Why do you shoot the bullet that you prefer? - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Default Why do you shoot the bullet that you prefer?

While considering an additional response to a thread here, I started to write why I like the Nosler Partition, then decided not to hi-jack the thread. So let's talk bullets and why we like specific ones.

I hunt long and narrow planted shooting lanes, planted dirt access roads, and planted strips immediately adjacent to State lands, which pump wildlife, and preclude hunting or armed carry there. Adjacent vegetation is thick, uncompromising, swamp and oak hammock with tangled saw palmettos and palmetto palm thickets. You do NOT want an injured hog or deer to run across the property line into that thicket as recovery will most likely be (and has historically been) unfavorable. Not every time, but enough.

I am not going in there on hands and knees to recover a guest's wounded pig (we shoot a lot of pigs). Even a 65# pig will charge you if confronted or cornered in close quarters. Anchoring game in their tracks is the watchword I have learned and stress. I have historically gone in there when not putting the bullet where it must be in the first place. I didn't let the game get away to suffer and die due to some stupid action or missed action on my part. Lessons learned, which is knowledge of what must be done to prevent bad experience, come from prior bad experience.

I have found over multiple seasons, across multiple states, while deer and hog hunting with various bullet choices, that the Nosler Partition is best suited to what I need it to do, when I do with the rifle what I have learned to do, and that is to anchor game in their tracks without destroying meat.

They don't take it well in the neck. You can admonish and advocate to take the body shot, heart and lungs, larger target, etc. I use a rest, a solid rest. I practice and am confident. I know my range, my rifle, my breathing, my heart rate, and "see" the end result before pulling the trigger. I know where the bullet is going to go. I take the shot if it is right, hold back if it is wrong, and will let game walk. I have learned over a lot of trigger time (and in that perhaps "grown up" a bit) that I do not need to shoot everything that steps out and not everything that steps out presents itself in an ideal way. Like girlfriends and busses (what do I know of girlfriends - I'm married), just be still and another will come along soon enough. It is the hunt, not the kill, that satisfies the soul.

The Nosler partition anchors game in its tracks for me.

Last edited by land_owner; 02-17-2020 at 10:06 AM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 03:53 PM
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Most of the game I've shot has been shot with the Remington Core Loct in factory ammo, the Hornady old style PSP also in factory ammo or with Nosler PT or Nosler BT.

All Nosler BTs were hand loaded as were a lot of the Nosler PTs but I shot the factory Federal Premium 150 Nosler PT a lot in the .270. That was my favorite load in that rifle and shot better than any of my reloads. I've also reloaded the PT in several calibers and rifles over the years and also the BT.

In my .257 Wheatherby I load the 120 Nosler PT, sometimes the Nosler 115 PT and the Barnes 115 TSX. I've never shot anything with the Barnes cuz I'm just not sure I trust it to expand. The 120 PT is instant death.

I've never been one to shoot only one brand or type within the brand. I've hunted with a lot of different calibers in both rifles and TC handguns over the years. But I could be happy using only the Nosler PT and nothing else.

Since I don't hunt anymore I mostly just shoot on the range and there are much cheaper bullets to shoot that are just as accurate so I don't load much PTs these days other than for the .257 WHBY.

I've always been one to prefer an exit and that's one thing I like about the PT it always exits. But most times the others do also as long as you use bullets on the middle to upper side of the weight range for the caliber. Ballistic tips sometimes don't exit but they do kill quickly with proper placement.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 04:16 PM
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what graybeard said!
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 04:46 PM
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Mostly 180 and 200 Nosler Partition and Swift A Frame 200. Some Speer 180 and 200 hot core. In 30-06 and 300 Win Mag. I live and hunt in brown bear country so feel I need to have a stout bullet just in case.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 05:29 PM
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For deer I use Sierra GameKings up to and including some 30 caliber rifles. Makes 2 holes and very accurate.
For my 30-06 and 303B use 180 Rem CoreLokts Inexpensive and they just work fine on deer, hogs and coyotes. Shot diagonally, I find the bullet under off-side skin.
For wife's 30-06s I use 150 Nosler Partitions loaded down to 2,500 fps. Low recoil and still expands. Same if shot diagonally.
For 8x57 I use the 200 Nosler Partitions. Punches 2 holes in hogs.
For 9.3x62 I use 286 Nosler Partitions. Punches straight thru everything(s). Has made 4 holes in 2 hogs.
For 458Win Mag I use 450 Barnes Banded solids and 450 Swift-As. I got both to shoot to the same POI.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 06:01 PM
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i hunt in heavy cover, when the shots at deer/black bear are 30-40 yards. i shot an 8 pt (130gr nosler bt/imr4320) thru the brush at 12'(yes, feet). he ran away after the shot, but only about 25ish yards. the shot entered the shoulder and broke apart to many many pieces. lung soup with chunks of heart were on the menu. the shoulder meat had to be thrown away. i have shot a doe about 125+/- yards with the 130gr nosler bt
and it did mushroom. i shot many deer with the 130gr bt, most were up close (100 yards and under) but some were 100 - 365+/- yards away.

i figure hornady interlocks (the original hornady bullet) are the best choice for deer/black bear. i can't count how many deer fell to these bullets that i reload for. they go into the deer/black bear, mushroom and then go out of the deer/black bear.

Greybeard, i have shot the barnes x bullet back in the day. it was 50/50 chance that expansion could occur. it was the reason that i gave up on barnes. its the reason that i gave up on monolithic bullets. tho they say that barnes and hornady monolithic bullets mushrooms.

but back to the bullets i prefer. i prefer .311 - .512" cast boolits to use on deer/black bear and targets(steel, rocks, bottles, cans....). i like them to be flat nose, but round nose boolit are ok too. i use a 40 lead 1 tin in my 44 spl and lyman #2 in my 35/30-30 and 10 lead 1 tin from my 444 marlin. the fastest i go is 1930fps in a 30-40 krag with a 165gr ranch dog(10 lead 1 tin). the slowest rifle(tc encore with 23" MGM barrel) is a 500 linebaugh with 450gr lfn gc that goes 1235fps(22 bhn, montana bullet works). the reason why i like cast boolits is they damage the lungs while not damaging the meat. of course they do an entrance and exit wound.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 07:21 PM
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I think most of my larger bodied big game has been taken with Nosler Partitions. 375 H&H, 338 Win mag, 30-06, 308 mostly at elk and bigger bodied mulies. For whitetails, I've leaned towards the Nosler Ballistic Tips in my 25 cals and 6mm's (and sometimes 308 Win). For me, they just seem to work, and work reliably. I know if I do my part, and pick a suitable caliber, and a proper weighted (I prefer heavy for caliber) bullet in that caliber, then all I have to do is aim properly. The bullet will do it's job. I've never recovered a Partition bullet, not even in an elk. I always get an exit wound, even if driving the bullet through both front shoulders on a heavy bodied bull. That's also one of the benefits of using heavy bullets in suitable calibers (375 and 338).

I also load Hornady bullets for varmints up to coyotes. In my 22 centerfires up to my current 243 Win, it's the Hornady Vmax that gets the job done for me. The added benefit of being able to purchase the component bullets in larger boxes (500 ct boxes) is a nice plus when out shooting prairie dogs. The 50 gr Vmax from my 22-250, or the 87 gr Vmax from my 243 Win will still anchor a coyote in it's tracks while serving as a superb bean bear (prairie dog) bullet. It's a win-win.

The "odd one out" for me is my 375 JDJ, which I load the Hornady 270 gr spire point, and my 35 Rem that gets either the 200 gr round nose Rem Corelok'd if I can find them, or the Hornady 200 gr round nose if I can't.

If I find a bullet that works, I stick with it. Same with powders or other components. Once I get the "Load" for a hunting rig, I keep using that one. I don't jump around anymore, trying this or that, or the next "great" or (Heaven help us) EXTREME anything.

Heck, I'm still loading H-380 in my 22-250, which in today's world, seems to be some form of heresy.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 08:33 PM
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I'm old fashioned. Still using the same cup and core bullets with exposed lead soft points. Tried the Partitions, Grand Slams, A Frames and Trophy Bonded, Barnes... but they all have one thing in common with the cup and core bullets: They all work best if you actually hit the animal's vitals. Otherwise it doesn't really matter how much that bullet cost.

Speer Hot Core, Hornady Interlock and Sierra Game King or Pro Hunter. That's all you need. Just buy one of these that you can count on being available over the long haul. Once you develop a good load just stop there and don't change a thing.

All of my favorite creatures have white bottoms.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 07:09 AM
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All I ever truly handloaded for hunting was my 22/250. I lived in New Jersey at the time, and a rifle was allowed for groundhog, but shotgun only for deer.....yes, they are backward over there.

Sierra #1410, or Hornady #2250 were the best, (also 100% interchangable) bullets. What they did to whislepigs was scary, and messy. The accuracy was unreal. Both capable of 1/4" @ 100yds on a good day out of my old Rem 700.

For deer, we loaded our own slugs, Lyman 525gr pure lead cast in a "homemade" sabot cut down from a Win yellow wad, with Ballistic Products hard cards and their X12X powder seal. That wad collumn was closed in with a roll crimp. We used several powders, but 40.0grs of Alliant Bluedot worked the best. We dropped deer where they stood, like they were pole axed.

Fast forward many years, and the 20 ga with Remington 3" Accutips give the best accuracy, but I find myself needing to track more deer than with the handloads, but I can reliably hit the heart/lungs out to 200 yds.

Bucks County limits the guns which are lawful, and that means rimfire for varmit AND coyote. CCI A17 in my 17 HMR is the best choice available there.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-18-2020, 07:40 AM
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I am fond of both Jack O' and Elmer Keith so I shoot a wide variety of bullets. 240 grain XTP in 44 mag or 45 Colt for hunting and my own cast for plinking. My 450 bushmaster likes 200 grain XTPs at 2500 fps. I have not shot a deer with that load in the 450 yet as both the gun and the load are very recent. I'll finish my evaluation on this round after next deer season. Cup and core soft points for the most part for medium sized game. I love the Core-lokts and have never had one fail me. Same for the Hornady 120 SPT in my 7mm-08. If I could only keep one gun and load for the lower 48 it would be the 120 SPT and one of my 7mm-08s. For coyotes I shoot either Hornady V-max or Nosler Varmageddon bullets. A 58 grain V-max from a 243 at 3800 fps really lets the air out of a coyote. A 40 grainer from a 222 or 223 does very well on coyotes in more settled areas.
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