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The perfect Hunting Bullet?

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Idaholewis
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The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:09 am

What is the perfect bullet for Hunting Big Game, Deer and above, And what makes it perfect in your opinion?

Upon entering the animal, should the bullet come apart and fragment? Or should it open to a Mushroom form and hold together? What brand of bullet do you use?
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:28 am

I was taught from a youngster to use a premium bullet and always shoot for behind the front shoulder (through the lungs) But if i was in a situation where i needed to Anchor the animal, Then take the high shoulder shot. Neck shots are great, but it was something i NEVER practiced, i have killed a few deer over the years with neck shots but it was either a really close shot looking straight at me, or i had no other options. My dad taught me as a kid not to trust a Neck shot, especially on Elk, if they are broadside they have that Mane that hangs from the under side of the neck and it can be tough to center a neck shot due to that.

I believe Barnes X Bullets are absolutely awesome on BIG stuff like Elk where the Bullet has such a large cavity to ‘Dump it’s Energy’ inside. But i am not convinced on deer? At least with the smaller Calibers. .24, .25, and .26 Calibers come to mind here in my opinion.

I took a guy deer hunting 3-4 years ago that had never shot a deer, the rifle was mine, a .257 Weatherby Magnum. During load development for my .257 i had made up my mind i wanted a bullet that would hold together and not blow apart, otherwise i would end up with an animal destroyed from bloodshot damage, The .257 Weatherby Magnum is a SERIOUS Firecracker! I chose the 80 Grain Barnes TTSX as i was confident it would hold together in true Barnes fashion and i wanted a SUPER FAST bullet. During load development I had shot and recovered MANY bullets from Snow and Ice banks to check performance, 9 out of 10 bullets recovered had performed flawlessy, and retained 95% or better of their weight. I worked up a reload for that rifle that would truly shoot a dime at 100 yards if you did your part. I Chronographed that load at 3,650 FPS! SMOKIN!! I felt like i had the PERFECT setup for Whitetail deer? So i offered to let this Guy that had never shot a deer use this rifle, The morning of our hunt was cold and it had lightly snowed that night, the ground was slightly covered with a blanket of snow, ideal weather to track an animal if needed, It didn’t take long that morning and i was in deer, this guy didn’t care if it was a Buck or a Doe, it was all about the meat (which it ALWAYS should be!) I spotted a big lone Doe standing in an old logging grade about 75 yards away, she offered a Perfect Broadside shot, the guy took the shot, i seen her Jump, Mule kick, and head in the thick brush. The guy was super excited and started to head that way, i made him stop and wait, we waited 10 minutes or so and i told him to go ahead but to NOT walk in her tracks, i wanted to see the blood trail without it being trompled through, it wasn’t long and the Guy yelled from a distance ‘I got her!’ I got on her tracks where she was standing when she was hit, perfect light blanket of snow, no blood? I tracked that deer to her death (a good solid 75 yards from the shot) and not 1 single drop of blood was found?? When i rolled her over there was a decent amount under her, but she had not bled a single drop that i could find in her 75 yard or so dash shot through the lungs? I even back tracked and looked harder, NOTHING? Upon gutting her, He had made an absolute perfect shot behind the front shoulder, even clipped the back edge of the entrance shoulder, above the leg joint, couldn’t ask for a better shot.

I abandoned that entire setup after that deal, i am confident a lesser bullet would have left a blood trail, but also a bloodshot mess with the extreme Velocity of the .257 Weatherby Magnum. I ended up selling that rifle. In my opinion the Barnes X bullets are ABSOLUTELY Awesome in .28 and above Calibers especially for Elk size Game, but i am not sold on them for smaller deer size game, i feel like they are to much of a good thing for deer in the smaller calibers, if that makes sense? They Zip right through
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby FredB » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:48 am

I prefer the classic 2x mushroom, but I want it to exit the animal so I never find it to examine it. :huh?: I don't want to find little parts and pieces of bullet in the meat. I also agree with Col Whelen about only accurate rifles being interesting, and I want my bullets to help keep my hunting rifle as interesting as possible. The game may not be able to tell the difference between a sub-MOA bullet, and a sub-minute-of-deer bullet, but a more accurate bullet gives me more confidence when I take the shot.
Powerbelts have a fairly dismal reputation on this site, but they shoot much better through my MK85, 54. than anything else I've tried, (Idaho-legal) so I use them. Successfully, at least 3 for 3 times I've dropped the hammer on a deer in an Idaho BP deer hunt. On the last one, I did something I'm sure I've said I wouldn't ever do, and took a "Texas heart shot". He didn't go more than 30 yards, and bled out In seconds. I've never seen so much blood from a deer. Upon field dressing it appeared that the 405 grain blob of lead shattered the hip, separating both back legs from each other, and apparently destroyed the main artery before it split down each leg. The bullet did not penetrate the stomach, or exit the animal, and I'm not sure where it went. It may have exploded as much as the hip bone it struck. Which sounds like bullet failure - except that the deer died as quickly as you can ask for. :think:
Yes, I lost some meat, but no more than a solid shoulder shot. And the freezer is full to overflowing as it is.
So. Shot placement. I prefer the bullet that goes where I want it to go.
I hunt, therefore I am.

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:02 pm

My setups now are of smaller ‘fun to shoot’ calibers, I have a Remington 700 bull barrel Varmint Rifle in .308 Win, And 2 Weatherby Vanguard S2 rifles, 6.5 Creedmoor, and the other a 7MM-08, I have always been a big fan of Nosler bullets, I tried there new 129 Grain Accubond Long Range bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor a couple years ago, i killed a BIG cow Elk at over 300 yards, I hit the underside of the Back bone and found several pieces of bullet where it had fragmented up pretty bad, That was obviously a HARD target, but i felt i could expect better from a bonded bullet? On the other hand i have had really good luck with the original Nosler Accubond bullets, They are my go to choice for all big game. The thing I really like is in most Calibers Nosler makes the cheaper Ballistic tips and the Accubonds in the same weights, and in most cases the BC is identical, i have tested both in 7MM and 30 cal, they shoot nearly identical to eachother in my testing, this allows me to shoot the Ballistic tips for Target/Fun, and Switch over to the Accubonds for hunting, After shooting Ballistic tips all summer i always check the Accubonds just before season opens to make sure they are right with the BT’s, So far So good
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Hornet22savage » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:15 pm

Before knocking a bullet, I'm a firm believer of shot placement. I would ask where the exit was? If it was high then you won't have a good blood trail. I shot a nice buck at 75 yds. Gun is a .243, Barnes Vortex 80 gr. TTSX. Deer didn't move more than three feet from where he was standing and had little to no blood. However I poured his heart and lungs out of his chest cavity.
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:19 pm

Hornet22savage wrote:Before knocking a bullet, I'm a firm believer of shot placement. I would ask where the exit was? If it was high then you won't have a good blood trail. I shot a nice buck at 75 yds. Gun is a .243, Barnes Vortex 80 gr. TTSX. Deer didn't move more than three feet from where he was standing and had little to no blood. However I poured his heart and lungs out of his chest cavity.


Did you not read what i said? The doe was shot perfectly behind the front shoulder through both lungs
This would look exactly like where she was hit, the exit was a little tiny hole on the other side, The shot was NOT at all high.
0CFFC7BC-E469-44B5-8A00-0C61C6A4B283.jpeg


I am NOT knocking them, They are great bullets in many ways, i have shot 4 Elk with them, and several deer with them in .28 Cal, Where I DON’T believe they are the greatest bullet is in the smaller calibers such as 24, 25, and 26, And on deer, That being said, i believe they are one of the very best bullets on planet earth for Elk, and Moose size game, even with the small calibers, Reason being is the bullet has time to dump all of its energy in such large body cavities. But with deer they are NOTORIOUS for zipping thru and not leaving much, if any blood trail.

I shot this fella right SQUARE in the A hole with the same .257 Weatherby and 80 Grain TTSX Load as above, He didn’t go 3 feet either, The BIG Difference here is the bullet had from Butthole to Nose, the entire length of the deer’s body to unload it’s energy in. And it worked flawlessly
582FF041-F456-495F-A1F6-FDA06067AE78.jpeg
"Absolutely nothing is good enough if it can be made better. And better is never good enough if it can be made best." Author Unknown

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:39 am

I don’t condone the Texas Heart shot, it goes against EVERYTHING i was taught as a youngster. The buck above is the 1st and only animal I have ever done that on, I had followed that buck for a good 200 yards across an old logging unit that was grown up and i just couldn’t get a clean broadside shot on him, They had just started Rutting and that buck was locked up with a Doe, After making their way across the bottom of that old logging unit they ended up about 200 yards straight down the mountain from me and going directly away, my broadside shot window of opportunity was gone, He stopped a few feet short from breaking over a ridge and disappearing, The buck was perfectly straight away from me, I knew the little Barnes X Bullet would penetrate, i held right in the center of his A and ‘Boom’ He toppled over within a few feet of where he was standing when i hit him, upon gutting him i found the little bullet had angled upward and traveled about 4-5 inches straight down the underside of his backbone breaking several vertebrae’s, i never did find that bullet? In all honesty the Barnes X Bullet was RIGHT at home here, I was confident it wouldn’t get through him, And the bullet would shed ALL of it’s energy inside the Buck.

Again, The above goes against EVERYTHING i was taught as a youngster and I don’t condone doing it. I know a few people that have tried that shot and the outcome was NOT good. On the other hand some swear by it, i know a few archers that swear it works flawless. A guide in Canada Swore by that Shot on Moose if it was all you had and you could center it, That Ole boy killed Several Moose over the years with that shot.
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:33 am

Back when i had my 7Mag with Zeiss 4.5-14X44 Scope with rapid Z800 reticle i decided i wanted to shoot Berger VLD hunting bullets, since i was doing quite a bit of long range shooting, why not find a bullet i could do both with? I went with the 168 VLDs, I had watched several long range hunt videos of Guy’s ‘Dumping’ Elk at extreme ranges, it looked impressive, But it made me wonder? I have shot enough Elk over the years to have a pretty darn good understanding of there reaction to being hit, They simply DONT go down from being hit behind the front shoulder, An elk can suck up lead like nothing’s business! I shot a nice 5pt bull years ago with my 7Mag and 160 Grain Nosler Partitions, that bull stood in the same tracks (at least i never seen him move a step?) for 3 shots perfectly behind the front shoulder, i was going for the 4th shot when i seen him start to stagger, he back peddled 3-4 feet and went to his belly, no need to shoot him again, the bull was actually dead the very first shot, he and i just didn’t know it yet. Elk are EXTREMELY TOUGH Critters, Especially the older Cows, and bigger bulls. A spike bull is nowhere near as durable as he will be in another year or 2

What amazed me about the Long Range Videos i was watching was how the Elk were ‘Dumped’ in there tracks with these Berger VLD Bullets with 1 shot, for 1 they are shooting high shoulder shots which will ‘yank the rug’ in most instances, But Also those Berger VLD bullets are literally like a BOMB going off once they enter, they blow apart in to tiny shrapnel. Now this leads me to the main purpose that i hunt, first and foremost i hunt to eat the animals that i harvest! There is a BUNCH of meat on the front shoulders of an Elk, But you put a Berger VLD bullet in the shoulder and you just RUINED the front end of that Elk!

I quickly decided that Berger Bullets were TOTALLY out of the Question for me! But i got to reading on Bergers Website about their VLD hunting bullets, i will say that i have a TON of Respect for Berger, they freely admit that their bullets are designed to enter a few inches and EXPLODE, Causing massive hemorrhaging, Shock, and Damage, which a lot of times ‘Dumps’ the Animal in its tracks. Again, I think it’s awesome of Berger to explain what their bullets do, This gave me the choice to go with them FULLY knowing i was gonna damage a TON of meat, or choose another bullet. I chose a premium bonded bullet, I like to eat the Game that i shoot, i find with premium bullets even if i make a less than perfect shot (get in to the shoulders) i can trim away the damage and stil salvage a large amount of the meat.
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Fmfdred56 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:54 pm

ill never shoot another barnes bullet they are accurate but iv had them fail to open at extreme velocity ie 338/378 wby at 35 yards type of extreme. today i shoot mostly nosler partitions and acubonds i hear people call the accubond acubombs but i havent had that trouble they have been flawless and im a speed freak that uses mostly weatherby calibers and most shots are within 50 yards.

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:58 pm

Fmfdred56 wrote:ill never shoot another barnes bullet they are accurate but iv had them fail to open at extreme velocity ie 338/378 wby at 35 yards type of extreme. today i shoot mostly nosler partitions and acubonds i hear people call the accubond acubombs but i havent had that trouble they have been flawless and im a speed freak that uses mostly weatherby calibers and most shots are within 50 yards.


Accuracy wise they are awesome, I find them to get NUTS Accurate when seated somewhere between .035-075 off the Lands, I have shot some super tight groups with Barnes X Bullets. My 7Mag would truly shoot 1 ragged hole with them

I have had the Barnes X bullets fail to open as well, 4-5 winters ago my Target backstop was a large snow and ice bank i had plowed up with a tractor, That winter i had done a bunch of load development/testing for both my 7mag, and .257 Weatherby Mag, When spring time thaw came i was able to recover most all of my bullets, i was SHOCKED to find that several of my 140 Grain TTSX 7Mags had not opened, this was only 75 yards Max and velocity was right at 3100 FPS over my Chronograph. All of The 257 Weatherby bullets i found (80 Grain TTSX) had opened up good at 3,650 FPS, some of them had shed all of the pedals, but i was ok with that at that velocity. If you do a Google search on Barnes X Bullet Failures, fail to open, no blood trail, etc. you will find plenty of reading, and lots of pictures of failure to open.
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Fmfdred56 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:22 am

i was lucky in that i had snow and was able to recover the elk i shot but if i didnt have snow i doubt i would have found her. thats also how i know the bullet never expanded at all durring the autopsy at the kill site. when i did catch up with her about 3 hours after the initial shot she was alive but unable to stand up from her bed. the second shot at about the same distance did expand well and leave a very nice wound.

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:22 am

Fmfdred56 wrote:i was lucky in that i had snow and was able to recover the elk i shot but if i didnt have snow i doubt i would have found her. thats also how i know the bullet never expanded at all durring the autopsy at the kill site. when i did catch up with her about 3 hours after the initial shot she was alive but unable to stand up from her bed. the second shot at about the same distance did expand well and leave a very nice wound.



Sorta The same situation with the deer in one of my posts above, it was a perfect morning to track if need be, a light coating of snow blanketed the ground, That Doe was hit perfectly behind the front shoulder through the lungs, the little 80 Grain bullet exited the other side in about the same location as the entrance side, couldn’t ask for a better shot! She went a good 75 Yards and NEVER bled a single drop? The entrance hole was like a pencil and so was the Exit, her lungs were pretty much liquified, That Little bullet traveling 3,650 FPS Zipped a perfect little hole right through her. When i gutted her she was absolutely full of blood. This country is really brushy, had there been no snow, and had she of taken off downhill in a steep area it’s HIGHLY possible a guy could have lost this deer? This particular situation wrecked my confidence in Barnes X Bullets

I knew a guy on the Wa coast that got the nick name ‘Wounded Bear’ with his .338 Win Mag and Barnes X bullets, I don’t know the details other than he wounded a few black bear and never recovered them, I remember him saying they poked a hole through and never bled enough to track.
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Fmfdred56 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:18 pm

it would have been a diffrent day and night for me had the lungs been liquified but that wasnt the case.

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Idaholewis » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:36 pm

Fmfdred56 wrote:it would have been a diffrent day and night for me had the lungs been liquified but that wasnt the case.



No doubt about that! I was talking similar in lack of blood trail, and being fortunate to have snow. Looking back i wish now i had taken more time with that doe and looked for pedals from the bullet inside the chest cavity, I remember a perfect entrance and exit hole when i skinned the deer for the guy. But like i said I found several of the little 80 Grain TTSX bullets in that snow bank that had lost their pedals. It’s doubtful i will ever mess with them again. The original Nosler Accubonds have been AWESOME for me, I wasn’t none impressed with the new Accubond LR’s tho.

I have always been a Nosler fan, dating back to the mid 80s, The Nosler Partition was the bullet that most others were judged by. Nosler Ballistic tips have always been a very accurate bullet for me in many different calibers over the years, they were known to be rather explosive back in the early years, they have definitely improved over the years, I killed a decent Whitetail buck this year with a 165 Grain Nosler BT from my .308 Win, I shoot the 140 Nosler BT’s in my 7MM-08, With good shot placement (behind the front shoulder broadside) I think the Ballistic tips are fine for deer, I would NOT recommend them for Elk though, That is where the Accubonds come in for me.

I tried some Hornady 162 SST bullets in my 7Mag when i first moved to Idaho, they were finicky to get to shoot good in my rifle for whatever reason? I was able to find a load that shot good tho, I shot a little basket horn 4 pt that year, 325 yards, i held behind the front shoulder, my shot ended up a little low but turned out perfect, it took the heart out. But upon gutting WHAT A MESS!! It looked like a Grenade had went off inside, fragments all over inside, even busted the Gut. My dad asked what kind of bullets i was using? I told him, he said ‘id throw them in the Garbage!’ And that is precisely what i did with the rest of that box of bullets.
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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby Long Range » Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:01 am

I want a bullet to stay together and give a pass through. I normally shoot behind the shoulder so that’s not hard to achieve with most bullets. I moved away from Serria btsp because of jacket core separation on multiple deer. I shoot mainly hornady sst or interlocks. I shoot everything from a 223, 26-06 to a 30-06. So bullet construction is critical in the 223 so I prefer a bonded bullet. Had great luck with federal fusion bullets. So with my 25-06 I shoot 117 gr sst and the 30-06 I shoot the 150 gr sst or hornady 178 Amax.

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby LBAhunter » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:16 pm

Barnes TTSX 7mm 110gr in a 280AI at over 3500 fps = devastation :D . It makes 2 holes. Everything in between mush. Depending on shot placement, they either drop or no more than 35 yards.

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Re: The perfect Hunting Bullet?

Postby BuckDoeHunter » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:55 pm

I want a bullet to stay together. I'm not sold on fragmenting bullets. We love our wild game and I have read a few reports of someone chopping down on a petal from a fragmenting bullet. That's not for me. Barnes bullets are my go to bullets with the muzzleloaders, BearCreekBallistics may replace those after some accuracy testing coming up.


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