Cartridge Bullet Change of Heart

bholt

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Fist let me say "forgive me Lord for I have sinned", I AM NOT A RELOADER. That said I do, and have enjoyed shooting for years. The problem was money, or a lack there of. I have been able to hunt though since the eighties and loved shooting the Hornady line of cartridges since they came out in the mid eighties. In my onion they brought Handloading accuracy to the cartridge world. When the SST came out I switched over to them and out of my Remington BDL's .243 (95gr) and 25-06 (117gr) they dove nails. A few years ago not having anything in Stainless or in Composite (plastic) I was looking at buying a new rifle and ended up with the "Billy Wiz Bang" T3X in the 6.5 Creedmoor.
I started buying several boxes to fined out what the rifle preferred and settled in the 143gr ELDX, It shoots as good as the SST's and has killed everything I ever shot with it (50-150yds). A couple years ago though I shot a doe high in the neck at 90 yards., the problem is/was no exit.
I fined out about the thin jackets on the eldx end up finding the Winchester Expedition Long Range142gr Accubond bullet which is "bonded" unlike the ELDX. These cartridge's have the exact same ballistics out to five hundred yards and I'm shooting any game that far off.
I live in central Texas so our deer are not as big as some others, and while I have not had to track a deer since the eighties leaning more towards a bonded bullet that can give a exit at closer ranges. My question is am I on the right track moving to the Accubond long range?
 

VikingsGuy

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If you are going to make a change, I suggest you consider going copper. Factory boxed VOR-TX with TTSX bullets are a great choice. Controlled expansion, 98% mass retained, no lead in your food or the environment, given high retained mass you can go down 10-15% in bullet weight and pick up some speed. These things definitely punch through game at proper distances. Once you shoot them you will never go back.
 

EastTNHunter

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I like the Accubond, which is a bonded bullet. I’ve rarely failed to get an exit wound with that bullet, but it also give great shock value.

TTSXs are good, but I don’t get the DRT performance as consistently out of them.

You will get a blood trail with either since you should also have an exit wound
 

TimeOnTarget

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I like you was concerned about its over expansion/explosiveness on the first couple whitetail I shot with the 143eldx even though the animals died quickly.

I kept using it and my concerns have vanished now as I've got probably 20+ deer and elk under its belt using that bullet. All but two of those bullets were pass throughs. The two that didn't passthrough were on a muley buck which I hit high in the spine. The second was on a bull elk, Found it under the hide on the opposite side. Retained about 40% of its weight.

I'd have no worries about the 143, especially out of that slow Creedmoor. :)
 

Ben Lamb

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The SST;s & ELD's are thin jacketed and did what they were designed to do: fragment & cause massive tissue damage while dumping their energy into the critter.
But I don't like them. They're messy and I lost meat to them.

The bonded bullet with give you great terminal performance while saving meat & sticking together to keep lead out of your diet. I think you're on the right track.

I'd also second the suggestion to try some copper.
 

Addicting

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Range142gr Accubond
I have a lot of experience with that bullet which is actually in accubond long range. You are going to have the same tendencies that you get with the ELDX. Google accubond long range and you can read all the different stories about how violently it expands. I quit using it due to the sheer amount of damage they cause. Don’t confuse it with a regular accubond that performs very well, they are completely different bullets.
 

TrumpkinTheDwarf

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My body is in Texas, but home is the Big Sky count
You're going to hear a lot of guys pitching copper on this forum. I vacillate back and forth between caring about lead in food and thinking it's no big deal. The Hornady SST is one of the deadliest bullets I've used in my 06 for deer sized game. especially at longer ranges. Barnes TTSX puts them down too, but if you don't hit the heart, they stand around a little longer when impact velocities are lower.
 

ImBillT

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No need for a bonded bullet on a TX whitetail.

The military did extensive testing with the 6.5CM and concluded that the 130gr Berger VLD was the best bullet they tested for TERMINAL PERFORMANCE. It may have been the most accurate as well, but they said it was the best for terminal performance. A man is a lot smaller than an elk, and you might look to a different bullet for elk or mule deer, but for whitetails, I would not hesitate to use a thin jacketed bullet in a 6.5CM.

In my souped up wildcat 6.5mm, I need more weight or a thicker jacket. The 130s are going to dang fast.
 
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buffybr

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I've had good results, one shot DRT Bang flops and other one shot kills with a variety of bullets and cartridges on critters all over the world. Such as 117 grain Sierra GameKing bullets in my .257 Ackley, 140 gr Nosler ballistic Tips and 160 gr Accubonds in my 7 mm Rem mag, 180 gr Partitions in my .30 Gibb, 168 gr TSX and TTSX and 180 gr TTSX bullets in my .300 Weatherby, and 270 and 300 grain TSX bullets in my .375 RUM, and a variety of cast lead bullets from my black powder rifles and centerfire pistols. The biggest factor affecting the results of the bullets hitting the animals was where the bullets hit them.
 

BTripp86

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I vote for trying to 120 gr ballistic tip if you can find them in factory loads. Deadly on deer size critters and should pick up enough velocity in the needsmore to make it somewhat flat shooting. But I have no clue if anyone factory loads it as I haven't bought factory centerfire ammo in years, and I didn't read if you handload or not.
 

Redman

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I am a handloader and use nothing but Barnes TTSX and have yet to need to shoot an animal more than once. That being said prior to my conversion to lead free I shot Nosler BT, AB, and Partition. Never had a real issue with any of the Nosler bullets and even used factory loaded Nosler BT out of my .243 which I killed antelope and more Indiana whitetails than I can count. The BT in my opinion would leave large exit holes but again the animals seldom took one step. If you don't go with a mono Nosler will not let you down.
 

ImBillT

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I am a handloader and use nothing but Barnes TTSX and have yet to need to shoot an animal more than once. That being said prior to my conversion to lead free I shot Nosler BT, AB, and Partition. Never had a real issue with any of the Nosler bullets and even used factory loaded Nosler BT out of my .243 which I killed antelope and more Indiana whitetails than I can count. The BT in my opinion would leave large exit holes but again the animals seldom took one step. If you don't go with a mono Nosler will not let you down.
That’s why they seldom took a step.

A SMALLER hole through an animal will never result in it being MORE injured.
 
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std7mag

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I've used Nosler Ballistic Tips since i started hunting in the mid 80s.
Never have had a bullet failure from them!
I shoot a LOT of the Hornady SST and they do more damage to meat than the Ballistic Tip.
But i've found that i can get consistently better groups with the Ballistic Tips.
Past few years i've been loading Berger VLDs.
It's amazing how much more internal damage they do compared to SSTs or BTs.

Only meat we've lost is bullet hole through the ribs going in, jacket through the ribs on the off side.

Were i to go mono bullets, i'd choose Hammer, or Cutting Edge over the Barnes every time.

Hammer & Cutting Edge are designed to shed the petals, essentially giving you 4 additional wound tracks through the body.

I've tracked well shot deer entirely too far after being shot with a Barnes.
 

OntarioHunter

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I never understood this current fanaticism for bang-flop over avoiding meat damage. Back when I was young anyone who hung something in a butcher shop that looked like it was hit with an RPG was subject to local humiliation. I guess bang-flop becomes more important when ranges run out to 500+ yards. It might be tomorrow before the shooter can get to the downed animal.

In over half a century of eating more than a hundred deer, elk, and moose that I've shot with 30-06 cup-and-core lead bullets I have yet to encounter a piece of lead in the meat. Absolutely no concern if I did. The potential lead poisoning from consuming the odd tiny shrapnel would not exceed natural everyday environmental contamination. Perhaps it might be more concerning if I was an infant instead of 200 lb adult.

Interesting that I just concluded debating this subject with my African PH. Shots at plains game can involve some distance. For over fifty years I shot North American big game with 180 gr cup-and-core lead bullets and only lost one animal (lightly hit that someone else subsequently killed). Only one wounded animal required any amount of tracking, also lightly wounded. But that one was out of range and shooting at it was a youthful mistake. Anyway, due to component shortages for upcoming trip to Africa I am stuck working up a load with 30-06 165 gr Hornady cup-and-core. I have about a dozen 165 gr Partitions left that I loaded for my first trip and seven 168 gr Barnes TSX bullets from second trip. No hope of getting any more Partition bullets and, though more Barnes bullets can be had, I was concerned because they didn't group well for me last time (I used up most of the box at the range). But that may have been due to operator error (failed to seat the bullets deep enough for a jump to lands) and/or equipment failure. The Partitions performed fabulously on the first trip but I was shocked at the meat damage to the only animal I saw skinned (mind you that gemsbuck was shot at extremely close range). Should I stick with Hornady, try to make the remaining Partitions last, or drive four hours across the border to pick up more Barnes bullets? My PH said don't worry about meat damage. They want clients to put the animal down, hence instructions to shoot even little impala and blesbuck square in the shoulder. My preference has always been to hit animals behind the shoulder to avoid wasting meat. He said the Hornady bullets will work but be careful with Barbary sheep. Interesting that exit wound is NOT desirable for them. If the sheep are spooked their inclination is to pack together tightly. For his last sheep he declined to use his 270 WSM and instead borrowed the landowner's 22-250 to pick off the ram from the flock with reduced risk of bullet exiting. If the Partitions will group with the Hornady bullets, I may take what's left of them along just for sheep. According to my PH the Barnes bullets aren't desirable for sheep because of their tendency for pass through.

Moral of the story is bullet choice is about balancing species, type of hunting, range, and meat damage. I was raised to put meat damage at the top of the list. Bang-flop was never even a consideration in those days. Any animal shot in the boiler room with 165 or 180 gr won't go far before falling over. I have never seen one go further than fifty yards. The OP is hunting small deer and consequently should be concerned about wasting any of it unnecessarily. If he is hunting over bait, which is very common in Texas, he has no business shooting RPG exploding bullets. Long distance shouldn't be a factor. Shoot that zipper with a heavier more solid bullet at slower velocity. Get a good thump without the exploding meat. If the OP is beanfield shooting long distance, then perhaps copper is better. He wants range and more potential for pass through with better terminal velocity. Neither is my typical hunting style. I prefer medium to short range and often as not hunt in snow where tracking is easy. I shoot a medium to heavy 30-06 bullet at medium to high velocity. I rarely have to shoot an animal twice and meat damage is typically quite minimal. But I hunt a lot and I'm a fairly good shot. I have enough experience to know how to be fussy with shot placement.
 

antelopedundee

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I vote for trying to 120 gr ballistic tip if you can find them in factory loads. Deadly on deer size critters and should pick up enough velocity in the needsmore to make it somewhat flat shooting. But I have no clue if anyone factory loads it as I haven't bought factory centerfire ammo in years, and I didn't read if you handload or not.
He doesn't handload.
 

std7mag

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I never understood this current fanaticism for bang-flop over avoiding meat damage. Back when I was young anyone who hung something in a butcher shop that looked like it was hit with an RPG was subject to local humiliation. I guess bang-flop becomes more important when ranges run out to 500+ yards. It might be tomorrow before the shooter can get to the downed animal.

In over half a century of eating more than a hundred deer, elk, and moose that I've shot with 30-06 cup-and-core lead bullets I have yet to encounter a piece of lead in the meat. Absolutely no concern if I did. The potential lead poisoning from consuming the odd tiny shrapnel would not exceed natural everyday environmental contamination. Perhaps it might be more concerning if I was an infant instead of 200 lb adult.

Interesting that I just concluded debating this subject with my African PH. Shots at plains game can involve some distance. For over fifty years I shot North American big game with 180 gr cup-and-core lead bullets and only lost one animal (lightly hit that someone else subsequently killed). Only one wounded animal required any amount of tracking, also lightly wounded. But that one was out of range and shooting at it was a youthful mistake. Anyway, due to component shortages for upcoming trip to Africa I am stuck working up a load with 30-06 165 gr Hornady cup-and-core. I have about a dozen 165 gr Partitions left that I loaded for my first trip and seven 168 gr Barnes TSX bullets from second trip. No hope of getting any more Partition bullets and, though more Barnes bullets can be had, I was concerned because they didn't group well for me last time (I used up most of the box at the range). But that may have been due to operator error (failed to seat the bullets deep enough for a jump to lands) and/or equipment failure. The Partitions performed fabulously on the first trip but I was shocked at the meat damage to the only animal I saw skinned (mind you that gemsbuck was shot at extremely close range). Should I stick with Hornady, try to make the remaining Partitions last, or drive four hours across the border to pick up more Barnes bullets? My PH said don't worry about meat damage. They want clients to put the animal down, hence instructions to shoot even little impala and blesbuck square in the shoulder. My preference has always been to hit animals behind the shoulder to avoid wasting meat. He said the Hornady bullets will work but be careful with Barbary sheep. Interesting that exit wound is NOT desirable for them. If the sheep are spooked their inclination is to pack together tightly. For his last sheep he declined to use his 270 WSM and instead borrowed the landowner's 22-250 to pick off the ram from the flock with reduced risk of bullet exiting. If the Partitions will group with the Hornady bullets, I may take what's left of them along just for sheep. According to my PH the Barnes bullets aren't desirable for sheep because of their tendency for pass through.

Moral of the story is bullet choice is about balancing species, type of hunting, range, and meat damage. I was raised to put meat damage at the top of the list. Bang-flop was never even a consideration in those days. Any animal shot in the boiler room with 165 or 180 gr won't go far before falling over. I have never seen one go further than fifty yards. The OP is hunting small deer and consequently should be concerned about wasting any of it unnecessarily. If he is hunting over bait, which is very common in Texas, he has no business shooting RPG exploding bullets. Long distance shouldn't be a factor. Shoot that zipper with a heavier more solid bullet at slower velocity. Get a good thump without the exploding meat. If the OP is beanfield shooting long distance, then perhaps copper is better. He wants range and more potential for pass through with better terminal velocity. Neither is my typical hunting style. I prefer medium to short range and often as not hunt in snow where tracking is easy. I shoot a medium to heavy 30-06 bullet at medium to high velocity. I rarely have to shoot an animal twice and meat damage is typically quite minimal. But I hunt a lot and I'm a fairly good shot. I have enough experience to know how to be fussy with shot placement.
My early days of hunting were with a Savage 110 in 30-06.
I used the Federal Premium with 165gr Ballistic Tip, before i got into reloading.
I always try for a broadside, behind the shoulder shot.
Animals taken from 50 yards to just over 300 yards were DRT.
Only time i had wasted meat was a button buck at 125 yards that i didn't realize was slightly quartering away.
Entry hole just where i wanted. Exit was through offside shoulder. You could put your fist almost literally through the exit hole.

All the other calibers/cartridges i've used have been simular results. Tracking less than 20 yards.

Daughters buck the other year with my 257 Roberts using the 115gr Berger VLD at about 70 yards.
"The deer just kinda puffed up, went straight legged, and fell over."
Bullet sized entry hole. Internals turned to mush. Found jacket under offside hide.
 

antelopedundee

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I've used Nosler Ballistic Tips since i started hunting in the mid 80s.
Never have had a bullet failure from them!
I shoot a LOT of the Hornady SST and they do more damage to meat than the Ballistic Tip.
But i've found that i can get consistently better groups with the Ballistic Tips.
Past few years i've been loading Berger VLDs.
It's amazing how much more internal damage they do compared to SSTs or BTs.

Only meat we've lost is bullet hole through the ribs going in, jacket through the ribs on the off side.

Were i to go mono bullets, i'd choose Hammer, or Cutting Edge over the Barnes every time.

Hammer & Cutting Edge are designed to shed the petals, essentially giving you 4 additional wound tracks through the body.

I've tracked well shot deer entirely too far after being shot with a Barnes.
Any comments about the Barnes LRX bullets?
 

BAKPAKR

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Up a Holler
He doesn't handload.
I think Nosler offers the 120 gr Ballistic Tip in loaded 6.5 CM ammunition. Whether or not OP could find it in stock is another question. I think Ballistic Tips are great bullets for deer.

I have a 6.5 CM that loves the factory Hornady 147 gr ELD match ammo. I used that same bullet in a hand load for a bighorn ram and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use it on deer from up close to as far as I am comfortable shooting at game with any rifle.

Now, if your main concern is getting an exit wound nearly every time, find something that uses a monometal bullet. My daughter and I have shot several deer with 223s and 62 gr Barnes TTSXs and we have yet to have one stop in an animal. Just an FYI, although I have had good luck with Nosler Partitions, I had a 150 gr Partition out of a 7mm RM fail to exit a nice buck.
 

std7mag

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Any comments about the Barnes LRX bullets?
It's no secret i'm not a fan of Barnes bullets.
Many would disagree with my opinion.
I've seen/helped track deer with good hits from Barnes bullets that went way further than they should have.
I know, nothing certain when putting a bullet in an animal.

Course i've seen a deer get up & run after 6 shots from Rem Corelokts to boiler room too.
 

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