August 10th, 2017

Is Bullet B.C. Important When Hunting? (Answer: It Depends)

Sierra Bullets Deer Hunting BC Ballistic Coefficient bullet
Game image courtesy

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 (B.C.). The best example of this comes from a call I had one day. This shooter called wanting the ballistic coefficient of one of our Sierra 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. He very rarely shot beyond 100 yards. I pointed out to him that, under 200 yards, 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 grain Round Nose #2170 RN and the 180 grain Spitzer Boat Tail #2160 SBT. The round nose has a B.C. of .240, while the SBT is .501. Starting both bullets out of the muzzle at 2700 FPS [with a 100-yard ZERO], at 200 yards the #2170 RN impacts 4.46″ low while the #2160 SBT impacts 3.88″ low. That’s a difference of only 0.58″ in spite of a huge difference in Ballistic Coefficient. If we compare out at 500 yards, then we have a [significant drop variance] of 14.27″ between these two bullets. [Editor: That difference could mean a miss at 500 yards.]

Distance to Your Prey is the Key Consideration
In a hunting situation, under 200 yards, having a difference of only .58” isn’t going to make or break us. But when 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.

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