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So why do bullet manufacturers put plastic tips on today’s bullets? Some hunters marvel at the new look while others view this as a gimmick. In truth there are two main reasons polymer tips are being used: higher ballistic coefficients for greater accuracy and even more so, to initiate bullet expansion at a wider range of velocities.
The sharp polymer tip cutting through the air aids in the efficiency of the bullet flight. However, it isn’t that big of a difference over conventional designs. In fact, match shooters use hollow point bullets for their high ballistic coefficient and continue to do so today. So if there isn’t that big a difference in trajectories, why bother with the poly tips? Lets get to the main reason plastic tips are being used.
Polymer tipped bullets are really just hollow point bullets with a plastic tip. When the bullet hits the target the tip is driven back into the bullets causing expansion and thus massive energy transfer to the animal. I have used these bullets on a number of occasions and they are devastating on deer sized game. However, the early versions of these bullets of these bullets were unsuitable (in my humble opinion) for larger game due to excessive expansion. This isn’t to say polymer rounds are no good for larger game. Recent developments in the last few years have allowed polymer tips to be placed on bonded bullets and thus make for an excellent round that will give adequate penetration for angled shots or when you hit the shoulder of a larger game specimen.
Another useful application of polymer bullets is when used in lever guns requiring short bullets with a rounded nose. Round nose bullets should always be used when using a lever gun with a tubular magazine. The round nosed bullet will not set off the next round in the magazine due to recoil as a sharp pointed bullet might. The polymer material allows for these lever guns to use a bullet with a higher ballistic coefficient that can expand well at low impact velocities commonly associated with oldies like the .35 Remington, .30-30, and .45-70.
I use polymer bullets when shooting flat shooting rounds such as my .264 magnum, 7mm magnum and a host of other higher intensity rounds. However, I killed the majority of my game with old conventional designs such as the Winchester Power Point. They all work fine.
So when someone asks you why they use plastic on the tips of bullets, tell those individuals it allows the shooter to fire a bullet with match grade accuracy that expands well under a wide range of velocities. That pretty much sums it up.

Posted in: Hunting - General

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