Comparing Measured Bullet Weight with Manufacturer Specifications
Research rept. 7 Jan 2010-30 Jan 2012
AIR FORCE ACADEMY COLORADO SPRINGS CO
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Most rifle bullets are sold with a nominal bullet weight listed on the box, but few boxes give the tolerance or uncertainty of the bullet weight. This article presents careful measurements of bullet weight, giving the mean, standard deviation, and extreme spread for a number of makes and models. Since Berger Bullets is the only company to the authors knowledge to publish bullet weight tolerances, the weight measurements of several makes of Berger Bullets are graphed in comparison with their weight specifications. Bullets were measured from 49 boxes representing seven different manufacturers and calibers from 0.224 inches to 0.308 inches. The smallest standard deviation was 0.038 Berger 168 grain VLD in 0.308 and the largest standard deviation was 0.470 the lead-free 50 grain Barnes Varmint Grenade in 0.224. Bullets showed a distinct trend for lead-free bullets to have greater weight variations than conventional jacketed lead construction and for military bullets to have greater weight variations than commercial bullets designed for hunting and target applications.
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