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Critter's picture
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I agree that you do not need

I agree that you do not need a bonded bullet for a elk but they are nice.  Most of the elk that I have killed have been shot with Sierra boat tails and there have been quite a few.  But I have switched over to Barnes just because I like the way that they perform.  They are not needed but I just like them. 

The big thing that you need to stay away from on a bullet for an elk are the type that are designed for rapid expansion such as a Nosler Ballistic Tip.  They work fine on deer and antelope but leave a lot to be desired for a elk bullet. 

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Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
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nope

WesternHunter wrote:

buckykm1 wrote:

For Elk you really want a bonded bullet, so it will retain its weight, and not expload on impact.

Kevin

Hmmmm....interesting comment.  That's news to me.  Maybe I've been doing something wrong over the last 25 years cleanly harvesting elk with my .270 using 130 grain jacketed soft-points. I mean the toughest bullet I've ever used are the Speer Grand Slam and it's still considered a jacketed lead-core soft-point and it's worked beautifully on elk I've harvested over the last 15 years.  Used Remington Core Lokts in the years before I started using the Speers with full success too.  Never had any of my bullets explode on impact, even when shooting through the shoulder blades.  See many elk up there in MI?

 

Nope not many elk in MI. but i have been going out west Elk hunting for over 30 years now, and i really don't see any reason for your personal attact on my oppion, but i guess every site has a ass hole. will a soft point work ya, will a bonded bullet work better yes.

Kevin

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no ass hole here

buckykm1 wrote:

WesternHunter wrote:

buckykm1 wrote:

For Elk you really want a bonded bullet, so it will retain its weight, and not expload on impact.

Kevin

Hmmmm....interesting comment.  That's news to me.  Maybe I've been doing something wrong over the last 25 years cleanly harvesting elk with my .270 using 130 grain jacketed soft-points. I mean the toughest bullet I've ever used are the Speer Grand Slam and it's still considered a jacketed lead-core soft-point and it's worked beautifully on elk I've harvested over the last 15 years.  Used Remington Core Lokts in the years before I started using the Speers with full success too.  Never had any of my bullets explode on impact, even when shooting through the shoulder blades.  See many elk up there in MI?

 

Nope not many elk in MI. but i have been going out west Elk hunting for over 30 years now, and i really don't see any reason for your personal attact on my oppion, but i guess every site has a ass hole. will a soft point work ya, will a bonded bullet work better yes.

Kevin

No need to be ultra sensitive here and no need for name calling.  By the way name calling is against the forum rules.  I don't see (nor intended) any personal attack on your opinion.  Just saying that I've used standard bullets for years on elk without fail as long as I did my part as a hunter/shooter.  I asked about the elk up there in MI because I saw a map of elk displacement for North American and saw that it showed a small herd up in the north central part of your state. It was a genuine question, not a sarcastic one as you may have taken it. So that's why I was asking if you see many elk up there. Glad were on the same page as far as you agreeing that soft-points will work.  Curious though, what bonded bullets were you using 30+ years ago when hunting elk then?

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Location: Arvada, co
Joined: 10/07/2009
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What about

Good info on this thread.

What about 180 gr XP3's? Specifically from a .30-06? Or should I consider an accubond? From what I can tell the xp3's combine most of the great bullet constructions...

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I agree with all the comments

I agree with all the comments here. especially about the ballistic tips. I have used them a few times most recently last week on antelope in Wyoming and the results are very explosive. They work great on smaller animals but I wouldn't trust them on elk. They blew huge holes out the other side but it was obvious from small pieces that the bullets completely came apart. My son uses a270 with 130's but it's always loaded with Barnes triple shocks for anything larger than deer.

regarding the post above, the XP3 should be a fine bullet as well. I have nver used them but the principle is the same for deep controlled expansion. I have herd reports of ecxellent accuracy in most guns but horrible in a few others. Make sure you try them out to see how they shoot.

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Every elk I've taken with a

Every elk I've taken with a 270 was with a 130 grain bullet. The 130 grain bullet driven to 3000 fps is what made the caliber famous. I've used both Winchester Western Silvertips (NOT BALLISTIC SILVERTIPS), a now near phased out but fantastic bullet, and accubonds. All these elk died just as quickly as the ones shot with my 338 win mag. To paraphrase exbio, just put an appropriate projectile in the vitals of an elk and it will die quickly.

As for ballistic tips, great for light game, too thin a jacket for the bigger stuff. Lots of people have used them on elk but they weren't designed for them. If you want a polymer tipped, lead bullet for elk try the accubonds. I just finished handloading my all purpose (read elk, pronghorn and mulie) round for this fall and it's a 130 grain accubond.

 

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elk bullets

when your hunting an animal as large as an elk you should use the best bullet you can afford which is'nt hard the speer hot cor, remington core loct, and many others are good. I agree you want to stay away from a ballistic tip rapid expansion bullet I don't even like them for deer, particularly mulies. The higher velocity you push the bullet the better quality you need. I'd rather spend a little more money on quality ammo than track a wounded elk for miles in rough country.you may only get 1 shotmake it count.god has no mercy on a cheap skate I learned that the hard way when I shot a big mulie in the shoulder with a cheap bullet at 5o yards, yeah it broke the shoulder but exploded and did not penetrate, this from a 30-06,he's hanging on my buddies wall now he was using remington kor-locts.every time I'm at his house I get pissed when I see it. If you are an outof state hunter ammo is the least of your expence

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bullets

About ten years ago my dad took his last bull elk with a Nosler Partition in a 180 grain .30-06.  These were his own handloads. The bull didn't go more than 15 yards before it dropped.  Nothing unusual about that kill until we field dressed that thing and noticed that his mushroomed Nosler bullet had in fact broken into two peices on it's way towards the opposite side of the bull. Bullet failure?  I won't say if it was or wasn't, all I know is that the result was a dead elk that didn't go very far and that's all that mattered. Dad didn't seem care at all that the bullet had seperated, he knew full well what the final result was on that elk and didn't waste a second over obsessing on a spent bullet. Keep in mind that there was a time not long ago when the Nosler Partition was considered king as far as bullets go.

When I read these magazine articles about premium bonded bullets I still marvel at all the elk I've taken over the years and still other elk I've watched being taken, most with basic jacketed soft-points in an appropriate caliber and weight.  So you'll have to pardon me if I have a hard time when people today say a premium bonded bullet is "better".  I simply hold them to it to define "better".  Better for you, better for me, better for the game animal, or better for the bullet makers stockholders and revenue/profits???  I wonder just how on Earth all those large elk, buffalo, and grizzlies were ever cleanly taken in the decades before the advent of premium bonded bullets, especially back in the days when hunters were using simple unjacketed lead bullets or lead balls. Not meant to be sacrcastic or cause a heated debate, but it just amazes me how hunting media publications, clever marketing, and misinformation on the internet can sway peoples minds or make them believe something that isn't entirely true. 

I once had an old timer tell me that todays generation is too over-informed, way too over-equiped, and terribly under-skilled.  I was offended at first, but after giving it some thought and some observation I understood just how right he actually was, especially after learning what feats in his life he was able to accomplish with little gear and a whole lot of skill.  Funny thing is we weren't even talking about hunting.  lol

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A lot of hunters think that

A lot of hunters think that just because their bullet didn't drop the animal in his tracks or that he ran off for a long ways that it is the bullets fault.  What I have found out is that usually if the elk ran off and you never recovered it is that the shooter didn't do his job or that he was using a marginal caliber for the animal.  Also if you know that you hit the animal you can usually find them.  It may take a while but you should be able to track it down.  I once shot a cow elk and hit her in the leg.  My fault not the bullets.  I tracked that cow 3 miles before I got another shot to kill her, and then came the long pack out all up hill.  A lot of times it just comes down to a bad shot.     

So the question is just what do you expect out of the bullet when you pull the trigger?  I shot one elk at 30 yards through both lungs and it ran 100 yards where it stopped and I was able to finish it with the second shot.  When we skinned it I found that the first bullet had come to rest between the ribs and hide on the off side.  You would of thought that is all you could expect a bullet to do.  With the same type of bullet, the same loading, and the same rifle I shot another elk at 200 yards and I had a complete pass through of the animal through the ribs.  Now you would of thought that I had more than enough power on the 200 yard shot but not enough on the 30 yard shot, go figure.  They both killed a elk, the one shot at 30 yards would of died fairly quick but since there was a chance at a second shot I took it.  The one at 200 yards didn't know what hit him and went down in his tracks.  Neither one of the bullets used were a "premium bonded type bullet" but a standard Sierra Game King. 

So it comes down to do you need a premium bonded bullet the answer is NO, but if it makes you feel better and you get good performance out of them then use them.  But unless they are required by law such as in California, Northern Arizona, and recommended in Southern Utah to be lead free you really don't need them.  Personally for me I have started to use the Barnes line of bullets.  They perform well out of my rifles and I like them but I could be just as happy with a Nosler, Serra, or a Speer bullet.   

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Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 380
bullet choice

First off, this is my opinion based on my experience. Winchester Supreme Ballistic Silvertip is about the only bullet I don't like, so far. I've shot a couple small mule deer and a small elk with them at close range and wasn't happy with what I saw. This was in a .280 Rem. All of the animals were shot through the lungs and died. From that standpoint, they did their job just fine. Dead is dead. When I dressed the animals I found pieces of the jacket and lead core separated and broken up. Now these were shot very close but I'd still like to find more than bits and pieces. They might be good for woodchucks?Whistling

Other people may like them better but I only use them at the range.....at least until they're gone.

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