?? Wonder if I made a bad choice

Frog4aday

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Twig. Grass. Small branch. Anything could have been between your muzzle & the deer to have deviated your perfect shot just enough to miss. It happens. Your shot was perfect, w/perfect follow-thru; as the trigger broke, you knew you were right on. So it couldn't have missed...I get it.

But did you hear that classic thump or smack sound? Did the deer hunch oddly, even for a fraction of a second to tell you it was a hit? If there is no blood, no hair, no sound of impact & no sign from the animal to indicate a hit, maybe something happened. Barrel inadvertently touching the bag or wood of blind? You either hit or you didn't. But when you hit deer with bullets there are almost always indications of that. You haven't listed a single indication of a hit.

Maybe the TARGET bullet, with no work done to clear the tip (hollow point) opening, failed to expand so it did just pencil thru. It happens. But you're asking us if your 208 grain .30 cal target bullet was the wrong choice. The answer - in this case - seems to be "yes". Would opening the tip more with a small drill bit or paperclip have helped? Maybe. But switching to a bullet made for hunting is a more sure fire fix for future hunts. (Totally NOT bashing Bergers here! They make bullets meant for hunting that would have been a better option.)

When all is said and done, I hope you go back out with a dog & find your deer. Then you'll have closure. If you don't find it, you'll never know if you hit or not. But one thing is certain - you probably can't trust your current bullet choice FOR HUNTING so, a change is in order.

In closing, I feel for you. Making what seems like a perfect shot & coming up empty feels bad. You want to know the "why" so you can fix the issue. If you check your rifle on a target & the zero is still good, it has to be a bullet failure to expand or a failure to hit the target. If it did not hit the target, you have to determine why because you can't have a repeat of that. Keep us posted.
 

Bravo 4

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Gentlemen,
Everything is speculation at this point!

The biggest “failure” of a bullet I’ve experienced was with the Barnes X bullet. Hit 2 whitetail doe, one right after another, behind the shoulder at maybe 100 yards with a .300 WinMag. I knew I couldn’t have missed but after a bloodless/hairless search of the 50 or so yards of open and about the same of briars & thicket I chalked it up to misses. Found their coyote eaten carcasses a few days later not 10 yards from the last spot I looked.
Once you’ve made a conscious effort to find that deer (I hope you find him) hopefully you’ll have more answers than questions. You walking around should not hinder a decent dog. Now quit playing on your phone and go find him!😁
 

7sand8s

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NC
I
Berger,.. HUNTING VLD'S, Elite Hunters and Classic Hunters, ALL, Kill like,.. the "Hammer of Thor" IF, Bullet PLACED,.. correctly !
Target and Hybrid Bullets,.. NOT so, much !
see that now unfortunately, my son aged 14 has shot numerous with the “hunting” massive trauma and plenty of blood. These, I’m very unhappy with.
 

7sand8s

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Messages
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Twig. Grass. Small branch. Anything could have been between your muzzle & the deer to have deviated your perfect shot just enough to miss. It happens. Your shot was perfect, w/perfect follow-thru; as the trigger broke, you knew you were right on. So it couldn't have missed...I get it.

But did you hear that classic thump or smack sound? Did the deer hunch oddly, even for a fraction of a second to tell you it was a hit? If there is no blood, no hair, no sound of impact & no sign from the animal to indicate a hit, maybe something happened. Barrel inadvertently touching the bag or wood of blind? You either hit or you didn't. But when you hit deer with bullets there are almost always indications of that. You haven't listed a single indication of a hit.

Maybe the TARGET bullet, with no work done to clear the tip (hollow point) opening, failed to expand so it did just pencil thru. It happens. But you're asking us if your 208 grain .30 cal target bullet was the wrong choice. The answer - in this case - seems to be "yes". Would opening the tip more with a small drill bit or paperclip have helped? Maybe. But switching to a bullet made for hunting is a more sure fire fix for future hunts. (Totally NOT bashing Bergers here! They make bullets meant for hunting that would have been a better option.)

When all is said and done, I hope you go back out with a dog & find your deer. Then you'll have closure. If you don't find it, you'll never know if you hit or not. But one thing is certain - you probably can't trust your current bullet choice FOR HUNTING so, a change is in order.

In closing, I feel for you. Making what seems like a perfect shot & coming up empty feels bad. You want to know the "why" so you can fix the issue. If you check your rifle on a target & the zero is still good, it has to be a bullet failure to expand or a failure to hit the target. If it did not hit the target, you have to determine why because you can't have a repeat of that. Keep us posted.
The deer seemed to have been impacted…I couldn’t hear the thump because I have muzzle break and was wearing protecting from that. My buddies said they heard the thump before hearing the shot.
 

7sand8s

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NC
Not the ones I was using in 2016 ,30-06 180 gr. Shot 2 whitetails in Montana double lunged both went 40 yds . I wondered if I even hit them, the way they acted. no grapefruit.
Sounds like my deers reacting, tail was down and running hard but not the crashing death run I was looking for
 

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Shane Lindsey

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This wasn’t a bow shot

I know this based on your initial post...I was trying to encourage you that **** happens, we've all been there before, but I guess you got it all figured out it was the bullets fault as you clearly hit it in the vitals, seeing the impact, and subsequent blood trail leading to a dead deer...oh wait did the dog find it???
 

B-LOT Banga

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This is what I use and this is typical with tips that look clean. The plugged ones yield more clay like black substance. I’m just cleaning the tips not drilling into the lead or making the hole bigger.
 

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7sand8s

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This is what I use and this is typical with tips that look clean. The plugged ones yield more clay like black substance. I’m just cleaning the tips not drilling into the lead or making the hole bigger.
This, I didn’t know I had to clean them out before shooting them. The guy that reccomended them even said they are not a “blood tracking bullet” he said he shoots shoulder shots with them. I aimed behind shoulder, I wouldn’t have hit bone. I wasn’t aiming at shoulder
 

Frog4aday

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The deer seemed to have been impacted…I couldn’t hear the thump because I have muzzle break and was wearing protecting from that. My buddies said they heard the thump before hearing the shot.
If your friends heard the impact, I would think there is a good chance your deer is out there waiting for you & the dog to find it. I wish you luck. Tracking game without a blood trail is challenging. Hopefully the canine search ups your odds.
 
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