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Old August 6, 2018, 08:36 AM   #1
BuckBerry
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270 Win for Hunting: Bullet Construction

Guys,
Thank you all very much for the posts about the 270 vs 6.5CM. Its certainly a hair-splitting topic. I had a great time reading through everyone's take on the question.

As we all know, bullet construction and shot placement are more important than caliber (to a reasonable extent). Take the example of the state regulations of Colorado and Washington: Minimum rifle cartridge of .243 for elk hunting. I personally wouldn't take my 243 out for an elk chase, but at reasonable ranges with a proper bullet and correct shot placement, I'm confident that it would get the job done.

So, my questions:
What would be your opinion on "proper" bullet construction and weight for elk hunting? Whitetail hunting? Is it better to choose a bullet that passes through the animal, or one that transfers every ounce of energy into the animal without a pass-through?

I currently have 145gr. Hornady ELD-X "Precision Hunter" cartridges for my .270 Win. However, the Hornady GMX bullets certainly have me wondering. We may once again split hairs on responses to these questions, but I'm all ears/eyes.
Thanks , Michael (BuckBerry)
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Old August 6, 2018, 08:42 AM   #2
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Any 130 gr hunting bullet for deer, 150 tough bullet for elk. As in Ballistic tip for deer, Partition for elk. There are many other good bullets available. Shouldn't be hard to pick a couple.
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Old August 6, 2018, 10:12 AM   #3
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The 270 is fine shooting regular lead and copper bullets .
I have a friend that hunts with a 270 and through the years he has taken deer elk sheep goat and antelope with the lowest priced ammo from Kmart .
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Old August 6, 2018, 10:25 AM   #4
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^
^
^
This

I would add that if you want to eat the meat, shooting deer with the bullets the come apart more than about 40% may not be the best.

They all kill deer and often kill them fast, but I have seen failures with fragmenting bullet (not all 2780s but also with about every other caliber from 243 to 338) and some of those deer and elk have been hit with perfect placement, but the bullets didn't do the job and the game ran a great distance before they were finally killed. It's rare with a 270, but it can and sometimes does happen with all calibers now and then.

I have been killing game with 270s for 1/2 a century and the best advice I can give is to use a bullet that will exit.

You are always ok to have a bullet that is a bit tougher then you need to kill even an antelope doe, (90 pounds) but a bullet the fragments and turns off is not always OK to kill a big buck.

I have come to a point in my life with all my 270s that I use "elk bullets" on everything. From 90 pound does to 900 pound elk bulls, and bears too. A Barnes X or 160 grain Partition is far more bullet then you need for 90 pound deer, but so what? It kills them just fine.

The Nosler 130 grain partitions as well as the Ballistic Tip HUNTING series are all good too, and I doubt you'd ever need anything larger. You didn't say a thing about elk, so I assume you don't need to have elk rounds. If elk are never going to be on the list, I would not feel a bit bad about using a 130 grain load as my standard in all my 270s, and I know men and women here in Wyoming that do use them on elk, but it's not uncommon for them to not exit a big bull.

With the tough 150s and 160s, I have only 1 time in my years of hunting elk failed to get an exit, and that one still penetrated from mid body to mid neck on the other side. That's about 4 feet of penetration and it dropped the elk. That was also the longest shot I have ever made on an elk (about 400 yards) and the bullet was a 160 gr Nosler Partition. I recovered it and it still weighs 131 grains.

Anyway, if you use bullet that go clear through you will never have a problem. Many 130 grain standard cup-and-core bullet do just fine on deer. Burgers ALWAYS come apart. I have not seen one exception to this ever, regardless of caliber, bullet weight, range or size of game. Some of the Sierra BTs as well as some of the Speers do to, but most 130 grain 270s are fine for deer and will exit. I have seen one 140 grain Hornady Boat tail come apart too, but it went about 18" deep before it did.

This info is not complete, but I think you get the idea.

My best advice is to use something that gives you an exit every time and the rest is just food for rifle-fans to chew over, but the details can be shared and debated over a good venison steak.
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Old August 6, 2018, 11:33 AM   #5
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Over the decades, I’ve killed a few hundred whitetail deer. Sizes varied from 100ish pounds in central Texas to 300 pounds in the Louisiana lowlands near the Mississippi River. When Nosler quit making the Solid Base Boattails, I switched to Nosler Ballistic Tips (130 gr) in my 270. The first generation worked fine, but Nosler toughened them up and the second generation works quite well. I really can’t tell the difference in downrange performance between the first and second generation bullets. As for fragmenting and leaving metal in the meat, in all these years I have never seen that. Probably due to the fact that I shoot them in the lungs and try to avoid the backstrap and the hindquarters.

So...for deer I’d stick with the Nosler BTs and for Elk I’d go with the Partition, probably the 150’s. That said, I’m quite sure Sierra, Hornady, Speer, etc, would all do just fine.

With the Nosler BTs, I pretty much always get passthrough with deer, whether using the 120s in my 260 or the 130’s in my 270. But when it comes to medium to large hogs, the 120’s rarely exit. The 130’s in the 270 exit more often, but not always. Of course the hogs don’t go very far, so I usually collect them anyway.

I live and hunt in Texas these days, so mostly I hunt with my 260. If I went back to my old Louisiana hunting grounds I’d probably use the 270. It’s important to drop them before they get into the near impenetrable briar patches, and the 270 seems a bit more effective in that regard.
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Old August 6, 2018, 12:03 PM   #6
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The more I see of lead-free bullets, the more I want to try them. Hornady Superformance with GMX bullets look to be the ideal .270 combination for elk.
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Old August 6, 2018, 12:50 PM   #7
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The .243 is too light for elk hunting.
The "proper" bullet construction and weight for elk hunting is the same for deer. 130 and up. However, shot placement is far more important.
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Old August 6, 2018, 01:05 PM   #8
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This can be as complicated, or simple. Some random thoughts.

Bullets range from very soft, to very hard. Softer bullets expand well at slower speeds but often over expand and don't give enough penetration. They also don't penetrate enough if shots must be taken from less than perfect angles. The penetration problem can be lessened by using heavy for caliber bullets which slows them down and more mass aids penetration.

All bullets have a range of impact velocities where they work well. Impact too fast and they over expand and don't penetrate. Impact too slow and they don't expand. Most standard bullets do well between about 1800-2800 fps.

Most of the premium bullets are designed to work at a wider range of impact speeds. Most still need at least 1800 fps, some as much as 2000 fps, but they still hold together at much faster speeds.

High BC bullets retain speeds much better at long range making for better impact velocities. They don't have much of an effect on trajectory until you get to ranges much greater than you'll be shooting at game. And it makes more difference than lots of people think. A high BC 180 gr bullet fired from a 30-06 will impact at greater speeds than a poor BC 180 gr bullet fired from a 300 WM at only 75 yards. The same high BC bullet fired from a 308 passes 300 WM at 175 yards.

Because of the above I think the 145 ELD-X would be an excellent choice for you. They are a fairly soft bullet for good expansion even at lower impact speeds. But being heavy for caliber still give good penetration. They are fairly inexpensive, about the same price as standard bullets. They are proving to be extremely accurate and have high BC's to ensure faster impact speeds at longer ranges. They drop below 2800 fps in less than 100 yards and retain 1800 fps out way past 500 yards so they fit into the ideal impact speeds for a long way. They are borderline too fast for very close shots, and not the best bullet if you want to shoot an elk in the butt and expect the bullet to reach vitals. But other than that are a good choice.

A word about copper bullets. They are on the extreme end of hard bullets. They retain 100% of their weight and hold together at impact speeds well over 3000 fps. But need at least 2000 fps in order to expand and many claim 2200 fps is better. This would be the bullet to use if you choose to shoot an elk in the butt and hope it reaches vitals. They are a great option when shooting a cartridge borderline too small for the job. If I were elk hunting with a 243 this is the bullet I'd choose.

But if impact speeds are too slow you get no expansion and poor results. For this reason it is advisable to drop down to a lighter weight and load shoot them fast. Not the best bullet for long range use because they don't expand as well after speeds drop below 2200 fps.

Quote:
The .243 is too light for elk hunting.
Yea, right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY0w1c-gf18

I think 688 yards is pushing the limits, but a 243 with good bullets is an elk cartridge at reasonable ranges.
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Old August 6, 2018, 02:37 PM   #9
BuckBerry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doyle View Post
The more I see of lead-free bullets, the more I want to try them. Hornady Superformance with GMX bullets look to be the ideal .270 combination for elk.
Those are the ones I’ve had my eye on lately. 130s or 140s.
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Old August 6, 2018, 02:50 PM   #10
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Yeah, those spine shots drop most anything like a sack of potatoes.

Guys are using Ballistic Tips on elk sucessfully.
Of course same with the Berger VLD.
And nothing wrong with the ELDX your currently using.

I don't go for the whole "weight retention" hype. Some gun crank (author) brought it up and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. I'd rather find the jacket under the offside skin.
Bergers are good for that.
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Old August 6, 2018, 04:38 PM   #11
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You're 145 ELD-X would work fine for elk. I have killed elk with the 150 Hornady Interbonds, but I'm switching to the ELD-X this year.


The IBs are pricy, but the 150 SSTs have the same BC, and loaded the same hit the same place at half the price so I plink with those. The 145s are about the same price as the SSTs. A little better BC so should be a tad flatter shooting.
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Old August 6, 2018, 06:49 PM   #12
Red Devil
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For big North American game?

140 gr. Barnes TSX.
150 gr. Nosler Partition.

If you shop MidwayUSA.com at the end of the year, you can find some great clearance deals in the $23-$27/20 box range to stock up on.

Found the 140 gr. TSX loaded by Pierce at AmmoMart for $23/50.




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Old August 6, 2018, 06:52 PM   #13
Doyle
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Quote:
Found the 140 gr. TSX loaded by Pierce at AmmoMart for $23/50.
That's about the same price as Hornady Superformance with the GMX (also all copper) but you gain an additional 100+fps.
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Old August 6, 2018, 07:05 PM   #14
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For 270 Win it is 150 gr Accubond or 160 gr Partition all the way.

For the dead serious stuff get the 180 gr Woodleigh.
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Old August 6, 2018, 07:30 PM   #15
Red Devil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doyle View Post
That's about the same price as Hornady Superformance with the GMX (also all copper) but you gain an additional 100+fps.
Quote:
Found the 140 gr. TSX loaded by Pierce at AmmoMart for $23/50.


If I wanted MORE performance? I'd have gone to the .270 WSM.

The .270 WIN is right at my recoil threshold for both care-free hunting and all day precision shooting.

Factory ammo at 2900 fps for 140 gr. and 2800 fps for 150 gr. from a 22" sporter Bbl. does everything I need it to do out to 350-400 yards.

Have anchored a lot of deer and smaller (<300 lb) hogs with 150 gr. Speer Hot-Cor hand-loads.

But the high performance rounds add peace-of-mind for the big stuff, especially big hogs.




Red

Last edited by Red Devil; August 6, 2018 at 07:39 PM.
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Old August 6, 2018, 07:39 PM   #16
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Red Devil, I've never shot the Superformance in a .270 (gave up my .270 years ago) but I do shoot it in a .35 Whelen. Honestly, I can't tell any difference in recoil between it and Federal Premium ammo with the same bullet weight. It is definitely faster though so the laws of physics say that recoil really should be there. I use it because it turns out to be the most accurate factory load I've found.
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Old August 6, 2018, 07:55 PM   #17
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Back in the day when I reloaded and hunted I put Speer 130 grain soft point in my .270. I used that load on Prairie dogs, jack rabbits, and Mule deer. It worked fine, I carried it on Elk hunts but never got a chance to shoot one.
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Old August 6, 2018, 08:10 PM   #18
Red Devil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doyle View Post
Red Devil, I've never shot the Superformance in a .270 (gave up my .270 years ago) but I do shoot it in a .35 Whelen. Honestly, I can't tell any difference in recoil between it and Federal Premium ammo with the same bullet weight. It is definitely faster though so the laws of physics say that recoil really should be there. I use it because it turns out to be the most accurate factory load I've found.
No free lunch in Physics.

I went to the .270 WIN decades ago because the 180 gr. 30-06 was messing with me after a few rounds.

The 150 gr. .270 WIN - is essentially a non-belted magnum, with the muzzle velocity and recoil of a 150 gr. 30-06, and the ballistic coefficient, sectional density, and ~ terminal performance of a 180 gr. 30-06.

Everything I want, nothin' I don't.




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Old August 7, 2018, 01:19 AM   #19
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The ELD-X, by most accounts, should be just fine and get the job done properly.
That being said...


For .270 Win, I hunt everything with 140 gr Partitions.
Minimal meat damage on smaller stuff (like antelope). Better penetration on larger stuff (like elk). I have not had a "DRT" kill with a Partition, but I do have a 100% one-shot kill record with them.

I've hunted with, or been direct witness to kills with Ballistic Tips, Ballistic Silvertips, Core-Lokts, Power Points***, Norma Oryx, Norma Vulcans, Hornady Interlocks, Hornady Interbonds, Hornady SSTs, Barnes TSXs (and TTSXs), and more - including my own home-brew bullet using a .40 S&W case as the jacket for a .44 caliber 275 gr bullet...
I'll take the tougher bullet under almost any circumstance, for big game.

Partitions are my go-to, but that doesn't mean that others should be overlooked. The Norma Vulcan/Oryx did very well for me. Modern 'hunting' Ballistic Tips (including BSTs) have a very tough shank and penetrate pretty well. Hornady Interlocks are good bullets. Swift Scirocco IIs and A-frames are great bullets. And there are plenty of other options that I haven't had a chance to shoot something with .... yet.

That doesn't mean that some soft bullets are garbage, though.
As much as I hate what Remington has done and what Remington has become over the last decade(+), I will admit that certain Core-Lokts are fantastic bullets.
Some examples that have proven, in my eyes, to expand predictably and also penetrate, while providing quick kills:
.270 Win 130 gr.
.30-06 180 gr.
.30-30 170 gr.

I am willing to use any of the above for animals up to Moose and Grizzly.
Most other Core-Lokts, though... questionable, if not deplorable. (Such as .30-06 165 gr, .30-30 150 gr, .243 Win 100 gr, and more. They explode, even in soft tissue; and even at 400+ yards.)



***Friends don't let friends shoot Power Points. They're the most inconsistent, poorly-constructed, overly-cheapened, mass-market, cup-and-core bullet out there. A 5 year-old making bullets with a rock and a screwdriver would have better quality control. ...And would probably start with better materials.
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Old August 7, 2018, 04:48 AM   #20
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I use Accubonds, and Btips for deer and have cleanly taken them with both.
Practice and shot placement are what keeps my freezer full in the winter.
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Old August 7, 2018, 05:38 AM   #21
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Lots of hunters like the .270. I don't. If I was given a new .270, I'd check my pockets to see if I had enough $$ to trade it for something I consider worthwhile. If I'm going to get kicked as much as the .270 kicks, I'll use the Daddy(30/06). If I want a flatter shooting medium game round than the 30/06, I'll use the 25/06.
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Old August 7, 2018, 09:00 AM   #22
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Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the Nosler ballistic tips really like to fragment. Of all the hunting bullets I've used to date for deer and mule deer (have yet to Elk hunt), they are the least likely to pass through or be recovered intact. The Accubonds, however, seem to pass through well, and the one I've ever recovered was still at about 75% weight.
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Old August 7, 2018, 10:22 AM   #23
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I use the 130 Ballistic on Texas deer. They do blow up at times even on our small deer. I would not use a BT on elk. Never. Use the 150 Partition or other heavy duty bullet. I think even a power point or cor-lokd would be better than a BT on an elk. They do just fine on deer too.
I use the BT on deer because it seems a little more accurate in my rifle.
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Old August 8, 2018, 04:42 PM   #24
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I like the 140 grain Nosler Accubonds on moose and would recommend them for elk, though I haven't hunted them, but the moose dropped dead in 15 yards, with one shot at 270 yards from my .270 Win. First blood from my new Rem 700 CDL Stainless Fluted, with custom, bedded stock.

I'll use that load for deer this season and expect good results out to 400 yards (my limit for sensible deer shots).

The load delivers 5/8" groups at 100 yards, which is way better than needed, but confidence-building.
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Old August 10, 2018, 04:37 AM   #25
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I lived in north-central Wyoming until I was a teenager. The stores sell stacks of core-lokt ammo to the residents each Fall. My suggestion is 150 grain bullets for elk and plan to shoot into the chest from a broadside presentation. Don't hesitate to fire a quick second shot.

My Grandad (1889-1973) and I hunted together many times with our 30-30 carbines shooting 170 grain ammo. Many elk were slain and none got away but our shots rarely exceeded 100 yards or so. My point is that two quick shots into the chest organs will down an elk quickly.

Jack

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