Cost of Premium bullets for practice, what to do?

Losthwy

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Dec 30, 2012
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Colorado
I like to shoot/practice in the off season. I'm loading Barnes bullets (.30-06 and .243) for hunting which are about double the cost for most bullets.
What do you guys do?
Bite the cost and practice with the same bullet? Higher cost, but simple.
Work up a load with completely with a different bullet? Lower cost, more work.
Other?
 

davkrat

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Sep 18, 2006
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The Motherlode
For my .308 I've found that the Nosler 155 Custom Competition uses the exact same charge of Varget and bullet seating as my hunting load of 150 ETips. Out to 600 yards their flight paths are close enough to use the same drop chart in practice.

For my 7mag I only shoot the ETips and usually 10 or less of those per range section. Most of my practice is with a .22 and the .308. Lobbing those lower BC bullets will make a high BC bullet from a magnum seem like a laser beam.
 

Dosh

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Aug 6, 2013
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Arizona
Lost, don't short change your hunt, practice with what you hunt with.
 

bigngreen

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SW Montana
That is part of the price of using an expensive bullet, if your not shooting the bullet during practice that your going to hunt with then your not really practicing anything really meaningful IMO. Rounds down range with your entire hunting set up is what make the difference during the season.
 

royinidaho

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Jan 20, 2004
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Blackfoot, Idaho
Davkrat,

It all depends on how "practice" is defined.

For me it "was" defined as bustin' as many rocks as doable at distances and conditions from doable to reasonable to stretching things. It was fun, I got confidence and burned out 2 barrels on the same rifle. All the while shooting what I hunt with.

Somewhere between the age of 64 and 71 I had a change of mind.

Practice is the shooting experience post load and drop chart development (my def'n)

Practice, now, is setting up a target, video system (either target camera or digicam where the target in inaccessable.)

All shots are recorded.
All shots are cold bore and at times "clean" cold bore.
First shot center mass hit is expected. If miss occurs, analysis is conducted, notes taken and a second attempt is considered.

It takes about the same amount of time in the field. More progress is made, less money spent and a very good out door experience occurs.

I used to stress over cost of each shot. For me and ELR bullet cost is $2, case is around $0.60, powder is around $0.59 (150 gr 50 BMG). A bit less than this for the 'little' gun..:roll eyes:

I figure a 500 mile round trip to the hunting spot, a 2 to 4 day stay, all the prep, bag/baggage/food/water ......, and a very remote chance at a shot I'm thinking this new approach to 'practice' may be more effective.

Just my thoughts?
 

Dr. Vette

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Dec 30, 2009
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Holland, MI
My hunting partner often reminds me that the ammo is the least expensive component you're going to take into the field. Unless you're shooting factory ammo in a 338-378 one tank of gas on your trip out west costs more than the ammo you're going to shoot.

As a result, we will practice with the same ammo we're going to use to hunt. However, nothing wrong with having a different rifle with cheap ammo you use to get trigger time and learn the basics. A 22LR or a 223 can teach you a lot.
 

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
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326
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Colorado
I hunt barnes as well. For my guns (currently a 30-06 and 7-08, soon to add a 280AI) I do have a target and a hunting load worked up (doesn't take that long honestly). Now don't take that to mean I don't practice with the barnes, I just don't do all my shooting with them. Esp. now in spring I do mostly "target" bullets (which by the way are suitable hunting bullets as well if needed to be called upon) as I keep practiced on trigger control, field shooting positions, working on reading wind, etc. Those are more practicing on me as a shooter as opposed to learning a "load" further.

When I get nice conditions to pattern at long range I'll run some barnes to continue building up my dope on them and towards fall that is what I shoot for practice. Know the clicks to move zero's between the two bullets and its no biggie to switch. Again I will reiterate that towards fall I focus on practicing with what I hunt as suggested.
 

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