Rifle bullets
A range of projectiles in .270 calibre including a Ballistic Tip, traditional soft point and a protected point

Why choosing the right bullet matters

In the early days of modern projectile development, there were, naturally, limited choices. There was the flat base soft point, a solid usually of the round-nosed variety, and later the hollow point. 

As knowledge grew, a whole raft of other designs has appeared with more or less special characteristics.

Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets
Nosler Ballistic Tips are popular and they work!

Perhaps the first real change in thinking occurred with the availability of the partition bullet in 1934, manufactured by the German Company RWS.

This was quite a revolutionary design in that the projectile resembled the letter H with a hard lead rear core designed to penetrate and a softer point that opened up and fragmented. The design is still in use today and, among others, Nosler in America make a partition bullet. It’s a time-proven concept that works. In addition, it lifts the effectiveness of any calibre to another level.

RWS also makes a more modern version which has two lead cores of a different hardness separated by a metal jacket. 

In addition, RWS makes an interesting Cone Point projectile. We have some to use on feral pigs, they weigh 96 grains and provide excellent accuracy.

Perhaps the next advancement was the Remington CoreLokt design, released in 1939 and still being made. The short description is that the core and the progressively tapered jacket are locked together mechanically. This provides an exceptional projectile. 

It’s still in production with an upgrade consisting of a polymer tip available. 

Polymer tips provides better aerodynamics with a better BC that assists in causing the projectile to open up. Certainly, every major manufacturer uses the basic design.

Woodleigh rifle projectiles
Three different Woodleigh bullets. Note that the 6.5mm and the .270 are bonded

Some better-quality hunting projectiles have the core chemically bonded to the outer jacket, thus delaying expansion. They are particularly suitable for large, tough animals. The Australian Woodleigh is a typical example of such high-quality projectiles. 

At present, it appears that just about every section of the market has specialist projectiles available to enhance performance. 

For example, a typical 55-grain .224-calibre projectile has a BC somewhere in the region of .235. A typical custom low-drag version of the same weight has a BC of .309. 

The difference may not look all that much but it alters the downrange performance considerably. 

Rifle ammunition
Range of RWS projectiles including the H Mantle in the middle and the cone point on the right

I have used the Nosler Ballistic tip with success on tough animals like feral pigs, and yet the lighter versions are good varminting projectiles for long-range work. 

The other design we have had good results from in a variety of calibres is the protected point.  The tapered jacket carries the lead inner right to the tip — very effective.

Some are better down range than others. Do you want the projectile to penetrate or do you need it to mushroom as soon as possible after penetrating? 

With so many successful projectiles available you must do considerable research to ensure that the bullet of choice is suitable for your requirements.




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Ron James