Hollow point match bullet

Why are match bullets made with a hollow point?

Q: Why are match bullets made with a hollow point? I know that there is an advantage to having a long ogive and a sharp point which results in a higher ballistic coefficient, but why not a plastic tip?

Ray Alexander

A: Match bullets are usually hollow-points, not because they have any ballistic advantage, but because hollow points can be made with greater precision and consistency. 

There are various methods used to form bullets, generally by using precision dies. The jacket and core are shaped in the die under pressure.

That’s a given, but obviously there has to be a way of getting the formed bullet out of the die without deforming the tip.

Jacketed hollow-point bullets can be formed in single-piece dies and then pushed out of the die by a slender punch from the front without damaging the bullet tip. 

Bullets with pointed lead tips can’t be made this way as the tip would be flattened and deformed by the punch. Generally, they are made using two-piece or multi-piece dies which can be opened to eject the formed bullet. 

To gain minimal manufacturing tolerances, bullets made in one-piece dies are more consistent than those from multi-piece dies.

A high ballistic coefficient calls for a sharp bullet point, hence match bullets have very small hollow-points, which is an advantage in flight.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.