|8-O I don't know what many of you consider a "Premium" bullet as compaired to a "Standard" but I have found that the Nosler BT (which I consider a Premium) to be very accurate and in many cases it will outshoot even a "Match" bullet. There are numerous Match Shooters that use the Nosler 125gr BT out to 300 yards/meters due to its lower recoil and its unearing accuracy. I have weighed many boxes of bullets and have found that the Nosler BTs are one of the most consistant bullets on the market. Many of the other "Premium" bullets do not have the ability to be as accurate due to the many variables inherent in their construction, ie. dual cores, steel cups, tungsten inserts etc. When you add these items and or steps in the construction you induce many areas that may have an effect on the accuracy of the bullet. |
There are probably as many answers to the question of what constitutes â€œPremiumâ€ bullets as there are people who shoot them. Hereâ€™s my ideas of what differentiates them from standard bullets.
1. Bullet design that promotes high weight retention at all useful velocities (from the muzzle to way out there).
2. Bullet design that promotes reliable but controlled expansion.
3. Accuracy potential of 1MOA or better.
You will note that I did not include cost as a differentiating factor.
Weight retention can be accomplished by a number of, or a combination of, methods. Crossmembers (Partition, A-Frame, Failsafe, etc.), core bonding (InterBond, AccuBond, North Fork, Trophy Bonded, A-Frame, etc.), solid shanks (North Fork, Trophy Bonded, X, etc.), thicker jackets, dual cores (the older Grand Slams), and other methods have been tried and proven. With bullets that use a lead core up front, I pretty much consider bonding a requirement these days and have mentally assigned Partitions and Grand Slams to a â€œsemi-premiumâ€ category.
Expansion must be reliable. My first experience with Barnes XLCâ€™s was extremely disappointing and as a result I refuse to use them on anything but varmints and targets. At the same time expansion should be controlled. It isnâ€™t uncommon to see pictures of bullets that have expanded right down to their base, or very close to it. Such bullets are not for me any more than bullets which cannot be counted on to expand at all. I believe there is a happy medium that will provide the best combination of penetration and destruction. IMHO, A-Frames, Trophy Bonded and North Fork are the best there is in this category. Barnes claims the new design and manufacturing tehniques for the TSX have solved expansion problems sometimes encountered with the X bullets, but I have no personal experience to prove it â€“ even though I hunted with the TSXâ€™s last fall.
Accuracy potential has never been a problem for me â€“ it seems that every bullet Iâ€™ve tried will shoot just fine given the right load recipe. Speer Grand Slams were consistently 0.5MOA out of my 7mm Mag and 0.4MOA out of my buddyâ€™s. Barnes XLCâ€™s often shoot 3-shot, 2-hole groups under an inch. North Forks have provided me with the best accuracy I have ever achieved in a hunting rifle (3-shot group under one bullet diameter center-to-center). A-Frames and TSX and AccuBonds shoot very well in my .257 Roberts, TSX and North Forks do well in my .300 Win Mag, North Forks do well in my .45-70.
With larger diameter bullets expansion isnâ€™t necessarily required. But thatâ€™s a separate discussion.
In the end it comes down to what works. Even though I handload I havenâ€™t been able to match the Winchester 170g Power Point factory ammo in my Marlin .30-30. Not a problem, as at .30-30 velocities a standard â€œcup-and-coreâ€ bullet should do just fine.
At any rate, those are my thoughts. YMMV.