Friday, January 29, 2010


If you're a new shooter, you're probably not as amazed as I about the revolution in the bullet industry. Simply stated, bullets are better now than they were 20 years ago. Back when I started playing with guns, there were only two ways to improve the effectiveness of a bullet. More weight, or more speed. There are those who clung to the idea of increased velocity and those who clung to the idea of increased mass.

Then, a few designers started playing with the technology of bullet making. Nosler might have been the first, coming out with their revolutionary Partition bullet. The Partition set the stage for bullet manufacture, designing a bullet that worked across velocity levels and performed its intended function at varying ranges and velocities. Other manufacturers followed, bringing out bullets with bonded cores, plastic tips, and internal structures designed to get the most out of a piece of gilding metal and lead.

In many ways, I'm still an old-school guy. I use cast bullets for most of my shooting and I still consider the Remington Core-Lokt plenty of bullet for most game. However, I'd have to be blind to see that bullet manufacture has changed the way that lots of folks think about cartridges today. John Taffin has tested the .223 against Corsican ram and tells us:
Rick reached the top, got on the rams, and laid down in the wet grass waiting for a shot. Using his pack as a rest he lung shot the biggest ram which was not standing perfectly broadside but at a slight angle. That Black Hills 60 grain .223 Soft Point entered at an angle through the lungs and the expanded bullet was found under the hide on the offside shoulder. Once again, results were dramatic, instantaneous, and all conclusive. I would expect in future years and future hunting trips, both men will insist I bring along the .223 Handi-Rifle complete with the Optronics scope and a supply of Black Hills ammunition.
Using a .223 against ram? Who'd of thought it.

We see other examples across the shooting press. For example, Dave Petzal tells us in an article about one lady using a .270 on all manner of big game:
As bullets get better (and A-Frames are about as good as they get), caliber is less and less important. I would hesitate to use a .270 on a grizzly, but if you can kill a 1,000-pound moose with one you can do in a 600-pound bear. If I had not been frightened by Elmer Keith during my formative years, I would not use a .338 so much.

Bullets are getting better and we can now use smaller calibers to do the job that would have taken a large boomer years ago. It's still the hunter's job to put the bullet where it matters, and for myself, I still intend to get close enough and use enough gun. But, with today's bullets, enough gun might mean that we don't need to dislocate our shoulder every time we pull the trigger.


Anonymous said...

P.O. Ackley wrote of killing wild mules with the 220 Swift.


be603 said...

Yeah well, there's still no replacement for displacement.

But then I'm the sorta guy who's still all excited about the technology in his '41 Ford 9N tractor. That cast iron 4 banger is really something, ain't it?

zdogk9 said...

Yeah well, there's still no replacement for placement.

Fixed it for you