Deer hunting loads I tried this year


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gamestalker
November 27, 2011, 01:36 AM
I loaded some Sierra Game Pro's, and some 130 gr. Speer Hot Core's. These were for my Son's to hunt deer with this year, and had some pretty impressive & negative results too.
About 2 weeks ago my 2 of my Son's knocked their 2 down, no problem. But those loads were really flying fast, the 130 grainers @ 3400-ish fps, and the 140 grainers @ 3300-ish fps, and as a result they didn't seem to have very good weight retention and actually appeared to have possibly desinegrated almost on impact. My bad, too much velocity for a standard jacketed bullet. Accuracy was OK though.

So for this last hunt I loaded the same bullets, but I backed the velocity down to 3150-ish fps for the 130 gr. Speer's, and 3050 -ish for the 140 Sierra's. I zeroed it in at 200 yds. and as usual I got my "thanks Dad" and "are these loads anything special" as they loaded up the truck. It's not like I'm complaining in all honesty. They are all very dedicated busy men with demanding carreers, military, L.E., and B.P., so I'm just kidding about how I always get suck with the task, they're the greatest of men to have as Son's and I take pleasure in helping them to prepare for our anual hutning seasons.

Anyway, one of them shot his buck at 400 and some change yds., I don't recall the exact distance. But because he didn't take the time use the quick and easy to set up shooting tripod, or the shooting stick, or the Harris bipod on his rifle, and instead rushed the shot, thus deciding to use an ocotillo branch as his shooting platform, he ended up shooting the buck in the hind quarter's. bummer! Obviously the deer dropped in his tracks, but the degree of destroyed meat was terrible.

The good news is the wound channel was very impressive. The bullet traveled through the flesh, shattered that heavy leg bone in the center of the hind quarter, and then entered the opposite hind quarter, missing the big bone and then exited. The damage to the primary quarter was nearly 100% destroyed meat, but the other side wasn't nearly as bad and had a fairly easy to distinguish wound channel, and indicated that a very limited amount of fragmentation occured. What I didn't find any evidense of was bullet frags. I really shecked it over too and it appreaded the only piece of bullet I found was a piece of jacket with a small piece of lead attached to it inside the bone where it was shattered.

My other Son's shot was a bit longer @ 617 yds. He and I were glassing from a rock bluff that was a good 300' above the basin where he spotted the buck. He quietly set up the shooting tripod while his Brother kept a watchful eye on the 4x4 buck and the little 3x3 buddy tagging along with him. So after ranging him with the RX-IV he made the adjustment on the elevation turret and put one of the 140 gr. Sierra's right through the center of shoulder where it drove through the heavest portion of the shoulder bones. After that if took out the lungs punched into the opposite shoulder shattered the bone and stopped just under the skin. The condition of the bullet was not really too terrible. I did have some distorted shap due to the bone impact I'm sure. But when I cleaned the non bullet material off of it it weighted 121 grains, I thought, not too darn bad. I had a clear look of having been well mushroomed other than a portion of the bullet having been mashed aside. So I'm pretty sure if it had not hit the rounded part of the bone, it probably would have produced a pretty nice mushroom shape.

This is neat stuff, I always enjoy investigating and analizing bullet performance, and of course load developement. An interesting piece of knowledge I picked up some years ago was using steel to test a bullet for hunting purposes doesn't work at all. I shot a piece of 1/2" average grade steel plate at 200 yds. with a 7mm RM and a 270 win.. I learned that how well a round penetrates steel, is no help at determining how it will perform on flesh and bone. example: I loaded a 120 gr. HornadyV-Max and it blew though like it was cutting butter. I tried a 130 gr. Speer BT and it did the same but made a smaller hole than the 120 gr.? A 140 gr. made an even smaller hole. So I tried a 100 gr. Hornady, I think it was a SP, but it also blew right through but made a .510" hole. All bullets tested produced a solid steel plug that was shaped like a half moon and had a perfectly smooth dish shaped impact surface after exiting the steel, and not a trace of lead on them.

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