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 HP vs Soft point
DUFFULS  [Team Member]
1/23/2010 10:32:06 PM
Which of the two do you feel has a more devastating effect on varmints? This would be for .224 55gr. I have seen what ballistic tip bullets do first hand but as far as these two I have yet see. These would be loaded for prairie dogs and SHTF.

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dryflash3  [Team Member]
1/23/2010 10:36:43 PM
As long as you buy a varmit bullet, it won't matter much.
FriscoPete  [Member]
1/23/2010 11:44:29 PM
I have shot both and can't see the difference in varmint bullets.

As dryflash3 mentioned - there are also HP match bullets in 52-53 grain weights that are not thin-jacketed or engineered for expansion, and they don't quite do as well. I think any of the non-match 55-grain SP & HP bullets are varmint bullets, except perhaps the Barnes TSX.

Lastly, if you want a HP with the sharp nose of a SP and the most reliable super-expansion of all, then use the plastic tipped bullets (which are a HP with an initiator tip) like the Nosler Ballistic Tip, Hornady V-Max, and Sierra Blitz. They are the best of all worlds, but a bit more expensive.
Branman2008  [Member]
1/24/2010 12:18:51 PM
Ive been out to WY several times on varmint trips and was curious which would be more devastating as well.

After taking a mag of each out in the field I found the soft points to be a little more explosive than the HPs on prairie dogs and rabbits.

FriscoPete  [Member]
1/24/2010 2:52:08 PM
The problem with these type of comparisons is that there are so many variables that affect how explosive the bullet is.

I have shot PDs on occasion, but my main local varminting consists of shooting big jackrabbits. I have used all the types on them and have noticed where the variables come into play. Here are some examples:

My dad loaded standard Sierra 55-gr SPs (not Blitz) in his .222 and later .223. Expansion was fine, but not spectacular. The same bullet loaded in the faster .22-250 was absolutely spectacular.

I tried 55-gr Hornady SPs in both my .223 Rem 1-12" bolt gun and the 1-12" Daewoo DR-200. Expansion and explosiveness was pretty good but...

Nest the same load was used in a 16" 1-9 twist AR15 (Daewoo replacement). My concern was that explosiveness would be poor because of the loss of around 200 fps from the bolt rifle and 100 from the Daewoo. I was stunned to see that the Hornady SP bullet was MORE explosive than either of the 1-12" guns. The light came on in my head and I realized that the faster 1-9" twist was the difference. My bud used the same load in both his 1-12" bolt rifle and 1-9" 20" bbl AR - but with a Nosler 55 Ballistic Tip. It was more explosive than the SP Hornady in the bolt gun, but not as much noticeable difference in the AR15.
The 55-gr Hornady SP in the 1-9" 16" AR gave as spectacular expansion the the big hares as a hunting partner's 80-gr SP .243 Win load. That is a good sign!

A few outings with Russian Wolf 55-gr HP factory ammo in a 20" .223 1-9" twist Vepr II showed that some HPs can be very erratic in performance, nicely explosive one time and rather poor on another shot. Mostly it wasn't too great for expansion. I think the bullet was too stiff in general and showed the general superiority of American bullets in this area.
The best thing about this ammo was that I was hunting in the snow, and I could just let the steel cases fly and melt down into oblivion. It is almost impossible to find brass in snow.

I use the Speer 50-gr TNT hollow point in my .222 "Triple Deuce" Remington (1-14"). Velocity is basically the same as a 55-gr .223 load. This bullet is quite explosive and on par with a 55-gr .223 SP in the 1-9" AR15. It is a very thin jacketed HP that comes with warnings not to drive it over 3400 fps. The more resistance the TNT has, the greater the effect. This load was more explosive than the .223/55 Hornady SP load on prairie dogs as well.
The 55-gr TNT, however, is a "HV" or high-velocity version and likely would not be nearly as spectacular at .223 velocities. Even though they are both HPs of the same line (TNT), jacket thickness makes some difference and can radically change performance.

Lastly I tried the 40-gr Nosler Ballistic Tip in my 1-12" bolt action .223 rifle. Velocity was 3600 fps. Results were absolutely spectacular! It only took a couple of hits on tough jacks until my dad asked me what in the world had I loaded in that rifle!! A light bullet known for explosiveness driven at high velocity gave predictable results.

So I have had the best explosiveness from standard 55-gr SPs in a 1-9" twist; 50-gr HPs driven to a hot 3250 fps; 40-gr Ballistic Tips; and lastly 55-gr Ballistic Tips at most .223 velocities.
It is awful hard to beat the explosiveness of a Ballistic Tip. I also think that when ranges are really stretched, the BT-type is a little better. The only downside is the cost.



DUFFULS  [Team Member]
1/24/2010 3:40:03 PM
Originally Posted By FriscoPete:
The problem with these type of comparisons is that there are so many variables that affect how explosive the bullet is.

I have shot PDs on occasion, but my main local varminting consists of shooting big jackrabbits. I have used all the types on them and have noticed where the variables come into play. Here are some examples:

My dad loaded standard Sierra 55-gr SPs (not Blitz) in his .222 and later .223. Expansion was fine, but not spectacular. The same bullet loaded in the faster .22-250 was absolutely spectacular.

I tried 55-gr Hornady SPs in both my .223 Rem 1-12" bolt gun and the 1-12" Daewoo DR-200. Expansion and explosiveness was pretty good but...

Nest the same load was used in a 16" 1-9 twist AR15 (Daewoo replacement). My concern was that explosiveness would be poor because of the loss of around 200 fps from the bolt rifle and 100 from the Daewoo. I was stunned to see that the Hornady SP bullet was MORE explosive than either of the 1-12" guns. The light came on in my head and I realized that the faster 1-9" twist was the difference. My bud used the same load in both his 1-12" bolt rifle and 1-9" 20" bbl AR - but with a Nosler 55 Ballistic Tip. It was more explosive than the SP Hornady in the bolt gun, but not as much noticeable difference in the AR15.
The 55-gr Hornady SP in the 1-9" 16" AR gave as spectacular expansion the the big hares as a hunting partner's 80-gr SP .243 Win load. That is a good sign!

A few outings with Russian Wolf 55-gr HP factory ammo in a 20" .223 1-9" twist Vepr II showed that some HPs can be very erratic in performance, nicely explosive one time and rather poor on another shot. Mostly it wasn't too great for expansion. I think the bullet was too stiff in general and showed the general superiority of American bullets in this area.
The best thing about this ammo was that I was hunting in the snow, and I could just let the steel cases fly and melt down into oblivion. It is almost impossible to find brass in snow.

I use the Speer 50-gr TNT hollow point in my .222 "Triple Deuce" Remington (1-14"). Velocity is basically the same as a 55-gr .223 load. This bullet is quite explosive and on par with a 55-gr .223 SP in the 1-9" AR15. It is a very thin jacketed HP that comes with warnings not to drive it over 3400 fps. The more resistance the TNT has, the greater the effect. This load was more explosive than the .223/55 Hornady SP load on prairie dogs as well.
The 55-gr TNT, however, is a "HV" or high-velocity version and likely would not be nearly as spectacular at .223 velocities. Even though they are both HPs of the same line (TNT), jacket thickness makes some difference and can radically change performance.

Lastly I tried the 40-gr Nosler Ballistic Tip in my 1-12" bolt action .223 rifle. Velocity was 3600 fps. Results were absolutely spectacular! It only took a couple of hits on tough jacks until my dad asked me what in the world had I loaded in that rifle!! A light bullet known for explosiveness driven at high velocity gave predictable results.

So I have had the best explosiveness from standard 55-gr SPs in a 1-9" twist; 50-gr HPs driven to a hot 3250 fps; 40-gr Ballistic Tips; and lastly 55-gr Ballistic Tips at most .223 velocities.
It is awful hard to beat the explosiveness of a Ballistic Tip. I also think that when ranges are really stretched, the BT-type is a little better. The only downside is the cost.





All very good points especially since I have all the calibers you mentioned. I am just getting started with reloading for rifle and like to get ideas from other people on what works for them. I have had great results from Hornady V-Max (factory ammo) and recently bought some Remington SP ammo for my .222 (have yet to try it on PD's). The reason I started this thread was I came across a deal on 55gr HP or SP for a great price and wanted peoples take on one vs the other. Thanks for everyones input so far.
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