30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ? - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

Hey Gang,
In error I posted this on the lever action forum but it really belongs here.

Some time ago (yrs) I looked into using a Hornady 90gr XTP pistol bullet in the 308.
There were various forums where contributors claimed very good accuracy and surprising performance, (including exit wounds on deer from chest hits!)
I never followed up on the idea. Now I wish I had.

My question is; has anyone here done any of this?

If yes, would you please give some details about the load and the exact shooting situation ?

I want to introduce a young lady to shooting a 308 BLR that she inherited from her daddy.
She has no center-fire shooting experience and it seems that a light-wt bullet will help reduce the recoil to something she can tolerate as a beginner.
I have more than 3 decades of hand-loading experience and I'm almost embarrassed that I haven't tried this myself. Asking around seems like a good way to start.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

Have never done that, don't intend to. But who ever said they shot deer clear though with a .30 cal pistol bullet must be shooting some very tiny deer. It would be okay for light plinking/orientation loads.

The only "light" bullet I'd use on deer would be maybe a 130 gr. Barnes X. Loaded to modest velocities it will have little recoil and still be deadly on game.

I don't have a Phd, not even a BA. But I do have a DD214.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

If you want light loads try some 110gr bullets meant for an M1 Carbine. Push 'em with Harris's "The Load" - 13 gr of Red Dot:


I'm told Hornady (?) also lists "youth loads."

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

Hodgdons has the Youth loads;

they use h4895, max load x 60%. If the link doesn't work go to the home page,, Data,, scroll down,,youth loads
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

Another option is loading a '30-30' bullet in the 125-150 grain range to a modest 2000-2200fps. There is data available out there for that.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

IMHO, everybody gets stuck on big, Big, BIG. My hunting partner shoots a 243 with a 90 gr. pill. Do not know exactly which one every time, Nosler Partition maybe, and some Sierra stuff, and they shoot right through necks, rib cage, shoulders, etc. I have killed deer with his 243 and a 90 gr. pill. Hogs too!

A 308 caliber bullet, whether pistol or rifle origin (is there really a difference? Bullet shape maybe, but not in bullet construction), should work great with the right powder and inherent velocity.

I went to the Hornady web site and found no XTP for the pistol. The only one was a 30 Mauser .308 x 86 gr. RN ($19.11/100); BC 0.105; Sectional Density 0.130. I looked at the rifle bullets and found the lightest was a 0.308 x 100 gr. Short Jacket ($18.53/100); BC 0.152; SD 0.151.

Are there better rifle bullets for the .308? Sure! Are the two herein "close" to one another? IMO, sure!

High velocity, flat trajectory, brush busting, etc., are great, but not the point for the lady. I kill hogs with the 22LR rimfire. The world record Grizzley bear from 1953 until the mid-1980's was killed with a 22LR single shot. Whould I go Grizzley hunting with a 22? **** no! IF it was all I had at the time and I needed to defend myself, it is enough gun provided the bullet is put in the right place the first time.

Bullet PLACEMENT is the real key. Confidence in one's ability and thorough familiarity with the equipment is the key to bullet placement. For the lady, recoil, velocity, trajectory, etc. are all going to be moot if she is flinching.

Oh yeah, and a steady rest. Shooting off hand should be avoided as there are just too many good rests available not to use one.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

that would be my first choise
Originally Posted by 1sourdough
Another option is loading a '30-30' bullet in the 125-150 grain range to a modest 2000-2200fps. There is data available out there for that.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

I've loaded the Hornady 90gr XTP's in a 30-30 before. They're wicked fast and very accurate. However I don't think I would hunt any larger sized critters with them, there are much better bullets for that.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?

Thanks for all your remarks guys.
I already know and generally agree with all that has been posted to this question thus far and I really do appreciate the spirit of these replies...but none of this is helpful.

My thoughts and opinions ran like most of what has been posted here thus far. That is, until I ran into the forum I mentioned.
Sure wish I could remember the exact forum. Probably a different web site entirely.
I stumbled across a forum a few years ago and was quite surprised at what was being posted. That's why the memory lasted.

A rough memory of the strongest impressions includes things like velocities over 3000-fps, very-good accuracy (under 1-inch to ragged-hole remarks) at 100 yards and a couple of posts about taking deer and other game.
I was surprised by those remarks which is why I remembered them.
Comments about the exit wounds were usually fragments as I recall but the result is the same regardless...a cleanly taken deer.
There were several comments about only shooting when a good view of the heart is presented, etc. (well duhhh?)
All of this is easy to remember because it was a stark contradiction to what I already knew and thought...like most of the replies here so far.

I've cleanly taken deer with 6mm 60gr bullets at 200+yds and have stood by and observed deer being hammered by 55gr 22-caliber fast movers at well over 300 yards.
The bullet seldom exits but the deer behaves as if struck by lightening.
A good hit is all that is needed no matter what.

Remember, the 220 Swift was originally developed as an Elk cartridge!

No offense intended guys but if you haven't actually done this you're not being helpful.

I'm hoping for the input of guys that really used the Hornady 90gr XTP bullet in the 308 rifle.

Those guys are out there somewhere.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: 30 Cal pistol bullets in the 308 ?


While I cannot say I have used the 90gr XTP on game I did load some up for testing when working up loads for my grandson.

I found however from my rifle that they were pretty erratic in both accuracy and velocities. I am guessing this was due to the short bearing surface. They are pretty short for loading in a rifle but are great in my Ruger .30 Carbine.

I found that the best over all performance was with the 130gr bullets from several manufacturers. I ended up using the 130gr Barnes TTSX and they did everything we needed doing. His load was using 42grs of H-4895 and with the 130gr bullets we were getting right at 2650 from the 16.5" barrel on the Ruger Compact. Accuracy was under 1" groups at 100yds with me behind the trigger and with him sometimes the same sometimes a bit more. But for a 4 thru 8yr old I wasn't complaining. Here is a pic of two shots he made on one of our plates at 180yds with the Barnes,

Without the cross wind he would have been spot on the bull, still good enough for the hogs we were after. And yes that is two impacts together by a 4yr old at the time.

I highly suggest trying this bullet and the Hodgdon loads out. When testing I used the loads on feral hogs out to around 200yds and with good placement, and even a couple of not so well placed shots the little Barnes pill rocked their world.

The other bullets I used in 130gr range were some bonded core handgun bullets from Alaskan Bullet Works,
Very good bullets at these velocities. Couldn't tell you how well they opened up as they went never stopped in the shots I made on three 150'ish pound hogs. I can tell you they went through both shoulder bones and all, and left half dollar sized exits.

I also used the Speer 130gr Spitzers, and also some 130gr Wildcat Bonded Core.

Like I mentioned I was so impressed with the Barnes and with the availability being a considered factor they won out. The Speer shot OK, and could have probably been tinkered with and brought around to group as well but we were at the time working against the clock to get the load worked up in order to practiced up for hunting season. With a kid of 4yrs old that meant LOTS of trigger time. We used a lot of 125gr bullets for practicing then switched up to the Barnes a couple of weeks before the season opened. He did however get his first hog with a 125gr Nosler BT, but after hitting a coyote broadside and not getting an exit, we bumped up to the 130 and never looked back.

Good luck with your loads, hope this helps some. Like I said those 90gr XTP's might work out for you, but in my rifle they were just a bit too unpredictable.
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