Which bullet to use for Utah deer?


Active Member
Apr 12, 2020
Huntington Beach, California
Will be hunting deer this fall in Utah (Cache Unit). I have a few different rifles/calibers to choose from, but thinking I may take my Sako A7 6.5 Creedmoor. Have the following 2 hunting loads that consistently shoot 1/2" or better if I do my part.

143 ELD-X @ 2,725 FPS (Lapua brass and Ramshot Big Game powder)

124 Hammer Hunter @ 2,915 FPS (Lapua brass and StaBall 6.5 powder)

Seems like both are up to the task, just curious if any experienced hunters out there would have a preference?


Went to my local range today. Thinking about using this load (100 yard group of 4 shots).

Sako A7 6.5 Creemoor with Leupold VX-6HD 3-18x 50mm

Lapua Brass
Federal Large Rifle Match primers
125 grain Hammer HHT
45.0 grains StaBall
2.800" OAL
4 shots (used a LabRadar for velocities)
2,920 FPS
2,923 FPS
2,910 FPS
2,924 FPS

Not bad for a factory rifle. Should be up to the task for Utah deer.

I have been a fan of the 6.5 Creedmoor since it's release. I personally prefer to adjust my bullet selection to the terrain and the distance of the potential shots.

Close up, thick woods in the UP or longer ranges on the open desert in Arizona will make a significant difference in my choice. Running numbers is fun but shooting your tests out to the potential longer ranges is better.


Good luck on your hunt. Numbers will be down but antler quality should be awesome.

Either of those bullets will work just fine. I’d prefer a cup and core but the hammers are shooting excellent in your rifle and should do be everything you want them to.
Here's a comparison at 30° F, 29.92 inHg, 4000' elevation.

143 ELDX vs 124-124 HH Velocity.jpg

143 ELDX vs 124-124 HH Energy.jpg

143 ELDX vs 124-124 HH Wind.jpg

I included the HH options with a reduced BC (-10%), as I've tested 5 different HH bullets in 4 different guns (all with appropriate or faster twist than recommended), and all had drastically lower BC values than what was quoted by Hammer. When I reported some of those findings in this thread, there were quite a few folks who expressed similar concerns.

Inside 500 yds, I think all three would be great choices, but the ELDX will probably give a bit more range and certainly will dominate in the wind.

Good luck with your hunt.
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