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Bullet Weight vs Velocity!

This article may challenge your beliefs about the conventionally regarded value or benefit of Bullet Weight versus Velocity!  For many years after being introduced to the "Truth" I still found myself automatically asking for bullets which were as heavy as possible for a given caliber.  I seemed to have been brainwashed into regarding the bullet weight as one of the most important criteria when selecting a bullet for hunting.  However, after some practice to undo the brainwashing, I now have managed to get out of this bad habbit.

Most hunters who contact me to enquire about GS Custom HV Bullets query me about the lower bullet weights generally used by GS Custom HV Bullets compared to the higher weights generally used by conventional bullets.  Sadly, these hunters usually don't consider or are unaware that GS Custom HV Bullets are uniquely designed to handle high terminal impact velocities without losing any more than a third of its original weight.  GS Custom HV Bullets provide the hunter with both rapid expansion (losing its petals in a manner to destroy vital tissue like lung and heart) and also to provide linear penetration with a predictable exit wound.  In fact, GS Custom HV Bullets are designed to harness high velocities to achieve a level of performance no other bullet is desined to offer.  Technology has moved on with newer and better bullet designs! [more on GS Custom HV Bullet Terminal performance]

It is NOT bullet weight that kills game.   In the past it was customary to use heavy conventional bullets because they tended to shed 40% or much more of their weight when they hit an animal.  If the caliber was capable of high velocities, some conventional bullets sadly broke up completely leaving fragments of lead and copper or brass jackets in shallow wounds often without any part of the bullet having reached the vitals.  The usual result was a wounded animal which was lost and left to die slowly!  To compensate for this, conventional bullets were made as heavy as possible for a given caliber with the hope that enough of the bullet would remain to drive on to reach the vitals to kill the animal.  It is still commonplace to hear hunters ask for the heaviest bullet available in a given caiber despite massive technological developments in bullet design.

GS Custom, with its unique HV Bullet design, has changed the whole landscape and today hunters can avail themselves of the benefits of not just bullet weight (mass), but also the benefits of bullet velocity.

In order to illustrate the benefits of velocity it might also be usefull to look at a formula that uses both mass and velocity to provide a calculated result for energy.  I am not suggesting that energy is at all useful to determining killing power, but it is still often quoted by hunters and writers to compare one rifle caliber or bullet with another.  At this point, let me be very clear on this, it is not "energy" that kills an animal, but rather what the bullet achieves by virtue of its design when it successfully reaches and destroys or disrupts the vitals (heart, lung, brain, etc) of the animal.  But, for the sake of those who love to quote this formula, let us look at a typical example:

Everybody seems to accept that the formula has always been:

Energy  =  Mass  x  Velocity2

In words, Energy is equal to Mass multiplied by Veleocity Squared (don't forget that velocity is squared)!

Thus, a conventional 130 grain .270 bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3100 fps gives a muzzle energy figure of about 2774 ft/lbs (foot pounds).

With a GS Custom 110 grain .270 bullet with a muzzle volocity of 3450 fps (easily achieved in most rifles), the muzzle energy figure is about 2907 ft/lbs (foot pounds).

Wow, the lighter bullets wins!  Why?  Because the velocity is squared while the the mass is not.  However, let us be clear that we do indeed need some sensible measure or amount of mass together with volicity.  In the past it is mainly mass that has been emphasised.  Hunters ask for the heaviest bullet in a caliber, forgetting the role that veleocity can play.  Since GS Custom Bullets can stand up to very high velocities, some emphasis can thus be given to velocity as well.

But what else does velocity give us in a uniquely designed GS Custom HV Bullet which will stand up to higher impact velocities and which is able to harness the benefits of velocity?:
  • a flatter shooting trajectory
  • a shorter time of flight which generally means less cross-wind deflection (often forgotten)
  • higher energy (although energy is not the killing mechanism)
  • improved terminal performance in GS Custom Bullets that are designed to harness the high velocity to achieve destruction of tissue in the vitals (heart, lung, etc)
  • increased penetration
Ah, but of course someone is going to bring up the whole BC theory to try to justify the importance of bullet mass.  I still find people arguing that bullet weight (mass) and BC are directly related to each other.  In other words, they state that a heavier bullet in a particular caliber will have a better BC than a lighter bullet in the same caliber.  Imagine their surprise when we inform them that we have broken this myth with a number of our bullet designs.  For example:
  • The GS Custom 7 mm 120 grain HV Bullet (284120HV062) has a BC of .390, while the GS Custom 116 grain HV Bullet (284116HV171) has a much better BC of .486
  • The GS Custom  6 mm 75 grain HV Bullet (243075HV046) has a BC of  .346, while the GS Custom 69 grain HV Bullet (243069HV082) has a better BC of .367
  • and there are many more examples with GS Custom bullets
So, where does this leave the "heavy bullets is better than a lighter bullet" arguement?  Simply put, virtually every hunter who has tried out the GS Custom Bullets (even though they are generally lighter than conventional bullets) report back that they have been deceived by theory and concepts that don't actually hold up.  These hunters are astounded at how much better the GS Custom bullets perform in actual hunting situations even though they are usually lighter in weight than the conventional bullets they were accustomed to using.

I challenge you to try the GS Custom Bullets to test for yourself how well they perform even though they are usually somewhat lighter than commonly used conventional bullets.  Hunters around the world, who have tried our bullets, can't all be wrong when they adopt GS Custom bullets for serious hunting of game that they wish to humanely put down as quickly as possible.

Martin Bester