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hunting vs. target reloads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by flhtcuibyhd, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. flhtcuibyhd

    flhtcuibyhd Member

    When working up a load for hunting, should you work towards the highest safe velocity giving up some load accuracy, or go with the most accurate? I'm a long-time reloader but new hunter, and would like to use my own reloads this year on whitetail deer. I'm using Hornady 130gr SP bullets and H4831sc powder (.270 win). Out of my rifle the most accurate load is 58gr around 2800fps at about 3/4 inch at 100yards. I can safely load up to 61 gr at a little over 3000fps but the groups open up to around 2 inches at 100 yards - still acceptable accuracy, as most of my shots will be less than 200 yards.
  2. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Member

    Generally, I would give up some accuracy for velocity. As long as you can hit the kill zone, IMHO it's good enough. Your groups won't be measured or scored. In your case, at 200 yds or less, an animal is not going to know the difference in 200fps. Know the limits of your handloads, put a good shot on target, and take your game humanely.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I would always go for accuracy over max pressure and velocity.

    Max pressure / velocity loads can cause sticky extraction on a hot day, etc.
    Don't need to be fooling with that while hunting!

    A deer can't tell the differance as long as you can put the bullet in the right place.

  4. 243winxb

    243winxb Active Member

    Learn where the 1st shot goes out of a cold, clean barrel. If the next 4 hit close, you have a good load. The accuracy is most important.
  5. Hunt480

    Hunt480 New Member

    Best Accuracy.. you aint givin up enough to matter at 2800 FPS from a good shootin 270. Sounds like a good hunting load to me.
  6. Eb1

    Eb1 New Member

    This is a good question.

    In the ABCs of Reloading they talk about hunting loads. I may be wrong here. It has been a while since I read it, but I believe he talks about a happy medium for hunting loads. Like get the best accuracy you can while obtaining a velocity that will be best for the bullet choice along with reliability. Such as full length sizing may give you a less accurate load than neck sizing, but you know that it will feed well. Same with loading to magazine length. These are some things to think about.
    2" groups are fine for a woods shot under 100 yards. Out in the bean field maybe not so much. I doubt highly that a 2800 fps load would loose enough speed to not work with a hunting SP @ 300 yards, and theoretically you are talking about a 2 1/4" group @ 300 vs. 2" @ 100 yards.

    If you are getting 3/4" groups with the same bullet you're going to hunt with, and they feed well from the magazine then I would say use that.
  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Active Member

    What is your hold?

    Not your hold using a 400 lb concrete bench and 40 pounds of sand bags, rather what is your hold when you are game shooting.

    If you are shooting unsupported, as most hunters do, then as long as the load shoots inside your hold, it is good to go.

    I am perfectly fine hunting with 3 MOA rifles. I am not trying 300/400 yards shots don't need MOA accuracy.

    For hunting rounds, I would accept a little velocity gain for a bit of accuracy loss. But I would never want to be at a maximum load which could blow primers or cause sticky bolt extraction.

    For target rounds, it is accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. I can compensate for wind with my two sighters, can't do that with a hunting rifle.
  8. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Why not both? I have hunted with .270 win. for many years using slow bruning powder RL19, 130 gr. bullet @ almost 3200 fps.. Using that bullet and powder I have killed elk, antelope, deer, and bear. The longest shot was the antelope at almost 600 yds and put it right through the pump station.
    My favorite load for big game is RL19 and the Speer 130 gr. SPBT Hot Core. I don't recall of the top of my head what the powder charge is for that but it is easy to find at Alliant's site.
  9. ranger335v

    ranger335v New Member

    Such a question without paramters is virtually meaningless and unanserable.

    No deer will know the difference in a rig that shoots .001" groups and one that shoots 2" groups at the ranges they will be shot. Pick the fastest load you can get with a rational accuracy for the range - or your own skill level - you will be shooting.
  10. Gadzooks Mike

    Gadzooks Mike New Member

    In my opinion, Eb1 nailed it: "Like get the best accuracy you can while obtaining a velocity that will be best for the bullet choice along with reliability."

    There's a window of velocity for any given bullet where the expansion works best. Inside that window is where you need to find the best accuracy. If the best accuracy is outside of that window, then you need to choose a different bullet.
  11. USSR

    USSR Active Member

    Yep. Two things when it comes to deer hunting: Accuracy as in POI = POA, not as in group size; and select a good bullet that will perform well at whatever velocity you intend to operate at. Deer aren't tough to kill.

  12. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I'm not real sure what you are referring to when you asked "what is a safe velocity". So far as I know a bullet is neither safe nor unsafe based on it's velocity. And even if it means beating a dead horse, I'll reiterate what everyone else is saying. Load it as high velocity as is determined by the published data using proper work up procedure. Use a bullet with decent integrity so expansion will be acceptable, and accuracy to the extent you can put one in the kill zone at what ever distance your comfortable shooting at. I would zero it at no less than 200 yds. or you'll have problems with it shooting high when taking shots at over 200 yds. It's a 270 win. and is a very capable long range hunting weapon. As I stated above, I killed an antelope at almost 600 yds. and the bullet had absolutely no problem punching through and through, and taking with it the heart and lungs. For deer I would go with a 130 gr. projectile and load it to at least 3100 fps for some really great long range deer dropping capability. Those .270's are a fine flat shooting hunting weapon and really haven't gotten the positive review they are worthy of.
    Have a great time, and nail a big boy!
  13. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Active Member


    Personally I would give up velocity over accuracy any day to a point. I would much rather have the confidence in my loads, and my ability to deliver them to just where I wanted, over hoping is this the shot that will be the flier when I need that accuracy. If your shooting .5 MOA groups form the bench at 100yds, chances are they will open up to around 2.0 MOA groups when you fire them offhand simply due to heart beat, breathing, and your natural shake. However if you start out with 2.0 MOA groups of the bech, it will also multiply similarly when your fire offhand. So, IMO, might as well start of with the best you can and then worry about closeing it up once your standing, or laying sprawled out across the ground trying to calm your unsteady nerves.

    Any modern bullet starting out at 2800fps or higher is going to get the job it is intended to do, done when it hits home. I shoot quite a few calibers including the .270 Win. and to be quite honest the most accurate load I have ever shot from mine was 46.5grs of IMR-3031 which allowed just over 2750fps from my rifle. It was developed for my mom before she quit hunting back in her mid 60's. Myself and daughter used it well past the time she quite using it and I still have close to a half dozen boxes of it loaded.

    By the same token I also like at times to work up to a higher velocity depending on the intended use. I like to reach out across a field once in a while, and drop the hammer of Thor down on a feral hog, or wised up coyote that won't come in to a call. In times like this I want high velocity and accuracy at extreme ranges. This is the realm of the slower powders like H4831, RL-22, Ramshot Hunter and Magnum. If you have a need for speed such as reaching out a bit, and delivering an obscene long distance call on a predator or pest, then by all means give it your all. If not however, why punish yourself and your rifle with the higher pressure loads.
  14. kingmt

    kingmt New Member

    "Like get the best accuracy you can while obtaining a velocity that will be best for the bullet choice along with reliability."

    A bullet expands according to its twist & velocity. If you want it to pass through then it will be on the lower end & if you want it to frag inside then it will be on the upper end. I can get great penatration from a V-Max made to explode by slowing it down.
  15. A Historian

    A Historian New Member

    As a hunter, my hunting loads are my accuracy loads. A couple hundred feet per second is not going to make a difference when you are already pushing over two-thousand.
  16. GaryL

    GaryL Active Member

    I agree with the guys who said accuracy and shot placement.

    I hunt with a couple guys who go for big power, and have had to spend hours tracking their mortally wounded deer. Up in the north woods, a dead deer can go 75 yds before it drops. They usually don't go far, but if they get one or two strides in before they hit the turf, it is amazing how much ground they can cover.

    Besides, I can taste the difference in the meat. A clean kill = good tasting venison.
  17. CraigC

    CraigC Active Member

    41 Mag nailed it! Confidence is everything. I prefer the most accurate load that will do the job. IMHO, too many shooters are too obsessed with velocity and consequently, energy.

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