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What Is Silver Tip Ammo?

THE LEGEND

Hi-Ho Silver, and away they go into the sunset. Probably the first thing that comes to mind when I hear talk of a silver bullet is The Lone Ranger. He is known for his heroism, his horse, and his silver bullets, but do you know why The Lone Ranger only used silver bullets? Because they were made from a precious metal, it reminded him of his moral code of treating all human life as precious and only using his firearm when there was no other option. In most of the episodes, you will notice that the Lone Ranger doesn't kill the villain, he seems to shoot only to disarm. He would also give silver bullets away to fans as a token of his fame. 

Well, friends, that was a long time ago, and the Lone Ranger's silver bullets were actually aluminum, unfortunately. I know, it's kinda like finding out that Santa Claus isn't real, isn't it? 

Before the Lone Ranger, a fable turned fact, is that silver bullets were used to hunt werewolves and vampires. Both the werewolf and vampire were viewed as evil, and it has been a long-standing belief that silver wards off evil. The history of the silver bullet, in this case, was that a trained team of werewolf hunters would dip their bullets in silver and shoot the creature in the heart when they found one.

Shoot, did you know that even Merriam Webster has a definition for "silver bullet", and surprisingly it is not what you would expect. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a silver bullet as "something that acts as a magical weapon", so in a way they are somewhat validating the legends.

All of that information is interesting and gives us a little pause to wonder if there is any truth at all to the myths. Actually, there is a real, tangible, silver bullet that is available for you to purchase in our modern-day times, no need for werewolf hunting gear.

THE "REAL" DEAL

Made famous by Winchester, the Ballistic Silver Tip bullet is considered to be one of the most devastating bullets for big game.

Big game hunters praise this bullet for its proven precision and immediate knockdown power on the target.

The tip of the bullet is not made of real silver, or even real metal for that matter. Rather it is a polymer silver-colored tip. The reason for the use of polymer is to resist deformation. Basically, the tip maximizes long-range retention and performance.

To increase the bullets' performance in accuracy, designers chose the boattail style shape for the bullet. The bullet shape and the use of an alloy lead core allow the bullet to retain its weight, which in turn provides deeper penetration of the target. To reduce unwanted barrel wear and fouling, a black oxide coating is applied to the bullet.

Winchester Ammo 308 Silver Tip Ammunition

THE OTHER SILVER-TIPPED AMMO

If you have read many of my articles on tipped ammunition, I always state that there is not an industry standard for color-tipped ammo, so what may be silver-tipped to Winchester may be blue-tipped to another manufacturer. There is, however, a military standard for color-tipped ammunition. This is so a soldier understands the purpose of the bullet. A certain color means that the bullet contains special components to make it effective for its intended purpose.

So in this instance, let's talk about Romanian Silver Tip ammo. Some say that this Silver Tip ammo is some of the finest military ammo ever produced.

Characteristics and features include a boattail design and a full metal jacket. The silver tip of this bullet tells the shooter that this FMJ bullet has a lead coating over a light steel core. This makes the bullet a bi-metal design.

As well as long-range accuracy, this bullet is non-marring on the bore, stable during flight, and incredible power and penetration on the target resulting in an immediate knockdown.

Romanian 762x54R Silver Tip Ammo

THE COMPARISON

As you can see, both examples of silver-tipped ammo contain similar components. They are both made for long-range accuracy, maintaining flight stability, and incredible penetration.

The main difference between the two is the caliber offering. The Romanian Silver Tip is made for a battlefield rifle, chambered for 7.62x54mm.

The more common silver tip ammo can be found online and in stores, and is used for long-range, big game hunting. You will find this bullet in calibers like 6.5 Creedmore, the new 6.8 Western, .223 REM, .223 WSSM, .243 WIN, 270 WIN, and so on, all the way up to .300 WIN MAG, 30-06, .308, and 7mm WIN MAG, and 7mm WSM.

THE LONG SHOT

No need to wait by the mailbox for your secret decoder ring for this one. The similarities are rather clear. Keywords that come to mind when referring to any silver tip ammo are excellence, stability, accuracy, penetration, and power.

So why did Winchester choose a silver tip for this particular bullet? Who knows, but I think nostalgia, legend, and the official definition of a silver bullet played a role in it. It may not be magic, but it is a high-performance bullet. 

Physically, the round is a beauty. I can see why someone would consider it as something that is very special.

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