Over the past couple months, I’ve been working with a lot of scary smart engineers on my muzzle brake field test. One who has given me a lot of great input is Josh Kunz, whose professional background is in Aerospace Engineering. Josh recently told me about a new line of bullets he’s been working on, which have the potential to be one of the biggest leap in ballistics in recent history. The product is being unveiled this week at rifle competitions at Camp Perry. In fact, some of the bullets are being shot in competitions for the first time today!
So I wanted to briefly interrupt my series on the muzzle brake field test results for a first look at these exciting new bullets. But, let me start from the beginning …
Who’s Making These Bullets?
Warner Tool Company (WTC) is renowned for making the finest iron sights in precision shooting. “If you take a tour around the Internet you’ll find that several companies make rear sights suitable for long range prone shooting, but the model that comes up as recommended is almost universally one of the Warner Tool Company units,” says Damon Cali of Bison Ballistics. Warner sights are considered THE gold standard, and are used by most competitive rifle shooters for high power, Palma, and other long-range competitions. Some manufacturers have tried to duplicate the Warner sight over the years, but none have been able to match the ridiculously tight tolerances and precise machining the WTC has become known for.
Alan Warner is the Founder/President of WTC, and runs the company with his partner, Dan Warner. Alan started the company after he and his son started shooting competitively. Alan is also a respected rifle builder, and has even been the armorer of the US Palma Team.
Josh Kunz is an Aerospace Engineer, and a sharp one at that. He is also deeply passionate about precision rifles, and a long-range competitive shooter himself. Josh has been working on an idea he had about extremely low drag, lathe-turned, solid bullets. He did much of his design and prototyping using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate supersonic air flow around the bullets. This allowed him to make small tweaks to his design and get immediate feedback on how those impact the drag of the bullet in flight. His background in the aerospace industry obviously helped on that front. But Josh was smart enough to know he needed someone with the precision machining expertise like WTC to transform his CAD models into reality.
Alan Warner explains, “Josh is the brains behind this. He is the one who came up with the design and did all the computational flow modeling … and I know how to make them. And together, we’re going to revolutionize the market.”
Flat Line Bullets
“These new bullets beat everything out there, even at the highest levels of competition, by 20%.” – Alan Warner, Warner Tool Company
That doesn’t seem to be an overstatement, based on the Ballistic Coefficients (BC) WTC has published on this new line of bullets. BC is measurement of how efficiently a bullet is able to cut through air, and the higher the BC, the better the bullet will be at retaining its velocity and the better performance you can expect downrange. These bullets have ridiculously high BC’s for their weight. Warner & Kunz are currently focusing on 30 caliber bullet designs, plus one 338 bullet design. Here are the details on what they’ve branded their “Flat Line” series of bullets:
|3000-1500 fps||3500-1500 fps|
|G1 BC||G7 BC||G1 BC||G7 BC|
Here is what Warner Tool Company says about the new bullets in their product flyer:
Flat Line projectiles provide several benefits simultaneously:
- Much higher BC when compared with projectiles in its weight class
- Higher velocities when compared with projectiles in its weight class
- Much higher velocity when compared with projectiles of similar BC
The combination of which makes them unbeatable in a shot to shot comparison.
Flat Line projectiles fly as fast as the next lower weight class of bullets, but have a BC of the next higher weight class. The 155.5gr 30 caliber bullet has the velocity of a 125-135gr bullet and has the BC of a 185-200gr bullet. The 255.5gr 338 caliber bullet has the velocity of a 225gr bullet and the BC of the 300gr bullet.
Wow. Those are bold claims, but the potential for extremely aerodynamic lathe-turned solids has always been there. Companies like Barnes Bullets, Cutting Edge, and others have turned solid bullets for years. The machining constraints of traditional jacketed bullets are different from lathe-turned solids, and it seems to have taken the partnership of a sharp aerospace engineer and world-class machinist to unleash the full potential of extremely low drag solid bullets.
In national and international matches where the level of competition is exceedingly high and just a few shots can separate the world champion on the podium from an average performance, these new bullets have the potential to offer a measurable advantage. Warner believes “this is the next wave where technology is taking the sport.”
Let’s look at the individual bullets they’ve unveiled, and see how they stack up to other popular bullets:
155.5gr Palma Flat Line 30 Caliber Bullet
Palma matches specifically require competitors to use 155gr bullets, so any advancements in those bullets can have dramatic effects on that community of precision shooters. The new Flat Line 155.5gr Palma bullet has the potential to be disruptive. Here is how the G1 BC WTC published compares to other 155gr bullets, as well as a few aerodynamic bullets that are even heavier:
That is a substantial improvement over all existing 155gr bullets. WTC says “The 155.5gr 30 caliber bullet has the velocity of a 125-135gr bullet and has the BC of a 185-200gr bullet.” The only downside is this bullet is very long and won’t fit in a standard 308 magazine.
I thought it’d be interesting to run a WEZ analysis on this new 155gr Flat Line bullet and the current highest BC bullet, the Berger 155gr Hybrid. Both were run with a muzzle velocity of 2970 fps, which German Salazar says is “fairly normal for a 155gr Palma load.” If you aren’t familiar with WEZ analysis, please check out this article. Here are the results of the analysis:
You can see the new bullet increases your hit probability on a 20” target at 1000 yards by 9%. That may not sound like a lot … but it is! If you’re firing 15 shots, a 9% improvement would be 1.35 shots. So based on this WEZ analysis, you’d expect to average at least one more shot (out of a string of 15) to land inside that 20” circle if you were using the new Flat Line 155gr Palma bullet.
175gr FTR Flat Line 30 Caliber Bullet
This 175gr Flat Line bullet is designed to fit in a 300 Win Mag magazine, and WTC says it has a BC that is much higher than Berger’s 200gr Hybrid. It even challenges Berger’s 7mm 180gr Hybrid, with slightly less weight and in a 30 caliber.
Kunz says they’ve been able to push this new 175gr bullet out of a 300 Win Mag with a 26” barrel at a blazing 3430 fps!
I ran some ballistics for comparison. Applied Ballistics Munitions produces 300 Win Mag ammo loaded with a 230gr Berger Hybrid, and they say it has a muzzle velocity of 2850 fps out of a 26” barrel. That is one hot load! I ran that data using the JBM Ballistic Engine, and it looks like our bullet would go transonic (velocity drops below 1.2 mach) at 1475 yards.
Then I ran ballistics for this new 175gr Flat Line bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3430 fps, and in that scenario, our bullet wouldn’t go transonic until 1760 yards … exactly 1 mile. That means this bullet would provide a 20% improvement in the effective range of the 300 Win Mag. That’s no small improvement!
200gr Flat Line 30 Caliber Bullet
And the crown of the 30 caliber line is a 200gr bullet they’ve designed, which they say has a higher BC than the famous Berger 230gr Hybrid … with 30gr less weight.
This bullet in a large magnum like the 300 Norma Mag or 300 RUM could potentially shoot like a laser to ranges previously reserved for 375 or 408 caliber rifles, like the popular CheyTac models.
255.5gr LRBT Flat Line 338 Caliber Bullet
Finally, WTC is working on a 338 bullet that can deliver the same BC as the legendary Berger 300gr Hybrid, but with the velocity of a 250gr bullet.
In fact, WTC claims “The 255.5gr 338 caliber bullet has the velocity of a 225gr bullet and the BC of the 300gr bullet.” Josh said they were able to get a muzzle velocity of 3300 fps out of a 338 Lapua using the 255.5gr Flat Line bullet. You should run those ballistics! It is pretty unbelievable what you’d be able to do with a shoulder-fired weapon. 😉 It is a game-changer.
Warner currently (as of 7/29) has an introductory offer for these bullets, but this pricing is subject to change. These prices are for a box of 50 bullets.
- 30 Cal 155gn = $62.50
- 30 Cal 175gn = $67.50
- 30 Cal 200gn = $72.50
- 338 Cal 255gn = $82.50
See the Warner Tool Company website the most up-to-date pricing, or to place an order.
At this point, only a few people have been fortunate enough to see these new bullets in action, so we’ll have to wait and see how they deliver on the claims. But they’ve certainly got the attention of some of the best shooters in the country. If Josh and Alan are able to deliver this kind of performance improvement, we may need to brace ourselves for the impact this could have on the industry. This could be one of the biggest jumps in ballistics in recent history. Large advancements in bullets tend to really impact what cartridges are popular among precision shooters, so I’m excited to see how this shakes things up over the next year or two.
I hope to personally test some of these bullets in the near future, and you guys will be the first to know how they do in the field. So stay tuned!
For more details, pricing, or to place an order, please contact Warner Tool Company at (603)352-9521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s so cool!
Going off the flyer it looks like they’ve gone with a secant ogive and a much smaller area that touches the rifling. Since this was a lathe job, is it a monolithic projectile? copper has about 80% of the density of lead, so they have a lot catching up to do with the shape alone.
did they give you any insight as to how it was done?
Yeah! I figured you’d be able to see the potential in this. It is technically a secant ogive. Yes, I believe it is a monolithic projectile. I’ve always thought of solids and monolithics are interchangable terms, so I hope I’m not missing something there.
I don’t have specific details on the design or machining process. I’d expect that to be proprietary to their operation. Can’t wait to try these out for myself!
How can i not love this? He’s pulling some crazy numbers with a weight disadvantage.
I am surprised he didn’t drop to a 6 or 6.5 mm caliber too though. Those seem to be the caliber of choice. Plus the already long bullet to diameter of those cartridges means possibly being mag fed.
Keep us updated Cal! So many questions!!
Cal, this is to you and Adith .. the 6’s is where VLD designs coincidentally happened to see their BCs go vertical. It turns out the same thing, if not better, happens again at .375 as those can get way into the .900s. People have been studying that perfectstorm relationship of shape to size for a while now and are starting to scale it for other calibers. Taking nothing away from Flat Line, glad to see it begin. I wonder if they can show any similar jump -for- the 6 and .375? Offhand I’d guess no. Willing to be surprised. I have some designs for that myself but it’s beyond (no pun) the scope of this reply.
Also interested to see how many of these would fall under saami coal for being magazine-fed, as usually that’s an entire other trick, and even more difficult with a less dense (?) material to work with increasing either oal and/or backset.
There’s another service you’re doing here that people might not appreciate if they ever use store-bought and that’s all the leg (and graphics) work for consolidating the BC information of other makes. From your charts above I can readily see the bullets used by several OE makers simply from the BC/weight info. Likely it’d be 100% more if there were a 168 category as well. Excellent articles as always.
Thanks for the feedback, Westin!
Any idea what they’ll cost? These look like lathe turned solids, and they’re made by WTC, so I don’t imagine they’re cheap. I don’t know what the round count is for a typical PRS match is, but at least for long range prone/F-class, cost would be a real issue, if these bullets push the per-shot cost into .338 LM territory. I mean, typically, a single day match can be 60 shots, plus sighters. For a big match like the 4 day F-class nationals, you may shoot over 250 rounds (160 shots for score, plus 40 more if you shoot a team match, plus sighters). That’s a lot in just ammunition cost.
Yes, sir. I’ve been told they will be higher than Bergers, but I don’t have the specific pricing information. You’ll have to talk to Warner about that. Ultimately, we spend a lot of money on our rifles, sights, and other gear … plus the cost of travel to a competition, hotel, meals, etc. When you think about the difference with respect to all those others costs, and what the return would be … I’ll probably reach for my wallet! But everyone is in different places, so that might not be the right decision for everyone. This is already such an expensive hobby, but I always tell my wife “It’s cheaper than a bass boat!” (Hopefully that’s true … I’m sure there is some outlandishly expensive bass boat out there. 😉 )
Have they been able to get an exemption from the ATF? Barnes used to produce solid bullets all the way down to 22 caliber, but they were deemed to be “Armor-Piercing” and shut down for the smaller calibers.
Great question. I have no idea. You might ask Warner.
Those bullets have been banned by the ATF because you can’t manufacture AP pistol rounds (5.56 and 5.45 too, because they fit in pistols).
But here we are talking about rifle rounds so they can be Armor Piercing
Thanks for the insight, Elliot.
I can only imagine what a “hand turnded” bullet will cost. I hope competitions don’t come down to who can afford the flatter bullet. Will be interesting to follow. Thanks for all your posts. Great info.
Here may be another ideas for a future test article. A B.C. test of bullets with high B.C. commonly used for long range all tested with the same B.C. test parameters showing actual results.
Yes, sir! I like your thinking! Don’t take anything for granted. Measure everything!
Brian Litz is your guy for an article in that field. He has done so much testing and development that it would take you years to catch up to the amount of data he has accumulated. It would be interesting to “call out” a few manufacturers for some of their inflated published specs. It gets annoying having to adjust the BC in my ballistics computer in order to get accurate computations.
Yep, Bryan is quite the resource. He’s done so much for long-range shooters. I’ve talked to him about these bullets, and he’s interested to see how they test too. I’ve got them in-hand, but have a few reviews in front of it. I’ll get to it as soon as I can.
my guess s they may be allowed in some disciplines but I don’t think you will see them on the PRS matches. Even if they make some 6.5 bullets, MD’s would be very hesitant to allow them due to the steel target damage.
Great point, Jim. The last match I shot in actually made sure everyone was using either hollow-points or ballistic tipped bullets. So I guess these would be out for that match. … but you have to admit it would be fun to see how far you could push them, right?! 😉
Solid copper bullets are no problem with ATF. Monolithics made from brass were the ones banned, for no good reason. I did a fair amount of testing on steel, and the solid brass bullets were no better than solid copper at penetration.
The higher velocities occur because they don’t deform near as much in the bore as cup/core bullets, creating higher pressures. Run similar weight/form factor bullets with the same loads and the solids will have significantly higher pressures. Velocity is a result of pressure, you can’t have higher velocities without higher pressures. The pressure can result from changes in bullet makeup, changes in powder, etc. but higher velocities always require higher pressure.
BUT….If you can have 300 grain BC’s at 250 grain weights, thats a huge coup and I’m freaking about what my 338 can do with a 250 at 3200 FPS that has a 300 grain BC!
Hey, thanks for the great feedback Bill. Yeah, I’m freaking too. This opens a lot of possibilities. I was really, really excited to get this out to everyone. I’ve had it under my hat for several weeks now, and I’m glad I can finally share it.
I have just edited out current website to show pricing for the 4 bullets that we are starting with. We will be rolling out a new website very soon with an order page where you will be able to purchase securely online. But for now, please email us with quantities that you are after and we’ll add you to our order list. We will begin shipping as soon as possible. Probably in about 3 weeks.
We will be publicizing compete test results just as soon as we can complete the acoustical tests. We think that our BC’s are on the conservative side, but the proof is down range yet. We believe our pricing is more than fair for the performance you are getting.
Warner Tool Company, Inc.
Thanks, Dan! In my conversations with Josh, it sounded like he was definitely against the practice most manufacturers have of publishing “optimistic” (aka bloated) BC numbers. Thanks for the update!
Now if they’ll start on a .284/7mm offering.
I’m with you. I’m a big 7 mag guy. I don’t think they have plans to go below 30 caliber at this point though.
Can’t imagine they won’t produce a 6.5 with as popular as the creedmoor is.
You’re probably right, Paul. Dan Warner chimed in and said they’d do whatever the market demands, but we’re focusing on these four to start with. I have to believe there could be a potential for military contracts on some of the 30 caliber and 338 caliber. So maybe that would help fund an expansion into other calibers. I bet the demand for a 6.5 would be high, but I still think Berger sells more 30 caliber bullets than anything. So this is probably a wise move.
I’m sure these custom bullets are not easy to design and manufacture, but I agree with 7mm. A nice 160gr 7mm projectile with BC’s of 180’s or higher and velocity of 140’s. My 7mm RSAUM is begging to try it. I was looking up custom solids a while back and saw that Berger got manhandled by the ATF with their foolish “armor piercing” claims, this all became mainstream earlier this year with ATF’s attempts to ban the 62 grain (green tip) bullets.
Pricing is now on their home page – http://www.warner-tool.com/index.htm
“…here is a price list for the new Flat Line Projectiles. All quantities are in boxes of 50. Pricing is introductory and subject to change .
30 Cal 155gn $62.50
30 Cal 180gn $67.50
30 Cal 198gn $72.50
338 Cal 255gn $82.50
Call or email us to get on our order list. We will begin delivering as soon as possible.”
Sweet. They must have put that up following my post. Thanks for sharing.
We will be adding 7mm and what ever else the market demands as time allows. Once we have these first 4 out there, we will move in that direction.
Had to add that stuff to the website, as the emails were starting to flood in. I don’t think Josh could get it to you fast enough.
Awesome! Glad you guys are getting a lot of interest. I’m really excited about the product and think it has a lot of merit. Good to know you guys are getting orders.
I would very much like to see the tail shape used on those bullets. Looking at pictures posted, the tip looks very much like half of a Sears–Haack body, albeit with a lengthened straight bearing surface in the middle. Although, it also looks like it uses drive bands, not a completely flat surface. The point being, a tail that closely resembles the tip would result in something close to a true Sears-Haack body and certainly explain the increased BC.
If you click on the link to the product flyer, you might be able to see more about the bullet. They use product images in the background of the flyer. I tried to get copies of those photos, but we couldn’t pull it off before the post went up.
Bill (above) makes some very good points regarding load practices for solids that have been on the market in the past. My current 308 Palma rifle load is as follows
Lapua brass, large pocket
The rifle has a 32″ barrel and producing just shy of 3200fps muzzle velocities. Two other shooters are approaching 48 grains of H4895 with similar load lenghts and the same brass that I’m using. Speeds are ranging from about 3080fps up to 3200fps from 45.5-48gr of H4895.
These projectiles exhibit characteristics of much lighter bullets and produce seemingly “less pressure” due to the design.
Fouling problems that plagued predecessors have been solved and we are accomplishing all of the testing with powders right off the shelf. No special blends, cannister powders, etc.
There is a 7mm in the works and we have tested 6.5mm bullets as well.
Myself and the beta tester have fired numerous bullets of various calibers into steel plates as close as 200 yards and AR500 shows no adverse effects differently from other high power rifle rounds like 6mm Creedmoor et al.
What twist is needed to stabilize these monsters? 3.150″ COAL is single-load-only in a short action and custom chamber in a long or short action. This is nothing new. Just a couple guys with a lathe/bar feeder making a long secant ogive bullet. And it’s 4 times the price for a lower density bullet than the big companies can produce with a drawn jacket/ lead core.
Hey, Eric. The recommended twist rates are all given in the post. It’s in the table where all the BC’s are listed, which is just after the photo.
And yes, as I said in the post, “The only downside is this bullet is very long and won’t fit in a standard 308 magazine.”
If this isn’t new … I must have missed the company who was turning out bullets with BC’s anywhere close to this before today. Yes, they are more expensive, but nobody is making you buy it. Some people might look at how much they spent on their rifle, sights, travel to a competition, hotels, etc. … and they might gladly reach for their wallet to pay a little more for bullets if they thought it would increase their score 10%. But, don’t worry … nobody will be mad at you if you aren’t one of those guys. But it doesn’t mean this isn’t a good idea just because you don’t support it.
I have nothing against it and I hope they catch on! CFD analysis is nothing new to the industry… it’s something undergraduate and even high school students do these days. If they are at all popular, that just means Berger, Sierra, and Hornady will be making them too.
Cal, GS Custom has been making a bullet very similar to these. It is a bore rider with drive bands and their offering is a 158 in 30 cal with a BC of .567. They have a 267 grain .338 that has similar number as well. I’ve got some of the .338 bullets, but haven’t worked with them to get a good load.
Wow, thanks for the update. I looked at all the bullets in Litz’s latest reference book, including the GS Custom bullets … but didn’t see those. Are they new?
I’ve had the .338’s for at least 6-8 months. Not sure on the .30’s. I’ve been hoping Bryan would eventually get to them.
oops, link to the .308 http://www.gsgroup.co.za/308158SP249.html
Your site is addictive to the point that I rush to print a copy of each new thread for my read file at work as well as a copy for my reloading notes I try to collect / save as reference on my bench. Thanks for the work you do. BTW…Saw a graphic of yours in Sniper magazine article recently. Well done……
Thanks! Good to know I’m on the right track. Just trying to post what I know I’d like to read about. Glad you’re finding it helpful.
Would we be able to purchase these bullets from South Africa
I’m not sure, Rob. You’ll need to ask Warner about that.
We are currently working of getting setup for export. This is a lengthy process as there is quite a bit of ‘paper’ to fill out and submit to the Fed. We are neck deep in it and hope to have it completed in the next few weeks.
Again, call or email is with the quantities you are after so we can add you to our order list. We will be working from that to fill orders in the order in witch they are received.
I can send you gs bullets from new Zealand no worries
We are a company (Peregrine Bullets) from South Africa and we also have a high BC lathe turned long range series of bullets as well as a complete hunting range. We followed pretty much the same path as Dan with aerodynamicists from a military background, a strong engineering team with serious scientific solutions. After two years of desing and testing we have launched the series recently in South Africa. We call our high BC monolithic bullets product Rangemasters over here. We plan to launch the product in the USA as soon as we have all our permits in order (+/- 2 months).
To date we have some excellent testimonials and very good results when competing against the best imported lead-core bullets that is currently popular in the Bisley shooting discipline worldwide.
It is nice to see that Dan felt the same need as us to really get stuck into developing exciting new monolithic bullets and wish them well for their new product range.
Cool, thanks for the heads-up. I’ve heard it said, “Why do people keep reinventing the wheel? Because it’s a really good idea!” 😉
GS and LM had a number of fancy High BC bullets at least a decade ago. So its kinda hard to understand the new hype.
LM-105 has had a well publicised wins on Finnsniper 2005 worlds premier tactical comps in a pair o.338LM rifles so about a decade ago.
But solids have allways needed special barrels and suffered once they slowdown into transonic so they are primarily candidate for above 30 cal.
Hopefully they will be making some in 22 caliber.i would love to give these a try in my service rifle to see how they would stack up against the berger and Sierra 80’s and 90’s.this could also give our 223 match rifles a better chance against the 6mm rifles
hopefully they will start making them in .22 caliber as well,something around 77-82 grains.i think they would offer an advantage in my service rifle as well as my match rifle.i’ve been shooting somewhere near the top of most matches I shoot but get caught in subtle wind switches that cost me points.i think they would help with those wind switches during rapid fire and at 600.
Your “shot clouds” make sense for cold-bore shots as in a tactical competition, etc., but they don’t really make any sense for other forms of competitive long-range shooting. I’ve commented this before, but I feel compelled to do so again — you say “If you’re firing 15 shots…” High power and F-class shooters don’t have that much horizontal because they correct from shot to shot. After the first shot (or two), the 15-shot string even with a worse BC will still be much tighter than that for any skilled shooter. Those graphics are misleading.
That’s a good point, Josh. I only ran it with a wind uncertainty of 1 mph, which seems plausible even with sighters … but I see your point.
I also didn’t run the analysis with the 3200 fps ballistics Josh said he was getting with his bullet, so the difference would be even greater if that really is what it’s pushing. So if you look at it that way, it’s plausible those factors might cancel each other out.
Really the WEZ analysis is a good tool for evaluating the ballistics differences and putting them into real-world terms. Just comparing abstract values like BC is often times much more misleading, because some people blow its importance out of proportion and some don’t put enough priority on it. That type of Monte Carlo simulation lets you see how important it is with respect to all the other pieces of uncertainty that come into play in long-range shooting.
But I do appreciate you voicing your opinion. I certainly can’t say your wrong, but I’m not sure that I agree that it isn’t relevant.
I have had a lot of long range projects turned out by WTC. They do magnificent work in all areas. If Al Warner touches it, it will be perfect or he will throw it in the trash. He is an absolute perfectionist.
As I wait for my first set of jackets to make my custom designed long range 7mm bullets, I realize that I will not be able to touch what WTC is doing no matter how good my bullets are. Having said that, I can’t help but admire and give my congrats for a job well done. Al’s design and craftsmanship inspires me to make good bullets even thought it is humbling to see such supreme and untouchable ballistics. Even if someone makes a good copy of the Flatline, it is unlikely that it will be of the same excellence of design, construction and QC demanded by Al.
Congrats again to WTC on raising the bar so high for the conventional bullet makers and for the elite shooters who will rock the records with these bullets.
Hardy Custom Bullets, Inc.
Passion + Precision = Perfection
Wow, Jim. That’s a great compliment and vote of confidence. Thanks for sharing.
Does anyone know how those high BC figures were actually determined? I mean, have been derived from shape factors, McDrag or from actual measurements of velocity decay or ToF? Doppler the best option of course. I guess that info is very important to make the claims valid.
I believe they were modeled in software, then those figures were tested using a ballistic chronograph and actual hit data at long range. As Dan mentioned in the comments above, they believe these are conservative estimates of the actual BC. I think he said they were about to do a more exact BC measurement using an acoustic setup soon. Maybe Dan or Josh will chime in and give us more details, but that’s about all I’ve heard.
Cal, thanks for your response. i guess we should wait until those measurements are taken, otherwise, for true ELR work, software derived numbers simply don’t make the cut. Anyway my expectations are high. Would be nice if they can add bullet length to the specs and some loading reccomendations.
Indeed, the BC’s were modeled using sophisticated software. Load development, chronograph, and actual hit data have proven them to be correct. For example, the 155 is 5 minutes flatter than any other 155 jacketed pill on the market and our come ups (sight adjustments) back that up. We intend to further support these numbers with acoustical testing in the next couple of months.
Marcos – The BC’s that were published come from acoustic testing via Time of Flight measurements over a qualified set of distances.
Alan, Dan and I have all agreed that published data must be qualified through testing. We are not publishing static calculated BC’s like some other companies have used in the past.
I should add that the 5 minute remark above refers to a 1000yd zero as compared to one shot with jacketed pills.
Thanks a lot for the clarification. For sure you guys are raising the bar. Please could you add length data and some loading data as well? What do you think we can expect in terminal performance for LR hunting?. Keep up the good work!
their BC comparison well, every value is listed as done by Litz
the Sierra 155 TMK according to Sierra does .519, Lit’s took .45 off it
How much would Litz have to take off the Flatline 155?
If it’s .45 then it’s going to be less then the Sierra 168 TMK, whic is verified by Litz.
Cost is about 1.25 per bullet. I was watching the trace on these bullets at our 1000Y practice. It was the flattest ive seen.
I’m a little concerned about some of the hype.
The BC numbers seem to be too far off the mark. I only see it being possible at the complete expense of bearing surface. At some point bearing surface is needed. Without it I can only imagine the bullets not staying lined up correctly in the bore.
My other red flag is the claimed velocities. How are they getting 400+ fps more than typical velocities for each of the corresponding cartridges without going over pressure. I’ll give 100-150 over typical maxs, but this is too much. We’re literally talking the difference between a 30-30 and a 30-06 out of a 30-30.
I’m putting this in the “I’ll believe it, when I see it at someone else’s expense” pile.
Hey, that is a prudent move, Gary. I can respect that. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is … right? The only reason I thought this was worthy of the time I put into the post was really based on the guys behind it. Neither seem like the type who would make wild claims that they knew would be proven wrong by the first guy that tests it. I think Alan Warner told me this would be the first new product he’s come out with in over a decade! Obviously he isn’t one to be swept away by the latest fad. He’s made a major investment in this, and wouldn’t put his reputation on the line if he didn’t really believe in it.
I hope to be able to tell you soon whether these numbers are realistic or not. As always, I’m committed to publishing exactly the way it is … regardless of whether that is good or bad news for these bullets. I was told today they’re shipping me 100 of the 155gr bullets, and 100 of the 175gr bullets. I plan to measure muzzle velocity with my new LabRadar Doppler Radar, which is amazing and can measure muzzle velocity to within a ridiculous 0.1%, and measure the actual bullet drop on various long-range targets. With an extremely high confidence in the measured muzzle velocity, plus carefully measured environmentals, azimuth of fire, etc. … I should be able to calculate the BC it would take for those hits. We’ll see how it compares. I’ll publish every detail.
I’ve talked to a lot of industry pros about this, and it seems like many of them think the BC numbers are plausible … but their concern seems to be whether these solids will suffer from the precision and fouling issues that other solids have in the past. So I plan to shoot the majority of those bullets from a prone position at 100 yards, to see what kind of groups I can get as the barrel fouls. I’m buying a borescope tonight so I can record video of the bore before and after those groups of 100 bullets. Then I hope to put those videos side-by-side with the before/after of Berger 230gr bullets in that same barrel. I hope it helps us see how the barrel fouls compared to traditional jacketed bullets. Plus, I’ll measure all the groups that I fire at 100 yards, and may even pull in a couple other shooters as well and average all the precision test results.
So, while you’re wise to not believe everything you read on the internet ;), know that I do hope to have some independent data on these bullets in the near future … especially for my skeptical friend, Gary. (Hey, I’m the same way … while I’m hopeful these will be awesome, I won’t believe it until I see it myself. So good for you!)
Thanks for the quick reply. I do hope that I’m being overly skeptical. I can’t wait to see your results.
Warner Tool makes a fine-looking bullet, that’s for certain! The velocity claims left me highly dubious, though, so I decided to do some side-by-side testing.
I Pressure Traced a few of the FlatLine 155.5s this past weekend, over a full-power load of IMR-4895 (46.5 grains). I tested some of the ‘lowly’ Sierra 150-grain Pro Hunters with the same charge (and brass and primer, of course), and as close to the same jump as I can get it. My ‘pressure gun’ for the 308 is a mass production rifle readily available to anyone.
Velocities were within ~0.5%, and pressures were within ~2.5%, which is pretty much what one would expect of bullets in the same weight class. The Sierras were the higher of the two for both pressure and velocity, again as one would expect based solely upon the differences in bearing surface.
I also ran a few of the same 2 bullets over a _stiff_ charge of CFE223, but only for chrono data. Same result: Essentially the same velocity for the same powder charge.
I’ve run these kinds of pressure tests/experiments many times, and I’ve never once been able to generate any data that supports these types of wild claims.
Wow, Eoin. Thanks for sharing. I plan to run some tests to verify the BC that they’ve published in the very near future. You are using bullets of different weights, so that doesn’t seem like an apples-to-apples comparison, but it is still interesting.
Thanks for sharing,
“A Data-Driven Approach To Precision Rifles, Optics & Gear” – yet your response seems to scream fanboy-ism.
It’s a perfectly valid comparison when the company itself states, “The 155.5gr 30 caliber bullet has the velocity of a 125-135gr bullet and has the BC of a 185-200gr bullet.” The BC claims may possibly stand up to that claim, but ‘F’ still equals ‘ma’.
Hey, dude. I plan to test them myself in a very data-driven way, and we’ll see if they live up to the claims. But I AM excited, and I don’t apologize for that! I’m passionate about this stuff, and love seeing advancements in the sport.
I have 2 boxes of these right now, and plan to test them in the near future. If they’d a dud … I’ll say that. At this point, I was just reporting what I’ve been told, which is exactly what a “FIRST LOOK” post is designed to be. They are just designed to be a quick “hey, this might be cool … you might like to be aware of this” kind of post. If you read just about any of my other posts, you’d know I put a ton of effort into objective, independent, data-driven testing. More than just about anyone else out there! Ultimately, if you don’t like what I’m writing, I’ll give you a full refund and you can go somewhere else. I’m not forcing you to read any of this stuff.
I am also hopeful that these bullets fly super-flat and straight. I really believe they will. I look forward to your testing them in that way.
Hopefully, too, no one will blow up their rifle, or especially their hands or face, trying to push these things 400 ft/sec faster than anything else.
I agree, Eoin. I’m hopeful the BC’s are as advertised, but I am highly skeptical that you can safely push a bullet to the velocities they’ve advertised. I believe this is no free lunch. It seems that faster velocity can only come from higher pressures. I just recommend people take a conservative and careful approach if they try to duplicate this type of increase in velocity. I don’t plan to try it myself, and don’t endorse it.
For those that have asked regarding freebore/chamber/barrel needs due to past experiences:
The goal with these projectiles, specifically the 30c 155 & 175 as well as the 33c 255gr bullet were put into a very specific problem statement:
1) Use existing, common twist rates for the respective caliber.
2) Use existing, common throat geometry wherever conceviably possible
This promotes shooters to “dip their toes” by trying a box or two of the new projectiles and shooting them without the necessity of long lead, expensive items such as special barrels, special chambers, and special powders.
Being a competitive shooter myself I am immediately turned away by new products which have an initial cost that is hugely influenced by ancillary equipment requirements. As such the Flatline bullets do not generally need highly specialized barrels, cases, powders, or chambers to shoot them.
Therefore super long free-bore chambers are generally not necessary for these projectiles. The load listed above for my rifle is being shot from my usual 308 Win reamer that’s setup generically for 175gr conventional bullets. Approximately 0.075″ of freebore and a 1.5 degree lead half-angle.
Alan cut a couple of reamers specifically to test the validity of making a throating configuration for these 155’s and 175’s. As always, Alan’s work has shot extremely well. Conventional throats and bore sizes have not shown any appreciable differences as compared to specifically tailored chambers.
Obvious caveat to that statement is the 198/200gr 30 caliber 9 twist projectile. It requires a faster-than-common twisted barrel however it is not so fast as to preclude shooters from also using jacketed projectiles in the rifle with high quality results.
Load data in the form of basic starting suggestions will be forth-coming soon. Alan, Dan and myself are putting together a set of recommendations for customers to begin work-up as I type this.
In the mean time, for those that want to get a jump on thinking about these:
The weight class of the projectile is not too applicable to powder selection. The general solution for good powder selection is to pick a rifle propellant that is approximately “1 step faster” than normal for the weight.
IE: 155’s are commonly shot from 308’s using highly packed cases of Varget. Anywhere from 45-48+ grains. The 155 Flatline was tested with up to 48 grains of Varget from a 30″ barrel with speeds being about 100fps slower than we wanted. When switching to H4895 (see my posted load data above) I tested up to 47.5gr of powder without negative pressure signs and got a stellar load at 45.8gr
One of our early testers/customers for the 155’s is shooting 47.6gr of H4895 under his bullets and getting fantastic scores with high X-counts. He will be shooting them in the coming week(s) of Camp Perry World Long Range from his 308 Palma rifle. This is the same rifle he has been shooting all week in Long Range at Camp Perry.
Shortly we will post the complete load data (case, load length, case capacity, powder, primer, etc) for each of our beta test loads in various calibers. Shooters are STRONGLY encouraged to work up loads with safety in mind and advised not to jump immediately to high pressure loads as we all know it can be quite dangerous to do so.
As part of the load data we will provide COAL data and information regarding the various freebore lengths for folks to try in their own rifles should they be interested.
These projectiles are a non-expanding type and as such would likely be illegal for hunting applications in most states across the US. I cannot at this time think of a state that allows non-expanding ammunition for hunting but I won’t say something like that doesn’t exist because I’m far from an expert on all American hunting regulations.
The will certainly retain higher velocity and energy on target but terminal ballistics are not defined by impact velocity and retained energy/momentum alone. Choosing to hunt with these projectiles as extended ranges is purely the choice of the end user due to the non-expanding nature of the projectiles.
As pointed out regarding “Litz” tested projectiles being used for comparison without the same being done for these bullets yet:
Until about 5 days ago these projectiles were generally unknown to Mr. Litz. Perhaps he saw the flyer from SHOT Show but the bullets were not available for purchase until just recently. Therefore he has not yet had an opportunity to test them. I am confident that his attention to detail in testing will be reflected with the same high-fidelity data he has characteristically published for other manufacturers’ product lines.
For those curious about the software:
I will not go into details regarding the specific methodologies but the software solution methods are qualified against well characterized results from acoustic data. The data gleaned through my own testing as well as the highly-regarded, high quality work by Mr. Litz is used as a baseline. I regularly see low single digit differences (1-2, sometimes almost 3%) between my acoustics and software. When I compare the software and the acoustics to Mr. Litz’s published data the differences are all within the same realm.
A few examples that have been benchmarks in my software were the Hornady 7mm 162 Amax (1.8% error, predicted lower than acoustic verification); the 7mm 180 Berger VLD (predicted 0.8% higher than verified) and the 30 caliber 175 Sierra Match King (predicted 1.3% higher than verified).
As more data is gleaned from 1000yd and beyond (acoustic) testing I am confident that our published data and the tested data will be in close agreement. Myself, Alan and Dan Warner are all in tight agreement that our data fidelity must reflect the high fidelity of manufacturing and product itself. We welcome constructive feedback and are working diligently to support the customers with necessary data for developing loads and ballistic solutions to compete at a higher level than currently can be obtained.
Thank you for the great information Josh. Out of curiosity, are you doing any weight sorting in house to ensure that each box of 50 has the smallest weight variant possible?
I am not involved in the day to day of manufacturing so I cannot say what goes into every box. When I asked Dan about weight variation off the production machine he said that they were weighing each bullet coming of the lathe as one of the metrics for dialing in the production process. During setup of the first few hundred 155’s that came off the machine he said he was getting variations inside 0.02grains per bullet. I weighed the 150 bullets he sent me before going to Camp Perry. Across all of them I was unable to see a variation on my 0.1grain beam scale.
I do not know what the forward look is going to be regarding each projectile but that’s where we’ve been so far.
Very excited to try these bullets. Just received a note from Sumer that my shipment is on the way. As a huge fan of Litz, I look forward to his data. As for this blog, EXCELLENT job. I greatly appreciate your approach using data the way you do. Thanks for your fine efforts.
Hey, David. I just got a batch of the 155gr bullets in myself. I’ll load them up sometime soon and take them out to the proving grounds! I’d love to hear what you find with them as well.
Lets get some issues cleared since Alan doesn’t want to talk about it . In 2007 ICFRA ban the usage of monolithic bullets. This was in part because the MOD in GB had ban them from use on their ranges in large part because monolithic are “believed” to have higher ricochet problems than bi-metral or conventional bullets w/ether std or reverse drawn jackets. Also ban were bullets made of depleted Uranium and Solid Tungsten core both have higher mass weight than lead, both create bigger H&S issues than lead. Historically the early usage of solid copper bullets was the French in their Lebel rifles, and the ensuing copper problems that became associated with corrosive primers in that day. In 2011 the New Zealand delegate , not me , advocated banning lathe turned bullets in the Target Rifle Committee meeting. Heres the rub, non-US ranges are under different safety standards. Too many ranges fall under the JSP-403 GB Defense Land Management rules which includes the issues of weapons danger area and range danger area. These are based on the ability of the range users to contain bullets in a COF . Cone Of Fire, not just on the bullet impact mound. Hence NZ has very stringent rules; complements of the former ICFRA President from NZ; which include sights being checked by score keepers before getting on the mound and stopping a shooter who can not get on paper in 3 shots. Its a whole different world outside the US and Californiaifornication. Once you understand that the majority of ICFRA countries , or those that have controls on TR shooting are Commonwealth countries; yes the USA is a minority: then those that make the rules dictate what is permitted. What happens in the USA under federal laws and US NRA Competitions is a whole separate issue.
Now lets examine the environmental issue, we know they want to ban lead in bullets! The problem is lead is a non-migrating element as used on ranges , in simple terms its actually quite stable. Copper on the other hand is a migrating element and poses greater danger to water seepage and run off and this poses a different hazard, one that is not as easy to control. Live stock as sheep are highly subseptable to copper in stress situations. If lead core bullets ever become out lawed monolithic bullets look logical when in fact they have different problems which are in some cases worse. So you have the option, to protect lead cored bullets and permit the usage of monolithic bullets, or face the ban on one just before the other is also banned from usage. I wish Alan the best of luck in the promotion of his bullets, but don’t get the attitude that getting rid of lead is the answer, its only an interim phase before a ban on all bullets.
Wow, Mitchell. I appreciate the thorough feedback on this. I can’t really speak to a lot of history you mentioned, but I appreciate the thought-provoking input. There does seem to be a lot of controversy around solids, and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. I can’t see them banning all bullets here in the US, so you’re welcome to join us over here! 😉
Hi Cal, any news about this thread ??? Greetings from Argentina !!!
Pablo, I’ve done some initial testing and am waiting on a few more bullets and a rifle to do accuracy tests. I want to have all the testing done before I publish anything on them, so that people get the complete story. I was told I should have the bullets and rifle within a couple weeks (maybe mid-November) and then I’ll try to get to it as quickly as I can.