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Old February 18, 2012, 08:31 AM   #1
TX Hunter
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No Blood Trail, Rifle Not Powerful Enough

I have a Rifle that I love but am starting to think that its not powerfull eneough. Its very accurate, but I shot a Ten Point Buck in the Shoulder with it this year at 60 yards and it didnt shoot all the way through, I found the Buck, and it blew a hole in the deer big eneough to stick my fist in, but did not exit. I shot a doe last season at 96 yards dropped her in her tracks with a chest shot, the bullet didnt exit, and yesterday evening, I shot a large hog with it at about 200 yards, I know I hit it, but no blood trail, and a lost animal.
My Rifle is a Ruger Frontier, with a 16.5" barrel, and I am shooting 150 grain Remington Corelocts. Im frustrated, and want a good blood trail, Should I try a different load, or work up a hand load, or trade it off for a longer barreled gun ? Any suggestions would be apreciated.

I did notice a Large Fireball when I shot late yesterday evening, so I am suspecting that alot of the powder is not being used in the short barrel.
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Old February 18, 2012, 08:44 AM   #2
tchunter
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I've had the same problem in the past. The short berrol is costing you velocity but try some different rounds before a new gun. I ended up with hornady superformance sst.
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Old February 18, 2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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I had thought about trying to develop a handload with faster burning powder, but the problem with Reminton is they wont let you know what kind of powder they use. I have some IMR 4895 but dont know if it would make a difference. Maby a different bullet type, or weight. Whats wierd is I have had complete pass throughs with 30 30s and I know Ive got to be outrunning that cartridge.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:22 AM   #4
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As previously mentioned, the short barrel is costing you velocity. How long of a barrel is on your 30/30? What bullet weight are you using for the 30/30? Unless you use a chrony, you will not know the velocity of the bullets.

What caliber/cartridge are you shooting in your Ruger Frontier? If it is a .30 cal try a 165 gr bullet. The 165 gr. bullet is designed for deer sized game, and a heavier bullet usually spends more time in the barrel. This may give the powder a little extra burn time.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:26 AM   #5
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Discern

My 30 30 that I have had complete pass throughs with has a 20 inch barrel, and I was using 170 Grain Remington Hollow Points, Im using 150 Grain Remoington Corelcot in the Ruger the Ruger is a .308 Winchester. I will try a heavier bullet, like the 165 grain you mentioned, If anything that should have more energy.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:35 AM   #6
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The weight of the 165 gr bullet may give you more penetration than the 150 gr bullet. Some 180's might work, but you need a 180 gr that will still expand reliably on deer with the velocity of the bullet at your shooting distances. I would prefer the 180 gr. bullet for wild boar.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:49 AM   #7
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I believe that rifle is powerful enough. The .308 is powerful enough for any medium game on the continent.

About blood trails. I haven't had a blood trail on the last two deer I've shot. Good bullet performance, good strong kill shots, but no blood trail. I found them both within 50 yards of the impact, and during autopsy I learned the the bullet did what I expected it to do. One was shot with a Nosler Ballistic-Tip, one with a Hornady SST. Good hits, dead deer, no blood trail. Interesting
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:51 AM   #8
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Discern

I just wonder what a 180 grain would do out of such a short barrel, and If I would be able to make a complete pass through at 200 yards.
200 yards is not really that far, but a big hog is a pretty tough animal.
I hunted yesterday morning with my 8MM Mauser all I saw was some Deer, but no hogs, but switched off for the Ruger yesterday evening, because it has a scope on it, late evening with iron sights and Im not so good.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:51 AM   #9
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If you're shooting a 308, that short barrel isn't costing you enough velocity to be the cause of your problem. I have the same length barrel in my Ruger in 260 Remington, and it appears to be just as effective (or mighty close) on deer and hogs as my 270 with the 22 inch barrel. I shoot 120 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips in the 260 and 130 gr Noslers in the 270). I'd expect your problem to be caused more by the bullet performance than the short barrel on the rifle. I'd try another bullet, and if you handload, try a faster powder.

Last edited by 603Country; February 18, 2012 at 09:57 AM.
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Old February 18, 2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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I too suggest a heavier bullet. A .308 with proper bullets should have no problem passing completely thru deer size game. If your bullets are blowing fist size entrance holes in deer, it does not mean you need increased velocity. It means your bullets are already too fragile for the velocities you have. The suggestion of 180s for boar is a good one.
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Old February 18, 2012, 10:02 AM   #11
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Buck 460R

On the Buck Deer hit in the Shoulder, he didnt go far, and he had an intrance wound that looked normal size, when I pulled the hide off, it was blown up through the shoulder, and into the ribcage, I put my whole fist in there, but couldnt recover the bullet, no exit wound anywhere, the Doe was shot text book chest on shot, I recovered that bullet in the hide on the flank rught behind the ribcage, it was mushroomed beautifully, I did shoot a smaller deer right behind the shoulder with that gun, at about and got a pass through, at about 80 yards. but on the chest and shoulder shots it stops the bullets,and they dont exit. when I shot the Hog, there were two of them, I shot and they ran in the thicket, one hog came back across the other didnt. But no way to pick up a trail because no blood, I feel confident about the shot, I know I hit him.
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Old February 18, 2012, 10:41 AM   #12
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TX,

The lack of penetration in the buck was a problem with the bullet construstion and where you hit him and what you hit.
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Old February 18, 2012, 10:50 AM   #13
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Core-lokts don't penetrate very well, from all the stories I see as well as limited personal experience.

Switch to something that holds together. I like Barnes TTSX. For a short barrel, load the a light bullet as fast as you can get accuracy. It WILL penetrate and it WILL expand.

Dramatic holes are nice to see but they don't make any better blood trail. TTSX bullets will have exit wounds close to the diameter of a large thumb. That's enough for blood to leak. Plenty enough.
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Old February 18, 2012, 10:51 AM   #14
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Ray

Do you think it was bone that stopped the bullet?
Another question, If I switch to a 180 Grain Projectile, what kind of range do you think I will have for practical hunting.
I would like to be able to atleast take shots out to 200 yards, Its raining today so I may load up some 180s with my IMR 4895 and some Speer Hot-cor 180 Grain soft points I have, Dont know what charge will work will have to experiment a little.
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Old February 18, 2012, 11:40 AM   #15
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Paw Paw

On the two deer you shot that didnt leave a blood trail, what did you shoot them with ?
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:00 PM   #16
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I'm not a big 'rifle' hunter, but I'd think a bonded bullet built for penetration would work best out of a rifle. Especially out of a shorter bbl.

Thoughts from you rifle experts ???
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:03 PM   #17
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I'd agree with folks above. 308 is just fine for any sort of non-exotic animal you're likely to encounter down there. Just don't take a prone shot in the grass with that short barrel!

A large entrance wound is symptomatic of too much velocity or a bullet that's coming apart shortly after impact. Hitting bone just under the skin will do it. My experience with the corelokts on Moose is that sometimes they will exit and sometimes not. Depends entirely on what kind of structures they encounter on the way through. I have seen through and throughs on moose at 200+ yards with the 150 corelokt though.

I've had very good terminal performance from the nosler partitions, though their accuracy has been so-so for me. I've only ever retrieved one nosler and that was from a caribou shot front to back lengthwise including about 4" of neck vertebrae. Though I don't keep written records, my sense is that the meat damage from these bullets is lower than with the corelokts.

If you want the exit wound, I'd switch to a premium bonded or partition type load and see how it works.
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:20 PM   #18
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I don't believe power is your issue necessarily. Just before Christmas, I shot this 220 lb mulefoot boar at about 140 yards. It was impacted on the right side and ran. My hunting buddy said he hear the round impact the hog. Of course, it ran into heavy brush. So we went to the feeder where the hog was shot to find the blood trail. There was none. Strangely, there weren't any fresh hog track despite the ground be soft and bare. So we split up and search in the general direction it ran. I found the hog about 100 yards from where it was shot. By luck, it collapsed at the edge of the truck trail between thickets.

I was shooting a Marlin 1895 in .45-70 and using 325 gr. Leverevolution hollowpoint ammo. At that distance, the round would have been traveling at over 1630 fps.

Here is the hog. The point of impact is visible in this image, only at the time, there was no blood on the exterior of the hog except some at the mouth. Given that I had not shot the head, there was apparently lung damage, but we could not find the hole. We rolled him over and checked the other side for an exit wound. Nothing. Rolled him back over and finger prodded him until a finger found a divot that turned out to be the entry hole. The hole was located forward of the white spot that seen top center of the hog.

The would did not produce blood until after we loaded the hog on the cart and transported it wound side down and then some of the fur and bed had a bit of blood. The boar's belly, however, felt like a sow with milk. It had bled extensively internal. It was rather like the wound was self-sealing. So you won't get a blood trail and the animal won't bleed much if you don't hit a highly vascular area and if the blood can find it easier to flow internally instead of externally.

So that was why there was no blood trail despite using a large caliber with fine velocity. Why no tracks? There were all sorts of tracks under the feeder and several heading in the general direction the hog ran, but none looked to be fresh hog tracks. They reason this hog did not leave us any hog tracks because it was mulefooted (syndactyl). Sure enough, there were some bizarre little horse/mule-like prints under the feeder but we knew those were not from the hog because hogs are cloven hooved...except when they are mulefooted, something neither of us had ever seen before in real life.

Note that other hogs I have shot with this round have bleed profusely. Sometimes things just don't go as planned.

Turns out that the hog was one that we were familiar with for at least the previous 4-5 months and had been given the name "Gash Back." This hog had been seen on the game camera as far back as August and was missing a large chunk of flesh where his hump should have been (gunshot wound?), about a softball diameter area that indicated a loss of about an inch of flesh. The gash was still not fully healed.

And boy, this guy stunk.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100_1211 Where Found.JPG (181.3 KB, 115 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1218 Hind Mulefeet.JPG (97.5 KB, 98 views)
File Type: jpg 100_1219 Front Mulefeet.JPG (103.0 KB, 91 views)
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:43 PM   #19
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It's always hard to predict what's gonna happen, I would try other ammo before giving up on the rifle.

Past 100 yards I can hear the hit. Less I can't.
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Old February 18, 2012, 01:30 PM   #20
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Personally, I'm a big fan of Nosler Ballistic Tips. They are super accurate, and the latest generation are constructed a good bit tougher than generation one was, though I never lost a deer with a gen 1 bullet. In my 270, since I stocked up years ago, I may still be using the older version of the bullet. Works fine. Only thing to be careful of is to avoid angled shots. Sometimes they don't exit. I have noticed that in my 260 I don't always get an exit on a large hog, even with the lung shots, though the pigs are always just as dead. If I wasn't using the Noslers, I'd switch to the Sierra Gamekings. Also very accurate. But, if I just had to shoot a critter from end to end, I'd go with the Nosler Partition. There are a lot of other bullets out there with good credentials, but the tried and true Partition is still about as good as it gets. I used them for a while in my 223 and shot some big hogs and got good performance, though they'd run a ways - so I went back to the 260 and the Ballistic Tips and so far all the pigs do is drop straight down.
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Old February 18, 2012, 02:29 PM   #21
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You don't need a different gun. You need a better bullet that won't come apart.

A large entrance and no exit tells me that the bullet is expanding too quickly. Some hunters want this, while others want an exit. I fall in the latter category for most game I hunt, and I choose my bullets accordingly.

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Old February 18, 2012, 03:03 PM   #22
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Well my Son and I loaded up 20 Rounds of 180 Grain Speer Hot Cor and 39.5 grains of IMR 4895 acording to my reloading manual thats right in the middle between a starting load, and a maximum charge. I will take them out and see if they are reasonably accurate, and try to get another shot on a Hog to see if they perform better. Double Naut Spy, I have heard of a Mule Footed Hog before, but never seen one, till now, thanks. I might have hit that hog in the shield and had it close up on me.
NOTE *
The Load I shot the Hog with was a Factory Reminton .308 150 Grain Coreloct, They are accurate, but Dont seem to have the effect I am looking for on Tuff Game like Feral Hog.
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Old February 18, 2012, 03:40 PM   #23
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Change your POI to the shoulder 1/3 up. This will disable the animal; therefore you won't need a blood trail.
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Old February 19, 2012, 03:02 AM   #24
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What are all of you talking about, with the short barrel robbing him of velocity, and causing bullets to explode?..

If the short barrel diminished the velocity enough to make a difference, the bullet would have penetrated without expanding. It didn't. It exploded, instead.

That fact supports my theory, and my experience:
Too much velocity with a poor bullet choice.
And... avoid 150 and 165 gr Remington Core-Lokts in .308 and .30-06.

They are far too fragile for the application, and tend to blow up like a varmint bullet.

TX - Use anything, but the 150/165 Core-Lokts. Your handload sounds like it should be work well.
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Old February 19, 2012, 04:23 AM   #25
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My DPMS LR308 has an 18 in bbl.It also has a gas port hole drilled in the bbl that costs about 75 fps.With handloads,I easily get 2650 fps using 165 Ballistic Tips.

While I do not suggest an Accubond for your deer,with a 165 gr Accubond,that load will do just fine on elk if you place a heart/lung shot through the ribs,out to 300 yds.

A 300 Savage,a 30-40 Krag,and a .303 British will all give a deer all the killing it needs at 200 yds.

I believe the problem is,as others have said,a bullet that is not strong enough for the job,not your short barrel.

A few months back I witnessed a bull bison killed with a 16 in bbl FN FAL in 308.(ok,7.62).The bullets were either 165 or 150 gr Barnes copper bullets.Our shooter has a professional habit of double tapping,which he did on this bull.

That bull died quickly and cleanly....as well as the one shot with a 45-70 Sharps,and the one shot with a 416 RUM.

No put down on the 180,but for deer and maybe a hog,I think a good 165 will give you a little better velocity,and fine performance.

The combination of less velocity and a deeper penetrating bullet in a 180 gr may be too much of a good thing...you may not get as much expansion as you want.

I cannot imagine you will have anything but good results on deer with a 165 gr Ballistic Tip,and I'm sure Sierras and Hornady interlocks or SSTs will work,a Speer Mag tip will work.

H-4895 is not a bad powder choice.Re-15 and Varget will also work.
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