120 gr. V-Max is good stuff!


October 31, 2011, 01:28 AM
I loaded up some 120 gr. V-Max for my 7 mags. and was really pleased with the groups. I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting really great results because of what I've been hearing here and there about them.

Using RL22 I worked up from 66 grs. up to 70.3 grs. and accuracy stayed sub moa all the way up. And even better is velocity is 3450's without any indications of excessive pressures. I'm .005" off the lands and I don't have any that are touching the lands, so the olgive is really consistent also.

For anyone who has hunted with them please advise me of how well they might do on mule deer. I know they are going to expand quite rapidly but, are they going to expand so much that I should be concerned about not getting enough penetration, because of the polymer tip?

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October 31, 2011, 08:23 AM
Never tried exactly what you're doing, but close. I've loaded 300wm w/ 125gr Nosler BT's to just shy of 3600fps. The only deer I've taken with that was a shot on a small doe where the neck meets the head. It was near decapitation. The bullet passed through about 4 to 5 inches of deer neck and caused extreme damage about 6 inches perpendicular to bullet path. This tells me there was extreme expansion/fragmentation. This same load shows fragmentation on crows. I don’t think my 125gr Nosler BT would give good results on a chest shot on deer.

October 31, 2011, 11:23 AM
I am a big fan of the 7mmRemMag for long range hunting of ruminants. I got a mule deer and an antelope earlier this month with the 7mmRM.
I like the Nosler Ballistic tip bullets.

Vmax are my favorite bullets for the 223 and shooting rodents.

October 31, 2011, 01:47 PM
Hey there Clark. About those Nosler ballistic tips, are you talking about the standard ballistic tip, or are they one of Nosler's partitions or a bonded type core. I think it's safe to say I'm not worried about loosing a mule deer with a 3,400 fps - 3,600 fps 120 gr. bullet, but more specifically the degree of damage to meat if they uncontrolably expand.

I have no problem with anything up to 145 grs. as I get between 3,300 - 3,400 fps with them, which still makes for a very effective long range bullet.

October 31, 2011, 03:54 PM
I try to hit the lungs with 120 gr 28120, 140 gr 28140, or 150 gr 28150 7mm ballistic tip.

I expect the lungs to be liquefied if I hit them.

I don't know if things would be that different with Vmax bullets, if I hit the lungs.
I don't know if things would be that different with Vmax bullets if I miss the lungs and hit some other part of the animal.... but terminal ballistics is all about opinion, not fact:)

October 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
I have been working on my 7 mag also. I couldn't get ny 120's to shoot consistantly out of my model 70, but I didn't have any barnes 120 to try. I ended up getting my best accuracy with 140 ballistic tips. I also use RL 22 and get 3150FPS. I have only been able to get 2 or 3 rifles to shoot good with Barnes bullets. I guess the key is probably all in the jump.

I have used ballistic tips for a long time and killed many deer with them. You hear a lot of complaints about fragmentation and ruining meat, but I can't say that it has been an issue with me. Also I think you get ggod penetration with them, but rarely a pass through. All the energy hits the deer like a ton of bricks. I realize muleys are a bit bigger and tougher than whitetails, but with decent shot placement you should have no problem, Did you try the 140's? They might be a safer bet.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that they don't work properly if the impact speed is more than 3200 FPS. Check out the Nosler web site. I have experienced this shooting a 100 grainer at 3500 FPS from a .264 win mag at close quarters. I killed the deer but it wasn't an effective shot. I use the 100 grain in my 25-06. It is a good varmint load and also kills deer very effectively. I find their accuracy very good. If I can't get a load to work with them, then I go to a flat base bullet. One of those selections generally works.

October 31, 2011, 07:21 PM
I shot up all my 120 and 140 gr bal tip bullets practicing at 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 yards and straightening out which rifle and which scope I wanted to use.

It is hard to know what reloading equipment and supplies to take on a 2000 mile trip.

I got 4 mules in 2008 with 130 gr 270 Bal Tip.
I got 4 mules in 2009 with 130 gr 270 Bal Tip.
I got 3 mules in 2010 with 180 gr 7mm VLD and Hornady 162 gr SST
I got 1 mule and 1 antelope in 2011 with 150 gr 7mm Bal Tip.

I am disappointed with the VLD stopping power.
No more experimenting, I am sticking with the ballistic tip bullets.

November 1, 2011, 02:33 PM
Clark, I should probably just stop experiementing and stick to what has historicly performed well, but then that would take the fun out of reloading for me.

My Son's and I killed 5 mule deer last year with 130 gr. Speer BT - 7mm mag. but the bullet didn't maintain the integrity I'm suited to.

With the .270 win. and Speer 130 gr. Hot Core BT's I've killed 2 elk, don't know how many white tail and mule deer but it has been a bunch, 1 antelope, 1 Oryx, 1 black bear.

This year I'm going to try 3 different bullets for the 7 mag.. Between my Son's and I we will be using 120 gr. Sierra Pro hunter, 139 gr. Hornady BT core lock, I think that's what it's called, and the Speer 130 gr. Hot Core and maybe the 120 gr. V-max, which is why I asked about how it does on tough tissue shots.

Next year I'll be checking out some Nosler and Barnes stuff. So far as down loading to lower velocities to maintain bullet integrity, I don't do that, it just isn't how or why I reload. If it is dropping more than 20" or so at 500 yds. I ain't hunting with it, which is why I like loading the lighter bullets, 120 gr. to 145 gr. 3300 fps or better is my style.

November 1, 2011, 02:50 PM
I hunt with guys that shoot deer with partitions.
There is no agreement between us about bullets.

I watched, I actually made a video recording, of someone shooting at an antelope at 500 yards with a 30-06 with 180 gr flat base, by using hold over. He missed. What a surprise. He doesn't listen to me. He went to the Rancher's Bar and got drunk.

I think we may all get good at 100 yard groups after a couple decades, but we are not converging as well on what bullet to use on deer. I don't agree with others, I don't agree with my self year to year. But right now I am again believing in Nosler Ballistic tip bullets and aiming at the lungs.

November 1, 2011, 07:45 PM
Yep, if shot placement is good I think just about any bullet will do the trick. But for me, I'll always be searching for the magic pill, after all that's what inspired me to start reloading in the first palce.

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