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Toughest "regular" rifle bullet?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Weedy, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Weedy

    Weedy Well-Known Member

    From your experience, what would you say is the toughest (best weight retention, penetration) of the "standard" manufacturer bullets - Core Lokt, Power Points, Interlock, whatever Federal $20/box bullets are, etc. For example, if you had to choose one of these to hunt moose or elk with, which would hold up best?
    I'm not hunting elk or moose anytime soon, just another one of those questions-you-think-of-at-3am things.
  2. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    Just choose one weight heavier in any brand, and you will get a tougher bullet. For instance, a 30-06 using 150's, you want a tougher std. bullet, go to to 180's...

    Other than that, your question can't be answered, as each brand/style of 150 will be different, even in the same brand.

    For instance, jacket taper will be different in a 150 grain bullet, even from the same brand, if you choose a different nose/base style.

    THEN on top of that. velocity changes the way a bullet will act, even the medium it's shot into will make a difference... SO, there's no one hard fast rule to cover all situations, that will allow you to choose only by brand.

  3. jhnrckr

    jhnrckr Well-Known Member

    All of the bullets you listed will over penetrate 90% of the time. I have killed over 30 100lb+ critters and only recovered 1 bullet and one shotgun slug. I have had great luck with core lokts but it is damn near impossible to tell what is going on, each shot is going to hit a different angle/density etc so I offer no scientific proof. The last season I have switched over completely to Winchester Ballistic Silvertips in all my hunting guns, .270, 30-06, 308 and 7mm rem mag. In all my hunting experience I have never seen such devastating wound channels. I dont know exactly what the bullet does on impact but the photo evidence I have seen shows BST retain most of their original mass. I swear these things act like exploding varmint bullets but every photo I see shows them coming out 90% original weight or close to it. Maybe they expand more rapidly? If you are into putting an animal down in its tracks and can live with some meat damage this is the bullet for you.
  4. mshootnit

    mshootnit Well-Known Member

    those polymer tips will cause a rapid expansion or opening up of the bullet.
  5. UpTheIrons

    UpTheIrons Well-Known Member

    If your main criteria are weight retention and penetration, I've had great results with Barnes TTSX bullets (I shoot a .308). The only ones I've recovered were in the 6th gallon jug of water in a line of 7 jugs. The only weight loss was the polymer tip. My dad shoots the TSX (no tip) in his .257 Wby Mag, and the petals tend to peel off, but the rest of the bullet just keeps on going.

    ETA: If by "standard", you mean the traditional "cup and core" style copper & lead, I would think one of the bonded types would do better than non-bonded. I've seen a lot of just jackets left and lead fragments from old style bullets, but that doesn't mean they won't kill.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  6. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I love the Barnes too, but let's be clear....they are NOT cheap. :)
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    After trying a lot of jacketed bullets I have settled on cast bullets for all of my rifle and handgun shooting. I can vary the alloy to create a bullet as hard or soft as I need for the intended situation. I hunt with them and would use the same ammunition for anything on this continent. If I had to use jacketed stuff, I would go to the gold standard and shoot Nosler Partition bullets. They just plain work.
  8. Sergeant Sabre

    Sergeant Sabre Well-Known Member

    The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
  9. loosenuts

    loosenuts New Member

    There are so many bullet types out there that it's hard to nail down a specific bullet that works all the time in 'any case'.
    For my 308 Howa HB, I have had very good performance with the 168 HPBT in the Federal Match ammo. Now it seems to have flooded the gunshows for $20/box, so I'm scarfing it up while I can afford it.
    I have found this stuff works great in my FnFAL that has a Badger Match grade barrel on it.
    No matter what you do, each gun is going to like one bullet or another, you just have to find that sweet spot.
    I hope to join StrawHat and start using cast boolits for hunting, and go using my military rifles for more of a challenge.
  10. 303tom

    303tom member

    Forget the weight you match that to what ever you are hunting, but Core-Lokt Ammunition is probably one of the toughest "Regular" rifle bullet on the market............
  11. Picher

    Picher Well-Known Member

    Maine is Core-Loct country and if I were to use a standard round for moose, would probably take the Rem 180 grain Core-Locts over other offerings. Core-Locts are so popular, it's hard to find .30-06, .308 Win and .270 Win in big-box stores within a week of opening day.
  12. MuleRyder

    MuleRyder Well-Known Member

    I lived in Maine the first 35 yrs of my life and it's funny you say that...We always used Rem Core-Lokt for deer hunting. In .30-06 I think we used 180grn RNSP. Killed lots of deer and a few moose with no problems.
  13. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    I don't know how you can make that statement when the OP didn't state the caliber, cartridge, bullet weight or even what animals that bullet hit.

    Shoot a moose with a 270 using 130 corlocks and most of them won't exit, especially at closer ranges. Same with 150's out a 30-06 or one of the 30 magnums.

    I've seen a lot of bullets come apart in big game, and that's what led me to premium bullets for the bigger animals, in fact my choise for "one bullet for everything" has been NP's for many years now for that reason. They give some expansion even in smaller animals i happen onto, yet expand well and drive in very deep on the biggest big game. Of course for deer, just about anything decent works...

    There is NO way to claim that any brand ammo std. cup/core bullet will do it all in all situations. Each situation is too different.

  14. kludge

    kludge Well-Known Member

    What caliber?

    But if you're going to spend all the money on an elk or moose hunting trip and can't afford $1 for the bullet, that's some kind of false economy.

    At any rate... I would probably choose a Hornady Interlock.
  15. Steve H

    Steve H Well-Known Member

    I agree, they are my #1 bullet to load. When you look at the expense of a hunt the cost of the bullet is pretty small.
  16. ShortFatHokie

    ShortFatHokie Well-Known Member

    My FIL shot a buck with a Core-Lokt (.270/130gr) this year...hit one rib going in and blew a hole the size of a softball through the other side. Needless to say, the buck stopped there...

    I loaded up some TTSX for this past hunting season but unfortunately, I have no data to give on their performance...
  17. tundraotto

    tundraotto Well-Known Member

  18. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I also like the Barnes because they are a local company, And I'm not worried about the cost of the bullet that drops the animal, (particularly if it increases the odds that there is only one,) but I like to be able to load a lot of the same bullet to practice with. They do add up. Honestly, I would like to use Barnes bullets exclusively, but I cringe every time I buy them.
  19. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    Within the genre of non-bonded cup-and-core bullets, it's a toss up between the Corlokts and the Interloks. They both work and are relatively inexpensive. The Nosler Partitons have nothing on either of these bullets given same caliber and bullet weight.

    Don't count out the new Federal/Speer Deep-Curl bullets. These are an evolution of the Gold Dot technology (plated bullets), and are a lower cost alternative to the bonded bullets. Not cheap, however !!!

    The Ballistic Silver Tips are just coated Nosler Ballistic Tips with a silver colored tip. They do and will shed the cores just like the regular ballistic tips. Nothing wrong with the BallisticTips as long as you use them for the right application. WhiteTail deer and Pronghorn Antelope are the intended application for these bullets and they work quite well. For Elk, Moose, and Bear; if I had to use "factory" ammo, it'd be the Federal Premium or Nosler Custom with partition's or "bonded" bullets in the heaviest bullet weight available. The Trophy Bonded "Bear Claws" and such are likewise suitable. Not meaning to exclude the Barnes either. In fact the only use I can see for justifying the expense of them is for large, or dangerous game on $$$$$ hunts.

    For deer, black bear, and eastern moose, the CorLokts and Interloks are just fine.... However, I've seen too many of the Winchester Power Points and older Federal Power-Shoks seperate cores to recommend them except for smaller deer.
  20. Weedy

    Weedy Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the input guys but let me make myself a little more clear...the caliber doesn't matter. I KNOW premium bullets are better for larger game. I'm asking, with equal caliber and bullet weights, which STANDARD (not premium, not Nosler, not Barnes) bullet would hold up the best? Please don't over analyze, I know every shot is different, different weights of the same bullet are tougher, blah blah blah.
    OK how bout this...youre on a $10,000 Alaskan moose hunt. Your rifle and ammo fall out of the float plane. There is only one way to save your hunt - the guide hands you his only rifle, a 30-06 (he's a poorly equipped and overpriced guide) and all he has on hand are some boxes of 180 grain ammunition: Remington Green-Box CoreLokt, Federal regular-old-Wallyworld, Winchester gray-box Wallyworld, and whatever other "non-premium" brand offerings you would like. Which is the best choice, in your opinion?
    This is all hypothetical guys, we know most of us would not choose CoreLokts for moose...

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