5 Reasons Round Nose Bullets Are Still Cool

by
posted on April 8, 2016
round_nose_bullets_cool_f.jpg

In this age of ballistic superiority, where our projectiles more closely resemble the Apollo-era spacecraft, where the bullet continues to evolve in both shape and method of construction, the round nose projectile is often overlooked as if it were a relic of a bygone era. There seems to be a trend in the hunting industry, where the shots at game keep getting longer, sometimes to the point of being ethically questionable. The spitzer bullet, and even more so the spitzer boat tail bullet, each deliver a very flat trajectory, retain energy downrange very well and deliver great long range accuracy. While these bullets are extremely popular, they truly don’t show their merits until distances exceed 200 yards. The good, old-fashioned round nose bullet, which seems to have been passed over in the history of bullet evolution, is still a viable choice for many hunters. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.

1. The round nose delivers all kinds of impact energy. Our human desire to quantify all things in ballistics is unending. While our kinetic energy figures are derived from a formula that uses only the bullet’s weight, not its shape, my hunting experiences have shown me that an animal hit with a round nose bullet in the heart/lung area tends to ‘shudder’ upon impact. There is a visible difference when compared to a shot with a spitzer, and I especially like that on animals like bears and hogs. The larger surface area (at the bullet’s nose) striking the game animal makes a noticeable difference.

2. They shine in close range situations. Where shots are close—under 200 yards—there is little disadvantage to the round nose bullet. If the muzzle velocities are in the range of at least 2,300 to 2,400 fps, you can still maintain a 200-yard zero with a reasonable 100-yards point of impact. They are also (usually) more than accurate enough for the distances at which it is practical to use them. I know that here in the Northeast, I can use a round nose bullet for 95 percent of my hunting without being handicapped by trajectory; our shots just simply aren’t that far. While the ballistic coefficient figures are less than desirable when compared with a spitzer, I’ve made some rather long shots—out to 400 yards—with a round nose bullet. I like the way a round nose bullet holds together; unlike the spitzer boat tail which is notorious for jacket/core separation, the round nose tends to maintain its shape and retain its weight very well, even in high impact situations.

3. Round nose bullets penetrate wonderfully. I had a great conversation with a ballistic engineer at a boutique bullet company, which specializes in round nose and semi-spitzer bullets. He explained the advantage of those configurations like this: “Imagine a bullet that keeps its weight forward is like a front-wheel drive car in the snow; the momentum pulls the bullet through the resistance, whereas a bullet that has most of its weight in the rear portion will tend to kick sideways.” I can see the logic in this theory, and while I can’t say that I’ve proven the hypothesis, I will say that I’ve had very good straight-line penetration form my round nose ammunition.

4. The round nose bullet takes up less room in the cartridge case. If you’re a handloader, I’m sure you’ve come up against a situation where the uber-long spitzer boat tail bullets can cause a compressed powder scenario. In certain cartridges—the .300 Winchester Magnum, .308 Winchester and .350 Remington Magnum come quickly to mind—the longest spitzers can compromise either case capacity, magazine fit, or both. There have been many instances where a round nosed (or semi-spitzer) bullet has made life much easier.

5. They are often easier on the wallet. While I do love the sleek, nasty, sloping point on a good spitzer bullet, they cost more to produce, and therefore to purchase. Generally speaking, round nose bullets and ammunition are a bit more affordable. In component form, they can be conveniently available when most other bullets are sold out.

It’s no coincidence that many of the African Professional Hunters are huge fans of the round nose bullets, especially for the closer shots in bushveld conditions. Many of the classic African cartridges earned their impeccable reputations using heavy-for-caliber, round nosed bullets. Even our most popular hunting cartridges—the .30-’06 Springfield, .270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum—can perform very well with a good old round nosed bullet. I use them in my .300 Winchester and 6.5-284 Norma, and probably won’t stop anytime soon. 

Want to read more from Philip Massaro? Check out the stories below:

Top 5 Dangerous Game Loads
• 
Top 5 Turkey Loads
• 
5 Rifle Cartridges That Need to Make a Comeback
• Top 5 Safari Calibers
• 5 New Year's Resolutions for Hunters
 What Your Favorite Rifle Cartridge Says About You
• America's Most Wanted Cartridges
• America's Strangest Game Laws
• What Your Favorite Rifle Cartridge Says About You, Part II
• Top 5 Overrated Rifle Cartridges
• Top 5 Underrated Rifle Cartridges
• 5 Cartridges You Might Not Know About
• Top 5 Wildcat Cartridges
• An Ode to the Ruger Mini-14
• Top 5 Hog Loads
• Top 5 Deer Bullets
• Why .30-30 Winchester Will Never Die

Latest

Winchester 6.8 Western Copper Impact Ammo Lead
Winchester 6.8 Western Copper Impact Ammo Lead

First Look: Winchester 6.8 Western Copper Impact Ammo

Winchester’s new 6.8 Western 162-grain solid copper load sports their Copper Impact bullet, boasting a muzzle velocity of 2875 fps. It shoots accurately, hits hard and penetrates deeply.

Indiana Artist Wins California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest

A painting of mountain quail has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2021-2022 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana.

First Look: FORLOH Hunting Apparel

FORLOH is on a mission to design, source and manufacture world-class hunting apparel right here in the USA. Engineered with a ‘no concessions’ approach, every piece of gear is backed by a lifetime guarantee. 

New for 2022: Savage 110 Magpul Hunter

A hybrid hunting/target rifle, the newest Savage 110 translates deadly range accuracy into notched tags and a full freezer.

Oregon: ODFW announces 2023 annual wildlife art contest

The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award and winning artwork is used to produce collector's stamps and other promotional items with sale proceeds benefitting Oregon's fish, wildlife and their habitats.

Primos Releases New Trigger Stick Gun Mounted Bipods

Primos hunting has announced its new line of Trigger Stick Gun Mounted Bipods, which come in short, medium and tall heights.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.