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Thread: The BEST bullet

  1. #1

    Default The BEST bullet

    Hi everyone. I see alot of talk about which bullet is best. I am buying a new Browning 300 win mag and have been doing tons of research as to what bullets are best. We can all talk with this person or that person and they like this or that. But I wanted to read what the bullet really did. I found this great article and thought I would share it with everyone.
    It really get down to what a bullet does when it hits your game and give a RATING on different brands.

    Click here: October, 97 GGG Win Mags

    300 Win. Mag. Winners: Safari and Trophy Bonded
    These rounds from Remington and Federal showed speed, power, and expansion qualities we liked. Losers: Two Federal loads that turned to shrapnel.
    The Remington Safari Grade Swift A-Frame
    200-grain bullet.

    Proper shot placement does not begin in the field while setting your sights on a trophy elk or monster mule deer. Rather, it all starts at your favorite ammo dealer because the best-placed shot of a lifetime could literally amount to a spoonful of shrapnel if you donít choose the right cartridge and bullet combination.
    One of the favorite medium-game cartridges is the .300 Winchester Magnum, which shoots the same caliber bullet as the .308 Winchester, but with more velocity. Thus, the .300 Win. Mag. will hit with more power, specifically, more impact energy. But you should still be careful about your selection of ammunition. For one thing, you can buy a .30-06 load in a .300 Magnum case. One of the loads we tested was just that, and not a very husky .30-06 load either. Another problem is bullet performance. It takes a stouter bullet to handle these higher velocities well.
    To be effective a bullet must expand and penetrate. If it fails to expand it will produce only a pencil-sized hole through the animal, usually resulting in a lingering death and lost meat. A bullet that expands and promptly looses its mushroom is little better. This was a major problem with the bullets we tested. A bullet that disintegrates on impact and doesnít penetrate expends its energy on the surface, causing only a superficial wound. You canít expect to kill an elk with a spoonful of shrapnel. A somewhat less serious problem is bullets that lose most of their weight and energy on impact, but continue to penetrate. Our testing procedure checked for all of these problems.
    A higher impact velocity can aid the mushrooming process of a properly constructed bullet, or it can ďwipeĒ the mushroom off after the bullet enters the target. It takes a well-constructed bullet to withstand the higher impact velocity of a short .300 Magnum shot. Most of those we tested didnít do so; they disintegrated or lost their mushroomed front end. But we buy these bigger guns to shoot at longer ranges; a bullet has to perform especially well at the limit of its range when most of the speed has drained away. All but one of the bullets we tested expanded at 300-yard velocities.
    Our test rounds included the Remington Safari Grade brand, which has a Swift A-Frame 200-grain bullet; Federal Trophy Bonded with Trophy Bondedís Bear Claw 180-grain bullet; the Winchester Power Point 180-grain Soft Point; the Winchester 220-grain Silver Tip; Remingtonís 190-grain Extended Range cartridge; the Remington 180-grain Core-Lokt round; PMCís Barnes ďXĒ 180-grain bullet; Federalís Premium load with Noslerís 180-grain Partition bullet; the Speer Nitrex with a Grand Slam 180 grain bullet; Winchesterís 180-grain Fail Safe load; the PMC 180-grain Pointed Soft Point; Hornadyís 180-grain Spire Point Interlock; and Federalís 180-grain Pro Hunter and 200-grain Boat Tail Soft Point loads. Of this group, we liked the Remington Safari and Federal Trophy Bonded rounds, but would pass on the Federal Pro Hunter and Boat Tail Soft Point loads, for reasons we detail below.
    Bullet-By-Bullet Results
    Remington Safari Grade with a Swift A-Frame 200-grain bullet. Our testing demonstrated that this is the best round available for the .300 Winchester Magnum. Each bullet expanded well in all three mediums and retained most of its weight. It also delivered the most energy at 300 yards because itís a faster, heavier bullet than most of those tested. The cases are nickel plated. That may be an indication of premium price, but it doesnít really make any difference. Cases are plated to prevent contact with leather from corroding the brass. No one that we know of carries his rifle ammunition in leather belt loops.
    Bullet construction accounts for this superior performance on impact. It uses a partitioned jacket like the Nosler bullet. But unlike the Nosler, the front section of lead is bonded to the jacket using a process similar to soldering. A flux removes the thin layer of copper oxide and allows the molten lead to bond to the copper alloy jacket.
    This produces a nearly perfect mushroom in water with the lead flowing over and backwards while the jacket partition holds everything together. The rear portion of lead core is not bonded to the jacket and moves forward on impact, bulging the midsection of the jacket and leaving a cavity in the rear of the jacket. This bulged midsection helps support the mushroomed front lead. With bone impact, some of the lead mushroom is wiped off, reducing the retained weight and showing the bulged midsection. A second shot produced the same form of mushrooming.
    Federal Trophy Bonded with Trophy Bondedís Bear Claw 180-grain bullet. Another good choice. Itís faster, shoots flatter, penetrates deeper, retains more weight in bone, and expands better in the 300-yard bacon test than the Safari. But the mushrooming is not as perfect; itís a little ragged around the edges in both bone and water tests, and it doesnít hit quite as hard at 300 yards. The bullet is bonded, and, as befits a premium load, the case is nickel plated.
    Winchester Power Point 180-grain Soft Point. This relatively inexpensive bullet, which we think is a best buy, gave the best expansion in both water and bone of any of the bullets tested. The retained weight and impact energy rivaled the bonded bullets. If youíre watching expenses closely, this load, at about half the price of the bonded bullets, is the choice for you.
    Winchester 220-grain Silver Tip. If you need a heavier bullet, choose this one. The retained weight is better than the Power Point, but there is less expansion, less impact energy, and more drop than its sister bullet.
    Remington 190-grain Extended Range. This is not Remingtonís best long-range load in spite of the boat tail. The Safari shoots flatter, hits harder, expands more, retains more weight and penetrates deeper. It also costs more. But this bullet expands fairly well and retains about half its weight. Be sure to check for accuracy in your gun; it shot a 9-inch group with our 26-inch barrel. Note that the bullet separated in the bacon test.
    Remington 180-grain Core-Lokt. This bullet solves the problem of core and jacket separation by locking the core into the jacket with a ďheel fold.Ē The very butt of the core fits into a small annular recess at the bottom of the jacket. And it works; note the bullet didnít separate in any of our tests. But the expansion is only fair and the retained weight isnít very good either.
    PMC with a Barnes ďXĒ 180-grain bullet. This fairly expensive bullet solves the problem of core separation by not using a core. Itís solid copper alloy, and itís too hard to expand very much. Barnes attempts to solve the expansion problem by fluting the inside of the hollow point. On impact, the point splits and folds back into four petals, which form a nice but small mushroom. Note that the bullet we tested in bacon did just that. But at higher velocities and heavier impact mediums, these petals break off. We sifted all four of them out of the sawdust portion of our bullet trap after the bone test. Only three of the petals broke off in the water test; we couldnít find any of them. But these copper slugs did retain most of their weight and there was a small amount of mushrooming even without the petals. Note: Handloaders should be wary of this bullet. Itís hard and the engraving resistance is high. This leads to a steep pressure gradient, a large increase in pressure for a small increase in powder.
    Federal Premium with Noslerís 180-grain Partition bullet. Only a few years ago this was the finest bullet available, and it still is a pretty good bullet at low speeds. At belted magnum velocities, it doesnít fare as well. Nosler solves the problem of bullet separation with a partition in the center of the jacket much the same as a Swift A-Frame. Two lead cores fill the jacket; the front core mushrooms while the rear core, behind the partition, remains undistorted and retains all its weight. At low speeds the system works well; note how well it performed in our bacon test. At faster speeds the mushroomed front core is lost. Usually only a thin wafer of the front core lead remains with the bullet. If the front core is lost, the front half of the jacket folds back, turns inside-out and forms the leading surface of a copper mushroom. Itís still a good bullet at this speed, but at faster speeds the front half of the jacket folds back tightly against the rear core and presents only a fair-sized mushroom. This is what happened in our water test. In our bone test, this bullet had a different problem. After the copper mushroom formed, the bullet parachuted. It flipped end-for-end. Then the forward (rearward?) motion of the bullet bent the mushroomed copper back in the direction it came from and broke it off. You can clearly see the fresh fracture mark on the small triangle of mushroom that remains attached to the rear half of the bullet. Federal attempts to control this problem by loading the bullet lightly to only 2,850 feet per second, by far the slowest 180-grain bullet in our test. Thatís .30-06 velocity for this bullet weight, but the case is nickel plated to indicate a premium load.
    Speer Nitrex with a Grand Slam 180-grain bullet. Speer has a unique system for controlling separation in this bullet. It has two cores, the rear one is described as ďhardĒ by Speer, the front one soft. (We found both cores soft enough to dent with a fingernail.) There is no partition to keep the rear core in the jacket, instead a large annular ring extruded or swaged from the jacket holds it in place. The soft front core and front half of the jacket are expected to mushroom. In our water test, the front core was lost, leaving only about half of the weight retained, but the jacket mushroomed nicely. In the bone test, the bullet broke in half where it had been weakened by extruding the retaining ring. (In other testing, we have found that this bullet frequently breaks in half.) Nickel plating the case did n0t improve the performance of this load.
    Winchester 180-grain Fail Safe. This bullet is Winchesterís improvement of the Barnes ďXĒ bullet. It has a lead core inserted in the rear; itís held in place with a steel plug at the rear end and protected with a steel cap on the front end. That adds a little to the sectional density, but it doesnít do anything to improve the basic weaknesses of a copper alloy bullet. The alloy is too hard to mushroom well without petals, and the petals break off. Half of the Fail Safe petals broke off in the bacon test, all of them broke off in the remaining tests. Be sure to check this load for accuracy, we shot a 10-inch group with one rifle; a 2.2-inch group with the other rifle. Winchester uses a nickel-plated case to identify this premium load and paints the bullet black to positively identify it.
    PMC 180-grain Pointed Soft Point. This conventional bullet held up fairly well in the bone test, but it disintegrated in the water test.
    Hornady 180-grain Spire Point Interlock. Hornady attempts to solve the bullet separation problem by locking the core in with a small annular ring extruded from the jacket, much like Speerís Grand Slam, but it didnít work very well. The core popped out of the jacket in our bacon test. The bullet totally disintegrated in our bone test, but did fairly well in the water test. Lots of mushrooming; not much weight retention.
    Federal 180-grain Pro Hunter. This bullet failed to expand in bacon and totally disintegrated in both water and bone.
    Federal 200-grain Boat Tail Soft Point. While this bullet expanded in the bacon test, it totally disintegrated in both bone and water.
    Guns, Gear & Game Recommends
    The top-performing brands in this test include Remingtonís Safari Grade with a Swift A-Frame 200-grain bullet, the Federal Trophy Bonded with Trophy Bondedís Bear Claw 180-grain bullet, Winchesterís Power Point 180-grain Soft Point, and the Winchester 220-grain Silver Tip. We believe the Safari is the best round available for the .300 Winchester Magnum; however, the Federal Trophy Bonded was the flattest-shooting round in the test. If you need a heavier bullet, choose the Winchester 220-grain Silver Tip.
    Because of its low price and top performance, we think the Winchester Power Point 180-grain Soft Point is a best buy.
    Several other rounds fall into the niche category; that is, if they fulfill a specific hunting need for you the rounds above donít (and we can not think of one), then theyíre worth a look. These include the Remington 190-grain Extended Range; Remingtonís 180-grain Core-Lokt bullet, and PMCís Barnes ďXĒ 180-grain bullet.
    We feel that the remaining bullets in the test donít have any performance characteristics that surpass the rounds above. Thus, we donít see any reason to buy Federalís Nosler 180-grain Partition bullet, the Speer Nitrex with a Grand Slam 180-grain bullet, Winchesterís 180-grain Fail Safe bullet, the PMC 180-grain Pointed Soft Point round, Hornadyís 180-grain Spire Point Interlock cartridge, and Federalís 180-grain Pro Hunter and 200-grain Boat Tail Soft Point.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Eagle River

    Thumbs up old information in the article from '97

    For my money, I am using Barnes tsx in a variety of weapons in a variety of weights. I have tested a number of bullets in my reloads and consistently have had the best results from tsx bullets. When I have been able to find a bullet after shooting game (mostly through and throughs) it has retained all pedals and nearly 100% of weight. The Barnes tsx consistently has resulted in the tightest groups for me in my weapons and when compared to other bullets a flatter trajectory. To boot on game they are typically down right now. Of course shoot placement is really the most important point here but I am impressed with the results compared to other bullets I have used.

    Look in the handloader forum and you will see for yourself tsx bullets from game - pretty impressive.

    Now, I have to admit that I typically don't shoot into bacon, water and the such, so I can not speak to that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default bullet for 300 win mag

    For the 300 win mag I would go with 165-168 TSX, 180 tsx, nosler accubond, nosler partition, Failsafe, TBBC, Kodiak, Swift scirocco or aframe, and any of the same in 200gr. The 200gr vs 180gr isn't that big an issue if your 300 shoots one over the other much better I would stick with it. If you can shoot the 200s at similar speed to 180s might as wel shoot the heavier. All of my buddies and me used the federal premium load with 180gr partitions and I have seen it take everything in alaska except the big bears. Shoot a few and see what shoots best.


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