"Classic" varmit bullet performance on big game


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Bwana John
November 8, 2011, 03:54 PM
I shot a 3x3 muley last week with a 7mm Mauser using 140 gr Nosler ballistic tip bullets @ 2800 fps (modern rem 700 action).

I bought the bullets packaged 100 to a box at a gunshow.
All the Nosler Ballistic Tips for over ~20 years I have bought came 50 to a box.

The deer was quartering away and I didnt want a Texas heart shot or Portuguese head shot (up its a$$ and all the way thru), so I shot it at the rear base of the neck.
The bullet blew up, removing a grapefruit size hole from the impact point with no penetration at all, and nothing left of the projectile. Fortunately that grapefruit hole included some neck vertebra and the deer dropped instantly.

I believe the early Nosler Ballistic Tips were intended as varmit bullets and constructed to "blow up", then they were redesigned for big game.

I think the box I bought at the gunshow were the old varmint bullets.

I have used Nosler Balistic Tips for 20 years and > 25 deer, they are rather violent, but they had always penetrated at least 18" before.

Im gonna buy a new box for next hunting season.

Sorry for the poor cell phone pic.
http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/1329/67739440524222031720.jpg

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Bobson
November 8, 2011, 04:43 PM
I guess if you've had great performance with them in the past, it'll probably be fine. Just make sure you purchase at stores where they're likely to have high turnover.

For me personally, I'd consider a new round altogether. Could be a really slow, painful death for the deer if it hadn't been hit right over a vertebrae. Lucky, really.

Bwana John
November 8, 2011, 05:36 PM
I guess if you've had great performance with them in the past, it'll probably be fine. Just make sure you purchase at stores where they're likely to have high turnover.

As I said Nosler Ballistic Tips ARE rather violent, I have never recovered a NBT projectile with greater than ~ 30% weight retention, but they have always given me at least 18 inches of penetration, even after hitting bone.

No deer I have shot with a NBT in my 7mm Mauser(>25 deer, and a couple that field dressed to more than 180 lbs) has ever traveled more than 40 yds after being hit with one.

They DO ruin meat, and they make an awful mess but they have worked perfect for me for 20 years, until this last deer.

I do not use them for elk.

Strykervet
November 8, 2011, 07:35 PM
May be just your shot/situation?

On the other hand, I can say that the Hornady VMAX and AMAX in 6.5mm are almost identical. The AMAX is very similar to the BT, a knock off really. One is 95gr., the varmint version, and the new one is 100gr., the AMAX. I can't say how they perform in flesh though, I don't hunt anymore.

I can easily see them getting mixed up because of this. Also, because they are such similar designs, I can see the AMAX performing like the VMAX if the velocity were ramped up.

Another thing: if the bullet became unstabilized on the way there (say through brush or whatever) it could have been tumbling when it hit. That'll disintegrate it everytime at high speed in flesh.

Finally, perhaps you got a box that was mislabelled. Perhaps you used a say, 120gr. bullet. In which case you'd be well over 3000fps, and then the bullet would behave differently.

Bullets do funny things. Rather, they obey complex multivariable laws of physics, so they look like they do funny things.

Try out that AMAX when you get a chance. What I like about it is that it performs like a hunting bullet but shoots like a match bullet. Shoots very similar to SMK's for me, using 168gr. in 7.62. In the Grendel, the 100gr. AMAX, so far, has been the most accurate bullet I've used, way better than the SMK! Best of both worlds...

Bwana John
November 8, 2011, 07:53 PM
Another thing: if the bullet became unstabilized on the way there (say through brush or whatever) it could have been tumbling when it hit. That'll disintegrate it everytime at high speed in flesh.

I have considered that is what might have happened because I was hunting in a big burned area (20,000 acres) from a forest fire last year.

The Forest Service has been dropping seed and fertilizer by helicopter to stabilize the slopes and prevent flooding.

There are tall grasses and mullen everywhere, that is another reason I shot him in the neck, I was worried about the thicker brush farther down where his heart/lungs were, and he was only 70 yds away.

The little 7mm Mauser is not a speed fiend. I am loading it to its potential, but its not like it is some of the Weatherby rounds which got such a bad rap at first because of bullets that were not up to the speed.

The box of 100, not 50 has me wondering though, Im gonna get some new ones and compare the ones I have now by slicing them up.

wankerjake
November 8, 2011, 08:09 PM
Is there a part number on the box you can compare with others?

Nice buck, regardless.

NCsmitty
November 8, 2011, 08:33 PM
Nice deer, Bwana John.

Unless sectioning the bullets gives an indication of a lighter jacket thickness, it will be hard to discern the reason for the fragmentation.
All I can suggest is to try the Accubonds, as that will likely prevent another fragmentation episode. Now whether they shoot for you will be the next question.



NCsmitty

7mmstalker
November 9, 2011, 01:37 AM
When the ballistic tip was new to the market, a bit more than 20yrs ago, I bought a couple of 100ct. boxes of .308 150gr. I was pretty upset, next time I purchased, as the quantity had been reduced by 1/2, but not the price!
Shot a young/small caribou through the neck from front to back with that 150. Freaky thing was, the critter was about 10-15 feet from me, and the slug entered above the brisket, exited just forward of the shoulder. No meat damage at all, missed the spine, jugulars, but it dropped in it's tracks. When gutting and field butchering it, there wasn't any blood anywhere. The windpipe was full of co-agulated blood though.
Guess the bullet did it's expanding after leaving the flesh?
Shot was from an '06 loaded about 2900fps.
Last month my boy used a 270win with 130gr ballistic tip slug on his first whitetail. Deer was quartering toward him and he pulled the shot a bit to the rear. What a mess! Clipped a lung, went through the diaphragm, liver, and exploded the paunch, continued into the off-side rear ham, destroying a fist sized chunk of good venison. Recovered slug under the hide, weighed 85gr,-65%-. Not too bad, the shot was pretty close, ~100yd, if the slug had hit any bone at all, might have been alot different.

Note-trigger pull on rifle adjusted from 5.5lb to3.5lb after this hunt.

interlock
November 9, 2011, 10:51 AM
NOSLER ballistic tips come in both varmint and hunting styles. They have green tips for hunting and red or orange for varminting. The hunting style has a thicker jacket and is a fairly quick expanding bullet ideal for slower impact velocities. ideal for the 7mm mauser (what a classic round that is). Unless the bullet was from a really old stock where they were manufactured to be varmint bullets it will be a hunting ballistic tip.

I think the behaviour of bullets in a live game animal can be fairly unpredictable. i think that if this bullet has hit a twig, a piece of grass on the way it will have a massively different terminal performance. even if it had hit one of the big bones in the neck it may have deflected away.

I have had some quite unusual results over the years although these are in the minority of cases. sierra gameking exiting the same side as entering.... prohunter into a broadside deer exitting straight through the front and hitting another deer in the neck.... speer hot core entering the mouth of an animal with its head up and running all the way down the neck under the skin..... Most though, just do a good job and do what they have been designed to do... but the deer is not ballistic putty! maybe you just got one of these wierd ones?

OP, what range was the animal?

I do not use ballistic tips, but i know lots of guys that do and they have a good reputation in the uk. remember that our rifle seasons for deer are all year round and we shoot lots and lots of deer.

i hope this helps

Bwana John
November 9, 2011, 12:30 PM
NOSLER ballistic tips come in both varmint and hunting styles. They have green tips for hunting and red or orange for varminting.

As far as I know the Nosler Ballistic Tips I have bought for 20 years in the US were color coded by bullet diameter, red for 7mm and green for .30.

I have bought and been happy with the red tipped 7mm for deer hunting with the 7mm Mauser ever since I got that rifle in 91 or 92. The load (51 gr 4350) does 3 rounds into .75 MOA, no problem with the lightweight Mnt Rifle.

Unless the bullet was from a really old stock where they were manufactured to be varmint bullets it will be a hunting ballistic tip.
That is what I am worried about, I bought the 100 pack at a gunshow ~ 8 years ago and do not know its provenance.

OP, what range was the animal?
~70 meters, the last mule deer I shot with this load was at 8 meters and the bullet traveled about .5 meter thru that one.

interlock
November 9, 2011, 12:35 PM
John,
my mistake on the colour coding... sorry.

70 meters is a decent enough distance to get to some reasonably steady impact velocity....

i should put it down to "one of those things". have you loaded many with this batch of bullets?

steve

Larry Ashcraft
November 9, 2011, 01:57 PM
When I started using Ballistic Tips many years ago, averything below 25 caliber was for varmints, and everything above were the heavier jacketed game bullets. The only caliber that came in both was the 25, with the 90 grain being the varmint bullets and the 100 grain being the game bullets.

I've killed a couple of pronghorns (one neck shot, one head shot) and a few coyotes with the 100 grainers at 3300 fps, but after seeing a couple of coyotes turned almost inside out, I think I'll use something else if I go pronghorn hunting again.

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