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Old January 14, 2014, 11:46 AM   #1
Mystro
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Premium bullets/ammo or the old tried and proved bullets/ammo.. Your thoughts.

I thought I would open up a discussion since there is quite a few new rifles being shot in and ammo selection is going to be a big factor, Whats your thought with the latest ultra premium bullets verses the tried and true proven Soft Points for deer/black bear/goats etc.....???????

I have killed alot of deer with the old Winchester Power Points and similar Soft Points. They seem to have always put the smack down with good bullet placements. I have also shot a few deer with premium ammo like SST and bonded or monolithic bullets.
If you have a rifle that shoots both equally well, what would you use?? With smaller calibers, I have seen a big advantage using monolithic bullets like Barnes TSX. I killed a nice doe this year with my 223 shooting Barnes 55gr TSX from 130 yards on a broadside shot. I purposely shot the doe to in the chest instead of the neck to see if the newer bullets really hold together. Total pass through, took out top of the heart and both lungs leaving a nice exit wound. Textbook kill and she only managed to run 4 seconds and was dead. So what about the bigger calibers?? Is it even worth the extra money for premium ammo on deer if you rifle shoots them equally well??

My 270 and 308 shoot Federal Fusions equally well as the premium loads. I love ballistics and experimenting with different loads but I have to wonder if its worth paying $45.00 a box if the less glamorous $20.00 a box kills em just as dead.

Then there is the terrain that is being hunted in like thick brushy clear cuts or open fields. Certain bullets will go through brush better than others. All these are factors to consider.

I value real world life experiences, so lets here how certain bullets performed on your hunts and see if a pattern emerges.
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Last edited by Mystro; January 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM.
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Old January 14, 2014, 11:53 AM   #2
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I handload and pick premium bullets, just because I can. If I were buying loaded ammo, I'd probably choose Core Locts, though the cheaper Federals shot well in a customer's rifle recently.

My favorite bullet is the Hornady GMX. They don't foul as much as the Barnes TSX in my rifles, but are not quite as accurate, by about 1/4" at 100 yards.
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Old January 14, 2014, 03:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Whats your thought with the latest ultra premium bullets verses the tried and true proven Soft Points for deer/black bear/goats etc.....???????
There's only one degree of "dead".
Shot placment means far more than bullet construction, as long as your bullet is adequate

The "premium" bullets are normally not needed
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Old January 14, 2014, 05:32 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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I use the premium bullets. There are very few scenarios where they are a negative (none for me) and quite a few where they can be the difference in finding an animal or being able to even take the shot.

The cost difference is a non-starter. There's no need to practice extensively with the premium bullets. For almost all shooters, the cost difference in using them for hunting and load work up is $10 a year or less.
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Old January 14, 2014, 08:07 PM   #5
AllenJ
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Quote:
I have killed alot of deer with the old Winchester Power Points and similar Soft Points. They seem to have always put the smack down with good bullet placements.
I think the key to this statement is good bullet placement. Shoot them in the wrong place with any bullet and you'll get the same results, a long track and that sick feeling in your gut. I do think premium bullets are worth the price, they allow you to take shots at angles that I would not with cup and core bullets and they give me piece of mind in knowing I'm using the best bullet I can. Also, not trying to be argumentative but I don't consider the SST to be a premium bullet.
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Old January 14, 2014, 08:38 PM   #6
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.

I've preferred the Nosler Partition on game the size of deer & larger, for a looooong time now - with no complaints.



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Old January 14, 2014, 09:19 PM   #7
Mystro
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Also, not trying to be argumentative but I don't consider the SST to be a premium bullet.
I am curious why you wouldn't consider a Hornady Superformance SST Interbond a premium bullet??
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Old January 14, 2014, 09:52 PM   #8
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I've been hunting with my .30-06 and 180gr Core Lokts for years. Mostly because a co-worker got out of shooting and gave me several boxes. Secondly, I've never had a reason to upgrade. I shoot mostly hogs and I've yet to have to shoot one twice. They've been devestating so far and I doubt a superdy duper whatever would kill the hogs any deader.
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Old January 14, 2014, 10:26 PM   #9
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Remington core-lokt have been great for me however for some reason I shoot Winchester premium silver ballistic tips now out of my .300 win mag and the deer drop dead on the spot. Where I hunt there is a steep drop off in the edge of the food plots and I don't want to drag a deer up a big hill ( I call it a small mountain). I can't say that I've ever lost a deer with a core lokt, but for me a ballistic tip behind the shoulder drops them in their tracks, I'd like to think that I'm a pretty good shot and knock on wood I've never shot at a deer and not recovered it, but the winchester ballistic tips have saved me a lot of time.
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Old January 14, 2014, 10:32 PM   #10
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For deer sized game, there really is little need for "premium" bullets unless you're playing with pipsqueak calibers. I got educated about using common cup and core bullets on bigger stuff(elk) years ago when a Remington Corelokt failed to do it's job on a big bull. Fortunately, I had time to whack him again before he left.
I study bullet performance closely since I do my own meat processing and I see what works and can decide if I need to change something. Muzzle velocity makes a big difference in bullet performance and some bullets have a wider band of velocities for optimum performance. One bullet I use works perfectly in a 25/06 but shows very limited expansion in a 257 Roberts even though there's only 300 fps difference at the muzzle(and less at 200 yards). I'm able to use this in my favor since I use the 257 for meat deer and don't encounter as much damage because of the less violent expansion.
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Old January 14, 2014, 10:50 PM   #11
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North American game has been taken with muzzle loaders, bows and arrows and all manner of traps. If those methods work then spending a bunch of money on super-duper-pooper-scooper premium ammunition and bullets isn't going to harvest an animal any better than the generic offerings from the major manufacturers.
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Old January 14, 2014, 11:11 PM   #12
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As of late I have become addicted to Bergers. I still use Game Kings, Pro Hunters, Ballistic tips, and Barnes X in a couple of my screamers; but for the most part I shoot Bergers. They do not cost much more than the "cheap" bullets, and the Bergers are amazingly accurate.
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Old January 14, 2014, 11:17 PM   #13
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Mystro, I would not consider the SST a premium bullet either. I do not think it is in the price range. The gilded metal Bullets, Scirrocco II's, Bergers, Trophy bonded, etc. but the SST is too cheap for me to consider premium.
Box of 100 SST's $30ish. Box of 100 Bergers $50ish.
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Old January 15, 2014, 12:14 AM   #14
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it all depends. if you need heavy hide and muscle penetration then a good old round nosed or flat point soft tip work great but in a spitzer the new plastic tipped stuff seems to get better results although in 30 caliber I am 100% converted to speer deep curls.
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Old January 15, 2014, 12:34 AM   #15
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For deer, I've always used Core-Lokt.

For elk, moose and bear I use Nosler Partition.
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Old January 15, 2014, 12:53 AM   #16
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With rifles, I've mostly used the 30-30 & 30-06 on deer, but have killed them with .223 & 308 on occasion. I've used Power Points, Core Lokts, Sierra Gamekings and the Nosler BT. The basic soft points have never left me wanting a 'better' bullet.

That said, the 150 grain Nosler BT at about 2900 produced the fastest DRT deer smack-down Ive ever seen with a shoulder shot, at about 220 yards. Is it better than the others? I'll have to kill a dozen more deer with it to offer an informed opinion.
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Old January 15, 2014, 06:19 AM   #17
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Back when I started reloading/hunting 60's didn't have lot of whats called premium bullet but I do like the choices we have last 10yrs or so.

One bullet that did cost little more was the Partition and I still use that bullet today and when the Grand Slams came out I used those along with Hornady bullets. The last Rem bulk 30 cal 165/180gr I got were $90. per 1K. When they came out I tried the 30cal 150/165 gr Interbond never hunted with them.

I haven't take lot of animals with them but I do like Barnes,E-Tips,AB bullets and I'm working on some loads using Berger VLD hunting bullets see how that goes. Nothing against Sierra but don't hunt with them.

I don't think there anything magical with the Barnes,E-Tips etc still have to hit them right place. Like I said it more of a choice for me.
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Old January 15, 2014, 06:49 AM   #18
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I think it's amazing that we have so many bullets to chose from. The research in terminal performance is sometimes amazing and we certainly have better bullets now than we had forty years ago. The research continues apace, with better technology, more concentric jackets, newer bonding techniques and modern manufacturing methods. The shortage of last year seems to be loosening, and sometimes we can actually find bullets on the shelves.

All that being said, I still gravitate toward the cup-and-core bullets. The last several deer I killed were shot with standard soft-points, either Hornady or Sierra bullets. The smallish deer in my woods seem to respond well to them. If I were going out West to shoot big mule deer or elk, I might buy a more premium bullet, but for my piney woods the old standards still do just fine.
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Old January 15, 2014, 09:57 AM   #19
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I think Mobuck said it best, with there being no need for premium bullets on deer sized game unless you are shooting a pipsqueak caliber. I shoot mostly Nosler Ballistic Tips, and they aren't a premium bullet, but they do a fine job. If I was to shoot a factory bullet, which I haven't done in 30-odd years, I probably would use CoreLoct's or Winchester Power Points.

But...my hunting is in the back pasture. I can shoot or not shoot today or tomorrow and it just doesn't matter. I can always wait for the perfect side shot. If that wasn't the case, and I was paying big money for an exotic hunt, I would shoot a premium bullet. If you have fewer options in picking your time to shoot or picking the angle of the shot, you would want the best bullet you could put your hands on. My short list of top bullets would include the Nosler Partition and maybe the Accubond, and probably the Swift Scirocco II.
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Old January 15, 2014, 11:21 AM   #20
reynolds357
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603, my logic is as follows. I shoot 2 to 5 deer a year. I shoot 15 to 30 rounds per year out of my deer rifle total including range and hunting shots fired. I shoot a thousand to two thousand rounds a year bench rest. If I can chunk a couple thousand premium bullets at paper, might as well buy 30 more a year to hunt with. Now hogs is a different story. I shoot anything at them because I dont really care if they drop or run off and die.
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Old January 15, 2014, 11:34 AM   #21
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I have and still do shoot some premium and "semi" premium bullets, depending on your definition. Nosler Partitions, Speer Grand Slams and Barnes Monolithic bullets the ones I would list in the premium category that I have used. In general I find no problems with them, cost is a little higher, but for no more of them than I use it ain't a big deal. Will normal bullets work, heck yeah as long as they are designed for game, i.e. not target bullets or varmit bullets at deer. When you start to discuss either smaller calibers that are normally considered "varmit" rounds premium bullets tend to become more important/useful, or when you take a larger caliber and move into the higher velocity realms, .257 Weatherby for example, high velocity close range impacts can be tough on a bullet if not well constructed.
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Old January 15, 2014, 01:50 PM   #22
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Reynolds, you are absolutely right, but I target shoot with the same bullet I hunt with - not being a 'formal' target shooter. That Nosler Ballistic Tip is a very accurate bullet. I don't feel the same about the Partition. Never can seem to get them to shoot tight groups. I go through a lot of bullets, though it isn't thousands per year. It might be a thousand or less for me. And...heck, it isn't like I can't afford the premium bullets, but I just guess I'm too cheap to do it.

And, though I only shoot 2 deer per year, I'm hunting pretty much all year around for pigs and coyotes. I just loaded what seems like just yesterday and put together 100 rounds of 260 and it's already time to replenish my ammo pile. LOL, where do the days and the ammo go....?
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Old January 15, 2014, 01:55 PM   #23
reynolds357
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I would almost have to consider the ballistic tip a premium bullet at a not so premium price.I know that is counter logical to what I just said about the SST, but the Ballistic tip is a fine bullet when properly weight matched to what it will be called on to do.
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Old January 15, 2014, 02:17 PM   #24
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I've put a lot of deer down with non-premium ammo. Where I hunt it's a combination of hardwood river bottoms and commercial pine timber. In the pines or in the thick brush surrounding the thickets, I use my shotgun with plain old buckshot, my 357 with some 125 grain semi-jacketed soft points, or my 30-30 with Winchester power points. Never had a reason to use any premium ammo there. In the river bottoms I'll use any of those, but i used to shoot my 270 down there with the regular Winchester Silvertips and never had an issue. A few years ago, just out of dumb luck they cut an oil pipeline within 20 yards of a box blind that I owned, and I wound up on the high point of the pipeline with 400 yards of pipeline on one side and 500 on the other. After doing some shooting I switched to shooting Sierra GameKing boat tailed soft points because I found that they gave me a much tighter group. Where as the 1.5" groups at 100 yards I used to shoot with the Silvertips was fine for the river bottoms where 125 yards is the furthest you can see to shoot anyway, that 1.5" group would be near 6" at 350 yards (about the furthest I'm comfortable shooting). The BTSP gives me a nice .75" group which gives me the confidence of knowing that my bullet will be within 3" of my point of aim at 350. I really don't care that they're "premium", it's just whatever is most accurate and helps me put meat in the freezer.
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Old January 15, 2014, 03:46 PM   #25
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I have put a lot of deer down win non-premium myself. I dont think whether or not non-premium ammo can kill deer is really a subject worthy of discussion. We all know it can. To me, the question is ,does the small per shot cost difference justify using or not using premium ammo? Over the years I have lost animals due to bullet failure. I know because I killed those animals later on in the hunting season. I have also lost animals I never killed or recovered that I am quite confident was due to bullet failure. Personally, the odds of bullet failure do not justify 7 to 20 cents per round difference in a hunting load. Many will disagree. If we all agreed, this would be a boring place.
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