bullet weight

Myth Busters – The Perfect Bullet Weight

Live the Legend |

In the 2014 Winchester product catalog, longtime gun writer Ron Spomer tackles some commonly held myths by many shooters and sets the record straight. One myth, that there is a perfect bullet weight for every caliber just doesn’t hold up. Here’s what Spomer has to say to those shooters who claim there is a perfect bullet weight for their caliber:

“There is really no such thing. There could be a perfect compromise, but hardly a perfect weight. Bullet weight reflects certain chores you want a rifle to perform. If you want it to shoot fast and flat with minimum recoil at varmints or coyotes, you want the lighter bullets offered in that cartridge. If you want deeper penetration and more downrange impact energy, you should shoot the heavier bullets. If you want to minimize drop, drift and wasted energy, you want a long, sleek, pointed bullet with a high ballistic coefficient. If you want straight penetration through massive bone, you want a flat-point solid.

“One key exception to this line of thought concerns the popular 5.56/.223 chambering when fired from older AR-style rifles with a 1:12-inch twist. These guns most often shoot only lightweight bullets (40 to 55 grains) accurately due to the slow rate of twist in the gun. Heavier bullets tend not to stabilize at the slow twist rate, which sends them wobbling in flight and key-holing the target. This can drastically negate any long-range accuracy. Fortunately, most of today’s ARs are made with a faster 1:9-inch twist, which helps mitigate these problems.

“For truly long-range shooting with ARs with heavier bullets, some barrels come with a 1:7 twist. For most guns and calibers however, manufacturers are pretty good at ensuring the rate of twist of the barrel optimally matches the caliber for which it is intended.”