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Let's talk about Boattails #15826602 02/23/21
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shaman Online Content OP
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My memory is hazy on this; I need a refresher.

If I remember correctly, flat base bullets are preferable for game unless there is a compelling reason to use otherwise. I just don't remember the details.

Why does one eschew boattails?


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826620 02/23/21
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Generally higher B.C. in most cases. Easier to seat maybe. Happy Trails


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826639 02/23/21
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Shaman,

Flat base bullets are inherently more stable in flight than boattails. So, in calm conditions, for ranges out to a couple hundred yards, in general you can expect better groups from flat base bullets.

Boattails have a higher BC, which at longer ranges can off set the advantages of the flat base when you look at a total Circle of Error Probability (CEP). The exact range where this trade off occurs depends on the differences in BC, but in windy conditions, the additional BC can make a huge difference.

Like most shooting related decisions, it's a trade off and each has to decide what best applies to his hunting/shooting conditions.


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826655 02/23/21
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shaman,

One theory is that flat-based cup-and-core bullets tend to retain their cores better than boattails. That was even promoted by some gun writers, back in the day when most big game hunters used cup-and-cores, rather than pay for expensive "premium" bullets like Nosler Partitions.

I used to think this too, when I didn't have much experience, after seeing a 130-grain Sierra GameKing .from a .270 Winchester lose its core upon hitting the ribcage of an eating-size mule deer buck at 100 yards. Found the jacket just inside the entrance hole when skinning the deer, but the core kept penetrating and killed the deer.

Years later, when I had several hundred big game kills recorded in my hunting notes, both mine and hunting companions I'd been standing beside, I analyzed the results and found that just about the same number of boattails and flat-bases had lost their cores.

Some rifles don't shoot boattails well, but in my experience very few. Probably this is due to a slightly large-diameter chamber throat allowing powder gas blow-by.


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826657 02/23/21
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Somebody is bound to say "boattails come apart easier than flat bases", inaccurately treating them as monolithic categories while neglecting various construction differences.

I see MD got to his enter button before I got to mine. grin

Last edited by mathman; 02/23/21.

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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826668 02/23/21
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If you are shooting game with a machine gun at extended distances, I am given to understand that they provide superior performance.


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: Mule Deer] #15826712 02/23/21
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Originally Posted by Mule Deer
shaman,

One theory is that flat-based cup-and-core bullets tend to retain their cores better than boattails. That was even promoted by some gun writers, back in the day when most big game hunters used cup-and-cores, rather than pay for expensive "premium" bullets like Nosler Partitions.

I used to think this too, when I didn't have much experience, after seeing a 130-grain Sierra GameKing .from a .270 Winchester lose its core upon hitting the ribcage of an eating-size mule deer buck at 100 yards. Found the jacket just inside the entrance hole when skinning the deer, but the core kept penetrating and killed the deer.

Years later, when I had several hundred big game kills recorded in my hunting notes, both mine and hunting companions I'd been standing beside, I analyzed the results and found that just about the same number of boattails and flat-bases had lost their cores.

Some rifles don't shoot boattails well, but in my experience very few. Probably this is due to a slightly large-diameter chamber throat allowing powder gas blow-by.


Thanks for the quick come-back.

In years past, I regularly substituted BT's when I couldn't find FB's. Internet sales pretty much did away with that, but now I see shortages causing one to think about things on a make-do basis.

I can't say I've had an instance of bullet failure with either, but then my habits are pedestrian.


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826728 02/23/21
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Originally Posted by shaman
Originally Posted by Mule Deer
shaman,

One theory is that flat-based cup-and-core bullets tend to retain their cores better than boattails. That was even promoted by some gun writers, back in the day when most big game hunters used cup-and-cores, rather than pay for expensive "premium" bullets like Nosler Partitions.

I used to think this too, when I didn't have much experience, after seeing a 130-grain Sierra GameKing .from a .270 Winchester lose its core upon hitting the ribcage of an eating-size mule deer buck at 100 yards. Found the jacket just inside the entrance hole when skinning the deer, but the core kept penetrating and killed the deer.

Years later, when I had several hundred big game kills recorded in my hunting notes, both mine and hunting companions I'd been standing beside, I analyzed the results and found that just about the same number of boattails and flat-bases had lost their cores.

Some rifles don't shoot boattails well, but in my experience very few. Probably this is due to a slightly large-diameter chamber throat allowing powder gas blow-by.


Thanks for the quick come-back.

In years past, I regularly substituted BT's when I couldn't find FB's. Internet sales pretty much did away with that, but now I see shortages causing one to think about things on a make-do basis.

I can't say I've had an instance of bullet failure with either, but then my habits are pedestrian.

I seriously doubt that over time, you could tell any significant difference between flat-base and boattail bullets on game at the ranges you shoot, Shaman. There are other factors of bullet construction that matter far more, such as lead alloy hardness, or jacket thickness.


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15826849 02/23/21
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Years ago I bought into the claim boatails are more prone to "bananafication". and got to using mostly flat based bullets. Like Mule Deer stated, some rifles don't like them accuracy wise. Where I hunt, the shooting distance doesn't give boatails an advantage. YMMV

Last edited by Dave_in_WV; 02/24/21.

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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15827016 02/23/21
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THE EFFECT OF VARIOUS BOATTAIL SHAPES ON BASE PRESSURE
- U.S.A. Ballistic Research Laboratories - Aberdeen Proving Ground





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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: Garandimal] #15827057 02/23/21
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That is an outstanding link.

Key take-away for me:

“c. For bodies of high fineness ratios, care should be exercised in designing boattailed configurations because of significant effects of boattailing on aerodynamic characteristics relative to square based designs. I^fegnustorquecoefficientappearstobeparticularlysensitive to boattailing, so much so that an improper design of the boattail may make the configuration dynamically unstable.”

- I guess I won’t be buying short boattails with too pointy of a tail -

Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15827901 02/23/21
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Above my pay grade !

Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15828014 02/23/21
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Part of the issue and prejudice for me was Speer bullets - this was awhile ago. The flat based bullets were "Hot Core" and the Boat tails were not. I think they still may be that way. So back then I avoided boat tails.
Fast forward a few decades:
I have a couple of rifles that shoot flat base bullets much more accurately than boat tails - a couple 30-06's and my Savage 99 300 in particular. In the Savage the difference is about three times the size of groups with boat tails. In my '06's it isn't quite as pronounced. But a couple are able to shoot very small groups with flat based bullets.
I suppose it really is a moot point for my deer hunting as I rarely shoot deer at more than a hundred yards and 1/2" groups or 3" groups wouldn't make a difference. But for antelope I often will shoot much further than that.
As far as performance on game since those days when I was younger, I have not noticed a difference. Perhaps when I did see a performance difference, I didn't see it as a boat tail vs. flat base bullets issue, but just a certain manufacturer's bullet - I believe that is more valid than flat vs boat tail.


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15828179 02/23/21
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Boattails are a lot more popular due to the higher ballistic coefficient fad these days, but if you're not shooting at very long range, the BC advantage doesn't amount to much. I've seen very good accuracy with a number of boattail bullets, but if I have a choice in initial load development, I'll try the flatbase first. A couple of examples I can think are the Sierra 117 GameKing vs. the 117 ProHunter and the 180 GK vs. the 180 PH. I've experienced at least slightly better accuracy with both aforementioned PHs in comparison with the GKs. I think both PHs have been discontinued. Most people just prefer the boattails.

Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15836969 02/25/21
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Never had a bullet shed a jacket as far as I know. BT bullets are a long range tool AFAIC and there is no need for such things in my AO. That said I’ve never had a cast bullet shed a jacket. grin


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15837570 02/26/21
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I tend to buy flat base in standard cup and core bullets as when I started hand loading 25 years ago a box of 100 bullets (Hornady, Sierra, Speer etc.) were about $6 -$7 cheaper than the boattails. It wasn't about the boattails losing their cores. But then I loaded a few boat tail bullets (Sierra 165gn HPBT .308 in my .30-06 and 150gn SPBT 7mm seconds in my 7x57) and never really noticed any difference. Some bullets are only available in boat tails (Ballistic Tips, Accubonds, Sciroccos) so no real choice. But if given the choice with two equivalent bullets, a boat tail and a flat base, I well tend to take the flat bases.

Just because.

Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15837677 02/26/21
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Most of the time I shoot deer and antelope thru the ribs side to side under 300 yards. Most of the time the bullet exits so you don t get alot of evidence on whether that the bullet is completly intact. When I do find jacket pieces on the hide most of time it's from a boattail design. When the occasion arises that if I want to get that animal I have to take the angle offered , I allways aim for the FAR shoulder and flat based bullets that are caught seem to weather that better than boattails everytime for me. I tell what I ve found ?you do whatever trips your trigger..Mb


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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15838520 02/26/21
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Years ago when boat tailed hunting bullets were starting to be common there were many saying that bore erosion was increased by boat tailed bullets. I settled on loads using flat based bullets and used them through the mid nineties. I can't say that any hunting I did through those years would have been more successful had I been using Boat tailed bullets.

Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15838825 02/26/21
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I once used 300 grain boattails, estimated impact speed at less than 2650 fps on a broadside deer. Bullet failed to exit, only found jacket shards! Same results on a bear of about 250 to 300 pounds. And.....these were reputed to a “dangerous game” bullet! What a friggen joke! When fired side by side to a 270 Hornady Interlock......couldn’t even find “shards” of the 300 grainer! Swore at them and off of them....23 years ago!

Maybe they’re good for small varmints and paper.....but, I guess I’ll never know! memtb

Last edited by memtb; 02/26/21.

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Re: Let's talk about Boattails [Re: shaman] #15838934 02/26/21
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i used for the very first time this fall 2020 , Berger 115 gr. VLD 25 caliber bullets out of my 257 Weatherby Mag. at max. powder capacity with RL. 25 from Berger reloading book. shot 2 very nice bucks bullets went thru heart and lungs out the other side of deer . both 1 shot kills, 1st buck dressed around 170 lbs at 150 yards. 2nd buck dressed and weighed 205 lbs. shot at 100 yards so Boattail bullets for me made today work just fine.

Last edited by pete53; 02/26/21.

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