Choosing the right bullet for every western critter


Previously Chaske Johnson
Jan 3, 2020
I am working up a load for my 7 mag and want to f ok it right. I have had a 7 mag in the past (a bolt, very accurate great gun). I have now upgraded to the Christensen Arms Mesa in 7 mag. The gun has a vortex viper 4-16x50 hs-lr on it. I would like to work up a load and stick with it. I am fortunate enough to be born in Montana and am able to hunt most western critters the same afternoon out of my back door. I would like to get dialed and send my info off to kenton industries for a custom turret. The long range hunter turret specifically. I have a box of 168 grain barnes lrx's. I am having second thoughts as to whether or not that's the bullet to be married to. Thd gun has a 1 in 9 twist. I'm not trying to overthink it, I just would like to get dialed and practice and have 1 rifle I am proficient with to 500-600 yards and all the way in to 25. Is the lrx thd right bullet? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks guys
Lots of preferences about to appear, but if considering one bullet doing it all, then the answer should be geared toward the toughest task. In Montana it's my opinion an unplanned grizzly hunt is part of the equation.

If you feel good with what you have keep it.
I am not a fan of the monos. Yes they expand but they are still a solid. Great for cape buffalo with a 375 with 1 inch hide for penetration. But elk and deer? They need to hit bone and drive it through to be really effective. In these times everyone get hooked on long range. How about a grizzly at 50 feet? Nosler 160 partition is a good place to be or even the 175. Warren page killed anything that needed killing with 175 noslers. Understand that when a nosler is losing the front that it is destroying tissue. Not so with a mono. Everything I have shot with a nosler partition has went one direction. DOWN. That eland in the picture. 28 nosler with a 175 partition. Bang flop
160 grain speer grand slam does wonders on all game period! And it will be fine out of a 7 magnum past 600 yards.
I've had excellent results with Barnes LRX. Elk, deer & bears from under 100 to 825. All great performance!

If your limit is 600 yards I would also consider partitions!
I had 7 175 grain partitions laying around. I loaded them up 3 with 64.5 gr. H1000
4 with 65 gr. H1000. Seated them .015 off lands. My a bolt liked these. Hopefully this one does too. I got so caught up in fancy tips and b.c. I overlooked the partition. That b.c and s.d. doesnt look bad. I guess I should stick to what I know. I'll let you know how these do. Thanks.
Everyone seems to be missing the fact that the 168LRX requires a 1:8 twist.

Copper has a lower density than lead, which makes all copper bullets longer than their lead core counterparts (like a 168gr Berger). It's this excess length that can cause stability issues.

Consider stepping down to the 139 or 145gr LRX.

Been hearing good things about the 143gr Hammer Hunter.
I've had excellent results with partitions out to 550 yards (furthest elk I killed with em)

no issues ever, if those 175's shoot good, I would stay with them.
600 and in with elk in the menu, Accubonds, Lrx of some weight, hammer bullets, those would be my choices. Decent B.Cs and they all work. Today's mono bullets do not need to contact bone to expand and heck the hammer bullet is designed to shed its front petals to provide additional damage. Good old accubonds have been a go to bullet for me for years.
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