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Comparing ballistics

Old 05-02-2005, 04:09 PM
  #1  
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Default Comparing ballistics

I'm not trying to start a fight here, so hear me out. I've seen a lot of hyperbole about this gun or that and which is better. I was presented with the argument of ballistics and flat shooting versus knock-down power etc. So I done a few minutes research and came up with some numbers. I used standard load data for a few popular calibers discussed on this forum. I loaded that info into a remedial ballistics program just to see. So I thought I'd share it hear and let you all draw your own conclusions. All ballistics are derived using Nosler partitions with a theoritcal 200 yard zero.

270 win with 130 grain bullet at 3100 FPS--> 18 inches low at 400yards
30-06 with 150 gr. bullet at 3000 fps--> 20 inches low at 400
300 win with 150 gr bullet at 3200 fps--> 17 inches low at 400
300 ultra with 150 gr bullet at 3500 fps--> 14 inches low at 400
338 win with 180 gr bullet at 3000 fps --> 20 inches low at 400

Interesting that the 338 has nearly the same ballistic characteristics as teh 30 06 with a 30 grain heavier bullet. So what is flat shooting? I think most would say the 300 ultra is a flat shooter. Yet, the difference between it and the 338 at 400 yards is a mere 6 inches. 6 inches sounds like a lot but I can assure you that at 400 yards there are a lot of factors that can push your bullet off more than that. A mere 5 MPH crosswind can cause over 6 inches of wind drift at that distance.

In either case the shooter must be skilled enough to allow for drop in the bullet. I think the truthful answer is that very few of us have any business shooting at game over 250 yards. Inside of 250 yards the ballistics of any of the modern cartridges are a near wash.
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Old 05-02-2005, 07:41 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

Maybe I am missing your point, but for any of these calibers, you can adjust the bullet at 100 yards to get the most out of trajectory, so I don't see where the trajectory is a major problem for any caliber even using bigger bullets. So even if trajectory is a wash, the energy of these calibers is certainly not a wash out at 300 yards. However, you can't use light bullets in the larger calibers. For example, here are the ft/lbs of energy of each caliber with what I consider more appropriate bullets:

270 130 gr 1700 ft/lbs

30-06 150 gr 1700 ft/lbs

300 win mag 165gr 2100 ft/lbs

300 ultra 180 gr 2600 ft/lbs

338 win mag 225 gr 2700 ft/lbs

So, as far as energy, I certainly wouldn't call them a wash. All of those bullets can be adjusted trajectory wise for a dead on hold on out to at least 250-300 yards

And if you really want to drive yourself crazy check out the Taylor index which gives bigger bores the nod for knock down power: http://www.loadammo.com/Topics/July02.htm
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Old 05-02-2005, 10:06 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

txhunter58,

Like yourself, I wasn't too concerned with trajectory with a good scope and shots under 300 yards. Too me the question is what happens after the bullet gets there, and....

Chuckle, chuckle....

And if you really want to drive yourself crazy check out the Taylor index which gives bigger bores the nod for knock down power: http://www.loadammo.com/Topics/July02.htm
Thanks for the link!
Good Reference Material is always welcome!
It probably WILL drive at least a couple of folks, as you say, "crazy"!
I was quick to add that one to my Favorite Places!
Let's see, with elk starting out with a TKO of 20!
Works out p-e-r-f-e-c-t with what I've been ah, ahem, argh, gasp ..... "suggesting" all along!

You rock!
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:06 AM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

Ah Hah,
Thanks for that link,it works well.
BBJ
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:20 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

One must remember that the Taylor KO is a good way to compare one gun against another but in no way tells the whole story of performance on Game. Just doing a quick figure, the 45-70 with a 405 grain bullet at 1800 FPS would have a rating of about 47. A 300 RUM with a 1800 grain bullet at 3500 fps would have a taylor rating of 27. Which would you rather use for elk? The taylot KO is slanted toward heavy bullets. There is nothing wrong with the theory and heavy bullets even at low velocity are a viable option for big game hunting. However at first glance using this theory only, the 45-70 would be a much better elk rifle than the 300 RUM. TRUE? I don't think so. There is no way to rate all the factors involved in killing big game animals using any theory alone.

I place a pretty high value on the Taylor KO theory but there are to many factors involed to base your whole decission on it.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:43 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

The only valid comparisons come when you use bullets with a similar Ballistic Coefficient, which you have failed to do, The 130 grain .270 bullet is ballistically superior to the 150 grain .30 caliber bullet reguardless of shape because it has a higher sectional density. A 165 grain .30 caliber bullet would be a better comparison. I haven't any knowledge of the 180 grain .338 bullet as to its density, but it may be roughly similar to the 150 grain .30 caliber.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:50 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

One must remember that the Taylor KO is a good way to compare one gun against another but in no way tells the whole story of performance on Game.
James, you're absolutely right. No one measure tells the wholes story. TKO largely addresses what happens once the bullet gets there not how well it flew getting there. There are other theoretical components to killing power like: hydrostatic shock, energy, momentum, penetration, and probably a few others as well. Yep, TKO is only part of the story, a goodly part and a valid "piece of the puzzle" IMHO.

It does add just one more nail though....
=================

Back to the orignal thread regarding ballistics, that involves a different set of concerns and exercises, one of which (sectional density) Slamfire accurately pointed out. Yet for hunting purposes I feel the "in the field" difference is negligable. With the majority of highpower rifles with scopes zeroed at 200 yards and shots held to under 300 yards, the ballistics are a pretty small piece of the picture. The bullets from modern firearms that are anywhere near aerodynamic, all fly down an amazingly very similar path for 300 yards, especially given the size of the "kill zone" on big game.
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Old 05-03-2005, 01:06 PM
  #8  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

Exactly correct. The taylor index really makes big bullets look good. However, I would contend that at 50-100 yards, the 45-70 is every bit as good at the 300 rum on elk. Millions of buffalo died to prove that point. However, you point is well taken. The "best" way to compare light fast moving bullets is probably ft/lbs and the best way to compare slow/big bullets is with the Taylor index Either way the 300 RUM is a kick-a** elk load
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Old 05-03-2005, 01:23 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

Good points. The 45-70 within its range gives up nothing to any of the whizbang calibers. With heavy cast bullets it will take out anything on the planet.

Also have to agree with EKM about the ballistics within 250-300 yards. With the bullets we have available today there are a bunch of calibers that will do the job to those ranges which are the ranges that probably 90 percent of our big game is taken. Add in the good optics available and we are in the best of times for sure. I tried most of the Magnums and just plain come to the conclusion that at the ranges I shoot they just are not any more efficient than some of the old standards. I have a small herd of 45-70's.
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Old 05-03-2005, 03:32 PM
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Default RE: Comparing ballistics

Another thing, ALL of the bullets are NOT of the same construction, so NO MATTER what it says on paper they will NOT work the same on an animial!!!!

Drilling Man
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