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Copper vs lead bullets under 300 yards

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mainecoon, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. mainecoon

    mainecoon Member

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    Can I shoot the same weight copper or lead bullets in a .243 and get (almost) the same point of impact under 300 yards? I was thinking of using lead ammo for practice and copper for hunting.
     
  2. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    In theory yes, once you find the right velocity combo / powder type / weight, you can get the same impact for both lead and copper for hunting quality ammo (not bench rest quality ammo).

    A number of years ago I tried what you want to do, but I was doing it for 30-30 in leverguns. It was before coated lead bullets were common, and lead bullets at 2200 fps were leading my bore more than I wanted to deal with.

    What bullet weights / brands / types do you want to use? And do you handload?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
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  3. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    Sure, provided you load both to the much (much, much) lower velocity capability of the lead bullet.

    Lead bullets are quite happy through 1200fps, moderately doable to 1600fps, and black magic above 2000fps (ogive to throat matching, rifling profile selection, bore lapping, alloy tuning, paper-patching, etc).

    Can you buy lead bullets and load them to match your jacketed hunting ammo? No, not a chance.
     
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  4. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    You can use the same load for copper bullets as for coper jacketed lead bullets in a 243 Winchester. It is highly unlikely that those bullets will have the same point of impact at even 100 yards. Since copper bullets are longer than copper jacketed lead bullets of the same weight, depending on your rifle's twist and the bullet weight, your rifle may not stabilize copper bullets as well as it does copper jacketed lead bullets.
     
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  5. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Two bullets, especially of different construction types, are very unlikely to truly have a common point of impact, even at 100 yards.
     
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  6. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    My .375 is pretty close with 250GMX, 260ABs, and 270gr speers....Close enough ill use any of them for stuff I generally shoot under 100yds, but its the only one I have that does that, and its still not close enough for me to be comfortable hunting outside of 100 with them interchangeably
     
  7. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    Generally, you want to drop down a level for the copper rounds anyway - b/c they are longer/wt., require more impact velocity to perform well, and retain weight better to make up the difference in penetration (and then some).

    Shoot a 3-shot group at 200 yards out of a cold, fouled bore - and record the corrections.

    Then, just crank'em back on the range.




    GR
     
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  8. mainecoon

    mainecoon Member

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    I would probably shoot the Nosler E-Tip 90gr for the copper ammo, and Nosler Ballistic Tip 90gr or something similar for the standard ammo. Don't see any 100gr options in copper.
     
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  9. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Ok, good info on bullet selection. In your first post I read lead bullets and incorrectly assumed cast. Apologies.

    This is what I do to achieve what you are after.
    1. Find the printed ballistic coefficient for each bullet.
    2. Start simple by using the same powder for both bullets. Use the slowest burning powder you have or can get that fills the case to about 90% (to the bottom of the shoulder, some manuals list % fill) for the bullet with the smaller number ballistic coefficient.
    3. For the bullet with the higher ballistic coefficient, reduce the charge by a couple grains. You have to slow the slippery bullet some.

    This should get you close for the two bullets.

    A ballistic calculator, like this free one, can help you get started. http://www.shooterscalculator.com/ballistic-trajectory-chart.php

    Your Example, please work through this yourself to check my work.
    Your 243 Nosler E tip 90gr lists a G1 ballistic coefficient of 0.403. Your 243 Nosier 90 gr Ballistic tip lists at 0.365. Hodgdon website (http://www.hodgdonreloading.com/data/rifle) lists H4350 max load for 243 at 44.5 gr for 90 grain bullet.

    I’d start by loading the 90 grain ballistic tip lead core with 44 gr powder for a guess 3125 fps and the 90 gr E tip non-lead at 42 gr H4350 for a guess 3075 fps. Putting the muzzle velocities and ballistic coefficients into the ballistic calculator, you can see they follow roughly the same trajectory, which is what I think you are after (screen shots below). Play with the charge weight, example, from 42gr to 39.8gr on the E tip load and/or 44gr to 44.2gr on ballistic tip load to dial them in. Once your point of impacts are close, play with powder types, primer brands and OAL to shrink group sizes for both.

    Other people on this site have better software tools to give less of a guess muzzle velocity, maybe they can jump in and help more. If you tell us what powder you plan to use, even better.

    Technically, both bullets won’t be same exact point of impact, so other people’s comments are correct.(@Grumulkin, @Varminterror)
    For example, once you have each bullet shooting 1 inch groups at 100 yards, you still may not be able to shoot 3 E tips and 2 Ballistic tips in a 5 shot string and expect a 1 inch group. But still close enough to practice, right?

    Once you do this work, you will never go back to anything else, probably. I used to shoot all kinds of different loads in 7 mm Rem mag. Now I only shoot 175gr gamekings and 175gr ELD-X because I’ve dialed them in for 0-600 yards in my rifle, and I can switch between the two without scope adjustments and hit with confidence.

    Whew! Long post, I hope you find it was worth it. This is hand loading “hard work”, but once you understand how to do this, you will be a top hand loader, in my humble opinion.

    B93D2612-B7E1-499F-822E-6C9AE4FFF240.png

    D869591B-1FA3-437F-8087-D3CB44DF9A78.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
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  10. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    I would advise against attempting same load, the harder/longer monometals may cause pressure spikes the same charge weight that is proven safe with a cup and core bullet. That being said, I've also noticed that with tinkering, a similar poi can be achieved with 2 different weights and constructions...... JUST FOR EXAMPLE, a 100 gr Speer can leave the barrel at 2900-3000, whilst an 80 gr gmx or ttsx leaves the barrel at 3150 and still have similar poi to roughly 300 yds. I would pick the copper first, work up the load, then play here and there with other bullets and loads, I've got my buddy's .243 using imr4166 and 55 gr btips for varmints, 95 gr sst and imr 4451 for eating game, and no scope adjustment needed (happy accident). Just my two cents.
    Eta nosler SHOTS 55 gr or similar would make very cheap practice!
     
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  11. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Because lead is heavier than copper , the copper bullet that weighs the same as the lead bullet will be longer. Generally, longer bullets require a faster twist for stabilization. Since the bullet is also longer there is more bearing surface on the bullet which may be affected by wind more than the lead bullet.
     
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  12. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I think you'll be close enough. Even if one bullet impacts a little lower than the other at 300 yards it isn't hard to simply remove the scope cap and adjust the elevation slightly to compensate when practicing with cheaper lead bullets. Then move it back before hunting with the more expensive copper bullets.

    But to reinforce what others have stated, in the same weight copper bullets are longer. That presents some problems and some advantages. Since they are longer copper bullets usually are slower because there is simply not as much room for powder in the case with the longer bullet. And copper needs to impact at faster speeds in order to expand.

    Most recommend a minimum impact speed of 2000 fps, some say 2200 is better. Whereas a conventional lead bullet will still expand at speeds as low as 1600-1800 fps depending on the bullet. Generally speaking copper is not the best choice for long range work where impact speeds are slower. You just need to look at ballistic charts and figure out the range where the bullet you want to use drops below 2000 fps. That should be the max range you try to use that bullet on game.

    For those reasons most hunters drop down to a lighter bullet than they'd use with lead too keep speeds up. In 30 caliber a 130 gr copper bullet is about the same overall length as a 180 gr lead bullet, and will give about the same penetration. That exceptional penetration makes copper an excellent choice in smaller calibers such as 243 at least at close to moderate ranges.
     
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  13. mainecoon

    mainecoon Member

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    Awesome, thank you for the info and calculations.
     
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