The Box O’ Truth #49 – Damaged Bullet Accuracy and the Box O’ Truth

I have had friends that were deer hunters that would closely inspect their hunting bullets and discard any that showed any damage whatsoever to the point of the bullet.

Is this a good idea, or does it even matter?

Let’s find out.

First, I ordered a box of hunting bullets with an exposed lead tip.

These are Hornady Interlock, .308 caliber, 150 grain, Jacketed Soft Point hunting bullets. They look great and I know that they are very good hunting bullets.

49-1

I then took them to the shop and damaged the lead points.

For the first group of 5, I smashed the points with a hammer.

49-2

Here they are.

Here they are.

Now let’s really mess up the noses of the next group of five bullets.

49-4

For the second group of 5, I snipped off the lead tips.

49-5

For the third group of 5, I bent the tip to one side, as if it had been dropped on concrete.

49-6

For the fourth group of 5, we filed a groove onto the base of the bullet, but left the points perfect.

49-7

Here they are.

Here they are.

I then loaded them in some prepared .308 cases for use in my Accuracy International AE rifle.

49-9

It is accurate and will allow an observation of potential accuracy of the undamaged bullets, and any loss of accuracy in the damaged bullets.

First we will shoot 5 rounds of pristine bullets, with no damage, to serve as a “control group”.

Now the fun starts.

49-10

All shooting will be at 100 yards.

Here’s a look at the 100 yard target for those of you that may have forgotten just how far that really is.

49-11

Here's the resulting control group.

Here’s the resulting control group.

It measured about 1 3/8 inches.

Not great for this rifle, but these are not match bullets.

We then have 5 rounds with the nose of the bullets smashed flat, as if they had been bouncing into the front of the magazine for several deer seasons.

49-13

And the results.

And the results.

They went into a 3 ¾ inch group.

The next group will be the ones where we took a pair of side cutter pliers and just snipped off the exposed lead from the point of the bullets, and did so at an odd angle.

49-15

And the results.

And the results.

They went into surprising 1 1/8 inch group.

Next we will try the bullets with the bent tips.

49-17

Here's the results.

Here’s the results.

They went into a 3 ½ inch group.

Well, I wonder if damage to the base of the bullet would make any difference.

Let’s try the ones with the nick in the base.

Here it is.

Here it is.

They went into an ugly 6 3/8 inch group.

The top two bullets went into the same hole.

Before we go home, lets try another “control group” with undamaged bullets.

This control group went into a group slightly over 1 inch.

49-20

Lessons learned:
  1. Hunting bullets are not as accurate as match bullets. My AI AE is capable for smaller groups with match bullets. But these are plenty good for deer.
  2. Damage to the nose of a bullet seems to open up the groups, but maybe not as much as some might think.
  3. The group with the bullet tips snipped off were very accurate. Maybe the best thing to do with a damaged bullet is to remove the bad tip.
  4. Damage to the base of the bullet caused a much bigger group than any damage to the tips of the bullets. If you reload, be sure not to damage the base of your bullets.
  5. The sun was shining, it was cool and beautiful, and it was fun to shoot stuff.