Which bullet for elk?

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by bobinpa, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. bobinpa

    bobinpa Well-Known Member

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    I am shooting a 300 WSM and I have narrowed my selection down to two.....
    180 grain Nosler BT and 180 grain Accubond. I have never shot an Elk, but, a friend of mine who has shot several of them is telling me to use the BT, saying that it is a forgiving bullet, meaning that if you make a poor shot the animal will get more torn up inside than with the accubond, giving me a better chance to recover the animal.
    Please don't let me mislead you. I shoot well and have no intention of making a poor shot or taking a marginal shot, but things happen.
    My gun shoots them equally well and I can see my friends point......... I am just looking for other opinions.
    Thanks, Bob
     
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    A lot depends on where you like to hit the game (Behind the shoulder,in the shoulder or in the neck. Also how far you will be willing to shoot.

    For the realy long shots I prefer the Ballistic tip Because it will expand at lower velocities For
    shots under 300 yards I like the Accubond.

    For shoulder shots or neck shots at any distance I prefer the Accubonds.

    Just my opinion on 300 wsm sized cartriges.

    J E CUSTOM
     

  3. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Well-Known Member

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    I have not shot near as many elk as I'd like to, but I've taken game with both those bullets here is my take on them.

    Ballistic tip - I've taken several mature big-bodied whitetail with the 180gr BT from my 300 win at 3200-3050fps (shortened the barrel 5" and slowed it down). I have had the ballistic tips fail to exit 2 whitetail shot within 250yds. Others I have hunted with had the same performance. That said, I think they have toughened the ballistic tips up in the process of designing the accubond. I have no proof of that other than the performance I have seen on game in the last few years. The 180gr also has a heavier jacket than the smaller bullets.

    Accubond - My favorite all-around bullet today. I have never had an accubond fail to exit anything smaller than an elk. A friend of mine shot a 6x6 bull elk last fall at 350yds & I also put a couple shots in him before he went down 125yds later. We had 5 bullets in the vitals (7mm 160gr accubond), none of which exited. The bullets all mushroomed perfectly and retained between 50 and 70% of their weight. I have yet to see an animal hit right with an accubond travel over that 125yds. This is perfect performance by my standards. The bonding process softens the bullets jacket and the plastic tip initiates expansion very quickly. Like the partitions they shed some of the nose as shrapnel to inflict extra damage and retain weight in the rear to drive deep. My next elk hunt I will be shooting accubonds, probably a 180 or 200gr from a 300 magnum because I like to see exit wounds. I use accubonds in all of my big game rifles except the 264 I antelope hunt with, it shoots best with Bergers.

    I love being able to shoot cheaper ballistic tips for practice and coyotes with the same loads I use for accubonds on big game.

    Good luck on your hunt!
     
  4. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Some of the most epic failures I have seen on elk have been with a BT, I see several every year not make it past the shoulder on an elk, in my opinion they are the worst possible elk bullet, you will tear up more organs with the AB because it will penetrate while open. Long range the BT would work fine because it would act more like an AB. Use the Accubond, it will give you more shot potential than the BT and get through shoulder bones.

    I took a guy last year that punched a cow in the shoulder at 75 yrds with a 300 WSM and 180 BT's, I finished her 3 days later when I found her on the edge of a herd, only 45lbs of meat was salvaged. She died to an Accubond not the BT!
    Cut an other cow elk that took 3 BT's out of a 7mm at the 200 yrd mark in the shoulder and not one penetrated the rib cage, I could not salvage any meat on the front quarter. I had a hard time trying the Accubond because of how bad the BT is but I'm glad I did!! This is very biased I know so take it for what it's worth.
     
  5. peashooter

    peashooter Well-Known Member

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    I have shot both the BT and the AB from a 308 Win. The animals we shot were our lowly woodchuck. We quit using the AB because of expense and the bullet did not open well on such a soft animal. However the BT are devastating on woodchucks. They also shoot to the same POI as an Accubond. If a bullet opens this well on a soft animal like a woodchuck there is no way I would try it on an elk. (Both the AB and the BT were 165)
     
  6. Rimfire

    Rimfire Well-Known Member

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    NBT's
    Forgiving, some what if it is high lung, low lung or far back they may help do some extra damage BUT drift one onto the shoulder and I would have plenty of water and running shoes with you. I would never hold shoulder with one. If you intentionally hold shoulder on an elk with a NBT you never worked with NBT's before. With that being said I've killed several African animals 500+ lbs with a 165 NBT out of a 300 Win. All shots were thought out and placed away from the shoulder and were quick and clean.
     
  7. wasgas

    wasgas Well-Known Member

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    I have shot an elk with a 180AB through both lungs and there was a faily small exit hole, the elk ran 100 yards and was down.

    Shot one with a 180BT (Winchester silver tip)went thru the shoulder and it rand 150 yards toward me and went down in a grainage and still had to be subdued with another bullet.

    Shot one with a 150SGK 2 shots thru the lungs and it just stood there both of these exited, the last shot was to the shoulder and it dropped instantly with no exit but ruined alot of good meat.

    I no longer aim for the shoulder and pick one of the softer bullets as my first choice. Either one is a great choice but until you need to make the shot you may not know which one would be better. My only instant kills on deer have been with the softer bullets like the SGK and Berger.
     
  8. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    It is asking a lot for a bullet to open the same when shot through the rib meat and lungs, versus the shoulder of an elk. A bullet that does one of those well is likely to be sub-optimal for the other. For me, a forgiving bullet is one that will perform in the most challenging situation (shoulder) yet be acceptable at the other extreme (rib meat and lung).

    My experience with the BT is limited but I would not use one on an elk. They are too soft. I have shot animals as small as antelope, and as large as elk with ABs in a variety of situations. The ABs seem to perform consistently. Of course they open less on very soft shots, but I have yet to see one "pencil through" without adequate damage -- even on lung-shot antelope. The only one I've ever seen stop in an animal (200AB out of 300WM) was when someone used my rifle to Texas heart shoot a whitetail (errr).

    Elk are large, tough, and unpredictable animals. Unless you hit the spine it is not realistic to expect any bullet to guarantee they drop in their tracks. But if you do your job and put one through the vitals, with a bullet with a wide performance range (AB), they won't make it far.
     
  9. bobinpa

    bobinpa Well-Known Member

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    Just wanted to thank all who replied......... I am going to use the Accubond.
     
  10. D.A.T.

    D.A.T. Well-Known Member

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    dont be afraid to try barnees or ssierra bullets.some folks seem to think the more expensive the better.i wonder sometimmes about the info here
     
  11. jcvibby

    jcvibby Non-Profit Sponsor

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    It all depends on Range, if its under 500 yards I would go with the Nosler E-Tip. If it is over 500 I would go with the accubond. Both good choice. All around I would go with the accubond. I went 200 grain accubond in my 300 RUM.
     
  12. Mort

    Mort Member

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    I am no expert on bullet types I can say I shot a bull 2 years ago with a winchester 180 GR. AB at 375 yards and had complete pass-through. It was a broadside shot just behind the shoulder.
     
  13. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    For elk and that cartridge, I'd shoot the 200g Accubond.

    I've seen my brother put four 180 AB's into elk. 2 at 428 into the ribs of a cow--neither exited. 2 at 200 into a raghorn bull into the lungs--neither exited. I didn't feel that there was a tremendous amount of damage internally in either case and no exit hole--not that I believe you need and exit hole, but if it doesn't exit, my theory is it had better do some serious damage inside to stop 'em.

    By comparison, my 300RUM shot the 200g A-frame at 250yd and took out a 6" diameter chunk of the spine on one cow and 2 other shots with 240g SMK at 450 both exited and 1 other shot at a spike bull at 60 with the 240 broke a shoulder going in and literally jellied internal organs in front of the diaphram.

    My take away from what limited experience I have is that the 180 AB in the 300 WSM is adequate, but I think it may be a little underpowered for elk, especially at any distance. Elk are big, tough animals and I think we owe it to hunting in general to 'use enough gun' as the saying goes. Not to say that a well place shot won't work--it will. Just had some expereince that makes me wonder is all about the 180 AB in the WSM in elk. This is one reason I went to a .338 this year in the off chance of a bad hit, there's potentially a better chance of ending things quicker. Just my opinion and ramblings.

    I think the 200g AB would be about as good an all around choice as you have in that chambering.
     
  14. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Jmden,

    I'm a little surprised that Accubonds stayed in an elk. I have yet to have one stay in an elk with my 270 WSM and I've shot them in some heavy bone, all over 300yrds and it just crushes them!