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Flat base VS Boattail bullets

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  • Flat base VS Boattail bullets

    At what range does the performance of boattail bullets really start to pull ahead of flat base? Simply put, at 300-400 yards or less is there all that much practicasl difference?
    "some people never let their given word interfere if something they want comes along"
    The real problem with the world are laws preventing culling.

  • #2
    I would guess that it depends on the gun. I have to experiment with bullets to see which type and weight each gun likes. I haven't had an Enfield rifle yet that didn't prefer flat base bullets to BT's at any range. Go figure.
    I\'d rather dial 1911!


    • #3
      The difference occurs when thr bullet becomes subsonic so it will vary with charge, air temperature, and other variables. The boattail bullet has less turbulence at the back of the bullet due to its aeroddynamic shape and the partial vacuum that is created in a flat base bullet after the transition into subsonic flight (around 1040 FPS) isn't there, meaning that it will stay on its path longer. If I recall correctly, for .30-06 that transition occured around 800M.


      • #4
        ISC, So for practical hunting ranges (300 yards and under) there will be little or no benefit by insisting on boattails? I've found Remington Cor-Lok 150 grainers, all I want for 12 bucks per 100, was just wondering if it would be worth my paying an extra 10 bucks per hundred extra for BT's. Thanks!
        "some people never let their given word interfere if something they want comes along"
        The real problem with the world are laws preventing culling.


        • #5
          In the Rifle Sporting Firearms Journal of September 2003, No. 209 article written by Ross Seyfried he had done scientific studies and came to the conclusion that the boat-tail bullet is for sub-sonic ranges of 500yds. and above. It is good for long range sniping for the military and long range target shooting.
          He concluded that it was a poor performer for hunting game.
          I would be glad to post this article if anyone is interested. My #5 son will do it for me.


          • #6
            Coonie, would really like to read this article. Thanks!
            "some people never let their given word interfere if something they want comes along"
            The real problem with the world are laws preventing culling.


            • #7
              Rifle Sporting Firearms Journals, September 2003, No. 209

              The Hunter's Tracks
              Boat-Tail Bullets: The Cruel Hoax
              By Ross Seyfried

              Yes, that is what I said, the cruel hoax, probably the most cruel hoax ever perpetrated upon hunters. For decades bullet makers and worse, writers - repeat-the-same-false-information writers - have thrust the boat-tailed bullet upon hunters. Why is this such a cruel hoax? Because the boat-tail bullet is often more difficult to make shoot accurately and is far more likely to fail, on game, than its flat-based counterpart - in sporting rifles, at sporting ranges. "So," you say, "Let's see him prove it." Okay, here goes. We will go at it with a rather unusual method. We will use science, real-world examples and experience.
              You see in the photo my poster child, the ultimate expression of just how gullible shooters and ammunition makers can be. Even in the distant past some purely unknowing person must have pimped for boat-tail bullets. Before us we see none other than flat-point. 170-qrain. .30-30 Winchester shells loaded with boat-tail bullets!!!
              First, to give the devil his due, we must explain why there are boat-tailed bullets at all, explain that

              they do indeed have a purpose and an advantage. The purpose for, and advantage of, boat-tail bullets exists in two places: the long-range target games and the very real world of military combat. Define long range: more than 500 yards. The military combat advantages/realities also are about long range.
              The military gains no more advantage from a boat-tail than a hunter, until his "quarry" is distant -notwithstanding that the military's mission is to wound, not kill. Our soldier may be a sniper, or he may be an infantryman. The sniper is interested in precision, usually at less than 500 yards, but at times he must stretch. Then a boat-tail can help. The infantry at times in history has simply wanted to hit in the midst of the enemy at extreme range. The boat-tail may have helped. When long to extreme ranges are involved, the boat-tail helps maintain velocity and minimize wind drift. Keeping a bullet above the speed of sound is important for extreme-range accuracy. So a bullet that does that at 800 to 1,500 yards does indeed help. But do not lose sight of that "long to extreme." As you will see in a moment, the advantage of a boat-tail, at sporting ranges, is too small to measure - with a rifle.
              There is a very important statement:"... measure -with a rifle." By that I do not mean measure with a computer, with a micrometer, with a word processor, but measure it with a sporting rifle in the hands of a human.
              To boost the discussion along and quiet the balcony, you see the Ballistic Tip fired at Ml .375 H&H speed, simulating impact at 25 yards. It is not pretty. When I fired them for my "Powder Keg" column (Handloader No. 221), the velocity was 2,150 fps, simulating the impact of an H&H at roughly 300 yards. This also ripped them to pieces. Rotational stability was not to blame in this case, because the test rifle, an H&H Veloplex, is designed to work at this velocity. It does not hurt Hornady roundnose, North Fork, Nosier Partition or original Kynoch softs and solids. Yes, I know they are bonding the cores in Ballistic Tips now. This certifies my point of view that they were faulty and may help the problem but certainly does not exonerate any of those who have pushed these varmint bullets for big game.

              Because the .375 caliber is often considered an "African* proposition and because some still subscribe to the ancient Boer tradition of long-range shooting. gate the "advantage* of this (or any other) boat-tail bullet We compare to the Partition: If we zero a H&H at 200 yards, Ballistic Tip drops inches at 500 yards. the Partition drops 61 inches. "Ah you say. "Gotcha! at that advance" Be careful, remember we to prove this with a rifle!!! our varmint bullet only drops 4 feet, while my hunting bullet drops 5- but 2 feet of that happens in the last 100 yards. To take the advantage, you must know the range to a very few yards, then you must be rifleman enough to hold for those inches-of-advantage at

              450 to 500 yards. Are you sure you want to play for marbles? Then there is the ugly question: What in the heck are we doing with a .375 in an extreme-range hunting environment in the first place? The wise hunter is carrying a .300 Winchester that with a great hunting bullet only drops 3 feet at 500 yards. Assuming he is an extraordinary rifleman, he has a fighting chance and when that bullet gets there it will work. More important, it will also work at 150 yards where we are most apt to shoot, and at 50 feet. While the varmint bullet clearly shows in my tests that it has a high-percentage chance of letting us down at any range. (So there is no confusion, firing at big game, at these extreme ranges, is in my opinion irresponsible on any continent.)
              It is quite easy to see just how insignificant any boat-tail is to a hunter by looking at the numbers right from the people who sell the bullets. We can compare apples to apples to see just what this anti-miracle really offers us. Let's start with a cartridge known for its long-range prowess, the 7mm Remington Magnum, with 139-grain Hornady bullets, moving at 3,200 fps. We have two virtually identical bullets,

              the Spire Point (BC = .392) and the boat-tail Spire Point (BC = .453 We will zero our rifles at 200 yap With the boat-tail we are down 5.7 inches at 300 yards and 16.7 at 400 yards. Turning to the flatbase, find the drops to be 6.0 and 17.6 respectively. You can hold inch groups at 400 yards, can't VOL
              Let's move to another great long-range cartridge, maybe the best there is: the .300 Weatherby. Now we are going to fire three different ISO-grain bullets at 3,200 : These will be a 180-grain flatbase 180-grain boat-tail and, just for grins, a ISO-grain flatbase round-nose. Again we will work from a realistic 200-yard zero. The boat-tail falls 5.7 inches at 300 and 16.7 inches at 400, while the flatbase is 5. inches and 17.1 inches below the point of aim. The "worst" imaginable long-range bullet, the round-nose, is 7.4 inches and 22.9 inches away from where we are looking Uh oh, somebody just fainted in the balcony. He bet big his cat's eye agate that he could prove to me his boat-tail was better and now he has to be able to hit a clime (every time) at 400 yards to prove it. When I really give him a chance double or nothing to get my steelie,. he still has to hit a softball at 400 yards to play against my ridiculous roundnose. Remember: in the wind, sitting, prone or over a rock, huffing and puffing. I am going to have to get a bigger marble bag.
              Of course, it is fair to ask why the boat-tail is bad. The most significant reason why boat-tails are a bad idea is one I have spoken of often. All things being equal, in terms of construction, the core is more apt to come out of a boat-tail than a flatbase of the same design. The reason for this is basic mechanics. When a softnose begins to expand, the jacket acts like a parachute. The great resistance of this wide canopy causes the bullet to decelerate rapidly. The core is very-soft relative to the jacket, is smaller in diameter and much more dense. The inertia of the lead asks it to keep going forward, to keep going fast, even though the jacket slows down. Unless something holds it inside the jacket, it

              will squirt out and fly apart. It is, if you will, just like the bug on the windshield.
              In bullets of normal construction, it is only the friction between the shank of the core and jacket that keeps the core in place. When a boat-tail is added, a significant portion of that parallel "gripping surface" between core and jacket -lost. All things being equal, the core is more apt to fly out of a boat-tail. This can also be said. magnification, of bullets like the Ballistic Tip with "tapered" jackets. That is, jackets that grow thicker toward the base. These, internally. are effectually a giant boat-tail, a giant taper fit. slightest movement of the core for-ward totally breaks contact between core and jacket. Bonded, core or solid-metal construct can certainly eliminate the problem, but then we have the potential. accuracy hassle.
              Surprisingly, in my experience and in that of most knowledgeable riflemen, flatbased bullets are usually more accurate than boat-tails from sporting rifles. For me, they just shoot better. If you want a further, more precise answer, go to benchrest match (including hunter benchrest) and see how many winners use boat-tail bullets. I think the number will be about zero. Yes, boat-tails can be, and are, spectacularly accurate, especially at long range and usually from a rifle made to shoot them. But we an hunters, firing hunting rifles at big. game, under field conditions. < > their best day a boat-tail may be as accurate as a flat base but with a. of the above faults.
              So, in the end we see that boat-tails on hunting bullets are purely matter of fashion, of false pre tenses and of disadvantages. Ft the last half-century, you ha\ been sold a bill of goods that might make fine accuracy more difficult, and that probably will increase your chances of wounding and losing your game, while at the same time offering you absolutely no ad-vantage.
              The good news is there are absolutely spectacular, flatbased hunting bullets out there. Most makers, who sell boat-tails be-cause the writers told you to buy them, also have real hunting bullets. Then there is the best hunting bullet to date, the Winchester Fail Safe with its flatbase and invincible impact qualities. The choice yours.