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Thread: Larger slower calibers, do they require premium bullets?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Larger slower calibers, do they require premium bullets?

    I've always wondered this. For example:

    Let's say that you have a 9.3x62 mauser, a 375 scovill/hawk, or a 416 hawk.

    The other two mentioned are based off the 9.3x62 mauser case.

    With the 416 hawk, it shoots 350 grain 416 caliber bullets at a modest velocity, while packing an insane amount of energy at 300 yards. Up close with such a modest velocity and all that bullet weight, wouldn't a speer hot-cor or hornady 350 grain bullet work adequately on a moose or large bear? You would think that a premium bullet wouldn't be required and would make these cartridges more affordable to shoot as opposed to smaller-caliber/faster cartridges that require more gun power, and premium bullets.

    My friend has a 416 hawk that and he fire-forms ultra-cheap graf and sons brass, and uses only 350 grain hot-cors for moose and bear every year. He is now a very old man and doesn't get out much anymore, but he sure has many pictures to prove this theory that premium bullets aren't required for this family of cartridges for everything in Alaska.

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    I think you answered your own question... Also are you sure it's the 416 hawk, I have heard of the 411 hawk guys convert 95 winchesters to the 411 hawk.

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    I think so too, but would like to hear if others feel the same way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I think so too, but would like to hear if others feel the same way.
    I killed moose with speer hot cores and hornady interlocks... But like to use premium bullets for brown bear... Don't want to worry about the core separating from jacket on a big bear.

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    As I age, seems I go backwards as far as bullets go. Used to have to have the latest and best version of custom bullets for any rifle I built up.

    Now a days Nosler partitions are about as "custom" as I go. IMO as long as you are shooting at a moderate velocity for the caliber in question Hornady interlocks are plently good enough. It always amazes me of hunters screaming of "bullet failure" when they recover a bullet from a dead critter. Critter is dead, what more do you need?
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    I agree if it's dead then there was no bullet failure.

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    Probably not, especially with heavy for caliber bullet weight. Rregular old bullets killed stuff for many years and still do. I mostly shoot Barnes X bullets out of every thing except the 45-70. I believe the animal deserves to be shot with the best bullet for the purpose. Lung shots at under 3,000 fps mv usually work on about any thing. I like deep penetrating bullets that don't come apart. How much penetration does one need though, I will take "to much" over "not enough" As long as the bullet destroys enough of the animals vitals it will work. Even though I shoot Barnes X I still believe the Nosler Partition is probably the best "all around" North American bullet ever made.

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    The need for "premium" bullets came along with the higher velocity modern cartridges that derive more of their Knock down power from velocity instead of mass and bullet diameter. The ultra high speeds and smaller bullet are what tends to cause a "non-premium" bullet to fail. Larger caliber slower moving cartridges don't benefit as much from the "premium" bullets.

    Not saying anything here that everyone else hasn't agreed to already.

    Take a 30-06 and neck it down to .25 caliber and load it hot and your bullet selection is much more critical than if you open the case up and load it with a .375 caliber.

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    Maybe just nothing but agreement but if MVs are down in the 2400-2500fps range there is just no point in a super tough premium bullet.

    I'll go one step further- at those velocities, by the time impact occurs downrange you may be under the threshold at which expansion will occur. So in fact a cup and core will very likely work better in those applications.

    My rule of thumb is cartridges with a MV over 3000fps get "premium" controlled expansion bullets and those with MVs under that get regular old cup and cores- I've been happy with the results so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Maybe just nothing but agreement but if MVs are down in the 2400-2500fps range there is just no point in a super tough premium bullet.

    I'll go one step further- at those velocities, by the time impact occurs downrange you may be under the threshold at which expansion will occur. So in fact a cup and core will very likely work better in those applications.

    My rule of thumb is cartridges with a MV over 3000fps get "premium" controlled expansion bullets and those with MVs under that get regular old cup and cores- I've been happy with the results so far.
    Amen to that!

    And I agree with Snowwolfe, too. Any more, partitions are about as premium as I get. In all my years I've had more trouble with failure to expand at long range than any other failure. Noslers hold together well enough for me at close range when velocities are high while still expanding reliably at long range where things slow down a lot. All that at a price I can afford.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    In all my years I've had more trouble with failure to expand at long range than any other failure.
    I've noticed that the last few years I'm hearing more about that specific failure, interesting contrast that in years gone by I heard more about shed jackets and bullet blow-up on close shots. I think as a group we're shooting farther using much tougher bullets than 20 years ago.

    Just for giggles I looked up data for Mainer's 9.3x62...it drops under 2000fps just before you get to 200 yds. At 2000fps impact velocity many of the controlled expansion bullets start to behave erraticly and expansion will be inconsistent. While few would argue that the 9.3x62 is a long range cartridge, 200yds with modern scoped centerfires is not that uncommon or difficult.

    With its mild 2450 muzzle velocity I believe most standard bullets will withstand near point blank shots without coming unglued.... including factory loaded Hornady Interlocks. 2450fps coincidentally is the impact velocity of a standard Hrn. 30-06/180gr Interlock at 100yds...few of us would be concerned about bullet blow up with that cartridge/bullet combo at that range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    With its mild 2450 muzzle velocity I believe most standard bullets will withstand near point blank shots without coming unglued.... including factory loaded Hornady Interlocks. 2450fps coincidentally is the impact velocity of a standard Hrn. 30-06/180gr Interlock at 100yds...few of us would be concerned about bullet blow up with that cartridge/bullet combo at that range.
    In my experience, you're right on the money. We've all been whipsawed by big dollar advertising, fads and fashions, and "outdoor writers" shooting on game farms and nothing more than pimps for the advertisers in the magazines they write for:

    "You're NOBODY if you don't shoot 1,000 yards with a $3k rifle and $1k scope, kill record heads with every shot, and top 3,400 fps with a bullet as modern as an iPhone."

    Baloney.

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    This has been an interesting read, following what all of you have wrote. Is it just me or is the 9.3x62 the 375 Hawk and the 411 Hawk useful group of cartridges? Here's what they bring to the table:

    5 or more rounds in the magazine (depending on gun)
    sufficient range for 300 yard shooting
    fairly lightweight with very manageable recoil
    recoil far more manageable than a 375 Ruger, or a 338 Win Mag.
    all from a 30-06 sized rifle

    Let's take the 411 hawk for example:
    At 2,350 fps:
    With a 350 grain hot-cor, the bullet would have only dropped about 13 inches at 300 yards with a 200 yard zero.

    At 300 yards, the bullet would be traveling about 1,700 fps, and would pack over 2,100 ft. lbs. of energy! A Speer hot-cor should have no problem expanding at that velocity when impacting a thick skinned moose, or a very large brown bear.

    Up close, even IF you were able to get this bullet to shed 100 grains (although probably impossible no matter where or how you shot a bear or moose), the bullet would still have 250 grains of heft plowing it's way through the animal. Would there even be a need for a Partition with so much bullet weight?

    Look at this picture: this is a 350 grain hot-cor 416 next to my 200 grain Nosler Partion/308 handload. Although the 411 hawk may not have much shoulder, I find the cartridge very intriguing and probably one of the most interesting wildcats for Alaska. It would essentially be cheaper to reload for, than my 308 winchester using nosler partitions!

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    My opinion is if you want to stay with the 30-06 basic case there is little if any reason to go beyond the 9.3x62. The 35 Whelen is right there with it as well followed closely by the 338/06.

    The Whelen and 9.3 offer the advantages of inexpensive brass and reloading dies. Either will do anything you ask of it. Currently own a Whelen and wished I had not sold my 9.3. Might be another in my safe in a year or two. The Whelen will easily toss out 250 grain Partitions at 2,500 fps.
    Either the 9.3 or Whelen would also be easier to resell.

    Don't get hung up on energy numbers, they mean little.
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    I've been playing with the HotCores for many years in lots of calibers, and in a .429 wildcat for about 10 years now. I've found them a a wee bit "frangible" for my tastes as MV's approach 3k and impact distances get shorter and shorter below 100 yards. Never a catastrophic failure, mind you, but larger and larger wound channels, less penetration and lighter remaining weights as shots got close in the few I've managed to recover from game.

    I don't think it's any issue in the kinds of cartridges and velocities we're talking about here. But the tickle in the back of my brain sent me looking for a little tougher alternative.

    I think I've found it in the lineup of Hawk Bullets. They're essentially the original Barnes bullet, and based on about 30 years of using those, that's a compliment. You can get a wider range of bullet weights and honest-to-goodness choices in jacket thickness. In my experience their expansion is always good, along with very good weight retention to higher vels and closer ranges than with HotCores.

    And for the kind of rounds we're talking I'll take them over any iBullet.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I hear you on these types of cartridges... quite useful without fire breathing ballistics and recoil to match.

    I'm still intrigued by the .370 Sako aka 9.3x66 Sako and I sincerely hope the resurgence in interest of the 9.3s leads to Federal making another run at it. I was just getting excited when Federal/Sako just apparently lost interest in marketing the cartridge in America to any serious degree.

    The Whelen cartridges have always been cool- made in a time when big magnum actions where rare in the US...they (G&H primarily)did amazing things with the basic '06 case. Looking at the .411 Hawk I can't help but think of the .400 Whelen and how similar they are. In my mind that round should have gotten more popular than it did but I guess a war and a Depression intervened and then the magnum craze hit and all things velocity became more important although with the Hawk line we might think of them as 'modernized' Whelens.

    As much as I love this stuff, I have a hard time taking the wildcat plunge although a recent revisit into handloading might push me over the edge...

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    As much as I love this stuff, I have a hard time taking the wildcat plunge although a recent revisit into handloading might push me over the edge...
    They sure don't make it cheap or easy these days, whether custom dies or reamer prices. There is just SOMETHING about having your own wildcat, which is even cooler than building a rifle that was someone else's pipe dream. Sure, there's probably already a case around, maybe even a factory round. But what's the point in that?

    Back in the 1970's I nursed along a Griffin & Howe R-2 Lovell (aka 22-3000 Lovell) until brass became absolutely unavailable. It was formed in the 1940's or so (pre-222 Remington) on the 25-20 Single Shot case (not the 25-20 Winchester- longer and straight walled), and once those dried up G&H paid for a special run of more cases. When I got down to my last 10 cases and was faced with completely machining replacements from brass rod, I finally sold it. I understand that back in the late 80's BELL did a short run of R-2/22-3000/25-20SS cases, but it was too late.

    Why go to all the trouble? I dunno. I just loved the thing, even as I had three 222 Remingtons in the rack beside it.

    Pull the trigger on your wildcat! Some of us out here are just as "crazy" as you are, if not moreso. But here's the deal- Be proud of it and keep us posted!

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    Brown bear, I dunno about getting back into wildcats,

    Had my share in the past and the custom dies, case forming, low resell value, etc. have made me avoid them at any cost if a factory round will come within 150 fps of what I want the proposed wildcat to do.

    Yes, they are pretty cool and to each their own. About the only way I would get back into any wildcat is to find a great deal on a used rifle which includes dies and brass.

    My comments are not designed to start a debate, respect anyone's wishes to go the wildcat route, they are simply not for me anymore.
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    I noted someone mentioned low muzzle blast and low recoil so this won't really count but I have shot a bunch of wheel weight cast bullets from a 458 winne and they sure seem to kill everything and penetration is no issue. Granted the range is not much but where I hunt you can throw rocks. So it seems if the bullet is big and slow even jackets aren't needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Brown bear, I dunno about getting back into wildcats,

    Had my share in the past and the custom dies, case forming, low resell value, etc. have made me avoid them at any cost if a factory round will come within 150 fps of what I want the proposed wildcat to do.

    Yes, they are pretty cool and to each their own. About the only way I would get back into any wildcat is to find a great deal on a used rifle which includes dies and brass.

    My comments are not designed to start a debate, respect anyone's wishes to go the wildcat route, they are simply not for me anymore.
    I agree completely Snowwolfe! But it still doesn't stop me when the urge gets too kooky. I've found something even worse, though. Traditional sidelock muzzleloaders. I'm an old time archer and handgun hunter and I like to get close, so their range limits just suit me to a T. Plus you can build them yourself and order them with none of the FFL folderoll, so it all fits my personality to another T. Or would that be TT? I've bought or built 28 of the bloomin things in the last 5 years and there's no end in sight. Stay clear, if you think wildcatters are crazy!

    And Redale, you hit the nail on the head about the 458 Winnie and cast bullets. It's like some cast bullet genius designed the cartridge in the first place, because virtually any load for jacketed bullets can be used with cast, and results on game are virtually identical from what I've seen. But I have to forewarn you on one thing. I loaded up a bunch of 550 grainers on light charges and took it out to thump snowshoe bunny heads a few years back and got checked by a couple of brown shirts. And the only thing that saved me and my truck from a strip search was the pair of bunnies hanging from my belt. They just couldn't believe that anyone was fool enough to hunt rabbits with a 458 Winchester!

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