View Full Version : bullet performance

December 29, 2011, 10:08 AM
Hope I'm in right forum for this. Mods move as needed.
I killed a large doe two days ago. That is not the news. I just want to report on my bullet performance and allow others to chime in and compare.
First, most of my shooting and hunting is done with traditional style muzzle loaders. Just to shake the dust off, I picked up my Win. Mod. 70 Ranger in 30/06 and set out. My home brewed round used a military case, a 150 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip and 57 gr. of H414. (apx. 3,000 fps).
I have killed two deer with this round.
This one was a large doe at about 80 yards. The shot was a rear left quartering away. She dropped where she stood, wiggled for about five seconds then expired.
Gutting and dressing revealed very little internal damage. The exit wound was roughly quarter sized and there was no blood loss. :confused: I thought that was interesting. There was no meat loss from hydraulic bloodshot.
To my way of thinking, the bullet did what it was supposed to do. I would have loved to recover it.
A couple years ago, same gun, same load (50 rounds lasts a long time with only a shot or two every couple years) I killed a young, four point, buck at less than 15 yards. BTW, he responded to a grunt. If I hadn't killed him he probably would have raped me. ;)
The shot was broadside, I held behind the shoulder but a little high.
Internal damage was extreme even though I missed the heart but detached it by severing the aortas.
Exit wound was not real large and there was very little blood loss.
He dropped where he stood and never wiggled.
I'm not sure what others will think of this bullet "performance". I am happy with the quick, no trail, one shot kills and zero meat loss.
Others may think the Nosler should have opened up more and left a considerable blood puddle.
BTW, I used this mildly hot load because we have a concurrent black bear season and I want to be ready. It would be interesting to compare bear/deer performance of this round, I have no doubt it is sufficient.
OK, jury, wat do y'all think about this bullet performance?

December 29, 2011, 10:25 AM
I use Hornady SST in .270 and .243 and have experienced similar results. Small exit wound but almost instant death with liquified or shredded organs. I have also used Nosler Ballistic Tips with similar results although in my observations the SST was even more devastating. However I have not killed a large enough number of animals to make this a scientific comparison. I think what we are seeing is the difference between how some of the modern hunting bullets perform a little differently than the old traditional soft point jacketed bullets which mushroom extensively and do a lot of tissue damage as they impart most of their energy into the animal. The BT and SST style bullet works by expanding slightly at the nose but retaining mass and velocity as they travel through the animal, using the velocity (energy) to produce hydrostatic shock, thus the liquified organs and small exit wound. I prefer the latter drop on the spot technique because I am old and lame and no longer enjoy following Bambi's blood trail through the brush in the dark. :D

black mamba
December 29, 2011, 10:58 AM
This year I shot a young, but large (200lbs. on the hoof) whitetail buck at 60 yards broadside, but slightly quartering toward me, while he was walking slowly. I was using the Hornady SST 12 ga. sabot slug in a rifled barrel, 300 gr slug at 2000 mv. The shot entered 2" behind the near shoulder and exited between ribs on the off-side, never hitting a bone. He jumped at the shot, ran 90-100 yards full speed, then slowed, swayed and tipped over at about 125 yards, raised his head once, then still.

I was surprised at two things. 1) He did not drop at the shot. That's a big heavy bullet impact, but all he did was jump forward and start running. 2) When I opened him up, his throracic cavity was a total blood stew. It's what I would have expected from a .270 at 3000 fps with a 10" twist, not an 1800 fps impact from a slug spinning out of a 28" twist. The hydrostatic damage was incredible, yet he still ran 125 yards.

December 29, 2011, 11:41 AM
Welcome to the one stop bullet debate:D:D:D It does not happen all the time

December 29, 2011, 02:27 PM
hoffbill, I'm with you on the "old" part. Glad I did not have to trail. But, I'm in the Ozarks and the way out is always, always, uphill. I had a two hour drag in the dark. Still hurting and licking my wounds.

December 29, 2011, 02:58 PM
I feel your pain, Rifleman. Blackmamba, I guess your deer proves once again that there are always variables in bullet performance and how a individual animal will react. My theory to explain why they usually drop almost immediately from the blood stew the SST's usually create is instant 0 blood pressure shutting down the brain. I guess your deer did not get the memo.

Rich Mc
December 29, 2011, 06:30 PM
The Ballistic Tip is not the best bullet for deer and not at all for bear. They are made to dump all the energy upon impact and often damage one side but not much inside, allowing the deer to run off and die without being found.

You are better with a generic 150 gr pointed soft point. Nosler makes the Partition which was the first "high tech" bullet, dating back quite a ways.

I shoot Game King 150s (pointed soft point) at about 3,000 fps and it levels the deer. Always a larger exit than entrance and plenty of lost blood.

Then I got a .357 magnum rifle and cooked up some nice 158 grain loads - took a doe with it this year - full penetration thru both shoulders at 50 yards. Plenty of internal damage.

A note on hydrostatic shock - that's when everything liquid reacts to the rapid expansion of a bullet. You will get severe blood-shot jello in the area of the impact with this.

IMO - the best bullet is more on the old style - full penetration causing a leaking hole to trail the deer should it forget to fall over and die for you.

December 30, 2011, 08:09 AM
I agree with rich. I have experienced the rapid expansion on the bt's with a 7 mm mag. 15 or somyears ago. I think what unexperienced at close range is due to the near muzzle velocity at the pOint of impact. Go to a ballistic calculator and watch how much velocity drops off @ 100, 200 300 yds. That drop in velocity is why your bullet performance changes so much with range. I use standard Speer and Sierra boat tail bullets and experience one shot drop quite frequently with everything from 22-250, 243, 270 and 7 mm mag. I also used to get same with 300'win mag but got tired of being beat up unnecessarily. I use my 243 almost exclusively because it's fun to shoot and gets the job done

December 30, 2011, 10:18 AM
Rich Mc said: The Ballistic Tip is not the best bullet for deer and not at all for bear. They are made to dump all the energy upon impact and often damage one side but not much inside, allowing the deer to run off and die without being found.

To which I reply: Uh??? :confused:
Did you read my post?
My deer dropped in their tracks.
BTW, I also load Nosler Partitions but use the Ballistic Tips for exactly the reason they were developed. Namely to prevent nose damage while in the magazine and from handling.
And, I had no hydrostatic "jello" meat loss.
There was very little damage on one side and considerable inside.
Not wanting to sound rude, but it really sounds like you have no idea what you are talking about.

Art Eatman
December 30, 2011, 12:07 PM
R1776, y'all are a wee bit sorta apples and oranges, sorta talking past each other somewhat. Neither are wrong; just thinking a bit differently about desired results in bullet performance.

Seems like, anyhow. :)

I've not used the ballistic tips, except for the lightweight bullets in .223 and .243 for prairie dogs. I've mostly used the Sierra Game Kings on deer, and I like the "jello" effect. So far, what with either neck shots or heart/lung shots, poor old Bambi drops in his tracks and there is no damage to any meat that I ever planned to keep.

In a discussion here about ten years back, a Sierra guy specified that their .30 Game King 150-grain SPBT was somewhat over-driven at 3,100 muzzle velocity and it was not surprising that I had one blow up in a mule deer's neck in a 25-yard shot. Flat base likely would not have blown up. Always learning something. :) (Out beyond 100 to 200 yards, the SPBT would have performed properly.)

December 30, 2011, 02:03 PM
The Ballistic Tip is not the best bullet for deer and not at all for bear. They are made to dump all the energy upon impact and often damage one side but not much inside, allowing the deer to run off and die without being found.

Someone is using very old, very outdated info. Early ballistic tips had a few problems. The design is not what it used to be. They are good bullets for deer and bear.

December 30, 2011, 02:28 PM
The Nosler Ballistic Tip is the only bullet I use for deer these days. I've shot maybe 200 deer with it since the intro of that bullet, mostly in the 270 caliber but a few lately in the 260. As long as you avoid angled shots, the bullet pretty much has always exited (it's impossible to remember every deer). The bullet gives me the combination of excellent downrange result and excellent accuracy. It's just a darn good bullet for deer hunting, and I've shot some very big hogs with it too. But...would I shoot a bear with it? Maybe not enough penetration. I'd probably rather use a Partition on the bear, but I'll bet the old Remington Core-lok bullet would do a darn fine job on a Black Bear - but maybe not a Grizzly or Brown Bear (an area where I have zero experience). As for other bullets for deer, I'm sure I'd also be perfectly happy with the Sierra Gameking or the Hornady SST or several of the others available. I'm just happy with the Ballistic Tip and have no reason to change - unless they raise their price to the point that I feel the need to experiment. If that happens, the Sierra and the Hornady will be the the bullets I 'interview' for long term employment.

January 1, 2012, 08:17 PM
Four of the 5 dropped in their tracks, including very nice 8-point and 9-point bucks. The exit wound was very small, but the chest cavities of both bucks were filled with red soup. Here's this year's buck, taken at 176 yds. Some blood from the exit wound is just visible.


The same was true for one doe last year. Another doe last year was killed with a head shot at 60 yards, so nearly any bullet would work. I've used the head shot photos below for a firearm safety lecture. (The entrance wound is the small purple dot between her ear and eye. The exit wound surprised even me.)



This year I shot a doe at 80 yards. She dashed into the brush and ran about 40 yards before she dropped. The shot was perfect and she had an exit wound about the size of a 50 cent piece where the bullet hit a rib. I don't see how she ran at all. I'd have just laid down and died if I were hit that way.

I've also killed three antelope with this bullet at distances of 178, 297 and 402 yards. Only the goat at 402 yards required a second shot, but that was my fault. I didn't have time to range him and he was trotting with his harem at about 5 mph. I didn't lead him enough with the first shot, which more or less field dressed him. The second shot put him down.

January 1, 2012, 08:54 PM
What kinda question is that? Okay jury what do you all think about this bullet performance? Rifleman, did the deer die instantly? if not than the hunter and the bullet performed badly. What answer are you looking for? And what is "hydraulic blood loss"? btw sometimes the bullet doesn't have to leave a significant blood trail, to do it's job.;)

January 2, 2012, 12:51 AM

Why would a flat base not have blown up??

I get why BT bullets are often favored, for their better downrange ballistics, but could not find a definitive source for why a FB, or under what circumstances, a FB is better.

Do you have a source or article I could read?



January 2, 2012, 09:54 AM
hooligan1, she dropped and wiggled for about five seconds. Is that "instantly" enough?
I didn't know my terms. The bloodshot, jello-like effect is what I referred to. I don't like it, meat waste. In my case there was no more than about a silver dollar size around the exit hole.
I was just looking for other input, which I got (thank y'all) about bullet performance. Personally, I am a fan of the Nosler Ballistic Tip.
And, the round I was using I would not hestiate to use on a local black bear.

January 2, 2012, 12:21 PM
I think the expectation that every well-placed shot results in instant death is unrealistic. There are so many variables involved to include impact velocity and it's relation to energy and bullet performance, whether or not you hit bone on entry, and lastly (but definitely not least, and there's a pile of other factors we could probably consider), the animal gets a vote. I've seen deer and hogs shot who ran some distance (normally not too far), but during post mortem I could not fathom how the animal could continue sans heart, aorta, etc.

I think the bullet performance the OP provided the critique for was acceptable.

Where I think this thread could really become useful beyond the original intent was if we had some way to provide a repository for good, detailed, post mortem analysis on various bullets for members to use as a reference beyond what the manufacturers give you in their propaganda. It would go a long way to assist in bullet selection for various tasks and be a great place to send those folks wanting bullet suggestions.

January 2, 2012, 12:24 PM
And I should specify this assumes a vital zone hit and not a head shot.

If you shoot one in the head like the photo below shows and it doesn't drop, we've got bigger problems! :p

phil mcwilliam
January 2, 2012, 05:20 PM
My mate uses 150 grain ballistic tips & I use 150 grain pointed soft points. Hit a deer in the chest with either bullet & the result is the same- a dead deer. On average, in my experience, the 150 grain ballistic tip is the more destructive bullet on deer sized game.
I was once involved with culling of wild scrub bulls on a remote Australian property. The 150 grain ballistic tips were not a good bullet for quartering shots at scrub bulls & lacked penetration compared with 150 grain pointed soft points.
As an all round 30 cal hunting bullet I prefer to stick with 150 grain pointed soft points. Has worked for me for 30 years from rabbits to buffalo & most things in between.

Hog Buster
January 2, 2012, 10:03 PM
A bullet, any bullet, to the brain is the shot. Bambi won’t bound into briars or brambles. Bubba won’t have brisk, brutal walks for the body, or not..... Accomplish this feat, all meat fit to eat, with no bloody boondoggles.....:p

Colorado Redneck
January 2, 2012, 11:09 PM
Shot a healthy 4 point buck at about 140 yards with 25-06 using 100 gr. BT. Big entrance wound, bigger exit. Buck turned to run and fell. He was dead by the time I arrived. Bled out internally. The bullet was probably going nearly 3000 fps. In my experience, that was perfect. I have read about the BT being too flimsy, but in this instance, it worked just like I wanted.

I have used Hornady SST to bag antelopes. In my opinion, the BT works a little better.

January 3, 2012, 01:08 PM
Phil, your experience beats mine by a thousand miles.
However, I'm surprised at the choice of a 150 gr. bullet for a big and big boned critter like bovine bulls. My choice would have been a sturdier 180 gr., quite possibly in a ballistic tip or Partition.
Hog, the head is a small and moving target. Not always a reliable hit, especially in country like mine where the deer don't stand around much and short, quick shots are the norm.

January 3, 2012, 02:59 PM
I've seen deer of the same size, shot in the same place, by the same ammo, and one will drop and another will run.

Never made sense to me. Some folks try to explain it and that never made much sense to me either.

I've used Corlokt a few times and Hornady SP the rest.

January 4, 2012, 07:36 AM
Nosler BT's are good bullets and anyone saying they aren't probably just can't shoot worth a dern. I closed the deer season out with 2 pigs DRT, 1 Yote, and 9 Whitetails all but one DRT and he went 20 yards and piled up. Most of them were shot with a 90grn BT in a .243

Its not so much about the bullet as the ability, knowledge and confidence to place it in the proper position.

January 4, 2012, 06:13 PM
The doe with the brain shot (picture above) dropped in her tracks, but she surprised :eek: me by giving a spastic convulsion about 30 seconds after I shot her. She had dropped at the edge of a pond. Her spasm caused her to jump enough to land halfway in the pond.

Jack O'Conner
January 7, 2012, 06:55 AM
I've always had good luck with blunt tip soft nose bullets revealing much lead. Never lost a single animal!!



January 7, 2012, 01:34 PM
Ive shot alot of deer with ballistic tips without a failure. The only time Ive ever seen one fail to kill a deer was due to the loose nut at the end of the stock.

January 8, 2012, 08:24 AM
In the eighties, and nineties, the rifle I killed most of my deer with, was a Remington 700 in 3006. The load I used was a handloaded 150 grn Ballistic Tip, setting over a weight of 58 grns of IMR 4350. Every animal that I shot with this load went down quickly, like a hammer struck them. When I was lucky enough to find a bullet in them, it was usually in the "off side" shoulder skin. Most of the bullets usually fell in two pieces, the jacket and the lead core.
The energy that they unleashed in the bullet tunnel was sometimes overdone to an extent, sometimes the bullet traveled through completely only leaving a hole about the size of a quarter.

The Ballistic-Tip was designed for accurate long-range harvesting of game, and it did its job well, on these Missouri whitetails.
I started, this very year, using a .270 win as my primary Deer rifle, and I use another bullet from Nosler the Accubond, which has a bonded core, an penetrates a little better than the Ballistic Tip.
The results are super when accurate "shot-placement" is adhered to.
So yes, Rifleman1776 you got just what you paid for in performance from that bullet, and the damage you were trying to name is called hemmorage.:)

January 8, 2012, 08:39 AM
Richmc, my brother and I have been using Nosler BTs for many years and have taken many deer with them. I have found them to produce devastating damage and complete passthroughs and almost all have either dropped in their tracks or run 50 yds or so leaving a blood trail a child could follow. Bullet weight is the key, too light and they will break up but a 150g or better is the perfect deer round, IMO.