Boat Tail in the context of firearms, ammunition, and the shooting sports world refers to a specific design feature of a bullet's shape.
Projectiles that taper down in the back move faster for longer, as they allow the displaced air that is moving around the projectile to reset closer to where it was before the bullet pushed it aside.
Similar to how a wing comes to a pointed edge on its backside, allowing air to fully come back to its original position, a boat tail projectile attempts to allow air to move back to where it was.
Here's a detailed description:
Shape and Design
A boat tail bullet is characterized by its tapered, conical end. This design means that the base of the bullet narrows or tapers off, resembling the shape of a boat's stern, which is how it gets its name.
Purpose and Benefits
The primary advantage of the boat tail design is its aerodynamic efficiency. The taper reduces drag, allowing the bullet to maintain its velocity longer and therefore have a flatter trajectory over longer distances.
This aerodynamic shape helps reduce the bullet's sensitivity to crosswinds, making it more stable in flight. As a result, boat tail bullets can offer improved accuracy, especially at longer ranges.
Boat tail bullets are popular choices for long-range shooting disciplines, precision shooting, and sniping because of their superior ballistics and reduced wind drift.
They can be found in various calibers and bullet types, including hollow point boat tails (HPBT) which combine the boat tail design with a hollow point to offer both aerodynamic efficiency and expansion upon impact.
Comparison with Flat Base
The opposite of the boat tail design is the flat base bullet, which has a flat end.
While flat base bullets can be very accurate, especially at shorter ranges, they don't offer the same aerodynamic advantages as boat tail bullets over long distances.
In essence, the boat tail design is a crucial consideration for shooters aiming for precision at extended ranges, and its aerodynamic benefits make it a favorite among long-range shooting enthusiasts.