meanwhile one guy has a 168 Berger running at 3450fps in a long barreled bat actioned model. I believe that the extra 450fps outweighs the 12grains of bullet weight or roughly .04 b.c increase. A good ballistic program will really help with these choices. I personally would go with the 190s in your situation.
     
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I agree with this in the case of controlled expansion type bullets, but when it comes to highly frangible type bullets, bigger is ALWAYS going to be better. It will reduce impact velocity at closer ranges and bring more mass on target resulting in better penetration.

    We just had a thread that delt with this issue in where the 250 Berger bullets were used in a 338 LM to shoot a moose inside 100 yds. It was a rear quartering shot and the bullets came apart penetrating only 8" and not reaching the vitals. The moose was finally brought down by a third shot to the neck. They blamed the bullet for poor performance whereas I blame it on poor bullet selection. Had they used the 300's instead, with less velocity and more mass, it would likely have been a quicker uneventful kill. But it does make for good bullet bashing fodder.
     
  6. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Here are my thoughts along with my previous post. 30" flatter trajectory @ 1000 yds doesn't really mean anything. If you are off 1 MOA @1000, it's going to be 1 MOA no matter what bullet you use and how fast it is going and dropping. 1 MOA is 1 MOA. The only place that trajectory counts is at closer ranges to point blank range and maybe a little farther. If getting the max point blank range is your goal then use the lightest, fastest bullet you can with a descent BC, that is adequate to do enough damage to effectively dispatch the game. But, don't use a highly frangible bullet like a Berger or an Amax or you will almost certainly have a bad experience and be tempted to blame it on the bullet.

    Once you get to ranges that require you to make adjustments in terms of MOA, trajectory doesn't mean didly. Nada. Your rate of drop between the 2 bullets is going to be close enough that the margin of allowable error between the two is really negligible. And, at some point down range, the higher BC bullet will exceeed the lower BC bullet in velocity, in turn having actually a greater margin of allowble error due to trajectory, still negligible though.

    My advice is, do yourself a favor and stick with the heavy high BC bullets. The benefits FAR outweigh the benefits of a lighter bullet which might get you 50 yds more point blank range.

    I think the 215 hybrid is a perfect fit for the 300 WM or maybe even the 230. I'll be shooting 230's in my RUM

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    In reference to the other post.... I think more went wrong there than just a bullet with low S.D. There was a bullet that was a tactical model, most likely had the tip closed up (all the OTM's I've killed stuff with had to have the needle in the nose trick), and a unwise shot for the type of bullet.

    There is definitely a place for faster bullets, without needing to go to wicked fast "point and shoot" loads. Middle of the road, around 3000 fps, get you farther flatter with the same wind drift and more energy up to a point. The only down side to a slightly lighter bullet is the slightly lighter S.D.
    I still have lots of love for the heavies, they just aren't always the best for an application.

    The 250 OTM for example is still a heavy bullet! It still has a good S.D (.313 compared to the 215's .324). If it still beats the wind more at a desired distance, and shoots flatter, what's not to like? or a 168 compared to a 180 in 7mm? It still works well. In fact it was the bar for a lot of years for 7mm shooters.

    I once shot 225 sst's at 3350 for a season. They are frangible, and they still killed a lot of deer. they have a fairly poor s.d!
     
  8. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    There isn't a trade off between weight and speed.

    What is optimal is the load which performs best for your rifle and caliber.

    The best ballistic calculations are always going to come from the heaviest weight of bullet for the type of bullet you are using.

    Not all bullets will shoot well in all rifles which is why so many of us spend so much time tweaking loads to get the best possible load for each rifle.
     
  9. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    The only reason I can think of where a lighter bullet for hunting purposes would be "better" than a heavier one is for farther point blank range. The OP was relating to LR shooting which IMO, makes the case for a heavier high BC bullet all the stronger. He will gain no advantage by using a lighter bullet. This assumes no difference in accuracy.

    The other thread I mentioned was the Long Range Thick Skinned Bullets thread. In that thread 250 OTMs were used in a 338 LM to shoot a moose inside 100 yds. The bullets blew up only penetrating 8". Based on that, I would never recommend using the 250's in anything bigger than a 338 WM.

    Are you saying the 250 gr bullets buck wind better than the 300 gr bullets? If so, I disagree. If we run the numbers I'm sure it will be close for a while with the 300 gr bullets having a slight edge and increasing that edge farther down range.

    I'm not sure what 338 you are shooting but read the thread I mentioned and I think you might change your mind about which frangible bullet to shoot out of a big 338.
     
  10. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry MonatanaRifleman,
    I referred to the 778 bull moose down thread (both good threads). In regards to the Berger "fail" (I'm treading lightly here), I have my doubts about what happened in that situation and some of the decisions that were made that may or may not have been poor. Either way, I know that bullets will eventually fail and one "report" isn't conclusive enough for me. When Several people that are fairly well know have bad experiences, then I'll write the bullet off. Now back on track.

    If you do run the numbers of the 250 OTM against the 300 OTM, you will be surprised at how long it takes the 300 to catch up. Its a full 1200 yards, which is the effective range of my rifle anyways.
    I run a .338 RUM with 250 OTM's at 3050 fps (gonna go faster when I open up the mag well). I used to single feed 300 OTM's at 2760 fps, but see too many grizzlies to not have a second in the mag. Once I switched I liked it ALOT.

    I have only killed one black bear with the bullet at 208 yards so I cant say that I have a pile of evidence for the bullet. I shoulder shot the bear (last three hours of the hunting trip and didn't feel like hauling it out any further). Bullet in 2-1/2" out. DRT as it should be with a 250 grain bullet at that range.

    When you compare the S.D of the 250 OTM to the S.D of the 215 Berger they are VERY close, and that ones a proven performer.

    I would shoot the classic hunters but they are hard to get around here. I would prefer the CE 252's but they are $$$.
    One thing that I will say about the 250's is CHECK THE NOSE FOR DEBRIS AND CLOSE UPS!
     
  11. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    Ohh and I ran into a sow and cub at 15 yards on Sunday, I wasn't too worried about the bullet no penetrating!
     
  12. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I agree that one report doesn't make a complete case. That said, a lot of other very experienced shooters strongly thought the 250 bullet was too light and fragile for that situation. Your velocity when you shot that bear was probably about 2780. The bullets that hit that moose were probably going close 3000 inside of 100 yds out of a 338 LM. You might want to sneak up on some deer or something and put one through both shoulders at close range with that bullet going close to 3000 fps and see what happens.

    Yeah, running the numbers that you give, I'm showing the the 300 has a slight wind advantage from the start which slightly increases going down range.

    I understand your wanting a repeater, maybe you can load the 300's deep into the case?

    If I was doing your kind of hunting, I would probably shell out the $$$ for the CEB's. I probably wouldn't be shooting a 338 RUM a lot except for a little proficiency now and then and hunting. If you shoot yours a lot, CEB's can get spendy.

    Good Hunting!
     
  13. 4xforfun

    4xforfun Well-Known Member

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    I see a few referances to the amout of drop, but nothing on WIND DRIFT!! If you are shooting 600, 800, or xxxx. you have to dial up. A few more clicks with the heavier pills means nothing at the shorter ranges any more than the few LESS clicks at the longer ranges. You still have to take the time to dial up. But you will always need less windage with the heavier, higher BC bullet. In my experionce, it is usualy the wind that gets you, not the drop, given that you took the time to range and dial up.

    Just my .02.

    Tod
     
  14. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    I will reply to this part in an effort to possibly save someone time and money.

    I have loaded both the 250 and 300 OTM's in a 338 Lapua magnum. They have the same nose. To make them both fit in the mag box they were both the same distance off the lands. The only difference is the 300 takes up more case volume in doing this with equal OAL's

    In the end I loaded the 300's as they shot better from the rifle I was working on. That and the huge difference in what I like from a fragmenting bullet for terminal performance was what prompted me to stay with the 300's.

    Jeff