In this section of LRO, we are going to dive deep into the technical aspect of rifle projectiles, as they
pertain to long range hunting. This will be a living document, and will update as information is gathered,
and as new bullets and manufacturers come into the game. Bullet selection has historically been a very
controversial topic, so before we get into it, let me go over some details as to how we will be discussing
the information in this section.
We are not going to be comparing one bullet to another, period. This is not going to be a bullet bashing
section, either. Each bullet will be individually broken down. It does not matter if we prefer a cup and
core, monolithic, fragmenting, fracturing, mushrooming, tumbling, or some other design, and we will
not tell you which one you should choose. This section is for facts, observations and information, and
you can make the decision as to which bullet is the correct choice for your specific application. Rifle and
projectile requirements for white tail hunting from a tree stand, has a different set of needs than
shooting a large bull elk across a rocky mountain canyon, which is different yet from shooting a brown
bear in the thick Alaskan alders, or a zebra in the African plains. There will be some crossover at times,
but they will often vary, and the ultimate decision is up to you. Our only intent here is to inform with our
hands on, documented experience of what a given bullet does.
As I foreshadowed in the previous paragraph, this will be broken down into a few sections for each
individual bullet, specifically the following:
- Ballistic coefficient – advertised, and field observed
- Loading characteristics
- Terminal performance design INTENTION
- Terminal performance OBSERVATIONS
In this section, we will discuss the manufacturers advertised ballistic coefficients, and then report back
on our field observed drops and how they relate. Be prepared for a geek out on numbers! BC will
sometimes vary from rifle to rifle, but with our field testing, you should hopefully have a general idea of
what to expect from a given bullet. While we may at times be testing out to extreme range, keep in
mind, the concept here is relating to long range hunting distances, so generally within the functioning
velocity parameters of a given bullet as a maximum.
Loading characteristics and bullet to bullet consistency
This section will go over details of how a bullet is to load for, from our experiences. Different bullets can
sometimes have quirks, or different tricks that help to get the most overall performance out of them.
Bullet construction and bearing surface length, ogive type, necessary twist rate, and overall bullet design
will affect how a bullet loads, and we will go over our findings in this section. Keep in mind here,
different types and lots of components, chamber designs, bores, and so many other factors can affect
results, so what works for us may not necessarily work for you. Referring to our Cartridge break down or
other load data, in conjunction with this section may help you in making the best component choices
and getting the best results from your rifle.
Terminal performance design intention
This section will establish how each specific manufacturer designed their bullet to perform, including
minimum and maximum recommended impact velocities, and what you should expect from a bullet.
Terminal performance observations
This section will be the real meat and potatoes (pun intended) of this breakdown. From polls, it is rather
obvious that the vast majority of us here consider ourselves hunters first. While some useful data can be
drawn from it, we will not be shooting gel, newspaper, water jugs or anything like that. We will only be
shooting live animals, and documenting with detailed photos, and video at times, of exactly what the
bullet did. Detailed and careful necropsy of animals will show entrances, exits when applicable, and
discussion will establish if bone was hit, angles of impact, penetration distances, observed blood trails
when possible or applicable, and details of the animals reaction at impact, or video showing it. In
addition, we will specify muzzle and impact velocities, distances, twist rates, bore conditions of the rifles
the bullet was fired from, and any other pertinent data that could have any form of an impact on
terminal performance of a bullet.
One last thing before we get into it. Many of our readers are new to long range hunting, and some are
even new to shooting, and that is fantastic! So, to make sure we are doing our best job at informing, we
will put together a sort of “legend” that will define some of the technical abbreviations and phrases we
may use throughout this section.
BC – Ballistic Coefficient: This is how efficiently a bullet slips through the air. To break it down a little
more, a Nissan Cube vs a Chevy Corvette coasting down the back side of a mountain, would be equal to
a cast lead flat nose bullet vs. a modern sleek design bullet. This is generally broken down into a “G7” bc,
and a “G1” bc. The G7 number is the most relevant the boat tail projectiles, and is the number that we
will be using when referring to bc.
CBTO – Cartridge Base To Ogive: A measurement from the base of the cartridge to the ogive of the
bullet. This measurement gives a consistent distance for bullet jump to lands, as certain bullet designs
will vary in the OAL, making OAL cartridge measurements less useful for measuring bullet jump, though
OAL measurements are still useful for knowing if a cartridge will fit in a magazine, often a concern with
long range bullets.
C&C – Cup and Core: This is a specific bullet design, generally a lead core inside of a copper jacket.
E.S. – Extreme Spread: This refers to the extreme spread of a bullets muzzle velocity.
MOA – Minute Of Angle: This refers to a unit of measurement relevant to a given distance. To be
specific, one MOA is 1.047” per every 100 yards. So, one MOA at 200 yards is 2.094”, one MOA at 300
yards is 3.141”, and so on as far out as is referenced. To simplify things, we may at times just round
MOA to 1” per 100 yards.
Mono – Monolithic: This is a specific bullet design, which is one continuous material throughout the
entire bullet. Generally, copper or a “gilding metal”.
OAL – Overall Length: This is the overall length of something, usually either a bullet, or a cartridge.
OTL – Off The Lands: The distance that the ogive of the bullet is loaded from contacting the rifling in the