What kind of accuracy are you getting with hunting loads
The quick question:
What sort of accuracy do you get out of your big game (moose) hunting loads?
The longer version:
I've been trying to develop a moose load for the fall. So far I've tried 180grains in Barnes TSX and Nosler Partition fueled by various powders.
The best group (10 shots) I've been able to coax out of both them is a hair under 1" at about 2500fps.
In comparison, I've developed a long range target round with Varget and 175grain SMKs that will shoot between .3 and .7MOA at just under 2700fps.
Don't get me wrong. I'm continuing the journey. I'll be going down some weight into the 160's in TSX and Accubonds and I'm not looking for recipes or anything.
I just started wondering if I'm being unrealistic to be chasing target round type accuracy out of big game hunting bullets. Especially when at most I'd be shooting at 300 yards, and more often than not within 150yards. And with only 1" - 3" of deviation on such a large target should I really be concerned?
If you want "target" type accuracy with hunting bullets, I think your using the wrong ones personally. Most would say the Nosler NBT, Accubond, and the Sierra Gameking are about the most accurate hunting bullets on the market. Some will argue the point of TSX, but I"ve never tried them. I tried the XLC version and got shotgun patterns out of several rifles. The Berger VLD is actually another target/hunting bullet that gives great accuracy and terminal performance. Not to sure I would want to use VLD's for close range work though either...
So if your looking for target accuracy and want a "do all" bullet, its very hard to beat the Accubond. If you know your shots are going to be longer, the Ballistic Tip is also great.
My hunting loads with AB's, NBT's, and SGK's have all been 1/4" to 1/2" for 3 shots which is what I use for developing hunting rounds. I've never been one to have animals stand there all day and let you shoot at them anyways. If you cant get them in 3 shots, your probly not gonna get them in 5 or 10 either...
What caliber you talking here?? I think your headed in the right direction by wanting to try some AB's. My guess is you'll be pleasantly surprised by there accuracy and on game performance.
All of my hunting rifles (7mm Rem Mag, 300WSM, 338AM, 7mm-08, .243 Win etc.) Will shoot 1/2" groups (3-5 shots) with me behind the trigger. I've shot a few groups with each of them that are in the .2-.3 range (with hunting bullets). BUT, I don't believe they could do that for 10 shots. They would probably hold .75" or better for 10 shots, as long as the barrel cools between shots, but I doubt I could do it consistently with my lighter (8lbs and less) hunting rifles. The 300WSM (12lbs) and the 18lb 338AM would be no problem however.
I have started using the Nosler Accubond for my Elk/deer bullet in my 7mm RM. It is very accurate in every rifle I've tried it in. Some other hunting bullets open my groups up too much.
I'd say, pick a well performing bullet, load it to your needed velocity and if you can hold around 1moa, you are in GREAT shape for 300yd moose.
ps: If you are like me, you'll keep looking for that 'perfect' load. I have them for my rifles, but once the rifle/load shoots better than you do, you have to step back and say "good enough"
If some is good and more is better, then too much is just right.
My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives
BTW, if your getting 10 shot groups of 1" out of a hunting caliber/rifle, I dont know if you can get much better then that. I think 99% of the people out there would be more then happy with that. From the sounds of things, my guess is your using a .308?
I know I won't be shooting at an animal 10 times. I just use 10 to measure consistency. I figure if its a good load it should be able to repeat itself at least 10 times to start. Ultimately I'll end up shooting 3 groups of 10 to ensure repeatability. I'll probably end up looking at the accubonds. But it sounds like 1"MOA isn't a terrible start.
There's nothing wrong with striving for excellence
Since the 308 has an accuracy reputation, it isn't much to ask for a repeatable 1/2" group. Personally, I tend to be a little lazy. If I can get a few 1/2" groups with a given load I'll stop most of the time. If I am more ambitious, I'll keep tweeking loads and have found that with another 30-40 rounds, I can get them much tighter, but for me it is usually less repeatable. Never have figured that part out. I will assume that it has to do with bbl temperature, degree of fouling, etc.
While the 180 bullet shoots fine in a 308, I personally like the 165-168 class bullet wt for better balance, even for moose. In fact, my recommendation for moose with the 308 would be the 168 TTSX or TSX first with shots inside of 300 yards. Partition or Aframe would be second and AB or Scirocco or IB would be 3rd. You're not asking much if shots will be 300 and under, so I'd stuff as much powder in there as possible for optimum velocity and let accuracy fall second. A moose is a big target, even at 300. You group at least 7" and under at 300 and you'll be fine (no more than 3.5" from POA). Smack them with as much juice as possible and use a proven penetrating bullet. JMO.
Is your first shot from a cold barrel in that group? If so then I would say your not doing too bad at all. I would try the accubonds though, they are the only traditional type hunting bullet that rivals the Berger VLDs in my .308.
My plans for hunting with my .308 is to zero for the Bergers and just shoot the accubonds if I expect a shot closer than 300yards. They shoot pretty close to the same POA inside 300.
"My greatest fear is that after my demise my wife will sell my guns for the price I told her I paid for them"
-don't know where it came from...but true