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Old October 14, 2013, 03:02 PM   #1
BJE80
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Best .308 and .270 Bullet for Close Range on Deer?

What do you feel is the best bullet (assuming they all shoot good in your gun) for deer at close ranges (100 yards or less) in .308 and .270. Some shots could be as close as 20 yards.

Which ones will hold together the best without fragmenting? Long range accuracy is not important.


Federal Fusions?
Core Lokt?
Federal PowerShok?
Others?

Also what grain weight do you prefer at those ranges in these calibers?

Last edited by BJE80; October 14, 2013 at 03:19 PM.
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Old October 14, 2013, 03:31 PM   #2
jmr40
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I don't think it matters much. I'd only be concerned about a bullet fragmenting too soon if I were using a caliber that was borderline too small for the job. If using a 243 on elk I'd want to make sure I used a good bullet that would stay together long enough to reach the vitals.

With a 270 or 308 even the most explosive bullet is still going to stay together long enough to give adequate penetration on deer at any range.

I don't hunt with a 270, but have used 308/30-06 bullets in both 150 and 165 gr weights. I've used Corelokt, Hornady Interlokt, SST's, Winchester Power Points, and Nosler Ballistic Tips with equally good results. I have no reason to believe any 130-150 gr 270 would be any different. I'd let the more accurate choice make my decision. If accuracy is equal then it would go to availability and price

FWIW, I've been experimenting with both Berger hunting bullets and Barnes TTSX. I've loaded some 130 TTSX's at 3050 fps and some of the Berger 155's at 2880 for my 308 rifles. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Bergers are among the fastest expanding, the TTSX, one of the slowest. I'll be using both this season and have complete confidence both will work.
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Old October 14, 2013, 03:35 PM   #3
BJE80
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Thanks for your reply.

One concern is the .270 is a bit faster than the 30.06 and much faster than a .308. But probably not enough to make that much of difference.


FTR, I have a Federal Fusion 150 grain in .308 selected and a 130 grain .270 federal fusion selected right now. I've just seen some fragmenting with these set-ups and just want to make sure there isn't something better out there I should be considering (core-lokt, etc.). Maybe what we are getting is normal at those ranges for any bullets.
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Old October 14, 2013, 05:10 PM   #4
Kachok
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Fusions will fragment less then most others, penetration is very reliable. If ranges are short I would consider the heavier for caliber versions since trajectory is a non issue, they should give you reliable through and through shots at any reasonable angle and less gunshot meat then their faster counterparts.
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Old October 14, 2013, 05:32 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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Barnes T/TSX or Hornady GMX

If long range doesn't matter, trajectory doesn't matter. Speed kills if the bullet can handle it. Use the lightest monolithic bullet available for the caliber and drive it at the highest speed you can muster. (Accuracy is assumed)
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Old October 14, 2013, 07:01 PM   #6
BJE80
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Best .308 and .270 Bullet for Close Range on Deer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger View Post
Barnes T/TSX or Hornady GMX

If long range doesn't matter, trajectory doesn't matter. Speed kills if the bullet can handle it. Use the lightest monolithic bullet available for the caliber and drive it at the highest speed you can muster. (Accuracy is assumed)
Those Barnes T/TSX have my interest. I was wondering if anyone would suggest them for short distances. Obviously they are much mor in cost. Was curious is short range they would hold together.

One question. You said "if the bullet can handle it". How can one determine if a bullet can take a particular speed?
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Old October 14, 2013, 07:21 PM   #7
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Between 20 and 100 yards? Any of those are fine and will certainly do the job assuming you do yours and make a good shot. There is no magic bullet for a bad shot.

In my experience, a 150gr Core-Lokt in .308 will give you excellent penetration and hold together without breaking the bank.
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Old October 14, 2013, 07:46 PM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Best .308 and .270 Bullet for Close Range on Deer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BJE80 View Post
Those Barnes T/TSX have my interest. I was wondering if anyone would suggest them for short distances. Obviously they are much mor in cost. Was curious is short range they would hold together.

One question. You said "if the bullet can handle it". How can one determine if a bullet can take a particular speed?
The monolithic bullets can handle it. If they can't, nothing can. There is no stronger bullet.

The cost factor is irrelevant. For the annual shooting of hunting bullets that most of us do, the difference between the cheapest acceptable choice and the most expensive reasonable choice is $10/year or less.
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Old October 14, 2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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Back fifty years ago, I loaded Rem 130-grain Bronze Points in my .270. Bambi fell over dead, quite regularly.

I've used the 150-grain version of that bullet in my '06, along with 150-grain Hornady and 150-grain Sierra. Bambi fell over dead, quite regularly.

I figure most anything will work as long as I keep putting bullets in the right place quite regularly.
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Old October 14, 2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Those Barnes T/TSX have my interest. I was wondering if anyone would suggest them for short distances. Obviously they are much mor in cost. Was curious is short range they would hold together.
The Barnes bullets are a great choice, especially when using a gun normally considered too light for the game hunted. A 243 with the TTSX's will do the damage of many traditional magnum rounds up close. They aren't really needed in this case since any 308 or 270 load would be more than adequate for deer. But they won't be a disadvantage either, if they are used right. You will often read of them failing to expand, but that is almost always because the wrong bullet was chosen, or they were used at ranges too far for them to be effective.

They have been tested at over 4000 fps and retain 100%, or darn near that, of their initial weight. Traditional lead bullets only keep about 50% of their weight and the other premium bullets around 80% after impacting game.

The 130 gr bullets I'm shooting from my 308 will leave the muzzle at 3050 fps, and still retain more weight than a 180 gr bullet leaving a 300 magnum at the same speed. Penetration and damage should be about the same at close range.

The downside to the Barnes bullets is that they need SPEED to expand. If they impact game at speeds under about 2000 fps expansion will be very limited and damage not so great. The goal is to drop down at least 1 and probably 2 bullet weights to ensure speed. That is why I use 130's in my 308 instead of a traditional 150 or 165. If you use the same bullet weights you would normally use with lead bullets they may be moving too slow to expand reliably. Since they penetrate so much better the lighter bullet will still out penetrate the heavier lead bullet.

But at longer ranges, 300+, the speed just isn't there. Plus the heavier lead bullets retain energy better at long ranges than lighter bullets. Still at most normal ranges they do fine. Just not a good choice for guys who want to take 500 yard shots.

They are more expensive, and not a good choice for plinking at the range. But for hunting the extra cost is insignificant. Less than 30 cents more per bullet than a standard lead bullet. The difference in costs means 250 Barnes bullets = about 1 tank of gas in my truck. 250 Barnes bullets will last me a lifetime of hunting, for the cost of 1 tank of gas.
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Old October 14, 2013, 10:28 PM   #11
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The drawback I see in the solid and bonded bullets, aside from increased cost (and if you do any significant amount of practice with your hunting ammo, then the cost will be MUCH more than $10/year, Peetza ..... assuming you are not a "One-Boxer") is that at short ranges, you either have to pass up shots with the deer facing you, or try to keep from gaggin' while you do the field dressing with the guts leaking poop in various stages of manufacture everywhere ......

I hunt for the meat, and think it a good idea to keep the poop and my meat separated ...... shooting holes in the guts is a Very Bad Thing in my book.

I use a .270WIN, and use Sierra's 150 gr Game King, loaded to about 2900 f/sec. At close range (under 50 yards) it will come apart after penetrating a foot or so- enought to exit on a broadside shot, but won't get through the diaphram on frontal shots ..... It still has enough retained energy to punch though a broadside deer past 400 yards ..... the BC is pretty high(G1 of .483) and it shoots well in my rifle ......

I've heard great things about the Berger VLD ..... but the SGK works well enough for me, costs less than the Bergers, I already have the load worked up, and I have several hundred of the Sierras on hand. Maybe someday when I have more money than I know what to do with, I'll try the VLDs .......
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Old October 14, 2013, 11:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
One concern is the .270 is a bit faster than the 30.06 and much faster than a .308.
That depends on bullet weight. According to factory numbers for standard loads, using 150 gr bullets, '06 is fastest, 270 and 308 are tied.

For deer to 100 yards, or quite a bit farther, I doubt anything will work any better than a Remington 180 gr roundnose in the 308 or 150 gr roundnose in the 270.
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Old October 15, 2013, 01:41 AM   #13
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most any

jmr is on target with his comment about "most any .270/.308 will do the job..."

Properly hit, deer are not that tough and certainly not bulletproof. The new mono/space bullets are great, but I don't think you need them, or the cost, for the typical 150 lb (or less) whitetail and a rifle in the .270/.30 class. If I were hunting Canadian bruisers, or muley's, I might spring for them, but otherwise I'd stay traditional.

I have trended towards the lighter end of the spectrum on almost all my deer loads. The Rem Corelokt has a heck of a rep as a good over the counter deer bullet. A friends new .270 Rem 700 shoots CL 130's into MOA consistently, and I hear other good reports. My old Win 88 in .308 shoots W-W factory 150 Power Points nearly as well, and when I hunted the old rifle regularly, never failed to produce quick kills. My new .308's all use Sierra 150 PSP's in handloads, though a rather stubborn Hog Rifle seems to like heavy bullets better. These are all Wally World choices, you can stumble into the local shop mart/chain store and pick these up as cheap as anything, if they are stock these days, of course.

My old great uncles, grand dad, uncles and Dad all believed that a .30 cal/ 180 RN was the best killer in the woods, but my observations on the deer I've shot with that load was that it certainly killed, but did not open or seem to drop deer as rapidly as a faster bullet. As a kid, the heavy RN's seemed to kick more too!
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Old October 15, 2013, 06:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
FTR, I have a Federal Fusion 150 grain in .308 selected and a 130 grain .270 federal fusion selected right now. I've just seen some fragmenting with these set-ups and just want to make sure there isn't something better out there I should be considering (core-lokt, etc.). Maybe what we are getting is normal at those ranges for any bullets.
I've used the Federal Fusion in .308 in the 150 and 165 grain weights. They do throw off a few fragments at short range but they penetrate just fine. If your concern is lead in the meat, trim carefully or choose a lead free bullet. If your concern is penetration, don't worry. The one 150 grain Fusion I fired that didn't go all the way through a deer went about 30 inches after breaking a front shoulder.
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Old October 15, 2013, 07:32 AM   #15
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Just about any bullet will work on deer. The problem is overkill.

Yeah I know people say there is no such thing is overkill but when I say overkill I mean excessive damage on critters, ruining a lot of meat.

An example, I like Hornady 150 gr Interbonds 270 bullets on Elk. Last Friday night I shot a cow elk at 340 yards. Hit and destroyed the lungs but didn't destroy much meat. Instant kill, he only rolled down the hill,

You could say it worked perfectly.



Now lets back up a bit, to Oct 1st and antelope hunting. I normally use my 257 Roberts on goats but my son and granddaughter are fighting over that rifle so I had to use my 270. All I had loaded up was the 150 IBs. Yeah they killed the goat but did a lot of damage, too much, so there is such a thing as over kill. This guy was shot at about 80 yards.



For close range, at deer size animals, with a 270 or 308 you can get something designed for short range. Any normal lead tipped, non-fragmenting bullet would work. I'd shoot something in the RN shape which will mushroom but not come apart.

For 308 Hornady makes the 150 gr RN #3035, and for 270 the 130 gr SP #2730.

Don't push them too fast.
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Old October 15, 2013, 08:53 AM   #16
BJE80
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If I wanted to choose the Barnes tipped TSX bullet would a 150 grain in a .308 and 130 grain in a .270 be the correct choice for my application? I presume in those weights I would be moving that bullet fast enough to force expansion?


I do like the idea of no lead in the meat.
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Old October 15, 2013, 09:20 AM   #17
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I haven't bought {big game} rifle ammo in years. So my thread would have to fall under the:
Quote:
Others?
Those little 20-yard shots can now be accomplished without worrying about bullet fragmentation with any either of the two calibers mentioned. Remington PremierĀ® Copper-Solid is a cartridge that claims 100% weight retention. Federal Premium's Trophy line claims its bullet has 99% weight retention. I'm sure Winchesters E-tip cartridge can make the same claim. So BJE80 its just a matter of selecting the right ammo for your application. FWIW I own a 270 and like mine.
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Old October 15, 2013, 10:00 AM   #18
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According to my re-loading manuel, a middle of the road load for all three calibers, with a 150 grain bullet, would yield the following approximate muzzle velocities.
The .270 would be around 2700 fps. the 30.06 would be around 2800 fps, and the .308 would be around 2700 fps.

With shots less than 100 yards, I wouldn't think you would need anything but the cheapest ammo you could buy that is still accurate in your rifle. With ranges that close your more likely to wind up with a caliber size entry wound, and an exit wound not much bigger than twice the caliber size.
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Old October 15, 2013, 10:12 AM   #19
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
If I wanted to choose the Barnes tipped TSX bullet would a 150 grain in a .308 and 130 grain in a .270 be the correct choice for my application? I presume in those weights I would be moving that bullet fast enough to force expansion?


I do like the idea of no lead in the meat
You're talking maximum ranges of 100 yards. You'd have to put serious effort into loading a round that would be under 2,000 fps at 100 yards.

The whole purpose of the TTSX for hunting thin-skinned, light-boned animals is to be able to go light and fast and not risk bullets blowing up.

That means the 85gr TSX or 95gr TTSX in .270 and the 110gr TTSX in .308, IMO. Load it at max speed (after working up) and try a different powder if you don't get the accuracy you need.

Barnes shows the 85gr TSX at 3,900+ fps from a 24" .270Win. Try that on a deer! I like the TTSX tip, so I'd use that one personally. 95gr at 3,700fps will do the job.
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Old October 15, 2013, 10:16 AM   #20
BJE80
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Brian,

I probably should of added I don't re-load. I am one of "those" guys.


Looks like I can get 130 grain in the .308 and 110 grain in the .270 in loaded ammo if I can find it.
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Old October 15, 2013, 11:01 AM   #21
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Well, now's your chance.

You can learn everything you need to know right here on TFL, in the reloading forum. Check the sticky threads, buy yourself a manual (Lyman 49th is good), read it and then ask your questions.

Commercial ammo loaded with the Barnes bullets is very, very expensive. You'll be lucky to get 3 boxes for under $100, I've seen some calibers as high as $47/box of 20.

The bullets themselves run about $35 for 50, you can load your ammo for about 85 cents each, or $17/20. If you shoot 50 rounds a year, that saves you $85 a year or so.

Plus, you'll find what you learn in the pursuit of reloading to be worth the cost of admission just on it's own. Many folks also get as much enjoyment from reloading as they do from shooting.

Me, I'm not a reload for the fun of it guy but the amount that I get to shoot for the same money as commercial ammo is astounding. You ultimately won't save any money, if you don't end up spending more, but the knowledge you gain and the additional shooting you get to do is priceless.

You can get set up to load for those two calibers for $300 or so and up from there, depending on what you decide for optional equipment.
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Old October 15, 2013, 03:20 PM   #22
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I tend to use heavy for caliber bullets or tough constructed bullets as long as they group tight, people say that I am wasting half my bullets energy out the far side, good thing I got four times as much as I need As an added bonus high penetration bullets can be used at off angles without compromising ethical kills, and normally they tear up less meat, though a heavy bone hit can be messy with any bullet. I like exit wounds, if I don't get through and through I try another bullet. There are some fast expanders I use but I only take clean double lung or neck shots with them.
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Old October 15, 2013, 03:27 PM   #23
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With a 270 or 308 any hunting bullet will do on deer. I've used 130 silver tips, 130 ballistic tips in the 270 and they are rather explosive at close range but really drop a buck. I've also used Hornady 130 with really good results. I kinda go by what"s most accurate in case a long range shot has to be taken. 20 to 100 yds, the plain old core lockt or power point will do just fine.
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Old October 15, 2013, 10:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Commercial ammo loaded with the Barnes bullets is very, very expensive. You'll be lucky to get 3 boxes for under $100, I've seen some calibers as high as $47/box of 20.
At $47/20, you could almost buy an entry level rifle with a 100 rounds for practice .....

Quote:
The bullets themselves run about $35 for 50, you can load your ammo for about 85 cents each, or $17/20. If you shoot 50 rounds a year, that saves you $85 a year or so.
Standard cup and core bullets like the Sierra Gamking, Hornady Interlock and Winchester softpoints will run about $30/100 .... the bonded and solid bullets cost twice as much or more, yet don't kill twice as dead .......
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Old October 16, 2013, 10:08 AM   #25
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I agree with the other poster that at distances under 100yds, your biggest consideration should be meat destruction. Any bullet will easily dispatch a deer, and be accurrate enough to hit him in the eye at that range witha stright line trajectory.

The lighter and faster the bullet, the more likely it will fragment, overexpand, and destroy meat.

You want a bullet that will stay together well, with limited expansion which can be a challenge for any bullet at close range. I'd use a round nose bullet in the heaviest weight available that can pass through your deer without "blowing it up".
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