The case for the heavy bullet
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Thread: The case for the heavy bullet



  1. #1
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    The case for the heavy bullet

    There are a number of us on these forums that prefer the heavy for caliber bullet, and there are good reasons why. I put together some bullet weight comparisons using my SG 35 loads as an example, although this works with just about any cartridge.

    The attached chart shows that addition of bullet weight has its good points and a bad point but, if we take everything we do with our rifles under consideration the good outweighs the bad. Study the chart below, and you will readily see the point I am making.

    The good points:

    1. The heavier the bullet for caliber, the greater the SD (sectional density) and BC (ballistic coefficient) are. The greater the SD, the greater the terminal performance of the bullet especially as it relates to penetration. The greater the BC, the greater the bullets ability to cut through the atmosphere and remain stable in flight.

    2. The heavier bullet retains greater energy/momentum longer than the light bullet, and therefore greater terminal performance down range. MF (momentum factor), TKO (Taylor knock out), and OGW (optimal game weight) are all factors of terminal performance, and you can see from the chart that the heavier the bullet is, the greater the terminal performance numbers are.

    3. A heavier bullet cannot produce the velocity numbers of a lighter bullet, but, in most respects the heavier bullet produces greater terminal performance with less felt recoil. The "snap" of felt recoil by the light bullet fired at high velocity, to me anyway, is much more brutal than the "thud" of the heavy bullet fired at a lower velocity.

    The bad point:

    1.) The trajectory (maximum point blank range/ overall trajectory to point of impact) of the heavy bullet is less than that of the light bullet as the chart shows.

    Taking the above, and comparing to the numbers on the chart, it is evident that the heavier the bullet is, the greater its performance will be...with the exception of trajectory....but, how flat does a bullet need to travel to the target?

    Most hunting shots in North America, with exception of the wide open western plains and deserts, are normally well within 200 yards. That standard is pretty much the average for most other parts of the world, including Africa.

    I develop my loads to suit the type of hunting I do, and 200 yards would be an absolute maximum shot for me (that I am still yet to experience), so, for deer sized game and up, I want to maintain no more than a 6" overall trajectory from the muzzle of my rifle to the distance of 200 yards, yet, I want to deliver the full performance potential that my rifle has to offer....to that distance.....and the solution is the heavy for caliber bullet.

    Balance: For my SG 35, the perfectly balanced load and bullet for all game is the 260 grain bullet. This will offer me superb performance for all my "hunting" needs to 200 yards and a bit beyond. If I need a real thumper for heavy game and close range work, the 310 grain bullet and load would be my choice, and, if I need to flatten my trajectory a bit and still deliver good terminal performance on medium sized game at distances beyond 200 yards or so, the 225 grain bullet and load would be my choice.

    That is why I and many others choose the heavy for caliber bullet. It offers greater killing potential and gives up much less than the lighter bullet at longer ranges. The difference in trajectory as far as I am concerned is negligible for the distances that most of us take game at.
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    So the "OAT 200 yds" is inches below point of aim with the rifle sighted at 100?
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    The OAT (overall trajectory) from the muzzle to 200 yards is determined by the most suitable "zero" yard range that will give the minimum rise and fall (above and below) the line of sight, and give close to equal rise and fall in inches above and below the line of sight.

    For instance:

    My 260 grain load zero'd at the optimum zero of 170 yards would allow my bullet to rise 2.20" over the line of sight at 100 yards, and drop 2.43 inches under the line of siight at 200 yards. Add the maximum rise of 2.20" to the maximum drop of 2.43" and the OAT from the muzzle to 200 yards would be 4.63".

    To make it simpler and eliminate downrange variables such as wind, mirage, etc, I can sight the rifle at 1.23 inches high at 50 yards, or 2.20 inches high at 100 yards, and know that I will be able to put my bullet within a 4.63 inch circle out to 200 yards.

    There are many issues when working out those numbers including temp, height of the scope over the centerline of the barrel, shape and BC of the bullet, etc....and that "number" would be under ideal conditions. Add conditions like wind speed and direction and those numbers change a bit, but in my experience it has always worked out to be pretty darned close.
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    Right- thanks for the clarification. I'm no stranger to external ballistics calculations and tables, just not used to seeing it in this format. I use a 3" high at 100 as a baseline comparison for all the rifle cartridges I load for.

    The SG 35 is an interesting round- thanks for posting the data (even if I did have to hold my head sideways to sort it out )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat Top View Post
    1. The heavier the bullet for caliber, the greater the SD (sectional density) and BC (ballistic coefficient) are. The greater the SD, the greater the terminal performance of the bullet especially as it relates to penetration. The greater the BC, the greater the bullets ability to cut through the atmosphere and remain stable in flight.
    Should you qualify that statement with "the same nose profile" for BC?
    ..
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodot View Post
    Should you qualify that statement with "the same nose profile" for BC?
    ..
    Good thought...good point! Yes, the nose profile does have an affect on BC. All bullets used for the examples listed where of the same shape/design...lets call them "LBT like"..... Flat nosed cast bullets.
    "Overkill.............is WAY underrated."
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