Do you need a boat tail bullet for shooting 200 yards or less?
This is another interesting questions we have before us. The boat tail is to help provide a more sleek profile of a bullet. This allows the air to flow off the base of the bullet more smoothly. All in all you don't see the affects of a boat tail till 200+ yards. Allowing the air to flow more smoothly allows for a bullet to retain energy longer. Thus not dropping as fast.
As you can see below in the product information for a Hornady 50gr V-Max (boat tail) and a Hornady Varmint SP (Flat Base) bullets the V-max for the size and weight is a sleeker bullet with a Ballistic coefficient of .242 vs the 50gr sp BC of .214.
What are you talking about with a Ballistic Coefficient? Simply put it is how easy a given body fly's through the air (Ballistic Coefficient: Is a measure of a bodies ability to overcome air resistance in flight).
As you can see in the charts Below the Boat tail bullet has less drop and would also have less wind drift at longer distances.
With the price of bullets going up and up and up. I say buy the cheaper flat base bullets if you know your keeping your shots within 200 yards. AS you can see at 200 yards there is only .1" difference that is not a whole lot of difference if you are target shooting or hunting large game. But if you look at 400 to 500 yards. There is a big difference in drop and velocity drop off. At 400 yards your difference form flat base to boat tail is 2.3" and at 500 it is 5.8" different. In the varmint hunting world that is the difference between a red mist kill and a total miss. In deer hunting that could be a wounded deer running off to die a long painful death.