Bullet design for modest hunting distance on all game

Erussell01

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Out of something "old" and "archaic" like my 308.... is there a bullet that really can do it all from close up to 400? How much of it is bullet design and how much is really placement? I haven't seen enough game fall to a rifle to be able to know what it means when a bullet performs or doesn't, other than I know the remington corelokt I inherited with my grandpas 30-06 is very different than the new core lokt. I'm an archery hunter, so I appreciate the insite and I want to learn.

I'm making a case in my head for a one size fits all bullet for deer, antelope and elk. Is that really a thing?

Is there such a thing as too much bullet on lighter game? Will A heavily jacketed, controlled expansion bullet built for elk size game perform poorly on deer and antelope ?

My 308 really likes 178 grain terminal ascent, 150 grain nosler partitions, 165 grain accubonds, 130 grain ballistic tips, and it absolutely does not like core lokts..at all. And I was pretty unimpressed by what I saw with them at short range on deer over the last 5 or 6. All died, but only one exited and no blood trail which really shocked me.

Teach me more
 
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Erussell01

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I've fed my 300WSM nothing by 180ABs since 2006. Big critters, little critters, near, and far with nothing but good results.

The AB might not be a perfect bullet, but it's pretty darn close in my book.
What makes it so good?
 

ArcherAdam

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Accubond fan here too. It is the controlled expansion. It should not blow-up on you at any range. It would not be a bad idea though to look into an all copper or "mono" bullet. We could be seeing more restrictions on lead in the future like California has. You would just need to go lighter because the speed relates to expansion.

Regardless though..shot placement is critical and expansion or not--anything with a hole in the heart or lungs is short lived. So though a 165 or 180 controlled expansion bullet maybe be more than sufficient on antelope, I would not want a bullet the other way around if trying larger game in a one-sized fits all gun.

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Erussell01

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Accubond fan here too. It is the controlled expansion. It should not blow-up on you at any range. It would not be a bad idea though to look into an all copper or "mono" bullet. We could be seeing more restrictions on lead in the future like California has. You would just need to go lighter because the speed relates to expansion.

Regardless though..shot placement is critical and expansion or not--anything with a hole in the heart or lungs is short lived. So though a 165 or 180 controlled expansion bullet maybe be more than sufficient on antelope, I would not want a bullet the other way around if trying larger game in a one-sized fits all gun.

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I'm a little sketched out about shooting antelope with a big bullet and having meat loss. I stayed off the shoulder last year, my wife did not. We ended up with 7.5 antelope quarters that were edible and I really wish I had more LOL.

With an accubond in the 165 weight, do you feel it would be one of those "sight your rifle in, buy 4 boxes and forget it" type of rounds? I can't find them anywhere here but I have about 10 left.
 

hodgeman

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What makes it so good?
On game performance shows good expansion, straight penetration, and typically a large exit. I've only recovered 2 bullets out of dozens of animals and both looked like an ad photo from Nosler. I've never shot an animal that didn't die in short order- no long tracking jobs, etc.

I've never had one fail to expand and 'pencil' through and I've never had one 'blow up' and rupture leaving fragments.

One of the ones I recovered was a close frontal shot on a caribou- hit high and it tracked straight down the spine. It shattered 6 veterbrae and came to rest under the hide in the offside ham. Impact speed was north of 2900fps. It still weighed 65% of a new one...that was a lot to ask of a bullet. I was impressed.
 

ArcherAdam

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I'm a little sketched out about shooting antelope with a big bullet and having meat loss. I stayed off the shoulder last year, my wife did not. We ended up with 7.5 antelope quarters that were edible and I really wish I had more LOL.

With an accubond in the 165 weight, do you feel it would be one of those "sight your rifle in, buy 4 boxes and forget it" type of rounds? I can't find them anywhere here but I have about 10 left.
A 165 accubond out of a 308 absolutely. That is good for nearly anything that walks!

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amassi

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Given the velocity of the 308 ID give the nod to the ballistic tip over the accubond. Perfect for deer and antelope.
If you were really worried about using a bonded bullet for elk the ballistic tip and accubond are typically interchangeable at the same grain wt.

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hereinaz

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So many factors because bullets perform differently so it comes down to what you want, how you shoot, and hunt.But, in the end all the bullets are gonna kill if you can make the shot. Except at the extreme conditions they will all kill.

You can only come to the “right” decision by choosing what you want most from a bullet.

Don’t be confused by what factors others like and choose to make their decision.

In a .308 inside 400 yards the bullet choice won’t matter much as a practical choice.
 

SADSZN

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Federal terminal ascent. They are imo the best all around. Will get good close range expansion (here in oregon on the coast that is very important as a lot of shots are sub 50 yards) but will still fly great for long distances. I shoot the 200 grain in 300 win mag and it gets good expansion out too 1200 yards. personally would not push my 300 win mag past MAYBE 800 more like 600. But best all around without having a bullet flow up and destroy all the meat at close range is the terminal ascent line from federal in my opinion!
 
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Erussell01

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It sounds like most people would agree that for the 308, an accubond, terminal ascent or similar might be the way to go.

Do you guys find a difference in terminal performance with a change in the weight of the bullet?

For example, a 150 grain bullet vs a 165 vs a 178 or 180?

I like how my gun shoots with the terminal ascents, and the trophy bonded bullets, but again, is a 178 grain bullet too much for antelope?
 

ElPollo

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A lot of this discussion has focused bonded or controlled expansion bullets. I think there’s a place for them but I would personally lean towards using them in rounds that are faster than the 308. My preference for a 308 would be something that opens at lower velocities like the 155 gr Lapua Scenar or the 150 gr Sierra TMK. If I was sticking to factory loads, I would likely avoid the premium bonded stuff and stick with traditional 150 gr cup and core or maybe something like a Berger or ELDM. Tougher bullets in a slower round usually results in less damage and more tracking.
 

Antares

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How much of it is bullet design and how much is really placement?

I would say 90% shot placement and 10% bullet design.

You can waste a lot of mental energy wringing your hands about bullet X vs bullet Y or 150 gr vs 180 gr. Go on, ask me how I know. Find something your rifle shoots well (e.g., <0.8 MOA), bonus points if it's cheap and readily available (relatively speaking of course). After that, focus on basic marksmanship. Exercise restraint while you're in the field by only taking (very) high percentage shots and you'll be successful. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
 

dla

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Out of something "old" and "archaic" like my 308.... is there a bullet that really can do it all from close up to 400? How much of it is bullet design and how much is really placement? I haven't seen enough game fall to a rifle to be able to know what it means when a bullet performs or doesn't, other than I know the remington corelokt I inherited with my grandpas 30-06 is very different than the new core lokt. I'm an archery hunter, so I appreciate the insite and I want to learn.

I'm making a case in my head for a one size fits all bullet for deer, antelope and elk. Is that really a thing?

Is there such a thing as too much bullet on lighter game? Will A heavily jacketed, controlled expansion bullet built for elk size game perform poorly on deer and antelope ?

My 308 really likes 178 grain terminal ascent, 150 grain nosler partitions, 165 grain accubonds, 130 grain ballistic tips, and it absolutely does not like core lokts..at all. And I was pretty unimpressed by what I saw with them at short range on deer over the last 5 or 6. All died, but only one exited and no blood trail which really shocked me.

Teach me more
Ok, here goes.
  • Stop arguing with dead animals. If a bullet kills the animal - good. Don't expect that a pretty mushroom kills any better.
  • trigger time is way more important than bullet selection. So if shooting Hornady Interlocks lets you get in 3x more trigger time, that is more important than paying $1/shot for the mythical (can't find them anywhere) Nosler Accubonds.
 

hereinaz

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It sounds like most people would agree that for the 308, an accubond, terminal ascent or similar might be the way to go.

Do you guys find a difference in terminal performance with a change in the weight of the bullet?

For example, a 150 grain bullet vs a 165 vs a 178 or 180?

I like how my gun shoots with the terminal ascents, and the trophy bonded bullets, but again, is a 178 grain bullet too much for antelope?
Too much? What does that mean? Is there too much dead?

I shot my Buffalo with Federal Gold Medal Match with 168s out of my 308. I would shoot an Antelope with the same or even my 7mm with 180. I want a dead antelope.
 
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Erussell01

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A lot of this discussion has focused bonded or controlled expansion bullets. I think there’s a place for them but I would personally lean towards using them in rounds that are faster than the 308. My preference for a 308 would be something that opens at lower velocities like the 155 gr Lapua Scenar or the 150 gr Sierra TMK. If I was sticking to factory loads, I would likely avoid the premium bonded stuff and stick with traditional 150 gr cup and core or maybe something like a Berger or ELDM. Tougher bullets in a slower round usually results in less damage and more tracking.
Interesting. I thought the exact opposite. Two holes for more blood on the ground, but maybe I'm wrong! Great perspective man. Thanks
 
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Erussell01

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Ok, here goes.
  • Stop arguing with dead animals. If a bullet kills the animal - good. Don't expect that a pretty mushroom kills any better.
  • trigger time is way more important than bullet selection. So if shooting Hornady Interlocks lets you get in 3x more trigger time, that is more important than paying $1/shot for the mythical (can't find them anywhere) Nosler Accubonds.

I would say 90% shot placement and 10% bullet design.

You can waste a lot of mental energy wringing your hands about bullet X vs bullet Y or 150 gr vs 180 gr. Go on, ask me how I know. Find something your rifle shoots well (e.g., <0.8 MOA), bonus points if it's cheap and readily available (relatively speaking of course). After that, focus on basic marksmanship. Exercise restraint while you're in the field by only taking (very) high percentage shots and you'll be successful. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Haha that's awesome.

Off season is hard on me. I don't have much else to occupy my thoughts so I go down the rabbit hole of what I could do to be better. I work out religiously, know how to clean and maintain all my weapons, practice calling, stalking and glassing, but the one thing I can't practice is how the bullet will do upon impact.

In the field, I'm ultra conservative. I'm borderline wussy when it comes to shot selection. I wish I wasn't, but I hate losing animals. Hate it.

I do actually shoot a lot. I shoot multiple times a month with all of my rifles, and multiple times a week leading up to a hunt. I hate not being prepared.

I know I'm probably overthinking....
 

ElPollo

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Interesting. I thought the exact opposite. Two holes for more blood on the ground, but maybe I'm wrong! Great perspective man. Thanks
What makes you think you need a bonded or controlled expansion bullet to get an exit hole with a 308? If you want a bunch of examples of how the bullets I mentioned work on game, Google “deceased by scenar”.
 
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