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Old February 9, 2022, 01:43 AM   #1
riverratt
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.284 120gr Nosler ballistic tip

In my search for reloading components I've came across some 120gr ballistic tip. I've used a few ballistic tips over the years and was unhappy with their terminal performance.

I've talked with one of the techs at Nosler about it and they said this bullet is different. "It has a thicker jacket and isn't as explosive as our 140gr and will actually penetrate as well or better then the 140 grainner in the 7mm-08." As per the Nosler tech. There's quite a few forums about this bullet and it seems there are quite a few people that love it for deer.

Here's my thing, I hunt the woods. Most of the deer I've taken are essentially taken at what I call extended bow range and this tends to be very destructive on cup and core bullets. I've used the 120gr ttsx and it's a fine bullet but I've seen to many deer make it to far for my liking. My gun definitely prefers the 120's as it shoots 1/2" groups with them VS 1.5" groups with everything else.

In short I'm looking to load this little 120gr pill around 2900 fps and I'm looking for real world performance and experience with this bullet before I order a few hundred.
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Old February 11, 2022, 05:09 PM   #2
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I keep all cup and core bullets below 2900fps, except for coyotes. Impact velocities that approach 3000fps are explosive, literally. They need to be precisely placed to be effective, which is why I went to premium bullets. Example, shot a 154 Interbond @ 2850, from my 280, at 127 measured yards. 30% down angle put the bullet low into the brisket. The heart and lower lungs were exploded and the exit broke the front leg at the elbow joint.
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Old February 11, 2022, 05:27 PM   #3
MarkCO
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Regardless of what anyone else says, I like to keep impact velocities for jacketed lead rifle bullets between 2000 and 2800 fps. As the diameter goes up over .30 caliber, I will lower that some.

Barnes solids, from 2300 to 3000 fps in calibers 7mm and less.

I just don't use BTs anymore except in the .243 for Pronghorn. I want DRT with proper placement and I have not seen that consistently with the BTs. I have a bunch of Accubonds, Siroccos and ELDX. In 7mm, have seen improvement with the AccuBonds, but not enough times to say they are where I will stay.
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Old February 12, 2022, 09:04 AM   #4
std7mag
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The 140gr Ballistic Tip is my go to for 7mm-08.
I've been using the 150gr in my 284 Win, 280 Rem, and 7mm Rem Mag.

I'm loading up the 120gr Ballistic Tip in my daughter's 7X57 Mauser.

I also use them with good results in my 25 calibers. 100gr for my 250Savage. 115gr in my 257 Roberts & AI.
I'll also use the 115gr in my new to me 25 WSSM.

I too have had several tracking jobs that went way further than they should have with Barnes bullets.
Cutting Edge & Hammers are what you seek for Mono's.

I've never seen Interbonds labeled as a premium bullet before.
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Old February 12, 2022, 07:13 PM   #5
riverratt
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I went ahead and purchased 300 of the 120gr ballistic tips while they were in stock. I'll just have to wait and see how they do with some testing before feeling confident in their terminal performance. I threw together some loads using 41-43gr, in .5gr increments of AA 4064 and a .070" jump, just a number that I always start at. Best 5 shot group measures about .6" at 100 yards. Best 3 of that group fell just over .3". I'm gonna play with seating depth to try to bring in those 2 "flyers" but even if I don't I'm happy with that group. Following my load testing I'll shoot some wetpack. The Nosler tech told me that the jacket alone weighs about 60 grains so I'll see how well it'll hold together soon enough.
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Old February 13, 2022, 07:58 AM   #6
std7mag
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With cup & core bullets, i usually seat 0.020" from the lands.
It's where i've had best accuracy over the years.

I've only recovered 2 Ballistic Tips in the 30+ years of using them.
Those the 100gr out of my 250 Savage this year.

The buck i shot, i appearantly didn't see a branch between me and him. Caused the bullet to tumble, and hit high and right from where i was aiming.
We searched almost an hour for him, but no blood trail.
My friends mom found him next morning, 15ft from her tree stand.
Bullet hole was oblonged, high & back on his left side. He made it about 200 yards. Bullet was found stuck sideways in the spine.

The doe i shot was quartered away. Found the bullet under the hide on the off side, after it had gone through the shoulder. She went 5 yards, spinning & dropped.

When i find another 7mm-08 (i shot the barrel out of mine & rebarreled in 250Savage), i'll keep loading the 140gr Ballistic Tip.

My next grabbed bullet is the 140gr Berger VLD.
But don't expect an exit hole!
They go in 1-3 inches then come apart.
Put in the ribcage, they do MASSIVE internal damage!
But avoid hitting the shoulder!

I'm not exactly sure what your after as far as bullet performance.
Wetpack isn't a game animal.
Chit happens when a bullet enters a body. Lots of it still unexplained.
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Last edited by std7mag; February 13, 2022 at 08:14 AM.
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Old February 13, 2022, 10:28 AM   #7
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Here is what I know about NBT bullets from a lot of deer shot with the .308 125 grain bullets at a starting velocity of 3000 fps at the muzzle. They flat out work, and work very well. I would not hesitate to use that 120 grain you bought on deer at the velocity your talking about.

My daughter with a M700 .300 Savage and Howa Alpine .308 Win has taken close to 30 animals in the last eight years with the 125 grain .308 ballistics tip including one cow elk. 20+ whitetail, 5 pronghorn, 3 mule deer bucks, and the 1 elk is a pretty good test of one bullet. Ranges has been 25 yards to over 400, there have been a few bad shots but that was never the bullets fault. The only animal my daughter said she wants a different bullet for is elk. I used that bullet because she was recoil sensitive starting out at 11 years old with the .300 Savage.

I talked with Nosler as well years ago, and was told the same thing the jacket on the lighter bullets is thicker. I joined the Nosler forum and saw some sectioned Ballistic Tip bullets, and the jackets did appear thicker on the lighter bullets. The person from Nosler explained the 130 grain and up .308 bullets all started with the same "cup" (jacket) and all the cups were thicker at the base. They just trim the cup to match the core plug they're going to use, so naturally as you shortened up the cup it became thicker.
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Old February 14, 2022, 12:16 AM   #8
riverratt
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I generally start with a .070" jump to find a decent powder charge then walk it in .010" at a time to find best accuracy, generally I find it somewhere between .020" and .040". This load in particular seems to be best at .050" for whatever reason. I tested some loads today and the groups slowly tightened up until I hit that point, then marginally opened up until I hit .020". At that point the group opened up to 1.5" and .010" was even worse.
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Old February 14, 2022, 12:34 AM   #9
riverratt
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My past experience with ballistic tips were in the early 2000's where I shot a 165gr out of a 30/06 at a whitetail. The shot placement was high shoulder, I found the base of the bullet resting against the shattered spine, wasn't very happy with that.

I ran my 1st test today, I call it my fragmentation test. In this test I shoot a heat treated 1" thick board with a milk jug behind it and multiple layers of dry cardboard behind that at a distance of 50 yards. The intent of this is not to catch the bullet but to "mimic" a small bone strike before entering the chest cavity, then inspect the fragmentation pattern through the cardboard. The little bullet passed this test, I only found 3 moderate sized frags of lead that weighed 16gr and no jacket material. Next test will be wetpack. What I will say is this 120gr nosler has already started off better then the SST I used last year which left the cardboard looking like it was hit with .22 rat shot.
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Old February 14, 2022, 04:04 PM   #10
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My experience with NBTs is very slim. Not to take this OT but one deer shot with the original 140 gr. NBT bullet cost me one of the only two deer I have lost in many years of hunting. The bullet was one from when Nosler boxed the NBTs in 100 round boxes. Then they dropped to boxes of 50 at the same price. It was probably at this time they toughened up the jackets for that bullet. I hold by several sources that Nosler uses that same jacket for the 120 gr. bullet by trimming the excess jacket from the nose. I've also heard way to many good things about that bullet but personally have no desire to use it. My choice for my 7x57s loaded to 7-08 levels runs to the 150 gr. Nosler Partition. FWIW, the rifles are a Winchester M70 and Ruger #1A.
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Old February 16, 2022, 08:12 PM   #11
std7mag
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A more realistic test would be a couple layers of denim, a rack of pork ribs, a bag of oranges or grapefruit, another rack of pork ribs, and another couple layers of denim.

Did the deer die with the SST?
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Old February 17, 2022, 01:21 AM   #12
riverratt
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Haha, and the new and improved high tech fleece bullet stop.

Yes the sst killed the deer, with a 162gr bullet at 2600fps It's hard not to kill a deer if hit properly. I'm not saying that the bullet failed as I kill more with pointy sticks then I do bullets and know shot placement is king. What I didn't like about the sst was that a 162gr 7mm bullet at 2600fps should have no issue passing through on a quartering shot where only a rib was hit on entry, not be left inside the chest cavity. All I'm trying to figure out is the limitations of this particular bullet before taking it into the field.
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Old February 17, 2022, 10:49 AM   #13
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This is from Hornady on SST.

Short for "Super Shock Tip" the Hornady® SST® is designed to deliver tremendous shock on impact while expanding quickly and reliably, particularly at higher velocities.
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Old February 19, 2022, 10:03 AM   #14
std7mag
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My friend had a buck run up on him during rifle season.

7mm Rem Mag with 154gr SST at 5 yards, frontal shot. Nicked the inside of the right front shoulder.
We found the bullet in it's liver.
Deer traveled zero yards.
We were surprised that we found the bullet.
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Old May 14, 2022, 06:06 AM   #15
reynolds357
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I have Used the 120 ballistic tip hunting in 7-08 on 4 or 5 deer. The Orig ballistic tip was virtually a Coyote bullet in 120, but the new design performs pretty decent. My experience: The new 120 bt will not exit. It produces relatively fast kills. Produces pretty decent blood trail. Does create excessive damage if shoulder shot. I see it as a ling bullet that will make a shoulder kill at the cost of throwing away 1/3rd of a shoulder.

Last edited by reynolds357; May 14, 2022 at 09:43 AM.
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Old May 14, 2022, 01:00 PM   #16
603Country
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I shoot BTs in my 260 (100s and 120s) and 270 (130s). Hundreds of deer over the decades have been terminated successfully. I shoot them in the lungs mostly and can’t remember not getting an exit. Mostly I use the 260 these days, and either the 100 or 120 will exit a deer, but they rarely exit a hog if I shoot them behind the shoulder. One thing of interest is that, on deer, the 100s kill just as well as the 120s. I used the 100s for a few years and then went to the 120s, and I just don’t see a difference. It’s a great bullet for medium game, and if it didn’t work for a few of you, I’ll suggest user error not bullet error.
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Old May 14, 2022, 03:22 PM   #17
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I load the 120 gr Ballistic Tips in my son's 7mm BR at about 2,500 fps. I figure at that speed they ought to penetrate well and not grenade on impact. I still remember the original BTs, they blew up on impact, they were absolutely worthless for hunting. Sure, they would kill deer, but what won't? I remember fist-sized entry wounds with no exits on deer. I stuck with Partitions until I got a screaming deal a few years back on 150 gr 7mm Accubonds. They shoot well, haven't killed anything with them yet.
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Old May 14, 2022, 04:19 PM   #18
603Country
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I killed an awful lot of deer and pigs with that Gen 1 Nosler BT. Never a problem. Shot a boar hog that the rancher said (later) weighed almost 400 pounds. The Gen 1 BT went through to the shield on the off side. The hog was at about 50 yards, and the 270’S MV of the 130 gr bullet was aprox 3000 fps. I even sent that Gen 1 BT through two pigs when they were side by side, on several occasions. My point being that I never knew they were too fragile. Worked fine for me. Just don’t try to hit shoulder bones and avoid quartering shots if you can.
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Old May 14, 2022, 08:05 PM   #19
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Nosler quietly started changing the Ballistic Tip several years ago. Newer bullets for all practical purposes will penetrate just as well as the Accubonds or Partitions. But they tend to be more accurate, and cost less than the others.

I'd not hesitate to use newer Ballistic Tips for any game. With the proper bullet weight of course. The 120's in a 7mm are probably a fine choice for deer. Would want a heavier 7mm bullet for larger game.
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