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A Tale of Two Bullets at 1,000-yards

 

Good Day,

 

This past weekend the Folsom Shooting Club hosted the BPCR 1,000-yard Summer Sizzler Match at Ione, CA.  It was hot and dry, mid-to-high 90’s with humidity in the low twenties.  But the 1,000-yard line has a very nice cover over it so the weather was tolerable.  Conditions were switchy and gusty with the wind switching from about 7 O’clock to 11 O’clock regularly.  On Sunday we even had the wind blowing from the right.  Sunday afternoon I saw the darnedest sight, the flags on the left side of the range were pointing right and the flags on the right side of the range were all pointing left.  What’s a man to do???  The left side of the range has hills and valleys all the way from the 1,000-yard firing line to the targets.  The hills and valleys cause the wind to spiral parallel to the bullet’s trajectory.  That is why the left side flags can point right and the right side flags can point left.  It sure caused some serious groans and unpostable strings of expletives on the line.

 

I shot with Arnie Moos and Russ Davenport, two top BPCR long-range and BPCR silhouette shooters, and what a confirming (current thinking about BPCR bullet design and its effects on BC) experience it was for me.  Arnie was shooting a Pedersoli John Bodine 45-90 with the double-set triggers.  For those of you that are interested in shooting long-range that has got to be the best off-the-shelf long-range rifle I’ve ever seen for the price.  If I could take the recoil I’d purchase one.  But alas, the migrant-like recoil induced headaches keep me from going there.  Russ was shooting a very nice 45-90 Highwall with a 32” Badger barrel.

 

For bullets, Arnie was shooting the very well designed Victory Molds bullet that Pedersoli has commissioned and has loaned out to numerous top shooters.  Arnie currently has one of the loaner molds.  It is a very nice Creedmoor type design with 4 grease grooves.  Russ was shooting a Paul Jones bullet that is a copy of the flat-nosed Paul Matthews bullet except the Jones version has 5-grease grooves and weighs about 30-grains more.  Russ has shot some very high scores at 800-yards with that bullet when it is calm.  He uses it for silhouette and launches it in the low to mid 1,100’s.  At low velocities that type of bullet design works well in the wind, but at higher velocities the design does not.  Even at lower MV’s that design is not optimal as far as reducing wind deflection.  A long radius ogive with a flat nose works well, but the short radius ogive of the Matthews design is more affected by the wind.

 

Here is a picture of the two bullets; they were sprayed with “Drop-out” to cut down on the glare so the profile would reflect the actual bullet design:

 

 

The stats on the bullets are as follows:

 

Paul Jones Bullet:

Weight: 566-grains

Length: 1.410”

Meplat: 0.250”

Nose Length: 0.360”

Ogive Radius: 1.5

Distance from nose to first driving band: 0.50”

 

Victory Bullet:

Weight: 546-grains

Length: 1.4255”

Meplat: 0.0750”

Nose Length: 0.640”

Ogive Radius: 2.8

Distance from nose to first driving band: 0.680”

 

As you can see when comparing the two bullets the Victory Molds bullet has a longer nose, almost twice the ogive radius and a much smaller meplat.  The PJ bullet weighs about 20-grains more.  Some of you think bullet weight is all there is to BPCR shooting.  That was shown to be NOT TRUE in spades this weekend.  Even though the PJ bullet weighed 20-grains more than the Victory Molds bullet it typically required twice the windage correction.  How does that happen?  Well bullet design, more specifically the nose and grease groove design.  The smaller nose, longer radius ogive and fewer grease grooves of the Victory bullet allowed it to cheat the wind much more than the heavier Matthews designed bullet.  Extensive experimentation over the past few years has shown that grease grooves dramatically increase bullet drag and therefore reduce BC and increase wind deflection.  The fewer the number of grease grooves the better and the further back on the bullet they are the better when it comes to cheating the wind.

 

The first record string by Arnie on Saturday really highlighted how accurate his Pedersoli John Bodine 45-90 is with the Victory Molds bullet.  The wind was relatively stable for his first 5-shots so accuracy could be well observed.  After 5-shots for record he had only dropped 2 points.  That is a 48/50 3-X at 1,000-yards before the wind picked up and went crazy.  His dropped points were just windage issues in the 9-ring.  He would have had the highest score for a single string if his last shot for record had not done something totally off-the-wall.  There was no change in conditions observable from his lost shot, a 10, but his impact on the next shot was almost in the target to the right.  We skip targets and only shoot even numbered targets so the wild shot was quite substantial in its miss off target.  It could have been one of those weird turbulence problems we have at that range, but man it was a total bummer as Arnie was 120/140 going into the last shot.

 

Best Regards,

 

Dan Theodore