Elk hunting 2015 problems with .338 225 accubond


Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2006
I'll try to make this as short and to the point as possible.
This past weekend my girlfriend, kids and I went on a little family elk hunting trip. We arrived to our camp late Friday night after a few minor set backs as we were leaving town. This was my girlfriends sons first elk hunt and he was chomping at the bit to get into the woods. Saturday was a busy although we saw 5 elk, 8 deer and a few moose. We went on about a 3 mile hike which wore all of us out. Fast forward to Sunday morning. I choose to drive to a spot over looking a large open park. I choose this for 2 reasons. It was cold, the kids weren't prepared for and to let the kids sleep in. Getting there about a half hour before shooting light, I shut off the truck, cracked the windows and enjoyed the crisp clean air and the silence of the mountians. As it got light enough to see I got out of the truck and made a few cow calls. I got a response almost right away. Shortly after I spotted the cow. I set up for the shot with the kids fast asleep in the back seat. At the shot she did the classic face plant of a high shoulder shot. I look back at the truck, the kids are looking at the window for a few seconds and lay back down like nothing happened. I look back towards my downed elk, there's another cow standing about 100 yds closer. I rush to get Austin set up as he's half asleep and in a daze. He misses the first shot but drops her on the second with his little 7/08. Then all hell broke loose, for the next ten mins there was elk running across the park. I still ha a bull tag as did my girlfriend. As usual the last 2 elk to come across were bulls and we weren't ready. This is when reality finally hit him. He gets up starts dancing and singing then all the sudden makes a 200yd mad dash to his first elk. Once we get caught up to him, we took pics, cleaned her up and headed back to camp for breakfast and recruit help for the pack out.
My cow

His first elk

As luck would have it, we come around the corner looking into the park and 2 bulls are stand out in the middle minding their own business. They are us about the same time and start heading for the trees. I get out set up for the 300yd shot, boom, nothing he dosnt even flinch. Work the bolt, boom, nothing again. I think to myself. I have got to be hitting him. There is no way I am missing an elk this close. I work the bolt again, boom, nothing. He gets to the trees and stops for once last look. Boom, he drops. I get back to the truck drive the rest of the way to the park, grab my rifle and pack and start ghe hike to see what I got. Me and the gang get to were he dropped but he's gone. I took a few steps forward following his tracks and he busts out at a full run about 40yds ahead of me so me knowing I have a wounded elk running away from me I take an off hand shot and connect but he keeps going. By the time he was down, this bull had been hit 5 out of 6 shots all of which were in the vitals. As I was gutting him it looks like ALL of the accubonds buzzed right through like a full metal jacket doing no damage.
The bull an family

Sorry for the babble. Has anyone had problems with the 225 accubond?? This is being fired from a diablo custom rifles 338 rum @3200fps.
That's bizzar man, it would be one thing if it had just been 1 bullet had failed to mushroom out but multiple!!! Especially at the distance you were at and the velocity you're running.
Wow, that's weird. Now I'll be second guessing my Accubonds in my 300 Win Mag.

Congrats on the great day! And thanks for sharing your story and pictures!
Not 338 Accubonds but I sold a buddy a 375 H&H I had and loaded some 260AB's for it. He pencil holed two deer and put it away. That was enough to shy me away from AB's. I think Nosler screwed up not just beefing up some of the ballistic tip from the get go. The 180gr .30 cal and larger bullets were already that way and performed well.
I have 4 very similar stories on ABs from 4 different clients and four different cartridges. I don't have any experience with the AB LR but I have heard better stories about them.
First thing, congrats on the family and the hunt. That must have been a truly great time. I will say I have no experience with the accubonds but I've had very nice success with 225gr Barnes TTSX's in a 340wby. Maybe give them a try.
Mostly I've seen them expand fast, maintain a good mushroom shape, but with limited penetration. Meaning recovered from very small whitetail.

I have seen a couple of instances where the front portion falls away and an exit hole looks like it never expanded. The Partitions can do this also.

Didn't track your bullets so I'm not saying this was what happened, but I didn't see where you mentioned internal damage.
I'm curious, did any of those shots hit hard bone as in leg, shoulder, or spine or did they all hit soft tissue and/or rib?

I've shot a lot of Accubonds on game and was pleased with them but they were all in 6.8, 7mm or 30 cal and none of those were loaded at RUM velocities.

I had a similar problem with some Nosler ballistic tips many years ago and was fortunate to recover a few of them. They had essentially turned completely inside out with the inside base of the bullet becoming the leading edge with the rest simple folded straight back with minimal expansion and roughly caliber diameter wound channel through the whole animal.

The few I was actually able to recover and evaluate were full length body shots on big hogs that managed not to hit hard bone.

The longer you shoot the more weird stuff happens.

If I had the same experience you had with five consecutive shots I'd think I'd had the all time run of "bullet bad luck".

Glad to see though that you recovered all of your animals and pasted huge smiles on the kids faces!
Thanks guys
None of the bullets except one had hit any bone. I'm not sure how that happened. I've never shot any accubonds and I don't think I will again. Time to load up the trusty berger
With numerous elk kills, and being there for many many more. (34 so far this year) I have come to the conclusion that lots of expansion , (some may call it too much), is what I want. Destroyed vitals and the elk down is all I care about. Large for caliber fragmenting bullets have stole my heart.

You did good, Thanks for sharing and thanks for keeping the lead coming.

My tests on a very large dead hog several years ago showed the 338 - 225 AB performed perfectly every shot broadside through rib cage.

Perfect expansion and 18" penetration into the plate on the far side.

I'm surprised at the performance you mention.

BTW: The most impressive bullet in that test was the Berger 25 cal @ 3030 FPS MV.
My son just shot a bull with my .264 and a 140 AB, 400 yard shot, impact velocity around 2450. Perfect performance, broke both front shoulders, stopped under the hide on the far side. Bull fell over dead within 10 seconds.
I have come to the conclusion that lots of expansion , (some may call it too much), is what I want. Destroyed vitals and the elk down is all I care about. Large for caliber fragmenting bullets have stole my heart.


I completely agree with the above statement. My favorite effect is where the animal never leaves my sight after being shot. It has been my experience that this is most likely to happen when a rapid expanding bullet delivers maximum energy and a sizable wound channel.
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