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Re: Best .257" bullet for low velocity impacts?

02 Jan 2013
@ 05:02 pm (GMT)

Jason Myers

Thank you Mr. Foster!

I have read your article about game killing with great interest. It was very educational. He helped me to frame this whole question in the first place. I do understand that I'm asking a question that is threading the needle of near-impossibility.

I'll fill you in about the exact application. I'm not doing long-range hunting, but rather, hunting with a cartridge with relatively low energy for deer hunting, the .25-35 Winchester. It has often been described as the lowest-recoil round you can effectively use for deer hunting (though that was before very high velocity small bore rifles were available).

The velocities I estimated above are what I'd estimate the bullets to be traveling at around 60-75 yards (maximum) and at 150-160 yards (minimum). They are influenced by the ballistic coefficient and a slight muzzle-velocity fudge factor for bullets lighter or heavier than 117 gr. The vast majority of my hunting is within 50 yards, and I would never attempt a shot at big game greater than 150 yards with this rifle.

My goal is to improve my confidence with the round at the "long" ranges for this cartridge, being around 100 yards. When considering terminal ballistics, I figure that my low muzzle velocity (~2300 fps) is analogous to hunting at long ranges.

The only currently available bullet normally used in handloading the .25-35 is the 117 Hornady RN. I've so far only used similar factory ammo for hunting, but many people are happy with the bullet out even as far as 200 yards. Being a round nose bullet, the disadvantage of the nose in exterior ballistics is seen by some to be an advantage for terminal ballistics.

I'm considering using a higher BC bullet in the chamber in order to have higher velocity at range, if the bullet appropriately transfers the energy. I know of an individual that uses a 100 gr fragmenting bullet in the 25-35 for deer hunting with a muzzle velocity ~2500 fps). He is happy with it, but doesn't consistently get exit wounds and the deer subspecies he hunts are smaller than the ones I hunt. He also uses a semi-spitzer hollow point in a tubular magazine. I plan on keeping the RN bullets in the magazine and don't want to almost match that load's trajectory out to 100 yards.

I should clarify that what I'm looking to do is improve relative to a known (the 117 Hornady RN). Can I improve by keeping a few hundred fps with a different bullet? I realize that faster killing might not be fast compared to a heavier cartridge.

I appreciate your review of the the SST and the Partition in .257. Do you have any opinions on the Nosler Ballistic Tip with lower impact velocities (2000-2200 fps)? It looks like a good option on paper.


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