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What Are Red Tip Bullets?

Ballistic technology is always changing and advancing. Cartridges are getting better, more accurate, and becoming capable of greater expansion. There are various projectile types on the market, including ball rounds, wadcutters, round tip, spitzer, hollow points, and even ballistic tip projectiles. Today we are talking about the latter. 

Ballistic tip projectiles are often adorned with various colors, with most being red. This has led to the name red tip bullets. That being said, you might see blue, green, and yellow tips as well. Red tips just happen to be the most common. Red tip bullets are an odd sight, and they often generate question after question. So let’s dive in and explain what these fancy red tip bullets do. 

What is The Red Tip?

The red tip attached to the bullet is a plastic tip. The tip is molded into a streamlined shape to generate a spitzer-like design. The tip is anchored into the bullet, but will disengage when the round strikes your target. These bullets are designed for rifles or rifle-caliber pistols. Very rarely does a standard pistol use a polymer tip bullet. 

Federal XM62 Red Tipped Ammunition

Beneath the Tip 

Beneath the red tip lies a traditional hollow point. Hollow points are a projectile favored for hunting and defensive use. With that said, red tip bullets are almost exclusively used for hunting. A hollow point projectile is designed to expand as it strikes the target, and the expansion causes greater damage to the target. 

This expansion makes the round more humane to use when shooting an animal. Hollow points are the choice of most rifle hunters because they quickly down game. Hollow points are also a safer option as the round rarely goes all the way through your intended target. Standard ball ammunition will overpenetrate and could risk harming another hunter down the line. 

The Benefits of Red Tip Bullets 

The red tip over hollow point projectiles combines the best of both worlds when it comes to ammunition design. The red plastic tip allows the round to keep a traditional shape as it flies through the air. A hollow point projectile by itself can often tumble in flight or have a crazy flight path over longer ranges. 

With a red tip, the projectile follows a traditional flight path. The round’s effective range is increased, it often has a flatter trajectory, and the in-target ballistics are quite lethal. The addition of a red plastic tip ensures both excellent in-flight performance and greater on-target performance. It has the flight of a traditional bullet with the performance of a hollow point. 

Red Tips and Beyond

Nosler owns the term ballistic tip, so that’s not a universal term applied to companies who utilize plastic tips on their projectiles. Hornady and Sierra both use a form of red tip bullets on top of Nosler’s ballistic tips. These rounds have proven to be both extremely popular and extremely effective for hunters. Red tip rounds are the standard for effective hunting ammunition for rifles, and they’ve pushed ballistic technology one step further.

Winchester Ammo Green Tip 55gr Ammunition

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