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.