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December 18, 2021

The Benefits & Drawbacks of Using 5.56 Ballistic Tip Ammo

A hunter is only ever as good as the equipment he or she uses. What’s more, you have to use the right equipment in the circumstances, which requires a bit of knowledge too. So, this brings us to the focus of this piece – 5.56 ballistic ammo.


Ballistic tips have become something of a buzzword in firearms circles, which are essentially hollow point rounds that have their front cavity filled with a plastic polymer. This forms a highly aerodynamic shape, making it fly through the air extremely quickly.


Uniform Expansion and/or Fragmentation


When 5.56 ballistic ammo hits its intended target, the bullet’s tip is propelled towards the rear, the natural result of which is uniform fragmentation, expansion or both. This depends on the price type and brand of ammunition you end up purchasing.


It’s ammunition that’s primarily manufactured for the hunting market, although there are a few varieties that are available for muzzleloaders and pistols.


A Bit More About Ballistic Tips


The polymer tips you find in ballistic ammunition – something that essentially acts as a plug for hollow point rounds – will generally be color coded in line with their caliber. This effectively turns them into full metal jacket rounds while preventing the hollow point from becoming clogged.

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They also vary depending on the jacket used, which come in three main forms:


  • Tapered Jacket – which allows for better control of expansion and weight retention, regardless of the velocity they reach. Typically created from a copper alloy, this also helps to avoid deformation when in flight.


  • Heavy Jacketed Base – 5.56 ballistic tip ammo also comes in a heavy jacketed base that allows for the ‘mushroom effect’ to occur when impacting the target. This allows for improved uniformity in expansion too.


  • Boat tail – this is a type that very much fits its description and it’s designed to enhance smoothness of feeding and accuracy over long distances. This one is particularly popular with those who like to get the best possible value by reloading used cartridges.


So, to those pros & cons…


The Advantages


Anyone who’s ever used them will know that ballistic tip ammunition fires in a very reliable and predictable manner. Those hunting small game with them will typically get the results they’re looking for pretty much every time, largely because the bullet expansion is superior, as is the accuracy it offers.


The Disadvantages


Every product in existence will have some kind of disadvantage, so it’s not surprising that this ammo also has its drawbacks. In this case, it’s not something you want to be using on a larger game, as the expansion won’t do much in terms of bringing it down.

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5.56 Ballistic Tip Ammo – A Great Choice For Hunters


As seasoned hunters will know, you need to be careful about which ammo you use and when, but when appropriate, this ammunition is one of the best options available – particularly when talking about smaller game.


Sure, it’s not really suitable for game like buffalo, but you’ll struggle to find ammo that’s ideal for every kind of use.


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