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Thread: Favorite Big Game Bullet

  1. #1
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default Favorite Big Game Bullet

    I just wanted to get an idea for what everyone prefers to launch out of their hunting rifles come hunting season. I would like to here the sucess stories and performance of the ones you love but also perhaps more interesting are the horror stories of shed jackets and the like. I realize this has probably already been asked before but I see alot of questions from folks with less experience and think that this could be educational for those trying to make a decision on a new caliber or load, as well as my own interest in the opinions of those with more experience than myself on Alaskan big game.

    So here goes, I have take deer , hogs, elk ,bear and numerous smaller critters that are to big to humanely hunt with a 22, but not large enough to be called big game. I have used quite afew different bullets in both factory and handloaded cartridges. The bullets that I remember using include REM Core Lokt, FED High shock, Win silvertip,Nosler Part, Nosler Balistic tip, Speer grand slam, Hornady interlock and XTP, Kodiak bonded core, and Barnes X bullets.

    My opinions, and yours will surely differ, is that the Rem, Win, and Fed bullets along with the Nosler ballistic tip may work OK on small deer and the like but are too lightly constructed for larger game. My bad experiences with these were complete blow up of both Nos and Rem's offerings in 140gr 6.5 cal on small deer at short to medium range. Same can be said of my experience with the Silvertip ( old style) 180gr 30 cal, several times, and the 100gr 6mm from fed.

    Partitions have always been good enough in the 270,284, nad 30 cals for me but I like a little more wieght retention and prefer an exit wound. Same goes for the Grand Slam from speer and Hornadys interlock. I have had one Hornady XTP completely come apart, but to be fair I was pushing it way faster than it was designed to be shot. (44 mag bullet in a sabot from 28in barrel of magnum muzzleloader)

    The kodiak bullet has been good to me on all game I have taken with it. I use it in my 457 WWG and have shot game from right off the muzzle all the way out to 240 yds.

    I would have to saay that my favorite for the bolt action rifle, because that is all I've used it in, would have to be the Barnes X. I have used it in the 180gr 30 cal for 3006 on game from 12yds all the way to a lasered 402yds and have recovered verey few, never had expansion problems yet, and the ones I did recover never shed any wieght at all.

    So lets hear about the ones you both love and hate.

  2. #2

    Default so far...

    I used 250 grain Nosler Partitions out of my .338 Win. Mag. for many years and 200 grain .30 calibers out of a 30-06. No complaints with either bullet. About 1987 I switched to the Barnes X 250 grain .338 bullet at a little less then 2700 fps mv. If I ever recover one I will weigh it. I also switched to the 180 grain Barnes X in the 30-06 at about 2800 fps mv. If I ever recover one I will weigh it. Both bullets have been used on moose, caribou, black bear, and the .338 on a wolf and a brown bear. The Nosler Partitions normally lost about a third of their weight and killed quickly. I did recover a 225 grain .338 Barnes X that I put about 4 inches below a fork horn moose's eyes from about 40 feet. That bullet weighs 224 grains. It went thru his head, down his neck, broke one rib and half way in another rib. At the shot the moose spun around and dropped it's nose a few inches off the ground. I could see the blood pouring out his nose. He then walked about 40' and fell over dead. Go figure. That had to make his eyes water and how he ever stayed on his feet is beyond me. When I was a kid in the 60's hunting the Nelchina herd caribou I use 150 grain Silvertips out of the 30-06, they worked fine. Several of the old timers I met in the 60's liked the old style Rem. Core Lok. Optics and bullets are probably the most useful advancement in technology us hunters have benefited from in the last 20 years.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I have used speer and corelokts to take to many to count deer and they have always performed well; no complaints on deer. I have used a barnes on one very good moose and it preformed PERFECTLY but I can not drive them as fast as other bullets and in some of my rifles, they are not all that accurate. Right now I am using either nosler accubond or partitions in most of my bigger than deer rifles. Accuracy and performance of accubond for me has been super! For bears, it is a 250 gr partition in a 338. JMO. J.

  4. #4

    Default Hornady Interlocks

    from .277" to .458" favorite being the 250 gr. .358 in the .35 Whelen and 350 Rem Mag. Never had a shed jacket or blow-up. Used on deer, pigs, bear and moose.

  5. #5
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default

    Barnes TSX

  6. #6
    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Default

    No flame intended, but I have always had excellent success with Nosler bullets, Partitions and Ballistic Tips. I often shoot at very close ranges, less than 15 yards, and BT's have not shown themselves to be any more explosive than other types of bullets at near muzzle velocity impact in my experience. They deliver the kind of accuracy I thrive on and to make certain I get terminal performance I choose a little heavier weight. 115 grains in a 25/06, 140 grains in a 270, 180 grains in a 30/06 and 300 Win Mag and I have used the 200 grain 338 (now only in the Combined Technology) with great success on larger animals.

    I have been using Berger VLD's for the last couple of years and find them an excellent game bullet. Last season I killed two deer with one shot (oops) at about 150 yards so penetration is more than sufficient on thin skin and light framed animals. While many consider them too fragile for good penetration, by using the heavier weight (higher sectional density) I have found penetration more than adequate and they have an excellent reputation for accuracy.

  7. #7

    Default Mostly partitions

    I normally use partitions in my hunting rifles. I have used sierras, hornady interlocks, partitions, barnes x and triple shocks, remington corelocks, and accubonds. I have had a few bullet "failures." The animal died in all cases. I had a 250 grain 35 cal. hornady sp come apart when I shot a small black bear at about 20 yards. The exit was big enough to put my fist into an not touch the sides. I had a jacket/core serparation with a 140 grain sierra pro hunter out of a 7mm-08. I don't think that a bullet needs retain 100% of its weight. I also don't think that they should dissipate all of its energy in the animal. An exit is a good thing. A bullet should hold together long enough to get to the vitals and cause damage after that it has done its job.

  8. #8
    Member BrettAKSCI's Avatar
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    Default

    TSX for expanding Barnes banded solids for solids.

    Brett

  9. #9
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    The Nosler Partition is the bullets that all others are compared too. There are many great bullets out there but i love my partitions.

  10. #10
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    Default +1 more

    What he said.

    165's in 308 win @ almost 2800fps & 225's in 338wm @ tickling 3,000fps and I'm not showing pressure or exceeding book max with either load.

    Haven't found one to weigh yet, one hole in and one hole out. Shoot them for every thing from p-dogs, coyotes, deer & elk in Idaho to Moose n bears up here.

    have ya ever seen what happens to a p-dog when ya "just" miss him with a 225 grainer @ 3K?? It's pretty impressive, and that's all I have to say about that....

    however, I am looking at the accubonds and e-tips..... just to keep things interesting

    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    The Nosler Partition is the bullets that all others are compared too. There are many great bullets out there but i love my partitions.
    Last edited by rdklinak; 06-10-2009 at 19:05. Reason: adding comments

  11. #11

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    Partitions for me as well. 180s in my 06' and 225s in my .338 perform admirably. No reason as yet to go to anything different.

    I have used other bullets with good results as well, Hornady Spire Point and Speer Hot Cor, for example.

    Nosler takes the cake for overall reliability and performance in my experiences so far.

  12. #12

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    HCWFP, heavy for caliber, all calibers! Distance is vastly over rated!

  13. #13
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Default

    I have used all kinds of bullets over the years and always come back to the tried and true Nosler Partitions. The 180 soft point Partitions in my 308s are just dang good game killers. They work great for me since I don’t have any super fast magnums that require anything more. I'm also a cast bullet nut and use them when I can, 30-30, 45-70, and handgun loadings.
    Andy
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    Default Speer grand slam

    As far as I'm concerned no better bullet on the market...

  15. #15
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    Default

    This is what I had expected to here (big support for Partitions), and I think that its pretty much that way all over the US. I guess that there really is no sense fixing it if it aint broken.

    As someone else stated, most of the so called bulleet failures that I have experienced did end with the recovery of the game in question. But after the last bullet that I had come apart (180 factory Win Silvertip in 3006), which ended with me loosing the animal, in thisw case a huge feral hog to the tune of 350#. I decided that the game I hunt means more to me thatn the few extra cents for a good premium bullet. In the case of the hog I took a near perfect broadside shot at around 120yds and knocked him down on the spot only to have him jump up and hightail it out of the county a few seconds later at which point I missed a hurried running shot.
    When I made it to where he had been there was a little hair and some blood but it quickly petered out. Now here is how I'm 99percent sure it was bullet failure. 2yrs later my cousin caught and killed a boar that looked identical except for being slightly larger, that had an old wound on his right shoulder. He says no big deal hogs fight and alwyas have scars, but when he skinned him out for a mount what does he find but a mangled 30cal bullet core and jacket ,separate of course, that over expanded and didnt even break the shoulder. I beleive it was mine because no one hunts on our ranch but myself and family and nobody nearby had said anthing of shooting or seeing a big pig. I guess regardless of who shot the hog the bullet obviosly wasnt up to the chalenge and someone, be it me or another lost a fine trophy because of what I call a bullet failure.

    P.S. The year after the hog fiasco I switched to Barnes 180gr X bullets and one moring on the ranch snuck to within 150yds of a group of hogs. I must have done everything right and had the bolt runnin double time because I made 7 straight one shot kills before they were out of range. Flat country and the 06 holds five down, so only one single load after emptying gun. Of all 7 pigs ranging from 120 to 220 lbs and 150 to 350+yds all were through chest or shoulders and I recovered the one from the last and furthest animal. That last bullet weighed, you guessed it 179gr, and showed perfect expansion.

  16. #16

    Default

    That is some fine shooting, I would liked to have been along to witness it .

    Must have been some fun and a freezer full to boot !

    On the Barnes products, I tried the first generation X bullets, I could not tune a handload for them in my 06' or .338 no matter what ,and the copper fouling was ridiculous ! After that frustration I handloaded Noslers and Hornadys' and have had total satisfaction so, I have no reason to try the TSX from Barnes .

    For NA big game, I feel no need for a tougher bullet than the Partition.

  17. #17
    Member brslar's Avatar
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    Cool bullets

    200 grain swift A frames out of my 300
    180 grain sciroco's out od my 3006, and 308
    sciroco's out of my 7MM
    Lever evolution out of my 44 lever gun, 444, 45-70, 30-30

  18. #18
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    My uncle also slammed one of the hogs with his 7mm rem mag, bringing the total to 8. Of the whole group only 1 or 2 got away, and yes we did have a heck of a freezer full of hams and pork chops.

    The one that my uncle took was shot from around 50 yds with a 160 partition and and it performed admirably. Had some pretty cool pictures of the two of us and the big line of piggys, but they must have been lost when I moved up here. For some reason I remember those pork chops tasting much better than the ones I had from Carrs tonite.

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up TSX

    The question was, "...favorite bullet and bullets you hate."

    My favorite bullet, and the bullet I use up here for big game is the TSX. There are so many good bullets out there, and they all pretty much work. The big game animals that I have shot up here with Partitions, Trophybonded Bear Claws, Swift Scirrocos, and even Core-lokts have all died. However, my experience with the Barnes bullets is that they out penetrate the rest of them, and now that the TSX has been out I'm mostly just loading that bullet nowadays for hunting trips. The accuracy of the TSX is excellent, and it is more universally liked across different rifles and calibers, unlike its predecessor the "X" bullet.

    The other part of the question is about hated bullets. Hmmm...I can't think of any off the top of my head. I could never get the Fail-Safes to shoot accurately enough for my liking.

    Doc

  20. #20

    Default Monometal

    I have to answer this question philosophically. I have used the Partiton as my bread and butter for many years and it has done a great job for me. I have also used a few others on occasion and they have worked as well. I think it's hard to wrong in side 300 yds with most of the bullets availaible thes days, especially if shooting a more powerful cartridge.

    I like what I read about the monometal bullets and the fact that they retain mass and are excellent penetrators. I like the E-Tip over the TSX and I like the GS HV over the E-Tip. So, with all other things being equal... My favorite would be the GS HV... which I have not shot yet but I hope to remedy that soon.

    Having said that, my real world, rubber meets the road, favoite bullet is the one that shoots the most accurate in my rifle and has a relatively high BC.

    I cant think of any bullets that I hate, but I will not use highly frangible bullets at close range and high velocites on game that I eat.

    -MR

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