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Old February 6, 2013, 10:14 AM   #1
BJE80
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Close Range Bullet Fragmentation

First time poster. Thanks for having me.

I did a search and found some similar discussions to my questions but not exactly.



Two years ago I shot a nice buck at about 35-40 yards with a 30.06 165 grain Horaday SST bullet. Upon impact the deer appeared to be hit good and mule kicked but he did run off out of sight which was only another 10 yards or so into the woods. I felt good about the shot as it was a good squeeze with the crosshairs right behind the shoulder.

Upon tracking the deer I spotted him as he got up from his bed. No shot. Blood was sparse at that point and he went about 80 yards before bedding . I decided due to the small amounts of blood to let him lay for awhile since it was tough to stay on the trail and hope he died without pushing him further. I lost that deer and believe it to be that my SST fragmented upon impact after doing some research. I have since been doing a lot of reading about this topic. I’ve learned that it was a mistake to use the SST at close ranges due many occurrences I’ve read about them failing at those ranges. Previously I simply took the advice that many give and that to shoot what is most accurate out of your gun. Well I did that and this was the result.
Last year I hunted with Remington Core-Lokt bullets due to their “controlled expansion” label they are given. I’ve since read that these expensive bonded premium bullets can hold up better but in most cases they are double the cost.

My hunting situation is as follows:
Wooded hunting situations in northern Wisconsin either in the timber shooting between 30-70 yards. Or Food plots from 30-100 yards. I can’t see a shot being over 100 yards at all.
I now shoot a .308 X-bolt as I like the slower speeds that it provides for those closer distances and my wife shoots a .270. The .270 probably is a little fast for those ranges so finding a bullet that will hold together is important. She loves her .270 as it was her dad's gun. I need to find a bullet for each of us that not only shoots well out of our guns but will take those close ranges.

My line of thinking right now is that I’ll probably be able to use most anything out of my slower .308 but the .270 is going to be tricky. My wife has never shot a deer with her .270 as she has only been hunting 2 years but I want to make sure that deer goes down when she does shoot one.

So what is your opinion on buying the premium bullets vs. your standard type bullets? What should I be trying to look for?
Take accuracy out of the equation for a second. Whatever I use, it will be accurate or I won't use it. I get that some bullets don't work in certain guns. I get that you need to try different loads and bullets to find which ones your gun likes. But as I’ve found just because a bullet shoots good out of your gun doesn’t make it a good choice.

So is it worth the extra money to buy say a Partition bullet or Premium Bonded bullet vs. using say a Remington Green Box Core-lokt or Federal Blue Box Softpoint type stuff. Then there is the federal fusions that are supposedly bonded but at a reduced cost.

Last edited by BJE80; February 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:28 AM   #2
tchunter
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First of all welcome to TFL! A lot of good info and people on here. I'm sure you will get plenty of in depth responses to your question. My opinion though is to stick with the core lokts. They perform very well for the situations you are hunting in and for a good price. They typically group well for a hunting rifle and mushroom nicely. The price is also easier on the wallet when shooting for fun. A lot of the higher end rounds do perform extremely well but that's up to you if you want to spend the money.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:36 AM   #3
Wyosmith
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In Remington "green box" core locked, the 270 Winchester 150 grain round nose is a SUPER good bullet. I have shot them quartering through large elk and had them break big bones and they still exit and always expand.

In a 308 again I can recommend the Remington "Green box" with their "core locked" with 180 grain bullets.

Close range hits with rifles most often penetrate less than long range hits just because the bullets are going fast enough to come apart, and the slower they are at impact the less they come apart.

With these 2 bullets I have not seen failures at close range on elk, deer or bear.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:47 AM   #4
silvrjeepr
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I was a die hard core lokt fan until I lost a large doe from a 10 yard broadside shot. The next day, I found her several hundred yards away with a the same sized entrance and exit wounds right behind the front shoulder. After that, I switched to nosler ballistic tips and have only tracked one deer over 5 yards. I've taken deer from 5 yards out to 150 yards and nearly all were DRT. I'm not a big fan of the SST's, but the one doe I shot with one dropped in her tracks at around 100 yards (I was trying the superformance stuff as it grouped as well as the federal premium nosler tips in my rifle). I wasn't too pleased with the way the bullet came apart though...

This is just my $0.000002 and it probably isn't even worth that. If core lokt works for you, then go for it. If you feel like trying something different, I highly recommend the federal premium nosler ballistic tip loads.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:57 AM   #5
Wild Bill Bucks
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BJ,

Welcome to the forum.

I have been shooting the premium Noslers & Hornady bullets for years. I re-load my own ammo so the consistency of the rounds are probably a lot better than factory.

I have noticed that the premium bullets I have used on deer, tend to do a lot more damage at ranges beyond 100 yards. Most of the shots I have taken on deer under 100 yards are mostly neck shots, so there is no tracking. On occasion when I have taken heart shots at closer ranges, the bullets tend to put a pin hole through the deer, and not much bleeding occurs, therefore making tracking a lot harder. At the closer velocity the premiums are going to fast to operate the way they were intended, but after a little distance, the bullet slows down, and the premium can open up, and does an incredible job, like it is supposed to do.

I shoot .308 exclusively and the velocities are similar to your 30.06 out to 250 yards. My rifle is sighted in at 100 yards, but at 50 yards my POI is about 1 1/2" low. This results in a well placed heart shot, being a little low, if I don't remember to raise my crosshairs a little on closer shots.

I agree with others, if you are going to shoot ranges under 100 yards, then I would go with the good old round nose rounds, that are a lot cheaper to use, and do a really good job on deer at those ranges.
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Old February 6, 2013, 11:56 AM   #6
hooligan1
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Welcome first there BJE80, and secondly I handload also, so I use premium bullets for deer, I started hunting deer with Remington Corelokts, in a 30-06, and then handloading came into my life and I found my rifles like different powder/bullet combinations.
If you handload try the 130 grain Accubond for the .270 win, and the 150 Partition for the .308, and you could even try partitions for the .270 also, cause youll like and come to trust the performance.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:06 PM   #7
Art Eatman
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I know that the Sierra 150-grain flat-base soft-points don't blow up. That's with max loads and a 26" barrel on an '06, so the muzzle velocity has to be up around 3,100.

Odds are, their flat-base 130-grain in .270 would work the same way.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:45 PM   #8
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If the bullet fragmented on impact, there would have been a sizable wound. My experience with Hornady Interlock and SST is excellent. I agree with Art about Sierra Game Kings, also.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:56 PM   #9
BJE80
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Quote:
If the bullet fragmented on impact, there would have been a sizable wound.

I could be wrong but I respectfully disagree. If it turned into shrapnel it would open up a lot of small spots but not a sizable wound which could account for the terrible blood trail. I have a feeling that buck died somewhere at some time but I've never been able to prove it.


Deer are pretty darn tough critters. Being an avid bow hunter I've seen some amazing things they do because of their will to live.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:58 PM   #10
Major Dave (retired)
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Generally speaking...

the use of "heavy for caliber bullets", especially of the round nose design, will reduce the velocity at the muzzle. Also, heavy, round nose bullets cause the bullet to shed velocity quicker after leaving the muzzle.

In other words, if you can find a 150 grain, round nose bullet for your wife's .270, that would likely be the answer, for her situation. On the other hand, the recoil would probably be increased.

You might look for some Remington "Reduced Recoil" ammo. It uses light weight bullets loaded to low muzzle velocity, essentially making her .270 more like a 30-30 velocity class shooter, and reducing recoil, as advertised. Perfectly good for close range deer. I know Remington loads Reduced Recoil for 30-06, but not sure about 270.
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Old February 6, 2013, 01:17 PM   #11
BJE80
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Major,

I like you’re thinking and using a 150 grain bullet was something I had in the back of my head already but I figured I was long winded enough with my original post.

I researched what the recoil difference would be between the 130 & 150 grain bullets and found Chuck Hawk's charts.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm

The recoil energy goes from 16.5 to 17.0 or increases by only 3%. But like you said it slows down the velocity to a much more manageable 2850 FPS vs. 3100 FPS for the 130 grain bullet.

I never thought of the reduced coil ammo. I will look into that.
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Old February 6, 2013, 04:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
So is it worth the extra money to buy say a Partition bullet or Premium Bonded bullet vs. using say a Remington Green Box Core-lokt or Federal Blue Box Softpoint type stuff.

In my humble opinion the answer is yes, it's worth the extra money. At the very least it gives you piece of mind knowing that you are doing all you can to ensure quick, clean kills.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:20 PM   #13
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I far prefer Nosler Partions as a game bullet over any other brand. This doesnt mean others dont work. I must have the worst luck with Remington Cor-Lokt,s. Others swear they are great bullets, deep penatrating and hold togeather well. I have used 4 on mule deer and all but one desintigrated with mere inches of penatration. My findings fall in line with and old adage spoken by more than one proffesional hunter. The adage is "Nothing can be determined as to caliber, bullet weight, or design till a minimum of 30 head of game has been shot with one combination. Only then can useful imformation be obtained". I have not shot 30 head of game with the Cor-Lokt's but I have with Nosler Partions and have never found them wanting. I am sure others have had good luck and vast experence with other brands as well.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:36 PM   #14
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There are many options including using a heavier, tougher bullet. Or a lighter tougher bullet. Either approach works, but the lighter tougher bullet gives you more options. This is the 21st century, you don't have to still use 1800's science and technology unless you just want to.

I'm loading 130 gr Barnes TTSX bullets at 3050 fps in my 308. They will retain 99-100% of their weight on impact and equal or beat the penetation of heavier 180 gr bullets. They will shoot laser flat and have less recoil. They are not the best choice for long range shooting, but perfect for your uses. I'd use 110 gr bullets in the 270.

Conventional bullets lose 30-80% of their weight on impact. That means a 180 gr bullet will only weigh 50-130 gr after impact, about the same as the TTSX finishes with.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:38 PM   #15
Brian Pfleuger
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Bullet failures, especially "blow up" varieties, are almost always shot placement failures.

Those little bits of bullet don't make 90 degree turns doing 3,200fps. They also don't stop in 2 inches from 3,200fps.

Yeah, bullets do fragment sometimes. I've seen a deer shot right behind the front leg that had shrapnel in it's guts, mind you, this is like a 30, 40dg turn, not 90.... but it was dead in very short order.

It's near on impossible to shoot a deer in the vitals with ANY bullet and not kill it in very short order. Now, a bullet that doesn't expand at all makes for a rough trailing job, that's one thing. Bullet that fragment almost always make for very dead deer.

I've seen deer shot with what should be varmint bullets... 55gr Nosler lead free .243 with muzzle velocities pushing 4,000fps, that dropped like a stone.

I've seen quite a lot of deer killed with quite a variety of weapons, bullets and broadheads. I've also talked to guys who have seen a lot more. Most importantly, guys with dogs that track wounded animals. They tell me all kinds of stories about "perfect shots" and "bullet failures", that turned out to be gut-shot, leg-shot, something other than vital zone shot, animals. Interestingly, I have yet to hear a single story from such a dog tracker, wherein the animal was hit in the vitals and the bullet or broadhead failed to perform.

I do like bullets that don't come apart and I also like light and fast bullets. Fortunately, Barnes makes bullets that do both very well... their T/TSX line.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:26 PM   #16
Art Eatman
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"Barnes makes bullets that do both very well."

Very true. So do twenty other companies.

Sorry. Couldn't help it.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:30 PM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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I doth protest...

Many companies make good bullets and many companies make good, light bullets but not many make light, good bullets for big game.
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Old February 6, 2013, 09:31 PM   #18
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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I'm across your border to the West where Gov. Dayton rules. I shoot a 270 under the same conditions as you folks do. I reload and prefer the Nosler 130 gr. Ballistic Tips for my 270. Nosler's have never let me down while sitting up off the ground in my stand. When I'm Still Hunting on the ground. I use my 300 Sav or 32 Special with the now discontinued Winchester Silver Tip bullets. Basically an open tipped bullet. Not much difference than Rem Core-Lok's or Federal Soft Points From my experience. I've never seen a bullet fail to do what it was intended to do so long as it was American made. I'm a firm believer its all about shot placement. Than practice more practice and getting familiar with your firearms ability and its quirks too.
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Old February 7, 2013, 09:25 AM   #19
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For one, I wouldnt be using a 30-06 at 30-40yds.

I like the SST's and we have excellent results with them in 30-06, 243, 270, and 280. We have had terrible results the times we tried Barnes and Nosler. We refuse to buy them, especially costing twice as much as other bullets.

It kind of funny around here. The store shelves are bare of everything. EXCEPT Barnes and Nosler bullets. You can find them in any store you go in. Apperently nobody else around likes them either.
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Old February 7, 2013, 09:46 AM   #20
BJE80
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Quote:
For one, I wouldnt be using a 30-06 at 30-40yds.

I should probably wave my arms at the deer next time so they run into range hey?
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
I've seen quite a lot of deer killed with quite a variety of weapons, bullets and broadheads. I've also talked to guys who have seen a lot more. Most importantly, guys with dogs that track wounded animals. They tell me all kinds of stories about "perfect shots" and "bullet failures", that turned out to be gut-shot, leg-shot, something other than vital zone shot, animals. Interestingly, I have yet to hear a single story from such a dog tracker, wherein the animal was hit in the vitals and the bullet or broadhead failed to perform.
PerZacklee! Thanks, Peetza!
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Old February 7, 2013, 10:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reloader28
For one, I wouldnt be using a 30-06 at 30-40yds.

I like the SST's and we have excellent results with them in 30-06, 243, 270, and 280. We have had terrible results the times we tried Barnes and Nosler. We refuse to buy them, especially costing twice as much as other bullets.

So if the animal you're after steps out at 40 yards and you're carrying a 30-06, you don't shoot?

Barnes bullets are expensive but I've almost never heard of anyone having problems with them. What are these "results" you speak of?

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; February 7, 2013 at 10:41 AM.
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Old February 7, 2013, 11:57 AM   #23
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If what I have available is a thutty-ought-six, I don't care if Bambi crawls from beneath a rock that's right by my feet. He's gonna have a lot more problems than I will.
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Old February 7, 2013, 01:12 PM   #24
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I once shot an antelope at 200 yards broadside with a 30/06 using a 180 grain Speer SBT. I had a decent rest and shot the animal in the shoulder hoping the put it down as we were on private property and close to the property line. At the shot a large cloud of dust rose at the antelope’s front foot. I felt very good about the shot and knew there was no way I had just missed my mark, especially by that much! The antelope limped over a hill before I could get another round off so I high-tailed it to the top and finish it with a spine shot. What I found while working on the animal was that the first shot had hit exactly where I was aiming, dead center of the shoulder. The bullet penetrated the skin, struck a bone hard enough to break it, then turned 90 degrees and exited the lower shoulder striking the ground next to the foot. That particular hunt was a combo and I shot an elk and a deer with the same reloads and had no problems proving to me that something had to be very wrong with that one bullet. Air pocket in the core? Bad jacket? Your guess is as good as any I can come up with. Since then I have always used premium bullets on game
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Old February 7, 2013, 01:24 PM   #25
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I once shot a large doe at three yds with my 30-06, 150 grain Ballistic Tip from Nosler, went through the ribs behind both shoulders, complete pass through. Gues what,,, dead deer.
Sometimes what people tend to think about certain bullets just sounds stupid to me.
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