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Thread: Ballistic tips

  1. #1

    Ballistic tips

    Firstly i want to note that this is not a 'balistic tip for shooting deer, good or bad' question, nor is it a 'more dead is better than less dead'

    I have been wondering what the benefits of ballistic tip rounds actually are.

    Do they make the bullet expand quicker or more uniformly, more aerodynamic, more regular and less prone to damage (I have heard one person blame a miss on a BT deforming as it went out of the magazine into the breech, im dubious)

    If we ignore for the time being varmint bullets which effectively 'explode' and concentrate on hunting BT's

    In a .243 will ballistic tips cause more damage and penetrate less far than a soft point or a hollow point such as a sierra game king? (at the same speed)

    Would we be better off using soft points (or something else that expands more slowly) for the larger deer species and to reduce meat damage.


  2. #2


    I use nosler BT's on Deer.

    They are very accurate and therefore you can shot with confidence. There is no denying there is more meat damage but the deer drops on the spot.

    I use a 308 on all deer and have never had one run on yet with a BT.

  3. #3
    i have used ballistic tips for a long time but only on foxes due to meat damage on deer
    the main reason i use them is i think they are a safer round to use when it comes to ricoshay. i know they can and do ricoshay but they do break up quick and there energy is lost faster. as for them being less prone to damage i would be unsure and i wouldnt use them on larger species of deer but in the same breath i have only ever shot roe and muntjac and its not for me to say so really best leave it to the big boys for that opinion

  4. #4
    personally i only use ballistic tips on foxes , i do not use them on deer because of the meat damage . i once saw a muntjac shot with a 243 shoulder shot and it , and the exit was big enough to put my fist in !

    in my opinion i don't find them any more accurate than soft points , but i do hasten to add I'm happy with an inch zero. i don't get all anal about accuracy as long as I'm getting an inch grouping that will do nicely



  5. #5
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Although it is more focused on accuracy, for an interesting article on the pro's and con's of BT's have a look here:

    I use BT's in my .308 on everything from muntjac to red. I can't say I've noticed more or less meat damage than colleagues who use non BT's. Shot placement has a lot more to do with it.

    Similarly, so far as stopping power, I've had muntjac run 50 yards, reds drop on the spot and vice versa. Again, shot placement is far more critical.

    So far as BT's deforming as they go from the magazine to the breech, I think that's number 64 on the list of "reasons I missed"

    John Nosler's autobiography "Going Ballistic" is worth a read if you want to understand why he invented the BT in the first place and the challenges he faced in (a) manufacturing them, and (b) getting people to try them.


  6. #6
    I use BT's alot in .308 and 7mm and I agree with Willie Gun. People seem to jump on the band wagon of "ooh but the meat damage is excessive".

    All expanding bullets cause meat damage and again there is no difference to any of the other conventional bullets that are used. But the thing that gets me is that they are doing exactly what they are designed to do. I want them to expand as much as possible and anyway the dealer we put our deer through never makes a reduction for any of the damage on the shoulder. Probably because all the carcases he recieves have the same meat damage irrspective of bullet type used.

    They are an excellent bullet and do exactly what they say on the tin.

  7. #7
    Some years ago i started to use a new game dealer a couple of animals were hit hard with ballistic tips i was using at the time(due to my shot placement) . He very observently picked up on this and said "your using ballistic tips aren't you" "yes" i said , to cut a long story short he advised in quite strong terms that i should change

    A number of deer later and he said "you've changed your bullets haven't you" "yes" i replied little white lie here but only because i did not want another lecture.

    I still use ballistic tips but i must stress that apart from 40 rounds of sako 140 grain soft points purchased at the time of aquireing my 7mm 08 nosler BT's are all i have ever tried.

    Of all the game dealers i have used over the years this is the only comment on carcass damage i have had .

  8. #8

    Not saying this was the case here but it is easy to see if someone is using BT's from the coloured tip that is sometimes left behind quite often.

    If that person has a view on that particular bullet I am sure this will colour their judgement.

    Again I stand by the fact that Sierra Game kings (or similar conventional design) as opposed to BT's and the difference is undetectable. If you go to a performance bullet then it is a different ball game ofcourse.

  9. #9
    Hi Dan

    I have used 95 gr BT .243 for some years now and as willie_gunn said i have not noticed much differance with meat damage the only thing i have noticed is sometimes there is no exit would and this has made the follow up difficult in dence cover even with the dog, looking at my records this has only 3 times.

    regards Anthony

  10. #10
    I have used ballistic tips for about twelve years, and depending on the calibre/bullet weight have found them farly unpredictable.

    55gr through the 22-250 used to either split foxes in two or,occasionally pass right through without doing satisfactory damage in my experience.If they hit the shoulder bone straight away I also used to find that they just disintegrated and didnt have the neccessary knock down power.

    70gr through the .243 I have found is a different story however,they are absolutely sh*t hot on foxes,always expanding well. I swear by them as the ultimate foxing round. I have also shot a few Roe with them and although they make a fairly large entrance and exit when chest shooting I dont find the damage too ecxessive.

    I tried some 110gr through the .270 0n stags with clients-NEVER AGAIN. The clients shot 4 stags with well placed chest shots and in each one the front of the stomach had been burst by schrapnel. Our neghbours shoot 200 plus red deer p.a and recently banned anyone using ballistic tips. I have seen myself fragments of the polymer tip inside a beast nowhere near the entrance wound, and it is often a gripe with gamedealers.

    For deer I dont think you can beat a good old soft nosed bullet traveling along at a steady speed-controlled expansion/good knockdown power/limited meat damage/a good wound channel, and enough retained energy to break bone if needs be. I've been using RWS 130gr T-mantels through the 270 for a few years now and find them ideal.

    So for vermin,yes,great,but for deer I will be sticking with a soft nosed bullet every time.

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