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Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Waters???

2634 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  T/C nimrod
Has your opinion changed? I have recently read much more
debate about which bullet performs best on whitetail deer from the 7x30 Waters at typical handgun velocities and ranges. Seems there is support for each of the Sierra and Hornady SSPs, Hornady V-Max, Nosler BTs, also the newer Hornady SST but also disappointment has been reported in lack of expansion or lack of exit wound, etc.

Some shooters have done side by side comparisons into wet
phone books others have reported actual kills with expansion, wound channel, and weight retention results. Some data conflicts what others have reported. It doesn't seem to me there is a clear cut winner or favorite in this debate but I keep reading and digging thru the information trying to determine what would be best suited for me.

I deer hunt in Florida where our bucks are considerably lighter than those from other parts of the country. Our bucks typically average in the 120-140 lb range, occasionally heavier. My shots are likely to be anywhere from 50 to probably a max of about 150 yards. I shoot a Contender w/Super 14" barrel and at the present time am trying an UltraDot 30mm red dot type sight. Took one nice buck this year at 90 yards with Federal factory load with this combination but intend to start working up a handload for this gun this spring and am looking for more information about the various bullets and their performance at typical handgun velocities.

I had just about decided to start with the Nosler 120 grain BT but now am having doubts because of "no expansion" reports on shots where no bones were hit.

We don't get frequent opportunities for shots at deer so it is not often that we can accurately evaluate our load and bullet performance and potential from different ranges, velocities, and angles. Admittedly there are alot of varibles to consider and probably no one load or bullet will satisfy everyone. The age old argument about which is better, bigger and slower or lighter and faster usually enters the discussion but expansion at the slower handgun velocities seems to be the problem. I would like to hear of your experiences and welcome your opinions, suggestions, and information.

Thanks, Dave1
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I have mixed feelings about the Sierra 130 gr sssp. It worked extremely well on one doe and not so well on another at approx the same range. Then on a corsican ram, it did the job, but expansion didn't seem that great. I used the factory round on a large Merino ram at it worked great, but no exit hole. Then this season I hit a doe with the factory round at about 80yds. We found some good blood and trailed for 200yds never finding the doe. The guide sitting there when I shot was watching with his binoc's and said the hit was perfect. So all that to say I am thinking about a heavier bullet for my 7-30 for next season. Not sure yet.
markc :)
Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Water

:grin: I shot my deer at a paced off 275 yard last year with the 140BT. Dropped like a rock. Disappeared so fast I had to take a second look to see where it went. I have yet to be disappointed with a Nosler bullet.

Steve :lol:
Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Water

I've tried most of them and have settled on the Sierra 130 SSSP for all of my use in the 7-30. Using it I've taken a bunch of game to include varmints up thru deer, exotics and hogs. Everything is a one shot clean kill. Expansion has been excellent and all bullets have exited.

I'm not sure I believe their is a BEST bullet for everyone but I've decided this one is the best for me.

Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Water


What load did you use with the 140 BTs? What kind of accuracy and velocities are you getting?

Happy New Year!

Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Water

I think it all comes down to were the bullet is placed NOT what grain of bullet.I guess what I'm trying to say is.......use what shoots the best and put that bullet were it needs to BE.the 7x30 I had just loved 139gr SST's and 120grNBT's I would stay with one of these.
Just my :money:
Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Water

:devil2: Warning - Do not use in your barrel. Work up slowly. :devil2:

My load is 31 gr H322, Nosler 140 BT, lit by fed 210m (match) primers. I worked up this load for silhouette. Kept most shots on a 1/2 scale chicken at 200 meters using my Leupold 2X scope. I could not find the chrono slip, but the drop rate chart I have in my hunting box is on zero with 2200fps. So I have a chrono slip somewhere in one of my ammo boxes with a velocity near there. I have a custom barrel, so don't try to match this load exact in a factory barrel. Book load is 29 grain max. With my long throat barrel and my brass, I am getting a little flattening of the primers, but still have easy extraction and good case life. You need to work up in half grain increments. I think I started about 27 grains and worked up from there. My barrel is magna-ported, so recoil is minimal and flash is disipated out the ports. That's why I don't shoot it in silhouette. Good accuracy, bad for fellow competitors on the line due to noise and port blasts.

:devil2: Warning - Do not use in your barrel. Work up slowly. :devil2:

I personally would not use this on elk. I do think it is excellent for deer, antelope, small hogs, etc. Would not use this bullet on larger hogs, bear, etc, just because I have better guns with better bullets and would feel safer using something bigger and better with the more ornery critters.

Hope this helps some.

Steve :wink:
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7-30 bullet

Took three deer with my 7-30 with 120 grain NBT over 35 grains of Win 748...13" VVCG barrel.

All three deer dropped at the shot through chest. Appears I clipped a rib on two at entrance and the spine on the other so terminal performance was impressive on all three, and I still got exit holes.

Want to pick a load for Caribou now!
Best Deer Hunting Bullet for the 7x30 Water

:p Bullet selection for this caliber is very broad - as you have read. The one thing to remember is you will not achieve rifle velocities out of a Contender! I went through bullet performance this past deer season in Pa., Harvesting two(2) deer with zero(0) bullet expansion. You have to look at sectional density and ballistic coeffiecents of whichever bullet you decide to use. There are manufactures that produce bullets just for lower handgun velocities. And another good point was made - it doesn't matter how good your bullet works if you can't put it in a lethal spot. Good luck - I enjoy mine!
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