Definition of good bullet performance

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Len Backus, May 19, 2004.

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  1. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

    May 2, 2001
    I wonder how many threads there have ever been on the internet regarding the subject of the terminal performance of this bullet or that bullet . It must be up there in the millions. But so seldom discussed is "what do you define as good bullet performance".

    One poster will say "bullet A" is no good because it does "YYY". Another will say bullet "B" is good precisely because it does that same "YYY".

    So I think that when someone asks the question of what is a good bullet to use for "this animal", they are not going to get an answer useful to them unless they provide their own definition of preferred performance.

    How would you define good performance? What do you want a hunting bullet to do?
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Personally I would like a bullet to exit and leave a good blood trail if tracking is needed. That said, the last 3 hunts I shot a mule deer, an elk and a javalina with all 3 going down where they were shot. All the bullets exited with the results of meat in the freezer. The deer and the javelina were shot with Ballistic tips and the elk with a Partition. I think for the job each bullet did what it was supposed to but none of the shots were " long range " with the elk the furthest at 250 yds. I'm still waiting to use the SMK's at long range, I always bring a rifle set up for it but have never had the opppurtunity to use it . That said I feel if the bullet used results in the animal going down in a reasonable distance of where it is shot I would say that is good bullet performance ( shot placement considered of course ).
  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    My personal needs dictate that my definition of good bullet perfomance is #1 accuracy. All the weight retention or mushrooming or whatever does not do me any good if it wont hit my game. 2nd it must deliver enough velocity and energy to reliably expand at impact range. This means a high BC. Depending on the game I am hunting I like a rapidly expanding bullet for deer size critters and a controled expansion bullet for moose and big bears. I have found that I do not need complete pass throughs on big game. If the bullet does not pass through it generaly is due to the fact that 90% of the energy was transfered to the game itself. Trust me they still leave a heck of a blood trail.

    In short, my definition of good performance is that the bullet is accurate, has good velocity retention, and expands reliably. On medium game it does not have to retain 100% of its weight. On BIG game it should retain at least 80%.
  4. winmagman

    winmagman Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2003
    Interesting question. I guess I look at it a little differently. I like the idea of one load for one gun. So when I started reloading for my 300 WM I wanted a versatile bullet, one that performed as well as possible up close as well as way out there. It needed good accuracy, good BC, and good terminal performance(not neccesarily an exit wound). For me it had to be the best compromise of these qualities I could find.
  5. orwapitihunter

    orwapitihunter Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2004
    Terminal performance wise I want...

    Expansion: Say something like 1.5x at least on my sub 45 calibers.

    Penetration: To me exit wounds are optimum. But it is penetration that is paramount. I want to be able to reach the heart/lung region shooting from any angle. This doesn't mean I have to or will take that shot. Just that I am not limited.

    For me other considerations are placed behind terminal performance. No matter how accurate or sleek a bullet is if it doesn't perform terminally speaking it is worse than a miss. I would rather have accuracy dictate maximum range.

    Of course you can overcome some problems by exagerating your inputs. If you increase your bullet weight, speeds, or caliber these terminal performance levels may become less important.

    [ 05-19-2004: Message edited by: Birdshooter ]
  6. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2001
    For terminal performance I want:

    1. expansion of double the bullet diameter
    2. weight retention of 100%
    3. maintenance of bullet integrity

    And yes, I want this at any practical impact velocity.
    Got any suggestions?? [​IMG]

  7. RBrowning

    RBrowning Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    What is good terminal performance? Depends on what is getting terminated.

    For a varmint load I want explosive expansion, this makes for a quick kill and reduces the risk of ricochets. For deer I want penatration. I want to take out either both shoulders or both lungs, preferrably with an exit. Both must be accurate enough that I am confident in knowing that I can put it wherever the situation dictates.
  8. chris matthews

    chris matthews Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2001
    Allow me to simplify it-
    Since this is a hunting sight I'll stick to the hunting side of things-

    Definition of good bullet performance: Meat in the freezer or a trophy on your wall with ONE well placed shot where it counts.

    Do you smell the backstraps grillin? [​IMG]
  9. chessman

    chessman Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2004
    I can't argue with that. I've taken animals with a bunch of types of bullets. Clean kills have always come from clean shots. I say hunt with what shoots for you. You have to hit it to kill it.
  10. Pete Lincoln

    Pete Lincoln Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2004
    the way to guage bad bullet performance is this: ask your self:

    at exactly what part of the animals demise did the bullet fail?

    do a little research befoe hand, use the right bullet and all will be ok providing you hit em where they should be hit.
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I, like winmagman, am a one load/rifle guy. So I generally go for balance, I use the highest bc, most accurate bullet that can consistently kill quickly and cleanly. Even at close range.

    I'll use 300 SMK's in my 338 Lapua at all non-dangerous game out to my limit of 500 yards. If I hit one at 50 yards I don't worry. My 7STW shoot's the Cauterucio 156's, same story. I totally believe that being able to place the shot where you have to is most important, but you still need a good terminal performance. I don't care if the bullet exits or not as long as they drop.

    There is always the exception of dangerous game where shots are mostly inside 200 yards and a barnes bullet will be loaded every time in my rifles. They have not yet proven to me to be reliable at long range. (Note: I have yet to try the TSX bullets)