Bullet Loss - As it enters an animal.


Sep 17, 2016
Chamberlain SD
I recently had a friend come into my store who retrieved a bullet from an animal he had killed in Spain, in early January. He seemed a little excited to see what the actual bullet weighed. Either of us even knowing what to expect. He was shooting a 175 grain Accubond LR from a 28 Nosler 360 yards at an Ibex, the recovered bullet weight was 77.9 grains. We know that all bullets are made a little different. Just wondering how much weight is lost when a bullet impacts an animal? Has anyone ever retrieved a bullet? what are your findings? what is the industry standard?

I am new to these types of threads so I hope you haven't already created this topic, Thanks.
Retained weight can be anywhere from virtually none to all. You're about 45%, a little less than typical from the Nosler, but within expectations.

There are a lot of different designs out there-each has it's own characteristics, depending on which market they're intended for.

There are a bunch of bullet threads, both from the past, and some going on now.
Interesting. I shot a 175gr ABLR into milk jugs and a five gallon bucket at 50 yards with a 7mm Rem Mag, penetrated over 30 inches, and it to weighed exactly 77.9 grains. I just went and reweighed it and that was what the chargemaster told me.
It seems to correlate well to the first letter in the brand name of bullet manufacturer.
The closer to A, the closer to 0% weight retention.
The closer to Z, the closer to 100%.
Last edited:
I truly can not decipher what this means..
He's trying to say Noslers are better than Bergers...Which is the opposite of my experiences. I shot Noslers for many many years, and then after one season with Berger, I don't see myself ever going back.
ALL bullets will retain some of there original weight depending on the toughness of the animal/target, The distance to impact, the velocity at Impact, the design of the bullet, The impact location of the game to be shot, (Shoulder, spine , lungs, heavy muscle parts, soft tissue locations, ETC.

There are so many possibilities that a retained weight number/% is next to impossible to calculate. The ability to retain weight has a plus and a minus depending on the game hunted. A bullet that retains 90+% of its weight will probably completely pass through the game and not use all of the available energy. A bullet that retains little or no bullet weight will deliver all of its potential energy but may not exit producing a wound channel that will help recovery due to bleeding and tissue destruction for quick humane kills.

Ideally. a well placed bullet that delivers most all of its energy and just barely exits will perform its duties best.

Solids used on tough/dangerous game normally retain most if not all on the original weight because the object is to deliver most if not all of its energy while penetrating as much of the body and damaging as many organs as possible. These cartridge, bullet combinations are designed to take down game weighting 2000 +lbs of very dangerous game with bullets that will have 6 to 8000 ft/lbs of bullet energy and deliver all or most of it by retaining most or all of the bullets weight.

Good hunting bullets for big game should deliver most of its energy, retain 40 to 60% of its original weight, and expands to 2 or more diameters is the goal of most bullet makers and hunters.

Hmmm... Fairly common knowledge...

Barnes all copper bullets are an outlier to the alphabet rule of thumb.
Not from my experience... I've had Barnes pencil-through, just like I have NAB's and 1 Berger. I had a Hornady SST grenade on a deer as soon as it hit fur. Don't forget Nosler's huge Accubond tip problem where they had compound mixture issues and the plastic tips were breaking off of loaded ammo still in the boxes... I have some of those in my safe right now...$80 boxes of factory Weatherby .257 110 NAB ammo...Nearly half of them the tips are broken off, so they're good for nothing but sighters and range ammo.
I thought the discussion was retained bullet weight? That's what I was commenting about.
Warning! This thread is more than 6 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.