What's the difference between a 150 grain and 180 grain bullet?


September 10, 2011, 10:15 PM
"30 grains" I know is the sarcastic answer to the question I posed in the title, but I'm wondering what is the physical difference between different weighted bullets of the same caliber/design.

My question is NOT related to the ballistics of a bullet (external or terminal) or anything like that, but specifically in the bullet construction. What do they do differently for the heavier bullet? Is it larger? Is it a heavier alloy?

Just something I'm curious about, and my failure to type something into search engines in the way that would produce results to actually answer my questions has gotten the best of me once again.

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September 10, 2011, 10:26 PM
For a specific caliber and a specific brand of bullets, a heavier bullet is longer as it can't be larger in diameter.

September 10, 2011, 10:27 PM
Technically it could be anything that would change the weight from using different materials in construction (steel core vs lead vs hollow point with a polymer plug) to just making it bigger. In my experience, most of the heavier bullets (assuming caliber is the same) are longer than the lighter bullets.

September 10, 2011, 10:30 PM
Yeah, I figured it wouldn't be wider, but was wondering longer or a different alloy. Thanks.

September 10, 2011, 10:31 PM
If it has about the same physical profile on the ogive and the base, the heavier bullet will be longer.
Some companies increase the jacket thickness on the heavier bullets and some don't.

Bullet construction can vary with intended use at rated velocity and game being hunted.


September 10, 2011, 10:44 PM
There are lead free (aka green) bullets where the core is less dense as a lead bullet core. So, in this case, the two bullets may be the same length and shape but have different weights.

September 11, 2011, 12:03 AM
You left yourself wide open, about 30 grains!
No, on a more serious note, the heavier bullet has a longer profile so it will produce a better B.C. at extended distance. Since I'm one of those that like the lighter bullets, I like loading solid copper bullets because they have a longer profile without having to use a slower and heavier bullet. It's really very controversial and I'm certain I'll lose every argument in this area. A heavier bullet will sustain higher velocity longer than a lighter one too, because it isn't effected by drag to the same extent as a lighter bullet, that's a mild description of B.C..

September 11, 2011, 12:13 AM
I didn't leave myself open, as my first sentence closed that joke. :P

evan price
September 11, 2011, 03:45 AM
Usually the tail end is longer.

September 11, 2011, 09:24 AM
This link shows many different weights of rifle bullets side by side. Just visualize the difference for your pistol bullets. http://www.accurateshooter.com/gear-reviews/bulletguide/

September 11, 2011, 09:31 AM
There may or may not be a thicker jacket on the 180 grain bullet inasmuch as the manufacturer may anticipate a different use for the heaver bullet; 150 for deer where the bullet must expand quicker, 180 for Elk, Moose, etc., for deeper penetration though a tougher target.

September 11, 2011, 12:37 PM
Is it a heavier alloy?
Sierra makes the core of the bullet from four lead alloys: 6% antimony-4% tin, 6% antimony, 3% antimony, 1 1/2% antimony and pure lead. More here> http://www.sierrabullets.com/index.cfm?section=about A pure lead core would be the heavest.

September 11, 2011, 05:03 PM
Look at it like this the amount of metal on both ends increase from the point of balance thus stabilizing better & more resistant to other outside influences that would otherwise make it veer off it`s chosen path of flight.

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