General Rules on How to Select a Rifle Bullet
No one can tell you which bullet your particular gun will like, not even us. You’ll have to try some different ones and experiment. But to get you started in the right direction, here are some general rules on how to select a rifle bullet:
- Gas-checked bullet designs can be shot faster than the plain-based designs because the gas-check protects the base and helps prevent leading.
- LFN – The long nose profile is ballistically better for shooting long range (over 100 yds) – excellent hunting bullet.
- WFN – These make a large wound channel, but are not a good long range bullet (less than 100 yds) – makes an excellent hunting bullet.
- FN – Like the LFN and WFN designs, are the best hunting bullet profiles.
- RN and SP – Good for target, practice and small game loads.
- If cartridge OAL is a concern, then use the nose to crimp lengths posted with each bullet below + your case length to determine if the cartridge OAL will fit your application.
- Air cooled and HT are better alloys for hunting because high antimony alloys like linotype tend to be brittle and shatter when they hit hard bone. Air cooled and HT both act the same in game but velocities they can be shot without leading vary; air cooled up to 1300 fps; HT over 1500 fps and HT-GC up to 1600-1800 fps. Linotype rifle bullets can be shot faster than HT. Plain based linotype bullets should handle up to 1400 fps. Gas-checked based linotype bullets can be shot up to 2300 fps, perhaps a little more. These are all estimates, however, as many factors influence performance of top velocity loads.
- The critical dimension in a rifle is the groove diameter. You get a better gas seal and better accuracy with a rifle bullet sized to .001″ over the groove diameter.
- Loading data – We don’t provide loading data but sources we highly recommend include LoadData.com (by Wolfe Publishing), which provides accurate, reliable, tested data online. We also use Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook, as well as the Lee and Accurate Arms manuals. Another book we use and recommend on learning more about shooting cast bullets is Veral Smith’s “Jacketed Performance With Cast Bullets”.
- More information can be found by reading our FAQ, Twist Tables,and About Moulds pages.