'low tech' soft point ammo vs 'high tech' ballistic tip/accu tip ammo...need input


January 27, 2007, 02:05 AM
I am aquiring a Stevens 200 in .30-06 and have been stashing affordable ammo for it (Federal Power-Shok soft points in 150 grains & 180 grains for $10 & $11 a box of 20) I plan to hunt PA whitetail, PA black bear, and a guided preserve hunt for Red Stag Deer and was told to get a ballistic tip/accutip load since there is a tendency for exposed lead soft tips to fragment and create more damage to te edible meat...

I was told that the Federal Power Shok is the same type of bullet as a Remington Core-Lokt without having to pay for the Core-Lokt trademark and my father and his hunting buddies have used Remington Core-Lokt in a variety of calibers very successfully for several decades...

Is there a MAJOR advantage that a ballistic tip/accutip offers over the older generation of exposed lead softtips?!?

If you enjoyed reading about "'low tech' soft point ammo vs 'high tech' ballistic tip/accu tip ammo...need input" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
kevin davis
January 27, 2007, 11:14 AM
I have never used the ballistic tips. Everything I have shot using remington corelokts has dropped dead, from javelinas to deer to kudu and gemsbok. I am sure there are theoretical advantages and perhaps some advantages with less well placed shots for the ballistic tips, but my limited personal experience is that the soft tips work just fine, choose good shot opportunities and use good shot placement.:rolleyes:

January 27, 2007, 05:22 PM
First of all, I am no expert, but I will give you my take on ballistic tip bullets. Generally, ballistic tips are believed to be more accurate, because of their uniformity. At least that's a pretty common belief around here. Ballistic tips are often used in applications where rapid exspansion is desired. I prefer Remington Core Lokts, Federal Vital Shocks, and Winchester Power points for hunting large game animals. I use the Remington Accutips for coyotes. The light polymer tip bullet is nasty on them, but I prefer heavier bullets with a slower exspansion rate for larger animals. The bottom line though is that no bullet will make up for a bad shot, and a good shot with any reasonable bullet weight, well constructed bullet is going to do the job. Stick with your Vital Shocks.

January 28, 2007, 12:43 AM
The Hornady SST is the same type of bullet as the hornady interlock. The only thing the plastic tip does is increase the BC, reduces bullet nose damage due to recoil in heavy rifles and it helps initiate expansion.

January 28, 2007, 01:23 AM
Ballistic Tip bullet are for maxium devastation with the least amount of penetration.
They tend to lose more of there total bullet weight on impact. Horandy has some SST that are suppose to stay together but I personally have not used them.
My perfered bullet is Nosler Partition..

Jimmy Newman
January 28, 2007, 01:56 AM
I shoot a 7mm-08 at deer. For a while I shot Hornady Light Magnum in a 139 grain boat tail soft point load. Then I switched to Hornady Light Magnum in a 139 grain SST boat tail load (SST is one of Hornady's "ballistic tip" designs). According to Hornady's ballistics data, both loads have the same MV, ME, trajectory, etc. I have not noticed any difference at all in performance between the two bullets. I have never had either fail to fully penetrate a deer. I have never recovered a bullet or fragment of a bullet from a deer using either of these loads.

The main reason I switched is because the soft points' tips deform very easily and I can't imagine that having an irregular tip helps accuracy any. I could go to the same weight, same trajectory, and same performance, and have a durable, uniform tip.

January 28, 2007, 10:53 AM
If I am buying ammo It will be winchester Power points.

Most of my hunting ammo in 30 caliber uses one of two bullets.

In 308 or higher power I reload using Nosler ballistic tips in 165 or 180 grain.

These bullets expand rapidly and have enough weight to pass through even when fired end to end through a deer. The lighter models I do not consider useful for deer sized animals.

The other 30 caliber bullet is for my win94 trapper. I use the speer 170 grain flat point and no others. Nothing in a 30-30 case shoots as acurrate in my rifle and I have tried every brand out there to come to this conclussion.

In a black bear load I use 180 grain Nosler Partitions for 30 cal. But now days I would be using my current love. The 45-70 loaded with speer 400 grain flat points at 1850 FPS.

uk roe hunter
January 28, 2007, 12:36 PM
ok here we go, this is my favourite hobby horse.

there are 2 types of ballistic tips;
#1 the type designed for varminting- they have maximum expansion and limited penetration, they are designed for wasting varmints where meat damage is not an issue.
#2 the type designed to give controlled expansion in bigger targets, they are generally heavier loaded.

soft points give good deep penetration. maximum energy dump and minimum meat damage. if you go for one of appropriate wieght and MODERATE velocity it will penetrate all the way through and drop the animal dead on the spot.

I used to use 80 grain federal classics loaded with prohunters (soft points) through my .243 win. the first deer i took with it with a classic low heart shot took massive damage. It was a very fast load. I then loaded up some .243 with hornady 87gr psp bullets. they go out at about 3200 fps. i shot a buck with these, he ran 80 yards, had huge meat damage and that also was a good heart shot. I then loaded some speer 105 spitzers. they were very different. the animal acts like it has been hit with a death ray!!!!, the bullets have all fully penetrated. the meat damage with the speer is significantly less. i stick with them now.

in my .30-06 i use speer spitzers 150 gr (2023) over 49 grains of nobel #2 or 59 grains of nobel #0. the load is awsome. it only goes out at about 2900 ish. in my rifle it is super accurate. I shot a fox in the neck at 220 yards! When i shoot a deer with this load it really does the job.

A mate of mine shot a roe buck at 50 yards straight in the front of the chest. the bullet failed to penetrate and was reduced to shrapnel just inside the cavity, he finally recovered it but that is not the plan!!!! he was using hornady 90 grain ballistic tips. that was a case of wrong bullet for the job.

The exposed lead at the tip does not make the bullet fragment, it allows it to expand properly.

Good luck with the -06 it is THE BEST (imho) it is flexible and cheap and plentiful componants make it great for the reloader.


Art Eatman
January 28, 2007, 12:58 PM
Most of the edible meat is the hams and backstraps. You shouldn't be putting a bullet there in the first place. :) A heart/lung hit doesn't ruin meat, no matter the load. Same for a neck shot.

I've been using an '06 since 1950. I've used Remington Bronze Points, Hornady Spire Points and Sierra soft points. They all work equally well.

I have found the Federal Premium High Energy to be very accurate in my rifle. They come with a Sierra 165-grain HPBT. My only kill to date has been on a poor, innocent coyote. The close-range hit removed a fist-sized chunk of the breast behind the foreleg. A close look said to me that the bullet did as expected.

Sounds to me that a fair amount of practice from field positions, hasty rest and such, would be the most useful action you could take. IMO, bullet choice just isn't really critical.


uk roe hunter
January 28, 2007, 03:18 PM
Hi Art,
I also eat the shoulders, if there is anything left. I think that wieght of bullet is probably more important than choice. and choice probably is more about confidence.


January 28, 2007, 03:53 PM
Wow, lots of BS about Ballistic Tips bein' thrown around here. :what: :D The whole advertising thing for the Nosler was that it avoided tip damage in a magazine, especially in heavy recoiling guns. A damaged tip from slamming into the front of the magazine can obviously be a bad thing for accuracy of follow up shots.

I can say the 150 grain .308 caliber ballistic tip opens readily at just 1800 fps roughly (impact velocity of my .30-30 contender at 90 yards), yet I've shot deer at 60 yards with it and penetrated ham to neck full length of the deer while going completely through the right ham and breaking the pelvis. Don't tell me the ballistic tip lacks penetration! It's a good bullet.

That don't mean that cheaper factory loads designed for hunting can't do the job, of course. I've shot Winchester silvertips and Remington core lokts with success in the past. On deer, I worry more about accuracy and the Noslers are quite accurate. Another conventional bullet that I find quite accurate is the Sierra Game King and I've killed lots of game with it in .257 and 7mm calibers. The Game King is a normal old soft point spitzer boat tail bullet. I've used flat based Sierra spitzers to kill deer, too.

The controlled expansion stuff is a different deal and you are talking magic with some of this stuff. The Partition expands back to a spot where the jacket partitions the lead core and will expand no more assuring penetration with good expansion. My favorite is the Barnes X which has no lead, has an X shaped hollow cavity that peels back to the base of the hollow cavity in pedals and no more. You get typically 100% weight retention from the Barnes X with expansion at very low velocities, have your cake and eat it, too. Also, since there's no lead, the bullet tends to be longer (added effective sectional density) for its weight than a comparable lead core bullet, yet being lighter can be driven to higher velocities than a lead bullet with as much length. Controlled expansion bullets are the choice on heavy game, but deer don't take that much killin'. In a decent deer caliber, there's really no need for expensive controlled expansion bullet. But, ballistic times ARE normal bullets in every way, ordinary spitzers, they just have a protective plastic tip at the front. A consequence of having that tip, they have a rather large hollow cavity in front with the plastic gone which facilitates expansion and is why they have such good expansion at low velocities.

Oh, shoulder meat, rib meat, neck meat, hey, that's why I have a new grinder...:D I like venison sausage and I'm getting pretty decent at making it if I do say so myself.

uk roe hunter
January 30, 2007, 03:40 AM
Your points are right, in my opinion your choice of 150 grain bullets is quite important. The bullet makers have made thier heavier bullets more suitable for shooting bugger stuff AS OPPOSED to lighter "varminting" ballistic tips. the lighter ones are what I referred to as Ballistic tips and the heavier ones as controlled expansion bullets. (we could do with a definitive glossary of terms really!) some of the lighter bullets have thinner (relatively) jackets which makes them expand massively, almost explode.

I will stick to traditional soft points and you will stick to ballistic tips. we both will believe we are making the best choice based on our experience. so maybe as art states, bullet choice is not so important?


Art Eatman
January 30, 2007, 02:37 PM
Re this "battered tip" thing: Back in the early 1970s, I wondered about the effect on my group size, if I loaded the magazine full and shot five rounds, versus single-loading.

For 150-grain soft points, I disremember whose (Hornady? Sierra?), I found that single loading gave me a five-shot group of just under one inch from my '06. (Yeah, that old Weatherby). From a fully-loaded magazine, just over one inch. IOW, not enough difference to matter.

I quit worrying about the whole deal. Bambi never noticed, either. :D


January 31, 2007, 12:41 PM
Most of the edible meat is the hams and backstraps. You shouldn't be putting a bullet there in the first place. A heart/lung hit doesn't ruin meat, no matter the load. Same for a neck shot.

I do aim for the chest cavity to establish a clean & fast kill...

...the hunting crew I just hooked up with this past year do their own butchering and they take rib meat for stews whenever the damage is minimal...I think this is their concern with "meat devastation" from using soft points...oh well!!!

I can get the Federal 'vital shok' stuff for $10 & $11 per box and I do not plan on reloading until next year when I have a few hundred empty casings to work with...

January 31, 2007, 12:59 PM
Parts of Pennsylvania can be pretty rugged hunting country with heavy cover, limited sight lines, and steep hillsides. Even with a decent blood trail, you can end up losing a deer if he blasts his way through a laurel thicket or briar patch - where it simply isn't possible to follow him on foot. Circling around and trying to pick up the trail again on the other side of the thicket is your only option sometimes, and it's not always a good one.

My point is that when I hunt in rough terrain, maximum tissue damage is exactly what I want. To me it provides the optimum probability that there won't be any significant tracking involved after-the-shot, and there's a greater margin of error if the shot is less than perfect - and in spite of what you read on internet forums, less-than-perfect shots happen sometimes in real life.

So my advice would be to worry a little less about damaging meat, and a little more about maximizing your odds for an instant kill. I use Federal's 180-grain Nosler Partition Vital-Shoks.

February 2, 2007, 06:20 PM
Art, when Ross Siefried wrote for Guns and Ammo he did a collumn on how deformation of the tip affects accuracy. Basically, according to his test, it doesn't, at least with game loads in game rifles. This is excepting long range shooters and possibly varmint hunters.

He beat up the tips, loaded the bullets and in 100 and 200 yard shooting there wasn't any appreciable difference.

He followed through with test of bullets with deformed circumferences by heavy crimping, and in hunting loads it made a small difference, but the ammo was still very much "minute of the deer"

the final test was with deformed bases and that was when the group flyers showed up.

I think a lot of "myths" just get passed on untested. My favorite myth - full bore slugs completely "lead up" rifled slug barrels and even ruin them. I have never seen appreciable leading even with a relatively "soft" activ slug in a rifled barrel. I've shot a lot of the brenneke KO slugs through my rifled Mossberg 695 bolt gun between cleanings and they shoot as well, if not as hard as the big bucks Winchester Partition supreme slugs.

Art Eatman
February 2, 2007, 07:06 PM
Yeah. Lots of myths and advertising hype. One of my favorite bits of BS is bullets that are "brush busting". You know, round-nosed bullets that "won't" deflect. The NRA tech guys wiped that one out, some forty or more years back. Lots of different diameters and shapes, through brush at targets. Absent blowing up on the part of light, high-speed stuff, the only thing that mattered from 6mm to .45-70 was the distance the target stood behind the twigs and limbs.

I sorta remember reading Seyfried's story, but I did it before he did. (I'm a fair amount older.) :D


February 2, 2007, 07:23 PM
this year was my first experiance hunting with a .30-06 it was my dads rifle and he handed me a couple 165 gr ballistic tips and a box of corelokts. he told me to use up the ballistic tips that hes done using them.

i shot a deer with each the first was trotting at just over 30yrds and i made a poor shot hitting it through the shoulders that was with the ballistic tip. not only did it destroy both shoulders wasting all the meat on them but it ruined the front of the ribcage also.

the second i used the corelokt it was just over 40yrds i shot it in the neck and it ruined the neck roast.

id advise using whatever is most accurate with your gun and shooting them in the head.

February 2, 2007, 08:27 PM
Well, I didn't say I BELIEVED the advertising hype about the ballistic tip. I use the bullet in my .308 because it's very accurate in that gun and works on game. I use it in my .30-30 because it's very accurate and it readily expands at the pistol's velocities. I'm not too sure about expansion in a Sierra 150 (Sierra game kings are one of my faves) at sub 2000 fps velocities. But, the Ballistic tip works for my applications. In my .257, the 100 grain Sierra Game King is the accuracy king. I get 3150 fps out of it and 3/4MOA. I simply can't beat it with any other bullet. I've found the Hornady 117 grain Interlock 1MOA accurate and I can drive it to 3050 fps, but if it doesn't hit bone, I've found it won't expand and the Game King WILL every time and has adequate penetration. I use a 150 Sierra game king in my 7 mag on deer for one reason, accuracy. That bullet is one of the few the Savage likes. It's 1 MOA accurate with it or with a 160 Nosler Partition, my "big game" bullet of choice if I ever get to go after elk and decide not to use my .308. And, boy, that 7mm 150 game king does expand! You talk about meat damage!:what: But, I'd rather stop the deer than blood trail it. You hit the thorax with that cannon shooting that bullet, you won't have to worry about any kind of thickets. He's going to drop where he stands. I've not had a problem stopping deer with my .308, though, and its Noslers. It kills 'em just as dead even if it leaves the off side shoulder in place and ruins much less meat. I love that thing on medium game, about perfect. I'm pushing it just under 2800 fps.

Anyway, the advertising hype or actual tip damage, whatever, that was the reason for the "ballistic tip". I like it for the above reasons in two of my guns, both .30 caliber guns. That 150 grainer expands readily, yet penetrates medium game really well. As I said, I also load a 140 grain Barnes X and had thought I'd use it, and have used it on hogs. A really big hog, I might be glad I'm using it, but the little meat hogs I shoot, a Ballistic Tip is plenty of bullet. I've let big 350 lb bruisers walk by before without shooting. I can't get one out without butchering it on the spot and they don't tend to be the best eating anyway, so I normally don't shoot a hog over 200 lbs and about any normal bullet will penetrate a smaller hog.

Yeah. Lots of myths and advertising hype. One of my favorite bits of BS is bullets that are "brush busting". You know, round-nosed bullets that "won't" deflect. The NRA tech guys wiped that one out, some forty or more years back.

I remember reading that test, guess in American Rifleman. They even got deflection from shotgun slugs and .45-70 IIRC enough to totally miss a deer just 20 or so yards beyond the obsticle, something real short anyway. From the time I read that, I quit listening to the "brush gun" hype. The best brush gun, it turns out, is the one that is accurate enough that you can thread past the brush and hit the deer and nothing in between. :D .243 is a FINE brush gun!

February 2, 2007, 08:35 PM
This is the first year I used the SST. There was no noticeable difference from
soft points. The shot was a through and through, so I did not recover the bullet. This spring I plan on shotting into wet news print to compare expansion. On another note I have reused pulled bullets that have had damaged points, and I have not noticed an accuracy problem out to two hundred yards. Seems to be a lot of PA hunters on this thread, If you put your finger dead center on a PA map, mover one inch to the east, your should be pretty close to where I hunt.

February 3, 2007, 09:51 AM
For long shots way out there beyond 275 yards, a hunter needs the most accurate rifle and ammo he can find. One of my hunting buddies in western South Dakota switched to AccuTip ammo for hunting antelope. This 30-06 ammo really is more accurate than "plain ammo". I still hunt antelope with my old .243 and it's accurasy has also been improved with Black Hills Ammo and their 95 grain Ballistic Tip.

Many of my typical shots in the foothills or forests rarely exceed 150 yards. I've had very good luck with 180 grain old fashioned round nose ammo in my .308 and my Dad had equal satisfaction a generation earlier with his 300 Savage rifle. The round nose design has plenty of lead exposed for rapid expansion. This produces a wide and lethal wound channel like the much faster 150 grain bullets but without the meat destruction! Yet the heavier weight will smash through bones with ease.

I've hunted in Pennsylvania many times. A close friend owns 20 acres of land in northern Bucks County where its currently zoned for shotgun only. We've toppled many does for the freezer with his hard kicking 12 gauge slug gun. Years ago, we hunted in Bedford County with our 30-30 carbines and had very good luck as well. My impression is that many portions of this amazing state are covered with hardwood forests where shots rarely exceed 125 yards.

Good Keystone State hunting to you!

Art Eatman
February 3, 2007, 12:02 PM
I started using Sierra bullets way back. I'd bet it was because of the color of the box as much as anything, plus the aesthetics of the boat-tail bullets. They're plumb purty lil critters. :)

They work. Really, really tight groups; just inside of one MOA at 500 yards. Around 40 dead deer and some coyotes.

Sorta hard to worry about other stuff...

:), Art

February 3, 2007, 12:06 PM
I prefer Sierra bullets when reloading. I weigh most of my bullets and they seem to be more consistant as far as each bullet weighing the same.

February 5, 2007, 06:34 PM
thanks all...I'm gonna season the barrel and do a few sessions to get used to the gun...I'll use the majority of the soft points for this; later on, I'll run soft points and get some sort of ballistic tip/ accutip and do a comparison for accuracy & recoil;

February 5, 2007, 07:02 PM
chimin in late as usual - i use 165 grainers from a 30-06. shot both remington ballistic tip and winchester silvertips that were very ballistically similar. i've gotten better groups from the remington, but i think that's just because i've shot a lot more of it. they were both pretty close at 100 yards. certainly both are plenty accurate for a vitals shot on a deer outside of 200 yards. and the only time i've ever seen a ballistic tip fully expand was on a double-deer shot. in the first one's lungs at 30-cal, came out and into the next one's ribs a little bigger. went through the heart on the second one and stopped after breaking a few ribs on the far side of deer two.

If you enjoyed reading about "'low tech' soft point ammo vs 'high tech' ballistic tip/accu tip ammo...need input" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!