Nytracker

Bullet choices for deer.

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Ok so this is not  a caliber ... gun bashing  thread .  Just honest  discussion  of bullet performance on deer and bear size  game 

For me I want a bullet that gives decent expansion  without  shedding weight ...  gernading... fragmenting .  I want 2 holes .... every time . So penetration  .  Above else the bullet has to be accurate  out of my rifle .Said bullet should  perform from  30 yds to 300. These are my requirements  for my  style of hunting .

I understand that some calibers are limited for distance ... 

I have limited experience  as far as calibers . 30/06 , 308 , 270,243..  

 So what are your thoughts  and expectations.  

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25-06. Best deer round out to 300yds. Love my 25's for deer. I believe I read an intensive article including thousands of deer kills and the 25 caliber bullet came out on top of them all.

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Not sure why some are so intent on 2 holes.  I used to shoot a slug gun but loved the feel of my ML so much better so in the safe the slug gun sits. Shot lightfields for years. Energy dump ! Who cares on exit when the deer falls over where you shot it. I pulled slug out from under skin on 3 consecutive deer from opposite shoulder of impact   Shots were 10 yards with 3” slug , approx 40 and 75 yards. My rifle ammo knowledge somewhat limited but Hornady SST’s offer all I need to know   7mm-08

Edited by turkeyfeathers
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Unfortunately no matter what we think when we pull the trigger, what happens down range isn't always what we want...that is when we don't want excuses, but we need the bullet to hold together and/ or penetrate through what bone it hits to disable the deer and provide as much shock a possible...and here is the tricky part.... without blowing the poor darn animal to mincemeat and wasting a lot of meat. That is where historically 30 cal. bullets have enough mass to ballistic coefficient for stability, delivering foot lbs of energy and holding together. Of course, there is a tremendous wide range of weights available at a very wide range of speeds, for ones preference of range and power: thus we have the modest but capable 30-30 right up to 300 win mag. Of course, the 7 mm is very close, and the 8mm rds .32 cal/ 8mm, are right there. It is pretty easy to come up with an individual study (like any other statistic ) that will prove a point for an ideal cartridge/ financial plan or whatever, but I myself have no faith in lighter weight bullets holding together to do the job I want. I have long preferred for deer /mediumsized game 165 grain range in .308, or 175 grain range in 8x57. 150 grain should be fine, but I don't like the shorter projectile profile for stability. 

Moreover than anything...knowing what your round does at varying ranges, (NO ROUND shoots...flat) and knowing when to shoot/ when not to. 

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I had a similar  discussion  about this with a couple of hunters recently. 2 I will refer to novices  one a veteran  hunter with well over a hundred  deer kills . I was kind of amazed at the opinions . Novices were only concerned with accuracy.  The other  wanted accuracy and  penetration.  None were concerned with bullet  through penetration ... All 3 were ecstatic  with the thought of fist size exit holes. 

Edited by Nytracker

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I’m with you 100% on the 2 holes being a necessity.

For me I went to copper bullets for a few reasons but weight retention was the main one. If I did more sitting and could wait for the perfect shot I would probably have a different opinion but for my style of hunting I want to know my bullet will go end for end at any angle and the best bet for this is weight retention and controlled expansion. I use Barnes bullets but have some new copper bullets for offseason testing.

I love 35 caliber bullets for the added weight and size but if I was a one gun for all my hunting guy it would be a 308 or 30-06. Shooting 150-168gn copper bullet. The 7mm-08 would be a close 2nd but It doesn’t have the end for end performance that the heavier bigger bullets do.


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27 minutes ago, TreeGuy said:

Depends. Are you a shoulder guy, or behind the crease guy ?

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Both.  I personally  try to pick my shot given a choice . Neck or tuck  it in the crease.  In the end it's about  a quick kill and the meat. 

That said nobody is a perfect shot every time . Shots get forward. I want a bullet that's going to be the best of both worlds or as close as I can get .

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A .22 should go through a whitetails neck...... And if your picking your shot, ANY rifle caliber can kill a deer

Any round you listed of will go through ribs/ behind the crease.

Copper bullets are prob best for what your looking for, in most calibers. Rem copper solids, Hornady American whitetail, etc.


As far as 2 holes being a necessity ? I definitely disagree with that.

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For two holes almost every time there's one choice: Barnes TTSX (or some other variant of the X).

 

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Depends. Are you a shoulder guy, or behind the crease guy ?

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I’m the latter, but from now on the former. I need to switch from archery mode to gun mode and start knocking deer down in their tracks


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I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread

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2 holes not necessary when deer drops in sight with energy dump. Guns kill with trauma , arrows with bleeding out. 

The problem is when they don’t drop in sight. Guns do kill with trauma but if the deer gets out of sight and the “trauma” causes internal bleeding and it only has a .25-.30 inch entry hole to bleed from even if the deer doesn’t make it 100yds it can be very had to find. Especially if the lungs aren’t hit!

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Buckmaster7600 said:

The problem is when they don’t drop in sight. Guns do kill with trauma but if the deer gets out of sight and the “trauma” causes internal bleeding and it only has a .25-.30 inch entry hole to bleed from even if the deer doesn’t make it 100yds it can be very had to find. Especially if the lungs aren’t hit!

 

 

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Shoulder and anchor.  

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I like my deer to drop in their tracks when I hit them. So I have become a shoulder shooter when it comes to gun hunting and if they don't drop I keep shooting. I've had good luck with 165 grain Hornady SST bullets in my 30-06. I killed two deer this year and they both dropped like they were hit with the hammer of Thor. One was an eight pointer in Oklahoma at about 250 yards the other was a doe about 70 yards. Neither had huge amounts of meat wasted.

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I sit here pondering your question and thinking back to the weapons and ammo I have personally used to take Deer. Rifles, shotguns, handguns and muzzleloaders and the one thing that is apparent I have used a wide variety of bullet brands, styles-shapes and calibers.  There is nothing that really stands out head and shoulders above all others as every Deer I have ever shot except for one "anomaly" either dropped where it stood or maybe sprinted a few yards and piled up. The common denominator is they were all hit with a well placed shot into a vital area. From 222 Remington and 220 Swift to 45-70 and 338 Winchester mag and a whole lot of inbetweeners the end result was pretty much the same, dead is dead. So for me at least todays modern bullets from all manufacturers do their intended job well as long as I put them where they are supposed to go.

Al

 

Edited by airedale
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Serious Dogs For Serious Work

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The funny thing is you use SST’s and they are well know for being a very had bullet with limited expansion.


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But devastating to shoulders.... Which I think is his point.

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But devastating to shoulders.... Which I think is his point.

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Every bullet is devastating on shoulders, my point is he will get an exit hole with an SST.


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I shoot to prepare to break the shoulder if necessary, but by choice aim for the crease. When things go wrong or I misread the angle, I want that bullet to hold together. Not important to me if it goes through, but my 8mm and .308 always have. Once it makes it through any bone on the near side and the organs, who cares if it lodges inside the muscle/ etc. under the skin?  Holding behind the leg, I am taking out both lungs and have quite a bit of room for error. I rarely drop them in their tracks, but they are dead on their feet and seldom go more than 20 yards, usually ten or twenty feet (again, I routinely will NOT aim at the shoulder). I like the heart, so I aim above it (besides, most heart shot deer still run a hundred feet like a lit banshee!). I damn sure don't want to break up those shoulders and the accompanying meat. Hell, that's what I want in the first place. You hit the shoulder and you kiss the flatirons good bye. A lot of southern hunters use .27 and .25 caliber rounds, the .243 is very popular. But at the same time, the further south you go the smaller the deer are. When I hunted Georgia, I was loving the (then) 5deer limit, but my boned deer didn't equal two decent Finger Lakes deer. You don't need as much gun. It is funny when you are hunting, because when you are looking at the deer, the proportions are the same. ONce they are down on the ground its....WTF? A Three year old buck is fawn sized. My friends .270 quite literally blew a doe in half.

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I think people forget how easy deer are to kill. Deer are thin skin, light game. You don't need a premium bullet or African plains game rifle. Just put one into the crease and walk the 50 yds to your deer. Simple.

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What Lawdwaz said....Energy dump does NOT kill deer....Shutting down the CNS or  disrupting vital organs does...

Break the shoulders or hit ( or come very close to) the spine or brain  and the deer falls down right there, with just about any reasonable game bullet...  When the  you take a shot  at less than favorable angles  the copper bullets such as Barnes really shine...Not all of us mere mortals  hunt ( by choice or otherwise) from a  stand and have the luxury of waiting for a perfect broadside shot...Especially if you drive deer, stillhunt, or track deer, you have to take the shot that is presented or not shoot at all... Your only shot may be at the south end of a rapidly departing northbound buck... The prima donnas among you can moralize about taking such shots, but that is the way it is...

The last few years, I have hunted exclusively from a fixed tower stand, and now I have the luxury  of waiting for a good broadside shot....Not everybody has that opportunity  or may prefer to hunt a different way...

Oh and by the way....Those copper bullets kill deer just as well as other bullets on broadside shots, and they ALWAYS exit, which tends to leave a better blood trail just in case you need to track your deer  any distance..  Two holes are better than one...

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I’m in agreement with Chrisw. The 25-06 is my favorite round for deer and antelope. A nice combination of hard hitting, pretty easy to be dead-on with and capable of 300 yard shots with consistency. Every cartridge has pros and cons so it becomes a personal choice. And the only way to make a good choice is to get out there and gain a lot of hands on experience with various rounds. Find friends with calibers that you’re interested in and/or meet new friends at a shooting range to gain experience. The best way is to buy your own and develop a relationship with it. The idea is to buy and sell what you don’t like, but the reality is that I’ve never been good at the selling part. I’ve never acquired a gun that I thought so little of to get rid of it.

Good luck with your obsession, er, adventure.

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What Lawdwaz said....Energy dump does NOT kill deer....Shutting down the CNS or  disrupting vital organs does...
Break the shoulders or hit ( or come very close to) the spine or brain  and the deer falls down right there, with just about any reasonable game bullet...  When the  you take a shot  at less than favorable angles  the copper bullets such as Barnes really shine...Not all of us mere mortals  hunt ( by choice or otherwise) from a  stand and have the luxury of waiting for a perfect broadside shot...Especially if you drive deer, stillhunt, or track deer, you have to take the shot that is presented or not shoot at all... Your only shot may be at the south end of a rapidly departing northbound buck... The prima donnas among you can moralize about taking such shots, but that is the way it is...
The last few years, I have hunted exclusively from a fixed tower stand, and now I have the luxury  of waiting for a good broadside shot....Not everybody has that opportunity  or may prefer to hunt a different way...
Oh and by the way....Those copper bullets kill deer just as well as other bullets on broadside shots, and they ALWAYS exit, which tends to leave a better blood trail just in case you need to track your deer  any distance..  Two holes are better than one...
Energy dump and shock can/does disrupt the CNS and organs. It's not the sole killer but certainly is noticeable in rounds that travel over 3,000 fps in my experience. That's why these short mags and wildcat cartridges are so damaging and the result is a shorter blood trail. Shoot one with a 2,500fps 150gr round and then shoot the same projectile at 3,200 fps and I'll bet that deer hits the dirt quicker. There's a lot to it but fast rounds have their advantages.

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