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  #1  
Old 12-06-2004, 11:07 AM
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boattail vs. flat based bullet wear


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I am starting to reload for the first time and while purchasing supplies from a local shop I heard someone say that your barrel life is reduced with the use of boattail bullets. How true is that statement because obviously I want the barrel to last a long time? The caliber I am loading for is .223. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2004, 11:26 AM
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I've never heard of that. It doesn't make sense to me because a boat-tail bullet actually has less bearing surface than a flat base bullet. Seems to me like the flat-base would actually wear on the barrel more, but you're talking about insignificant amounts either way. Improper care and cleaning and shooting a barrel that's already hot would be much harder on the barrel in my opinion.

Shoot whatever works best for you for the intended purpose.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2004, 11:28 AM
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It should not make a difference. I shoot boat tail match bullets exclusively in my AR-15 in NRA Highpower, and have not noticed any decrease in accuracy due to bullet design. Barrel wear is more dependant upon pressure levels, heat generated by the powder charge-directly related to pressure, friction of bullet in the barrel, and composition of the barrel, i.e. stainless vs. chromoly vs. chrome lined. I would be more concerned with hot loads and rapid fire strings more than bullet design.
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2004, 11:33 AM
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There was some talk about boattail bullets causing more wear in the early to mid 70's, but I think this has been soundly refuted by bullet, and barrel makers now. The people that would be most worried about barrel are the high volume target shooters, and all those guys tend to shoot boattails for the high ballistic coefficient.
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2004, 12:02 PM
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That got started a LONG time ago, in the dawn of smokeless powder (and non-corrosive priming) development.

Some military loads (which had boat-tailed bullets of course) were pretty rough on barrels. However, it had to do with the powders and primers being used, not the bullets.

The issue has been dead and closed for easily 50 years, which just tells you that the truth may be fleeting, but nonsense is forever.

Ask the boys in the gun shops to explain how it all works and get ready for a good laugh......
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2004, 12:11 PM
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I think they were talking about the bullet ability to seal the bore as the gases burned. Thanks for the replies and from the replies I gather I should be concerned only with rapid firing and shooting while the barrel is too hot. Thanks
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2004, 12:46 PM
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The basis of the rumor if memory serves me is the fact that the flat base has one plane to recieve the pressure and seal the pressure at ignition. The boatail has two planes to recieve pressure, one the back flat on the boatail, two the boatail sides or bevel. I have shot many of each in my 13.5 yrs of bench and target shooting. The only bbl I can say that I shot out was a stainless steel bbl on a .243 win the first four inches of the bbl was washed out or flamed within 1000 rds. These were shot during load developement and competition. The rifle in question shot a group that measured .252 outside for ten shots at 100. 300 rds later I could not get the rifle to do any better than 1 inch at 100. I then pulled the bbl and done some cleanup work on it to no avail. The bullet, the only one this rifle liked, 87gn hornady flat base. That is the only rifle I can say I shot out the bbl. Two different .222s and 10,000 rds approximate each, they are still good shooters, the bullet sierra flat base and nosler solid base (a semi boatail.) One other rifle my hunter benchrest class with roughly 8,000 rds through it, the bullet 160gn sierra spitzer boat tail. The .243 above listed used a very large charge of h-414 with federal benchrest primers, my take on the bbl washing out cause was the H-414 with standard primers instead of magnums. Just my best guess.
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Old 12-06-2004, 01:34 PM
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I've heard that theory too. Another way to put it is that the boat-tail acts as a funnel for the powder gases and they get forced against the rifling. I've no idea if there's anything to it.

There's a theory floating around about the problem with short barrel life with the .243. There's no doubt it's a problem as the match shooters have largely abandoned it. Get a diagram of a .243 and draw a line along the shoulder and extend it to the middle of the bore. Do both sides. You'll see that the lines meet at a point in front of the case mouth. Do the same on the .222 and the lines meet inside the case mouth. This point, so the theory goes, is the point of maximum abuse from temperature and flying hot powder grains.

So a .243 barrel gets the abuse, but the expendable .222 case neck gets the abuse, and if we're using 100 cases, each case only gets 1/100th of the total abuse.

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Last edited by Jack Monteith; 12-06-2004 at 01:37 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2004, 05:05 PM
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Agree with the above theories and sage comments. Only thing to add is that boattail bullets are meant for long range accuracy and lessening of drag.

I find my best accuracy in the hunting ranges (0 to 350 yds) that I do is obtained with flat base bullets. Having said that - the Nosler Ballistic Tips with their boattails usually give wonderful accuracy in most rifles, mine included. Just won't hunt with them.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2004, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Monteith
I've heard that theory too. Another way to put it is that the boat-tail acts as a funnel for the powder gases and they get forced against the rifling. I've no idea if there's anything to it.

There's a theory floating around about the problem with short barrel life with the .243. There's no doubt it's a problem as the match shooters have largely abandoned it. Get a diagram of a .243 and draw a line along the shoulder and extend it to the middle of the bore. Do both sides. You'll see that the lines meet at a point in front of the case mouth. Do the same on the .222 and the lines meet inside the case mouth. This point, so the theory goes, is the point of maximum abuse from temperature and flying hot powder grains.

So a .243 barrel gets the abuse, but the expendable .222 case neck gets the abuse, and if we're using 100 cases, each case only gets 1/100th of the total abuse.

Bye
Jack

It is no theory the .243 barrels have a short life. It is no theory that most of the 6mm and 6.5 mm high intensity cartridges will provide match accuracy for about 2500 rounds and then start blowing chunks. I am talking match accuracy at 600 yards. A barrel too worn to stay in the ten ring at 600 yards will still do well at 300 yards. The match barrel life on a typical 30 caliber is about 5000 rounds. The subcaliber high intensity 6mm class cartridges eat barrels.

As for boat tails. With the exception of a .223 Rem match bullet that I can think of, all match bullets are boatails. Can't think of one that is not. Even if flatbase bullets are equal in accuracy (and I can't think why not) the boatail will always have a slight balistic advantage. So all other things being equal, target shooters use boatails.
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2004, 01:35 PM
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Almost all benchrest shooters use flat based bullets for 100 and 200 yard shooting. The long range match shooters use boattails. It's a case of ultimate accuracy at short range vs. reduced wind drift at long range and the problem of keeping a .308 Winchester bullet supersonic at 1000 yards.

Bye
Jack
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2004, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Monteith
Almost all benchrest shooters use flat based bullets for 100 and 200 yard shooting. The long range match shooters use boattails. It's a case of ultimate accuracy at short range vs. reduced wind drift at long range and the problem of keeping a .308 Winchester bullet supersonic at 1000 yards.

Bye
Jack
Think its just easier to measure/guage a flat base bullet as being flat...harder to judge the rear sealing band of a boat tail.

Have had several barrels that plain refused to shoiot a boat tail bullet as well as flat based. Have other barrels that would shoot both about as well. But never had one that wouldn't group flat based bulelts. IF you've only tried b oat tailed bulelts, may be worth trying flat based bullets before judging the barrel worthless.
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