When is a bullet to heavy?

B-LOT Banga

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2018
I bought my son a beautiful browning Xbolt in a 6.5 PRC and have under 0.5” MOA groups out to 300 yds. He shot around 70+ feral goats, feral sheep, wild boars and a few axis deer. Anything under 400 yds it makes no difference 2”-4” exit holes if any and massive internal damage. Once he gets past 500 yds he tells me the 140 elite hunters are exactly the same as closer ranges but the heavier 156 EOL doesn’t have the same damage or big exit holes as when shot at closer ranges and the lighter 140 gr elites exhibit more damage, my guess is the extra velocity. My question is when does a bullet become too heavy and start to lose its edge? It’s important for us because we mainly hunt with it. The farthest shot he killed with this setup is 755 yds.
Another example is my 308 where I had excellent results with a 165 Nosler ballistic tip and went with a 200 grain accubond for a bull tahr and didn’t get the results I was expecting, went back to the 165 NBT and started smashing animals DRT or within 50 yds. With the 200 accubond little damage at 550 yds breaking both shoulders and running 200-250 yds before bedding down, thank god I didn’t lose the animal but there was a clear threshold where it became too heavy and don’t provide any clear advantage.
A 7mm SAUM is in the works and a 140 gr ELDM will be going up against a 162 gr ELDM with 200-300 FPS between the two and shots ranging out to 800 yds. For the cartridges I mentioned what are your folks opinion of my max weight for cartridge before their advantages start to become disadvantages? This is NOT a debate post on brand X vs. brand Y, just a discussion about max WEIGHT for each cartridge. Thank you in advance... aloha
Not a simple and straight answer perhaps but for me, as long as the minimum velocity (i.e., >1600 FPS) recommended for the bullet design at the point of impact is met, along with minimum KE. "My" unwritten rule is 1500 FT-LBS (elk size) and 1000 FT-LBS (deer size) on wild game. In short, I try to keep both these parameters together when possible ... but that's just me. Of course, there is no substitute for shot placement.
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The most important thing is sizing the bullet to the game you are hunting. A 200 gr Accubond is too heavy for the .308 anyways and too big IMO for antelope sized game. At 550 yards your likely less than 1800 fps impact velocity which is less than Noslers minimum for expansion.

Again, just my opinion, the 140s seem to shine in the 6.5s as an all around bullet. If you want to squeeze a little more speed you can drop down to a 120 or 130 gr for deer sized animals or smaller no problem. I shot an antelope twice (unnecessarily) behind the shoulder at 200 yards with my 6.5 CM and a 121 gr Hammer bullet. There would have been zero need for anything larger, it made an absolute mess of the insides. The bullet options are overwhelming in the 6.5s and you've got one of the best cartridges in that family so shouldn't be too find a good combo. Im reading more and more on the 143 ELD X in the 6.5s, lot of people like it.

In the .284s thinking deer to elk sized game, I like the 160 gr variety. Dad shoots .146 gr Hammers out of his .280 AI with excellent results. We shot 1 goat and two mule deer with that combo this year all between 350 and 400 yards and it was impressive. One thing with copper bullets is they are lighter in weight but just as big or bigger than their heavier lead core bullets. For example a 150 gr Barnes TTSX in .308 is closer to the mass of say a 165 gr BT.

I shot the mule deer in my avatar at 300 yards with a 180 gr Partition out of a 300 Weatherby. I fired 3 rounds in 10 seconds or less. The first shot nothing really appeared to happen other than he slowed down and kept walking but like in slow motion. Like a statue. The 2nd shot his back knees sort of touched and he slowed down even more. He looked like he was hurt but I couldnt tell from where, gut shot maybe? So he's now quartering away from me going away I out the crossairs where the neck meets the shoulder and touched one off. He disappeared into the trees. Later found out thats where he collapsed. The 1st and 2nd shots were double lung clean pass-through and a disaster of bone and blood. The 3rd shot entered his hind quarter went through the entire length of his body and stopped just inside the hide on his chest below the neck. Though he was a dead deer walking, my expectation was he should have dropped instantly. But too big of a bullet. If I ever take the 300 mag deer hunting, it will be with a 150 or 165 gr bullet.
You have to balance bullet construction and weight, I shoot 215 Bergers from a 308 and nothing has taken a step a LONG ways out, you couldn't pay me to go back to lighter bullets! Went from 168 in a 300 WBY to a 215 and it was game changer but I also changed the construction!! So IMO a bullet is to heavy when it's lowered the speed below the operational thresh hold of the bullet.
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Thanks for your input brothers , I guess I’m just overthinking stuff. Both light and heavy are killing fine. I will be paying more attention to impact velocity at distance and bullet construction. Aloha
The simple fact of the matter is that bullets are NOT built equally.
A 165gr Accubond is NOT built as TOUGH as a 200gr Accubond because it is EXPECTED that the 165gr will be shot at 308/30-06 velocities while the 200gr is EXPECTED to be shot outta the various magnum cartridges.
It’s not an apples to apples comparison.

I have always shot heavy for calibre bullets, but as you ask, when is a bullet too heavy...well, when it fails to expand at the distances you shoot, then it’s a failure in that cartridge at that range.
I had 4 338 300gr Berger OTM bullets fail cuz they either tumbled upon entry or failed to expand at all in my Edge at 700yrds or beyond. Then I had them blow up outta my 338-416 Rigby Improved and not hit the vitals.
It happens, unfortunately for the animals we take so much pride in cleanly killing them, it doesn’t always work like the book says.

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