Unpointed Bullets Vs. Pointed Bullets

Written by New Product Development Manager Mark Walker

While looking at one of the online shooting forums the other day, I ran across a discussion about whether or not pointing degrades the accuracy of the original unpointed bullet. Sierra has been pointing many of its long range target bullets for a while now and our proprietary pointing method was developed specifically to make sure that the process does not affect bullet accuracy negatively while providing an increase in overall B.C. Since all of our match bullets must meet our standard MatchKing® accuracy specifications before they can be packaged, I can say without a doubt that our pointed bullets shoot as good as our original unpointed bullets otherwise they would not be on the shelves.

MatchKing® bullets currently shipping pointed:

#9390 22 cal 80 gr
#9290 22 cal 90 gr
#1537 6mm 95 gr
#1570 6mm 107 gr
#1727 6.5mm 123 gr
#1742 6.5mm 142 gr
#1983 7mm 183 gr
#2121 30 cal 125 gr
#2156 30 cal 155 gr
#9240 30 cal 210 gr

To prove this point, I visited with the press operator who was running our #1570 6mm 107gr HPBT bullets and obtained twenty finished bullets that had been pointed (right) and twenty more bullets that were unpointed (left). These bullets came right off of the press in sequential order using the same jackets, dies, and punch settings. The only difference between the two bullet samples was the fact that the last twenty had not been pointed.

Pointed Bullet vs Unpointed Bullet
I took these bullets to our 300 meter underground range and grabbed one of our return to battery test rifles to see what we could learn. The rifle was a fairly well-worn 6BR that had around 2000 rounds on the barrel. It was still shooting decent and was not finicky about seating depth or powder charge. I loaded all forty rounds with the same charge of Accurate 4064 powder thrown from one of our Redding Competition powder measures. They were then seated using a Redding Competition seater to a depth that did not touching rifling. I made no effort to see how far the bullets were jumping, we found a seating depth that didn’t mark the bullet and went with it.

For the actual test I fired four five-round groups of unpointed bullets at 200 yards and then let the rifle cool. Next I fired four five-round groups of pointed bullets and then averaged the group sizes to see if there was a measurable difference in the two bullets. If you look at the first picture, you can see the first groups fired with the unpointed bullets.

Unpointed_MatchKing_BulletThey averaged 0.807 over the four groups. If you look at the second picture, you can see the groups fired with the pointed bullets.  They averaged 0.796 over the four groups.

Pointed_MatchKing_BulletI realize that this is a very small sample and statistically insignificant.  However, it does show that for these forty bullets, a change in accuracy was nonexistent.  As an aside, many people logically ask, “Why don’t you point all your MatchKing® bullets?”  The answer to this is that not all bullet shapes are right for pointing.  Bullets with a conventional non-low drag ogive do not show the typical B.C. increase that comes with pointing.  Pointing them can actually decrease the B.C. instead of increasing it.  That being said, we evaluate each bullet and test the process before we officially make the change to point it to ensure the process is beneficial to the bullets primary use. Whether we point a bullet or not, one thing I can say with certainty is that all of our MatchKing® bullets must meet the same accuracy standards or we will not sell them!

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4 Responses to Unpointed Bullets Vs. Pointed Bullets

  1. firstriverbend says:

    Something most do not really consider when talking about accuracy of pointed versus un-pointed bullets or just bullets in general, is what effect does the arc of travel have on accuracy?
    While it does not have an exactly direct effect on group size, it does effect how easy it is for the average shooter to make a first shot strike!
    Simply put; more bullet drop equals more difficultly figuring where the bullet will land. If you over or undershoot the target it does not matter one wit what the group size or potential is, so flatter shooting equates to better effective accuracy for most shooters!

    What does directly effect accuracy though is the trans-sonic travel time of the bullet. Bullets tend to slightly destabilize when going through the trans-sonic period of flight, opening up the group size. The longer one can keep the bullet in its optimum flight parameters, the better one can hit the target. whatever the distance.

    I feel too many discussions of accuracy are too narrow. There is total potential accuracy, and then there is effective accuracy in the field. Often the potential accuracy is the only thing considered, when if fact out in the field a great number of overlooked items are overlooked, items which can greatly effect how likely a person it to strike the target with the first shot.

    So great article, with good details about what really happens with bullets!! 🙂
    Thanks once again.

    Like

  2. David Ruppel says:

    Good read, Thanks

    Rupe

    Like

  3. Mike P says:

    Fascinating!

    Like

  4. Daryl says:

    I point (uniform the meplats) on all the game kings I load because the tips are not uniform. I don’t use a pointing die (I do use a John Whidden pointing die on my Bergers, but not the Sierra’s).

    I chuck the bullets in a collet in my LeBlond and uniform the tips with an end mill in the tailstock..

    I do it for consistency in flight and uniform BC.

    Like

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