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Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets: What You Need to Know for Whitetail Hunting

From turnkey factory-loaded ammunition to handloading your own, the Nosler Ballistic Tip is a quality bullet that deserves consideration for your next whitetail hunt. Here's why.

Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets: What You Need to Know for Whitetail Hunting

This Texas whitetail was taken with the 160gr Ballistic Tip Ammunition by Nosler's Brand Marketing Manager, Madi Woodward.

As the final few days of summertime slip away towards hunting season’s opening day, deer hunters start to dream of frosty November mornings, a doe slipping through the woods, and the low grunts of a big-racked white-tailed buck moving quickly with his nose to the ground and all caution thrown to the wind.

When that moment presents itself, a freezer full of venison, a visit to the taxidermist’s shop, and a memory that will last a lifetime are all but a trigger pull away. And if there’s a Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullet at the end of that trigger pull, well then, success is all but guaranteed.

Nosler Name is Proven and Trusted

There’s a lot that goes into a successful trigger pull in the whitetail woods and beyond, not the least is what the trigger is being pulled on. And that’s where Nosler comes in, a story that began in 1946 when founder John Amos Nosler struggled to bring down a Canadian bull moose with several well-placed shots using jacketed lead-core bullets in his 300 H&H Magnum. When John got home from his trip to the wilds of British Columbia, he went to work designing what would become the Nosler Partition, a unique dual lead-core bullet designed for both dramatic expansion and penetration.

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Nosler produces quality reloading components that have a loyal following among handloaders. The company’s premium brass cases paired with Ballistic Tip Bullets are great choices for whitetail hunters who are handloading hunting ammunition. (Jeff Phillips photo)

Did it work? Well, the following fall, the company’s history notes that Nosler killed a moose with one shot using his new Partition Bullet, and by 1948, the Nosler Partition Bullet Company was born in Ashland, Oregon. Since then, John A. Nosler’s relentless pursuit of the highest quality products and the motto “Quality First” has continued to be at the core of Nosler, Inc.’s identity and help define its mission going forward.

And thanks to Nosler's recipe of ingenuity and integrity, passion and precision, consistency and confidence, the company continues to engineer and produce quality, high-performance bullet designs. To be sure, along the way, Nosler’s founder realized that the company isn’t everything to everyone. Instead, the company—which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year—has become one of the industry’s leading manufacturers that continues to produce premium component bullets, brass, ammunition, and semi-custom rifles for both domestic and international customers.

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With a 75-year history born out of a Canadian moose hunt in the 1940s, Nosler is today one of the leading manufacturers of premium ammunition, ammo making components, high-end rifles, suppressors and gear made for the dedicated hunter and shooter looking for top flight performance in the field and shooting triumph at the bench rest. (Photo courtesy of Nosler)

Turn Key Bullet Buying Experience

If you are the type of hunter that simply wants to walk into a gun shop and buy a turnkey readymade product off the shelf, Nosler Ballistic Tip Hunting Ammunition is for you.

From local Nosler dealers in small-town gun shops and range supply stores to big box stores and online retailers to the user-friendly Nosler.com website itself, there are all kinds of buying opportunities to get Nosler products into your hunting pack. And that includes a wide spectrum of the shooting and hunting world today, from target/match opportunities at the bench to plinking varmints on the back-40 to dangerous game in Africa to elk/moose-size game in North America to the plentiful white-tailed deer that captivate hunters each year all across the U.S. and Canada.

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From ballistic tip bullets to top-flight brass, Nosler offers the do-it-yourselfer a wide array of premium components. If you are a handloading enthusiast who loves nothing more than an evening spent at the work bench and a weekend afternoon spent punching tight groups onto paper at the bench rest, Nosler’s 75-year long history of innovation, superior design, and uncompromised quality will give you the perfect loads for a fall of superior hunting action. (Photo courtesy of Nosler)

For those who seek a less complicated user experience—and that includes Outdoor Sportsman Group Senior Digital Editor and Writer Burkhead—success can be as simple as buying a box or two of Nosler Ballistic Tip Hunting Ammunition for a favorite hunting rifle, heading for the range, zeroing in the rifle, and clearing some space in the freezer and having the taxidermist's contact info handy.

That might seem like a bold statement, but with Nosler’s out-of-the-box, shot-to-shot accuracy and precision, it’s an easy promise to make and keep. With top-end components and years of ammunition expertise packed into each package, the ballistics data on each box of cartridges moves well beyond mere numbers talk in a factory setting to precision shooting in the field.

And with everything from the time-honored 30-06 and .270 Winchester cartridges to the 26 and 28 Nosler calibers to the 7MM-08 Rem round and many more, there is a wide variety of popular cartridges and bullet weights for deer hunters seeking a center of the bull’s eye edge.

Handloading Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets for Accuracy, Precision and Performance

If you’re a handloader and enjoy the satisfaction of rolling your own ammunition for whitetail hunting and range shooting, you likely fit into one of three camps: 1) You like to fine-tune load recipes to firearms for best possible accuracy; 2) You have built trust in certain brands and combine specific components to yield a finished cartridge to fit the application; or 3) You shoot a lot, save your brass, and want to save money. And perhaps you fit into all three categories, but no matter the reason you choose to handload, Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets warrant strong consideration for your next batch of DIY ammo.

Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets have earned a positive reputation for exceptional performance and accuracy. However, just because a bullet can achieve a 5-shot sub-MOA group at 100 yards, that doesn’t mean it’s a great choice for hunting. To aid hunters here, we’ll cover why Nosler Ballistic Tips Bullets are a great choice for hunting and a few handloading tips for successful results.

Recommended


Before loading up 100 shiny brass cases, it is necessary to select the appropriate Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullet for the application. From 6mm to .30 caliber in weights of 90 to 220 gains, Nosler offers a Ballistic Tip Bullet in wide range of options to fit your specific whitetail-hunting need.

Supreme Accuracy

One of the advantages of handloading your ammunition is you get exactly what you want, and you can fine-tune your load recipe until the desired result is achieved. Depending on the cartridge and application being loaded for, precision and accuracy are normally at, or near, the top of the list.

The authors (Phillips primarily since he’s an engineer-background do-it-yourself type) haven’t personally found Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets to be finicky, unlike some low-drag bullets can be when trying to find that magical recipe. In all his years of single-stage handloading, Phillips can’t recall a time when he couldn’t get a Nosler Ballistic Tip to shoot accurately. Primer, powder type, powder charge and brass care aside, the number one thing he will continuously adjust is the bullet jump.

Says Phillips: “All my rifles, even ones chambered in the same cartridge, have their own, dedicated batch of handloaded ammo. Without looking at pages and pages of reloading notes, I can say all cartridges have at least some bullet jump, with most loaded just off the lands for the best accuracy.”

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Nosler makes the handloading process easier with their premium components. Depending on how “picky” you are with brass preparation, there’s not much to do, if any, to get the brass ready. And with extremely consistent bullet-to-bullet weights of Ballistic Tips, there’s no need to individually weigh and separate them. (Jeff Phillips photo)

What’s more, in conversations with Zach Waterman, Nosler’s Public Relations Manager, Phillips notes that his handloads with some bullet jump is both sound and validated.

“Nosler bullets, including the Ballistic Tips, like a little jump for optimum accuracy, typically at least 0.050 inches,” Waterman said. “We’ve been told that if your rifle doesn’t shoot a Ballistic Tip accurately, get rid of that rifle. Other than jump, there shouldn’t be much (tuning needed) to get BT bullets to shoot well.”

Of course, finding the right bullet jump is only part of the equation. Consistent bullet weight is another variable and often overlooked. When you buy a 50-count box of 150-grain .308 bullets, for example, you expect each bullet to weigh 150 grains, right? Some will be exact, but if you start weighing bullets, you’ll find the norm to be a little less or a little more. That’s the case with any component bullet available, but Nosler goes the extra mile with their quality control.

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Nosler states reloaders can expect Ballistic Tip Bullet weights to be within +/- 0.5 grains. Using a match-grade scale, Phillips pulled a few bullets from a box of 6.5mm 140-grain Ballistic Tips and weighed one at 140.02 and another at 139.98. Most scales used by handloaders only go down to a tenth (0.0) in grains, which would have pegged both bullets at exactly 140 grains. This is proof of the company’s topnotch quality control at work, something that will make hunters smile at the shooting bench and in the deer woods this fall. (Jeff Phillips photo)

“Ballistic Tip bullets have a weight tolerance of +/- 0.5 grains of weight so they’re incredibly consistent,” Waterman said.

Phillips adds: “Mr. Waterman must have been referring to the heavier bullets, because I don’t see a 0.5-grain variance in the smaller, lighter-weight bullets; it’s been less. Either way, these are variances I can live with for many applications. So, when going with Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets, go ahead and overlook this part; it’s one less thing to worry about.”

If you’re a reloader, then you know there are countless variables for shooting sub-MOA 3- and 5-shot groups. Assuming everything is just right – barrel, trigger, stock, load recipe, bases, scope rings, scope, person behind the trigger – what kind of accuracy are Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets capable of delivering? That’s an easy one to answer, requiring nothing more than a photo of a 5-shot group of 168-grain .308-caliber Nosler Ballistic Tips from Phillips’ Remington 700 .308 Winchester. He’s more than happy with the results and you likely will be too.

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If shooting sub-MOA 3- and 5-shot groups is how you enjoy spending weekends during the off-season months, Nosler’s 75 years of long, rich history ensures that you’ll do far more than punch paper at the range. Instead, you’ll shred paper targets with consistent shot placement thanks to the industry’s top ammunition performance and best in class accuracy. Add it all up, and Nosler is the perfect ammunition for the range and even better for the whitetail woods this fall. (Jeff Phillips photo)

“In our test barrels in the lab where human error isn’t a variable, we see anywhere between 0.10-inch up to 0.75-inch 5-shot groups, which is pretty good for a hunting bullet,” Waterman said.

Phillips adds, “Agreed, Mr. Waterman; that is pretty good.”

Premium Terminal Performance

With a long-running history, Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets have been known for accuracy and consistent terminal performance. The bullet features a polymer tip that starts expansion at impact, which aids the bullet in transferring energy to the target. What’s more, the Ballistic Tip's tapered copper jacket ensures controlled expansion and maintains structural integrity, which helps prevent early fragmentation and excessive penetration. Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets are not bonded, but not to worry notes Phillips, since these bullets are well engineered to hold up at a wide range of velocities.

“Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets have a recommended impact velocity window of 1,800 to 3,200 feet per second,” Waterman said. “So as long as they’re traveling within that window, they should give you the 50- to 60-percent weight retention that they’re designed to have.”

Says Phillips: “Looking at the ballistics on a box of Nosler’s factory loaded 6.5 PRC with a 140-grain bullet, that window would be 0 to 600-plus yards. I don’t know about everyone else, but that’s about 300-plus yards more than I need for whitetail.”

The takeaway here is this bullet is a great option for the short-, mid- and long-range whitetail hunter. What’s more, you’ll pay close to half the cost of a bonded bullet.

Bottom Line for Handloading with Nosler Bullets

Using Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets has many advantages says Phillips, a serious whitetail hunter, dedicated handloader, and Digital Projects and Operations Director for Outdoor Sportsman Group.

Notes Phillips: “Their consistent weight and uniformity deliver top-shelf precision and accuracy. Bullet uniformity translates into consistent, reliable ballistic coefficients, which helps simplify and shorten the load-develop process. Hunters who handload their own ammo can rely on Nosler's tight quality control to ensure each bullet performs the same for the best shot-to-shot performance.”

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The Nosler Ballistic Tip is feature-packed hunting bullet. The polymer tip resists deformation in the magazine, initiates expansion upon impact and is color-coded by caliber. The tapered jacket and lead-alloy core controls expansion and retains weight at a wide range of bullet velocities. All combined, it’s a bullet hunters can trust to do the job when the trigger is pulled. (Image courtesy of Nosler)

He also adds that “Reloading with Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets offers hunters the opportunity to customize ammo to their specific application. When striving for the best possible accuracy and reliable terminal performance, Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets are a proven handloading component. By following handloading best practices, selecting quality components and not shortcutting the load development process, handloaders can realize the potential of Nosler Ballistic Tip Bullets.”

Nosler is a Superior Product Aiming for a Bright Future

With 75 years of experience in producing some of the hunting and shooting industry’s top ammunition options, it would be easy for Nosler to rest on its laurels and just keep cranking out products that will get snapped up in the brick-and-mortar and online retail space.

But that’s not the Nosler way. Instead, whether a hunter is seeking a box of the best ammunition for his or her annual hunt in the whitetail woods, or a tech-savvy do-it-yourself handloader is seeking to maximize a shooting experience as much as is humanly possible, Nosler continues to learn from the past and use those lessons to deliver best in class products today, putting the best ammunition possible into the hands of users when it comes time to pull the trigger.

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From deer hunters settling the crosshairs on the whitetail buck of a lifetime to high level competition shooters like James Rowe trying to punch a target perfectly, Nosler’s extensive lineup of ammunition, components, rifles, and gear provide all that’s necessary for a one-shot triumph when the trigger gets pulled. (Photo courtesy of Nosler)

As Nosler continues its dedicated push for quality first as the company and its customers look to chase adventure for another 75 years or more. From world-class bullets to Nosler's new Carbon Chasis Hunter rifle to shoot them through and even the compact SR-30k Suppressor, Nosler keeps pushing the edge of the envelope forward in the hunting and shooting world.

While there have been new additions to the company’s product lineup over the years, Nosler’s foundation continues to be engineering premium bullets, components and ammunition for big game hunters and precision shooters from Alaska to Africa and beyond. From the legendary Nosler Partition bullet birthed in 1948 to the tried-and-true Nosler AccuBond and Ballistic Tip to the cutting edge AccuBond Long Range and monometal Expansion Tip to the advanced RDF (Reduced Drag Factor), Nosler bullets continue to be trusted by discerning hunters and shooters interested in getting the job done right.

“We’re humbled to celebrate a journey that started three quarters of a century ago,” said John Nosler, president and chief operating officer of Nosler, Inc. “It began with my grandfather’s dream to design a better bullet –– the Nosler Partition. Today we’re carrying on his legacy by innovating and building the most accurate, effective bullets and ammunition in the industry.”

And all across the outdoors world, hunters will smile and say amen to that, all thanks to a series of ideas that began when a moose hunter stood frustrated in the British Columbia woods midway through the 20th Century.

Now a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, those concepts of something better for hunters and shooters continue to expand their way forward into new horizons, thanks to a company renowned for premium ammunition products and stellar in-the-field results that have successfully weathered the test of time.

After all, as his company continues to leave its mark upon the world in a new century, that’s the John A. Nosler way.




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