Bullet expansion on game

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MrTom

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Dec 7, 2016
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This topic comes up enough that I thought I'd toss out a picture of two 300 grain, .44 caliber XTP's recovered inside deer. Both bullets saw a lot of bone in the neck/shoulder/spine areas of both deer. The one on the left traveled from the upper shoulder along the neck and spinal column to a point right at the back of the jaw bone on the opposite side of the entry. The other bullets traveled from a bit high in the shoulder on an approaching quarter angle shot, thru about 8 inches of spine, two ribs and lodging just in front of the opposite hind quarter. Both deer were on dirt on contact. Both deer were shot at less than 100 yards but over 60. The load for each bullet was 77 weighed grains of 209 powder and the bullets wore a green crush rib. The wound channel on both deer was about 2" with minimal amounts of damage to usable meat. As can be seen, the bullets did what they were supposed to.



Sometimes I wonder if bullet function doesn't get passed by when people are working up hunting loads. Certainly accuracy has to be a factor but if a bullet gets over-loaded will it still perform as these have or will it completely fragment? If its under loaded, will it still function as its designed to. Like many others here I prefer a pass-thru on my hits to get blood on the ground if needed, but if , like in these two instances, a shot has to be made in bonier parts of the animal will the bullet do its job the way it should? I've been totally happy with the way the XTPs work but I am wanting to get the lead out of the hunting equation and wonder how well the Barnes coppers work in similar situations as these two. Has anyone recovered any of the copper bullets from similar hits with similar loading to offer as a comparison? I'm not talking copper bullets from end to end mush hits, I'm talking serious bone in the neck front shoulder area type of hits.
 

ENCORE50A

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Dec 4, 2009
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MrTom, I've shot an awful lot of whitetail with Barnes in the past, but most have all just passed through using 75grs WEIGHED of BH209. They'll bust shoulders, necks and ribs very easily. I do not recall any that I've taken with neck shots where I've recovered the bullet. All the bullets I have recovered functioned as designed.
I've also shot many in the past with the XTP bullets with excellent results. I have however found XTP bullets, that although they did their job, separated with a few coming apart. Most of those were used setting atop of 120grs VOLUME of blackpowder.
 

MSalyards

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Apr 21, 2018
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I shot my first muzzy deer a week ago in the throat at 60 yds. DRT, NO bullet recovery, Quarter sized holes in and out.. 300 gr Deep Curl in a black crush rib, 77 weighed gr Blackhorn , Accura V2. When I skinned it its head literally fell offIMG_0024.JPG . Not so much blood shot but more like a bomb went off inside.
 

Panhandle

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Apr 14, 2008
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277
This 195 Barnes BX was recovered under the hide on the left hindquarter...It entered straight on in the brisket traveling the full length of the deer. The distance was 190yds with a muzzle velocity of 2700fps... I've killed several nice bucks with the all coppers 195Bx, 250TEZ, 290TEz's between 190-308yds...All have been pass thru except this one....these bullets are hard to beat for accuracy and terminal performance...
 

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mnoland30

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Dec 1, 2015
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113
Barnes bullets have more controlled expansion, which is particularly good for penetration on heavier game. If a bullet expands too much, it doesn't penetrate enough on an elk. I started using Barnes because my butcher would put all the recovered bullets in a tray on the counter. Every Barnes looked just like the magazine pictures. Of course, the other factor is Sectional Density (SD). I generally wouldn't use a 150 gr. 308 (SD .226), or a 300 gr. .429 (SD .233) for elk. Barnes bullets, because of their controlled expansion, penetrate better and allow lighter bullets to penetrate as well as heavier lead bullets. But, even with Barnes, I found a .284 140 gr. (SD .248) bullet didn't exit an elk. A SD of about .280 has been the "magic elk bullet" for me. I've never killed a deer with a ML bullet less than 300 gr. It drops them right away, but I'm sure lighter bullets will work. Your bullets save you having to grind your meat for hamburger.
 

Walkingeagle

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Oct 4, 2019
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Who makes that knife? (off topic, I know...)
A fellow runs by the handle Two Feathers. This is the single best skinner I own. On that trip it dressed and skinned two elk and a bear, only a touch up of the blade between jobs. He is building me another with a slightly larger handle (I have big hands) with exactly the same blade profile. Below is his contact email should you wish.
Walk
davesmusic13@gmail.com
 

Travis299

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Jul 18, 2015
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242
Barnes 250 gr T-EZ bullet recovered from a buck at about 45 yards. The recovered bullet weighs 246 gr. Shot from a CVA Accura MR with 2 pellets of T7.

 

phenix78_99

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Jan 3, 2016
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The bullet pictured here was recovered from a deer I shot head on in the neck at approximately 20 yards, while he was looking up at me. I found this bullet while gutting him, ~the large intestine. These photos were taken after I washed the bullet off in the creek. He fell immediately and was taken humanely . It is a 250 grain Barnes MZ Expander (no tip), and was in front of 100 grains of BH209 and a W209 primer. That said, I still prefer the Bloodline bullets.

IMG_0046.JPG IMG_0047.JPG IMG_0048.JPG IMG_0049.JPG
 
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