280AI Bullet Help

passinggas33

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Dec 10, 2017
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415
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Pullman, WA
I’m struggling and need some help. I had a custom built 280AI done up for me last year. Now that I’ve got time, been working on trying to find a load. I hunt mainly deer and elk (50/50). Most of my shots are under 500 yards, though would love to start extending that range out to 750 for elk and maybe even max out at 1000 for deer. But most likely 80-90% will stay under the 500 yard mark. Because of the animal variety, particularly the elk, I felt like I should go heavy for caliber and try the 175 ELDX. But they group poorly, with various different charges, seating depths, etc. Was recommended to try the 175 Elite Hunters from Berger. We did and got the group down to 0.6. But the problem is, I’ve never shot Bergers…ever. I’ve always been an Accubond or ELDX kind of guy. I read about inconsistent terminal performance with the Bergers and it has me super nervous. Is this more internet folklore or should I likely be looking for a different bullet? So I need some opinions and help…
Should I stick with the 175 elite hunters?
Should I keep trying to find the magic ELDX node?
Should I switch over to the ABLR 168?
Should I drop my bullets grain down into the 160 range for the ELDX and sacrifice some long range energy?
Other thoughts???

I’m seriously frustrated. I’ve built my dream rifle, but can’t find a load!! Give me your thoughts please!!!

PS This is a picture of my baby. Please help me love her even more…
 

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MallardAddict

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Rainy Western WA.
Run a pin drill into the Berger tips to make sure they aren’t clogged and go kill stuff. I’ve had erratic performance with the LR Accubond. I also would discount the 162 eld-x at 280 ai velocities as the extra velocity likely offsets the increased mass of the 175’s at the ranges your discussing.
 

Two Roads

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May 12, 2019
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Great choice on caliber. Suggest coming down on bullet weight w mono bullets. I was very pleased w 145 lrx on a bull at 350+ this year with recovered bullet in off side hide. Speed is your friend so this or hammer hunters great suggestion. I get chasing G7 BC, longtime Berger and amax user, but heavy defeats mono advantage. Also, it sounds like your rifle is sensitive to “off the land” distance.
 

Two Roads

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I re-read your post, on Bergers, they will kill like hammer of Thor with correct placement, particularly on deer. They just take investment into getting them tuned.
 
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passinggas33

passinggas33

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For those that have been using the Berger, have you been seeing those catastrophic failures that are “all over the Internet”? I’ve read good things about the hammer bullets, again just never tried them. Limited experience outside the Nosler realm.
 

harvey_nw

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WA
For those that have been using the Berger, have you been seeing those catastrophic failures that are “all over the Internet”? I’ve read good things about the hammer bullets, again just never tried them. Limited experience outside the Nosler realm.
"Catastrophic failure" stories of a bullet in a dead animal is an oxymoron. I have my 6 creed loaded with 105 VLD and my 9 yr old niece has taken 2 deer and a spike bull with it no problem. Bergers kill them plenty dead, they're just designed differently. Accuracy > brand hype.

Just out of curiosity, what seating depths have you tested?
 

wildwilderness

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Eagle River, AK
If the 175 eol is the most accurate roll with it. As mentioned check the tips and you should be fine.

I have a 7 SAUM which is a ballistic twin to the 280ai and shoot 162 eldM with great success. My barrel doesn’t like the 180s EldM with a 1:9 twist so if I wanted a heavier bullet I’d go with the 175 eol as well
 
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passinggas33

passinggas33

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Pullman, WA
I’m starting them at
"Catastrophic failure" stories of a bullet in a dead animal is an oxymoron. I have my 6 creed loaded with 105 VLD and my 9 yr old niece has taken 2 deer and a spike bull with it no problem. Bergers kill them plenty dead, they're just designed differently. Accuracy > brand hype.

Just out of curiosity, what seating depths have you tested?
Currently I’ve got them 0.015” off the lands. So running them relatively long.
 

harvey_nw

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Currently I’ve got them 0.015” off the lands. So running them relatively long.
For S&G's you should try a few at .050"+, they like jump. I'm launching the 162 ELD-M out of my Tikka 280ai and I've got them loaded to mag length which is somewhere around .100" of jump, and it shoots lights out.
 

manitou1

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Mar 29, 2017
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Wyoming
160 gr Accubond should do it for you.
Heck, I load two standard .280s (26" barrels) that get me past 600 for elk, in fps and fpe.
IMR7828 is your friend.
Very accurate bullets for me.
 

452b264

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Nov 11, 2018
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AZ
Out of the bullets you listed I would take the 175 gr. EOL. Then develop a Hammer/Absolute Hammer load.
For the 175 eol use RL 23
143 gr. Hammer hunter RL 23
140 gr. Absolute hunter H 4350 or RL 16
 

83cj-7

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You say you have tried different charges of powder. What powder and have you tried more than one? I shoot a vanilla 280 custom and it likes most powders and bullets but really shines with the right combo.
 
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passinggas33

passinggas33

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Pullman, WA
You say you have tried different charges of powder. What powder and have you tried more than one? I shoot a vanilla 280 custom and it likes most powders and bullets but really shines with the right combo.
Tried H1000 and some 4831sc. Really wanted to try some RL26 in this gun but can’t find any 🙄
 

Patterbuilt

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Apr 14, 2021
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I’m shooting 195 Berger’s out of a custom 280 ackley. Running Reloder 23 I’m pushing 2760fps. The gun is super accurate with this round -I loaded them up out of frustration with the 175ablr I was trying to run. Never intended to shoot these when I had the gun built, but I had a heap of em left over from my 28 nos…. The gun has 11 kills (I think) over the last 3 years between me and a couple friends. My furthest is 546, but a buddy shot a deer with it at 890. It laid down 3 mule deer last week -furthest one traveled was 10 steps. Maybe try em? Heck, I’d send ya a few if you’d like.
 

Marble

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For the OP, What's the twist for the barrel?

Shooting .6 groups for me would cause me to shoot it out to 600 and see how it does. That plenty of accuracy to shoot that far, and even further.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 
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passinggas33

passinggas33

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Joined
Dec 10, 2017
Messages
415
Location
Pullman, WA
For the OP, What's the twist for the barrel?

Shooting .6 groups for me would cause me to shoot it out to 600 and see how it does. That plenty of accuracy to shoot that far, and even further.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
I’ve got a 1/8 twist on a 24” proof sendero light.
 
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