A reflection on bullet performance, thoughts


Dec 27, 2008
Was down stairs rooting through my supplies, componants, and reflecting back 10-15, years ago when loading mostly for my huning guns, 30-06, 270s, 308s, and a 300 win mag. I looked in what I call the old pile, of Hdy bullets now replaced with accubonds and TSX bullets at 3 times the cost..

Pulled out some targets shot 12-15 years ago with these now almost dissregarded (new thinking) Hdy Sps and looked at the groups and thought Dam, these look pretty good....the old sps shot like a house on fire, which was true,, bonded bullets in genral do not shoot as accurate at soft bullets like the Ballistic tips, or Sps. This is my findings, yours may be different

Than pulled out the old photo albums, (realized I am grey now, and have less hair ) lol! but reflected on the kills, that were made on all game, moose, bear, deer...and thought to myself, all these animals were recovered and in short order..humm.

I am usually the guy preaching good bullet selection and new bonded bullets, but I started to realize, I have nothing to back this up by... nothing I had shot in the past or no bullet failure was ever prestented to me..at any velocity, and had launched some pretty fast projectiles from wby magnums in light bullets for the calibers. I have never seen a bullet fail to date, even the old soft ones that were handed down as a boy to me from my uncles, and grandfathers.

I am not sure where I am going with this, but have any of you guys sat down and thought about how good barnes, Nosler and speer have sold the new technology to us..I am sure there is value in good bullets, but if you think of it this way it almost does not make sence... I pay 55-70 $ for 50 projectiles when I could buy a box of Hdy Sps per 100 for $30-35.00. and they shoot as well or better, and have blown right through moose and bear on more than one occasion, Infact SP bullets have prduced some of teh quickest knock down kills for me. You think back to Jacky Os and Kieths days of what they had to work with, which ws much less than the hdy sps, and you hear little about bullet failure, from the late 60s on.

If you look at the key element shot placement, are we worried, or sold on something that may not exist..
Starting to think we are..

I loaded up an old faithful Hndy Sp round tonight for my 308, and 300 win mag for deer... I am going to try these again, yes I have bonded bullets but I think I need to prove it to myself that these olf Sps will still do the trick, just as always..
Yuke.....I just posted a response last night that deals with this very issue. See barnes resonse to Berger......Rich
Yes, we have all bought the lies in the hopes of perfection and praise. I recently "re-proved" it to myself with a 250lb black bear and a Ballistic Tip at very close range. The 7mm 150gn NBT left my barrel at 3211fps and entered the bear's left shoulder, went completely through and exited the right shoulder. He fell to ground, dead, 15 steps away.
This bullet did not blow up as some say they will do. I have used Ballistic Tips for 25 years now and still find them to be just as effective, and very accurate, as always. Let others buy the expensive premium bullets, I'll stay with BT's. My most memorable trophies have fallen to NBT's and the majority of my best groups have been with NBT's.
My Dad loved the Speer SP Boat Tails in his .243 Win. He swore by them for deer and fed his family with them. I have four boxes that were his and plan on trying them this deer season in the .243 Browning BLR (with 26" Douglas barrel) he left me.
We seem to have gotten away from the ole' saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", expecially when it comes to rifles, cartridges and bullets. JohnnyK.
I haven't shot any animals with my hand-loaded bullets yet , (I missed,) but I just can't afford to buy half as many bullets for twice the price.

Now that I have a scope, I'll get that lil bugger! :p
I to have never had problems killing game clean with plain old Sierra, Hornady or Speer cup and core bullets over my 40 years of big game hunting. I have been able to work up loads with them that equal most match bullet accuracy also. I have not tried any of the NEW solid or bonded bullets on game yet. I will be using 130 Nosler Accubonds in a 27 3/4" Barreled 264 Win mag this deer season some for the simple reason that it pushed the 120 gr Nosler ballistic tips and Sierra bullet too fast for my liking, 3500 to 3600 fps. I am afraid that for a close shot that I might get the bullet might come apart too quick. I was going to go with the 125 gr Nosler Partition but saw the Accubonds were less expensive and from what I read and have been told from others that they are a good combonation of the Ballistic tip and the Partition all roled into one. They sure do shoot good, 100 yard groups in the .4's at 3350 fps. We will see how they do on game in October.

I am sort of young, and new to handloading, so year before last (my first handloading season), I loaded Hdy 130gr. SP in my 30-06 to about 2700fps. They shot well out of my gun, so I decided to hunt with them. I saw 4 deer in that season, and I drop 4 deer that season (new, young, eager, hunter). Three of the four where DRT, with my first deer ever running about 100 yards through the wood bleeding badly. I had buck fever so bad I pulled the 70yrd shot about 4" back and up, only hitting the lungs (I think). The next was at 20yrds and he folded like an accordion. Then his brother bought it at 60yrds in the head. I had enough confidence in the accuracy, that I shot him facing dead away from me. He turned his head about 60 degrees to look back and wham, right under the ear where I was aiming. Last day of season, all I saw a doe @ 147yrds and shot her through both shoulders and out the other side. DRT, need I say more. Can't beat that performance. I'm using Hdy A-Max now since my distance has gotten longer. Can't beat the cheap Hdy bullets. I did how ever have a Hdy 150 Sp break up on my last year. It was a bad shot on my part, since I hit right on the shoulder at 80 yrds with a 150 at almost 3000fps. Tore the deer and bullet to shreds. Only a piece of the jacket came out on the far side, right in front of the hind leg. I couldn't even gut him, but I came up with a new way (new to me) to harvest the meat.

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In the past, I've used Partitions and they were very effective, infact 100% effective on all the game I used them on. They were the latest and greatest at one time as are many of these that folks are mentioning. Last year I used 180 SP to dispatch 3 antelope and a 180 AB on a cow elk. All very effective.

The bottom line is that just about any modern bullet is capable of dispatching a deer or elk effectively used within its parameter of performance. If you read or listnen to enough reports, you will also hear of occasional failures.

This being LRH, many of the newer bullets have advantages for us for LRH effectiveness. The poly tips resist deforming much better and provide higher BC. That's just a plain fact. They get down range farther with more thump and buck wind better.

If I'm hunting 900 lb bull elk or 500 lb griz, you can bet I'll pick the monometal or bonded bullet over the SP. Will the PS do the job? Most likely... but if I have to take a quartering shot through heavy bone and lot's of tissue, I'll pichk the toughest bullet I can shoot well from my rifle and If I'm going for a 1000 yd shot, I'll be picking a high BC accurate bullet for the job.
So yeah, the older bullets do the job well in most situations, but the newer ones DO have advantages in some situations. Are they worht the price? That's for each of us to decide. If 400 yds was the farthest I was going to take a hunting shot then the cup and core SP's would be just fine for most game. But you wont find me developing any loads for LRH with those bullets. I have shot my last partition, as good a bullet as it is....

Good thread...

I just touched on this in the barnes-berger as well, but I will touch on it again. Years ago those bullets certainly filled the bill, but times have changed. Velocity, accuracy, understanding of ballistics, etc..

We now have a better understanding of all of the little things that make a great bullet, and this being the long range forums I will assume that all here have an interest, to some extent, in long range.

Not that long ago harvesting game was considered ethical and or acheivable to about 300-400 yards maximum to all but a small handful of people, so 1 MOA or so was generally considered excellent 1 1/2- 2 MOA was on par, and bullets didn't have to perform well at say 1000 yards on game consistently. The old 300-400 yard mark IMO has been moved and I would say that it is closer to 600-1000 yards now. A bullet has to do alot of things very well to harvest game at those ranges such as buck the wind, retain energy & velocity, pin point accuracy, release the energy on the animal, etc.

I would say that not all of the bullets from our past fall short, but many do.
well in my 40 years of hunting I have yet to shoot a partition. I have 2 long range rifles which I shoot decent bullets in.
a few folks scoff at the accubond for long range hunting but I made my farthest kill last year with an accubond, 1,350 yards. in my other 20 something rifles I shoot plain vanilla bullets, most of the time NBT's. I've taken hundreds of deer with them and in all those deer I've saw 2 jacket core separations that didn't exit. these were 140 gr BT's that were packaged 100 to the box which means it was before the NBT's were revamped for hunting big game.
I'm just not sold on the premie's yet, I jumped on the original x-bullet bandwagon, all I got out of that was my wallet was 300.00 dollars lighter and I still went back to BT's.

20 times I've sent 140 BT's from my STW at over 3500 fps, brought home 19 bucks and a bear at anywhere from 47 yards to 626. I'm not gonna fix it either!
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