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Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

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Unread 11-24-2011, 09:32 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: TX
Posts: 52
Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

Neither of these shots were really long range but interesting (and discouraging) things happened.

The rifle is a Savage FCP-K in .308 Win topped with NF 5.5-22x56. It's best 5 shot group was 1 3/16" at 340 yards with 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips driven by 46.7 grains of Varget at just over 2900fps. On average it shoots right around .5 MOA with the occasional ridiculously small group. I'm zero'd at 200 and confirmed that zero just last week by putting 20 rounds downrange from that distance. I did not clean the bore afterwards and ALL my shooting with this rifle is from the bipod. I've got about 900 rounds down range with it at present.

I'm wondering if it's the bullet. They're older Ballistic Tips from back when they came in 100 count boxes and some people have reported those old ones tend to splatter on bone and just generally act more like a varmint bullet.

Monday: This one was truly into trophy territory - an old wide racked 13 or 14 point who's body was approaching the size of a mule deer. He was at a mere 212 yards and quartering slightly away. I aimed the bullet just behind his shoulder and so as to hit his opposite shoulder, watched him shudder, stumble, run a few yards, stumble, and then dart into the woods. There was no blood trail but his tracks were huge and I tracked him for some 5 hours before he crossed a river and was gone. He refused to jump fences.

Tonight: I just got in from tracking a nice 10 point Whitetail. Not a trophy but respectable anyway. He was at about 290 yards. This time there was no shudder or stumbling around and running. Rather, the deer was bowled over on his side... then, with some effort, he got back up and ran into the woods. I expected to easily find him but he wasn't in the edge of the woods and there was no blood trail (again!). After a short time the flashlights had to come out and the search continued for another hour or so but there was no way to tell where he went. I'm going back out at first light to look for him some more.

I'd like to hear from those of you with significant experience seeing what bullets do on game concerning what you think the bullet did on impact and why. I'm truly discouraged since this is my first season shooting a "premium" bullet and the results have been so poor. I've had quite a few DRT experiences with 100 grain Corelokt's from a .243 over the years. The longest of which was measured at 160 yards.
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Unread 11-24-2011, 10:29 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: OK
Posts: 2,132
Re: Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

never heard the story about the old b-tips in 100 count boxes. hmm


hit the scapula knuckle/leg joint, and the bullet splashed?
would be a bit harder too do on a quartering away shot.
could cause a deer to momentarialy drop then get up and cover ground. If this was the case you would be lucky if bone frags punched thru the lungs and caused death. If that didn't happen it usually would need another bullet.

If the angle was steep it could have slipped between the shoulder and the ribs, and never entered the chest cavity. this would cause light bleeding that would quickly dry up. needs another bullet.

sounds like both bullets hit bone to shock the deer enough to shudder or fall.

I just shot 3 does in the last week with a 7wsm and 150 b-tips punched every one thru the lungs broadside from 195-258 yards, all ran about 50 yards no shoulder hits just ribs. The reaction was a plain old labored run off, no studder no high kick, just a tucked tail labored run.

I shot a doe last year at a steep 1/4 away, about 8" behind shoulder, and the bullet opened up the side of the chest like a zipper 5-6" gash with half a dozen broken ribs, the bullet never actually entered the lungs but the bone frags tore it up enough it went 50 yards.
Hellen Keller could have followed that blood trail.

you must have had some blood in both cases, was it comming out 2 sides or just one?

start putting the bullet in center mass rib cage.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 01:25 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,826
Re: Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

I used the Ballistic tips out of a 25-06 back in 2000(around there). This was back when there was only one type of Ballistic Tip. I was using the factory loaded ammo because I hadn't gotten into reloading yet. I shot a whitetail at around 265 yds. The bullet hit the shoulder bone and went almost vertical up the shoulder bone and into the spine. So this bullet did splatter! I found the base of the bullet lodged in the back strap by the spine. The only reason I recovered that deer is because the bullet luckily hit the spine.

I swore that I would never use BTs again after seeing that. The only thing I will use BTs for is coyotes now. Even the hunting version works great on them! If I were you, I would go get some of the newer hunting BTs and give them a try if you really want to stick with BTs.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 01:37 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: TX
Posts: 52
Re: Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

That's the word part. I watched both animals respond to the shot in dramatic fashion but was unable to locate a blood trail for either one.

We're thinking the first bullet might have went behind the shoulder and into the brisket. I don't think it hit bone because he could run to well.

The deer from tonight... I'm pretty sure I missed to the front and hit the shoulder. It would explain what looked to be full energy transfer and a deer that could get back up. Sadly I could have easily hit this one with a second bullet if I had cycled the bolt. That's just failure on my part.

In the past I have always aimed at the front of the ribs just behind the shoulder and have had many such shots result in the tops of both lungs and the heart being hit. Never have I seen such poor bullet performance as this season... and on the two biggest deer I've ever been able to get shots on. I'm certainly going to try placing the bullet a couple of ribs back next time.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 06:58 AM
Join Date: May 2001
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Re: Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

Helen Keller could have followed that blood trail.
What about me!
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Unread 11-25-2011, 11:31 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Memphis Tn
Posts: 444
Re: Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

I have just returned from my yearly Nebraska deer hunt, and I saw something that happened to a fellow hunter that may be the answer to your problem. First, I hand loaded for four of the five hunters in my party. I am a big fan of Nosler Accubond bullets for deer. Three of us used Accubonds and all three got bucks with total penetration of the animal. However, one of our party used factory ammo since he does not hand load and I had not been asked to do some loads for him. The last couple of years he shot three deer with his 270 Win. using Winchester 130 grain Silver Ballistic tips with great success. However, he had a doe permit and he shot a doe at about 100 yards. The deer took off and he tracked and followed the deer for over 200 yards and did find the dead deer. I helped him load the deer on to a four wheeler and was curious about the shot and why this deer ran 200 yards. He had hit the rib cage just behind the shoulder which looked like a perfect shot. When we cleaned the deer we found only the entrance hole with no exit wound. One lung had been taken out so that is why the deer died but it looked like the bullet had exploded on the rib.

Last year I shot a deer with a 140 grain Nolser Ballistic tip and it exploded on the off side ribs leaving a huge hole in the ribs. With these events I will never use a Nolser Ballistic tip to shoot deer. I will use either Nolser Accubonds or Barnes Triple Shock Tiped bullets for all my deer hunting. I am working so 270 Win loads with 140 grain Accubonds for my friend.
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Unread 11-25-2011, 01:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: TX
Posts: 52
Re: Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

Thanks for the informaton Shortmagman! I've heard some good stuff about the 180 grain B-Tips but I think I'm going to move to the 165grain Hornady Interlocks.

We just got back to the house from looking for the deer from last night. We best guessed where he went among the plethora of deer tracks and found him alive and very much well near the river. There was no blood where he had bedded down. He took off up a big ditch and we let him sit for about 40 minutes before splitting up to do a deer drive down the ditch. But all we did was spook up a few does and a fawn. He either didn't stop running when we jumped him earlier or managed to sit still while Dad walked by him.
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