View Full Version : Best bullet for minimal meat damage??

May 19, 2009, 06:02 AM
G'day to all.
Now most of the forum users probably roll their eyes right now and are crying out load... "not this again". The reason why I joined this forum is that this is where I found the answers to most of my questions, except for the above "basic" question. I have a 300WinMag that I want to use for deer hunting. Now I know this is an overkill for that size antelope but it is the only rifle I have and that is the one I will stick to for this hunt. As I said above I did some thorough reading on this but still can not find the right answer. I understand that some bullets are constructed in a way to open very quickly, i.e. when it start to penetrate the skin and opens up even more as they travel deeper inside the antelope. These type of bullets will cause (according to my logic) a lot of meat damage as it exits the body. Let's look at the other side of the spectrum. If I use a solid bullet it will cause a hole on the entrance and exit side of the animal with minimal meat damage. This might cause the animal to die slower than the option of the expanding bullet. Obviously the latter is not the preferred way of hunting. Is there any bullet out here that expands approx 1.3 times it diameter with a high weight retention?

May 19, 2009, 06:07 AM
As a hunter you should be more into killing the animal as fast as possible. Yea I know wasted meat, well if you double lung them they die fast and no meat waste no matter what bullet you shoot.

May 19, 2009, 06:29 AM
Go for the head or neck shot :D unless you want to eat the brains :eek::barf::D

May 19, 2009, 06:46 AM
I know you are looking for the perfect bullet, but it really comes down to shot placement.

As a side note, if interested, track down the latest Sports Afield (it might be available online) as there is an article covering bullet weight retention and seems to suggest that one might be better off using a bullet that loses some weight as it travels through the body.

May 19, 2009, 08:41 AM
I have used Nosler Partitions for 15 years out of my weatherby 300 mag. they have never let me down. With a caliber as fast as a win mag you definitely need a good bullet.I would go with one of the new solid copper bullets, a swift a frame or nosler partition. You should get less meat damage with these as they are all built to stay together. I think that the Barnes tsx bullet will loose little if any weight. Now if you reload then you have more options. You can download the round to shoot say a 30-06 velocity. Then you might want a more frangible bullet, such as a ballistic tip or my favorite a Remington core lock.

May 19, 2009, 08:51 AM
I almost always use a head shot placement to take the deer I harvest. It is the quickest, most humane way to harvest anything and I believe WE owe that to the animal we are taking... I dont shoot ANY deer for any trophy because I'm not concerned about any rack, I take the animal strickly for meat for my family and myself, so every deer/animal that I harvest is a trophy in my eyes anyhow. I believe there's way too much hype oh hunting shows that show animals are ranked according to their racks, SO SAD!!! HAVE A GOOD DAY, ALL....:)

May 19, 2009, 10:27 AM
Farmboy your dead on! Shoot them in the head eat all the meat,can't even slow cook a rack. The freezer is my trophy!

Brian Pfleuger
May 19, 2009, 10:46 AM
If a bullet hits meat there going to be a lot of damage in the surrounding area.

Your best bet is a double lung shot while trying to miss both shoulders. There is very little usable meat in the ribs and the lungs extend a reasonable distance behind the shoulders. If you have a square broadside shot it should be fairly simple, just wait for both legs to be center or forward and shoot directly behind the leg that is farthest back.

May 19, 2009, 10:48 AM
I won't take a headshot - too many variables and too many things to go wrong IMO.

Double lung wastes very little meat - a little rib meat on the off-side, but not enough to worry about. I would bet more meat is waste when processing it than is wasted from a broadside hit in the vitals.

May 19, 2009, 11:01 AM
I've shot and reloaded for a .300 Weatherby for 15 years. You surely want to stay away from ALL the 150 grain stuff. Like all calibers, bullets perform differently in a wide range of velocities. If you stay around 2900 fps or just under, most of them should perform well. The same bullets are also engineered for the smaller .30 cartridges. I agree with what toolguyb said about the controlled expansion rounds. They are especially great in magnums at faster velocities. Be careful when shooting straight through the lungs at shorter ranges, though. Those Partitions and A Frames are made for thick meat and breaking bone, and will not expand when zipped through light skinned game at 3100+ fps! I'd guess most of the traditional bullets should do what you want in the 165-180 gr. range. I like the 165's for long range and the 180's for about 200-300 yds. In open territory that an antelope likes, it just takes a good hit through the lungs without hitting bone. You should do fine if you tune your rifle to the load and make a good shot. Good luck.


May 19, 2009, 11:15 AM
In gneral bullets are designed to expand, do a lot of damage and make an efficient kill. Less meat damage would almost always result in a slower kill if you place the bullet in a part you want to eat, so try to avoid that. you can mitigate this buy staying away from ballistic tips, bronze points, etc. that are designed to open very fast. A 180 grain Nosler Partition or heavier if you can stand the recoil will have less of an explosive effect.
I think meat damage is over exaggerated as Bush would say. I would rather have a dead deer that I could find quickly than lose one trying to make too cute of a shot. Of course, around here deer are a nuisance, you can kill as many as you want and have trouble finding good homes for the meat.

May 19, 2009, 03:36 PM
I agree with Vafisher.
Double lung is always my first choice.
basically..... shot placement :D

May 19, 2009, 03:45 PM
I use the barnes tsx in my 7mag. They always open and penetrate deep with minimal damage to surrounding area. Even the lighter bullets work perfectly without exploding because of their construction. With 1 box a couple of years ago I took a badger a coyote 3 deer and 1 bull with 140 gr. Expansion was similar on all animals.

May 19, 2009, 03:46 PM
I agree again with wapiti assassin... all thats important is where the bullet hits not what the bullet does...

May 19, 2009, 04:06 PM
With that .300 stay FAR away from any ballistic tips if you want to minimize meat damage. I too would look at Barnes TSX in as heavy a weight that I could get.

May 19, 2009, 07:42 PM
As a hunter you should be more into killing the animal as fast as possible. Yea I know wasted meat, well if you double lung them they die fast and no meat waste no matter what bullet you shoot.

Words of wisdom.
No wasted meat on the lung shot.
For God's sake, don't go for the head shot. Too many ways to screw it up.
Very easy to blow the deer's jaw off, he will starve to death.
Make the lung shot, the kill zone is 6 times bigger than on a head shot.
A double lung shot with the 300 Win mag, dead deer every time. No wasted meat no matter the bullet, deer ribs are not very good, I have tried them, not worth messing with.

May 19, 2009, 07:52 PM
i shot a spike buck w/ a 30-06 broadside in the ribs behind the front leg, and it exited behind the offside leg through the ribs. so i did not hit any leg bone but the bullet did break through a rib both entering and exited. shot was 30 yards with 150 grain soft points. for meat damage there was blood shot "gelled" meat on the off side ribs/flank steak. but aside from that there was none. Meaning the neck, inner/outer tenderloins, front n rear legs were in perfect shape. That was about as good as i could ask for IMO

Reguardless of bullet type used (even though that makes a huge difference) i'd go for a broad side shot that will enter and exit through the ribs. once shoulder/leg bone is hit, the meat damage increases dramatically.

I like you, want to preserve every bit of meat i can, but wont take head shots. so that leaves me with a behind the front leg rib shot. Seems to be working well. You could always use a shotgun slug or 45-70 =)

May 19, 2009, 08:33 PM
I am in a stand when I hunt deer and try to aim just above the shoulder. If you can get the angle right, you can miss the front leg. That's easy for me though, as a 150 yard shot is "long range" at my hunting club.

BTW, I use Remington Managed Recoil Corelokt in my 7mm Rem Mag. Never been able to recover a round to look at expansion, but I've never had a deer run. It must work well, lol.

May 19, 2009, 08:50 PM
Hey man,
You make some valid points about head shots, etc. and gathering meat for the table. Me too as I process every deer I have ever taken for the meat.

HOWEVER..........I do like a nice rack on a buck when I am fortunate to see one in the deer woods. If I do get a shot at one, I try and make a double lung shot which does the job and is a lot easier to make than some head shots. To each his own in hunting situations. We all have our own desires, goals. Nothing wrong with a big rack to put on your wall my brother.

May 19, 2009, 09:42 PM
I used a new 300 Win Mag last season for Texas whitetail. More gun than needed, I know, but I wanted some practice with it before scheduling some bigger game hunts that I have planned. In the Federal Vital-Shok product line, there are loads of 130gr, 165gr, and 180gr, in the Barnes TSX for the 300 Win Mag. Only the 130gr is tipped. I took 3 deer with the 130gr rounds. All were single shot, DRT, lung shot kills, and not one left an exit wound. The expansion was superb, allowing the round to fully dissipate all of its energy in the body cavity. You can also get a 200gr round in the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, but that seems to be the heaviest bullet provided in the Vital-Shok line for 300 Win Mag.

The biggest downside is the cost. The bloody rounds are ~$2.65 each, so sighting in the rifle the first time can be a tad expensive. Another drawback, specific to the small bullet weight, is that in breezy conditions the lightweight bullet experiences significantly more windage error than the heavier rounds.

May 19, 2009, 09:58 PM
Thank you guys for all the info. I have a lot to think about and will keep you updated on what happened in the field. I agree with the shot placement. To go for the head over 150yards is just not the way to go. Too many things can go wrong. Back in Africa we shot springbuck for export to European markets and the abattoir doesn't except a carcass with a body wound, so we were aiming for the head only, as a lot of you guys said correctly, don't try it. It was during these hunts that I saw too many springbucks that lost a jaw, and it is not a pretty site. Anyhow, thanks for the replies all. I appreciate it.

May 20, 2009, 04:53 AM
G day Riannr, firstly what deer are you hunting. Sambar, Reds, Fellow, hog, chital or rusa. I have a .300 win mag great gun its not overkill if using on sambar or reds. The caliber is a little overkill on the smaller deer.

Its all about shot placement, try the Woodleigh 180gr Weldcore. Its Australian made and very well priced. Be sure to get the bullet for the .300 win mag. There are ones for the .300 win mag, and other various .308 cals.

I have seen their work on sambar deer. Bullet usually exits but i have recovered a few and around 90% weight is retained. Damage to meat is less than the ballistics tips, soft points, hollow points, accubond and so on.

But as the other members said it's all about shot placement. These quick expanding bullets dont make up for bad shot placement.

Good luck

May 20, 2009, 07:31 AM
well, for almost no meat damage, the full metal jacket is hard to beat. the problem with them (other than being ilegal) is that is it like sticking the animal with a bow and arrow with a feild point. you have to wait for it to bleed out. the amount of meat damage that you are going to get with a proper soft point is probably going to be less than 2% of the meat on the animal. if you loose the animal using a fmj, you have 0% of the meat. 2% does not sound all that bad to me considering you actually get the meat!

May 20, 2009, 08:13 AM
+ 1 for the Remington Managed Recoil loads.

May 20, 2009, 10:24 AM
+ 1 for the Remington Managed Recoil loads

I used some of those for deer. Usually a reduced load in a big case doesn't shoot very well. But, those were close to 1 MOA, in my rifle anyway.

May 20, 2009, 01:43 PM
Double lung shot with 300WM with any wt bullet you want to use and within reasonable distance (400yds) and they drop in their tracks. Well, once I had one go about 10 yards.

May 20, 2009, 01:48 PM
Heavy bullet at moderate velocity. Take a 220gr Hornady RN at 2400fps. Enough gun for several hundred yards, little meat damage.

May 20, 2009, 02:56 PM
The one that does the least amount of meat damage is the one that misses.

For the one's that hit, I like 180 gr Speer Grand Slams for the .30 cal cartridges. Penetrates well, expands sufficiently for a quick kill, and doesn't destroy extra meat.


W. C. Quantrill
May 21, 2009, 01:10 AM
I believe in accuracy and shot placement. I get that with managed loads, meaning I do not go for maximum loads but for the most accurate loads. When we are talking 165+gr bullets at 2800+ FPS, ONLY a chrono is going to settle any arguments. I would say load your loads down, with a lower pressure powder such as some of the Hodgdons/ADI powders. Lower pressures give less recoil and more accuracy. I load Hornady 165 gr BTSP's at about 2850. I use H4350SC powder and it gives a very nice shooting load that is extremely accurate--the bullets expand as intended, and I dont get a handful of damaged meat. Depending on the shot--I go for either the neck just in front of the shoulder, or a low lung/heart shot just behind the elbow. Close behind the elbow, just miss the leg bone. Also, I pass on shots over 350 yards. Even tho I have the TRS-1 mildot scope, and I am confident in my rifle, loads and shooting abilities, I set that as my limit unless I am looking at something really huge that demands to be taken out of the herd. In that case, its one in the boiler room, a shoulder shot intended to break that front leg and destroy the lungs. I agree with 7mm about the 165 to 180 bullets, and would restate, dont push them to max. They do what they are supposed to do just fine at mid speeds. If you are going to be really reaching out on the distance such as 300 to 400 yards, then you need to take them out to max obviously, but know that if you shoot something in close, its gonna blow a hole. It is just simple math.

May 24, 2009, 11:50 AM
then in my following rifles;

M70, .308 using hand loaded 165 BTSP, @2500 fps (muzzle), I should have little problem with whitetail & elk here in the Cascades?

Will be reloading for a 7mmMag, using Hornady 162gr SST's, and reloader 19 powder, so I should consider max velicity around 2900fps???

This is a GREAT thread! Thanks for info.

James R. Burke
May 29, 2009, 07:27 PM
Va Fisher is correct. Dont worry about it to much. If it is the only rifle you have, just use the bullet you feel will be the most accurate. Double lung not bad. Stay off the shoulders if you can.

Art Eatman
May 30, 2009, 10:32 AM
About all that neck meat is good for is chili, so I never worried about ruining meat with a neck shot. Didn't matter what bullet I used.