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Old January 28, 2013, 09:43 AM   #1
JarheadHunter
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Ballistic Tip Failures......

Ok so here is my current problem that left me very frustrated yesterday. I was hunting on Sunday mornign with a newly aquired 30/30 that i sighted in on Saturday afternoon. I have always hunted with eithe a lead nose bullet or a hollow point(nothign fancy or special). I went out on a limbe and purchased two different types of Hornady ballistic tips for the same rifle. One was the ZombieMax and the others are the Leverolition (sp?). I only shot with the zombie max. Ont his not.

I sighted in with regular ammo and fired a few ballistics to to see the difference in grouping which was signifigantly different and i adjusted to it.

Now here is the problem. I shot a medium sized does from approximatley 130-140 yds. I was aiming for the vitals right behind the shoulder. The round hit and she jumped a good ten feet in the air and ran into the brush. I waited a few minutes before getting out of the blind, and when i got to where she was standin when i shot and all I found was hair and little bit of meat. No blood no anythign else, and she was gone.

I was walking back to camp when I saw another medium sized doe and a yearling. I got into the prone this time and took a nice slow well aimed shot right behind her shoulder. Once again it aided in her jumping abilities, and she bolted for the brush. Once again I found some hair and some meat and even a little bit of boane this time. My friend and i began tracking and about 15 meters away found some blood and tracked it for 50-60 yds and then lost any and all signs of the trail.

I was very disappointed in this situation, and could not figure out how this could happen. Newly sighted rifle, and new ammo. after all was said an doen with before leaving camp i blasted a few more rounds at a target and had a 2" group at 130 yds.

This leads me to believe it was the ammo. Any advice? or suggestions? woudl be great. Also i am switching back to reagular lead nose and hollow points. Come to think of it I took a 100 lb sow earlier this year with the same round and it was a clean 1 shot kill........

Last edited by Art Eatman; January 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Paragraphs
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Old January 28, 2013, 11:04 AM   #2
603Country
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Nosler makes the Ballistic Tip bullets and has the rights to that name, so what you had was Hornady's version of a plastic tipped bullet. As for the performance of the bullets you used, it honestly sounds like your bullet didn't hit where you wanted it to hit. Better check your sights.
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Old January 28, 2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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I killed 4 deer and a 300lb Bo Hog this past season with Nosler BT's. The four deer were with a 150grn from a 7mm08 and the hog was with a 165grn from a .308. Three deer and the hog were 80-125yds with only one deer running 50yds before piling up and leaving a blood trail Ray Charles could follow, the rest died where they stood. One doe was 322 and dropped like she was pole axed in the head. BT's do the job very well.

I doubt it was the bullet's failure to perform that lead to this, more likely operator error and some buck fever were to blame. The first one could have been a clean miss and the second sounds like a gut shot that plugged up. Did you have access to a dog that you could have tracked her with? 50-60 yds isn't very far to track an animal with no blood trail, she could have started pouring buckets a little further on. If she was running, she had to leave tracks or broken limbs and disturbed brush to follow, though that could be hard to follow in the dark if it was dark.

Hate it that you didn't find the game but you were shooting a good bullet and I have a hard time believing the bullet didn't perform if you hit the vitals.
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Old January 28, 2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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Most of these plastic tipped bullets are really nothing more than large hollow points with plastic tips in the holes. Few of them hold together and penetrate well.

I have been a hunter and a guide for many years and the number of bullet failures I have seen with this type of bullet are too many for me to count easily.

Not ALL of them are bad, but many are. The ones that have bonded cores do well, but ONLY those with bonded cores.

If I were you I’d go back to a plain 170 grain soft point.
Those have worked well for about 100 years, and they are not “broke” so they don’t need to be fixed.
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Old January 28, 2013, 12:02 PM   #5
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Meat and hair (what colour of hair, and how long?) usually mean it was a flesh wound. Shot went high across the shoulder (gray body hair), low across the belley (short white hair). Next time you dress a deer pay real close attention to what kind of hair (colour, course, fine, long, short) is on what part of a deer. The colour of the blood can also give you a hint as to where the deer is hit. Dark red usually meaning loss from muscle tissue, bright red usually from organ damage, and very bright frothy blood from lung hits. Then next time you "cut hair" it will tell you where it was cut from. I almost always take the behind the shoulder broad side shots and I use Nosler balistic tips in my 260. A good hit leaves almost NO sighn on the ground and a dead deer with in feet of the hit.

I have taken deer with everything from 22lr to 50 cal round ball and I can assure you that proper bullet placement for the round and bullet design you are shooting trumps EVERYTHING else!

The only times I have ever felt like I had bullet failuers was shooting a Remington core loct 6mm at very long range. In this case the bullet, after loosing velocity, would act like a FMJ and just punch a hole through. Took them a long time to bleed out!
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:24 PM   #6
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The majority of the ZombieMax bullets are varmint bullets with a different plastic tip. They are not appropriate for big game.
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Old January 28, 2013, 04:46 PM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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Lost animals are almost always shot placement issues and almost never bullet failures.

Deer are small, narrow, thin-skinned and light-boned. Almost any bullet that strikes the heart/lung vital area will have them dead with 150 yards at most.

My guess would be that you shot low or gut shot.

Trouble is, it's guess. Frankly, so are your estimates. We've all been there. I wounded one last week that should have been a gimme. I know where I should have hit but I have no idea where I did hit because we couldn't find her.

I also know, from talking to guys with dogs that track wounded animals, that the recovered animals are never hit where the hunter says they were/should have been.... It's kind of obvious if you think about it.... if they WERE hit there, they wouldn't need a tracking dog.
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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Thanks

Thanks for all of the opinions. As far as tacking these girls. It was in thick South Texas brush on a high populated/ animal traffic place. There are tracks everywhere with a ton of game trails through the mesquite so broken branches and disturbed grund make it impossible. When tracking them we would walk 25-50 yds apart and cirlce crossing paths looking for anythign that we could find. The first one may have very well been low since I was shooting from an eleavted blind. The second was the one that I found bone and everything, and there is no doubt about shot placement. the ultimate reason i posted was for information on the rounds, and thank you for what I have recieved. If anyone else has insight it is more than welcome.
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Sounds like it's hitting low enough to miss the boiler room. What barrel length is your rifle? I would have to think maybe your not getting the normal ballistic profile. If you sight in a two inches high at a hundred, you should still be in the kill zone out to 170yds or more. I just picked up a .30-.30 with the trapper barrel. I consider the round short range anyway, but it's a dandy set up for jump shooting. I'm wondering how much the shorter barrel knocks down the effective range.
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:22 PM   #10
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well I will just call it a bad situation with a newly aquired rifle, new ammo, and humman error. I hate sounding like this but I do not believe it was all me especially after putting 30+ rounds through it before hunting with it. I will take my share of it but twice in the same day is too much for me to take it all
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:33 PM   #11
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Well, if it makes you feel any better, if my Dad was still around he'd tell you that I missed 16 times in one day. I'll admit to 11 times. I was about 15, had my Marlin 35 Rem, and the dogs ran maybe 10 deer past me. It was in Louisiana and on the edge of a slough and with all the deer splashing and me shooting and dogs yelping, I guess I got carried away with the moment. I even had time to reload. I did kill deer with first shot and last shot, though Dad always left that out of the story. I always wanted to be a legendary deer hunter, but not for the reason I became famous in the family.

My guess is that on the first shot you might have shot high and knocked meat and hair off just above the spine. Second shot sounds like a shot high in the leg. It happens.

And did you say that you had a scope on the rifle or not? When Dad, brother, and I all got our lever actions, I was the only one that refused a scope. That was a mistake. My deer killing efficiency went way up with the addition of a scope.
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:35 PM   #12
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My tip after seeing several hundred Ballistic Tip failures is avoid Ballistic Tip ammo for game. I know they supposedly fixed them two decades ago, but my Partitions never needed fixing, so there ya go. Flat point or round nose in a 30-30.
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:44 PM   #13
603Country
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I've killed at least 200 deer with Ballistic Tips and I still use them. Probably the most accurate, or one of the most accurate hunting bullet available. Great lethality if you place the bullet well, and great exit wounds and blood trails if the deer makes it very far. I wouldn't use on on an Elk, but for deer it's just fine. The Accubond is probably better, but it's more expensive and I don't need the upgrade.

I find it hard to believe that you've seen "hundreds of failures" when I've personally had hundreds of successes.

One thing about the Ballistic Tip is that it's probably the most argued about bullet on the market. I can attest that it's a fine bullet and I'll also say that it isn't a magic bullet. Still got to place it where it needs to be to do the job.
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Old January 28, 2013, 05:45 PM   #14
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In the past 18 plus years of hunting white tail, I've only had one run over 5 yards using nosler ballistic tips. The only doe I shot with hornady collapsed in her tracks with an sst bullet though I wasn't terribly happy about how the bullet came apart. I'm leaning towards shot placement though I have absolutely no first hand experience with the zombie max stuff. It sounds a little gimmicky to be trustworthy hunting ammo in my totally useless opinion.
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Old January 28, 2013, 06:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
This leads me to believe it was the ammo. Any advice? or suggestions? would be great. Also i am switching back to reagular lead nose and hollow points. Come to think of it I took a 100 lb sow earlier this year with the same round and it was a clean 1 shot kill........
This experience in hunting I guess you can chalk it up to a (disappointing lesson) Sometimes we all stray from what we know works best in our firearms. After all its human nature to look for something better. Sadly such has happen in your case JarheadHunter You were quickly reminded of your mistake in choice of ammo. My suggestion stick with what you >know< works. It gladdens me to know you returned to the basic bullet design for that 30-30 of yours. That's Old School tried and true technology Sir. (lead nose)

First deer. From what I read It sounds like you grazed its belly. If the fur was white or tan looking. Yep I suspect that's what happened.

Second deer. That reads. A pretty good hit on her. (Blood, bone & fur) Again a little low perhaps. But no less it was a killing shot in time.

Many times we caught up in the heat of the moment and quickly move in to where the animal was last seen for a look see after a shot. More times than not if your animal is still alive. It will bolt & struggle to move farther away whether it was standing or laying. Not because we were seen. It's hearing more likely. (One very important sense it depends on telling itself to move. Too survive!!)
You have to give any big game animal time to succumb from its wound/s. (time to relax and let its blood flow freely.) At least 30-45 minuets before moving in for a look see is about Right. Any less time spent not waiting. My suggestion then would be. Go home change out those heavy clothes and put on some comfortable walking shoes/ boots or have fresh batteries in your flashlight because your going to spend a long day / night of look'in for it. (If it indeed that deer got away from you to begin with)
To not find both animals is indeed a disappointment and a shame as well on that second doe. I've hunted since I was 11 yrs old now 68 and have taken a deer every year other than my service time. I've only lost one. I still feel bad about loosing her to this day. Well Sir. You now have your one too.
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Old January 28, 2013, 06:42 PM   #16
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Is there any chance at all the bullet touched the tiniest twig along the way?Bullets do not bust brush.

Something about the Zombie marketing annoys me,I have not looked at them.

Hornady purpose built that Levolution for the 30-30.I'd expect it to perform properly once it hit the deer.No experience myself,though.

The pointed nose cone gives better ballistics,it will shoot flatter at range.

Any chance you held a touch high out of habit?
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Old January 28, 2013, 06:58 PM   #17
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Might be time to head to the practice range or your going to be hungry. And while your at it, pick out a better bullet, or switch calibers, ( I know gabillions of deer have been killed by the mighty 30-30), maybe something more suitable for distances over 125 yds.
As far as the Nosler Ballistic Tips goes, it isn't always perfect, but with that bullet SHOT PLACEMENT IS PARAMOUNT!!
I shot a 265 lb 8 pointer in 1990, in the timber at a distance of 125 yds, right behind the ear and broke his neck, dropped him right where he stood.
However I've heared stories of Ballistic tip shot deer not dying quickly and when it came right down to it it was shot placement.
Scorch hit right on, the best hunting bullet probabkly is the Partition from Nosler, it will penetrate better than most premium bullets in its class.
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Old January 28, 2013, 07:05 PM   #18
DAVID NANCARROW
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Had 2 failures with 165 grain ballistic tips loaded in a 308 Winchester/max charge of Reloder 15. The first was a killing shot-the animal went maybe 10 yards and collapsed. Bullet wasnt recovered but passed through the heart/lungs. 30 cal going in, exit hole about the size of a quarter. Range was about 100 yards. Thought the exit wound should have been larger on a broadside shot.

Second failure might have been a fluke and maybe not the bullet. Same rifle/distance/handload as above. Either I flinched or the buck moved just as I pulled the trigger on a broadside shot. Round hit the shoulder bone and glanced off, fortunately for me I had a moment to chamber another round and put him down. Bullet did not expand as others had and Im at a loss as to why.

Anyhow, I finally stopped reading the press reports and went to Hornady 165 BTSPs and have been well pleased with the accuracy-less than an inch off a sandbag rest, about the same as the Ballistic tips. Have yet to recover a bullet but a good sized exit wound every time.

I did try Nosler Partitions and if it werent for the cost, Id still be loading them. Fantastic results with their 165 grain in a 308! Heart lung shot looked like somebody and put an explosive in the boiler room on the 5 occasions I have used it. Accuracy wasnt bad, about an inch at 100 yards.

The Hornady bullets arent anything fancy and their price reflects it. I can get 100 of them for 50 of the ballistic tips and they do a fine job. I went from 150 to 165 grain loads because it doesnt tear the animal up quite as much but still functions well.
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Old January 28, 2013, 07:13 PM   #19
Brian Pfleuger
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Shot placement is ALWAYS paramount. Until we have handheld phasers, shot placement is all that matters.

There's no way those bullets hit vital areas and failed, shattered or did not penetrate at 30-30 velocities. If you're going to shoot deer with a varmint bullet, 30-30 velocities are what you would want. Fast enough for penetration, slow enough to not blow the bullet apart.

These aren't Water Buffalo. Deer are easy to kill. I know how tempting it is to blame something besides the Nut Behind the Butt.

I don't want it to be my fault when I make a bad shot either. I took a 125 yard shot with a Savage ML10-II, that's known to shoot solid groups at 200 yards. I was seated, elbows on knees, 12x scope. Deer was quartering toward me slightly, head up, calm and stationary.

The only variable is really the shooter. The gun doesn't change. Wind is inconsequential at the speed it was, at that distance and target sizes. The deer was calm.

The screw up was mine, not the gun or bullet.

I'm not trying to be mean. It's just realistic. The OP says "...and there is no doubt about shot placement." Sorry. There is doubt. The deer wasn't recovered. Shot placement is pure speculation and is, truthfully, THE doubt.
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Old January 28, 2013, 11:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
The majority of the ZombieMax bullets are varmint bullets with a different plastic tip. They are not appropriate for big game.
I was going to say this same thing but frank beat me to it.
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Old January 29, 2013, 12:06 AM   #21
eviltravis
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Several deer have fallen to 165 grain hornady SST bullets in front of my .308. Those little plastic tipped bullets seemed to do the job just dandy.

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Old January 29, 2013, 09:32 AM   #22
JarheadHunter
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Ok I will call a spade a spade. but I will also not be using taht ammo for deer anymore. Hogs yes but deer no. I did nto shoot any of the Leverevolution yet but I also do nto see too many differances between the zombie BS. I only bought it becasue it was a cheaper "ballistic". lesson learned and i will pass it on to my noy and my friends. Back to $15 a box hollow point and lead nose for sure. Going back to the old and reliable. I have killed man deer with just that and thats what it will be from here on out. Also the rifle did have a scope and liek i mentioned it was sighted in the day before. Teh ballistics of the BT's was a hell of a lot different and shot abotu 5" higher that my "typical" ammo. I adjusted to that and fired a groupe of 3 at 2" and went with it. Now i need to sight that bad boy in again to ammo I trust and get more time behind the rifle. One last thing i have to add. The bone i found was abotu teh sixe of a nickle and was smooth/flat to the likes of a rib, but that could haev been the top or bottom of one and just not effective enough to get it done. Thank every one and i will let you all knwo hwta happens whit the switch back.
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Old January 29, 2013, 09:45 AM   #23
Brian Pfleuger
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If you hit the very bottom of the rib cage there's nothing vital there. I just saw that done too. It did enough damage to disable the deer but didn't hit heart or lungs. That gun was a lot more powerful than a 30-30 though.

I'd try the LevaRevolution. They're designed for the task. They'll work fine, if they hit where they're supposed to.
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Old January 29, 2013, 10:18 AM   #24
Saltydog235
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Quote:
My tip after seeing several hundred Ballistic Tip failures
Failure to do what? Several hundred? Sorry but that's a bunch of BS unless you think BT's should blow up mountains or something like that. I've been shooting and hunting with Nosler BT's for 20+ years and have had one failure and it was I'm sure a fluke where the bullet entered between two ribs and exited between two ribs, I found the deer the next day in a swampy area laid up on a cypress mound 350-400yds from the stand. Unfortunately it was 90 degrees during the day and 80 or more at night. The shot and placement was all my fault, too high and too far back so essence it was as much my fault as the bullet's.

Last edited by Saltydog235; January 29, 2013 at 11:50 AM.
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Old January 29, 2013, 10:27 AM   #25
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If it was SST's, I love them in my 30-06 for deer.

For 30/30, get yourself a FN mold and some lead and cast your own. You'll never go back to condom bullets again.
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