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Thread: Matching the Bullet to the Cartridge

  1. #1

    Default Matching the Bullet to the Cartridge

    I've noticed a lot of guys in this forum like to load bullets on the heavy side of the range for their cartridge. For instance, 160 gr in the 270 Win... 200 gr in the .06 or 300 Mag, etc.

    My view has always been load a more ideal (middle or lighter) weight bullet into that cartridge. For insatnce, I would consider a 150 gr bullet to be on the heavy side for a 270 and more suited for a 7mm Mag, or 300 Mag. Stepping up a cartridge or two gets more performance from that weight bullet. And, I'm guessing that medium length bullets are probably a little more stable than very short or very long bullets.

    I would consider a 130 gr bullet to be the more ideal for a 270. However, in my case I plan to load 110 gr bullets for the 270 because I'll be loading 130 gr and 168 gr bullets in my 300 WSM. The 130 gr bullet will be smoking out of the 300 and I have the option of taming the load down a little. And if I want to shoot a larger bullet than the 168 gr, I would opt to get a larger cal rifle than the 300.

    What do ya'll think about that?

  2. #2
    Member Whelenator's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Anchorage, AK

    Talking Big Bullets Blast Big Beasts

    Please see note above. Your thinking would seem logical, but history and ballistics have proven you wrong. Yes, your 270 (snicker) will go a bunch faster with a 130 Gr bullet than with a 150 Gr, but the penetration and energy figures suffer. Believe it or not, a 150 out of your 270 keeps it energy and trajectory much better than does a 130. that is a proven fact, not something dreamed up by marketing guys. I shoot both a 7 Remington Mag, and a 7 wby Mag, and use 160 gr Winchester Fail safes in both, and 160 Accubonds in the 7 Wby. I get much flatter shooting loads out of both those with 160's than I can with the 140, which with your theory, should be faster. Faster isn't always better. Punch up Hornady's ballistic whiz machine on their website and calculate the energy figures for the 270 Winchester using both the 130, and a 150, then take a look at the chart. I bet the 150 is 3-8 inches higher at 300 than the 130. Meaning, it's flatter shooting. Check it out, don't take my word for it. Do your own test. The easy way to do that is to zero your rifle dead on at 100, then shoot both bullet weights at 300 out at your local range, you'll find out.

  3. #3



    You are right on that one. Many guys believe that the 30-06 is the greatest because one can load 110 - 250 grain bullets (or what ever the numbers are claimed) and therefore this is the most versitle cartridge ever made etc. This is crap.

    In fact, every cartridge has a sweet spot for bullet weight and type. Also, every bullet has a sweet spot for rate of twist. A 250 may not stabilize in some barrels in some 30-06's.

    You can't have everything.

    My philosophy is to determine what bullet type and what weight, and then choose the cartridge and gun to put it in. Most people work the other way around: They choose the cartridge, then the gun, then think of the bullet.

    Work backwards from the target. This is the only thing that makes any sense.

    A better way to think in questions:

    1. "I want a 225 grain bullet to strike a moose in a vital area at 2000 f.p.s. or better. I will be 50-300 yards from the moose. I want to strike the target within 6 inches of where I aim."

    2. "What cartridge will achieve this?"

    3. What barrel length and twist rate?

    4. What gun?

  4. #4


    big stick,

    In what way? I'm always willing to learn.

  5. #5
    Big Stick


    Projectile integrity,should be foremost in a killing bullet. The X stands alone.

    Due to it's homogenous design(solid copper),it is less dense than it takes more of it to make a like weight projectile. Barnes it usually pretty good about bolstering that excess material,by using it to formulate some very nice BC's.

    In itself,bullet weight is the most moot of projectile designators,as it does not equate relative integrity,nor BC.

    For starters.....................

  6. #6


    Matching the bullet to cartridge. First of all one needs to clarify the intended game, deer, elk, moose, big bears?

    For deer one can easily get by using light to mid weight bullets, especially on broadside shots. They generally result in quick kills. One need not use premium bullets for this application, interlocks, hot cors, core lokts, power points, etc will all get the job done. Raking shots can be a different matter, even on deer. Heavier bullets are just flat more effective for this use. And on deer even a raking shot does not require a premium bullet if heavier for caliber bullets are used.

    Elk and moose move the bar up. This is the territory where the heavy for caliber bullets shine. One may need to break heavy bone and depending on the angle of shot need a bullet that penetrates deep and hard. Light for caliber bullets simply do no not get the job done like the heavies. Often they fail miserably. This is the type of game where the premium bullets come into their own.

    Big bears should be a no brainer. Definitely heavy bullets here. Light to mediums need not apply. Premiums are a great idea at this level!

  7. #7
    Big Stick


    Very simplistic approach,to choose a projectile that will do it all and comfortably,while under the toughest conditions.

    "Weight" is a grandiose misnomer...................

  8. #8


    I like heavier bullets, that's why I use 62gr TSX's for most things.........

  9. #9
    Big Stick


    The 62 is sweet and I much prefer it to the 70...which is the 62 with more shank. Wish they would have given it a more aerodynamic form.

    The 75 Scirocco II is pretty robust,but I've never launched them than 3500fps(1-7.7" 23.3" Kreiger 22-250AI).

    The 53X is a superlative default projectile,for the twist compromised. Have had them beyond 4000fps................

  10. #10


    I hear good things about the 75gr Swift.........

  11. #11


    I thought this was "Alaska Shooting Forum," not "Insane Asylum Forum."

  12. #12


    If it makes you feel better, I did use a 100gr TSX on my last bear. Still thinking a 62gr TSX needs to find the noodle this spring.

  13. #13
    Big Stick


    CNS is no test of projectile integrity,though both shoulders are....................

  14. #14


    Can't imagine it not working.

  15. #15


    Besides, I still need to shoot a bear in the face.

  16. #16
    Big Stick


    Have seen Ursine CNS with things far slighter than a 62TSX.

    Am thinking via 223AI,a guy could catch both fronts and still not retain the 'shroom..............

  17. #17


    Wow, leave for a couple hours and the whole world falls apart

    Howdy Whelenator, first off, glad to meet ya. I'm also an 18 yr AF Vet, 1982 - 2000, KC-135 Navigator.

    I think you're missing the point of my thread. I basically agree with you, that in general, a heavier bullet in the same cartridge gives better ballistics. You are talking how to get the most out of a cartridge and I am talking how to get the most out of a size and type of bullet.

    My question (or assertion) is what is the best cartridge for a given bullet, assuming a basically similarly constructed bullet. I believe if you choose to use a 150 grain bullet. A better choice of carttridge would be a 7mm Mag or 300 Mag, etc. over the 270 Win. The 150 gr bullet will perform better in the 7mm or 300.

    Thanks for the input Dorm and once again I have to agree. But what I'm focusing on is comparing apples to apples as far as bullets go in dif cartridges. i.e., 150 TSX (or Acubond or whatever) in a 270 or 300. Which cartridge would that size and type of bullet perform best in. My vote would be the 300.

    Jorel77, I like your thinking

  18. #18
    Big Stick


    Ballistics are factored via BC and launch speed...weight only factors "energy".

    In a best case scenario and speaking of a static weight,the lessermost bore diameter will trump the lot,because BC will be in it's hip pocket. Assuming a smattering of common sense,as per always......................

  19. #19


    Missing the target by a fairly large margin.

  20. #20


    Quote Originally Posted by Big Stick View Post
    Ballistics are factored via BC and launch speed...weight only factors "energy".

    In a best case scenario and speaking of a static weight,the lessermost bore diameter will trump the lot,because BC will be in it's hip pocket. Assuming a smattering of common sense,as per always......................
    True, BC will tend to be greater in the lesser diameter, but the greater power of the larger cartridge will more than make up for it.

    A 150 gr TSX from a 300 Mag will out perform a 150 gr TSX fron a 270 Win.

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