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Compromise of Bullets Part 2; Shooting Accuracy VS Precision, Hunting Bullet Contrast & More

Here we continue our subject on the compromises of the modern bullet design. Long slim and slippery bullets will deflect when hitting branches and limbs of foliage between the hunter and the game. Round-nose bullet will hold a truer coarse bucking the bush better but are still subject to some deflection. Long aerodynamic bullets shoot farther, but within their limits round-nosed bullet are better at ranges out to about 200 yards or under. Round-nose bullets are usually heavier per caliber and most dangerous game bullets tend to be flat or round nosed. Round nosed bullets have long bearing surfaces.

Shooting Accuracy VS Precision

Accuracy is hitting the bullseye. Precision is tight groups, but not necessarily on the bullseye. Tight groups on the bullseye is both accurate and precise. Targets can be paper, steel plat or silhouettes, flesh and bone or other material. The target shooter is only concerned with tight groups at or near the bullseye on paper, after that no thought as to the bullet performance. Silhouette shooting requires the bullet to hit hard to knock over the steel targets without breaking-up. Hunters, self-defense military are very interested is the destructiveness of the bullet when contacting and passing through flesh and bone. Long-range shooting, 1000-yard bench rest, snipers, etcetera, need slippery long aerodynamic bullets with consistent concentricity and high standards to reach out a long-ways and hit both accurately and with precision. Some forms of long-range competitive shooting are moving beyond 1000 meters, that is a kilometer.

Hunting Bullets Comparison

The hunter is more likely shooting under 300 yards, needs a bullet that will deform, i.e. expand and stay together. Incapacitation, on game or the battlefield will depend on the projectiles ability to disrupt the central nervous system, cause damage to the circulatory system and break and penetrate sometimes heavy bone. Dangerous game needs to be anchored at shorter ranges, sometimes in full charge under 60 yards. Demanding of the shooter’s nerves and the bullets performance. Cape buffalo expected engagement ranges are between 20 and 60 yards. Calibers minimum are .375 H&H Magnum, up through the 458’s. The .416 Rigby or Remington Magnums are popular. At such short ranges you only have so much time to cycle and fire. This is the kind of hunting that made the double-barreled rifles popular in Africa, though many modern hunters prefer 4 to 5 rounds. Doubles are great for the fast second follow-up round, but to slow reloading to get a third or fourth shot at such close ranges. But for our discussion you will be lofting 400 to over 500 grain plus solids at about 2100 to 2300 feet per second (fps). They are lead core with copper washed steel or think copper jacketed bullets, with the trend moving to monolithic solids of solid copper or copper-zing alloy brass. No deformation or expansion, just penetration deep into the organs through heavy muscle and thick bone.

Expanding Bullets

A deer hunter is going to engage, generally under 300 yards and wants an expanding bullet that retains its weight and integrity though tissue and bone. It needs to be aerodynamic enough to offer a flat trajectory. Whereas the brush hunter will probably have a .30-30 Winchester with a flat nosed 170 grain bullet for bucking its way through the foliage with minimum deflection at ranges of about 150 yards or less. The .444 Marlin and .45-70 are real good brush guns. The heavier the bullet, the less likely it will be deflected. Varmint hunters will want to reach out over 250 yards and hit a target only about sub 2-inches in diameter. Many varmint bullets disintegrate on contact. Fur being hunters will need a jacketed bullet for furies to avoid hide or meat damage.

Every Bullet is a Compromise

It is obvious that no single projectile can fill all needs, as no single caliber will either. At the extremes of usage too big or too little, too fast or too slow. Too explosive or non-expanding. Too aero-dynamic or not enough. Every bullet is a compromise, designed for specific usage and characteristics. Only through study and thought will the correct projectile be chosen.

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