36 bulls 8 different bullets

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by coloradohtr, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. coloradohtr

    coloradohtr Member

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    9 hunters, 36 bulls, 8 different bullets.
    With all the different opinions bad advice from writers who would get fired for a bad review of an advertisers bullets and a hunter from the east who has never killed an elk or the guy who thinks you need a 375 RUM to kill an elk.
    A few years ago there was a shot very close to me I walked over to find a hunter with his nose glued to the ground looking for blood. He said he had shot a bull with his 300 Win mag and there was no blood. I dropped to one knee to look across the tops of the tall grass and saw a few drops of blood. A long story short after the bull was found he looked like a shotgun was used on him. I retraced the path of the bullet to find three limbs that were hit by the 180 Core Lokt. At first the hunter said it was a good clean shot. Be careful who you listen to about elk bullets and calibers.
    I started keeping records of a crew of 7 hunters who I hand load for. These guys all but one started as a boy along side there father and are very good elk hunters today, plus my hunting partner and myself makes 9 hunters. We have used 8 different bullets to take 36 bulls over 9 years, plus a lot of cows with leftover cow tags. All of the techs I have talked to say in 30 caliber 150 grain is the best bullet for deer and because of the thin jacket it should not be used on elk. 165 grain is suited for both elk and deer. 180 is the best choice for elk if the vel. is 2700 fps. or more.
    When the custom bullets were recommended by the writers a few of the guys wanted to try them. At first they seemed to do a fair job. Three years later and two bulls with not so clean kills we started to review all kills with the custom bullets. In a 30-06 with a 165 bonded bullet there was very little expansion 5/16 of an inch with 2 recovered bullets from the bulls far leg, this bull ran 200+ yards after a double lung hit. This bullet in a 308 Norma mag at higher vel. did a better job, the bullet was not recovered. In two 30-06 rifles the 165 SST is now doing a real good job with one bang flop on a bull.
    A solid copper bullet hit a large leg bone and lost all its pedals but one. After 7 guys and 4 hours of looking the bull was found 1/2 mile away. The 180 grain bullet from the 300 Win mag weighted only 124 grains. Most of the other elk with custom bullets averaged over three times the distance traveled till they went down when compared to standard bullets. This is still only 60 to 80 yards on average but it is clear the customs do not have as much terminal performance to stop the bulls as standard bullets. 50% less damage to organs on all bulls and less blood shock plus the exit hole is much smaller. Customs tend to pass through and take 30% or more bullet energy along with them. All the bulls shot were good well placed shots. No bang flops with any custom bullet. All hunters agreed the only custom bullet they would use was the Nosler Partition plus SST, Hot Cor, Game King and Ballistic Tip FYI none of the guys wanted to try the Ballistic Tip till I cut a 180 in half and recovered 6 bullets from wet phone books that weighed 139 to 168 grains with very nice looking mushrooms. The jacket looks just like a Accubond jacket with no bonding. The 180 Interbond at 3000 FPS. was voted second best custom after the Partition. If you must use a bonded bullet the Interbond did more damage to the engine room and left a larger exit hole plus a faster kill then the other two bonded bullets we used. At 400 yards this bullet may not open much.
    We are using the cow tags to try other bullets, the 190 Interlock also works very well. I cut this bullet in half the jacket is 50% thicker than most other standard bullets. It has two bang flops so far and no cow has gone past 10 yards. In one cow it smashed the leg bone made jelly out of the lungs with a two inch exit hole. Guns used were 300 WSM and 300 H&H mag. This year 168 and 185 Bergers will be used on cows. My 300 WSM will be loaded with the 190 Interlock with 63 1/2 grains of IMR 4350 at 2974 FPS. My back up gun is a 30-06 with 165 SST at 2925 FPS. The 30-06 has taken 11 bulls over 30 years of hunting. Last year I left the 300 in camp and killed a nice 6x6 with the old 06.
    30-06 still kills more elk then any two other calibers put together. Standard factory ammo also kills thousands of elk each season. Four of the nine hunters worked on this article and the facts are from my records. caliber, bullet used, bullet vel. by a chrony, shot placement, distance traveled after shot, amount of damage done buy the bullet. exit hole size and bang flops. All of the elk were shot in Colorado. If you have 3000 ft. lbs. of energy put it to good use with a good bullet.
     
  2. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    That's a lot to digest.

    I'll have to reread it several times to be sure I understand.

    I got confused as to what you consider a standard vs a custom bullet. Nor do I see a reason to draw that distinction.

    Also, you have lots of "facts". But, they are intermingled within the analysis and it would be nice to simply see the raw data in a separate section following your analysis.

    Great job nonetheless!
    thanks for sharing
    richard
     

  3. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    YIKES! Popcorn is in the microwave :)

    edge.
     
  4. coloradohtr

    coloradohtr Member

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    The two types of bullets I called custom were the solid copper expanding and bonded. These bullets took 8 bulls. The term is used buy the nine hunters when talking about bullets.
    All bullets used with good shots killed elk. Bullets that have jackets and lead cores with no bonding have worked better for use. { standard }
    I do not know if the Hot Cor is considered bonded. It has a thiner jacket and looses more weight then the others.
     
  5. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    So, 30-06 with 180 Core Lokt it is. ...just don't shoot through more than 3 tree limbs at a time. ;-)

    Do you have a logbook with distance, conditions, cartridge, load data, angle of attack, POA/POI, photos of wound, etc...?

    I think the most important thing I gathered was that "All bullets used with good shots killed elk."

    As such, pick something decent that your rifle likes and practice so that you can hit what you're aiming at in field conditions.

    -- richard
     
  6. 270 lefty

    270 lefty Well-Known Member

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    A bonded bullet out of my 06 just hasn't performed as well as a non bonded bullet the maybe they would be ok for a faster caliber.
    Nosler bullistic tip put a big bull down faster with a less vital shot (kidney) than a Speer Grand Slam did on a spike (double lung) the NBT sent a few shards of shratnal a good 12" into the goodies witch I'm sure would explain why the bigger bull went down sooner. I also shot a mt goat with a failsafe i was extreamly dissappointed in this bullet 3/8" exit hole 15 to 20 minute to expire after a double lung shot.
    I am a firm believer in expending as much energy as possable into the animal
    I could care less about damaged meat or an exit hole.
     
  7. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    I think most on this forum would agree that heavier jacketed and bonded bullets work best at higher velocities and thinner skinned bullets are better at lower velocities and/or longer ranges. No real surprise! It would be good to see all the ranges the elk were taken at with the terminal velocities and bullet types. As far as the Speer "hot core" goes, in my opinion, it is nothing but a selling gimmick! Unless a bullet is bonded, and the hot core isn't, melting the core first has NO significance as far as performance goes. All the lead core jacketed bullets are swaged with up to 50,000 psi, melted or not. Good post!........Rich
     
  8. coloradohtr

    coloradohtr Member

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    [​IMG]

    I do have good records of all 8 bullets Did not post all of the info, I can not type. It took a lot of time to write the artical. If you would like more info on one bullet I will give you FPS. yardage, distance traveled, shot placement, engine room damage, exit hole. recovered bullet weight. No wound photos. I tried to add a photo of last years bull but I only see a box with a red X.
     
  9. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    This is the kind of hands on data that is useful if it can be presented clearly. Keep up the posts when you get new info. Where do you live in Co.?..........Rich
     
  10. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    The yardages of the shots, the terminal impact velocity, the location of the hits, and the posture of the animals at the shot, are all crucial to interpret any bullet performance information. I didn't see any yardage information. I have the suspicion that these shots are primarily closer range - less than 400 yards - based on the cartridges and bullets being described?

    Interesting information, nonetheless.

    Just one quick example that illustrates the importance of providing the additional information. I dropped an ~1100 lb brown bear with a 225 gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw from a distance of ~130 yards back in 2001. Muzzle velocity from my .338 Imperial was around 3250 fps. Bear was broadside and the bullet impacted the center of the ribcage, behind the front leg muscle. The bullet never exited. It never even reached the far side rib cage. This bear dropped in his tracks without so much as a twitch. He went down as quick as the flip of a light switch. The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw is a largely copper bodied bullet with lead bonded to the copper jacket in the frontal portion of the bullet. A premium 'custom' bullet by anyone's definition. At high impact velocities, these bullets will expand to 1 1/2 to 2 times their caliber width, and they often retain 85-95% of their initial weight. This bear went down so quickly that I was wondering if I had accidentally 'brained' him. Examination of the carcass during, and after skinning, confirmed the bullet hit as described above. At 700 yards, a hit with the same bullet, in the same location, likely would have led to a much different result - at the much slower impact velocity.
     
  11. coloradohtr

    coloradohtr Member

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    [​IMG]

    The photo is of last years bull. Rich I do live in Co. I used 22 kills to pick the data.
    90 to 170 yards had the most kills.
    Broadside shots in the ribs and through the lungs.
    VEL. 2971 to 3093. all 180 grain bullets.
    Three kills with each bullet except the solid copper bullets only one bull was in this group.
    Five bulls have been shot over 500 yds 640 is the longest shot.
     
  12. streetglideok

    streetglideok Well-Known Member

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    Some of your findings do not surprise me at all. The thing though is, you need to organize your findings as others have said. As long as you are armed with undisputable facts, tell us the bullets used, not "custom bullet". What cartridge was used, weight of bullet, velocity from that gun, and then distance shot. My guess is, most of your guys are using the '06, and only one or two use magnums. Core Lokts are great in mild rounds like the 30-30, 308, '06, etc. Even up to ballistic tips. I wouldnt be afraid of the BTs with our '06 for elk. I would not use them on any of my magnums, ie 7mm rem mag, 300 win, 300rum, and probably not the 375H&H on anything nasty at least. Im loading partitions in all of those I just listed. Ive used it in my 7mm for years, and never tracked a deer yet. I havent heard many detractors of them or their super cousin the Swift Aframes. Any of the bonded bullets I think are too strongly made to use for standard chamberings, or low velocities. I am betting your data backs this up.

    Im also in colorado as well
     
  13. CRNA

    CRNA Well-Known Member

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    Good information. Thanks for taking the time to write it all up. I appreciate your effort in record keeping and the consideration for passing along the information to the rest of us.
     
  14. Dalebow

    Dalebow Well-Known Member

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    All I know is I have used my 300wsm with 180 gr TSX for elk, bear, deer, and antelope. I shot the deer at 75 yards almost end to end, ended up under the skin on the long shoulder, perfect expansion and mushroom, nose in the dirt almost instantly. The antelope was 327 yards, I hit the shoulder and you could see thru the animal, the bear was 138 yards thru both shoulders, perfect expansion recover on out side of bone under skin, perfect mushroom, and for my elk, he was 386 yards, my first shot was low and back, he only made it 100 yards and bedded giving me a quick finish up shot. The elk got real sick real quick and the bullet made up for my bad shot. Last year I used the new 80 TTSX out of a 257 weatherby and at 284 yards, bang, no flop, just dead antelope!
    That said maybe others have had not so good luck with Barnes, but I have had great luck with them, I thin it is like anything else, if you have confidence in what your using it makes a big difference. I have been impressed with the trophy bonded bear claw and may try one soon.

    On another note I used the 150gr GMX on both of my spring black bears and although the shots were close 25 and 20 yards the bullet killed them almost instantly and the wolf I shot at 200 yards dropped like a rock, all with a single shot 308.

    My best performance on deer has been with BST out of a 270, 243 and 300 wsm, took my first goat with a 243 wssm 85gr BST and he dropped in 2 steps. I hunted with a guy 2 years ago and he used the 180 gr BST which is built stronger for big game and at 100 yards his bull only went 50 yards, but not the round I would want for a strong quartering shot or long shot when I need to break shoulders. My wife shot her antelop with a 243 using the SST and I was not impressed.

    I think the power points, corelocks, are good for deer and behind the shoulder shots on black bear at reasonable ranges, but I will take my TTSX for Elk/spot and stalk bear or big mule deer.