Hornady 6.5C 143 ELD-X performance issues

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by vernw, Nov 20, 2019.


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  1. vernw

    vernw Member

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    And Running a Savage Stealth factory chassis rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with a reworked trigger and the factory 143 ELD-X Ammo. Decided to forgo reloading for it this deer season because this ammo is consistently sub half MOA in my rifle, yields consistent single digit SD’s, all while exceeding the factory ammo velocity a bit.

    I spent the last few days deer hunting in Indiana with very perplexing results. I’m wondering if anyone else is seeing eFed inconsistent terminal performance like I did. Read on....

    First deer: average medium sized doe, lasered range of 285 yards, good feeling shot off a Magnum Tripod in a pop-up blind in a 3mph half value wind, held 1/3 up and just behind the shoulder broadside in a harvested bean field. Spun at the shot, tail Rey CE camped down tight, and typical panic nt blood trail but not outstanding run back into the brush 10 yds away. Figured first deer down with this set up. I figured wrong. The field. Followed a terrible small droplet every few feet blood trail for over 1/4 mile before we list it. Only thing that makes sense is a bullet that didn’t expand.

    Second deer: good medium sized doe standing broadside at 302 yds with no 60!discernible wind. Same hold, doe ran over 140 yds with a double lung hit before falling. Very small caliber sized exit would. Decent blood trail after 35 yds but nothing outstanding until the last 25 yds or so. Luckily we could see her laying in the field.

    Third deer: larger than average doe standing broadside at 314 yds, no wind. Shot felt very good, but deer ran about 60 yds before going into a treeline. No blood ever found at all. And I don’t believe I missed it.

    Fourth deer: 4 year old spindly 6 pt at 257 yds broadside. Mule kick at the shot and ran 35 yds before ducking back into the trees. Blood trail was phenomenal (my 6 yr ”00 could have towed it), deer ran a total of 45-50 yds. Double lunged, with jellied lower lungs and missing top of the heart. The difference? I took my 6.5 Grendel out using Hornady 123 SST ammo.

    Fifth deer: Stayed With the Grendel and shot a 150+ doe at 180 yds that left a huge blood trail and only went 50 yds after the double lung hit.

    So, am I wrong to think the 143 is not performing? The 123 SST in the Grendel is obviously performing. What has anyone else seen?
     
  2. Mram10us

    Mram10us Well-Known Member LRH Team Member

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    Can’t argue with your tests. Thanks for posting.
     
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  3. dreamhunt

    dreamhunt Well-Known Member

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    my brother shoots the 143 ELD-X out of a 6.5CM as factory loads, and has killed 3 elk, several deer and several antelope with it. very impressed with accuracy and performance. the mulie buck he killed in 2017 was at roughly 200 yards, found the bullet under the hide on the off side. Perfect textbook mushroom. I am planning on running the 143 gr. in my 6.5CM as well as the 162 in my 7mm RM.
     
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  4. North Idaho Hunter

    North Idaho Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Curious, have you checked your zero? Maybe your zero is off giving you a false sense of failure. I’ve had this happen before last season. Zero was off making for a long day of tracking.
     
  5. Creedmoor shooter

    Creedmoor shooter Well-Known Member

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    What did the insides look like on the deer you recovered? 3 bullet failures in a row is highly unlikely. The 143 eld-x has a pretty good track record as well. Something isn't adding up.
     
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  6. rfurman24

    rfurman24 Well-Known Member

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    If you need to switch bullets to get your confidence up by all means do it. I can't get on board with blaming a bullet with lack of proof. If you had recovered animals with clear hits in the vitals and long track jobs then maybe.
     
  7. codyadams

    codyadams Well-Known Member

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    I would think twothings. Either zero is off significantly, or hornady had a bad batch of bullets. I dont like the eldm's, but even though I consider them a failure, only one of 14 animals was that bad. The eldx's are generally better imo.
     
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  8. vernw

    vernw Member

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    Zero is fine.
     
  9. vernw

    vernw Member

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    Only one of the deer shot with the ELD-X was recovered. Autopsy shows a small 26 cal entrance wound, a double lung hit that punched thru each lung leaving about a 2” diameter blood shot looking spot on each intact lung, and a small approx. 1/3” exit hole. No shoulder bone was hit, no ribs broken, no liquefaction of the heart or lungs. This deer ran approx 140 yds before dropping leaving a very spotty blood trail.
     
  10. Unguided Missile

    Unguided Missile New Member

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    Just off the top here, it sounds like a bullet expansion issue. Your shots averaged about 300 yards which is definitely within the kill zone as you've proved with both rifles. Both calibers carry plenty of velocity and energy to dispatch the deer you shot. If you have anymore of the 6.5 CM ammo loaded up, I'd call Hornady and give them a heads up about your experience. They seem like good people there and may want to know how good/bad their product worked.

    A hunting guide/friend of mine runs the 162grn eld-x in his 7mm and has had great success with it on deer and elk. That's obviously not comparing apples to apples, but the bullet design is still the same between the calibers. On the good side, it doesn't sound like your shooting skills are off since you've got three dead deer. Just out of curiosity, how much meat was damaged compared between the Grendel vs the CM bullets? Thanks for posting your results.
     
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  11. vernw

    vernw Member

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    I appreciate the inputs so far
     
  12. vernw

    vernw Member

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    Thanks for those comments.

    Actually, this was all done using Hornady black box Precision Hunter factory ammo. And I still have some rounds from that box plus 4 or 5 more....

    As for meat damage comparison between the Grendel and the CM, the G’s 123 SST factory round liquified the lower half of both lungs and took off the top half of the heart on the buck. Real wet mess inside. The buck ran maybe 60-65 yds leaving a blood trail my little granddaughter cold AND my color blind brother-in-law DID follow. The 150+ pound doe did the same thing with both lungs liquified (heart was intact) for a 45-50 run.

    The sole recovered deer shot the 143 ELD-X was double lunged but onLy a small hole thru each lung and a pencil sized exit. She ran 140+ yard with a spotty blood trail that was hard to follow even though I saw where she fell and could see her laying in the field. The other 143 ELD-X definitely hit doe left a very spotty trail for over 1/4 mile and was not recovered. I have no proof the other deer fired at with the 143 was hit, but it felt as good or better than the other one.

    This is a perplexing one for sure. I'm on the road traveling right now but I like the idea of giving Hornady a call about this.
     
  13. 6.5BR

    6.5BR Well-Known Member

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    Slower the impact speed, the softer bullet you want, on deer, on soft shot placements....lung shots. Many 120-130 will typically do fine. A 120 BT and 130 AB would serve you well on those shots and speeds. If you need more expansion downrange with your bullet, hit the shoulders. You won't destroy too much meat at those distances, and it will promote expansion. My furthest deer was 400 yds, 6BR/105 Amax at 2850, double lunged, golf ball exit, jellied lungs. 25 yds before falling over. I would be curious to learn what speeds with your ammo and rifle....some fall short of spec...and that makes a stronger case IMO, for lighter 120-130s in small capacity rounds. I know all about BC...but your shots were not extreme LR. Good hunting folks.
     
  14. bgoniea

    bgoniea New Member

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    Shot a Coues 3X3 (100lbs) last year 460 yards with my 6.5 cm using factory ammo. caliber size entry and exit. Lungs were soup walked about 20 steps in a circle and when down.