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Old February 5, 2013, 11:10 PM   #1
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Are ballistic tips essentially the exact same thing as hollow points?

Maybe this is a bit of a stupid question to some of you more experienced reloaders but I am just starting to reload and I thought it was a legitimate question. I was thinking about how hard a hollow point would hit out of a 30-06 when I realized I have some hornady plastic tipped bullets that my uncle left me when he passed away (hence how I got all of my reloading equipment, bless his soul). So the question remains, are they the same?
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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Basicaly, yes, Balistic tip's are a hollowpoint with a plastic tip inserted in the end. Its a cheap way to give a lower B.C., as its easier and cheaper to stick a plastic tip on it than form a perfect hollowpoint. You also have the advantage of the tip being more protected from dings and deformation before it is fired. Some claim it initiates expansion as well, but I have my doubts how much it helps in that regard, (not that it matters much)
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:16 AM   #3
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There are also 'varmint' type ballistic tips & 'big game' type ballistic tips. The varmint type are much more fragile & open up easily. The big game/hunting ballistic tips are fine for deer sized game.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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OP, are you the same person who "imagined" something about hollow points?
Read the manufacturers description of the ballistic tip. Stop guessing. They were designed to not mash down the tips from recoil in a magazine. The do that well. They also perform beautifully on game. I know. Cannot be compared to anything but the Nosler Partition. I consider them equvilant to the partition with colorful tips. Great bullet.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:24 PM   #5
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Pops, If you look at the Nosler website and study those two bullets, you'll be amazed at how different they really are.
1. The Ballistic-Tip is actually a "Solid Base" bullet, and they decided (late eighties) that a polycarbonate tip inserted in the tip would help keep the tips from deforming be it in a magazine or storage.
2. The Partition, is a bullet made up of two seperate chambers of lead. (probably the best hunting bullet ever to be invented)
3. And the Custom Competition bullet is a true "hollow point" bullet use for accuracy in competition shooting, and Nosler isn't the only leading bullet maker here in this category, the Sierra Matchking has been a solid fixture in that group as long as anyone can remember.
There are also new bullets being made that use hollow point bullets as their premium hunting bullets like Cutting Edge, they are hollow points that you actually have to put the plastic tip in yourself.
Thanks for coming!
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Old February 6, 2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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Pops, Hooligan is dead on, but nobody mentioned that the bullet you have is probably a Hornady SST instead of a true Ballistic Tip, which is a proprietary name owned by Nosler. And though the Nosler Ballistic Tip never was, and isn't, truly a hollow point bullet, the plastic tip does actually fit into a hollow point of the bullet. I've always believed that today's Nosler Ballistic Tip opens up a bit faster than the old Nosler Solid Base Boattail that it replaced, and that it's because the plastic tip gets forced down into the hollow point which opens the bullet up somewhat faster. That's what I think and have read, though it's by no means a fact. This is the internet after all...
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Old February 7, 2013, 05:09 AM   #7
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What your referring to as a BT is simply the Hornady version called the SST as mentioned. THe plastic tips are to help out with the BC of the bullet and keep tips from deforming.

As for hitting harder, than a lead tipped bullet of the same weight and design, only if you drive them faster, and aim for bone. Will they impart more damage when they hit, again that depends upon the impact velocity, and what they hit when they arrive.

Nosler touted the plastic tip as increasing the BC of their Solid base line, and the tip initiating expansion as it wedged its way into the cavity upon impact. Their initial BT's were known for explosive expansion which gave pretty nasty results especially on game one wanted to put on the table. To some degree this could be controlled a bit by simply dropping the load down to around 2800'ish feet per second, but most handloaders wanted to drive them at the top end of the data.

The Hornady bullet is very similar, they revamped their standard line of bullets to incorporate the sleek plastic tips. They also beefed up the alloy a bit as well to help with over expansion. Does it help? Well in the couple of hundred I have used, if like mentioned above you keep the velocity down from the start, they do a great job, if you push them be prepared to do some trimming. That said I haven't used them but in two calibers and in only a couple of weights per caliber. I use the 130 in .277, the 139, 154, and 162 in .284, and the 150 in .308. Of those I have shot the 130 and 150gr the most. The 130's are loaded for long range at top end velocity and up close they make a mess, even to 200yds. The 150's I load in my .308 and they hardly hit 2600fps and they work fine even on shots that are within yards IF I don't drive them through a had shoulder.

If your loading them for hunting, simply work up an accurate load for your rifle, and keep the shots through the ribs and you will be fine.
Mike / TX
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