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Hunterbug 04-25-2005 09:30 AM

bullet performance, what do you look for?
What kind of characteristics do you look for when selecting a bullet? For me the first thing that I look for is something that will shoot under an inch in the rifle in question. After that it depends on the animal that I intend to hunt.

For elk I want something that will give good penetration. Elk are big animals and sometimes, like last year, I had an almost head on shot so that penetration is important. I fel that weight retention is important as it aids in penetration. So I use either a Nosler Partition or Barnes X for elk hunting.

For deer and antelope the penetration is less important as they are smaller animals. I usually use a Hornady Interlock for both deer and antelope and it works great. I did try Nosler Ballistic Tips one year for both deer and antelope in my 257 AI and it damaged ALOT of meat with bloodshot so I quickly dropped that.

For coyotes the jury is still out. I haven't shot enough to decide what I'm looking for. I guess I'll have to shoot some more to help me decide. ;) But that last one that I shot I used a 75gr V-Max in my 257 and it shoots great! But it also put a big hole in the hide. So if I don't care about the hide then it's a great choice. Maby if I do care I'll have to take my 222 instead of the 257.

sakorick 04-25-2005 06:48 PM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
I've been searching for the perfect bullet for 45 far I have not found it...seems to me, you answered your own question. Regards, Rick.

m gardner 04-25-2005 08:20 PM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
I like the Hornady interlocks in cartridges that have velocity under 2800 fps. I like Speer Hot Cores better. When I get up into the 3000 fps area I like Speer Grand Slams or Trophy Bonded. I like to use long bullets too. As long as possible for the caliber if they stabilize. For deer and bigger targets 1.5 to 2 moa is good enough accuracy practically speaking. I've hunted with alot of rifles that would do that and never had trouble hitting. But accuracy is nice to have as it builds confidence. God bless and good hunting.

CAfrica 04-26-2005 12:09 AM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
Hi HBug, Do you want to start a war? This question is almost as controversial as the one that says which calibre is the best.

Anyway, here are my preferences, they work for me and I don't care what anybody else does (except that I am always interested because I never cease to learn).
  • For low velocity shots (anything below 2400 ft/s Muzzle velocity), I like a "heavy for calibre" bullet and a Conventional construction bullet is acceptable (I use a bonded core bullet but simply because it is available and cheap). Usually a "heavy for calibre" bullet will be a roundnose as the spitsers are too long to stabilise. At the velocity, the loss in BC makes no difference and is not an issue.
  • For high velocity shots (over 2400 but usually over 3000ft/s), I prefer a monometal bullet. Bullet failure is one issue why I do this but it is a small part of the equation. When trying to get the most out of a high velocity rifle, the monometal makes sense (for me). You can launch a lighter bullet at higher velocity than a heavy bullet. A lighter bullet has a lower BC and therefore the advantage of the higher velocity is lost in longer shots (example, a 180gr @ 2700ft/s and a 150gr @ 2950 ft/s has about the same point blank range). This is where the monometal comes in. Copper is 14% lighter than lead. A 150gr copper bullet is the same size as a 180gr lead core bullet (and has the same BC). So what you get is a bigger bullet with high BC travelling faster. Add some "go faster" factors to that (driving bands like the triple shock and or coating) and you can push this bullet at higher velocity than a comparable standard lead core of same weight. Now comes the most important reason. A monometal gives less meat damage.
  • Lastly, for handgun type bullets (my 357 Magnum in a carbine), I use flat point lead core semi jacketed bullets (or flat point cast lead).


Hunterbug 04-26-2005 01:23 AM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
SakoRick, I know what I look for, I was just curious as to what others look for. To some if the recover a bullet, especially if it's in multiple pieces that is considered a bullet failure. Gitano on the other hand would prefer to recover all of his bullets.

CAfrica, there is no right or wrong answer, just peoples oppinions. But you are right about the potential for trouble but I think that we can all answer without getting carried away. It is fun to stir the pot once in a while though. ;)

m gardner 04-27-2005 07:54 PM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
I forgot about handgun bullets. Hard cast lead, no gas check, semiwadcutter. They seem to penetrate well if I need to stop something (which has never happened) and kill well. God bless and good hunting.

sniper1 04-27-2005 09:48 PM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?

In deer size game, I usually dont use a premium bullet, I dont think there required. I base this on quite a bit of experience and more downed deer than I care mention for fear of being politely considered "Untruthful".
Remington Core locks or Hornady Spire point handloads usually get the nod on deer and black bear sized game. Moving up in size to Elk or Moose, I go with the premiums. Not that the two afore mentioned bullets dont or wont perform well on the larger stuff, I've used both, but I want to know exactly how the bullet will perform when I spend good money on a hunt. I have come to love the Fail Safes on large game, be it bone or flesh, it holds together and penetrates deep. To date, I have never recovered one to actually examine the bullet to see the end result, even a 400 yard broadside was a complete pass through on a good bull moose. The penetration achieved, exit hole size and animal response to the hit, tells me what the forever gone bullet cannot. In accuracy If it prints under 2" at 100 yards, I will be happy with the load. If I was target shooting I might tweak the loads a bit more.

Good luck to you and yours,


sakorick 04-28-2005 11:02 AM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Hunterbug
SakoRick, I know what I look for, I was just curious as to what others look for.

Ok, I look for a bullet that has a high BC for the caliber I'm shooting, accurate at top end speed and controlled expansion for the game I'm hunting. I shoot some hugely long distances here on the farm deer WTD hunting. The problem becomes the close in shots when you have built a round for long ranges. The big buck I took last year was at 80 yards with a Hornady SST....the bullet went completely through the buck (10 ring) and I had to shoot him again as he was heading for the neighbor's woods.....not good. the doe I shot at 370 yards with the same exact load just crumpled in a heap. Im switching to the Nosler CT and nosler accubond this year and the jury is out. For pelts, I shoot a 30 grain Berger in my CZ 17 pelt damage. For critter control, 50gr Hornady vmax, 220 swift. Close in deer stands, 8mm Mauser or 30'06, 180/170 gr Hornady interlock RN. The camp rifle is a Sako .243 shoots the 95gr noslers... 100% one shot kills since 1978.

pic is the buck I had to shoot twice. If you look closley, right behind the shoulder is the exit wound-lower, and the entry wound of the 2d shot about 1 inch higher...he had done a 180 for the woods. BT's aren't supposed to do that. regards, Rick.

LLANOJOHN 04-29-2005 06:38 PM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?

My criteria is one that "kills them daid in der tracks".........other than that I ain't too particular!

Ol' John

sav17 04-29-2005 06:49 PM

Re: bullet performance, what do you look for?
john I bow to your wisdom,I totally agree thats all you need put it in a nutshell so to speak you dont mince your words,just say it like it is;) :p :D :D your friend...............................Richie
PS I Have never yet had a dead critter complain about the energy transfer the spread on impact or the retained weight of a bullet have you?;) :D :D :D

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