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Medium-bore for light game?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by labnoti, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    The "medium bore" carfridges you named are about twice as powerful and destructive as the "Big Bore" ones you named. You realize that right ? Big bore RIFLE cartridges are like .404, .416, .425, .458. .470. 500, .505. .577 .600 , ect. and have large capacity cases. The mediums you named have large capacity cases compared to the "big Bore" you named . While yes big bullets work well , the 2000+ FPS velocity really works better !The game you mentioned can be handled by a .243 up nicely. Decide how far you want to shoot it. At up to 200 yards or farther . That would mean the difference between a 30-30 and say a 30-06. . I have used all three medium bores you mentioned and the winner for me is the .375 H&H (actually .375 Weatherby which takes the H&H ammo too) and I shoot elk with the 260 grain accubond currently. , I guess it could be done at 600 yards but I wont shoot much over 300.When I hunt the Central California area 150 pound deer, 300 pound pigs I drop down to either a .243 or a .35 remington bolt gun for shorter ranges they show up, depending on range. Last Blacktail I shot with a 260 grain .375 H&H ruined the front half of the meat. Same with the pigs. :) I forgot antelope ! truly a light game species but I never got a shot at one closer than 250+ yards. So I used a .264 Win Mag for them, now gonna try a 6.5 Creed in my old age. Also I started using a .270 Wimchester in 1963 as a "deer gun" on the East coast and ended my .270 Saga 10 years ago in Africa with the .270 WSM, both superb for the CPX2 class you mentioned
     
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  2. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    I'll have to get back to the OP on the medium bores. I am working up a load for the 338 Federal with 200 gr Speer and will use it next week on the local whitetail population. I too was wondering about bullet performance when the muzzle velocity is around 2500 fps. I shot Federal Fusions through the chrono along with some of my handloads. The Fusions were averaging 2750 fps while the handloads were very close to what the manuals quoted. Since I am using this in the timber where shots will be up close personal I should have no problem with expansion. We'll see.
     
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  3. Gary W. Strange

    Gary W. Strange Member

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    In North America, I think for deer, goats, not really sheep, and most game animals. Excluding elk, bison and the big bears, unless you are shooting at really long range. The big calibers above 30/06 are overkill. Not that I don’t own and shoot some of the big calibers or think anyone should not hunt and shoot what they like. They are fun to shoot and mess with. Years back, l bought one of the Winchester 1895s in 405 Winchester, needed it like I need my head cut off, but it is a fun gun to shoot and play with. It would handle most anything in the USA. I have seen many deer with so much meat damage from a 300 Win msg. I used to hunt with that very caliber, when I was younger. Since I have gotten older, I have come to love the .25 calibers. The .257 Roberts and the .250 Savage. I think they are fine deer and goat calibers. Sheep are big tough animals and require a caliber that is going to put them down at longer ranges. Elk and moose are big animals and require some caliber. For deer size game I think the .25s, in North America, are the mid bores. In my older age, I find a lighter caliber, in a light, easy to carry rifle, that is not going to kick like a mule, just the ticket. I hunt with a Kimber 84M in .257 Roberts or a 7mm08. I recently bought a Savage model 99R in 250-3000. I think it would be great but I find the rifle to be on the heavy side. I am still going to give it a try this year. With all that said, I do believe you should hunt with what ever caliber you like and have confidence in. I love them all and everyone has it’s place and use. I just think now, that some are too much for smaller deer size game. I like the .375 Winchester for hogs and sometimes bigger would be better. It all depends on the animal, location and range. If I could only have one rifle, Hope it never gets to that, a 30-06 would be it. It can be loaded small enough and big enough to get you by hunting anything in North America, if needed. Enjoy what ever you want to shoot. In the end, it is just an individual preference. I have hunted with everything from a .223 to a 375 H&H, but have came to like the smaller bores better, but I still love them all.
     
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  4. jrkotz

    jrkotz Member

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    Why such a big bore if you're only going after pronghorn? I'd sooner go smaller caliber into the 6mm realm before going up from the "standard" .277-.308 range. I'd say the best going right now would be the 6.5s, they're popular for a reason - minimal recoil, ridiculously high BCs, and excellent sectional density.
     
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  5. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I get it. I guess you could say I've been a minimalist myself. I always thought a .30-06 was overkill for an antelope or 150 lb deer. I got into 6.5 Grendel because I figure it's plenty for anything but big bears or Elk which I'm not likely to hunt more than once in the next 10 years or more. So why would I want to use a .375 that's normally suited for Giant eland? Well, there's two things.

    First, I'm interested in what stops game immediately. I've hunted medium game with archery and I've tracked it. I also know that cartridges like Grendel or .243 or even .270 will drop game DRT, but not every time. Of course, nothing makes up for misses or bad shots, but can the right bullet drop game immediately almost every time?

    Second, I think the medium-bores have a reputation almost exclusively for very large game simply because of the bullets chosen. As Gordon pointed out, the "big bore" cartridges I named are not the big bore dangerous game cartridges like .470 NE. .450 Bushmaster is a light, CX-2 game cartridge. So the .375 H&H or .35 Whelen I mentioned aren't normally considered light game cartridges, but isn't that just because of the bullets that are normally used in those cartridges? Why do Whitetail-appropriate cartridges seem to go from .308 and then jump to .44 or .45 with possibly the exception of the .35 Remington? Why not load a cartridge like .358 Winchester appropriately for light game? Why is something like this rare, and the medium-bores almost entirely relegated to Safari guns?

    Or maybe we should ask, why medium-bore for light game? In the simplest terms, they offer "more" than the small bores, except maybe velocity. Compared to .308 or smaller, the larger caliber bullet is able to retain a greater frontal area at high velocity. 6.5's not only start out smaller, but they also tend to shed the edges of the mushroom or have the petals peeled back. A medium bore starts bigger and has a bigger base to hold a larger frontal area. .358 Win or .35 Whelen also typically have better-accepted recoil compared to a .300 or .338 Win Mag.

    The doubt I have is whether there is an appropriate bullet in .358 or .375 for light weight game. A short bullet without the high sectional density typical of Safari bullets is needed. It should expand/deform at impact velocities out to long ranges (300 yards?) and it should expand even in the neck of a deer, not just if it hits 48 inches of Giant eland.
     
  6. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Member

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    CPX-2 game is not difficult to take with an appropriate kill zone shot and a bullet that expands at the appropriate range and velocity.

    Every bullet has a velocity window for expansion. It has a threshold, an optimal range, and sometimes an upper limit. In medium bore rifles on CPX-2 game, you need light for caliber bullet OR a soft bullet.


    Medium bore examples of this would be:

    Soft Bonded bullets, like Federal Fusion or Nosler Accubond 338 through 375 (or LR in 338 only)
    Any Nosler Partition bullet 338-458 (or equivalent partition like design)
    Light for caliber SP (Hornady, Sierra)
    Light for caliber copper bullets (as long as enough velocity can be attained for expansion)

    Yes. There are huge marketing campaigns to convince deer hunters to use what are effectively thin jacketed, match bullets for longer ranges on CPX-2 game. They do work, even at closer ranges, depending on the bullet. The result is just like the picture - huge entrance wound, shattered bullet, no trace of an exit, and shrapnel in the chest cavity. I would prefer the bullet expand, but have a retained weight, even if it ultimately passes through. That typically requires a thicker shank, bonding, or a partition.

    All good shots being equal, it is one way. The biggest issue is appropriate bullet choice and selection. The second issue is that it is more difficult to get handloading workups for calibers that have more recoil.

    Ultimately, there are fewer choices for medium bores for CPX-2 game. Most people just choose small bore calibers that expand well for the expected hunting range and call it a day. It does not take extreme methods to take CPX-2 game.
     
  7. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I think that the idea that you need a 35 bore is unrealistic. Use what you want but The difference between a 35 and 30 hundreds is minimal at best and there is no additional mythical knockdown power. The 30-06 or if you prefer, 7MM magnum are more than enough at any reasonable hunting range for any of the game listed. Actually smaller rounds are often used very successfully. If you want to shoot a .338 magnum on light game go ahead. Studies have show that shot placement is far more important than caliber used and on deer caliber make little difference. Also the assumptions about bullet performance are suspect somewhat true if one isn't careful about selection. Modern high quality bullets designed for the game class are very effective at ranges far beyond it is reasonable to shoot them at. But then you could use a .50 Cal BMG cartridge.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Rounds like the 6.5X55 and 7X57 have been cleanly taking every game animal on the planet since the 1890's. WD Bell was one of the most prolific elephant hunters of all time; taking over 1100 elephant in his lifetime. Most of them with his preferred rifle, a 7X57, but some with 6.5X55, 303 and a few others. Sort'a makes you wonder if there is any reason for anything bigger than 30 caliber for anything.

    It is all about sectional density. Rifles in 26-30 caliber will handle bullets with high enough sectional density to give adequate penetration on any animal on the planet. Yet those bullets are still light enough to shoot with enough speed to ensure expansion and shoot reasonably flat. An SD of around .270 or more is what you want to get acceptable penetration on big game such as elk, bear, or moose. Assuming equal bullet construction and shot placement the higher the SD, the deeper the bullet will penetrate. Bore diameter is a non factor, penetration is the goal.

    A 140 gr 26 caliber bullet has a SD of .287
    A 150 gr 27 caliber SD is .279
    A 160 gr 28 caliber bullet is .283
    A 175 gr 28 caliber bullet is .310
    A 180 gr 30 caliber bullet is.271
    A 200 gr 30 caliber is .301
    A 220 gr 30 caliber is .331

    When you get above 30 caliber, up to 375 caliber you have to move to much heavier bullets than most shooters want to use in order to get the same penetration.

    A 225 gr 33 caliber bullet is.281 and it will penetrate about the same as the above choices.
    A 225 gr 35 caliber bullet is only .251 and won't come close to the penetration of the others.

    With cartridges like the 338 Fed and 358 win you can't shoot bullets heavy enough to offer any advantage over a 180 gr bullet from a 308. In fact a 200-220 gr fired from a 30-06 handily beats both 338 Fed and 358 win and both 308 and 30-06 do it with less recoil, more down range energy, and flatter trajectory.

    Basically everything bigger than 30 caliber and smaller than 375 has you working at a handicap. Most shooters eventually come to that conclusion and that is the reason none of those cartridges has ever become mainstream It's not that they don't kill stuff. They just don't kill anything any deader than smaller calibers and they handicap the shooter with more recoil and limited range.

    Once you get to 375 you can now shoot bullets with at least .270 SD and shoot them fast enough to be useful.
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    Bell was a poacher and became very good at poaching. He literally shot them through the ear hole. Bell was not a hunter as we think of today and should not be mentioned in the same breath with modern hunters.

    I'm taking my 375 H&H to Nebraska in two weeks or so for a white tail/ mule deer hunt. I'll try to get pics for y'all. I'm shooting a 270gr Barnes Triple X bullet over 72.5 grs of IMR 4895. It's an accurate, moderate load that should work just fine.
     
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  10. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I think your assumption that there is an always DRT bullet is wrong. Studies and experience shows that where you hit them is the deciding factor. I have shot deer with all sorts of calibers. High velocity always does more tissue damage. Bore size makes little difference. I go for heart shots as it is always a sure killer and a short track if any. DRT happens or doesn't with just about everything I have shot a deer with. From slugs to .223. That seems to be unpredictable regardless of what you shoot them with. The only gun I have real high confidence in is an M2.

    I am not sure about everything Jmr40 said but I do know that the Alaska DNR confirmed that the best round for big bears is .375 Magnum and above followed close by a 30-06. So that confirms what Jmr40 said.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  11. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    Because most people are not accustom to the recoil and the chamberings we talk about when we talk about medium bore are almost always British or German loads developed for hunting in Africa. These are old cartridges from the time when nitrocellulose was in use, hence the long cases. The 375 H&H and it's long action twin the 375 Ruger, are extremely versatile loads that are proven performers.

    Do you need a medium bore for deer, no. Will a 375 H&H, loaded correctly, vaporize white tails, no. Like I said, hopefully I can provide some first hand field testing in the next few weeks.
     
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  12. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    I often wonder if people who bring up Bell and his ,275 Rigby have ever actually read any of Bell’s books?
    Bell used a .275 shooting 173 Gr cupronickel solids. His 6.5 of choice was a .256 Manlicher with 160 Gr bullets. Both heavy for caliber choices for increased penetration. The reason Bell was able to kill elephants with either was that he studied the cranial anatomy of elephants to the point where he became a specialist of the brain shot. It doesn’t take a big bore to punch the brain of an elephant it takes perfect understanding of anatomy and the ability to stick a proper deep penetrating solid bullet into that football sized target from any angle presented. He was also shooting select old heavy ivoried bulls. He was not hunting in herd situations.

    If you want to talk about the most prolific elephant hunters they are not Bell they were the elephant cropping rangers of more modern times. Ron Thompson killed nearly 5,000 and Richard Harland 4,000 plus. They both have an entirely different take on an adequate elephant round than did Bell. They needed reliable and adequate killing power on multiple elephant in herd situations. Elephants that were panicked and aggressive. While both killed multiple elephants with .308 service rifles out of necessity. They were issued and they recommended .a .458 or such with 500 grain solid bullets. The Whole point of a DG rifle is not for when everything goes right. It’s for when everything goes wrong. There is a reason you don’t see professional hunters doing DG back up work with 7 MM rifles.

    Bell also mentions that he had a .400 Nitro for “follow up” work on wounded elephants in nasty situations.

    There is no question in my mind why there is a need for bigger than .30 cal cartridges in many hunting situations.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  13. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Why does 35 bore evoke the idea of "more than .30-06 or 7mm Magnum"? It doesn't have to be. As you say, going up a little in caliber doesn't necessarily mean the cartridge is far more effective. It also doesn't have to mean the cartridge is a Safari Ultra Magnum for the biggest game. .358 Winchester has some great features that the smallbores don't provide. It is larger in caliber for one thing, and yet I think it can hardly be considered unrealistically overkill compared to a .30-06. One of the advantages of something like .358 compared to 7 Magnum is it can use a shorter action and a shorter barrel, while still delivering what might be better results (I think that depends on the bullet being matched to the game).

    I don't think we need a "always" DRT bullet to do better than we are doing with some of the other cartridges. I'm convinced that .270 Win consistently kills mule deer faster than .223. Can we improve on .270, or is that the pinnacle? Are the medium-bores overlooked?

    I agree both the heavier rifle weight and the recoil of .375 H&H is a turn-off compared to what can be done with a .308 or 6.5 on lightweight game. But medium bores don't have to have Safari-size recoil. I'll bring up the .358 Win again, but I could name the .35 Whelen also as cartridges that actually don't recoil that hard. They certainly recoil less than a 7mm Magnum, less than a 300 Win Mag, PRC, and even less than a .45-70 -- all much, much more popular than the 35 caliber rifles. So I don't think heavy recoil limits medium bores.
     
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  14. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    This is my Hannibal .358 Norma . It came with a late 60s 2-7 Weaver El Paso steel scope but I put eventually a Leupold 4.5-14x scope on it with a multiple dot reticule . I used it on a very large ranch that had 700 yard shots on Tule Elk, Mule deer and big hogs. I used 225 Sierra Game King Bullets at chronographed 2985 FPS with exceptional sub MOA accuracy at 300 yards where it is sighted in for (Now I use 225 Accubods as the fly flatter and are more "explosive" at long range) .I think the .358 Norma is a very overlooked hot rod out of heavy long barrels like this 27" cannon. The twist rate is 1-12" and stabilizes the 300 grain Austrailian bullets I ordered a stash of but they only go 2700 fps :) and are very tough.
    practicalstuff019_zps7f034a89.jpg
     
  15. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    I had a .338 ASquare on a Hannibal rifle for a short time. Elegant or slim were not appropriate descriptions of Art Alpin’s rifle creation. But I have to say that rifle was a shooter and that round would definitely haul the mail. The .338 A Square will push a 250 gr bullet at 3100 + FPS.
     
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  16. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I had a 358 Norma mag built by john van Patten. Of a 03 springfield, the rifle was a easy 1/2 gun, very versatile gun to . Had to sell it after I got layedoff. It was built for a doe hunt that never happened, but loaded down great for deer and shot pretty flat.
     
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  17. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I have always wanted to try a 338 federal or 358 winchester to see if there is a better compromise middle ground between the big bores and 30 calibers. The area I hunt is red willow and tamarack sloughs, which once you get into the tall grass and willows you can typically only see 20 feet and the ground is usually wet. Blood trailing deer in that labyrinth can be a real challenge. Anyway what I have observed over the years is that a deer shot through the lungs with basically any high power rifle is basically on a timer, they run till the oxygen in their brain runs out and down they go. Doesn't seam to matter that much what you shoot them with. The differentiator is the size of the blood trail. In my experience the bigger diameter and heavier a bullet you put through the deer, the better the wound opening and resulting blood trail will be. A 243 kills them just as fast as a 444 marlin or 45-70, but the 444 marlin leaves a blood trail that Ray Charles could follow. Its literally like walking a red carpet to the deer. The small bores can be prone to having them bleed out internally unless the right bullet is used. I am immensely impressed how the 44 and 45's do but they do leave a lot of blood shot tissue. After weighing options I decided to try a 358 yeti. 358 yeti is a wildcat made from a shortened 308 case and necked to .358". Mine pushes a 180gr hot core to 2500 fps, so basically a 35 Remington +P+++. I'm really excited to see how it performs.

    7.62x39, 358 Yeti, 444 marlin, 25-06

    983C758C-F0E6-40E7-9B06-D50945F6D904.jpg
     
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  18. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    When people first hear I shoot a 375 H&H I tell them it's not that bad. If you can shoot a 12ga with heavy field loads or slugs you can shoot my 375.
     
  19. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    I'm with troy fairweather on this. The 35 Remington may not look sexy on paper but it kills cleanly and effectively. I have mentioned a few times on this forum that its a death ray. I have had excellent results with the Remington 200gr cor-lokt. There are plenty of examples of the paper ballistics not matching the real world. My old cap and ball revolvers with a soft round ball are deadly on many types of "vermin".
     
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  20. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    That’s what I have been using in my .358 Win, a lot slower than you push them obviously

    7uLpUGB.jpg
     
  21. Aletheia

    Aletheia Member

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    I don't believe there is any cartridge that "stops game immediately". Nothing.

    No matter what the frontal area or velocity, sometimes they will drop, and sometimes they will run. My experience says that relatively high velocity and relatively large frontal area can, more often, produce DRT results, but the required recoil to "always" drop game immediately becomes absurd. You can't shoot anything from your shoulder that will do to a mule deer what you can do to a gopher with a .22-250, and I most certainly do not want to. Sudden, immediate kills on big game cannot be consistently achieved without massive internal, skeletal, and muscle damage - except for CNS destruction and brain shots are not suitable except from very close range due to the size of the target. I don't want excess skeletal and muscle damage, because I eat the stuff I shoot. So, I tolerate some tracking after the shot as an inevitable consequence of my deliberate choices to preserve good meat and a humane kill, even if the game remains capable of running for a few seconds at times It is quite easy to use any of several cartridges that will almost always pass through light game and produce a good blood trail to make any tracking quite simple, but the desire to get all your shots to produce sudden death on the spot will inevitably lead to high recoil, lots of meat damage, and messy gutting and skinning. And occasionally, some animals will still run.

    So select a cartridge/bullet that will give a good trajectory over the ranges you want to shoot, hit the animal properly, get a complete pass through, and do whatever minimal amount of tracking you will have to do on occasion. Almost all the normally accepted cartridges for "light game" will work for that.
     
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  22. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I too use the .35 Remington , in a Remington 600 carbine with a 1-4x Leupold for all my less than 200 yard hunting . I push the 180 hot core bullet mentioned to 2300 fps in a load that is too hot for other .35 Remingtons (I think) , but have to admit the 200 grain Coreloktd Remington is/was the default load for every .35 Remington I've had and worked perfectly . When there is something that I want down real quick, like deer in my or others apple orchards, or invited to an estate or vinyard to take out deer , out comes the .35 Rem. My .270 WSM has been kept sighted in for 15 years with Federal TSX copper 130 grain ammo (which is legal in Ca.) which spits out at 3300 fps and opens those sharp petals up every time . That load IS deadly on deer , but at 150 yards or so the .35 Rem with the 180 load at 2300 is just as fast and perhaps more stuff comes out the off side. Go figure !
     
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  23. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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  24. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    @Gordon

    Here’s the entry and exit on a whitetail with the 225 Game Kings from a couple of years ago. MV was ~2,500fps and the shot was ~130 yards. It got the job done with no drama :thumbup:

    D5IuSiQ.jpg
     
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  25. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    I hit a deer at just at 250, I looked at Google maps to check. I believe it was my last few rounds of 35 rem 200 core lokt, the newer remingtons are the same old bullet. The deer were moving to me then turned and started walking away, this was in think woods, there was a nice buck but to thick.

    I watched the last few and just as I lost sight of the last deer, there was a perfect shooting hole in the woods. Without thinking I pulled up and shot. The deer went down so quick I lost sight of it. I guess I naturally aimed high. Deer had a perfect 35 cal hole high shoulder, I can't honestly say every deer I hit with the 35rem dropped and never moved a inch.

    I would like to build one soon, maybe just do a 358, since 35rem brass is still pricey. My ss 700 would be a good candidate.
     
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