FAQ – All About bullets

Why should I get a rebated boat tail design for a bullet?

Four reasons to buy a Rebated Boat Tail (RBT) bullet over a conventional boat tail:

1. The 90-degree shoulder between the angled base and bullet shank will provide a better seal in the bore causing a more rapid and concentric transition from the muzzle to free flight with less turbulence

2. The bullet conforms faster and more efficiently to the rifle bore resulting in quicker sealing and less gas blow-by

3. Using RBT projectiles will allow for a significant increase in barrel life by slowing down barrel throat erosion that results from the effect of burning propellant gases in a newer barrel. Even an older rifle suffering with throat erosion can perform better

4. RBT gas sealing adds another 10 to 15 percent improvement in accuracy by deflecting gas in an annular pattern around the muzzle rather than letting gas become focused in front of the bullet

To learn more about the Alco RBT design in detail go to our Superior Engineering RBT article.

How are copper jacketed bullets made?

Simply put the manufacturing process for a copper jacketed bullet begins as a thin sheet of copper coin and is moved through a series of press dies to be formed into a jacket. A lead core is inserted into the jacket for weight. Swaging is the process of the initial forming of the bullet. The final process includes forming the base and meplat of the bullet dies for precision.

Alco is unique in that we use a  seven step handmade process to make a rebated boat tail precision long distance bullet. These ultra low-drag bullets are known for their accuracy in the wind.

Does the meplat allow for more distance and accuracy?

The meplat of the bullet is the tip. As a bullet flies through air it encounters a great deal of resistance. A projectile with a sharp meplat will be more efficient against the forces of air resistance and wind drift providing more range and accuracy over other projectiles.

Alco provides quality machined metal tips to have the sharpest meplat possible for long distance precision bullet performance. It is just one part of the equation we use to develop ultra low-drag precision bullet. Alco offers shooters an edge in long distance accuracy

What advantages do heavier grain bullets offer?

.452 ALPHA HUNTER 325 Grain, Smokeless Muzzle Loader, 12 Ogive, Machined Aluminum Tip

– A heavier bullet produces more energy on impact at the target thus improving your terminal ballistics.

– A heavy bullet will help manage wind drift.

– You can carry a longer range given the right power charge.

In 30 caliber, Alco Bullets offers a range of projectiles starting at 155- to as heavy as 240-grain for long distance shooters. Other heavy weighted bullets include .452 and .284 calibers. To see Alco’s offerings go to “Shop Bullets”.

How much does seating depth affect accuracy?

By tweaking your seating depth in a barrel that is in good shape, you can increase accuracy. The Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base to Ogive (CBTO) has a significant effect on pressure and velocity of the rifle cartridge. A bullet seated long with extra powder will allow you to achieve greater velocity at the same pressure than a cartridge with a bullet seated short. CBTO is a critical because it’s directly related to precision potential, and you control it by simply setting bullet seating depth. Once you find the CBTO that produces the best precision in your rifle, it’s important to allow minimal variation in that dimension when producing quality hand loads. This is achieved by using quality built bullets, tooling and properly preparing case prep for consistency.

The SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) manual provides max pressure recommendations, COAL and many other specifications for commercial cartridges to follow or as you build bullet load data.   Alco Bullets always suggests that you use the SAAMI recommendations for loading and increase your powder slowly for your cartridges. Go to alcobullets.com to learn more about their custom precision bullets.

How do you improve ballistic coefficient?

ALCO Precision .284 in 168 Grain RBT ULD Machined Metal Tip

A high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullet is designed to have less drag to slide through the air with less resistance. There are basically two ways to improve your BC within a given bullet caliber:

1. Increase your grain weight for a heavier bullet.

2. Use a longer bullet ogive design.

All of Alco Bullets have very high BC numbers and are designed for long distance shooters. To see our offerings go to alcobullets.com.  

Why is there no rebated boat tail design for the .510 air rifle bullets?

The Alco Big Bore .510 air rifle bullets do not require a rebated boat tail for this style of projectile, because they shoot at speeds much slower than a longer range cartridge rifle. These are swaged solid lead ammo with a hollow point. Go to our website learn more about Alco Air Boss Big Bore .510 caliber. 

What is a swaged bullet?

Bullet swaging is the forming of materials (such as lead or steel) by using concise pressure to form a bullet in a die. The swaged bullets are created at room temperature and are more consistent with regards to diameter size and weight. Alco Bullets swages all of our Air Boss .510 big bore air rifle bullets to provide a uniform high performance projectile for you to use while hunting.

What does terminal ballistics mean to a hunter?

Terminal energy on a physical basis is the disbursement of energy into target media. Ballistic energy is called kinetic energy. It is defined as the product of one-half the mass of a body and the square of its velocity (½ m v2). Wound formation is a function of the kinetic energy that is transferred into the target. Kinetic energy that is not transferred into the target is considered wasted energy.

Many things must be considered in the effectiveness of a bullet to harvest game ethically. Structural damage, blood loss, nervous system failure, and shock are some of the desired results of the work being done through the transfer of kinetic energy. Other contributing factors to this end are in a bullet’s design, spin, velocity to stability relationship, etc. Check out our smokeless muzzleloader bullets that are used for hunting with great success.

What is the difference between an Alco rebated boat tail verses a flat base bullet?

There are many articles on Flat Base vs. Boat Tail (BT) bullets. Alco is unique in that we go a step further by handcrafting a Rebated Boat Tail (RBT) bullet that is not offered by most manufacturers. Our premium Ultra-low drag RBT bullets are engineered for long-distance shooters. The RBT along with many other factors, make them extremely accurate in the wind with long trajectory. They have high Ballistic Coefficients (BC). Occasionally, customers have asked for our bullets in a Flat Base and we can comply with a custom order. These will have a lower BC, will slow down faster and drift more at longer distances. Purely, personal preference. See our “All About Bullets” Blog about our Alco RBT high performance bullets.

Will Alco be venturing into additional calibers with your extremely big bore air rifle bullets?

YES! Alco has some exciting offerings coming for the big bore air rifle enthusiasts in new calibers. Right now we are working on some 45 calibers that is in testing and going to be what we think are game-changers based on design. See our current .510 big bore air rifle bullets on alcobullets.com site. These are sold in 50 count boxes and are extremely popular with air gunners. Watch for new big boar air gun calibers to appear on our website soon!

What is the composition of the Alco Bullet tips?

ALCO Bullets uses two types of metal tips – aluminum and steel. One reason our bullets perform so well is in the care we take to produce quality metallic ballistic tips. The picture shows just a few of the sharp points we use on the heads of our bullets – from the bigger 452- down to .224-calibers. They are each fabricated on extremely precise CNC machines to the nearest thousandth to ensure the consistency and accuracy required in flight which is an advantage for the long-distance competition shooter or hunter. To see our offerings, go to alcobullets.com and “shop bullets.”

What are the best bullets for windy conditions?

Selecting bullets for optimum performance in wind drift conditions:

– Choose an Ultra Low-Drag (ULD) bullet design with a High B.C. is the best solution in wind

– Pick a bullet in the heaviest weight possible for your rifle to mange windy conditions.

 Alco precision bullets will accommodate high wind drift conditions in any caliber due to their ultra low drag design construction. To see what we have to offer go to “Shop Bullets”.

What makes a bullet accurate?

Three ‘must haves’ for bullet accuracy:

1. A high BC bullet is achieved by increasing the weight and length. Ultra low-drag bullets are more efficient to overcome air resistance and wind drift for improved accuracy.

2. Good bullet design with uniformity and balance will lend itself provide superior accuracy downrange

3. Precise manufacturing tolerances with regards to uniform quality jackets, core weights and well designed meplat for improved performance in flight

4. Consistency in the manufacturing build

Alco bullets encompass all of these design and performance features. Check out what we have to offer on our Shop bullets page.

What are the benefits of an Alco precision handmade bullet?

ALCO Bullets precision bullets

Eight great reasons to buy an Alco Bullet:

1- Precision performance
2- Handcrafted excellence
3- Superior engineering
4- Unique high ballistic design
5- Perfect tips (meplat)
6- Pinpoint accuracy
7- Technical innovation
8- Easy availability

To learn more about an Alco bullet go to our Home Page Superior Bullets to read in more detail about the bullet design with regards to accuracy in a precision bullet for long distance shooters.

What are the best bullets used for long distance competition?

By definition, “Precision shooting sports are a group of competitive and recreational sporting activities involving proficiency tests of accuracy, precision and speed in shooting…” Really, it is the art of mastering rifles at fixed and unknown ranges.  At Alco, we have designed an ultra low-drag bullet with a rebated boat tail in a range of rifle calibers which can be used in a variety of these competitions. These handmade precision bullets are well constructed and designed for long-distance accuracy.

Are ULD bullets a good choice for Hunting?

With today’s advanced rifle, bullet, cartridge and powder technologies, people are shooting game out at further distances. Alco’s ultra low-drag bullets are some of the best for shooting long distance because of their design and accuracy in wind conditions. The bullets are unique in that the tip separates on impact for maximum expansion. These ultra low drag bullets work best with vital area shot placement. See our blog article which shows ballistic gel impact with Alco copper jacketed bullets for more information.

What materials make up a custom bullet?

Today bullets are generally made from a variety of one or more materials mostly consisting of copper, lead, aluminum, and steel. Custom bullets fill a niche, such as an ultra low drag bullet which is designed for long distance shooting. Alco’s precision bullets are crafted by using a copper jacket, solid lead core and a machined metal meplat. The bullet design is further enhanced with a rebated boat tail for accuracy. Go to alcobullets.com to learn more about these custom long distance projectiles.

Is meplat trimming worth it?

Some people choose to use a bullet tipping die to reshape or re-point the meplat of a projectile to improve the Ballistic Coefficient (BC). This is a time consuming process which sometimes results in an uneven hollow point which can reduce a bullet’s accuracy. A larger diameter meplat can lower a bullet’s BC. Point trimming is not always consistent.  At Alco, we offer an ultra low drag bullet with CNC machined metal meplats for our long distance precision bullets. No meplat trimming is necessary. We invest heavily in our sharp tips for all of our jacketed bullets. The tips along with a rebated boat tail and ultra low drag design all add to having an extremely accurate high BC bullet. To see more go to our “All About Bullets” Dark and Sharp blog to see some of our new tips.

Do heavier bullets have more power?

.452 ALPHA HUNTER 325 Grain, Smokeless Muzzle Loader, 12 Ogive, Machined Aluminum Tip

Yes.  As a matter of physics a heavier bullet will increase terminal ballistics. Alco Bullets carries a range of .308 bullets from 155- to 240-grain for long range hunting and shooting. Our smokeless muzzle loader bullets are available in 300- to 325-grain and have significant terminal ballistics. The new big bore air rifle .510 bullets are becoming increasingly popular for hunters. To see these and more go to our Shop bullets at alcobullets.com.  

Is the .510 air rifle bullet good for hunting?

.510 swagged lead FB HP 350 GRAIN

Yes, the .510 Big Bore air rifle bullets size and mass are designed to be effective for North American big game up to 150 yards. Alco Bullets makes quality high performance big bore .510 bullets in 275- and 350-grain swaged lead. To see this air gun ammo, go to our Air Rifle Big Bore .510 page.

Where can I find new products on Alco Bullets?

Alco Bullets specializes in handmade, custom engineered precision bullets designed for long-distance shooters. The bullets can easily be found at alcobullets.com website. You are welcome to call with questions at 417-501-6961 to discuss your shooting needs with a professional bullet smith. 

How do you calculate the twist rate for a bullet?

calculate the twist rate for a bullet

Twist rate is expressed as a ratio of how many complete 360-degree turns the rifling makes per inch of barrel. A 1/10-inch means one complete twist per 10 inches whether your barrel is three inches or three feet long. Alco Bullets uses a proprietary calculator for each bullet’s caliber and weight. The twist rate for a bullet varies according to the weight of the bullet. Alco’s twist rates are available on our website below each bullet in the description. We are happy to help you with a custom rifle twist rate for our bullets if you contact us directly. To see our bullet selections go to ‘shop bullets’ and select the projectile that you want for your barrel twist.

What is your recommended minimum velocity for Alco Bullets in hunting applications?

The minimum velocity suggested for an Alco precision copper jacketed bullets would be 1400 fps. Alco preformed a gel test with our precision .308 in 168 grain at 1400 ft /sec. Our test results indicated that the bullet tip separates and the jacket and lead expand for maximum expansion – all of our RBT ULD copper jackets perform this way. We have had great reports from hunters not only on the accuracy, but certainly on the terminal results.

Does Alco have any terminal performance pictures of your bullets in hunting animals or in gel molds?

Yes, all of the copper jacketed Alco’s have excellent terminal performance, from our smallest .224 to the .452 smokeless muzzle loaders. Go to our ‘Hell on Hogs’ blog to see how this little .224 projectile works on feral pigs. Above is a photo of the actual hog carcass from the hunt.  Check out the pictures we have on the site for gel test in 308 at 1400 ft /sec. too. While Alco’s are initially designed for long-distance shooting accuracy, they are a significant hunting projectile as the design allows for the tip to separate and for the jacket and lead to expand for maximum terminal ballistics similar to a hollow point. Usually there is not much of an exit wound. The energy transfer stays inside the animal for humane and quick stopping power.

Why would you buy a flat based Alco Bullet?

Alco bullets custom makes a flat base bullet for special orders that call in to our business. Usually, people who request these are shooting shorter distances, but still want a high performance accurate bullet. Normally these take just a few days to produce.

How far off the lands or into the lands does Alco recommend seating their rebated boat tail long-distance bullets?

Alco precision bullets are not real sensitive to the jump. Many customers are setting them .010 to .025 off the lands. We have also set them .05 off the lands so they have some range of flexibility, but haven’t seen a big difference in accuracy off the SAAMI standards. If you use a seating depth that works for the weight and length, go with SAAMI Standards to start your work ups.

Does barrel length affect accuracy?

A longer gun barrel improves accuracy. It increases the exit bullet velocity and the effective range of the projectile. For shorter barrels, such as on a  handgun, shooting accurately is made more difficult due to a much shorter sight radius (the distance between the front and rear sights). As sight radius decreases, slight deviations from perfect sight alignment are magnified.

How well does an Alco bullet work on game?

Alco bullets are used all the time in hunting applications with great results. Vital area shots are devastating when placed in the rib cage, lung area, etc. and are known for stopping game in their tracks. The tip separates the jacket and core shred apart making for a significant wound channel similar to a hollow point. A customer on a big game hunt in Africa with our 7MM 195’s said, “Expansion, energy transfer, penetration, the thing that dreams are made of, in the bullet performance arena. But wait… I haven’t even mentioned accuracy. Bulls-eye shot after shot.” Go to our Precision .284 Caliber lineup to see these projectiles and read the hunter’s comments.

Introducing THE LANCER .457 Big Bore
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