What Does Bullet Grain Mean?

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Even if you’re a novice shooter, you’ve surely encountered the term “bullet grain.” If you’re not entirely sure what bullet grain is, you’re not alone. Many recreational shooters don’t pay much attention to grain, because if you’re not a reloader, a hunter, or a competitive shooter, grain doesn’t really matter that much. However, at Powder Valley, we believe knowledge is power, especially when it comes to reloading, so we put together a little primer on bullet grain and how it affects accuracy and stopping power.

In short, bullet grain is the weight of the projectile. A “grain” (also commonly abbreviated as gr) is equal to 1/7000th of a pound. This unit of measurement traces its origins to antiquity and is supposed to represent the weight of a literal grain of wheat or barley. Standardized by the British in 1855, the grain is used to measure projectile weight, as well as the weight of gold foil and some pharmaceuticals, among other things.

Bullet weights on today’s market range from 15 gr, all the way up to 600 gr BMG rounds. Every cartridge has an acceptable range of bullets; for example, 9mm Luger cartridges can feature bullets from 70 gr to 160 gr. This gives the reloader a lot of options to choose from, but what are the practical differences between lighter and heavier bullets?

Accuracy at Distance

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what grain weights are more accurate at distance; it really all depends on the environmental conditions. Generally speaking, lighter bullets travel faster than heavier ones, which means they reach their target quicker, and there’s less time to drop. However, lighter bullets are also more affected by wind.

For a shooting competition with little or no wind, lighter bullets are probably best. For hunting on a day with unpredictable weather, a heavier bullet might be more consistent over longer distances.

Whatever grain you choose, it’s important to use the right amount of reloading powder. Check with the manufacturer’s date to be sure.

Stopping Power

The grain of the bullet also has a lot to do with the stopping power and terminal impact. You might think that heavier bullets always have more stopping power, but that’s not necessarily true. Since impact power equals mass times speed, a lighter bullet moving at a higher velocity may arrive with more force.

Most of the time, though, a heavier bullet is the projectile of choice for hunters and shooters concerned with self-defense. It’s worth noting that heavier bullets usually create more recoil than lighter bullets, which can make it difficult to fire off multiple accurate shots in quick succession – and which also increases stress on your body.

Shop for Reloading Supplies Online

Finding the right bullet grain for your needs is a matter of experimenting and talking to other reloaders. Powder Valley has an enormous selection of bullets to choose from, as well as reloading primers, powder, cases, and reloading equipment.

Whether you’re ordering a variety of different bullets to try them out, or stocking up on the type that you’ve come to prefer, you’ll find all of our reloading supplies are available at the best possible prices. Don’t let an ammunition shortage affect your target practice. Make sure you always have the components on hand to produce the ammunition you need with supplies from Powder Valley.