Performance of Two Dissimilar Loads


November 18, 2010, 09:00 PM
This last weekend opened firearms deer season in Missouri and I was able to fill both of my two tags. As it was, I happened to take the deer with different rifles and loads that vary somewhat in styles of performance, though their muzzle energies are quite similar. In this case one load was a 150 grain Core-Lokt from a 26" NEF in .280 Remington, and the other was a 196 grain Norma Oryx from an 8x57mm Remington 700 Classic.

The first shot: Rifle - NEF .280, Range - approx. 100 yards, m.v. - 3050fps, deer - large doe (125 lbs dressed wt), uphill, quartering slightly away. The bullet entered through the right shoulder below scapula, rupturing the pulmonary artery and destroying bone (shoulder and rib) the near lung, deflecting upwards through the neck, before exiting through a golf ball sized exit wound. The deer was knocked over and instantly died, I didn't even see it twitch after hitting the ground. No fragments of core or jacket were found during dressing. I was surprised by how steeply the bullet changed course, I expected more straight line penetration.

The second deer was a smallish spike buck which dressed out at around 100 lbs and was taken with a factory loaded 196 grain Norma Oryx at 2526 fps. The range was approximately 125 yards (difficult to measure due to it being across a ravine). The shot was taken while the deer was walking through moderate underbrush and struck the buck in the lower 1/4 of the neck (not quite where I was aiming, but it did the trick) destroying the jugular vein and carotid artery. The impact was so violent, it actually managed to knock the deer off his feet, causing him to land on his back (he didn't roll over, but kinda spun) While the deer fell in place, it did not die instantly, but rather took maybe 15-20 seconds while I watched to determine if a second shot would be necessary. Upon reaching the deer, I was very surprised by the performance of the big Norma bullet. It had made a fairly typical entrance wound that bled so little, I had trouble locating it, and was beginning to wonder if I'd hit the deer where I thought I had. Then I rolled the buck over. The bullet had made a clean pass through without striking bone, but had left a gaping exit wound large enough to put my fist in. I was a little shocked by the explosive wound pattern for what is supposed to be a heavily constructed, and relatively low velocity round. It actually looked more like when a coyote is hit by hot .25-06 loads. Messy.

Overall, I was quite pleased with both rounds, though I might go ahead and step up the bullet weight in the .280 or use a bullet with a heavier jacket.

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November 18, 2010, 09:43 PM
I, too, am surprised at the expansion of that 8mm bullet. Congrats on the good hunt!

November 19, 2010, 10:17 AM
Thanks, it was a good hunt.

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