How Much Difference Does Ballistic Coefficient Make?

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box

Judging by the calls I’ve had through the years, I think some shooters might be placing too much importance on ballistic coefficient. The best example of this comes from a call I had one day. This shooter called wanting the ballistic coefficient (BC) of one of our bullets. After I told him he seemed a little disappointed, so I ask him what his application was. Long range target, deer hunting in the woods? Talk to me.

As it turned out, he hunted deer in open timber. Very rarely shot beyond 100 yds. I pointed out to him that under 200 yds. B.C. has little impact. Let’s compare a couple of bullets.

Let’s look at the trajectory of a couple of bullets and see how they compare. The .30 caliber 180 gr. round nose #2170 and the 180 gr. Spitzer boat tail #2160. The round nose has a B.C. of .240, the SBT is .501. Starting both bullets out of the muzzle at 2700 FPS and zeroed at 100 yards, at 200 yards the #2170 RN impacts 4.46” low and the #2160 SBT impacts 3.88” low.  A difference of only .58” in spite of a huge difference in B.C. If we compare out at 500 yds., then we have a huge difference of 14.27” between these two bullets.

In a hunting situation, under 200 yds, having a difference of only .58” isn’t going to make or break us. But elk hunting in wide open spaces it could mean everything.

The next time you’re choosing a bullet, give some thought about the distances you will be shooting. Sometimes B.C. isn’t everything.  If you have any questions, please give the Sierra Bullets technicians a call at 800-233-8799.

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8 Responses to How Much Difference Does Ballistic Coefficient Make?

  1. Thomas Weaver says:

    Good article, I had no idea there would be so much difference in bullet drop at 500 yds but at 200 yds its so little. What a difference 300 yds makes.

    Like

  2. firstriverbend says:

    Having hunted with a handgun for years on deer sized game, etc… one becomes less concerned about the B.C. and much more concerned about shot placement, along with getting close to the animal, something too many people do not seem to think matters.
    The fact is really a simple one. It is not called shooting, it is called hunting!
    I love all of the shooting sports and pay attention to things like B.C. but as Paul clearly states in this article, there are lot of other factors to consider!
    Very good article and I have never seen a clean kill determined by 5/8 of an inch.
    Keep them coming!! 🙂

    Like

  3. Brittius says:

    Reblogged this on .

    Like

  4. Camek Lothar says:

    Exactly my Experimente anderen i agreed YouTube oinion

    Like

  5. Is there a downside to high BC that I don’t know about?

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  6. Paul Box says:

    Not that I’m aware of.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wile E. says:

    If you don’t want to develop a load for every single hunt, then it’s wise to pick the higher BC bullet from the start, so you don’t have to do it all over later.

    However, if you do want to develop a load for every hunt, well, that sounds fun if you have the time and resources.

    Like

  8. Pingback: More on Ballistic Coefficient (BC) | Sierra Bullets

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