Telling on myself... 2 lost deer.

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by veriest1, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. veriest1

    veriest1 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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

    Possible;

    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.
     

  3. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  4. veriest1

    veriest1 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  5. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

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    What about me! :):):)
     
  6. Shortmagman

    Shortmagman Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. veriest1

    veriest1 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. Steyr Luxus

    Steyr Luxus Well-Known Member

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    I use Nosler balistic tip bullets for 95% of my hunting. To date I have had no issues with poor bullet performance as you seem to be having. The animals shot were coyote, deer, caribou and moose. Is the Nosler balistic tip to light for moose;results were the same vaporized heart and lungs. I'm currently working up a recipe for Berger bullets. I have also used Hornady bullets of various weights and calibre's it's just that my rifles accuracy wasn't there. All my rifles seems to perform best when fed a diet of various Nosler and Sierra bullets.
     
  9. Maq Attaq

    Maq Attaq Well-Known Member

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    I have been shooting ballistic tip bullets for a few years, namely the Hornady SST's. Killed 5-6 deer with them. All deer buckled at the shot, a couple dropped and got back up and all went about 20-30 yards from the spot I shot them at. Not ONE blood trail was found by any of these deer. Last year I took a shot at the biggest buck I have ever seen and the same thing happened as the ones above, except this deer was never found!!!!!

    I have done two things different this season, I switched to the Barnes TSX and quit shooting behind the shoulder, I've punched right through the front shoulder and the 4 animals that I have killed this year have dropped on the spot and not moved one inch. The biggest this year was a 178lb 9 pt and he kicked on the ground for just over 30 seconds, with the busted front shoulders, he wasnt going anywhere. How far do you think that buck would have ran in 30 seconds???

    I hate to lose an animal...loom for buzzards in the next few days
     
  10. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    While we're sharing BT stories, last year my nephew shot a small doe from 335 yards with a 130grain BT out of his 270. I was spotting and watched the deer drop dead. The shot was taken with about 1 minute of light left. I patted my nephew on the back, shook his hand and told him I was proud of him. In that amount of time it was pitch dark. We walked out into the field...NO DEER! we searched for several hours and did not find any blood - nothing! Got up the next morning and continued the search - nothing! Our only explanation was bullet failure. Bullet had to have exploded on impact and just knocked the deer down. Then after a few moments, got up and walked away.
     
  11. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

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    EXACTLY! I just wont use them on anything other than coyote or smaller game. I have seen a big bull elk taken with a 180 gr Ballistic tip and it didnt walk more than 20 yards before it fell over dead BUT the bullet never hit any bone. I believe that that bullet MOST times cant handle hitting a solid piece of bone. I just can't put my faith in a bullet that will not make it through a bone and do what I need it to do.

    I shot a coyote with a 100 gr Ballistic tip hunting bullet out of a 6.5 Grendel AR and it dropped dead but the bullet didnt exit. I shot it in the front of the chest but a coyote is not even that big and I thought it would have exited somewhere. I have seen accubonds hit the front of the chest in deer and elk and the bullet didnt exit but they were found in the ham or the back area of the animal. That bullet penetrated like 3 feet of a big animal!

    I know that the Accubond and the BT are made different but I just cant bring myself to use the BT with the experiences that I have had with them (on big game that is).
     
  12. Head shot

    Head shot Well-Known Member

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    I know we're talkin BT'S but I'm shooting a 25-06 with 120gr.Sierra HP's @ about 3000fps.Shot 2 does at 250yds,broad side high shoulder both took off like I missed.Went to the spot of impact no blood,hair nothing. was a very used trail at that spot so I walked the trail over 100yds. before finding both deer within feet of each other. Both were hit high shoulder & the enterence wound looked just like the exit 25 cal hole.Been using 115gr.nos BT's.So now what should I try.The woods here in GA. are thick it really makes them hard to find mostly hunting powerlines & cutovers. Any ideas??gun)
     
  13. jessegibson1978

    jessegibson1978 Well-Known Member

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    I know the feeling. Several years ago we had the same problem with the bt 30 caliber and under. I read somewhere can't recall where that nosler had changed the jacket thickness on the newer ones to withstand hitting bones. As far as an idea for the 25-06 I don't have a clue went through the same problem couldn't find a reliable bullet for it so I sold it. Never had that issue with a 243. Good luck.
     
  14. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    I used to shoot Ballistic Tips out of my 7mag but lost two good bucks after hitting them behind the shoulder. Both times instantly seen the red rose of death. One jumped into a large swiftly moving creek and never came out and the other ended up in the back of another truck. I switched to the larger for caliber 162 SST and haven't had a problem since. I started shooting through both shoulders if possible and have had complete penetration from close in to over 400 yards. I load the 139 SST for a buddy but he would rather have the velocity instead of the penetration of the heavier bullet with longer shank.

    To the OP,
    Man that sucks! You might get told it's hard to blame the bullet if you can't see the end results. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I'm sure those two deer are dead so the bullet probably did it's job, just not as proficiently as you would like(as in my case). A change in bullet might be in order, if nothing else to restore your confidence.