What is a good 25-06 bullet for deer?


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slowr1der
December 7, 2012, 10:53 AM
One of the guys in our hunt club bought his son a 25-06 last year. Since several of us take his son hunting while he is at work, several of us have gotten the opportunity to try out the rifle. Several deer have fallen to this rifle, but they all have required a good amount of tracking and don't leave a blood trail. He is shooting Remington Core Lokts in it and they seem to perform well in other calibers. With this gun we are finding deer 100-150 yards away with no blood trail on perfect. shoulder shots. This makes them extremely hard to find when hunting in thick stuff. This has happened to both him and several other guys in the club that have tried out his gun. Any advice on a good bullet to switch to?

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bobnob
December 7, 2012, 11:05 AM
I would be inclined to suggest a 110g Accubond driven as hard as the rifle can accurately shoot it. If perfect shoulder shots are on offer I feel these will cause enough trauma at high speed to drop the deer on the spot on most occasions.

What sized deer are we talking - body weight wise?

Tentwing
December 7, 2012, 11:05 AM
Hornady loaded with Sierra Gamekings 117grain have been provided great results for me. Now I have only been using my 25-06 for Whitetails for 4 years now, but I can honestly say I have not had to track a single deer, hog, or coyote yet.

I'm really surprised at the results your having. I dont use Remington Cor-lokt in my 25-06 because the Hornady and the Federal Vital Shock both group better in my rifle. However I have used the Cor-lokt in my 30-30 and years ago in my 30-06 both with good results on Whitetails.

Hope some of this helps, Tentwing

Steve H
December 7, 2012, 11:19 AM
A few years back I bought some 115gr Barnes "X" to load up. Found out my 25 love's 'em and the local muley population hate 'em.

DurangoKid
December 7, 2012, 12:07 PM
A 25-06 not putting a deer down? I have to wonder about the shooter? The 25-06 with a 117 or 120 gr. can put a Bull Moose down no problem.

MachIVshooter
December 7, 2012, 12:12 PM
A 25-06 not putting a deer down? I have to wonder about the shooter?

Agreed. I use handloaded 117 gr. Gamekings, and I've never had an animal go more than about 30 feet from where it was shot. Usually a bang-flop.

OP-

Core lokts are ok, but they're a cheap bullet made with old technology, and the 100 gr. is lightly constructed for .25-06 velocities. Use premium bullets, and except for Barnes X-bullets, I'd suggest sticking to 115, 117 and 120 gr.

joed
December 7, 2012, 12:23 PM
I used to shoot 117 gr Sierras and 115 gr Noslers for deer. I suppose the 100 gr bullets would work too but I always saw little need for them. To small for large deer and to large for varmint hunting.

Sav .250
December 7, 2012, 12:34 PM
"perfect shoulder shots." Not the perfect shot. Just behind is the sweet spot.
In a bigger cal it might be though. Move to the rear a tad and see what happens.

pcad2
December 7, 2012, 12:39 PM
Try the Hornady Interlocks. I have been using them for the last couple years in 270 on deer and they lay em down hard. Ive shot 3 so far. The first 2 were shoulder shot and they dropped where they stood, the last one this year was hit in the pump station, went 50 yards and left a blood trail like she had been hit with a broadhead. The amount of internal damage was impressive as well.

I recovered one out of a big bodied buck this year and it was mushroomed perfectly. Still weighed 83.8 grains out of 140 after going through bone at almost 3000 fps.

I used to shoot Corelokts because for factory ammo that is the best I could get for my gun for accuracy. Never once had a blodd trail, deer always ran a ways on a heart or lung shot.

The Hornadys put them to shame for accuracy and seem to do what they were designed for alot faster.

mdauben
December 7, 2012, 01:34 PM
Shot placement may be the issue, as much as cartridge. For factory ammo, I like the 120gr Remington Core-Lokt right through the boiler room. If you prefer shoulder shots you may want to go with a heavier bullet in .30 or larger. Even big deer just aren't that tough to put down if you put the shot in the right place so I don't really see the need for expensive premium ammo for whities unless you gun just doesn't like the Core-Lokts.

critter
December 7, 2012, 03:15 PM
I have used 100 gr Nosler BT's to very good effect on our local deer in S. AR. No real heavyweights where I hunt.

Rnelson
December 7, 2012, 03:23 PM
The PH's at the king ranch used 120gr Spiltzers. I have witnessed a 25-06 revolution in Texas. Over the years more of the professional guides and ranchers are using the round because of the performance and cost.

michael5446
December 7, 2012, 05:35 PM
if you reload, try a hornandy 117 GR RN over 44 grains of H4350 with mag primers... happy trails :)

Offfhand
December 7, 2012, 06:23 PM
Nosler Partition. Why is this even a question?

sage5907
December 7, 2012, 06:34 PM
I've shot a lot of deer with a 25-06 loaded with Speer 120 grain flat base bullets and 117 grain Sierra boat tail bullets. If you shoot them in the lungs like you do when archery hunting they will run, but if you shoot them at the point of the shoulder they won't go far. The best rifle shot on a deer is a high shoulder shot. Shooter

Abel
December 7, 2012, 06:36 PM
I suspect that you are using the 100gr and not the 120gr. At 150, the 100gr is really scootin'. That bullet, on a shoulder shot, is probably smashing into pieces. Get a better bullet or maybe a 120gr.

MCgunner
December 7, 2012, 06:37 PM
I shoot the 100 grain Game King at 3150 fps from my Bob and it takes 'em down just fine, DRT with proper application IE shot placement in the boiler room. 100 or 117 grain Game King is the ticket far as I'm concerned for MY rifle. I like the accuracy, mostly. The Nosler Ballistic Tis is a good hunting choice for medium game. I use that one in .308 and my .30-30 Contender, but the Game King ain't broke in my .257 so I haven't fixed it. :D

The one failure to expand I've had with that rifle was shooting 117 Hornady Interlock at 3050 fps. Entered just behind the shoulder on a quartering shot and came out the front of the chest, couldn't even see the exit hole until I skinned it. I don't shoot Interlocks at these velocities, figure they'd work better in a .257WM. This was only a 150 yard shot, too.

WYcoyote
December 7, 2012, 08:19 PM
I have a sample of three with the Berger Hunting VLD in 115 grain. They worked as advertised, small entrance hole and impressive devastation inside. May or may not exit, but it doesn't appear to matter. Hardly any blood trail, but the walk to the deer is a short one.

Kachok
December 7, 2012, 08:23 PM
Agreed. I use handloaded 117 gr. Gamekings, and I've never had an animal go more than about 30 feet from where it was shot. Usually a bang-flop.

OP-

Core lokts are ok, but they're a cheap bullet made with old technology, and the 100 gr. is lightly constructed for .25-06 velocities. Use premium bullets, and except for Barnes X-bullets, I'd suggest sticking to 115, 117 and 120 gr.
^ THIS the 117gr Game King is a legend in the quarter bore circles. While I don't have a .257 cal I load Game Kings in EVERY rifle cartrage I handload for, they are simply devestating in my 30-06, too much so in fact for southern whitetail. Massive wound canals and large exit wounds are the rule, not the exception. They also outshoot even the poly tipped bullets in nearly every one of my rifles.

The_Armed_Therapist
December 7, 2012, 09:01 PM
First off, is it the 120gr. Core-Lokt that you're already using? If not, upgrading to the 120 would be a good idea.

Still Shooting
December 7, 2012, 11:16 PM
I don't have a lot of opportunities to hunt, but when I have, my .257 Bob just LOVES Nosler 115gr. partitions. It shoots 'em a little tighter then the 120's, and the difference at the receiving end is negligible - a boiler room shot, a hole you can hardly see going in, and a 2-1/2" hole coming out, with pieces of heart/lung.

All of the antlered animals I've shot with the old gal using partitions were one shot, DRT. That includes a big ol' muley buck at just over 200yds. No need for a blood trail to follow when they go down where they stood...

Kachok
December 8, 2012, 12:47 AM
Partitions like Game Kings are a good choice in ANY caliber, my only gripe with the Pratition is they are so darn expensive, around $37 per 50. Game Kings are a bargain at $27 a box (100ct)
Here is my take on the more popular bullets
Serria Game Kings:
Pros: Med-fast expanding SP bullet with best in the buisness accuracy at a bargain price. ALL of my rifles shoot SGKs remarkably well, they are the standard by which all others are judged.
Cons: Known to have core jacket seperation issues in some calibers at high speeds, soft tissue damage is borderline excessive.
Partitions:
Pros: Reliable medium expansion rate with a rear core that almost cannot seperate to ensure very deep penatration, even when striking heavy bone.
Cons: PRICY! That level of penetration is quite frankly an overkill on deer expending much of it's energy on the far side of the animal, still kills um deader then a doornail though.
Ballistic Tips:
Pros: Rapid nasty expansion that makes for some dramatic bang flop kills, good ballistics and accuracy across the board. Tougher then keyboard hunters give them credit for at non-magnum speeds. I have had great luck with them on game.
Cons: Lots of meat damage, don't push them much past 3k fps like all cup and core bullets they can come unglued.
Hornady SSTs: See Ballistic Tips
Core-lokts:
Pros: Locked core soft point tapered jacket bullet, that is about as tough as a non-bonded cup and core can get, known for reliable expansion and more then adequate penetration.
Cons: Ballistics are a little lacking due to the flat base, and accuracy reviews are quite mixed, I have had good and bad luck with them at the range in different rifles.

I call it maize
December 8, 2012, 01:19 AM
No matter how many "which bullet" threads there are on the Internet I still LOVE to read every single one I can. I hunted 15 years before I even knew there was a premium bullet line. We use to pile whitetail up with the old Winchester Silver tips that would almost explode on impact.

I truly do not think that you can go wrong with any modern brand .257 bullet in the 90+ grain offerings. I would even say the 80 TTSX would be plenty of pill for the job. Be ready to spend a ton of money if you are trying to split accuracy hairs but even the worst grouping bullets will be hunting accurate out to 150++

Swampman
December 8, 2012, 03:24 AM
Nosler Partition. Why is this even a question?
My thought exactly.
Unlike a lot of the newer premium hunting bullets, the Nosler Partition isn't designed to retain 100% of its weight after impact.

A partition will generally expand very quickly and lose about 30% of its weight as shrapnel, the other 70% percent WILL drive through and leave a good exit wound as long as the cartridge you're shooting is reasonable for the game hunted.

This gives you the best of both worlds, the quick kills of a fast expanding bullet like a Hornady SST combined with the reliable penetration of a Barnes "X" bullet.

In other words, there's a very good chance that the animal will be DRT, but if not, you'll still have complete penetration and a very good (and probably very short) blood trail.

Most of my .25 caliber hunting experience has been with the .257 Roberts Ackley Improved, which pushes 100 grain bullets about as fast as the 25-06. For small Texas Whitetails I like the 100 grain Partition, but for large hogs the 115 grain seem to be more reliable, especially on quartering shots or when heavy bone is hit.

Bottom line, for smaller deer use the 100 grain Partition, for big Yankee Whitetails or Mule Deer, the 115 or 120 grain may be better.

For those that are put off by the price of Partitions, check out Shooters Pro Shop, the Nosler factory store. They currently have 100 grain "over run" (NOT seconds) .257 Partitions for sale at only $14.50/50.

http://shootersproshop.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=73_84&product_id=153

And no, I don't work for Nosler, I just think the Partition is about the best hunting bullet ever made.

The Ballistic Tip/Solid Base on the other hand...

scchokedaddy
December 8, 2012, 06:57 AM
I have had good results with Winchester 120 grain pep's [positive expanding points]. Reasonably priced and not bad on meat damage. Usually center shoulder shots, plants them right there. Lung shots result in good blood trail and they have not run more than 25 or 30 yards YET. Hope they aren't like wives and dogs, you know time you brag on them, they mes up!! lol

RSVP2RIP
December 8, 2012, 09:48 PM
I'd either go with Berger VLD Hunting in 117gr for a bullet that fragments if you can shift shot placement to the boiler room or somethihng that will exit like the Partition for shoulder shots.

Zeke/PA
December 8, 2012, 10:37 PM
In my Ruger #1 in .25-'06 I load 117 Grain Sierra Game King(51 grs.4831),for an accurate load in that rifle.
One shot kills on Maryland beanfield deer out to 300 yds.
Three shot sub M.O.A. groups too!

Swampman
December 8, 2012, 10:55 PM
I love the .308, 168 grain Bergers out of my K31, although I've never shot an animal with one that actually left a blood trail. It's been pretty much a "BangFlop" bullet for me, with the deer laying in a pool of blood and liquefied "stuff".

As long as the shot is properly placed, it's great in a 30 cal at moderate velocity, but if you shot a deer in the shoulder at 25-06 speeds, I fear the results would be similar to an M-79 grenade launcher. (I know a "boiler room" shot was specified, but stuff happens, especially with kids and buck fever).

Understand that I'm not speaking from experience with the .257 bullets. I tried some for long range target shooting (LOVE that BC), but I couldn't get anything that shot decent to fit in the magazine (Sako L579 action in .257 Bob AI). Even single loaded, I couldn't get the accuracy I was looking for, so I gave up. This was years before Berger came out with the hunting version of their bullets, but quite a few people used them for that purpose.

DM~
December 8, 2012, 11:35 PM
My thought exactly.
Unlike a lot of the newer premium hunting bullets, the Nosler Partition isn't designed to retain 100% of its weight after impact.

A partition will generally expand very quickly and lose about 30% of its weight as shrapnel, the other 70% percent WILL drive through and leave a good exit wound as long as the cartridge you're shooting is reasonable for the game hunted.

This gives you the best of both worlds, the quick kills of a fast expanding bullet like a Hornady SST combined with the reliable penetration of a Barnes "X" bullet.

In other words, there's a very good chance that the animal will be DRT, but if not, you'll still have complete penetration and a very good (and probably very short) blood trail.

Most of my .25 caliber hunting experience has been with the .257 Roberts Ackley Improved, which pushes 100 grain bullets about as fast as the 25-06. For small Texas Whitetails I like the 100 grain Partition, but for large hogs the 115 grain seem to be more reliable, especially on quartering shots or when heavy bone is hit.

Bottom line, for smaller deer use the 100 grain Partition, for big Yankee Whitetails or Mule Deer, the 115 or 120 grain may be better.

For those that are put off by the price of Partitions, check out Shooters Pro Shop, the Nosler factory store. They currently have 100 grain "over run" (NOT seconds) .257 Partitions for sale at only $14.50/50.

And no, I don't work for Nosler, I just think the Partition is about the best hunting bullet ever made.


And the WINNER IS, the above post! NP's are what all other hunting bullets are compared to, and it's for a GOOD reason.

More comments,

Complain about the price??? that's 50 bullets! How many head of big game do you shoot a year??? Get real! 50 bullets would last 99.99% of hunters, for YEARS!! I'm still shooting from a box of 50 i bought years ago!

I wouldn't even mention gamekings in the same sentence with partitions! There's NO comparison!!

Partitions WILL penetrate deeper than Accubonds, so keep that in mind too.

DM

Kachok
December 8, 2012, 11:43 PM
I wouldn't even mention gamekings in the same sentence with partitions! There's NO comparison!!

Partitions WILL penetrate deeper than Accubonds, so keep that in mind too.

DM
Sure but how much penetration do you REALLY need for whitetail? I have yet to have a Game King fail to go through and through in any caliber, and they do more damage in between then the Partition which is a much harder construction.
If you want to use a smaller caliber on hard raking shots or on much larger game go with the Partitions/Accubonds/TSX/GMX/E-Tip but for thin skinned game they are a bit of an overkill in the penetration department.

Steel Talon
December 8, 2012, 11:56 PM
115 grain Nosler Partition is the absolute best pairing I've ever found..

DM~
December 9, 2012, 12:13 AM
BUT, as gamekings slow down they expand slower and slower. The nose of the partition always expands, even when velocity falls off, and then the rest of the bullet drives on through! It's the BEST of both worlds.

NO comparison!

BTW, i've seen more than a few gamekings in .308 150g that didn't exit a whitetail out of a 30-06.

DM

Kachok
December 9, 2012, 12:25 AM
Don't use 150gr SGKs in 30-06 (or any 30 cal for that matter) but the 165s are awe inspiring in my Savage 30-06 @2830fps. All lead core bullets expand less at lower speeds even the Partition
I would not even imply that the Partition was anything less then a superb all around bullet and the standard by which all others should be judged, but for deer class game the Ballistic Tip, SST, Serria Game King, and a few select others are every bit as good in the calibers I load for.
If weight retention, reliable expansion and penatration were the only factors we consider the TTSX would be the one and only bullet on the market, but factor in the other aspects of bullet performance and the picture changes a little bit.

Kachok
December 9, 2012, 12:42 AM
Due to marketing buzz surrounding bonded/mono-metal bullets people tend to think that bullet weight lost after impact is wasted in some way, nothing could be further from the truth. Those fragments create a shotgun pattern of damage through the vitals and as long as the bullet retains enough weight to finish punching through I am happy for the extra wounding effect. Anytime I use Ballistic Tips I get a cone of destruction from these fragments that end up embedded in the far side rib cage usualy in a several inch spread. If the bullet lost the vast majority of it's weight and failed to penetrate out the far side I would switch to a harder bullet but since I am still getting more then enough punch out the far side I welcome the extra shock and rapid blood loss this creates.
All that said, I highly doubt any deer hunter would ever be disappointing with the performance of a Partition, I have known people who have used them for many years and have yet to formulate a complaint even if they don't hit as hard as a Ballistic Tip :)

DM~
December 9, 2012, 01:08 AM
All lead core bullets expand less at lower speeds even the Partition


True, but at some point the gameking will start becomeing a solid, and it will be LONG before the partition "nose" will stop expanding. That is what makes the NP so much better than the others...

At another time in my life, i tested thousands and thousands of bullets, in all kinds of medium and big game, so i have some kind of idea how all of this works.

In fact i designed bonded core bullets and was swageing and selling them back when Bill Steiger and i, were the only ones doing it.

I still like the partition better, than even the bonded bullets on the market today, at least for big game here in the U.S..

DM

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