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Old October 16, 2001, 02:18 PM   #1
Bottom Gun
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Nosler Ballistic Tips fail on elk

We had an excellent elk hunt this year. My partner and I both filled our cow tags.
I filled mine in the afternoon of opening day with one shot at 150 yd using my new Sako in .338 Win Mag, which I was VERY pleased with. It certainly does a much better job on elk than my 30/06 did last year. I used a 210 gr Nosler Partition bullet in front of 73.0 gr of IMR4831. It put the animal down immediately.

My hunting partner collected his cow on the third day using his Browning 7MM Mag at 300 yd. He was using factory ammo loaded with 150 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips and he needed several shots to anchor his animal even though his bullet placement was adequate. Those bullets did not seem to perform as well as was expected. All his shots exited and but not appear to do much damage on their way through. We suspected his bullets weren’t expanding properly.

We spent the remaining three days of the season hunting coyotes. We took several at various ranges and were further disappointed in the performance of Paul’s ballistic tips. He center punched a coyote at approx 400 yd. Instead of dropping however, the dog ran full bore for about 100 yd, then dropped over dead. When we examined the carcass, we found the bullet had exited, but there was no evidence of any expansion.
In contrast, every coyote hit with my .338 was totally devastated by each shot, even out at 350 yd which was my longest shot.

Has anyone else had experience with the Nosler Ballistic Tips slugs? Did they work well for you? The reason I’m asking is because I have several boxes of these Nosler Ballistic Tip slugs at home in both .30 and .33 caliber. I was planning to load them later, but now I’m not so sure after witnessing their poor performance in 7MM caliber. I’d appreciate any input on these slugs since I don’t want to load up a bunch of ammo which won’t work properly.
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Old October 16, 2001, 03:30 PM   #2
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Interesting that your buddy's Ballistic Tips didn't expand. I've tried 180 BT's in my .30/06 and found that they expand too much for larger game, and if you don't shoot deer-sized game broadside through the lungs, the extremely rapid expansion will ruin lot of meat.

They sure are accurate, though!
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Old October 16, 2001, 04:20 PM   #3
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The last time I shot something with them, it practically exploded out of the opposite side. Same thing for a small black bear I saw shot. Are you sure they were ballistic tips? That is the only problem I can think of. IIRC 7mm NBT have a red teflon tip.
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Old October 16, 2001, 09:43 PM   #4
Zorro
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Ballistic Tips are for Deer and Varmits not Elk.
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Old October 17, 2001, 01:13 AM   #5
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I have heard the regular Ballsitic Tips are different in construction (thinner jackets) from the Combined Technology Ballistic Silvertips. I shoot the 140gr Silvertips out of my 7mm STW at 3500 fps and they pass right through both shoulders of a whitetail with only a 2 inch exit wound. Could it be he was using Silvertips? I have heard of regular ballistic tips overexpanding, but I have never used them.

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Old October 17, 2001, 07:06 AM   #6
DAVID NANCARROW
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Couple of questions: Is your friend using handloads, and if so, how fast/slow is he loading them? Are they standard BT's or the Combined Tech model?
I've been using BT's on Texas deer for a dozen years, mainly because of their accuracy in my 308. The 150 and 165 grain BT's will group .5 MOA with any respectable powder I drive them with, and because they do so well, I take head shots whenever I can. Last year, I had a nice 8 point walk up to within 50 yards of the stand, and just to see what the 165 grain load would do, I fired into his chest broadside. Got a pretty nice exit wound, and it blew the lower part of his heart and both lungs to shreds. The buck did not take so much as a step on impact-just went over dead. Granted, it was no elk, and I have heard stories that you should not use BT's on the big stuff as they are supposed to be quick openers, but it certainly did the job as well as I could have hoped, and broke a rib on entry and exit too.
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Old October 17, 2001, 07:12 AM   #7
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I use 165 gr BTs in my 30-'06 for southern whitetails, always get expansion and sometimes too much. When deer are shot a close range (woods are dense here) the bullet jacket is often caught in the off side hide, only the bullet core exits. Lots of damage inside the boiler room. The BTs even show signs of expansion with neck shots.

For varmits to whitetail the BTs work very well for me. For bigger/tougher game I would use a tougher jacketed bullet for better penetration.
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Old October 17, 2001, 09:08 AM   #8
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My friend was shooting factory ammo. I believe it was made by Federal. The box said the cartridges were loaded with 150 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips. They weren't moly coated, just copper jacketed with the plastic tip.
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Old October 17, 2001, 10:07 AM   #9
Art Eatman
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Bottom Gun, I suggest you communicate with Nosler on this. Your friend's experience is obviously different than scouter27's.

Generalizing, I've had faster and/or more expansion with boat-tailed bullets than with spitzers in my '06. This is for 150- and 165-grain weights.

At close range, the Sierra 165-grain HPBT seems to explode. I've not had occasion to try it at longer distances. I'm sorta going off of the Sierra 150-grain SPBT because of no exit wound on the last two mulies I collected--and one was a neck shot at 30 yards.

At 500 yards, there is a very significant difference in damage to a steel plate, with the Sierra 180-grain SPBT being obviously superior to either the 150- or 165-grain bullets.

I've heard complaints from hunters in Georgia against the Winchester Fail Safe bullets, as they don't expand...

FWIW,

Art
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Old October 17, 2001, 10:42 AM   #10
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Been using Ballistic Tips for a number of years, probably gone through about 5,000rds assorted .308, .243, and .22 and have never had one NOT handgrenade within a few inches of penetrating. Having said that the biggest game I'll even consider shooting with them are Coyotes. Not having them expand, well, thats really wierd. A call to Nosler would be in order. I've talked to their tech people on a number of occasions and they've always been super helpful.
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Old October 17, 2001, 10:53 AM   #11
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Art,

I've decided to forget about the new-fangled ballistic tips and just stick with the partition bullets for serious hunting and plain old Sierras for general purpose use.

I agree with your choice of the .30 cal Sierra 165 gr HPBT for deer. I've used that very bullet almost exclusively in my '06 for deer for many years and it has performed very well for me at all ranges.
I also like the .33 cal Sierra 215 gr SPBT in my .338.
The Sierras are some of the most accurate bullets I've shot and I've never had one fail.

Maybe newer is not always better?
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Old October 17, 2001, 04:38 PM   #12
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I have used 150 gr Noslers for the past few years on deer with my 7mm Mag., and they have worked perfectly. Last year, I shot a spike that was facing me with his head down feeding. The round entered between his shoulders and traversed the entire length of the deer, with the jacket stopping in his abdominal skin and the core punching through into his rear leg. Needless to say, he dropped. Any shot I have made into the ribcage blows a 2 or 3 inch hole out the other side, and they are the most accurate bullets I've found for my Sendero.
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Old October 17, 2001, 06:38 PM   #13
Art Eatman
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Well, I allus figgered if a deer drops DRT, a different gun, cartridge or bullet ain't gonna make him any deader...

, Art
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Old October 19, 2001, 04:36 AM   #14
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It may have been mentioned and I may have missed it from reading this thread kinda fast, but Nosler is making at least two designs of the Ballistic Tip, one for varmints and one for larger game.

I have never heard of a Ballistic Tip under-expanding before.

Ballistic Tip Varmint

Ballistic Tip Hunting
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Old October 19, 2001, 05:35 AM   #15
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i shot a 7 pointer (SE whitetail) wed. w/ a 7mm STW and a handloaded 150 gr. nosler BT at 3200 fps. the distance was about 65 yards. the rd. struck the 4th right rib breaking the 3rd and 5th ribs at the spine then exited between the 2nd and 3rd left rib. the lungs poured out when he was dressed like red oatmeal. the liver was split into 2 halves and the heart was splayed open like a greeting card. the exit hole was only about 1.5" and the buck went from standing to flat.
the BT's are the most accurate rd. in my #1 i have found.
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Old October 19, 2001, 10:13 AM   #16
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Sensop,

I looked at the Nosler site you listed, but didn't see any varmint bullets in 7MM, so I'm assuming the slugs had to be the hunting variety for larger game.
At this point, however, I'd be hesitant to use them on anything larger than small deer after seeing their dismal performance firsthand.
That's too bad because I must have a couple hundred of the darned things sitting on my loading bench. Guess I'll just load them for plinking, varmints, etc and stick with the Partitions and Sierras for hunting.
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Old October 19, 2001, 09:03 PM   #17
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Bottom Gun: I would suggest gettiing ahold of the box of ammo your friend had trouble with and contacting Federal or whoever loaded that box, the box should have a lot number and other info on it so the factory can track down some details. Like if other people have called or emailed about problems with that lot of ammo.

I am very curious to hear what Federal &/or Nosler have to say about this. I live close to the Federal Ammo plant in Anoka, MN and know a few people that have worked there over the years.

BTW What bullet/load did you use in your '06 prior to switching to the 338/210 Nosler? Have you run your 338 load over a chronograph?
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Old October 22, 2001, 10:19 AM   #18
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Glamdring,

My .338 WM load is a Nosler 210 gr Partition with 73.0 gr IMR4831 and a Winchester standard primer.
It goes through the screens at 2980 fps. It's not a smoking hot load, but rather a good mid-range load.
I load the 250 gr partitions with 70.0 gr IMR4831 and std Win primer but haven't chronoed them yet. I would expect approx 2500-2600 fps for that load.
These two loads impact vertically within 3/4 inch of one another at 100 yd out of my Finnbear so I don't really have to adjust my zero when going from one load to the other.

Last year I used 200 gr Nosler Partitions in my 30/06 with IMR4064 powder. I don't recall the exact charge, but it was one grain under the max load specified in my Lyman manual. It chronoed about 2560 out of my Sako.
This 30/06 load worked OK, but the .338 load puts elk down with a lot more authority. I feel better hunting with the .338. Guess I feel I have a little larger margin for error just in case I screw up.

I'll mention sending that 7MM lot # in to Nosler, but I kinda doubt my friend will want to bother with it. I suspect he'll just start using something else. Think I've got him talked into using partitions next time.
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Old October 22, 2001, 01:20 PM   #19
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Bottom Gun, if you knew the people at Nosler as I have you would at least give them a chance to see if there product was/is defective. Their number is: Customer Service: 1 (800) 285-3701
John and Bob Nosler are fine people. I have first hand knowledge on fine six and four point elk that I shot with 150gr. Ballistic Tip using 4064. one shot kills both with moderate size exit holes thru the lower neck as it attaches to the shoulder. I used 150 gr Protected Point Partitions for a long time but they were not a good seller and were discontinued. My old 721 likes to smash lead bullet noses so I went to the 150gr BT and have had real good luck with Mule deer so I started using them for elk. I have never found a mule deer or elk hit broad side or even quartering away that has not been holed using partitions. So, if it gives more confidence using Partitions go for it. If you buy enough of their bullets maybe they will have us build them another building. MWT
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Old October 22, 2001, 03:12 PM   #20
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Powermwt,

Like I said, I'll mention it to Paul and see if he wants to send them in to Nosler or call/email them, etc.
The decision is his since they are his cartridges.
Personally, I won't use the ballistic tips after this so it's a moot point as far as I'm concerned.
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Old October 22, 2001, 08:35 PM   #21
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A hunting buddy of mine used to love to load and shoot deer with the Nosler BT's in .30-06. They were quite accurate, and he made some amazing shots with them. We kept noticing that the exit wound was consistantly big enough to drop a quarter through without getting it bloody. That said, they tended to be a bit unstable through shoulders. We noticed that they over-expanded a tad. Numerous gunzines corroborrated this. This was about 10 years ago, and I stuck to Sierra bullets, for the most part. (GameKings never let me down!)

From what I've read, however, Nosler took all of this into account back in about '96 or so, and began producing a "harder" Ballistic Tip bullet. Still the reputation for overexpansion persisted. Nosler released further data about their B.T.'s being harder .

I wonder if this wasn't a batch in which Nosler over-compensated, to prove once and for all that B.T.'s are by-Gawd controlled-expansion bullets?
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Old October 23, 2001, 02:07 AM   #22
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Bottom Gun: Thanks for the info, I have wondered how the 210 Partition would work on light game...sounds like a winner to me based on how it worked on Elk & coyotes.

Did you ever use 180 partitions in your '06?
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Old October 23, 2001, 11:16 AM   #23
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Glamdring,

The Nosler 210 gr Partition is an excellent bullet. I'm going to use it as my standard hunting bullet from now on. (This year was the first time I've used them)

No, I haven't used the 180 gr partitions in .30 cal, only the 200 gr partition.

A fine varmint bullet for the .30 cal is the Speer 125 gr TNT. They are both accurate and quite explosive when they land.
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Old October 24, 2001, 12:13 PM   #24
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Bottom Gun-- What kind of accuracy are you getting with your Partitions? I have great respect for the construction and down-range performance of the Partitions, but alsom some concerns about the accuracy potential of a bullet that has, essentially, two bullets tied together. Nosler admits that it's impossible to get their cores precisely centered to each other, and this is why they can't get the same accuracy with their Partitions as they can with their Ballistic Tips.

But if we're talking about 2" at 100 yds instead of 1.5", then, no big deal.

--L.P.
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Old October 25, 2001, 12:47 PM   #25
Bottom Gun
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Long Path,

I'm getting minute of angle with the Nosler 210 gr Partitions and about 2'' groups with the 250 gr Partitions out of my Sako Finnbear.
I might be able to close up the 250 gr group a bit with a different load, but I doubt that I'll bother since I'll be using the 210 gr for most of my hunting and should I want to use the 250's, a 2" group is accurate enough for my purposes.
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