Flat Base vs Boat Tail? - Utah Wildlife Network

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Old 01-09-2011, 08:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

So I accidentally bought some flat based (instead of a boat tail) V-Max bullets with collet the other day to load up, and I decided to give them a try just to see how they shot out of my rifle. But it got me to thinking, what benefits and drawbacks are there to a FB bullet design as opposed to a BT design?

I did a little reading, and I am not seeing much information comparison on ballistics, but some are saying a FB design seems to kill better than a BT.

Any thoughts on ballistic differences? Can the bullet velocity change due to these designs (assuming bullet weight is the same)? Is there a difference in terminal performance as well?
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

BTs have less drag, better for longer shots.


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Old 01-09-2011, 09:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

So would they also maintain a higher velocity at longer distances due to lower drag?
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

Correct. Terminal preformance should be relatively equal for all intents and purposes.


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Old 01-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

What DallonC says.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

Thanks DallanC (and Al)! I rarely find any FB bullets and the only reason I ended up with these is because I assumed they were all BTs. I think the only other FBs I have loaded were for my Hornet (they sure suck to seat).
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

Hornady Vmax's in .204 and .223 are FB's. I love em. Hard hitters. My Hornady Amax for the .243 is a BT.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

Generally, FB stabilize quicker. The BC isn't usually as good but who cares out to 300 yards. For longer range Boatails are a better choice. With today's bullets we're really splitting hairs.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

They both will hit the ground at exactly the same time. oh,...yes they will (another interesting but worthless fact)
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flat Base vs Boat Tail?

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They both will hit the ground at exactly the same time. oh,...yes they will (another interesting but worthless fact)
but the boat tail will travel a few yards further before hitting the ground

generally speaking, a flat-base bullet will have more bearing surface than a boat-tail of equal caliber and weight.
more bearing surface = more pressure
more pressure = more velocity
What that really means is that you need to back down on your powder and work up a new load.

A higher ballistic coeficient not only aids in retaining velocity/energy down range, it also aids in wind resistance. We can easily predict trajectories with a few simple tools/knowledge..... but it can be really tough to predict the wind drift down range.
Like longbow said, out to 300 or so yards-we really are splitting hairs.

As fair as killing "better"...... I don't see how there could be any difference.
the internal design of the bullet (partitioned/bonded/soft/hard/ect) has the real say in which bullet kills "better". And that also is dependant on impact velocity.

On a side note, I do generally find it easier to shoot tiny groups with flat-base bullets. But I do have some boat-tail loads that perform just as good.
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