Do you choose slow bullets or ‘hot rounds’?


Hot or not? That’s the question Paul Childerley puts to Aki Suvilahti of Sako Cartridges.

Paul likes hot rounds in his chosen calibres of .22-50, 70-grain .243 – but like all shooters, he has doubts. “So,” he asks: “lighter bullets, faster charge, is it good or is it bad?”

Aki says that the carcase damage from a hot round may mean they are not worth using. “Speed kills but then there is a trade-off of course that with very fast bullets you get really aggressive cavity and shock wave,” he says. “The higher velocity just ruins more meat, so this is one thing to consider.”

Another consideration is where the target ends up, Aki says. “A faster bullet doesn’t have that high penetration so if you hit bone or something it can really break the bullet and cause really unwanted damage to the meat. So it’s a matter of course of optimising which kind of game you are using. If you shoot predators, you prefer faster velocities – a faster bullet to maximise the damage and you don’t have to care about meat.”

For bigger targets, Aki suggests heavier, slower bullets that penetrate over those that expand aggressively.

That’s all very well in an ideal world but there’s the weather. Paul lives in England, where wind makes shooting unpredictable at the best of times.

“Yeah that’s another story,” says Aki. “For long range and precision shooters, you need a heavy bullet because it’s difficult to evaluate or predict wind. Elevation is a more simple thing to adjust.

Has Paul got a straight answer? Not really.

“So basically you’re a politician who says yes and no?”

“Yeah exactly, there is no one correct answer for that and it’s also a matter of what are you used to use and works well.”

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