New Brunswick Hunting Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Case for Standard (Soft Point) Hunting Bullets

By Chuck Hawks

First, let's define standard hunting bullets. By "standard" I mean soft point and hollow point bullets of the types made the major bullet manufacturers. These are the bullets commonly found in factory loads such as the Remington Express, Winchester Super-X, Federal Power-Shok, and Hornady Custom lines.

Standard bullets used in these factory loads (and some premium factory loads as well) include the Winchester Power Point, Power Point Plus, Positive Expanding Point and Silvertip; Hornady Interlock; Federal Soft Point; Speer Hot-Cor; Sierra GameKing, Remington Core-Lokt and Core-Lokt Hollow Point. Standard bullets widely used by North American reloaders include most of the above plus the Sierra ProHunter, Nosler Solid Base, and Barnes Original. Most bullets referred to simply as a soft point or hollow point by the various ammunition and bullet manufacturers are standard bullets.

"Tipped" bullets, such as the Remington Bronze Point and AccuTip, Nosler Ballistic Tip, CT Ballistic Silvertip, and Hornady SST can also be included as standard bullets, since their terminal performance is similar to that of soft point bullets despite their pretty plastic tips. These bullets often appear in premium factory loads such as the Winchester Supreme, Remington Premier, Hornady Light Magnum, and Federal Vital-Shok lines, but in terminal performance these are conventional bullets.

What are NOT standard bullets are the premium priced, controlled expansion bullets featuring bonded cores, dual cores and the like. So this article is not about bullets such as the Nosler Partition and AccuBond, Winchester Fail Safe, Speer Grand Slam, Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Woodleigh Weldcore, Remington Core-Lokt Ultra, Hornady InterBond, Swift A-Frame and Sirocco, A-Square Dead Tough, and Barnes X-Bullet.

I also do NOT include cheap promotional bullets, varmint bullets, cast lead bullets, frangible bullets, full metal jacket bullets, "solid" bullets, or any kind of surplus military bullets. None of these are a good choice (and most are not even legal) for hunting CXP2 or CXP3 class big game.

Modern soft point, hollow point, and tipped bullets are built around a lead core contained in a copper or copper alloy (called "gilding metal") jacket. The jacket protects the bullet's lead core during its trip down the rifle barrel and also helps to control bullet expansion. In terminal performance it matters little whether expansion is initiated by exposed lead at the front of the bullet, a plastic or bronze tip, or a hollow point. All three will get the job done if properly engineered.

These standard type bullets are deadly on medium size (CXP2) big game animals. If you are hunting non-dangerous animals ranging in size from about 50 pounds to, say, 400 pounds, these are usually the best bullets to use. Let me repeat that: standard bullets are usually the best choice for CXP2 game.

Standard bullets will ordinarily provide more expansion and faster kills than premium controlled expansion bullets on animals such as pronghorn antelope, whitetail deer, blacktail deer, mule deer, mountain goats, wild sheep, black bear, caribou, and similar size animals worldwide. These are all relatively light framed animals, so a bullet that penetrates into the heart/lung area and expands violently, thus destroying the maximum amount of tissue, gives the quickest, most humane, kills.

Of course, you do have to get any bullet into a vital spot. You can break an animal's leg with the best bullet on earth, and it is not going to result in a quick kill.

Note that it is not necessary for the bullet to be recovered largely intact. Bullets that fragment after reaching the vitals do more tissue damage than those that are recovered looking like perfect little mushrooms. Bullets that shoot through and through usually do less internal damage than those that are found in pieces under the hide on the off side.

Occasionally I get correspondence that reads something like this: "Last season I dropped a buck in his tracks with one shot, but when we dressed him we found that the bullet had come apart inside of the animal. What went wrong? Should I change bullets?"

My answer is that nothing went wrong. The bullet performed perfectly. Congratulations on a humane, one shot kill. Don't change anything! A deeper penetrating bullet would result in a slower, less humane kill.

The only real "problem" with standard bullets is that many shooters and hunters have been propagandized to believe that all recovered bullets should look like those shown in the advertisements, and that any bullet that does not retain most of its weight and shoot through and through is no good. (Why? It should be obvious that a bullet that goes clear through the animal is wasting its remaining energy on the landscape.)

That is fine if your goal is to sell expensive premium bullets, which is exactly what the ammo and bullet makers want to do. It is no secret in the trade that premium ammo has a much higher profit margin than standard ammo, so that is what the manufacturers prefer to sell. Unfortunately, this propaganda is misleading at best and flat wrong at worst, if the buyer is looking for quick kills on deer size animals.

In fact, standard bullets will also work just fine on large, CXP3 game like elk and moose if they are delivered to the heart/lung area from the front or side. Standard bullets are not the ticket, however, for smashing through heavy shoulder joints or for so-called "raking" shots on heavy game. (In other words, shooting a north bound animal in the south end.) A premium, controlled expansion bullet is better in that scenario.

I would argue, however, that one should not attempt raking shots in the first place. They are always risky, with any kind of bullet. Wait until you have a clear shot at the heart/lung area, or don't shoot. So what if you have to stalk closer, or even lose a trophy, because a good shot is not available. That's why our sport is called "hunting." Your duty as a responsible hunter is a quick kill. If you are not certain of that result, you are obliged to hold your fire. If you want an easy sport, take up racket ball.

A complaint often heard about fast expanding bullets is that they destroy too much meat. My answer is that the whole point is to destroy a lot of tissue in order to cause a quick, humane death. The shooter, not the bullet, is responsible for what tissue is destroyed. If you put the bullet into the heart/lung area, little if any edible meat is destroyed, since most people don't eat internal organs. If you put the bullet into the animal's hip it is going to destroy a lot of meat, for sure, but the hip is not a vital organ. This is a bullet placement, not a bullet performance, problem.

Many shooters today seem to be obsessed with accuracy. Frankly, for the hunter this obsession is sometimes counter-productive, but the good news is that standard bullets are also usually the most accurate bullets. Their relatively uncomplicated design apparently results in a more uniform finished product, and uniformity is the key to hair splitting accuracy.

The bottom line is that premium bullets are neither required nor desirable for most hunting. Animals the size of deer, antelope, sheep, goats and caribou comprise the most sought after game species all around the world. These CXP2 class animals are what the standard bullets were designed to kill. That is why they are standard bullets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
What Chuck Hawks Dont Know Could Fill a Warehouse C'mon!!!

Word Of Advice...Dont believe everything you read on the internet!!
He is/has been knowing to put his foot in his mouth on more then one occasion!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just found the articles interesting. I've been using federal soft point in my 30 06 for years. they group well and I find their performance more than adequate. moose,deer bear they seen them all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
No Harm No Foul Boys...Everyone is entitled to there opinion C'mon!!

Mine is pretty simple...
Everyone complains about the high cost of ammo...well consider this...
In my opinion ammo is pretty well the cheapest thing when going on/or considering a hunt...example Rifle,Scope,Food,Liquor,Gas,the list goes on!!
$50 for a box of shells is a drop in the hat as far as I'm concerned!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
While I'll agree with some of it that standard ammo is fine for most game applications if a bullet totally blows apart then the variability from non identical hits says that it is NOT suitable for that animal. It is not blowing apart from hitting the heart or lungs but blowing up getting into the cavity. Maybe next time you clip the upper leg bone, center punch the rib or clip the blade, then what happens...massive blow-up before reaching vitals resulting in a lost deer that dies later. Not getting complete penetraion also results in poor blood trails resulting in lost animals from not having an exit hole.

I would think you would want a bullet that stays together long enough to punch both sides, mushrooms well and transfers most of it's energy to the animal.

I don't know about anyone else but fragmenting bullets will cause damage to more meat if it is going everywhere, maybe if your throwing the front quarters away it doesn't matter.

I would like to know where he got his idea that standards are more accuracte than premium ammo as well. I'm not a shooting fanatic but every forum on shooting says if your not handloading then premium ammo is the way to go for the most consistency outside of handloading and consistency in ammo gives accuracy same as any shooting sport.
 
  • Upvote
Reactions: wonksy

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
ARTICLE IS TALKING ABOUT BULLETS. NOT AMMO.

There has been and will probably be a lot of hype " marketing" about all these strong bullets. Facts are regular bullets like sierra game king for example are very capable of dispatching game animals very efficiently. They are accurate. An accurate well placed shot always does the job.

I shot a good 10 point buck in 2005 at 434 yards with a 165 grain sierra out of a p17 30.06. Took out heart and lungs, deer ran 35 yards and plied up. Boiler room was totally screwed. Bullet fragments never exited the animal. They were all stuck to the inside of the hide. A large exit hole was not needed.

A lot of hunters seem to like the sound of these awesome bullets.....A frame....ballistic tip....Acu bond so on and so forth. I am not saying they are inferior. Just not worth the extra bucks for non dangerous game. Dangerous game is a whole different story.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
I shot a good 10 point buck in 2005 at 434 yards with a 165 grain sierra out of a p17 30.06. Took out heart and lungs, deer ran 35 yards and plied up. Boiler room was totally screwed. Bullet fragments never exited the animal. They were all stuck to the inside of the hide. A large exit hole was not needed.
Shooting one animal without hitting bone does not make a case for them being the right bullet. What would have happened on your shot had you punched shoulder or hit the elbow which would have been as realistic as making a clean shot at that distance even for a sub MOA round. Exploded bullet, wounded deer and no blood trail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
All my deer hunting ammo is hand loaded to -1/2 minute of angle.

I am a competitive long range shooter.

Two years after shooting the 434 yard buck it was a 379 yard buck. Similar results.This year 250 yard shot with the deer quartering more than I had anticipated and he did run about a 100 yards,because I had clipped a bit of his shoulders. Similar internal results.

Point I am trying to make is and I will spell it out is : No heavy constructed bullet will ever make up for accuracy.These heavy constructed bullets ARE not as accurate and that is a FACT. Due to their process of their construction. The extra weight retention that they achieve will make a bigger wound channel and will crush bone better. But in all cases standard bullets in standard cartilages that are fired by a capable shooter will do the work required of them on deer sized game at fairly extreme yardage. Fact is (the majority ) of deer hunters in this province have not had enough shooting experience. Most also have little scope adjusting skills or range estimation skill. Believe me I have spent a bunch of time with some guys with my range finder and it blows me away at how far off almost are at 300 yards. Another fact of ballistics is no amount of mass will ever consistently outperform a well placed shot.

Got a guy around here that shoots AT deer with a Remington 30.06 pump with open sights. I suspect he may eat 1 deer out of 10 that he kills. Heavy constructed bullets would be no advantage to him.His shooting ability and kit leave much to be desired. He sprays lead . I have found days later some of his gut shot deer,doe and 2 kids one fall all shot in same field,ran same direction into same woods all laying within 25 yards of one another, killed aver perhaps a 5 day span. Heavy constructed bullets would be no advantage for this guy, but hey guess what he believes in. He uses them, thinks they are the cats ass. He figures if they don't fall down dead that he musta missed.

Bigger game with bigger calibers, different story. Start shooting grizzlies at 300 yards with a .338 Lapua and I would want some Barnes solids going down range.
Same thing with ultra fast calibers like .300 ultamag, the fast Lazerzeronie(sp) cartridges that are shitting out 180 plus grain bullets out the barrel at over 3300 feet per second, then I believe heavy constructed bullets are warranted.

But for standard calibers standard bullets. Standard calibers would be .243,.270,.308,30.06,30/30,.32 sp. Some 7mm calibers are starting to push velocities that may warrant a heavier bullet as are some 300 win mags. But generally rule of thumb is 200+ grain bullet leaving a tube at plus 3100 feet /second.

For the most part its velocity shock that does most damage to deer sized game not holes clean through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
All my deer hunting ammo is hand loaded to -1/2 minute of angle.
I didnt know it took less then MOA to successfully harvest deer!!

Keep in mind most lad in this province are shooting there deer at 150 yards or most times even less then 100!!

How accurate does there rifle really need to be at them ranges.
Dont get me wrong I'm all for accuracy as well, but for the majority of NB hunters its not much of a concern, most of them dont go through box after box like we do!!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,759 Posts
I handload, using primarily nosler accubonds.
Though if i didnt load my own, id probably still be using the same old "cup and core" (standard) bullets i used for years.

They Killed everything just the same.

I agree wonksy, most guys out their hunting are lucky if they shoot MOA.
Id say alot of guys who hunt and harvest there game shoot maybe 2 to 3 inch @ 100.

which is fine for most applications around here.
 
G

·
There are some really good points here, and I agree (mostly) with Organic Farmer, Wonsky, and Mu'in.

The marketing people have done an excellent job convincing us that we need something that we didn't know we needed, until they told us.

I'm shooting Rem Core-lokt Premium Bonded, but only because my gun likes them and they haven't failed me. I have a lot of confidence in them. Otherwise I'd shoot Win Super-X PP, they are also accurate in my gun, half the price, and Bambi is just as dead. I've tried others (premiums and standards), and really saw what it means when we say a group opens up. Not good.

It all comes down to bullet placement, ask any bowhunter.

I suggest anybody read "Shots at Big Game" by Craig Boddington. It is an excellent read with some very good practical advice about what we really need, in terms of accuracy, caliber selection, and shooting skills. Unfortunately many of us put our attention in the wrong places like calibers and bullets Sub-MOA etc., instead of areas like shooting skills and hunting skills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
OG.. Now who's taking ammo and not bullets

I said I believe standard is fine for most applications, no one said heavy constructed bullets make up for accuracy issues but if a particular bullet (any grade) is fragmenting just upon entry I do not think it is an appropriate choice. You hit bone with that and sooner or later you'll lose a deer because of it. Accuracy is great and #1, I can kill a deer with a .22 as long as the shot's placed right but you don't pick a bullet based on the best case scenario IMO.
 
  • Upvote
Reactions: wonksy

·
Registered
Joined
·
317 Posts
If a premium bullet gave me more confidence for killing deer I would have no problem paying the extra money for them. I think for deer sized game, premiums are a waste of money & the premium bullet trend is mostly hype and marketed to people with more money than experiance. I could see the reason for using premium bullets on an elk hunt or even a moose hunt, but even then I would probably still go with an interlock or another traditional deer hunting bullet that has been well proven in accuracy and terminal performance. If I did go all out and pay the extra money for bullets for a big game hunt it wouldent have a coloured plastic tip either, more likely a grand slam or partition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
If I did go all out and pay the extra money for bullets for a big game hunt it wouldent have a coloured plastic tip either, more likely a grand slam or partition.
Pretty hard to beat them colored plastic tipped XP3's...
After all they did replace the beloved Fail Safe!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
323 Posts
Pretty hard to beat them colored plastic tipped XP3's...
After all they did replace the beloved Fail Safe!!
Not knowing what the XP3's can do, yet
I was a loyal failsafe user and feel the XP3's have big shoes to fill.

In regards to bullets, ammo or snowballs, I use what I feel comfortable with. Trial and error is most likely the path that will take you to your favourite. When I started hunting, I shot my first deer with a core lokt bullet; didn't like what I experienced, then moved on to Extended Range Boattails and found them decent at the range but no dice on an animal. I then moved onto the failsafe, fell in love with their performance and now waiting to see what the new kid on the block can do.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top