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Match bullets vs. varmint bullets


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#1 rdsii64

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 02:08 PM

For many of us, an AR15 was the first introduction to a .22 center fire rifle that has a twist rate fast enough to stablize heavy for caliber high balistic coeficient bullets. I count myself amoung those shooters. In fact one of the biggest reasons I have an AR15 in my safe is that it was the most inexpensive way for me to get into a .223 caliber rifle with a fast twist barrel. We soon discover that we can launch the heavier bullets a lot further than the light varmint bullet we have become so used to using with more consistant results due to the much higher BC. (the 77 grain Nosler custom competion would be a fine example) Not long after that light comes on we wonder if we can hunt [insert animal here] with [insert heavy match bullet of choice here]. I personally have made the decision to leave match bullets for the target line and continue to hunt varmints/ predators with a bullet designed for that purpose. My thought process for making that decision is this: Since match bullets don't expand, they have to fragment in order to train wreck the vital organs. In order for a match bullet to fragment, the striking velociy must be very high. If the animal you entend to shoot is close enough that a match bullet will RELIABLY fragment its probaly close enough for a bullet desined to hunt predators and varmints to performs its job with equally lethal results. This would negate the advantage of the long reach of the high BC match bullet. Understand this is only my opinion based on what I have been able to read. I have never hunted coyotes with any bullet other than the 50 grain vmax. Conversations about bullet choice when hunting can often turn into very heated discussions.That goes double when that conversation touches on hunting with match bullets. Some people swear buy their performance. Others will call you unethical for using a match bullet on a live animal. While I hope this conversation doesn't turn into a flame war over one hunters choice vs. another's choice I am looking for responces from folks on both sides of this issue. If I can learn something and put another "tool in the toolbox", mission accomplished.

#2 Frank

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 03:33 PM

We soon discover that we can launch the heavier bullets a lot further than the light varmint bullet we have become so used to using with more consistant results due to the much higher BC. (the 77 grain Nosler custom competion would be a fine example)

First off, Good post! However, for the average predator & varmint hunter, I have to disagree with the above statement. The statement does indeed go well with the military & so called "assault rifle" (what ever that is) & heavy bullet craze we see these days, with folks believing they will make better hits at the longer distances with these higher B.C. bullets. Take that excellent 77gr Nosler bullet with a B.C. of 340 at a MAX velocity of approx 3200 fps & compare it to the Nosler 40gr bal tip with it's substantially lower B.C. of 221, but at a screeming 4200 fps, both from a 22-250. Sight them both loads dead on at 200 yards & plug that info into a ballistics program & the 77gr bullet falls flat on its face, trajectory speaking. One will see approx 6" more bullet drop with the 77gr bullet at a mere 400 yards and nearly a foot more drop at 500 yards. Even at 300 yards it has 2" more drop than the 40gr bullet. So out to approx 500 yards, I will take the lower B.C., but faster 40gr bullet over the snail paced, arching trajectory, but excellent B.C. 77gr bullet.Now, the higher B.C. may indeed apply for military sniper work or the varmint hunter STARTING at 600 yards, but that is a totally different ball game altogether that few, if any of us play. It don't apply to most of us in other words.Oh, the wind thing. Yeah, right! Friends and I have proved that so called fact wrong so many times on game and steel targets out to 600 yards it's almost absurd. Including against some of those long range steel target shooters out to 600 yards.Bottom Line? SPEED KILLS... Not B.C.... for most of us !!Frank

#3 Desert Fox

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 07:39 PM

If we're only talking 200 yards, both bullet will work just fine even at 223 velocity. My buddy and I used to hunt an area around Hesperia, just before the bikers took over the damn place, and the squirrels start disappearing. On average week end, we were able to kill between 15 to twenty squirrels and Jacks between us. My bullet of choice was the 53 grain SMK for my 222 Remington Magnum. This bullet leaves the 22" barrel at around 3000 fps. At 100 yards on up to 300, the bullet will expand reliably with devastating results. Beyond that however, the bullet expansion is unreliable. As long as you know your bullet limitation, and you get good accuracy with it, go right ahead and use them. I see no problem using match bullet for hunting.

#4 Fjold

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 07:44 PM

Past 500 - 600 yards is where you see the heavy bullets with the higher BC make a difference. For my 6.5x284 I've shot the 95 grain Nosler BTs for antelope because of the smaller drop but when I'm shooting the prairie dogs and coyotes from 600 - 1,000 yards i use the 142 grain SMK's.

#5 Desert Fox

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 08:18 PM

Past 500 - 600 yards is where you see the heavy bullets with the higher BC make a difference. For my 6.5x284 I've shot the 95 grain Nosler BTs for antelope because of the smaller drop but when I'm shooting the prairie dogs and coyotes from 600 - 1,000 yards i use the 142 grain SMK's.

Frank what was the PD looks like when the 142 connects?

#6 Fjold

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 08:00 AM

Usually it just drills right through them. The most explosive are the high speed lightweight projectiles. Although the 375 H&H with 270 grain Hornady softpoints leave a foot wide crater in the ground which is pretty neat.

#7 Bisley

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 09:16 AM

Although the 375 H&H with 270 grain Hornady softpoints leave a foot wide crater in the ground which is pretty neat.

Yeah, it leaves a big crater, but is the sectional density of that bullet enough to kill them without leaving just a splash wound?! :pirashoot:

#8 Desert Fox

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 12:30 PM

Usually it just drills right through them. The most explosive are the high speed lightweight projectiles. Although the 375 H&H with 270 grain Hornady softpoints leave a foot wide crater in the ground which is pretty neat.

Oh yeah! check this crater created by the 235 grain Barnes at 100 meters from my friends 375 Weatherby.Posted ImageHere's what it did to a Zebra.Posted Image

#9 Bennie

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 01:32 PM

I have decided that the plain old 55 gr Hornady Soft Points are the best for me. I have had a couple of V-Max bullets blow up to quick and not penitrate far enough. I have killed a lot of coyote,s with the v-max and most of the time it has performed flawlessly. Just have seen a couple of my bad shots that hit hard bone on entry blow up and make a splash wound. I also am going to try some of the heavy high BC bullets out of my AR. Just for long range fun though. Most of the coyotes I call in are inside 200 yards and some times so close I wonder how they got there without me seeing them, that I do not even think about trying long range shots on them any more.




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