View Full Version : Bullet Performance - 7 Mm Rem Mag
December 17, 2004, 01:07 PM
Need some advice. I bought a Tikka Whitetail Hunter Synthetic in 7 mm Rem Mag. Awesome rifle!!! I topped it with a Burris 3 x 9 Ballistic Plex scope and had a great time deer hunting in my home state of Missouri.
I experimented with Hornaday factory loaded "Custom Rifle Ammunition" in the 139 gr varieties of Spire Point and the newer Interbond. Both were accurate at 100 yds with the Interbond significantly tight (three shots could be covered with a quarter!!).
With the confidence of aim and the knowlege of the new Interbond bullet retaining it's weight of 95% or better...off I went to slay deer.
I shot three with the Interbond and I have to admit...I'm a little confused (easily done at that!) at its performance. All my shots are lung/heart (Thoracic region or non shoulder shots). My therory is collapsed lung(s) is terminal no matter where they think they're running. It also leaves maximum meat intact.
The first deer (a 2.5 yr doe) was shot at 27 yd lung shot. Neat pencil hole entry with a hole my fist could fit on the exit. She ran up hill about 40 yards and crumpled up.
The second deer (a 1.7 yr doe) was shot at 145 yds, high rear lung area and dumped her like a sack of potatoes. She never moved (acted like a sholder shot). The entry hole was bigger than a pencil abd the exit about 1/2 - 3/4 inch wide. Lots of meat damage (blood soaked and bruised) on both rib areas. Bruising wasn't due to dragging but due to the bullet.
The third deer (a 4.5 yr doe) was 88 yds away. Perfect shot taking the lower halves of the lungs and one artery out but the deer ran over 100 yds and crumppled up in the woods (dead while running). Her rib area was similar to the second deer with lots of shock related damage and an exit hole about 1.5 - 2.0" wide.
Is this typical of the Hornady Interbond? It seemd to disintegrate on impact. I thought this bullet would lead to a narrow wound channel instead of a explosive wide wound channel. The amount of meat loss was more than I anticipated. I don't like shoulder shots due to the meat loss also.
The bullets in all three were complete pass throughs. The blood trails (on the two that ran) were impressive (like someone broadcasting blood!!). Maybe I'm being a little too finicky here but I din't like the loss of meat nor the amount of travel by two of the three deer. Would a Nosler partion 140 gr be a better pick for less meat damage?
I have a friend that has a 7 mm Rem Mag and is reloading and offered to help me do a few. Would like to trey a few others for flight and kill.
Please comment on the Hornady Bullet performance as well as other bullets to try for high accuracy and low meat damage.
Thanks in advance.
December 17, 2004, 02:58 PM
I think the issue is more one of caliber than of bullet design. It's the reason I'm just not partial to the 7MM Mag. At speeds of 3200 fps plus, it simply lends itself to more erractic terminal performance than slower, heavier rounds.
The Interbond is trusted design for accuracy and performance.....but those velocities put one hell of a strain on any design, especially when bone is struck. If you want something that'll hold together better, consider heavier bullets. For my money, I'd go with Barnes X 175 grainers. They probably won't give you the explosive effect you're seeing with those 139's....but I think that's the gist of your question.
As to the distance of travel, it sounds to me like each of these animals took it pretty hard....lung shots; large exits; lots of blood loss. However, lessening "meat damage" basically lessens beastie damage, all other things being equal.
December 17, 2004, 04:07 PM
The performance was as expected. A magnum is not needed until you get 250yds or better.The use of magnums at short range invites meat damage because of the high impact velocity and in fact is one of the reasons that more premium bullets are made.For years I've used a 6.5x55 [140@ 2750] without any problem at those ranges. Cut down the velocity by going to a 160 and reduce the powder charge. A muzzle velocity of 2800 is all you need at those ranges.
Ruger # 1
December 17, 2004, 05:04 PM
I have to agree with the assessment that it is the caliber being used, rather than the bullet being used that is the source of your "problem". I have a Remington 700 in 7mm Mag.. Regardless of the bullet used, especially the lighter ones at higher velocities, I've always had large wound channels. One load you might try is a 175 Hornady Interlock loaded to 2800 to 2900 fps. The wounds will still probably be larger than what you're looking for, but that's sorta what the Seven Maggie is supposed to do. Hope this helps!
December 17, 2004, 08:07 PM
I didn't consider the "magnum" effect with the shots I made...makes sense. Despite the "shorter distances" of kills I made, I bought the rifle for the long distance shots that have presented themselves over the years. My Marlin 30-30 wasn't the gun for those shots. Go figure...now that I have the range, they never presented themselves!!
The heavier bullet loaded for lower velocities is worth trying. What's breaking my heart is that some guys search for years the combo of rifle/ammo. My Tikka really loves those 139 Interbonds with 100 yard 3 shot groups of sub 1"!!
What's the chance of similar groupings with the Hornady 154 Interbond factory Custom Rifle Ammo? As an alternative, would the Barnes X 175 Spitzer or Nosler 160 Partition or AccuBond Spitzer give similar groupings? I'm not into reloading yet but it appears that is the direction I'd like to go on the quest for the "perfect bullet".
Thanks again Rich, Mete and Ruger for your candidness.
December 17, 2004, 08:41 PM
I completely agree with the preceeding comments, especially with regard to heavier bullets giving more reliable performance.
But when you find an accurate load, it would be foolish to give up on it. Lord knows it seems to work.
So let me bring up another issue: Just how much meat did you really lose? Think about it-- you set your shot behind the shoulder. You undoubtedly destroyed any meat on the ribs, but who cares? That's thin stringy strips on a deer. There's a little meat behind the shoulder, but it just doesn't amount to much. People call me crazy, but I typically punch a shoulder on purpose when I shoot a deer. I intend to anchor it soonest. "But what about all that meat you ruin?" folks ask. [shrug] Most Texas whitetails have less than three pounds of meat on a shoulder, and you have to work hard to get all the fascia and white connective tissue out of it. It's fit only for the grinder, anyway. I've moved to slower, heavier bullets that will punch through the shoulder and hold up.
With some loads, like .45-70 or heavy .303 loads, you can just about "eat up to the hole." I've loaded a 225g .35 Whelen load that, at about 2400 fps, should give me a nice reduction on bloodshot meat. I've even moved up my .257 Rbts load from 100gr to 120g, on the same principle.
BTW, sounds like your deer reacted just fine. Magnums at close range do tend to give a reaction, neh?
December 17, 2004, 09:01 PM
You bring up a good point. I'm a lung guy. There's others who like the shoulder for the anchor, but when the animal runs outta blood and oxygen, that's dead. The shoulder versus lung/heart debate will rein for long time and is a matter of preference. If the shot works for you...continue on it's success. I was just surprsed on the distance these Missouri deer ran after the loss of blood and lung function as well as the bullet shock!!! Being a bowhunter first...I'm used to the hemmorage not the shock.
Good point on meat loss. I should've taken pictures of the massive bruising that emmenated fron the entrance and exit wounds and spread 12 - 18" in either direction. Wow! You bet...it's burger meat but nontheless, the shock of the shot was unexpected. I've shot just three deer with this 7 mm Rem Mag so I'm relatively ignorant of it's effect. You and the others have filled in the gaps of my expectations of the rifle, it's caliber and performance...Thanks.
December 17, 2004, 09:09 PM
Duck-if your Tikka really likes nothing but those 139 grain bullets, why not down load the charge? Saying that, it seems you do not want to go below the starting load with a magnum due to detonation concerns, but I suspect that a slower burning powder will get you where you want to be.
December 17, 2004, 09:28 PM
I can sure try it. Do you have any reloading recipes not found in the Speer or Hornady Books?
Not close to reloading as of yet...but I'd like to keep it as reference.
I'd still like to use the advice of the others and try a heavier, slower load for effect. In the process of reloading, the performance of the 139 Hornady Interbond will be the one to compare to. I suspect I'll settle on a heavier bullet as the others have uniformly advised.
Hey.... St Nick...too late for one of those RCBS Pro Kits!!!!
December 17, 2004, 10:37 PM
I'm a lung guy. There's others who like the shoulder for the anchor, but when the animal runs outta blood and oxygen, that's dead. The shoulder versus lung/heart debate will rein for long time and is a matter of preference.
Uh, so am I! They're not mutually exclusive. To be precise, I will typically set my shot up so that I hit one of the shoulders, along with the heart/lung area. Belt and suspenders, as it were. Ideally, my shot goes through the lungs before hitting the off shoulder, but I'll settle for punching the near shoulder before sending it on into the throacic cavity, if the angle's not right for the other. With a good heavy bullet, the shoulder just becomes secondary projectiles, and often sends bits to hit the spinal process, which results in amazing stops.
In my experience, it is not all that uncommon for a double-lung-shot deer to run 50 yards before running out of O2, and they can occasionally make a hundred yards or better. One day I shot two does at under 100 yards with a hot .300 Win Mag, taking out both lungs on each. They both ran 40 yards before piling up.
Of course, if the deer is chased or really scared, then all bets are off-- they'll run a quarter mile with their heart hanging out of the exit wound if the adrenaline really kicks in and they know to be scared. Shock hides the pain of the hit, generally, so most deer just know that "something's wrong-- I should run into this nearby cover and hide." They stop there, and die pretty painlessly in seconds, barring the hunter sprinting into that same cover.
DuckChaser04, have you tried other, heavier loads in your rifle? You've got a real quality firearm, that should probably work with a wide variety of loads.
December 17, 2004, 11:54 PM
I see a load for 140 grain Nosler partition/Ballistic tip which should work pretty good-
N165 at 62 grains starting-66 grains max. The min load should get you around 2900 fps. 52 grains of 4064 will do about the same.
H450-starting load is 61 grains, around 2850
December 18, 2004, 07:13 AM
Nope, I haven't shot but the Hornady factory Custom Rifle Ammo 139 gr BTSP and the 139 gr Interbond. Since the Tikka likes the Hornady ammo so far, I guess I could move up to the 154 gr Interbond or Interlock SP and see if it performs well.
My dad always prefered the shoulder/heart-lung shot as you've described with his 30-06 150 gr. and did well over the years. Being a Wildlife Biologist by trade....I lean toward the boiler room shot. He always said, 'imagine a stick between the two shoulder blades and try to break it" ...sorta like you've described. The end result is a piled deer. Looks like the majority of people responding to my post have indicated I'm shooting too light a bullet...I'm kinda anxious to try the heavier stuff. You recommend any particular bullet type for the under 200 yd shot? (Hornady , CT, Sierra, Nosler)
I'll try those loads and see how they fly...Thanks for the references.
Really appreciate all the advice....I'd be frustrated without the number of quality reponses form this forum.
December 18, 2004, 08:23 AM
And best of luck to ya, Duck Chaser. I have had good luck with the Nosler Partitions so far as a premium bullet goes, and as others have posted, the heavier weight bullets do not seem to expand quite so fast.
My nosler 5th edition lists a 175 grain partition best load with Reloder 22 powder 58.5 grains starting at 2810 and best accuracy at the max load 62.5 for 2970.
Let us know when you are ready to reload-there is an absolute wealth of info on this board. The info here over the years has really helped me along with my rifle's accuracy, and I have found that closely matching the case to the chamber and placing the bullet close to the leade of the rifling has done more for my accuracy than anything else. Bullet considerations run a fairly close second.
December 18, 2004, 10:04 AM
Accuracy is really a matter of rifle to bullet match...different rifles even of the same model may do well with different loads. Assuming quality ammunition, one simply can't predict the outcome. All you can do is test.
There is no reason why certain heavier bullets should not group as well as a lighter one...especially at distance. As to "flatter trajectories", this concern always blows my mind. I did some calculations of the 139 Interbond at 3150 fps vs the 175 Barnes at 2750 fps, because this provides a really extreme example of the phenomenon.
With a std rifle zeroed at 200 yards, the drops look like this:
Interbond: 300 - 5.9" 400 - 17" 500 - 34.3"
Barnes: 300 - 7.8" 400 - 22.5" 500 - 45.1"
The difference at 300 yards is less than 1 MOA! At 400, it's still about 1.25 MOA.
Let's face it....no one can hold to those tolerances from field positions. If, on the other hand, you're shooting from a stable blind, you're going to need to know your come-ups out past 300 yards, regardless of the bullet you choose.
So, someone pulease clue me in on this issue of "flatter trajectory" for field guns?
December 18, 2004, 10:41 AM
I think it's hard to have your cake and eat it too here if you want a bullet than anchors and only makes a pencil hole. I've been shooting the 7's for 23 years and have tried about every bullet on the shelves. It's an excellent mid to long range caliber. I've taken over 30 whitetails with it. Start a log book now of bullet performance so you know what you want and refer back to your results. Don't trust TV or magazines.
A bullet that makes a wide wound channel will mostly, but not always, drop a deer on the spot. Mear damage will happen if you are close to a quarter. I used Hornady 139's for around 10 years and they are definetly this type of bullet. At times they don't carry through, but even on gut shot deer they can anchor. The 154's always carry through and aren't quite as explosive. These are at velocities of around 3100fps.
A bullet that is bonded or a solid type will petal back some and almost always carry through (although I witnessed at least one instance of the Swift Scirrocco 180gr fail to do this out of a .300 Win mag). With these bullets, deer will quite frequently run before dropping if you aren't breaking a shoulder. Less meat damage, but it will still happen if you are shoulder shooting or pushing high speed.
When I stepped up to 3450fps from the 139's in a 7STW things got ugly. Just a bit too much explosion for me. The 154's acted like the 139's out of the 7mag. A decent wound channel and would mostly carry through.
Paritions are dicey as well at high speeds if you don't want meat damage. The front half of these bullets will blow and mostly, but not always, the rear core will carry through. I do, however, have pictures of a deer I shot with a 160gr Partition at 3250fps. It absolutely grenaded. A fist sized entrance hole and NO exit. I can link to a pic if you wish (because someone will always swear it's not possible).
The old Nosler Ballistic Tips used to grenade, but Nosler has changed the jacket. A lot of the public isn't aware of this. I now spin 140gr Combined Technology bullets at 3400fps and they always carry through. None have left more than a quarter sized exit. This is over a trial of 8 kills. The same applies to the 150's at 3250fps. These are now my standard hunting rounds. I find them slightly more accurate than the Hornady's (sub .5 MOA) and they kill well with a good shot.
The Barnes X 150 will belonger than a standard bullet in 150 because they have no lead in them. Your seating depth may need to be changed to accomodate slow powders. They always carry through. In fact, I'd wager you could send a 140 through 2 deer.
Hornady SST's, Failsafes and other's came and went out of my guns. Some didn't group well and were discarded. Others with a low drag tip wouldn't fit in the magazine if you seated them out to the lands to get the accuracy.
YMMV, keep a log and share the info.
December 18, 2004, 10:58 AM
So, someone pulease clue me in on this issue of "flatter trajectory" for field guns?
There really is no advantage unless you are pressed for time and need to make a quick shot out to 400 yards. I can set my zero to 300 yards and only be 2 inches high at 100 and only 7 inches low at 400. I know my ranges and I can shoot without having to touch the target knobs. I hunt fields and this helps a little bit. For most people, I doubt it.
Past 400 yards you need to know ALL the variables.
Ruger # 1
December 18, 2004, 12:09 PM
Well DuckChaser, glad we could help a little. I'd really recommend looking into handloading. It' really not as daunting as it might seem at first. I love handloading. I started for economic reasons, but now enjoy it so much that I would rather load my own than shoot anything else!
Here's a couple of loads you might try. I can't promise they'll shoot one MOA, but they very well may. There's only one way to find out.
54 grs. H-414, 175 gr Hornady Interlock or Nosler Partition = approx. 2650 fps
59 grs. R-22, 160 gr. Partition or Speer Grand Slam = approx. 2800 fps
None of these loads are max., but they're in a pretty good velocity range. They're plenty fast enough to give you the range neccessary to make a long shot if you need to.
I have to agree with one of the previous writers when he said to keep a journal of what bullets you use on game. I keep records of every head of game I shoot. I take notes on the wound channel, draw a diagram of the shot placement, and usually even take pics of entrance and exit wounds. May sound like a bit much, but you learn a lot! I've definitely learned not to believe everything you read in the hunting mags.
As far as shot placement goes, in my experience a lot depends on the terrain I am hunting in. I am a diehard bow hunter( Bear Recurve), so I'm used to only taking behind the shoulder shots. When gun hunting however, I often take shoulder shots. I often hunt in thick hilly terrain. I do not like tracking deer any farther than I have to in that situation. Also you often have to take shots as they present themselves. I WILL NOT take a bad shot, but often you have to take a shot that is going to damage some meat, or you may not have another chance. There is no doubt that a classic lung shot is 100% fatal, but deer usually run a decent distance before falling. That is normal. I've shot deer with several calibers, from a .243 up to a 12 ga. slug gun. When i've hit bone they usually have dropped. When I've hit them behind the shoulder , they have almost always ran a short distance.
Again, good luck DuckChaser. If you decide to start reloading, the best advice I can give you is to buy a couple of good Reloading manuals( Nosler, Hornady, Lyman, Sierra are just a few), and read all of the reloading procedures. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
December 18, 2004, 02:02 PM
Dave, Rich, Lycanthrope and Ruger # 1;
Thanks for all the info and personal experiences. I really mean it! It worth a lot when you can't face to face with some that have the experience. I took the dive on this rifle because of the extremely good reputation and accuracy given decent optics. Bench shooting with the Hornady ammo has proven that but like most of you...I'm not satsfied with the "outta the box" performance of over the counter ammo.
Handloading looks like the thing to do. I do keep a log of mostly bow kills but I now see how important to do the same with the 7 Mag. Most of my 30-30 kills were less than 50 yards and to be honest...the Tikka deserves the data recording for future reference. Good advice.
I appreciate the handloading specs....as soon as I can look over a few guys shoulders on how they reload and bone up on the manuals I'll try a few of your suggestions.
Again Thanks for the help...I'm convinced the heavier loads is where I need to do some serious shooting and research. Good holidays to all of ya!
December 18, 2004, 02:15 PM
Ruger # 1 said:
There is no doubt that a classic lung shot is 100% fatal, but deer usually run a decent distance before falling. That is normal. I've shot deer with several calibers, from a .243 up to a 12 ga. slug gun. When i've hit bone they usually have dropped. When I've hit them behind the shoulder , they have almost always ran a short distance.
Well said. Those who never have deer run a step are pretty much always making CNS shots, or are stretching the truth. ;)
I've had many deer fall in their own tracks, but something (bullet or bone) had always struck the spine. As I keep my rifles sighted in at 2" to 3" high at 100 yds (depending on the rifle and load), this happens fairly often when I hold dead on with no hold-off on a small central TX deer. The spine, which extends lower than most people imagine into the body of the deer, will often be just nicked by the bullet as it passes through, and the results are most dramatic. In truth, however, that shot was actually fired a tad high and thus was "less perfect" than several deer that have run several yards after receiving a through-and-through double lung wound channel with very nearly zero meat lost.
December 18, 2004, 02:38 PM
Not that I don't trust Rich (I do, actually. I also happen to be on the same page as him on this issue), but I ran his calculations through an online ballistic drop computer, using the ballistic coefficiecients published on the Hornady website for their InterBond 139g 7mm at 3150 and their Spire Point 175g 7mm at 2750.
And here's the results. (Note how I nicely boxed the pertinent info. I'm just nice that way. ;) )
December 20, 2004, 10:10 AM
Perfect! I do recognize the 139 gr ballistics....do appreciate the 175 gr data. Not as much drop and loss of Energy at 300 yds as I expected. I suppose the 154 gr Spirepoint/Interbond and the 162 gr Spiepoint would be a good alternative to use with the following data: Trajectory/Velocity,Energy
Bullet Muzzel 100yd 200yd 300yd
154 SP -1.5 1.40 0.00 -6.60
3035,3149 2814,2708 2604,2318 2403,1975
154 IB -1.5 1.40 0.00 -6.20
3035,3149 2854,2784 2680,2455 2512,2158
162 SP -1.5 1.50 0.00 -6.80
2840,3109 2757,2734 2582,2397 2413,2094
If I should keep to the sub 2900 velocities, all these fit the bill. I guess I need to try 'em out and see how they fly before loading my own. Otherwise your suggested 175 gr could be a few loaded with Nosler Partition Spitzers or Barnes XLC Spitzers with some variables in powder charges.
Thanks. I'll keep your table for reference.
December 20, 2004, 11:35 AM
The Hornady 175 must have a slightly higher BC than the Barnes at .530. Our numbers were identical for the 139gr. Interbond and essentially the same for the 175's.
By no means am I suggesting that you should be wedded to the Barnes X or even the 175 grain weight. I brought these up as examples of rounds that I believe will cause less bloodshotting than the light loads you're using. The Barnes X bullets are made for penetration.
December 20, 2004, 12:07 PM
I don't see a 175gr in 7MM on Hornady's web site.
December 20, 2004, 01:33 PM
Choose Bullets, Rifle, pull down from "Choose" menu the .284/7mm bullet selection. Then go to the bottom of the page. The 175g bullet has a B.C. of .462 and a Sectional Density of .310.
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