Elk NetworkGear 101 Nosler Ballistics Explained

Gear 101 | November 22, 2021

Look into ammunition long enough, and you’ll eventually hear the term “ballistic coefficient” or “BC.” We’re going to give a quick primer on BC and why it matters in hunting situations. 

A bullet with a high ballistic coefficient (or BC) like Nosler’s Accubond Long Range, has its advantages, but BC is oftentimes misunderstood. 

A good way to understand BC is to imagine a bullet as a car. A bullet with a high BC is sleeker and more modern like a racecar, whereas a bullet with a low BC would be more like a semitruck. Each is built to do a specific job, so one isn’t inherently better than the other. While some people think a high BC means a more accurate bullet, accuracy and BC are actually unrelated.

One advantage to a hunter of a higher BC is the fact that the bullet is going to “fly flatter.” Physicists and many YouTube comments will probably chime in here for using that phrase, because bullets actually all drop at the same rate. What “fly flatter” really means is that the bullet just covers more ground while it’s dropping so a higher BC bullet may only drop 20” at 300 yards versus a lower BC bullet dropping 27”. It will slow down more slowly and maintain its velocity over a longer distance. That’s part of what makes a high BC bullet good for long range shooting. 

Probably the biggest advantage of a high BC for hunters that most people don’t talk about, is the bullet’s flight is less affected by wind. Range finders have solved the distance problem. We can know how far away an animal is, but judging wind is still really hard for anyone other than the expert marksman. Having that extra forgiveness on windage thanks to a high BC bullet can mean the difference between hitting vitals or wounding an animal. 

In general, though, hunters can get way too hung up on BC. If you’re taking long-range competition shots at 1000 yards, BC is really important to get your bullet to the target. However, most game animals are shot under 300 yards. At that distance, BC really has a negligible effect. Unless you’re having to take shots outside 400 yards, there’s probably no need to use the Nosler Accubond Long Range over the Nosler Accubond or the Nosler Partition bullet. 

It’s tempting to focus on BC first and worry about all the other parts later, but the more important consideration for most hunters is to make sure you’re shooting the right type of bullet. Your bullet should be the right construction, the right weight (you don’t want to go too light) and it should be the bullet that shoots best in your rifle. I’d way rather have a bullet with a lower BC that consistently shoots accurately out of my rifle, than one with high BC that isn’t as reliable with my specific firearm.

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