help needed: copper bullets in 300 wsm

wildcat westerner

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Nov 14, 2009
Messages
416
Hello, Having drawn a once in a lifetime Oryx here in NM, I have been informed that with the heart/lungs being located exactly between the shoulders, a 300 magnum is suggested with heavy duty bullets needed for deep penetration.
I have a Savage SS barrelled action, converted to 300 WSM, which is incredibly accurate. A true sub 1/2 minute rifle with 178 gr. Hornady ELDX bullets. I have purchased 200 Barnes 165 gr. Barnes TSX bullets to use on this hunt. I have reloaded , and written about reloading for decades and what is unfolding now makes no sense to me, and I would appreciate sincere, experienced advice from my fellow reloaders.
Not being familiar with reloading copper bullets I accessed The Barnes site. I read that to begin with these bullets must be seated .050 off the lands and adjustment should be in .025 increments. According to the reloading data Accurate 2700 ball powder could be used for this 165 grain bullet, which surprised me since I use that powder in my .244 varmint rifle with light bullets. I've got a bunch of it in these scarce times.
I set about finding the depth these bullets would just let the bolt close in this rifle. That overall length proved to be 3.100. -.050 should be 3.051 correct?
I started with the lowest load 61.4 grains in the manual and loading in increasing amounts by 1.5 grains to the listed max of 66 grains.

I went to the range, fired the 61.4 grains loads and the cases and extraction seemed to indicate to me that loading was pretty strong for a starting load. Next I tried a 63 grain load and the bolt "froze" and primer disappeared. I brought the rifle home and now everything is okay. The groups fired with the minimum load ran about 3 inches at 200 yards, which is a total disappointment. Long ago I tried some copper bullets in a .280 Remington and the results were not satisfactory. Why these loads suggested in the Barnes book are so hot with minimum loading I have absolutely no idea. I'd hate to think what that max loading of 66 grains would do to my rifle!

WW
 

Calvin45

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Apr 13, 2019
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935
Location
Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada
Are you required to use mono metals? Like in a lead-free zone?

nothing wrong with them either way and I’m afraid I can’t help with the reloading mystery except to ask if somehow your brand of brass’ case capacity is much less than what Barnes’ brass was giving.

reason I ask about lead is that norma makes a bonded bullet called the Norma Oryx....
 

RockyMtnMT

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Montana
My guess is you have a tight bore. This has always been the problem for copper bullets. They are harder than lead so they will show high pressure in tight guns and poor accuracy in loose guns. We designed our patented PDR drive band bullets to solve this issue. Because our drive bands are on a radius the outside diameter of the band is very finite resulting in very little bullet material making contact in the barrel groves. Being a radius as the rifling engraves deeper it gets more material to engage. Between drive bands the valley is deeper than bore dia leaving space to deposit engraved cooper. This allows us to cut our bullets at .0005" over caliber without increasing pressure tight bores but still sealing loose bores and producing superior accuracy in all.

For your wsm our go to has been the 166g Hammer Hunter. They will fit nicely in the short action and run about 3200 fps. They will handle the job on the African animal very well. Brian just took a gemsbok at a bit over 200y with his 270 Sherman Short running our 140 Hammer Hunter one shot no tracking.

We will guarantee our bullets to do everything you expect or your money back. We look forward to being part of your hunt.
 

wildcat westerner

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Nov 14, 2009
Messages
416
Hello, returned to the range today in the winds which reached 7.4 at 10 o'clock. I reduced the load one grain of powder and also changed the OAL and its amazing. 3 went into less than 5/8" at 200 yards. What a turnaround with a .020 difference on OAL. The chronograph has sat for years, but I want to see what kind of velocities this load creates. f its anywhere near 2,800, I'll be good to go, despite these quite high pressures, which are not indicated by the Barnes reloading data.

WW
 

Rick Richard

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Jan 7, 2014
Messages
4,124
Location
North Carolina
I have great luck with the Hammer Hunters 166 and 181 with H4350 In my 300 WSM. Give Steve a call and let him know what twist you have in your rifle. He can then recommend a grain weight and a starting load. Good luck.
 

budlight

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Sep 30, 2004
Messages
1,134
Location
Nevada
I load 300 wsm. Don't use mag primers with faster powders. Early on I popped some primers using RamShot big game with 168 TTSX. Only large rifle primers!
 

Hespco

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Mar 6, 2019
Messages
1,137
Location
W. Montana
As always with Barnes bullets. Seating depth has a significant importance to accuracy. Start at .050 off as Barnes recommends .Then if needed, as you did ,seat deeper . A little at a time. Most of the time a sweet spot will be found, as you have found out. They are a dependable bullet which I have been using since 1994. They have successfully brought down numerous elk for me. Never once failed to produce a clean kill. One rifle I have will not shoot the Barnes not matter what I have tried. Different powder, & many different seating depths. Tried the Hunter Hammer in this rifle, complete success. So there it is. "O", forgot to mention , all mine have been 6.5 cal rifles. I guess a 30cal may also work.
 

wildcat westerner

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Joined
Nov 14, 2009
Messages
416
Howdy, its neat to show significant progress in a short time. Hespco, you mention using 6.5's extensively. I had Badlands bullets coming in for me 6.5 Sherman. It will be my backup rifle. I hesitate to state how incredibly flat this rifle shoots wit the 143 gr. ELDX and the Badlands are less than 130 grains , with their aluminum nosecap and High BC's. have you used your 6.5's on Elk with these types of bullets and what are your impressions?

WW
 

Hespco

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Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
1,137
Location
W. Montana
I , just last week got in 200 Badlands Bulldozer ll , 6.5 125gr. BC 530. Worked up a load in my Savage 110 XP Storm 260 Rem. 3024 fps with 49.5grs Of Rel 26. Superb accuracy. Smacked my " little" target at 424 yds. Have never taken elk with the 6.5 Badlands , but have seen elk taken with them. One shot conclusive kills.
Over the years I have taken , for sure , my fair share of elk. Most of which were taken with the 6.5 & the Barnes 120gr "X" at first. Then transitioned to the TSX, then the TTSX. All have worked. Did take a very mature elk in 2019 with the Hammer 121gr Hunter. Worked perfectly, complete penetration of both front shoulders. A DRT shot. I am a devoted advocate of the homogeneous copper bullet when it comes to elk. They all , copper mono's seem to work equally well on elk. They penetrate like a considerably heavier bullet than they are. So pick out the one you like & enjoy.
 

William W.

Active Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2014
Messages
28
Hello, Having drawn a once in a lifetime Oryx here in NM, I have been informed that with the heart/lungs being located exactly between the shoulders, a 300 magnum is suggested with heavy duty bullets needed for deep penetration.
I have a Savage SS barrelled action, converted to 300 WSM, which is incredibly accurate. A true sub 1/2 minute rifle with 178 gr. Hornady ELDX bullets. I have purchased 200 Barnes 165 gr. Barnes TSX bullets to use on this hunt. I have reloaded , and written about reloading for decades and what is unfolding now makes no sense to me, and I would appreciate sincere, experienced advice from my fellow reloaders.
Not being familiar with reloading copper bullets I accessed The Barnes site. I read that to begin with these bullets must be seated .050 off the lands and adjustment should be in .025 increments. According to the reloading data Accurate 2700 ball powder could be used for this 165 grain bullet, which surprised me since I use that powder in my .244 varmint rifle with light bullets. I've got a bunch of it in these scarce times.
I set about finding the depth these bullets would just let the bolt close in this rifle. That overall length proved to be 3.100. -.050 should be 3.051 correct?
I started with the lowest load 61.4 grains in the manual and loading in increasing amounts by 1.5 grains to the listed max of 66 grains.

I went to the range, fired the 61.4 grains loads and the cases and extraction seemed to indicate to me that loading was pretty strong for a starting load. Next I tried a 63 grain load and the bolt "froze" and primer disappeared. I brought the rifle home and now everything is okay. The groups fired with the minimum load ran about 3 inches at 200 yards, which is a total disappointment. Long ago I tried some copper bullets in a .280 Remington and the results were not satisfactory. Why these loads suggested in the Barnes book are so hot with minimum loading I have absolutely no idea. I'd hate to think what that max loading of 66 grains would do to my rifle!

WW
 

William W.

Active Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2014
Messages
28
Did I miss the part where you sized your bullets to fit in your magazine?

Hammer has bullets in-stock.
 
Last edited:

orifdoc

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Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
84
Location
Idaho
Congrats on drawing the tag. In Africa, I’ve killed maybe 6-7 gemsbok. You are correct about the vital zone. Shoot through the shoulder and you’ll have no trouble. My limited experience is that they’re tough, tough critters. They’re also incredibly aware and have outstanding vision - much more so than elk. I’ve never killed one that wasn’t looking at me.

As for bullets, I prefer Barnes TTSX or TSX for African PG, but only if they shoot! I’ve hunted PG mostly with a .300 Wby with 180gr TTSX and I’ve become a huge fan of reliable one-shot kills. Accubonds or similar would be perfectly fine too. If a Berger HVLD shot well, I’d use it without hesitation.

For me, either the rifle likes the bullet within a few iterations or I go to something else. No reason to bang your head against the wall.
 

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