Paperweight Get The Right Bullets
By Mark Hampton
Where would we be without good bullets? You can own the most expensive, impressive-looking “Holy Grail” handgun — but without a bullet capable of shooting accurately and delivering the appropriate payload everything else is pretty much insignificant. Want your handgun to perform to its potential? Find the right bullet for your particular barrel and you’ll be cruising down the highway of happiness.
Lucky for us there are many premium bullets available, making our shooting and hunting endeavors more rewarding. Bullets designed for a multitude of specific tasks are stocked in our gun shops. We have bullets for hunting varmints, deer-sized game, large critters, mean critters and from short ranges to extremely long pokes. We also have some dandy target bullets for punching holes in paper or banging steel plates out yonder. Here are a few of my go-to “old reliables” I can always trust. There’s plenty more good ones out there, but I happen to use these the most since I know them well.
All shown provide quality for handgunners offering reliable accuracy
and terminal performance on game and targets alike.
After 40 years of shooting, Nosler bullets and I have become a faithful team. They likely don’t even know that. Nosler’s hunting bullets are manufactured using a proprietary extrusion process allowing them to control the jacket thickness precisely from the nose to the base. Jacket thickness, along with impact velocity, are the two major variables determining terminal performance — or how a bullet expands and performs when it hits the target.
Nosler uses a tapered bullet jacket design so it’s thin at the nose and progressively gets thicker toward the base. This allows for a wide range of impact velocities while delivering reliable expansion and predictable terminal performance. Core compositions vary between Nosler’s Partition, Ballistic Tip, Accubond and other offerings. I love those BT’s for deer hunting! Nosler’s Sporting Handgun bullets come in JSP and JHP designs with a tapered copper-alloy jacket and can be good hog medicine, for instance. I have tons of confidence in Nosler bullets, for a wide range of handgun pursuits.
Sierra is well-known with many handgunners. In pistol format, their Sports Master, Tournament Master and V-Crown line are all top performers. For single-shot aficionados Sierra’s MatchKing, BlitzKing, Pro-Hunter and GameKing bullets all have a place. Match bullets are not designed for hunting. Yes, I’m sure you’ve spoken with those who have taken game with MatchKings. My good friend Carroll Pilant of Sierra tells me they get calls from shooters who have experienced great results shooting game with these bullets. The next set of calls will be from individuals who have wounded and lost game shooting these same bullets. Match bullets are specifically produced for punching holes in paper — not shooting game!
Varmint hunters shoot BlitzKing bullets, known for their superb accuracy and explosive characteristic. Big game hunters prefer the Pro-Hunter with flat base bullets or GameKings which feature a boat tail design. While shooting pistol rounds such as .357 Mag., 10mm, .41 Mag. and .44 Mag., I’ve appreciated the accuracy delivered by the Sierra’s Sports Master line. Any way you slice it, Sierra provides quality bullets for handgunners.
Barnes offers premium bullets for revolvers and single-shots alike.
Their name is legendary when it comes to performance.
Hornady also manufactures a multitude of excellent bullets for a wide range of applications. Their A-Max match bullet is super accurate. Varmint hunters appreciate the V-Max bullet for those over-populated prairie dog towns. These bullets, with their polymer tip, have shot well in several of my .223 handguns. For deer hunting I’ve punched more tags than I can recall with Hornady’s SST offering, as this bullet is known for rapid expansion.
The Interbond, Interlock and GMX bullets are also great in the field. While I haven’t experimented with their new line of ELD-X bullets, this will change in the future. Most of my revolvers enjoy tight groups with their XTP bullet. This has also been a real effective hunting bullet for whitetail. Some of my best groups from several different revolvers have been with the XTP. Regardless of your shooting needs, Hornady has got the chores covered.
While shooting a .41 Mag. just yesterday I noticed Barnes XPB bullets were grouping nicely. I haven’t hunted with this bullet yet but the .41 Mag. will definitely see action soon. These all-copper bullets are lead free and available in .357 Mag. up to 500 S&W. A couple of .260 Remington single-shots also performed well with Barnes Tipped TSX bullets. These 100 percent lead free bullets with copper body and polymer tips have proven themselves to be extremely accurate. Rapid expansion and a high B.C. make these bullets a prime choice for hunting medium-sized game.
There are so many other good bullets available but unfortunately space does not allow us to cover them all. Cast bullets are another viable option for revolvers. My friend and revolver guru Dick Thompson is kind enough to supply powder-coated cast bullets for several sixguns I shoot. Those powder-coated cast bullets shoot great and leave a cleaner barrel. Once you find the particular load your gun prefers, good times are ahead.
Just because brand X shoots good in Joe’s gun doesn’t necessarily mean it will shoot good in yours. It may take a little time and persistence but finding a bullet your particular gun shoots accurately is worthwhile and rewarding. Choose the appropriate bullet for your intended purpose — and savor the results.
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index
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