View Full Version : Whitetail Bullet selection ? 41, 308

June 18, 2005, 10:01 AM
Previously I've only hunted with my dad's .35 Rem Marlin and used Rem CoreLokt that Kmart sold. Honestly I never even looked at the bullet weight. There were just a few boxes in the safe with it so that's what I used. :o

Now I started to load for my own guns and would like to try a few of them out in the field, but I dont know exactly how to choose the proper weight or bullet style to get the best results. Currently what I've been target shooting with is 165gr CoreLokt soft points in .308 and 220gr hard cast RFN in .41 magnum.

For the rifle, I wouldnt think I'd need anything heavier than 165 since I've also been playing with some M2 ball projectiles @ 150gr and they seem to have killed "deer sized game" quite well for many years. Do I want to go any lighter though to dump more energy on impact or for tiny lil deers wont it matter? Also should I stick to a softpoint or go to a hollowpoint? What about something less pointy with more bore contact like the bullets for the lever rifles? Most shots will be in medium thickness forrest at about 50-75 yds.

Pretty much the same questions for the pistol. Should I be using cast or switch to a jacketed bullet? Hollow/soft/flat point? Anything special about using a pistol than a rifle other than knowing my effective range and more critical shot placement?


Art Eatman
June 18, 2005, 11:12 AM
Unless you have whitetails dressing out above 200 pounds, most any old 30-caliber bullet will do. My father and I have always used the 150-grain. He, always the Hornady. I, the Remington Bronze Point and the Sierra soft points, both flat-based and boat-tailed. For up-close shooting, I'm shying away from the boat-tailed because of it's thinner jacket.

Lord only knows how many deer my father killed. Me, I've taken twenty some-odd or thereabouts. (About the same number with my .243.)


Long Path
June 18, 2005, 03:11 PM
Art's right. While I tend toward 165s and 180s, there's not a deer around that won't fall to the 150's. I like the heavier 180g loads in the woods because the drop doesn't make much of a difference, but the heavier projectile gives a little more penetration if I have to pop a deer moving away from me. (I feel more confident in a heavier-constructed 180 making its way all the way through a deer if I shoot it in the butt at close range.)

June 21, 2005, 09:04 PM
I aggree with the above... always use 150 gr bullets in my 270. Plenty of power and penetration. I lean toward the 210 grain semi-jacketed soft points in 41 magnum. I know you can load up with the heavier bullets for more penetration, but frankly, you will get plenty of penetration with the 41 magnum at forest ranges (under 75 yards). That said, I have been using a 480 Ruger SRH (325 gr factory loads) for deer. May switch back to the 41 magnum though as they are so much easier to shoot accurately.

Smokey Joe
June 22, 2005, 01:07 PM
Montels--For pistol hunting, a big heavy hard-cast bullet with a large meplat is as good as it gets, IMHO. Use a gas-check on the back end and you can load it for more velocity.

For your .308, it appears that the 165 grain bullet is proportioned perfectly for the caliber. That said, I have nothing against 150's. I would not go smaller than that in a .30 caliber, for deer. More bullet than the 165 grainer, e. g. a 180 grain bullet, is a little heavy for good ballistics in .308. The heavier you go in bullets, the more you need the larger case capacity of the .30-'06 so's you have enough powder to push 'em.

Round-nosed bullets are used in tubular-magazine lever-actions specifically so that the bullets in the magazine won't set off the round ahead of them when the gun recoils or is dropped. A round-nose has poorer ballistics than a spitzer nose, all else being equal. That said, at the ranges you cite, 50-75 yards, it'll hardly make any difference. BTW, pointy bullets go through brush with less deviation than do round-noses, contrary to popular belief. (The NRA researched this many years ago, and published the results in the Am. Rifleman.)

June 22, 2005, 03:30 PM
I think my grandfather used a 158 gr bullet for his .300 savage

June 22, 2005, 03:31 PM
These bullets do have a pretty large meplat. I read something somewhere about hunting with lead that you should put on on the driveway and whack it right on the nose with a hammer to see if it squishes or shatters to test to see if it is too hard for hunting. I buy from a local guy @ $18/500 but he claims to cast them to 21bh on the box. Havent got around to trying to smash one yet, but it did make me curious reading that. I imagine it'd be more effective it it does mushroom.


June 23, 2005, 04:58 PM
it shouldnt matter what bullet you use. at the ranges you cited between fifty and 75 yards youll be fine with any bullet you sit on top of the case.

however if you want to reach out and get one youll have to switch to a 150-165 grain bullet for .308 the round doesnt have the power to really push the heavy bullets fast enough. Id use a 165 grain boat tail polymer tip like the Hornady SST or Swift Scirroco in .308 if i was shooting longer ranges. for short ranges like you listed id say any old soft point will do the trick just fine.