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Old October 21, 2001, 09:34 AM   #1
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Join Date: February 13, 2000
Posts: 122
Hornady 180gr HE 3006 on elk

We just returned from CO elk hunting. One of the members of our group shoots Horn. 180gr BTSP HE in his 3006. The accuracy is great and he used this load to take a cow a couple of years ago. This year, it was a med-lg bull angling toward him at about 130yds. First shot in the chest was lethal, penetrating back to the liver, but with no immediate effect. Another between the ribs did minimal damage. A third, struck the scapula at about 75yds and penetrated less than 1". A final shot broke the neck. I recovered three bullets and in every case the jacket separated and the lead fragmented severely. On the shoulder hit, only the flat of the scapula, no joint or heavy bone was hit. There was a 3.5"diameter radius of schrapnel damage and the jacket was right in the skin. Virtually no penetration whatsoever.On the frontal hit, there was severe superficial damage and only the jacket was found in the liver. I had heard of this type of poor performance but had never witnessed it. Thankfully, the bull was at a location to offer follow up shots. Has anyone else had any problems with the Horn HE loads? I'm not sure that I can now consider them as an option for elk. Had this been a longer range or larger animal, I would suspect we would have had a long, unsuccessful day of tracking.

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Old October 21, 2001, 06:15 PM   #2
Cain R
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Join Date: August 23, 2001
Location: Peoples Dominion of Kanada
Posts: 288
Pretty typical for boat tail Bullets. I've had similar results with most boat tail bullts as well. Best to stick with flat based well constructed bullets, like Hornady's Interlock, Nosler Partition, Swift A-Frame, etc. when hunting anything bigger than deer.
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Old October 21, 2001, 09:16 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,097
I'm sort of getting away from boat-tailed bullets on account of apparently-thinner jackets. My '06 handloads don't get quite the velocity of the Federal Premium High Energy (Sierra Gameking BTSP) but I've had blowups from the Sierra 150-grain BTSP. First I've heard of a blowup with the 180-grain.


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Old October 22, 2001, 11:16 AM   #4
Bottom Gun
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Join Date: October 13, 1998
Location: Elgin, Arizona
Posts: 907
Cain R is right. I learned from personal experience (the hard way) that you need to use a premium bullet like a Partition, Swift, Barnes, etc for elk.
Elk are incredibly tough critters and require bullets that penetrate well each and every time.
I'd avoid boat tails, ballistic tips, and garden variety soft nose or hollow points. You'll most likely end up having to shoot more than once if you do. This is one area you shouldn't skimp to cut costs.
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