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Brian's Bullet Selection

03 Sep 2016
@ 09:12 pm (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

I don't want to bore you with a lot of history, but I do want to set up the selection process.

43 years ago, I bought a used Savage 110 CL. It came with a Bushnell Banner 3-9 x 32 scope. It served me well for 39 years. Unfortunately the clips would no longer feed and my son convinced me it was time to take a week for hunting moose and a week for deer.

I now have a a Remington 750 .308 and a Browning X Bolt 30-06. The 308 is my back up for moose and my dogging gun when hunting white tails.

The 30-06 is my primary moose gun and deer rifle when sitting.

We hunt the hardwoods of Ontario so my maximum shot is about 150 yds. and usually under 100.

Usually we have 1 week between hunts so I've been looking for a bullet for deer and a bullet for moose that will shoot close enough that I don't have to change the settings on my sights.

Let's start with the 308. I had a red dot mounted but at 100 yds. there was no consistency. I replaced it with a Bushnell Banner 1-4 x 32. Today I tested the Winchester BST at 150 gr. After reading Nathan's article on Effective Game Killing I wanted to keep my velocity above 2600 for the first 100 yds, but still use an expanding bullet but some weight retention.

The moose bullet I test was the Federal 165 gr. copper. I wanted maximum weight retention for deep penetration.

After getting the scope zeroed with the BST's I had 1 shot in the 1" bull 1/4" high and 1/4" left of dead centre at 100 yds..

I then loaded the coppers. Three shots with a grouping of 3/4" two bullets overlapping. The group centre was at about 10 o'clock and off dead centre by an inch. Again at 100 yds.

I think I can go back to the range and fine tune these closer to dead centre.

More on the 30-06 later.



03 Sep 2016
@ 09:56 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
OK, one thing to keep in mind is that on very large game, you need to increase bullet weight to get the hydrostatic effect I have described. On the largest body weights, to get the bang-flop as people call it, the bullet weight would need to be up around 300gr and the impact velocity as you say, above 2600fps. Think of it like a sliding scale.

On smaller animals, the sliding scale goes the other way- the wider the bore, the lower the impact velocity needs to be- provided we are using expanding bullets. But as we increase game size, we need to increase bullet diameter, weight and velocity.

Bullet weight is major factor, the bullet can meet too little or too much resistance. To this end, hysdrostatic shock helps explain why an animal may react a certain way, but is not something we can fully pursue with 100% reliability. Having said this, it is good to understand this aspect of terminal performance and there are times when we can put this information to use and attempt to exploit this performance.

If you keep your copper bullet impact velocities above 2600fps, you will see some hydrostatic shock on larger deer weights. The bullet will however fail to meet enough resistance on light deer and will meet too much resistance on heavy animals to show this effect. These limitations are relative to bullet diameter, bullet weight and bullet construction. Impact velocities over 2600fps will nevertheless maximize hydraulic disproportionate to caliber wounding.

I hope that makes sense.
03 Sep 2016
@ 10:08 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
I am going to add to this and my advanced apologies for this content.

In a good bolt action with a wide forend, straight line butt and 24" barrel with generous factory chamber dimensions, it is now possible to drive the 200 grain Partition at over 2700fps using Superfomance powder, This bullet is not as tough as other premiums (especially Woodleigh) but it will generally penetrate adequately. Its greatest merit is in its ability to deliver immensely high trauma.

Such a load cannot however be utilized with great success in the X-Bolt. The stocks are too slim for this recoil level, the barrels are generally thin and only 22" while the chamber dimensions are too tight. The stock pitch and pistol grip cause further problems. Add to this a generally poor trigger and you have a very sharp recoiling rifle. Even basic factory loads produce magnum like recoil. Those who shoot the X-Bolt in mild calibers and think of the magnums as being too much would be quite surprised just how well they can shoot a magnum in a more complimentary rifle.

Food for thought.
03 Sep 2016
@ 10:49 pm (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Your first post makes a lot of sense. As for your second post, I've been happily married for 39 years. To buy another rifle... would probably mean the 40th year would NOT be so happy. lol.

During the deer hunt I have no control if a deer will come out to me let alone control the size. Every deer I've shot in my life has been with my 243. I either shot a hand load by my father at 120 gr. or a factory load 100 gr.

To keep above 2600 fps with the Remington 750 in .308 Win. I need to keep at a maximum of 150 gr. I feel the 150 gr BST is my best choice for deer of various sizes. Please note I've sighted in with this, but not tested the 100 yd. group.

If you go the the Winchester bullet selector, the only bullet recommended for moose is in 308 is their 150 gr copper.

Where I live, I can't find a 150 gr copper factory load. At 165 gr I know it is under 2,600 fps but it will still provide a lethal lung shot. Keep in mind this is my back up choice for moose.

Nathan I'm not trying to argue as posting has no tone. I'm just trying to fill in the gaps to help you understand my decision making process. I'm still completely open to any suggestions presented.

03 Sep 2016
@ 11:06 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Thats fine Vick, same goes here regarding what might or might not transpire. I neglected your deer / .308 info sorry.

For general deer hunting, the .308 150gr BST generally goes OK and as described in the KB. The Hornady 150gr Hornady SST SF load has the greater velocity if you want to try this. The 165gr SST SF load can handle a range of game and angles and tends to be very uniform in performance. If I had to pick one factory load all around load for deer, this would be it. Also keep an eye out for any 168 grain Zombie / A-MAX / ELDM loads. Harder to find but exceptionally good. Do keep an eye out for these.
05 Sep 2016
@ 12:57 pm (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Nathan.

I tried a box of the SST's at 165 gr for my 308 a month ago. My only note was retire red dot... buy new sight.

I'll should be able to pick up the 150's. At some point though, I need to make a choice for this season and then review for next season.

I'd like to add another variable to the mix. Black bear season is open during both hunts... lol

05 Sep 2016
@ 02:45 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
You would be shocked if I told you how many black bear I shot with deer loads. From the 30/30 to whatever I was holding in my hands, they are not all that hard to kill if your shot placement is true. Your 165 grain Hornady SST will do fine.

That being said, I prefer the Speet Hot Cor in either 165 or 180 grain for black bear with the .308 Winchester and 30/06. In my 7mm Remington Magnum as well as my 7x57, I almost exclusively use the 160 Grain Speer Hot Cor for anything here in Northern BC, and have done so for many years.
05 Sep 2016
@ 08:04 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Yes, back to the 165gr SST's.

If you have been doing a lot of testing, the bore may be quite coppered so this may need a huck out too, not the easiest on this type of rifle. You may have to try very carefully feeding a nylon brush (carbon or coated rod) and wipe-out (or Eliminator / KG / Sweets etc) in via the muzzle, not bumping the crown. Swab carefully, then put the rifle aside for two hours, repeat, put the rifle aside another hour. Best to have a rag in the action area while you are doing this to soak up any leaked solvent.

Finish the work with a pull through.

Not the easiest of business on this type of rifle.

Many experts will say never feed a rod through the muzzle (fair enough) but the net result is that most of these guns end up with poked bores via the basic alternative- do nothing. That or completely strip the rifle (you'll need a good pin punch set) and remove the barrel to gain access from the breech end.

When shooting, you'll need to hold the forend tight because the trigger will be heavy and creepy on the semi. This leads back into what I wrote in the performance section of the Whelen article - theoretically fast handling and with the potential for fast follow shots. But in practice, poor to shoot, sometimes necessitating the need for follow up shots.

The rifle will be sensitive to various types of ammo / changes in velocity due to the non-floated barrel. It is always hard to say what such a rifle may like and accuracy may vary a great deal from load to load. But you may find that the rifle only likes a very mild load. All you can do it try the SST. If groups are very wide, you might have to opt for a slow load regardless of what we have talked about regarding high velocity killing. In this case, I would try the 180 grain Win soft point.
06 Sep 2016
@ 02:30 am (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Bryan:
I've never shot a black bear, but the ones I've seen shot were with deer loads. I think the only deer load that I would not use on a bear is a 243, but that is just my opinion.

As for a 30/30... when I feel sentimental, I carry my Grandfather's Remington 14 pump. It is a 30 Remington Calibre and we still have over 100 rounds. (The ammo hasn't been made since the early 80's.)

As for the SST's... I can't comment on the box I shot. I haven't any left to try with my new sight. (Doesn't mean I won't buy more.)

Hornady has a warning about using SSTSF's with autos on their site. I should be ok but using a right handed semi as a lefty made me hesitant.

I've no experience with Speers so up until your comments I can't say Speers would have crossed my mind.

Let's be honest. If I really wanted to... I could go out to the range and sight in a box of 180 gr Core Lokts and be like many a hunter.

But I'm a student of the game. Two guns, 2 bullet weights for each. My goal is to put 4 bullets in the clip. 2 of each size (2 for moose, 2 for deer) and keep those 4 bullets in a 1" group at 100 yds. but still be able to provide the best bang for a quick kill.


06 Sep 2016
@ 03:21 am (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Nathan:

I know one shouldn't use a rod... but my Grandfather hand turned on a lathe beautiful rods made of clear pine.
They were handed down to my father... he passed them on to me.

They are so gentle.

Years ago I picked up from my dentist one of those little mirrors he has that allows him to inspect the pain he has just inflicted.

It provides a great inspection for the semi-autos and pumps.

Thank you for your thoughts on cleaning. You are taking me to a level I wasn't taught.

Hmmm.... inside of barrel shines.... must be clean....

As for trigger pull... I've spent most of my hunting days pulling the trigger of a Savage 110 built in the 60's. (Place your finger on the trigger... pull in a uniform motion and when you least expect it... the gun fires.)

Using my Grandfather's rifle and cleaning rods... (I have my Great Grandfather's .22 that is so old it has no serial number)... may sound whacko to some... but I have a picture of my Great grandfather, Grandfather, and Father hunting.
By the time I was old enough to hunt... my Grandfather was too sick to hunt... but I do have a picture of my Father, myself and my son hunting together.

I hope to get a picture of myself, my son and my grandson.

... of course I could always just sight in 180 gr. Core Lokts.


06 Sep 2016
@ 09:09 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Yes quite true, you could go with Corelokt ammo. It is rather slow but the rifles and ammo are made to suit each other and it does perform well on game out to moderate ranges. The Win Power point bullet is somewhat softer. To others who know the A-Max; while the form is different, the two are much the same but with the obvious differences in BC's.

The pine rod sounds just ideal for this.

Bit of an odd thread as I have taken this around in a circle sorry. My fault for neglecting to think about your .308 rifle at the beginning and its potential limitations. I answered your questions relative to a potent load but then with the realization of barrel assembly and trigger, there was/is a possibility of having to focus on mild loads and therefore accuracy over power. One might say that this should be the case anyway, but it certainly is nice to have both because mistakes can happen and shot angles can at times be difficult. In any case, the rifle will tell us what it likes and dislikes.
07 Sep 2016
@ 02:40 am (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
No apologies are necessary.

Trust me the reference to the 180 Core-Lokts will become a standing joke.

Humour is intended with that line.

I've got 40 days to the first hunt... but who is counting??

08 Sep 2016
@ 05:30 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Winchester 180grn softpoints would get my tick, they were great to shoot out of a mates 06 and my son like's them in his BLR .308...and the rifle likes them too.
11 Sep 2016
@ 11:03 pm (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Mike:
My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but I missed your post.

I haven't tried the Winchester Power Points in my 308 but I did with my 30-06.

When I sighted in my old Bushnell I used 165 gr Custom Noslers. 180 Accubonds hit the top of the bulls eye with 2 of the three shots and a 9/16 inch group. at 100 yds.

The 180 gr. Power Points where 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 inches to the right with a 1 1/4 inch group.

If I was going with only 1 bullet it would be a solid choice. Trying to find two bullets... 1 for white tails and 1 for moose and still hit the bulls eye at 100 yds. is the exercise I'm trying to complete.


14 Sep 2016
@ 01:10 am (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
I made it to the range today hoping for the final sight in for my 308.

To set this when I shoot for groups of three I always put the 3 rounds into the clip.

I posted up two targets. I knew I was making a slight adjustment to windage and elevation. That was target 1. Target 2 was to be alternating shots, 1 Federal 165 gr. copper followed by 1 Winchester BST 150 gr. Shoot then repeat. I was looking for 4 rounds in or clser to the bulls eye.

I adjust the sights and load 1 Fed. Perfect on elevation, 1" right of dead centre.
I adjust windage and load 1 Fed. Dead on Elevation, 1/4" left of dead centre.

I load a Fed and a BST and aim at target 2. 1 shot touches dead centre. BST 1/4" to the right 1 3/4" low.

Load 2 more. I shoot the Fed. 1/2" high, 3 1/4" to the left??? Shoot the BST and it is 3/4" low and 1 3/4" to the right. WTF??

I go back to target 1. Load a Fed. 3/4" low and 3/4" right of dead centre.

I load a BST. I hit the bullseye, overlapping the Fed that was near centre.

Could putting different make of bullets in the clip effect the aciton and loading??

This is a mystery to me. I 'm open to suggestions.


14 Sep 2016
@ 01:57 am (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Brian
I would have fired all the rounds without touching the scope adjustments until you were finished shooting. That will give you a good comparison between loads. I keep a bare target beside me & pencil in each load as I fire them, in diff color if you have the pens

A lot of scopes take a while to settle after making adjustments
14 Sep 2016
@ 02:19 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Vick. No, the problem is the trigger and the preloading it takes up.

Its like trying to shoot while also trying to hold a a gallon of water with one finger. The rifle fires and follows the direction of loading. Some shots you have good control, others you don't. The two piece stock adds further unpredictability, having a negative effect on harmonics.

Next time, shoot 3 shots of one brand, then three shots of the other. You can use my double target download in the kb. Observe and record.

Apart from that, it is what it is. I wish there was more to this and more I could help with, but that's it. The only other thing I could do, is try to sweet talk your wife on your behalf.
14 Sep 2016
@ 03:23 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Yes, slow scope tracking can catch you out too. I was going to mention this but you talked of no adjustments during the second phase so I did not want to add further confusion to this. However, Bryan in quite right.
15 Sep 2016
@ 01:13 am (GMT)

Brian Vickerman

Re: Brian's Bullet Selection
Hi Nathan and Bob:

In the past, I have always shot in groups of three, and always the same factory loaded ammo. Last night was the first time I ever tried mixing. Won't do that again.

I never considered a delay in sight adjustments. I love learning something new.

The explanation of the direction of loading and the harmonics make sense. It helps me understand why both Tikka and Browning use mags that load straight up into the action.

The target I use is 8 inches x 8 inches divided into 1 inch squares. The centre is a 1 inch diameter circle. Horizontally and Vertically the 4 inch lines are heavy black lines 1/4" thick. I make sure I place the target plumb so that the cross hairs in my scope line up with these perfectly.

Every shot is recorded on grid paper drawn up to match the target. I then transfer the notes to the target when I get home. I keep my targets and notes in a three ring binder for reference.

Next step is to fine tune the 30-06. I'll be starting with 168 gr BST for white tails and 180 gr Accubonds for Moose to pair up. I have already shot a 7/16" group with the Accubonds.




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