Match bullets for long range big game hunting

FEENIX

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Aw come on, so my deer from few years ago that required a second shot because the first one was inches behind the shoulder and missed the lungs was not the Partition bullet's fault, dang, I guess I am to blame for that Lol.

Great point sir, many blame the bullet instead of shot placement, they hit the animal in a bad place and it's the bullets fault. Like @FEENIX always says, the nut behind the gun is what matters most.

One needs to pull the thumb and not point the finger at the rifle or bullet, otherwise we won't learn.
Sometimes even when the "NUT" behind the trigger manages a well placed shot and the bullet performs as advertised, sometimes the game might just expires differently. Murphy is an equal opportunity fellow and does not discriminate.

"One needs to pull the thumb and not point the finger at the rifle or bullet, otherwise we won't learn" is a true statement.
 
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LVJ76

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Sometimes even when the "NUT" behind the trigger manages a well placed shot and the bullet performs as advertised, sometimes the game might just expires differently. Murphy is an equal opportunity fellow and does not discriminate.

"One needs to pull the thumb and not point the finger at the rifle or bullet, otherwise we won't learn" is a true statement.
Yup, I have hit several animals in almost the same spot with the same bullet at similar distances, some dropped in the spot, some took a few steps, and a couple ran a good 100 yds with literally no lungs or heart, its just the way it goes, some critters are tougher than others. I've found Coues deer to be very unpredictable when it comes to these scenarios.
 

Jcook02

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Have used both. One 300 Rum shoots 200 gr. accubonds 3.5" groups at 800 yards. Another Rum shoots Match grade better than accubonds. When I shoot match, I shoot heavy for caliber and slow things down. With today's scopes, I have no need to shoot crazy fast rounds. I have no concerns with either as both have killed elk at reasonable distances. I tend to lose some meat on animals with match and up close and personal shots. I understand that and continue to use them. Dead is dead and the animal doesn't suffer. I did have a 180 drop all it's energy on a great bull, but I chose the 200 now. The search for the perfect bullet still continues, but it is sure nice to have options. My 7 Mag loves ABLR so I have used a plethora of rounds in the last several years, no expert by any means. We all have opinions and different experiences.
 

codyadams

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Overall, I consider my experience somewhat limited. For pronghorn, I have either myself shot, or been a spotter for somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 pronghorn, in the last 5 years, taken with match bullets exclusively, the vast majority being Bergers, 6.5 140 VLD-H's, 6.5 156 EOL's, 7mm 180 VLD-H's, and .277 170 EOL's. I did also test out the Hornady 6.5 147 ELD-M's with moderate success, 13 animals total taken, and was less impressed with them then any of the Bergers. They were less consistent. With the Bergers, out of all of those, there was literally only one I can remember that ran more than 10 yards, it was heart shot just over 700 yards, it ran about 60ish yards in a death sprint, shot with a 180 vld-h out of a 7 mag.

Add in deer and elk, and it adds around 15-20 more animals with match bullets, all shot with the same bullets listed. The Bergers terminal performance on all were fantastic. The elk tend to travel a little farther, not as many bang-flops, but most were less than 50 yards, with three that traveled between 50 and 150 yards, one was a large bull, traveled around 150 yards after hit mid lung with a 180 VLD, another was a raghorn bull traveled around 60 yards down hill, and the other was an adult cow elk that traveled steeply down hill about 80 yards before she came to rest in the bottom of a drainage. I did have a poor experience with a cow elk shot with the 147 eld-m, I have the shot on video showing the animals stance and reaction to the shot, as well as photo's of the entrance of the bullet after I recovered the cow that traveled around a mile. The bullet did minimal damage internally, did not exit and left zero blood trail, I tracker her by her tracks in the 3 day old snow. Though the bullet itself looked good as far as expansion, where I found the bullet under the skin on the off side suggest after impact, it changed course and diverted to the rear of the animal, only taking out the rear of the close side lung, then traveling through the paunch, and resting under the skin in the flank. Again, the video shows the animal was only slightly quartered, and the photo of the entrance hole shows that this is not the path the bullet should have taken if it penetrated in a strait line. So, I won't use the 147's any more, however, I give the Bergers that I have used a full nod. This is derived from terminal performance witnessed on approximately mid 60's number of animals taken with them.

I will add in, while the light thin skinned pronghorn shots ranged from 100 yards out to 980 yards, only one elk and none of the deer were shot under roughly 500 yards, so I have very limited testing with high velocity impacts from match type bullets on bigger heavier animals such as elk and heavier bodied deer. For my timber gun, I use a more conventional hunting bullet, Speer Hot Core out of a short handy .308 win being one of my favorites for this use. Shots with this gun would pretty much exclusively be under 250-300 yards for it's use.

Honestly, I do not believe there is a bullet that performs perfect at all ranges, all game. A bullet that will get full penetration on a big bull elk at 50 yards and have good terminal performance, will very possibly have poor external ballistic performance due to low bc, and will likely do minimal damage with a shot through the ribs/lungs on a pronghorn at 900 yards. On the other hand, a bullet with a high bc that will reliably expand and do heavy damage to the vitals with the same 900 yard shot on a pronghorn, may have issues with a 50 yard shot on a big elk if your shot has to pass through the heaviest muscle/heavy bone portion of the shoulder.

In other words, pick a bullet for the style you hunt. High bc isn't really all that necessary until your shots start to stretch past 500-600 yards consistently.
 

memtb

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For those of us that don't know, could someone please explain what the theory is on why match bullets will not perform well on game at short distances?


I had this exact same thing happen last fall with 160 accubonds into the ribs on whitetail buck at about 90 yards! He only went about 20 yards, and it exposed multiple rib bones and spilled some guts out on the impact side. No exit. I never saw a bullet do that before.

Not saying that they will not perform....only that you “may” get inconsistent performance! memtb
 

Canhunter35

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Just follow Nathan’s advice, he put the time in testing the bullets.
My favourite is the 168amax/eldm, does a great job
I also really like the 143eldx For deer antelope. Have shot deer at 500 and 620yds and it worked perfect. At 840yds, my energy was getting low and I had to finish the deer off, but she only went about 50yards before laying down.
The 212eldx has worked from 50feet through tan elks sternum, to 425yards on elk, also have shot Two moose, one in the neck and other in the shoulder, worked great.
I’ve also used the 180 Berger hybrid last fall in a 7rem mag and it worked well
I’ve had the 115vld (.257) pencil right through a deer heart, walked about 40yards before laying down. Without great shot precision, would’ve been bad. Never knew about clogged tips back then.
 
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Axl

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By definition, a match bullet is not a hunting bullet, it's in the name, and the fact that each have their own name tells you each was designed for their own purpose.

There may be cases where a match bullet is suitable for hunting, for the simple reason that hunting means different thing to different people, and somewhere in the great variety of game and circumstance, match bullets could be suitable.
Berger match bullets prior to 2007 are the same bullets they now call hunting bullets. Since then Berger match grade target bullets have a thicker jacket than their hunting line. So they just changed the definition from match to hunting.
 

bigngreen

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I've not found all of Nathan Fosters stuff translates to NA game, he advised some stuff that will lead to issues especially in the Berger VLD department. His advice is dead wrong on annealing a Berger 140 VLD and his results are directly opposite of what we see on deer and elk here as it's hands down the most consistent bullet we've shot. If you shoot the 140 Targets then ya we saw annealing the tips help them open sooner on lighter game but not the HVLDs.
 

Hand Skills

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I've not found all of Nathan Fosters stuff translates to NA game, he advised some stuff that will lead to issues especially in the Berger VLD department. His advice is dead wrong on annealing a Berger 140 VLD and his results are directly opposite of what we see on deer and elk here as it's hands down the most consistent bullet we've shot. If you shoot the 140 Targets then ya we saw annealing the tips help them open sooner on lighter game but not the HVLDs.
That's very interesting. Berger makes a few different vld 140's (6.5mm, .270 and .284). When you say VLD, does that include VLD hunting bullets (which supposedly have thinner jackets). Of the 140's I've only sectioned the .270 140gr classic hunter - I'm pretty new to bergers. I value your experience and contributions here, but can you provide any more specificity? I'm thinking there have gotta be at least 6 different Berger 140 vld's- do you mean ALL of them?
 

bigngreen

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That's very interesting. Berger makes a few different vld 140's (6.5mm, .270 and .284). When you say VLD, does that include VLD hunting bullets (which supposedly have thinner jackets). Of the 140's I've only sectioned the .270 140gr classic hunter - I'm pretty new to bergers. I value your experience and contributions here, but can you provide any more specificity? I'm thinking there have gotta be at least 6 different Berger 140 vld's- do you mean ALL of them?
Sorry, those are 6.5 cal 140's specifically. I've shot a decent number of elk with the 270 cal 140 VLD clocking 3300 fps in a 270 WSM, it was the first Berger I ever shot and after shooting a couple elk first with a 140 Accubond and have them stand there then hitting them with the Berger and being able to see the differences in wound channels in the same animal I just loaded the Berger from there on, way less meat damage, way more lethal wound channels. The 170 EOL in a WSM just loafing at 2930 is one of the few bullets I've seen actually drop bull elk shot behind the shoulder mid body, absolutely lethal!!
 

Hand Skills

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Sorry, those are 6.5 cal 140's specifically. I've shot a decent number of elk with the 270 cal 140 VLD clocking 3300 fps in a 270 WSM, it was the first Berger I ever shot and after shooting a couple elk first with a 140 Accubond and have them stand there then hitting them with the Berger and being able to see the differences in wound channels in the same animal I just loaded the Berger from there on, way less meat damage, way more lethal wound channels. The 170 EOL in a WSM just loafing at 2930 is one of the few bullets I've seen actually drop bull elk shot behind the shoulder mid body, absolutely lethal!!
Thanks for the clarification. I figured that's probably what you meant ;)
 

Zymurgist

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Nov 14, 2013
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I love my amaxs they have never let me down i got a box of the eldms cause they supposed to be the replacement and they dont shoot like my amaxs out of my gun thats why i scarf up everybox of 168 amaxs i run across lol
I was lucky to find 500 178gr AMAX last fall. They were discontinued in favor of the ELDM. Hornady will continue the 168gr as they sell them to the military.
 

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