17 replies [Last post]
cowboy38231's picture
Offline
Location: West TN
Joined: 11/27/2011
Posts: 104
.30 cal bullet options for elk

The time will be upon me before long to get back out to the reloading shed to replenish my stock. The last couple of years I have been using 165gr Hornady SST bullets pushed by 71.5 gr of IMR4831 in my 30-338. Using a lead sled, I get great accuracy with 3 shot groups all touching at 100 yrds. I have taken one bull elk and one bear and several whitetails with this load. The elk was 50 yards or less and dropped in his tracks and the 300+ lb bear went 20 ft after a 275 yard shot. The main concern I have is the fast expasion of this bullet on thick skinned and heavy boned animals like elk if I was to take a long shot. I would like to get some input on various bullets that ya'll are using in the .30 magnum calibers. I have studied most of the different bullets but would like some input on your first hand experience.

hunter25's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3021
Sounds like what you have has

Sounds like what you have has been working pretty well for you. there has been a lot of controversy on here about bullets or the the use of premium stuff. In my 7mag I have been using Barnes triple shocks for years with great results. From a badger at 3o yards to my bull this year at over 500 it has worked every time and makes me happy. My buck this year I hit going away behind the ribs and the bullet traveled all the way through the body down the neck and stopped in the back of the head. Full expansion and deep penetration. I couldn't ask for more but others will have different opinions.

I have tried accubaonds but just don't get as good accuracy in any of my rifles.

buffybr's picture
Offline
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 311
TSX bullets

hunter25 wrote:

 In my 7mag I have been using Barnes triple shocks for years with great results. From a badger at 3o yards to...

I missed this part of your post when I first read it a while back. 

What were the results on the badger? 

I had "explosive" results on a Steenbuck and a Jackal from 270 gr TSX bullets from my .375 RUM on my last trip to Africa.  I've also put large holes in a Wolverine and other small animals with my .257 Ackley with the same (Sierra GameKing) bullets that put small holes in deer and antelope size animals.

Like I posted earlier, my "go to" rifle is my .300 Wby with 168 gr TSX bullets, but I haven shot anything little with it yet.  I'm working up a load with 150 gr Hornady FMJ bullets to help minimize pelt damage, but I'd also like to hear other folks' experiences with their TSX bullets.

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
I believe that the 30-338 is

I believe that the 30-338 is about like the 300 win, little less case capacity. I find one load for each of my rifles and pretty much stay with it. I don't have any magnums any more but when I did I always felt they were at their best with the heavier bullet's. If I were shooting a 300 mag, I'm pretty sure I'd be using 200 gr bullets. the 300 magnums handle this bullet better than any non-magnum. But with much lighter bullet's I suspect that bullet performance might be less than desired. Most guy's I know load the 180 gr bullets. I think that either would be a better choice than the 165 gr SST.  For me, I like to use cup and core bullet's and if I was using the lighter ones in magnum's I'd be concerned about bullet proformance. In my old 7 mm mag, I got my best proformance from 160 gr speers. Held together well and penetrated deep. I believe the secret was I got them down to or just under 3000 fps. My old 338 win mag I tried 200 gr bullets in. First deer I shot with it that bullet exploded like a bomb and wasted the whole front of the deer, it was really ugly. So I settled on the 225 gr bullet and never shot another deer with it.

If it were my 30-338, I'd see how well either the 180 gr or 200 gr bullets work in it. I'd check out the Speer bullets first. That is a hot core and that bullet was way ahead of it's time.

buffybr's picture
Offline
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 311
.30 cal bullet options for elk

For many years my favorite .30 caliber elk bullet was the 180 gr Nosler Partition at just under 3000 fps from my .30 Gibbs, which is about the same velocity of your .30-338.  I killed a lot of elk with that combo, but the bloodshot area around the wound channel was quite large, even if no bones were hit.

My favorite elk bullet now is the 168 gr Barnes TSX at 3290 fps from my .300 Weatherby.  They're accurate, flat shooting, kill quickly, and create far less bloodshot tissue than I got with Partitons.  Just make sure there isn't another elk behind the one that you are shooting at.

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
I would guess that those

I would guess that those partitions were doing just what they were designed to do. They are designed to shed 30% of their weight. Thats a lot to shed and keep damage to a min. But on the other side it will most likely kill quicker as it has to be releasing more energy inside the animal. I don't know how much evergy the TSX type bullets actually shed, my guess is not a lot. Seems to me that everyone that uses them says they do not get a lot of damage with them. The same thing can be seen if you went to heavy for caliber bullets. Try something like a 220 gr bullet in a 30 cal mag. Reduces velocity, increases retained bullet weight and doesn't destroy as much meat. I found that with my 25-06 shooting deer. Shooting them with 100 gr bullets they kill like lightning but also do a lot of internal damage. Switched to the 117 gr bullet and don't get neat as many that drop right there, they usually walk off ten or fifteen yds and fall down. Also internal damage is much less.

I think the Nosled bonded bullet will act just like the partition without the partition. I talked to them some time back as I read that they only retain 70% of their weight, same as the partition. I was told by the folks at Nosler that both those bullet's by design should retain 70% of their weight. If you take one of the TSX type bullets that is the same weight, retained weight is way up and meat damage way down. And it sounds like they all exit the animal.

 

ndemiter's picture
Offline
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
i used to have a rifle that

i used to have a rifle that really like barnes tsx hollow points, keeping extremely tight groups out to 300 yards. darn economy!

it also shot nosler ballistic tips well, but they expand too fast. i'd try barnes and nosler partitions for starters.

exbiologist's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
190s

For cup and core bullets at Magnum speeds I like Speers and Hornadys. Most specifically, I'd lean towards the 190 grain Hornday Boattail.  It's a good, tough bullet, will slow down your impact velocity to more reliable speeds, still give a good BC and penetrate and expand well.  I load them for a friend who uses them for deer too.  Another good cup and core bullet to think about is the 200 grain Speer.  If you want to step up to premium contruction then go for the 200 grain Accubond.   Probably has the top BC of any 30 cal HUNTING bullet, is very accurate in my buddy's 300 Win Mag and hell on elk and deer.

Don Fischer's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
you and I

exbiologist wrote:

For cup and core bullets at Magnum speeds I like Speers and Hornadys. Most specifically, I'd lean towards the 190 grain Hornday Boattail.  It's a good, tough bullet, will slow down your impact velocity to more reliable speeds, still give a good BC and penetrate and expand well.  I load them for a friend who uses them for deer too.  Another good cup and core bullet to think about is the 200 grain Speer.  If you want to step up to premium contruction then go for the 200 grain Accubond.   Probably has the top BC of any 30 cal HUNTING bullet, is very accurate in my buddy's 300 Win Mag and hell on elk and deer.

Think quite a bit alike. I've no experience with Accubonds but I'd called Nosler and asked what they though retained weight was, 70%. Same thing with the partition. I've never shot 308 cal Soeer's into wet paper to see what they retained but I have 7mm Speer's. What I got with the 160 gr Speer Hot Core at 100 yds was a retained weight of 86%. That'd better than the partition or Accu Bond either one. I don't believe that Hot Core design ever got the attention it deserved. I don't even shoot it any more for no other reason than Hornady's are a bit more accurate for me. I though about trying some in one of my 6.5's, 140grs, and while hunting accuracy was more than exceptable for both my 6.5x55 and 6.5x06, the Hornady version still is the more accurate bullet for me. Wish they made the 6.5 in 130 gr, I'd give them another shot.

I wpould definately give the 200 gr Hot Core a try.

cowboy38231's picture
Offline
Location: West TN
Joined: 11/27/2011
Posts: 104
Thanks for the input

Thanks for all the replies. I will definately try the recommendations in going up in bullet size. I have some Barnes bullets but haven't really worked with them enough to find the right load. I will be buying the suggested bullets and giving them all a try. What I don't use in my rifle I can always use for dads 300 mag and or my '06. Thanks again for the replies.

WesternHunter's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
Kind of confused

cowboy38231 wrote:

The time will be upon me before long to get back out to the reloading shed to replenish my stock. The last couple of years I have been using 165gr Hornady SST bullets pushed by 71.5 gr of IMR4831 in my 30-338. Using a lead sled, I get great accuracy with 3 shot groups all touching at 100 yrds. I have taken one bull elk and one bear and several whitetails with this load. The elk was 50 yards or less and dropped in his tracks and the 300+ lb bear went 20 ft after a 275 yard shot. The main concern I have is the fast expasion of this bullet on thick skinned and heavy boned animals like elk if I was to take a long shot. I would like to get some input on various bullets that ya'll are using in the .30 magnum calibers. I have studied most of the different bullets but would like some input on your first hand experience.

Hmmmm...I'm kind of confused as to why you think elk are thick skinned animals? Confused

Live elk skin is actually not all that thick or all that tough compared to some other animals. 

True that elk bones are heavier and thicker than say a pronghorn or an average deer, but I wouldn't say that a large .30 cal magnum is a nessesity for bring down and elk.  I do it with a .270 Win using 130 grain bullets. 

Related Forum Threads You Might Like