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A trend towards heavier

Gene LGene L Senior MemberPosts: 11,724 Senior Member
I think I have noticed a trend toward heavier bullets in 20th century firearms.  The desire to shoot 200 gr bullets in military firearms designed for 140-150 bullets seems to be kinda universal.  Me, I'm a recoil wimp and tend to go low rather than high.  I admit to not hunting, but wonder if a 200 gr 6.5 x 55 or the same in a 8x57 is a lot more deadly than the 140 and 150 gr original loading.  I'm curious.

I go opposite....I get 33 gr bullets for the .22 Hornet at about 3100 fps and it will do anything in a Hornet that a 45 gr traditional load with 2400 at 2200 fps.  A 150 gr .308 which is fine in my M1a isn't as accurate as a 168 gr match bullet, but it has a helluva less recoil and doesn't endanger my operating rod.

So I wonder about heavy bullets in old 20th Century firearms.  I guess I don't know why, when the standard loads of 140-150 gr bullets were considered suitable for human animals.  Am I wrong in my assumptions?  Why heavy when a lighter bullet will and has done the job?
Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.

Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,748 Senior Member
    Could be because of a dramatic change in battlefield terrain and an increased understanding of ballistic coefficient????
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,248 Senior Member
    Well, actually. . .

    Most of your classic bolt action battle rifle cartridges existed pre-spitzer, and round-nose, heavy, and about 2000 fps was how they started out. Most of the 6.5's were about 160 grains, the 7x57 175, the .303 was 215 grains, .30-03/.30-06 was 220, 8x57 was 227.  True, the sights were usually re-calibrated for the lighter spitzer bullets, but to say the guns were designed for them ain't necessarily correct.

    One reason to return to that general formula is cast bullets.  While careful attention to alloy, sized diameter, lube, and gas checks can allow you to play at higher speeds with accuracy, going much above 2200-2300 fps gets progressively more troublesome.  If you can't get fast, you compensate with big.

    I don't think it's really a matter of the light spitzers being particularly more or less deadly than the older round noses - it's that they were flatter shooting and more forgiving of errors in range estimation.  For a time, this translated over into sporting arms as what could be called "Weatherby Madness".  I think more and more people are realizing that they simply aren't shooting their game animals in excess of 200 yards; that they don't need all that speed and flattening of the arc; and that a large blunt nose gives them a lot of versatility via excellent straight-line penetration.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,443 Senior Member
    I dont know if you will ever find a 200gr 6.5mm bullet, but I can tell you that shooting 160gr RN bullets loaded to the approximate velocity of the original 156gr bullet is rather enjoyable.  While I am sure that the 160gr RN could be safely pushed a lot faster in my rifle, the sights are set up for a 156gr RN at about the velocity I am theoreticly pushing the 160 to.  There are a whole lot of scandinavian animals that would argue about how deadly the 160gr RN in a 6.5x55 is, but they are long since consumed by people.

    One of my .30-06 rifles is loaded with 180gr bullets.  The initial trip it was put together for was the initial factor in using the 180gr.  Well after that trip I tried some 150gr bullets in it and accuracy went to crap.  That particular rifle likes 180gr bullets.  This is still a bullet weight well below the original cartridge bullet weight.

    Similar situation with my .35 Whelen.  It really only seems to care for 250gr bullets.  While 200gr bullets shoot okay, I never did find a load it shot well with them.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,927 Senior Member

    My position on bullet weight has changed over the years.  At one time, I was a proponent of fast, light bullets at high MVs.  Now, I tend to gravitate toward heavier, medium MV bullets that are well constructed.  The intended use has to be factored in, too.

    I do believe that you don't need a bullet moving at the speed of light to make a clean kill.  A slower, heaver bullet will do quite well, given the circumstances I usually find myself in.  And, the heavy for caliber bullet usually shed velocity at a slower rate than their lightweight counterparts.


    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,957 Senior Member
    In general, I am a “Heavy for Caliber” kinda guy.  Doesn’t mean I use the heaviest bullet out there for that caliber. Just that I lean that way on the spectrum. 

    Granted, I do play around with lighter bullets for caliber at times. But, those are usually specialty projects or short barreled guns. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,962 Senior Member
    I've always favored medium to heavy but like Scotty always use to say, "The right tool for the right job."

    Match the bullet (weight and construction/type) to the application.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    edited February 2019 #8
    Gene L said:
    I think I have noticed a trend toward heavier bullets in 20th century firearms.  The desire to shoot 200 gr bullets in military firearms designed for 140-150 bullets seems to be kinda universal.  Me, I'm a recoil wimp and tend to go low rather than high.  I admit to not hunting, but wonder if a 200 gr 6.5 x 55 or the same in a 8x57 is a lot more deadly than the 140 and 150 gr original loading.  I'm curious.

    I go opposite....I get 33 gr bullets for the .22 Hornet at about 3100 fps and it will do anything in a Hornet that a 45 gr traditional load with 2400 at 2200 fps.  A 150 gr .308 which is fine in my M1a isn't as accurate as a 168 gr match bullet, but it has a helluva less recoil and doesn't endanger my operating rod.

    So I wonder about heavy bullets in old 20th Century firearms.  I guess I don't know why, when the standard loads of 140-150 gr bullets were considered suitable for human animals.  Am I wrong in my assumptions?  Why heavy when a lighter bullet will and has done the job?

    Gene L said:
    I think I have noticed a trend toward heavier bullets in 20th century firearms.  The desire to shoot 200 gr bullets in military firearms designed for 140-150 bullets seems to be kinda universal.  Me, I'm a recoil wimp and tend to go low rather than high.  I admit to not hunting, but wonder if a 200 gr 6.5 x 55 or the same in a 8x57 is a lot more deadly than the 140 and 150 gr original loading.  I'm curious.

    I go opposite....I get 33 gr bullets for the .22 Hornet at about 3100 fps and it will do anything in a Hornet that a 45 gr traditional load with 2400 at 2200 fps.  A 150 gr .308 which is fine in my M1a isn't as accurate as a 168 gr match bullet, but it has a helluva less recoil and doesn't endanger my operating rod.

    So I wonder about heavy bullets in old 20th Century firearms.  I guess I don't know why, when the standard loads of 140-150 gr bullets were considered suitable for human animals.  Am I wrong in my assumptions?  Why heavy when a lighter bullet will and has done the job?
    For deer and hogs on up I lean toward heavy for caliber. If I'm shooting at stuff like coyotes or other varmints I like fast and light.

    For my .243 I usually shoot, and in my old 6mm Remington I shot, the same 100 and 105 grain bullets for deer and hogs. In my 2-25 cals my go to is a 115 grain and sometimes 117 grain. For my .30-06 I load 180s or 200s. In my .280 and my 7 Mag. I like 150s and 160s. In my .300 WBY it's same as for the 06. In my 8x57 I used to shoot a 150 Grain Hornady but now I shoot a 175 Sierra Pro Hunter. And in my 9.3x62 I shoot a Speer 270 grain. There's heavier I know, but for what I shoot with it, only deer so far, 270 grains is pretty big. The exception is the .270 Winchester and my go to bullet is the 130 Grain Game King.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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