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Old February 16, 2011, 10:28 PM   #1
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Which Type Of Bullet Is Most Accurate

I am loading today and looking at my Round Nosed Bullets and then I open the cabinet door and saw my Flat Nosed Bullets. I then looked on my loading bench and see the Hollow Point Bullets I received in a promotional offering and begin to wonder "Which Type Is Most Accurate"?

This is not about platted or jacketed bullets but I am wondering what opinion or knowledge anyone has as to which type is most accurate. Also, is the heavier grain bullet more accurate than the smaller or medium grain bullets. I should clarify here that I am only asking about pistol calibers. I am not wanting to know (At this time) as to how much damage one type does over another but which type do you feel or know to be most accurate and it could include various targets. (Paper, animal, or people) (Bad guys or girls) Just something I was thinking about while reloading today...

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Old February 16, 2011, 11:03 PM   #2
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I don't see a lot of difference in my accuracy that I can say is due to bullet shape in handgun loads. I seem to get better accuracy with medium to medium heavy target loads using bullets of whatever shape as long as they engage the rifling well. I don't shoot lead much anymore since I shoot mainly at an indoor range when I am shooting a handgun. It seems like the plated bullets I shoot engage the rifling better than hard jacketed bullets and more closely approach the accuracy advantage many people claim for lead.

Looking on the shelf right now I can tell you what I am loading and pretty happy with:

Right now I am much enamored of Berry's plated bullets, especially in my 1911s. I use SWCs in those- FNs for my .38 and .357, although I am about to try some true wadcutters in those calibers, --HPs in .380 and 9mm, --RN or FN in .40SW. --FN for .44 Mag. I guess I am all over the map in bullet shape but I have pretty much found what I like for each weapon, mainly based on weight and bearing surface. I almost forgot the .32 HRM in which I use jacketed HPs, only because I've found .32 jacketed in 100 gr. and not in carry gun......

Although I seem to be more accurate with the heavier recoiling calibers and use slower powders than a lot of people like, I don't find that heavier bullets are as accurate as somewhat lighter ones; at least not for my use. The .32 HRM is the sole exception.
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal

Last edited by amamnn; February 16, 2011 at 11:15 PM.
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Old February 16, 2011, 11:22 PM   #3
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I expect that you’ll get a ton of different opinions on this subject, but not too many facts.

So here’s my considered opinion: I think that the style of a pistol bullet has little to do with how accurate it is, or isn’t. Some pistols will shoot some bullet styles better than others, but that’s the pistol not the bullet.

Some powders work better with some style bullets than others, but again it’s probably the powder and pistol more than the bullet style. Of course there’s a million other reasons for one style bullet to appear more accurate than another, but again they probably don’t rest with the bullet style but what it is being propelled by, amount of, and out of.

While I’m sure that is not true for rifles, over many years of pistol shooting I find it to be so. There’s a whole lot less barrel time and flight time involved in pistol shooting than rifle shooting. Consequently less time for the style of bullet to make much difference in accuracy.
Those who beat their guns into plows, will plow for those who don't.-Thomas Jefferson
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Old February 17, 2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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The bullet with the most perfect base is the most accurate. The reason is any imperfection in the base will cause the bullet to be pushed sideways at the moment it leaves the muzzle crown from the escaping gas. Because it is spinning, this causes a wobbly spiral flight path.

Because it's easier to form jackets with a perfect base when the open end is in the front, most jacketed pistol and rifle match bullets are hollowpoints. I suppose a soft point would work just as well, but jackets open at the base and CMJ with a disc crimped there aren't as good. Cheap plated bullets tend to be rounded and uneven at the base from all the tumbling and polishing operations, while expensive plated Gold Dots have a nice flat base probably from all the forming operations after plating.

If you cast your own bullets, there are "nose pour" molds that make it easier to form a perfect base, without the sprue there.

The shape of the nose doesn't affect accuracy nearly as much, even if positively mangled. It can affect feeding quite a lot.

Diameter affects accuracy a lot, especially if the bullet is too small. "Slug" the barrel to find out what size the bullets should be.

The weight of the bullet that should work best depends to a large extent on your barrel and its twist rate. The most practical way to determine what works best is to simply try different loads and see what your gun likes best.

For rifles, the more complicated way is to use math to get into the ballpark--apparently barrels vibrate like a wet noodle and different loads can cause the end of the barrel to point in different directions at the moment of exit. People have gone to a lot of trouble to determine what loads "should" work best. As Hog pointed out, probably not so relevant to pistols because of the short barrel time (and the stiffness of the short barrel). Pistols tend to shoot nearly anything well at close range, so it will only be at longer ranges that you might notice the minor differences--and you will notice if you are shooting a scoped revolver off a rest.
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