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 When to use flat nose rifle bullets
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Advanced Member

8068 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  09:13:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have just begun reloading, so please have a little patience with my ignorance.
I have been loading 358 winchester with Nosler partition 225 grains. I will be using this rifle for hunting whitetails under 200 yards (most likely under 100 yards).
I was reading an article, in which the authors reccomendations caused me to be concerned with my bullet choice. According to him, this bullet might be too hot for my purposes. He basically said that the bullet might not do what it is supposed to do(open up) at such close distances.
I read another article which said that under 200 yards, speer flat nose 220 grain is the ticket- the srgument being that flat nose bullets set up quicker.
Then I read another fella write that the only use for flat nose bullets, is in tubular magazines, that they are inferior to the partition/spitzer type bullets,.
I want to use the best bullet for 200 yard and less hunting.
Who is right? Should I aviod the Nosler, even though it is a superior bullet, because the bullet might be detrimental at shorter distances?
Do flat tip bullets really open up better than the partitions, at closer distances?

This whole business of a bullet "opening up" or setting up, is really greek to me. I have experience hunting with a 3030, 35 remington, and 3006. The first two used flat tips, while the 3006 I used Remington soft point 180 grains.
I mostly use the 06, because of the possibility of longer shots, but I have noticed at the closer distances, the deer move a little bit more after they are hit, compared to the 35 remington. I am wondering if this is what the author is refering to, when he says the flat nose set up quicker.
In a nutshell, at 100 yards and less on a whitetail, what would be a better choice, flat nose or partition? Thamks for any comments/help/suggestions.

"Waiting tables is what you know, making cheese is what I know-lets stick with what we know!"
-Jimmy the cheese man

perry shooter
Advanced Member

17416 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  09:30:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello this is a question that has many opinions as to the right answer . IMHO as long as you dont use a sharp nose bullet in a TUBEULAR magazine . any hunting bullet you buy will work on short to medium ranges . the spire point bullets will not slow down as fast but this will only be a factor at longer ranges . round nose solid jacketed are for dangerous game but other then that every one will have a favorite HUNTING bullet shot placement is still the biggest factor in killing power .
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10019 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  11:36:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I can understand the confusion that you're going through especially with the huge selection of bullet designs and features that we have available today.

As perry shooter points out, there are as many opinions as there are bullet types and designs. Each of the manufacturers are trying to tell us that they have the ultimate solution to all of our hunting problems which is to simply use their product. In so many cases this is absolutely true, we can pick and choose just about any bullet that has a reasonable design for our particular type or style of hunting; load, test, load some more and go hunting with the confidence that if we put the bullet in the right spot, we will have meat to eat.

Writers get paid to use and arrange words that sell both the magazine and the products that have paid for advertising space in those magazines. That's why you will almost never read a truly negative review or article about a product in those magazines. So in the article that you read, the author expressed a strong opinion about flatnose bullets and their performance at close range. He's absolutely right. But that doesn't exclude some of the other bullet designs that will perform equally well at those same distances. He's trying to make a blanket statement which won't hold up under scutiny let alone testing.

The Nosler Partition is an easy choice for your situation and many others that we all find ourselves in when hunting. To me it is a first choice for many cartridges even if I want to test some of the newest and best gizmo bullets on the market. It is a tried and true, accurate bullet which I have tested and know to be reliable. I trust the performance if I don't make a mistake. It's that simple.

Is the Nosler the only bullet? Heavens NO! There are bunches of bullets out there that will do what you need them to do time and time again. But we all have opinions as to which bullet we put our trust in when there's hair in the sights. Shoot the Noslers and enjoy the hunting. Shoot something else if you want to do some tests and enjoy the reloading and testing.

By the way, this is what a Partition looks like when it "opens up".

And this is a Sierra Pro-Hunter:

And a comparison between bullets:

This is a good article with bullet descriptions at the end:


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Advanced Member

3520 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  12:23:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have used a .375 dia. 220 grain flat point Hornady bullet in my 14 inch 375 JDJ for years because it works very well on any thing I intend to shoot out to 250 yards.
Never a problem about opening up on anything.
I could use other bullets but this one, but it's done it's job in good fashion, so I never bothered.

Gun control is hitting what your aiming at.
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Ray B
Advanced Member

11569 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  6:03:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The main reason for flat nose bullets is so that the portion of the case around the primer will support the nose of the bullet behind it in the tubular magazine. Since expansion is really more a function of jacket thickness in the front of the bullet, the point shape plays only a minor role in expansion. The above photo of the Nosler partition is rarely true. The front portion will invariably separate from the jacket.
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36304 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  6:07:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not too sure what Nosler has available in that caliber, but you will not go wrong with Nosler BT's. They are very lethal.
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Junior Member

284 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  10:58:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The partition works well at most velocities in the bigger and up if for no other reason than the size of the hole. I've used it and the 220 Speer with good results...maybe a slight edge to the Speer at lower velocities. However I have a 35 Krag...a ballistic equivalent to the 359 Win and I use the Nosler 225 ballistic tip in it with good results too.
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Junior Member

127 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2006 :  01:42:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think there is some confusion here in your post.

First, the flat nosed bullet is used in rifles with a tubular magazine to negate the possibility that a pointed bullet *could* act as a firing pin during recoil & set off the round in front of it, causing a chain reaction & setting off the entire magazine full of cartridges. Flat point bullets cannot do that, that is why flat point (or round nosed) bullets are used in these rifles.

Second, I think you're getting "set up" confused with "upset". When a bullet "upsets" it deforms & opens to a larger diameter than it started out, (as shown in the pictures above). It's not that the bullet has to *get itself ready* somehow (set up) to open up when it hits something 200 yards away. (Bullet: "Wait just a bit, I'm not ready to open up yet, let me fly a little longer to get prepared.") Generally speaking, bullets are designed to "upset" (mushroom, open up) throughout a given velocity range. Which is why some very good bullets aren't suitable for some cartridges. For instance, a bullet designed for .300 Wby Mag velocities will have too heavy of a jacket to open up properly at 30-30 Winchester velocities regardless of the range. Conversely, bullets designed for 30-30 velocities (with a relatively thin jacket) will virtually explode on impact at .300 Wby Mag velocities. That might be fine for exploding rock chucks but you don't want to blow a little forked horn in half.

Third, as the bullet sheds velocity down range it may slow to the point that it will not open up as it was designed to do, which is a much more likely scenario than a bullet having to slow down down range before it will expand properly. That just doesn't make any sense to me at all. If a bullet will expand (upset, mushroom, whatever you want to call it) at 200 yards it will surely expand (upset, mushroom, yada yada) at closer range. (I am ignoring varmint bullets here which are *supposed* to upset violently, even explosively in some cases where pelt damage is not a factor.) The only way I can see a big game bullet performing better at long range rather than close in would be if you pushed a lightly jacketed bullet well beyond it's intended velocity range causing it to explode on impact up close, yet open up properly as it slows to it's designed operating velocity way down range. As in the above example of a bullet designed for 30-30 velocities shot through the .300 Wby. At 600-800 yards it might have slowed down to approximately the same velocity that the 30-30 would have it moving at 100 yards. Please note that this example is only for clarification, don't take it as gospel, many factors determine the rate at which a given bullet sheds velocity, ballistic coefficient being one.

Bottom line- If a bullet will perform well at 200 yards at the velocity the rifle is capable of shooting it, it will almost certainly perform well up close.

I hope this makes sense to you.

I may be full of beans on this & I'm sure someone more savvy than I am will point it out if I am, but that's my take on your question.

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Advanced Member

11996 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2006 :  10:51:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Whitetail are not tough targets and any decent hunting bullet will take them. The one thing to watch for is the varmit class bullets that are designed to fragment on impact these are not made for deer and shouldn't be used. Ballistic tips are good deer rounds and if they are accurate use them.

Which comes to my suggestion, use what is accurate and you have confidence in.

I use a lot of rounds that are over kill on somethings. But I want to line my gun up with one round I can depend on and leave it so I use the round appropriate for the biggest critter I'll be taking with it. This means over kill on a lot of things but they are still dead. A friend of mine uses a .300 wby 180 gr partition on every thing from Moose to antelope. But he does a lot of other hunting and fishing and doesn't have time to reline his gun every time he changes critters. If you enjoy playing with rounds that's good. I would rather hunt with that time. One round I have confidence in is what I want, accurate and big enough. My favorite all around bullet for my 30-06 is the 180gr swift sirroco.

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