There is no “universal” bullet – that is, no single bullet for all shooting applications and all shooting conditions. The information below has been prepared to help you choose the right Sierra Bullet for you in any application, whether hunting or target shooting. Bullet selection is, of course, a personal preference, but there are some important technical considerations that must be addressed. We hope that the rifle bullet descriptions in this section will help you make the correct bullet selections for your applications as well as your shooting conditions. As always if you have any questions about the information below please contact us here or by calling 1-800-223-8799.
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The rifle bullets in Sierra’s product line are arranged in six classifications, depending on the intended application, design features, and the range of cartridges that may use the bullet. Two of these classifications include all of Sierra’s match target bullets for target shooting, and the other five classifications are for hunting applications.
These seven classifications are:
MatchKing Bullets: This is the classification for Sierra’s pre-eminent target bullets. The driving motivation for the design of each MatchKing bullet is accuracy. These bullets have very thin jackets drawn to an exacting concentricity standard of 0.0003 in maximum variation, and their weight is held to within ± 0.3 grain. All MatchKing have a hollow point design with a very small meplat for high ballistic coefficient. The majority of these bullets have a boat tail shape to further minimize drag and improve ballistic coefficient. They are manufactured to the very highest quality standards. Their accuracy has been acclaimed worldwide, and they have been used to win more target competitions than all target bullets from other manufacturers combined. While they are recognized around the world for record-setting accuracy, MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications.
Tipped MatchKing Bullets: This classification includes 12 bullets in the following calibers. There are two 22 caliber offerings, one 6mm caliber, two 6.5mm choices, one 7mm offering, and five 30 caliber selections. All but one are of boattail configuration. As with the MatchKings, they are designed for maximum accuracy performance as the utmost goal. With the proprietary acetyl resin tips added, and ogive dimension changes, the ballistic coefficient is even further enhanced to increase down-range performance. Built with the same exacting quality and integrity of the Sierra MatchKing reputation.
BlitzKing Bullets: These bullets are designed for explosive expansion in varmints and small game and with accuracy characteristic of the MatchKing bullets. The tips of these bullets are made of a proprietary compound, and the jackets are thin for enhanced accuracy and explosive expansion. The lighter bullets in 20 & 22 calibers are designed to be fired at muzzle velocities up to 4400 fps. The lightest 6mm BlitzKing bullet can be fired at muzzle velocities up to 4000 fps.
Varminter Bullets: This classification of bullets is designed specifically for rapid expansion and instant kills on larger varmints and small game. The shapes of bullets in this classification include hollow point (HP), spitzer pointed flat base (SPT), and semi-pointed (SMP). Bullets in this classification have thin jackets to enhance expansion but with sufficient strength to be fired at the highest muzzle velocities in the cartridges for which they are intended. Bullets labeled as Blitz are designed for medium velocity (under 3600 fps).
Hornet Bullets: These are 22 caliber bullets within the Varminter family. These bullets are of 40 and 45 grains in weight designed in the traditional shape for the 22 Hornet cartridge. Their purpose is hunting varmints and small game, and they are designed to expand reliably at velocities in the 2500 to 2800 fps range, although they can be loaded in cartridges generating up to 3500 fps muzzle velocity.
Pro-Hunter Bullets: All bullet shapes in this classification are flat base, and they include round nose (RN), semi-pointed (SMP), spitzer-pointed (SPT), flat nose (FN), and with a hollow point (HP/FN). A few bullets in this category have Sierra’s proprietary Power Jacket to enhance bullet expansion in game animals when fired from medium-velocity cartridges. All these bullets have medium to heavy weights in each caliber, and they are designed for a combination of penetration and expansion in medium and heavy game animals for their calibers.
GameKing Bullets: All bullets in this classification are for hunting and all have boat tails. Their shapes include hollow point boat tail (HPBT), spitzer boat tail (SBT), and full metal jacket boat tail (FMJBT). The bullets in this classification have medium to heavy weights in each caliber. With their boat tail shapes, they have high ballistic coefficients, retain their velocities well, and resist crosswinds and vertical winds well as they fly. These bullets are designed for a combination of penetration and expansion in medium and heavy game animals for their calibers.
GameChanger (TGK) Bullets: These are hunting bullets with the perfect combination of Sierra’s legendary match accuracy coupled with deadly penetration. Sierra re-engineered their legendary MatchKing bullet into a hollow point design for quick expansion and fitted it with a transparent green tip for ballistic uniformity. Inside, the GameChanger features a unique construction that utlilizes a special lead alloy surrounded by a tough copper jacket that delivers excellent penetration and expansion at a variety of ranges.
Sierra also uses several basic shape designs for rifle bullets, although some features of different shapes may be incorporated into a single bullet. Shape and characteristic features easily distinguish each design. The most popular are described below.
Tipped a synthetic tip integrated into the bullet design to improve ballistic coefficient(BC) /aerodynamics and providing expansion characteristics. Used in the MatchKing (TMK) line providing uniform expansion to allow the bullets to be used in varmint hunting and downrange velocity retention. The GameChanger bullet line has benefitted with the tip providing initial expansion to a very heavily constructed hunting bullet plus long range velocity and energy retention.
Pointed or Closed Nose (CN) a design feature used on some of the MatchKing bullets to further enhance the aerodynamics/ballistic coefficients.
Hollow Point is a bullet shape used for the MatchKing bullets as well as a number of Varminter, GameKing and Pro-Hunter bullets for hunting. The Hollow Point shape has an opening in the nose, which depending on the use of the bullet, may be designed for complete fragmentation, controlled expansion, or no expansion at all (MatchKing). With the wide range of Hollow Point bullet performance capabilities, proper bullet selection for a particular use is crucial to ensure the desired performance in the field.
Spitzer is a term taken from a German word that means sharp pointed. The spitzer shape is readily identified by a characteristic long ogive point shape closing with either a small diameter exposed lead tip or with the proprietary compound tips in Sierra’s BlitzKing bullets. Spitzer bullets may have either a flat base or a boat tail and have much higher ballistic coefficients compared to the traditional round nose or flat nose bullet shapes. The spitzer shape with either a flat base or a boat tail has become the “standard” for hunting bullets today.
Boat Tail bullets have a smaller diameter base, a shape resembling the configuration of the stern of a sailboat. This shape significantly reduces the base drag on a bullet, giving boat tail bullets a significantly higher ballistic coefficient than flat base bullets of the same weight and point shape. Thus, boat tail bullets have lower sensitivity to crosswinds, higher retained velocity downrange, flatter trajectories, and higher energy and momentum delivered to the target than their flat base counterparts.
Semi-Point is a bullet shape designed to provide heavy bullet weight within a given bullet length, and at the same time provide a ballistic coefficient higher than either the flat nose or round nose bullet shapes. The semi-point shape features a nose with a tip of exposed lead that is larger in diameter and more rounded than the spitzer shape. This shape sometimes works well in rifles having twist rates too slow to stabilize the longer spitzer or hollow point bullets of the same weight.
Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) bullets are easily recognized by the jacket, which covers the entire bullet forward of the base with only a small amount of exposed lead at the base. Sierra’s FMJ bullets also have the boat tail configuration. When used at reduced velocities, Sierra’s FMJ bullets are nonexpanding in light game, and often are an ideal choice for varmint or predator hunters wishing to minimize pelt damage. FMJ bullets also allow hand loaders to effectively duplicate 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ball ammunition for use in military style rifles.
Roundnose bullets are a traditional design often used by hunters in areas affording shots at game only at short ranges. This bullet shape is easily recognized by a large, rounded, exposed lead tip. The large amount of exposed lead at the nose causes positive expansion of these bullets at moderate velocity levels.
Flatnose bullets are designed especially for rifles with tubular magazines. The large diameter meplat greatly reduces the chance of recoil-induced ignition of cartridges in the magazine when the rifle is fired. A large amount of exposed lead at the nose of these bullets causes positive expansion in game at moderate velocity levels, especially those with a Sierra Power Jacket. The Power Jacket has a series of “skives” cut into the mouth of the jacket. The skives ensure positive and controlled expansion of the bullet at moderate velocities and are used in several Sierra handgun bullets as well as flat nose rifle bullets.
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Sierra’s handgun bullets are separated into three classifications, depending on the intended application, design features, and the range of cartridges that may use the bullet.
These three classifications are:
SportsMaster Bullets: Handgun bullets designed for hunting or personal defense, built for reliable expansion. SportsMaster bullets intended for use in revolvers and rifles with tubular magazines have a cannelure to facilitate roll crimping. The bullets in this classification are available in three different configurations; Jacketed Soft Point (JSP), Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP), and Jacketed Hollow Cavity (JHC) styles.
TournamentMaster Bullets: Competition-style handgun bullets built for accuracy. TournamentMaster bullets are designed and manufactured for exceptional accuracy and are non-expanding at typical handgun velocities. With no cannelure, they are designed for taper crimping. TournamentMaster bullets are available in two design configurations: Full Profile Jacket (FPJ) and Full Metal Jacket (FMJ). They are excellent selections for any type of hand-gun target competition.
Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) is a classic bullet design for deep penetration with high weight retention on medium and large game. Features include a special lead alloy core formulated to provide proper expansion qualities. On impact, the bullet will allow the core to flow over the leading edge of the jacket, in effect locking the core in place and retaining as much mass as possible. The jacket consists of specially dimensioned walls formed by Sierra’s unique progressive draw process, which results in uniformly tapered, concentric walls with a heavy base. The JSP design is used in Sports Master bullets.
Jacketed Hollow Cavity (JHC) is a design unique to Sierra and acclaimed for superior performance. Positive but controlled expansion is ensured by the unique cavity, which is formed in the core prior to final nose forming. The result is a small opening in the bullet tip over a large cavity for a good ballistic coefficient and balance. Sierra’s Power Jacket provides positive, uniform and controlled expansion by means of specially placed skives in the jacket around the tip of the bullet. The JHC bullet design is used generally for handgun bullets in several calibers.
Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) is an old standby Sierra bullet design featuring Sierra’s unique Power Jacket. The skived, tapered Power Jacket is engineered for positive but even upset, while the core is specially formulated to provide maximum expansion over a wide velocity range. The large opening and Power Jacket skiving assure unfailing expansion under all conditions and strike angles. The bullet profile is engineered to guarantee smooth, trouble-free feeding in semi-auto pistols and is complemented by the jacket that covers all but the point of the bullet. These features combine to form a bullet that will function flawlessly from all auto-loading handguns with excellent terminal ballistic performance. A fast-expanding design for low to moderate velocities and self-loading handguns.
Full Profile Jacket (FPJ) is a design concept featuring a thick, tough jacket that covers the entire profile of the bullet. Intended for maximum momentum transfer to steel targets, this design generates good dwell time on the target for maximum “push.” The heavy base is fully enclosed to withstand the high pressures of magnum loads and maintain “match” accuracy. The unique upset qualities of this design and strict dimensional tolerances combine to provide unsurpassed accuracy and performance. The FPJ design is a silhouette bullet with some hunting applications where deep penetration and minimal expansion are desired.
Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) is a traditional design configuration featuring traditional Sierra accuracy and quality. Designed for flawless feeding characteristics in semi-automatic pistols, it is also recognized for its deep penetration due to its heavy jacket. Although nose configurations and ogives were designed for positive feed in auto-loading pistols, Sierra’s strict quality control and dimensional controls result in an exceptionally accurate bullet. Unlike other FMJ designs, the Sierra bullet is capable of match accuracy as well as flawless feeding for the utmost in shooter confidence. It is an excellent choice for combat or speed type competitive shooting situations.