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Thread: Boat Tail vs Flat Base?

  1. #1
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default Boat Tail vs Flat Base?

    Ok fella's - and gal's,
    I was looking at a:
    139gn SP / Flat Base bullet - .392BC I am shooting in my 280
    and the same bullet in
    139gn BTSP that has a .453 BC.
    So here is my question.
    If your shooting at game under 300 yards is there any real plus or minus shooting the same bullet weight if the only diff is basically the rear end design simply because one has a higher BC????
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  2. #2

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    No plus or minus that can be measured beyond fractions of an inch. But at higher vels I'm leery of cup-and-core boattails on game. Never happened to me because I haven't tried it, but they have a rep for catastrophic core separations at higher vels.

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    Hey Smokey,

    I think for most shooters (game at 300 yards or less) it would not make an appreciable difference. Seems like I have read somewhere that in traditional cup and core bullets, BTSP bullets separate core from jacket easier than flat base, but that would not be an issue with bonded or all copper designs, probably not an issue with any quality bullet. I did have 1 rifle, 300 win mag, that just preferred flat based bullets over BTSP's, Hornady 180's. I could get good groups with the flat base but could not work up decent loads with the sleeker design BTSP? I just figured the rifle did not like them and used the flat base. I'm sure there are some on here with much more expertise that can be brought to the discussion, but for 300 yards and less, the difference will probably not be noticable. Will probably take experimenting to find what your rifle likes best.

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    Put those two bullets in a ballistic calculator and find your point of impact for the different BC with all the other variables being the same. I bet there is little difference in wind drift and point of impact at 300 yards. Shoot the most accurate one unless you are planning longer shots?

    A friend and I went through the same thing with the 375 ruger. We considered a pointy high BC bullet for a possible 250 yard shot or the tough barnes flat base bullet of about the same weight. We ran them through a calculator and found it did not make a practical difference in point of impact. We went with the barnes because it was a tougher bullet and shot real well out of his gun at least. I am still working on mine.

  5. #5
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    I am with you guys on your thoughts. I ordered a Ballistic turret yesterday for my Leupold scope and the question crossed my mind as my guns loves the 139SP flat base and is a real tack driver. But, I knew the BC was better on the boat tail and so was curious if I was missing something. Now, if I was a long range hunter and thought I might need something to reach out beyond 300 I would likely look at a diff bullet. Originally I tried the Accubonds as they had a much better BC and the design had my attention. They shot pretty good getting
    down to about 1in, but these 139SP's just kept plunking in there under 1in consistently.
    I have never read much about boat tails so was not sure if there was any performance issues - I can see a plus for a solid perhaps if the others have a tendency to come apart... Now fer varmits I suppose it would not matter much...
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    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    JMO, but if I am shooting under 300 yards I ignore B.C. altogether. In fact, in most scenarios I prefer a roundnose to a spitzer if my range is going to be inside that distance.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  7. #7

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    The Ballistic Coeffeceicent will increase downrange velocity and become more pronounced past 250 yards. The first 200 yards flat based bullets weight for weight will tend to be more accurate and consistent than BT bullets. As longer bullets take longer ranges to "go to sleep".
    At 280 velocitys the 139 grn bullet might delaminate if it impacts at close range, it also might cause meat destruction at close range.
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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Brav01,
    I bought my first 280 in the early 80's, shot 3 bull elk - one stem to stern using the 139's and 2 of the 3 elk were less than 50 yards - I do not recall any excess meat damage and the one I shot head on left the bullet under the hide on the rear hip and it was pretty well intact. I also dropped some deer out to about 200 yards and they did drop where they stood. I will say the elk took a minute to drop so these are not sledge hammer's for sure but def got the job done....
    Hat to guess how many coyotes fell to these over the years and yeas they had some pretty good size exit holes!
    I think driving these through real heavy bone at close range would be a bit risky for sure...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    this is a topic I have spent way too much time and energy worrying about - I must agree with pretty much all here that to 300 yards (or a bit more) don't even worry about the B.C. - what gets me all stirred up is when I'm hunting country where I might kick an elk out of bed at 30 yards or spot one at 500+ yards that I can't ambush or catch up with (has happened a few times) With my 338 win mag I fretted, nashed my teeth and wrung my hands trying to decide on a 200 AB with the measly .414 BC or step up to a 225 AB with a .550, settled on the 200 because it shot lights out in my gun and had that very circumstance where I spot a bull (5 actually) and when I sat down to "set" the sticks it was 504 yards & so steep I had a heck of a time getting a decent rest to even take the shot - The 200 Accubond did that 5 pt in with one shoulder causing me to realize there is alot more to this game than I will ever comprehend - one more comment, a friend of mine loads his 6mm/284 with FMJ bullets BACKWARDS and shoots his gong at 550 all day long (it rings real loud too)

  10. #10

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    I really like watching the "Best of The West" show and the fantastic long range shooting they do with the long boat tailed Berger Bullets, seem like almost every thing they shoot just drops. Wish I was skilled enough to do it. I have never seen them loose a wounded critter on TV, go figure. I do believe the math is their to support the claim of their ballistic superiority for long range shooting. Does it make a hoot when one is in the Alaskan bush or mountains and shooting out to 300 yards, I doubt it. Next to optics I would say advancements in "reliable terminal performance" with bullets has been the most benefit to hunters in the last 50 years. The bullet that shoots to the same place every time and performs well on game is the bullet I want. If a boat tailed bullet does this then I say use it if you want. The boat tailed plastic tipped bullets remind me of my tackle box. I have a bunch of expensive halibut and ling cod jigs that are designed to to catch both the fisherman and the fish.

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