Best premium all around bullet


musky hunter
May 30, 2003, 02:42 PM
Hi, i was wondering what is the best all around premium bullet. One that shoots accurate, retains weight far or away, deep pentration, excellent expanding, and will not explode when hitting bone. Also distance shot will not effect the effectiveness of bullet.

Swift A-Frame
Ballistic Silvertip
Scirroco Bonded
Core Loct ultra

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Pat S
May 30, 2003, 03:23 PM
I like a Nosler Partition for hunting. It is reasonably accurate for hunting purpose, affordable, and has a proven track record on big game.
I would like to try a bonded bullet in the future and think a Scirroco or the new Nosler bonded Ballistic tip would be a good choice. I just hate the idea of spending that much for bullets that may not actually perform any better then a partition.

May 30, 2003, 03:37 PM
I really like Barnes X. I've also had good luck with trophy bonded and Nosler partition.

By far and away the X penetrates best. The trophy bonded is next and the Partition has had the largest number of failures.

With that being said I still use the partition the failures I ve had have all still killed the animal.But I wouldn't ever use a partition on big stuff.

Another ineresting bullet is the rhino solid shank from South africa. They make a really tough good expanding bullet. I've used one on a big hog out of a .300WSM with great success. And they are fairly cheap compared to the other premium bullets. But that was buying them in the RSA I don't know what they want for them here.

musky hunter
May 30, 2003, 03:58 PM
I have heard that the Partition is not as well designed as the Fail-Safe and Swift A-Frame bullets. Would you use these premium bullets for deer or would you stick to the fast expanding bullets like Power Point Plus and Core Lokt.

May 30, 2003, 04:30 PM
For deer I use the 150gr .308 corelokt. I find the premium boned and partitions and such over penetrate on deer. They kill them all right but they tend to zip through a deer not knocking him over like a fast expander does. I've also killed plenty of deer with partitions and barnes-X so to answer your question I wouldn't hesitate to use them if that's what I had in the gun.

Of all the premium bullets I rate the nosler partition as last and least but it's still a great bullet over all. The swift A-frame is a better bullet no doubt in my mind. And the fail safe/or barnes are even better I think.

May 30, 2003, 06:57 PM
Also distance shot will not effect the effectiveness of bullet. Not possible... You can have a bullet than expands under a variety of velocities, but the further the distance, all else being equal, the lower the velocity.

The Barnes X bullet seems to have a pretty sterling reputation and their new one promises to be a bit of an improvement. Also, the Hornady SSTs seem to offer a good compormise of excellent long range accuracy potential, penetration in thinner-skinned animals and reliable expansion.

May 30, 2003, 09:04 PM
With that being said I still use the partition the failures I ve had have all still killed the animal.But I wouldn't ever use a partition on big stuff.

If I may ask H&Hhunter, what kind of failures were these?

Oh yeah, and in my .260 I use 125gr Nosler Partitions out deer hunting. I suppose that the 120gr Ballistic Tip would do the same job, but I don't trust them to hold up at the impact velocities a 25-50 yard shot would put them through.

Just my .02, and remember what you paid for it! ;)

May 31, 2003, 01:24 AM
I have had great success the last several years with the Fail Safes. Never lost a deer yet. I did lose a coyote, though. Plus, with the Fail Safes, I always get to say to myself, "Who was that man? I don't know, but he left this silver bullet!"

May 31, 2003, 01:30 AM
Kodiaks pu them all to shame.


May 31, 2003, 01:35 AM
I guess that it is hard to quantify a failure if you recovered the bullet from a dead animal but here goes.

I have had numerous core seperations with the Nosler partition. And in two circumstances I've had the bullet completly come apart front and rear and all that I was able to recover was some jacket and the and the partition seperator.

I find that the Nosler partition does not tend to hold together well at all and seldom does it retain more than 50% of it's weight. Most of mny experience with the partiton is out of a 30-06 or a .308 in the 180gr bullet. So velocity shouldn't have been a problem.

A good PH friend of mine in Tanzania says that on more than one occasion hes seen the 300gr nosler break up on a Buffalo's shoulder and not penetrate to the vitals.

I think the nosler partition is a great deer bullet and an acceptable elk bullet but it lacks stoutness for the truly tough stuff like big hogs and bears and thick skinned critters.

With that being said I have used the partition on several big hogs to good effect. I'm just not as comfortable with them as I am with a Barnes.

May 31, 2003, 12:42 PM
I've never shot anything with a Partition so I can only regurgitate what I have read and lots of that concerns effective but failed Partition bullets. I don't think seperation is ever a good thing for a bullet meant for anything larger than a coyote. On the other hand, as H&H says, they still seem to kill pretty consistantly.

On the other hand, the X Bullets rarely lose more than 2% of their weight, hardly ever come apart, expand reliably at a variety of speeds and should completely penetrate as designed so why not just go with them.

Of course, this is all rendered almost silly when you consider the number of deer and elk taken with CoreLokts and PowerPoints each year. I guess I'm a believer in the theory of using whatever you have for local hunting and using something a little more ideal if going to another state. And in all honesty, the premium stuff isn't horribly more expensive than the cheapies. As I posted, the 130 Gr Hornady SSTs are $13.89 at Natchez. My local shop sells 130 Gr PowerPoints for about $12.

I mean, I wouldn't take Wolf ammo to a match, why take anything less than exceptional ammo on a hunt?

musky hunter
May 31, 2003, 01:24 PM
I just bought a few boxes of ammo. 8 boxes of remington 100gr psp, 1 box of nosler/winchester CT 130gr BST, and 2 boxes of 150gr Partition Gold. I will see how they shoot. BTW, Ammo is expensive.

May 31, 2003, 01:39 PM
I've been deer and hog hunting for better than a decade with Nosler Ballistic tips, and I have yet to recover a bullet. I do like penetration through both sides of the animal-two holes tend to leave a better blood trail than one. I was hesitant to use them on the hogs, but 180 grains out of my 308 Winchester is not moving them all that fast, and has not been an issue.

I liked the ballistic tips because of their accuracy, plus its a dime sized inlet and at least a quarter sized exit wound, but having said all that, the esteemed Mr Eatman pointed me to the plain Jane Hornady flat based spire points and for deer and hog they seem do do very well, at least they have for the past 3 hunts I have been on.

I suppose that, in the end, bullet choice is determined by bullet speed, times the animals toughness, muliplied by distance, or at least know the minimum velocity at which the bullet will expand and aim accordingly. I have taken a couple of shots which were far enough away that I wasn't all that certain the bullet would open up, so I made a head shot to ensure something solid enough was there to help it along.

The Barnes copper bullets make more sense to me for an all around hunting bullet-no jacket to solder or to separate, since the bullet is a homogenous material, you shouldn't have to worry about concentricity, and the fact that you are bending metal back rather than trying to smash it flat makes me think those petals are easier to open up than to mushroom. Might have to try a few on game to see what I get.

Pat S
May 31, 2003, 02:25 PM
The one complaint I have heard on the Barnes X is that it doesn't group well in many guns as compared to other bullets. I've also heard where the Ballistic tips do group well but blow up and can damage meat. The Ballistic tips have shown the best groups in my guns but after hearing the stories about them I don't choose to hunt with them.

Has anyone shot the Scirroco to see how the group and perform on game?

May 31, 2003, 11:24 PM
The friend of mine that loads my ammo up for me is an excellent shooter. He seems to think that the X Bullets arent as accurate as the Hornady SSTs which he thinks are the most accurate game bullets available. But I just don't get that hung up on best possible groups. I figure if it will group at 2" at 100 yards, then that's 4" at 200 yards and 6" at 300 yards and I can't really reliably shoot much better than that using a makeshift rest such as a tree trunk.

Maybe it's just advertising but I think if I were to hunt anything in the caribou/elk/moose range, I think I'd go out loaded up with X Bullets. Anything in the deer/antelope category, the SSTs would be my first choice. Of course, I shoot 25-06 and 270 so I think I'd lean towards a tougher bullet than if I shot .30-06 or 300 Win Mag or something like that.

June 1, 2003, 12:46 AM
Her's a little tip for all of you first time Barnes X users. If your bore isn't spotless clean and by that I mean of other jacket fowling the barnes won't shoot all that well.

I'm a tried and true barnes x fan and can tell that out of a clean bore my .375 will print well under an inch all day long at 100 with the 270 gr x. Once you get to using barnes X you have to stay with it because they will not tolerate jacket fouling from other brands.

I've also used the 200gr X in my .300 weatherby with great results.

And the 500gr X in my .458 Lott very good as well.

I plan on using the 500gr X in my .470

June 1, 2003, 04:48 PM
Well, the last few years I have used Nosler BTs almost exclusively. I have shot woodchucks with explosive results with 25/06 and .243. I also have shot I think 4 bucks and recovered 2 slugs. One was shot at 10 paces with an encore in 7mm/08 rem with 15 in barrel and 140 gr. Slug entered left (frontal shot) neck and stopped in right flank. Thats almost complete length penetration at 10 paces. Sorry, I dont remember if the slug was totally intact (over 50 syndrom). The second was shot last fall at 250 yards almost completely facing away with .280 rem 140 gr. Entering behind the ribs on the right side and stopping just under the skin on the left shoulder. This one lost the core and mushroomed little but in all cases the deer died instantly. Also, shot a good size buck at 50 yrds. with the encore almost facing me in left neck and exiting right flank. Also shot a deer at 240 yrds. with a rem mod. 7 (20 in barrel) also with 140 gr. broadside and it went right thru making a silver dollar hole on the other side. That deer actually went about 15 yards b4 dropping. All the long shots were measured with laser rangfinder. Velocity for the .280 is 3000fps and for the rem mod 7 was 2750fps. Not sure about the encore I could check but I'm too lazy to get up and ckeck lol. Now, with that said I really like them, I can hit golf balls at 200 yards even with my encore, but I'm not too sure about using them on anything bigger than deer.

I also once shot a moose with a 30/06 180 gr. remington core-lokt. Broadside shot and it went right thru and the moose dropped right there----so there ya go...

June 2, 2003, 02:20 PM
H&H, are your Barnes X bullet comments relating to the XLC and/or non-XLC bullets? I bought some XLC's to test out with my .308, but I haven't had a chance to load anything up. Thanks.

June 6, 2003, 05:13 PM
I've never used the molly coated Barnes X. I use the straight old copper ones.

June 7, 2003, 03:52 PM
Thanks, H&H.

I'll try to experiment with XLC's this week (if the wind will lay down long enough), and post some info on this thread.

Al Thompson
June 7, 2003, 06:04 PM
WYO, my experiance is that they like to sit back from the lands much more than other bullets. IIRC, the manual sugests .1 off. H&H, I've also found that for some reason, the sub .338 calibers tend to either love them or hate them. My big bores (.375s & .458) seemed to shoot them fine. Best friends .300 Weatherby, .416 and others have also done well.

June 8, 2003, 11:59 PM
I was concerned about using X bullets in my Rem 700 Ti because the magazine is so short that it can’t seat bullets out beyond about 2.81”, and the X bullets are very long. The Barnes manual would have had me seating the rounds out much farther than 2.81”. In addition, listed XLC powder charges are much higher than those for comparable weight uncoated bullets. I e-mailed Barnes about this and had a reply from a customer service rep within about 2 hours, saying not to worry about it and work from the charge range from the manual and the max OAL that my magazine would allow.

Today, I chronographed a starting load with 165 grain .308 XLC’s. The 5 shot average was 2482 fps, with an unspectacular extreme spread of 74.4. For yucks, I launched 3 more from a semi-decent rest at my 200 yard target. The 3 shot group was under 1.2,” which is probably a personal best for me at 200. It was shooting within an inch or two of the point of aim for my 180 gr. Federal High Energies. Fouling was minimal. The load is not compressed, so I have a lot of room to play. The only problem is that it’s going to be expensive to work up a load. But I'm pretty psyched.

Thanks for all the info, folks.

June 14, 2003, 05:43 PM
I've used 180 Partitions in my .30/06 for everything from deer and wild boar domestically up to to kudu and zebra in Africa with exactly zero problems of any kind. The performance is so consistent its boring.

Despite the glowing praises which abound for the Barnes X-Bullet, I don't use it, as accuracy is terrible. Typically, I'll get three or four shots in a tight cluster, but one or two uncalled flyers will open the group to as much as four inches.

And they foul the bore something fierce. I guess my rifle just doesn't like them.

In my .375, I use Swift A-Frames, simply because they're more accurate than Noslers in my rifle. The one I recovered from a nice Zambian lion retained 86% of its original weight, despite hitting just about all the bone it was possible to hit on a semi-broadside shot.

June 17, 2003, 08:48 AM
Nosler Partition or Combined Technologies Partition Gold.

147 Grain
June 2, 2005, 10:11 AM
The Nosler AccuBond is a proven round that can be used on everything. I.E. 30-06 180-gr. AccuBond from Winchester's Supreme line-up.

June 2, 2005, 07:11 PM
Supposedly the TSX bullets from Barnes has mostly solved the accuracy problems some people were having with the regular X bullets.

Also, H&H, the XLC is not a moly coating. It's some sort of proprietary baked on dry film coating that does not smudge off like a moly coating.

Art - What I remember reading (I think) on Barnes' web site was that they recommended .03-.07" off the lands.

Edit - Wow, just noticed that this was an almost 2 year old thread. H&H and Art likely then already know what I wrote above.

June 6, 2005, 03:00 PM
I have had such good results with Nosler Partitions that I really have not given anything else a chance. I'm sure there are some other good or better one's, but why screw up a good deal? Until I need to use a solid on something, the Partitions will be my mainstay.

147 Grain
June 21, 2005, 06:41 PM
For deer, I like Ballistic Tips.

Ballistic Tip Overview

Ballistic Tips (BT's) were designed by Nosler for violent expansion / explosion and medium penetration on light skin type animals like deer.

For most calibers shooting fragile BT's, you're better off using heavier projectiles with bigger Sectional Density's (SD's) than you would normally use for a regularly constructed bullet.


1. Heavier bullets for caliber are better in a BT because they tone down the violent expansion a bit and still have enough weight leftover for a complete pass-through.

2. The shock-value with the heavier BT will still be more than lighter standard bullets and you get more energy on target.

3. Short range shots also suit the larger round with a higher SD versus lighter weight BT'd bullets with less mass.

4. Raking quartering-away shots obviously benefit from a heavier round for adequate penetration.

5. A larger BT'd bullet is also more forgiving if you shoot accidently into the shoulder.


Nosler says that beginning with the 30 caliber 180-gr. Ballistic Tips (and larger), the jacket's profile is changed or upgraded to a much stronger contour similar to the AccuBond (shown below). The lead core is also hardened over the 165-gr. and below bullets.

Lighter weight bullets like 165-gr. 30 caliber and lower (shown below) do not have the thicker contour which starts in the middle of the shell and goes down to the base.

In summary, one might suggest that the 180-gr. Ballistic Tip is simply a non-bonded AccuBond.


* Standard bullets generally perform better on deer in lighter to mid-weight sizes.

* Ballistic Tipped rounds are the exception to the rule as outlined in the opening post. Reported problems of a BT blowing up too quickly are generally associated with too light of a bullet.



I like a bullet to perform two things in my 30-06:

1. Violent expansion / shock.
2. Plenty of penetration for a pass-through.

Nosler makes 4 great rounds to accomplish any North American task - listed in order of toughness:

1. Ballistic Tip
2. Solid Base
3. AccuBond
4. Partition

* Light skinned / boned deer: 180-gr. Ballistic Tip / Solid Base / AccuBond

147 Grain
June 21, 2005, 06:42 PM
For larger Big Game like elk or moose, I like the Partition or Nosler AccuBond.

Seems that the front part of a partition has similar bullet construction to the excellent Solid Base design and that is what I like about Nosler's Flagship round:

1. Front Portion: Ability to fragment like a Solid Base with a hammer-effect causing shock - penetrating 7" to 10"

2. Rear Portion: Ability to keep on going like a Failsafe or Barnes X.

No other bullet provides the best of both worlds, with the AccuBond being the ONLY design I know of that has similar results (to the Partition). They sure must have done some tweaking and fine-tuning during the 4 1/2 years of research and development.

June 27, 2005, 03:08 PM
Nosler Partition
Barnes X
Swift A Frame

Sierra Game King is what I use mostly... though it's a compromise between accuracy and possible seperation. I've had ONE seperation in this bullet in all my ears of hunting (dad and brotehr use the same bullet too) but Sierra's 165 gr .30 cal spitzer boat tail soft point is as good a bullet as there is for most North American game.

I've heard many a PH swear by Barnes x for African game.

June 27, 2005, 04:38 PM
I ordered 100 Barnes XLC 140gr 6.5mm bullets with my Lee Anniversary reloading kit. I figured that such a premium bullet would be just the ticket for an elk hunt this fall. If I don't get drawn for AZ, I have an open invitation to a place to hunt in CO. Either way I'd be hunting cows, not monster bulls.

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