View Full Version : Has Anyone Taken a Deer with PMC Starfire 30-30 Ammo?

December 16, 1999, 11:48 AM
I lost a deer this year - a big doe - after hitting her with two shots, first in the neck, and second in the left rear hindquarter. I was using 170 grain Remington CoreLokt ammo. First shot was 50 yards in fairly thick brush. Chest cavity obscured by a tree. Made the WRONG decision to attempt a neck shot. Sat and waited, then started tracking. Found her moments later quartering away from me in heavy brush. Took the second shot in an effort to just bring her down without losing her. Pushed her into a second hunter who fired twice and missed (or so he says). He claims she was bleeding prfusely from the hip shot. Found no blood spoor after 4 hours of searching. Anyway, I lost a deer and feel bad about it and am considering the Starfire ammo. Thanks for your comments.

Long Path
December 21, 1999, 05:29 PM

With all due respect, sir, the fault lay not in the ammo, but rather in the shot placement. You make it clear that you recognize that the neck shot was not optimum placement. Okay; we all take on assigned risks. But realize that a .416 Rigby that misses the spine in a neck shot will yeild the same results. So the deer ran, and you did exactly the right thing (good!), and waited a bit, and then stalked up to within shooting distance again. And you did what I probably would have done, too-- you took the very first shot presented to you, in an attempt to anchor him. But you missed the pelvis and the spine, and he left.

Dogger, do you really believe that there's something in that Starfire ammo that would have brought that deer down that the nice heavy Remington CoreLokt 170 didn't have? Frankly, for that second shot, I'd rather have the 170g core-lokt bullet, or one of Paul B.'s hard-cast 190g bullets-- when you're trying hard to anchor a wounded animal, you want PENETRATION first, and PENETRATION last. There's not a deer in the world that will not die in its tracks when hit properly with the Remington 170. The only drawback to it is that it has a sloping tragectory that makes it a little more of a trick to exactly hit longer (120yd+) shots. Once you've gotten the bullet there, though, it's the preferred projectile.

I've heard some good things about the Starfire round. But nothing I've heard about it would have saved your deer. For the record, it sounds like you're an ethical and thoughtful hunter, who tries to do right by the game he hunts. I applaud you, sir.

We both however recognize that, ultimately, the #1 correctable item in your story was the initial shot placement, not the ammo.

Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited December 21, 1999).]

Robert the41MagFan
December 21, 1999, 06:09 PM
Neck shots do not bring down deer! It is a very difficult shot, the shock must break the neck. And, it is a long and gruesome death for the animal. I have done it (by accident) and it's wrong. Chest cavity shots are the only proper way to harvest game.

Any 30/30 cartridge will bring down deer. Take your pick, 170 grain, 150 grain or 190 grain. Placed in the proper location, they will all harvest deer, all the way to your maximum shooting distance. That may be 50, 150 or 200 yards (that, I want to see. Iron sights too..). It is all going to depend on whether you can consistently shoot a 6" circle at those distances.

The key to any hunting experience is be patient.


[This message has been edited by Robert the41MagFan (edited December 21, 1999).]

Will Fennell
December 24, 1999, 03:45 PM
Long Path and Robert sum things up very well, its placement, placement, placement. But sometimes things just don't go the way we plan. I hate it when it happens[and it sure sounds like you do to], but that experience just makes us try harder, and become better hunters/shooters.

On to your bullet question. I tried the starfire 30/30 load when it came out. I never got any decent accuracy out of the 3 30/30's in the safe with that load. I've had great accuracy and game performance results with the FEDERAL PREMIUM load using 170gr. NOSLER PARTITIONS. I'm sticking with that load for now,...and happy about it.

Stay Sharp!


December 24, 1999, 11:48 PM
Thanks for the comments. You gentlemen are right of course -- shot placement is everything. I still cannot believe that I attempted a neck shot. Experience is a great teacher. What stunned me is when I hit the deer with the second shot in the hindquarter and she just kept moving as if I were hitting her with a BB gun. I am going to try the Starfires, but I know they are not a magic bullet. At this point in time I need to get confidence in my shot placement with a selected round. As far as missing the doe goes, I "grounded" myself for the remainder of deer season. Hard medicine -- but I hate wounding an animal.

Long Path
December 27, 1999, 02:57 AM

BTW, I forgot to mention, in case you're interested in trying them, the very best accuracy out of a .30-30 I ever obtained was with the excellent Hornady Custom 150g. loading. Sub 1.25" groups at a hundred, with the particular rifle I was shooting.

Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


December 27, 1999, 10:40 PM
Longpath, thanks, I will try the Hornady Custom Ammo. Dogger

February 8, 2000, 02:50 AM
I hunt with a Win 94 and Starfire ammunition. I get exceptional accuracy with it, averaging 1.5-2 inches at one hundred yards. I sight the load in at just a hair low at 25, and I'm able to hold dead on all the way out to 125, and I fell confident taking a shot under ideal conditions at 150-175 yards. This is because I practice religiously, and I know and am comfortable with the rifle, cartridge, and load. I have shot one deer with the load, but it wasn't the ideal siutation for testing. I saw her at about 5 yards from me (turned around, and "OH *@#%$! There she was!" Believe me, I WAS paying attention!!) I took the shot at about 25 yards. I hit her a little high and ended up breaking her spine, but the shot lifted all four feet and turned them towards me as they were lifted off the ground. It was instantly lethal, and the bullet was not recovered, exiting the other side. Skinning her showed a .30 caliber hole going in, and about the same going out, so no violent hollowpoint expansion. Being that it was a close shot may have something to do with that. The nice thing about the Starfire is that when you load and unload your magazine at the end of the day or to travel, the Starfire bullets DO NOT become damaged like all other lead jacketed bullets. Right now, that is the sole reason for me hunting with them, as I ideally like a 170 grain bullet instead. I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, email me.
[email protected]

February 9, 2000, 11:29 AM
Thanks Chad, for the post. I now have a box of Starfires on hand, and after a thorough bore cleaning, I intend to take them to the NRA range for sighting in. Regards, Dogger

April 14, 2000, 09:09 AM
Thoroughly cleaned the Marlin and took it the range with the box of 150 grain PMC Starfires. It was hard bringing myself to spend $22 for a box of 30-30 ammo! I was shooting at the NRA range so could only get out to 150 feet. The first round was an inch and a half to the left, rounds two and three were smack dab dead center and a quarter inch apart. Yep. Amen. Cease fire. Save the ramaining ammo. The Starfires are my hunting load for this Fall. Thanks for all the previous comments. :)

Art Eatman
April 14, 2000, 11:18 AM
Dogger: I've read lots of learned discussions about the physiological differences between deer-type critters and ape-types such as homo sap (that's you & me, Dennis) as to the effect of heart shots.

Anyway, the gist of it is that a deer can do a lot on pure adrenalin, where the same shot on me, Dennis or another gorilla would serve as an anchor.

A proper hit on a calm deer will drop him like a rock. If the deer is scared, the same hit won't do squat for dropping him right there. I think this is what your hip-hit did.

As to neck shots: I've killed maybe 40 or so deer. A few with a .270, but most with either a .243 or a .30-'06. Oh, my first deer, a doe, was shot with a .222 in the white spot of her neck at 20 yards--she was facing straight at me. I've killed maybe four with the .243 with neck shots, and maybe a half-dozen with the '06. All were instantaneous drops, and all but two were instantly dead.

I think the key is that my neck-shot deer were standing still. I had some reasonable rest--tree stand, for instance. Centering the neck was no problem. Further, they were mostly within 100 yards. Under these conditions, a bad hit is inexcuseable.

If a deer is moving, or I'm shooting off-hand, I'm going for the heart/lungs area, since all the vague BS of hunting and shooting come into play. It's just amazing what my own doggoned adrenalin can do to me!

Regards, Art

Long Path
April 16, 2000, 05:02 PM

Since you've decided on the Starfires (and I don't blame you for not wanting to spend more than a dollar a shot on .30-30 practice!, I suggest that you get a few boxes of the absolute CHEAPEST .30-30 ammo you can find that is the same weight, and go practice shooting offhand and from field positions with it. Shoot it ALL up! Practice year-round is absolutely necessary to deer-season success.

It's easy for us to say to ourselves that, since we're going to use one ammo for real use (hunting, defense, etc.), we shouldn't bother with another ammo for practice, because it won't perform the same. But, as we discussed in this thread back in December, the largest variable in rifle-hunting is the hunter/shooter, not the cartridge.

This is why I'm going to get a .22 conversion kit for my .45 acp Gold Cup-- Lots and lots and lots of cheap practice, to prepare me for when I load the pistol with either 200g SWC for matches or 230g HP for hunting, duty, or self-defense. Yes, it's different AFTER I pull the trigger, but it's the same during!

Good luck! Maybe you can get in a hog hunt before it gets too hot, and try out those StarFires?