Size of bullet for size of game

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by sdkidaho, May 22, 2010.

Help Support Long Range Hunting by donating:

  1. sdkidaho

    sdkidaho Well-Known Member

    Aug 30, 2009
    I was watching a video clip on the BOTW site. The guy took a 925 yard shot and harvested a nice bull elk. He was shooting a 6.5 284, with a 140gr Berger bullet. That bull didn't go far, maybe 30 feet or so before he piled up.

    So, what I'm wondering is, that being the case, would I be safe to assume that I could use a 168 gr bullet in my .300 WSM and take game up-to the size of a Moose? Granted, that is assuming competent shooting and all that, proper placement, load works well in this rifle etc...

    Also, for the smaller critters, what load would you recommend? Like fox, coyote, wolf size. I'm not noticing too many lower weight bullets for the .300 WSM, so I'm guessing that would mean I'd have to look harder or load my own. Or do I just stick with one (the 168gr Bergers) assuming they shoot good in my rife, that is, and use those for everything?
  2. sniperjwt

    sniperjwt Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    i belive a 168 grain bullet is capeable of taking any north american game with proper shot placement. That being said you will need to make sure your gun is shooting and hitting where you want it to and not just "close enough" I just found a load for my 300wsm that i am very happy with. I first tried the 155g Bergers but could not get them to shoot so i got the 168 SMKs. First three loads all shot under 1" with one being .360" at 100 yards. Shot it at 550 and (belive it or not) shot a 2.812" group. Some people have told me that the 300 WSM really shines with the heavyer bullets but i am happy with what i am getting out of it. As for a smaller bullet for smaller game i would not try to find another load with a smaller bullet just use your normal hunting bullets. It helps build confidence in you, your gun, and your load. Plus more than likely the point of impact would be different so you would have to keep moving your scope back and forth for which bullet you are shooting and you might get confused and miss something one day. Try the RL 17 that is what i am useing and getting about 3100fps. Not a barrel burner but sure hits where im aiming.:D
  3. Tikkamike

    Tikkamike Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    I am probably going to get someone all worked up about this but a 140 grain bullet on a bull elk at that range is a pretty lucky shot in my opinion. What if that bullet had struck the shoulder bones? Would it have put it down? The Berger is a loved bullet on here because of the high ballistic coeffecient and the fact that is comes apart shredding the vitals. However in my opinion you want a bullet that is capable of not only taking out vitals but also penetrating deep and in some instances crushing bone. If you have shot very many elk you know that sometimes those sucker can be darn right hard to kill. Another number you want to pay attention to is sectional density. Bullet construction and what you look for is a personal descision. The 140 grain 6.5 is a heavy bullet for that caliber which drives up the B.C. and sectional density. a 168 in a .308 caliber is in all honesty pretty worthless for game of any decent size and an extended range. the 180 is ok 200 and 210 is even better. Provided you have the rate of twist to stabalize the bullet. People pay way too much attention to the velocity at the muzzle. which is why people steer towards bullets such as the 168 gr .308 Look at bullet energy and velocity and drop down range about 500 yards. Not to mention the killing power of a 200 as opposed to a 168 is amazing. Your 300 youd push the 200 about 2900 more than likely and the killing power will be sufficient for anything you plan to shoot including dogs and elk.
  4. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008

    With a 300WSM, look at the 210VLD and push it with RL17. Then check the ballistics of that bullet going 2900+.....awesome! Beats the 168grain bullets every time.
  5. JARHEAD1371

    JARHEAD1371 Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    [SIZE=+1]I have had this type of discussion with several people in the past few years. IMO there is no such thing as using a bullet that is too big, but you can use a bullet that is too small. I have been questioned on using 168-180 gr bullets on deer and antelope from friends who are "hunters". Most of them say that bullets that big are overkill and a 243 can kill the same way. Once I explain to them that I'm hunting at long range, their opinion changes. If the new 338 Berger continues to impress, I might be building a 338 Norma Improved, or some other 338, in the near future. I have no problem putting a 300 gr bullet through a 110 lb antelope. Hell it might even field dress it for me in the process. :D
    This thread reminds me of a quote from Major Holdridge, USMC Ret.

    Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a sledge hammer.[/SIZE]
  6. Use whatever weight shoots best in your particular gun and get to know the ballistics intimately. A moose hit good with a 140gr bullet is just as dead as one hit good with a 200gr bullet - and a moose hit good with a 55gr bullet is more dead than one hit poorly with a 300gr bullet..
  7. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2008
    Never shot a moose, had 2 walk by me grazing at 5 feet one time while bowhunting, but have heard that they are not as tough to kill as an elk. An elk is a hardy animal and tough as nails. If a 168gr Berger in a 7mm will kill an elk, I would go with a 190 or 210 Berger in a 30 cal for similar BC and sectional density.