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Old June 8, 2012, 07:49 PM   #1
rebs
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boat tail or flat base bullets ?

what is the range of flat base bullets and at what range do the boat tails take over ?
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Old June 8, 2012, 08:03 PM   #2
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This may sound remedial, but I shoot boat tails because I'm ham handed and the boat tails are easier to maneuver (this is the reloading forum). With respect to your question, I'm guessing you're referring to ballistic performance, not ease of reloading. I suspect there is no generic answer; but, if you give a specific example (bullet, cal., wt. and velocity) you might get a finite answer from one of the gurus.
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Old June 8, 2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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You didn't mention caliber, but when reloading .223 I prefer Boattail's because it's much easier to put those little suckers on the empty case. I shoot between 25 & 200 yards and they seem to work pretty well at that range.
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Old June 8, 2012, 09:05 PM   #4
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I have real good luck with flatbase bullets in 30/30 & some 308. I do not shoot at extended ranges though, where they say the bts are superior. I use bts almost exclusively in 223 because that's whats available and cheap. Actually I think that FB bullets may have an advantage over bts at ranges less than 150-200 yards.
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Old June 9, 2012, 01:00 AM   #5
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Hello, rebs. The common consensus is your wasting your money on B.T. shooting under 300yds. Now then..what about the BPCR shooters shooting flat-based lead bullets out to 500meters..and the long range BPCR out at 1000yds?
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Old June 9, 2012, 04:40 AM   #6
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I meant shooting at different ranges 50 to 300 yds. I had read somewhere that flat base is more accurate uo to 100 yds and after that range the boat tails are more accurate. I just wanted to find out if this it true or not.
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Old June 9, 2012, 08:09 AM   #7
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I do almost 95% of my loading using boattail bullets, I couldn't imagine getting better accuracy from a flat base bullet in my testing....... smallgroups skrinking.... See ya I'm off to Bass Pro for some new bullets!!
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Old June 9, 2012, 08:19 AM   #8
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rebs,

The accuracy difference definitely has some overlap. Boat tail designs reduce drag which means better velocity retention at distance. That being said I know a few folks that shoot Rem Corelokt out past 600 meters from a 308.

If it were me, I'd say anything under 300 is "flat base" territory with boat tail territory starting at 200. That 200 to 300 area I'd call "transition" area where either bullet will do just fine.

I don't have any scientific basis for this, just my experience shooting rifles at short and long range.

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Old June 9, 2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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I use the ones I can get the cheapest. With my shooting it does not matter. It would hard to tell which was which by the holes in the paper.
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Old June 9, 2012, 08:45 AM   #10
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The theory is that boat tail bullets are exposed to the muzzle blast for longer than flat base.
Because of this, they take some time to recover and eventually the enhanced BC overtakes the flat base.
The number I see mentioned is usually 300 yards before the boat tail comes into its own.
Obviously, any given gun/shooter/bullet/powder combination may not follow the theory.
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Old June 9, 2012, 09:42 AM   #11
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I started with boat tails on .204 and .243 but some of the "chamfers" range from .060" up to .100" wide and is a bit tough sometimes to get a full caliber length of contact in the neck. I use a VLD tool and put a chamfer on the inside of the neck and the flat base bullet sits there good enough to get up inside the bullet seater.
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Old June 9, 2012, 10:11 AM   #12
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A boat tail's primary advantage over flat base bullets doesn't show for some distance, and it all comes down to too many factors to give you a specific distance. The boat tail design helps the transition from supersonic into subsonic velocities, which depending on what you're shooting, may occur at 700 or so yards all the way out and beyond 1000 or more. 2-300 yards will not show you any advantage over a flat based bullet at all.
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Old June 9, 2012, 10:19 AM   #13
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I do almost exclusively 5.56/223. 55 grain flat to 200 and 69BT beyond HOWEVER I don't shoot enough of the "beyond" to really see a difference of much in grouping size.
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Old June 9, 2012, 02:32 PM   #14
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anything under 300 yds is flat base for me. Over that is boat tail.
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Old June 9, 2012, 03:23 PM   #15
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I was surprised to find, that at up to 200 yards (max at the one "shorter" range we shoot at) that the flat-base bullets do very well, when we were working up loads for a 700 in .223...

Boattails are needed at longer range where BC comes into play.

This makes sense to me:
http://www.appliedballisticsllc.com/...lletDesign.htm
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Old June 11, 2012, 03:45 AM   #16
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When I started reading gun forums, the one gun forum at the time, rec.guns, in 1992, I read some things I did not understand or agree with:

1) Buy expensive $150 scopes, like Leupold, not $20 made in China scopes.
2) Use Sierra bullets, not surplus military bullets.
3) Never allow an expander ball to touch your brass.
4) Get premium barrels, like Krieger, not surplus military barrels that have seen corrosive primers.
5) Practice shooting at the distances you will hunt. Do not be satisfied with the 100 yard range in your city.

One by one I learned that the old guys were right and I was wrong.
Now I arrive early for hunting and practice a 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 yards.

I am good at 500 and bad at 600.
I am using boat tail bullets.
I am sure there are guys who could take MY gun, and with boat tail or flat tail, shoot well at 1000 yards.

But I can't.
I need every advantage I can get.

If I enter 7mmRemMag zeroed at 200 yards with scope 2" over the barrel center, 150 gr into Quick load and Quick target
And I do the same pressure for both and look at 500 yards.

Flat point: 1988 fps, 6.83 moa elevation adjustment, 23" off with 10mph wind
Boat Tail: 2322 fps, 5.86 moa elevation adjustment, 15.1" off with 10 mph wind

Before the boat tail would slow down to 1988 fps, it would be 700 yards.
Before the boat tail would need 6.83 moa adjustment, it would be 540 yards.
Before the boat tail would be off 23" from a 10mph wind it would be 640 yards.

I have shot a lot of 1/2" groups at 100 yards, centered right on the bullseye.
That might imply I could extrapolate and I could shoot a 3" group at 600 yards.
But I am getting more like a 24" group at 600 yards.

What is holding me back from taking shots at game at 600 yards is my ability to compensate for those trajectory and wind effects, not my aiming ability.

So I will keep using boat tail bullets, because I need all the help I can get.
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Old June 11, 2012, 04:57 AM   #17
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Virtually all benchrest records at 300 yards and less are set with and matches won with flat based bullets. At longer ranges, it's the other way around.
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Old June 11, 2012, 06:00 AM   #18
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Thank you guys for all the replies, I appreciate it
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Old June 11, 2012, 09:07 AM   #19
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Prefer flat base, the flat base seem to shoot smaller groups in my rifles, however the Noslers do more tissue damage. William
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Old June 11, 2012, 10:24 AM   #20
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I use flat base in my 22-250 to 500 yds. They stay sub MOA to that distance. Haven't used it farther than that, IMO that round isn't made for much more. In my 30-06 however I use boat tail Hornady A-max. They shoot 3/4" at 100, and I'm sure I could tune them better, but I don't have enough spare time to tweak loads. Once I get them sub MOA I usually stick with that.
I think if you are shooting less then 500 yds, shoot whichever bullet gives the best accuracy out of YOUR rifle. In other words, try a few different ones until you get the best combo. You won't know which one is really better without shooting them.

Clark, why is it that you said "never let an expender ball touch your brass"? I have never heard that one, although I don't spend much time on forums.
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Old June 11, 2012, 11:12 AM   #21
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Expander balls can induce lots of runout.

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Old June 11, 2012, 11:48 AM   #22
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Depends upon the use:

I have read somewhere or other that Sierra admitted that a boat tailed bullet was harder to make concentric than a BT ..... all things being equall, including cost, then flat based bullets would tend to be more accurate....


Benchrest guys that don't care how fast the bullet is going when it pokes a hole in the paper, just so it goes into the same hole every time will say that boat tailed bullets are garbage, because they are generally less accurate.....

Hunters and long range shooters want flat trajectories and thus want the bullet to be efficient. Loss of a tiny bit of accuracy is acceptable, as an acceptable group is not measured in hundredths of an inch, but in inches. The wind will have far more effect on the bullet than the fact that the bullet is not as perfect as a flat based bullet could be......

Hunters want maximum energy on target, as well as flat trajectories.... A boatailed bullet will retain energy better at distance because it loses velocity slower than a less efficient flat based bullet. This loss of energy is relatively unimportant at under 300 ..... but when the range gets beyond 400, and the velocity begins to wane..... 100 or 200 f/sec begins to be important.
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Old June 11, 2012, 02:16 PM   #23
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The boat tail was designed to maintain stability at long range when the bullet drops below the speed of sound. The theory was that the flat base would start to buffet once the supersonic shock wave goes away at lower speeds seen at great ranges.

It is what I remember from many years ago.

Last edited by ScottieG59; June 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM.
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Old June 11, 2012, 10:47 PM   #24
Clark
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Quote:
lemming303

Clark, why is it that you said "never let an expender ball touch your brass"? I have never heard that one, although I don't spend much time on forums.
From 1994, I think Toby Bradshaw is full professor now.
https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=...ns/y0e-GlQPkR4

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necks to 6mm and running them through a Redding 6PPC FL die to set the
neck/shoulder junction back (no expander ball used, *ever*).


I think I wrote him after that post and asked him what the difference was between his ok mandrel and a not ok expander ball.
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Old June 12, 2012, 11:55 AM   #25
Clifford L. Hughes
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rebs:

I'm under the impression that the advantage of the boat tail is after it slows to subsonic speeds. It seem that the air closing around the boat tail retards the bullet's slowing. Let me know if I'm wrong.


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