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Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 02/23/2009
Posts: 182
Elk Load - Thoughts?

I went to the range today and tested 2 different bullets for my 25-06.  The first load was Barnes TSX 115 gr. flat base, IMR 4831, 51 gr.  The second load was 120 gr. Nosler Partition, flat base, 52.5 gr. IMR 4831.  Both shot sub-MOA (actually .75 and 1" respectively).  My question is this, the Barnes load has pressure signs showing and Nosler doesn't.  I'm using this for Elk this fall, does anyone have experience with either and if so, is one better than the other?  I know the TSX will get the job done, but I'm concerned with it because I don't play around with pressure.  At the same time, I've heard people say the Nosler's have core seperation sometimes when they hit bone.  I didn't have a chrono to use, but my manual suggestions both are traveling in the 3,000 fps + area.  Any thoughts would be great.  Thanks.

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What are the pressure signs

What are the pressure signs that you are seeing?  Are the cases difficult to remove, cratering primer, or a little bit of brass flow?  If anything I would drop the charge for the Barnes bullet by a grain and shoot a few more rounds.  I am partial to the Barnes bullets and prefer them over just about any others after seeing how they perform.  The Nosler patition is also a good bullet but I don't know if I would trust it on a animal the size of an elk. 

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Location: Colorado Springs
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Hey Critter, so the story

Hey Critter, so the story goes like this.  The first lot was 50.5 gr. IMR 4831, there was a small extracter mark on the case but the primer was round.  Second lot was 51 gr. and again, small extracter mark but some cratering on the primer - however, it still was not flattened.  Third lot, 51.5, extracter mark, some cratering, primer was still mostly round.  Fourth lot, 52 gr., blew the primer completely out of the pocket and I had to clean my shorts.  Seriously, my concern is that the load may just simply be too hot and not safe for the field.  At the same time, I'm torn, because I know how good Barnes Bullets are and I am VERY confident that they'll knock an Elk down even if it hit's the shoulder.  I agree with the Nosler comment, hence my original post.  I have considered Swift as well.  See attached picture for the grouping of both.  The top are the TSX and bottom are Nosler. 

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Location: Colorado Springs
Joined: 02/23/2009
Posts: 182
Hey Critter, so the story

Hey Critter, so the story goes like this.  The first lot was 50.5 gr. IMR 4831, there was a small extracter mark on the case but the primer was round.  Second lot was 51 gr. and again, small extracter mark but some cratering on the primer - however, it still was not flattened.  Third lot, 51.5, extracter mark, some cratering, primer was still mostly round.  Fourth lot, 52 gr., blew the primer completely out of the pocket and I had to clean my shorts.  Seriously, my concern is that the load may just simply be too hot and not safe for the field.  At the same time, I'm torn, because I know how good Barnes Bullets are and I am VERY confident that they'll knock an Elk down even if it hit's the shoulder.  I agree with the Nosler comment, hence my original post.  I have considered Swift as well.  See attached picture for the grouping of both.  The top are the TSX and bottom are Nosler. 

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You went the wrong way when

You went the wrong way when you saw the extractor mark on the case head.  Instead of going up you should of droped it down to 50 grains.  I had the same experience with a .340 Weatherby.  I didn't notice any pressure signs until the last shot of 10 and then there was the extractor mark.  I looked at the cases with a magnifing glass and could see the primers just starting to crater so I droped off a full grain of powder and all is well. 

As far as the partition where I would worry about it out of a 25-06 would be a shoulder hit with it.  It may or it may not have the umph to blow through it or not.  Where as I personally believe that the Barnes would.  A hit anywhere else and the partition should do the job quite well.  As far as seperating from the core I have never heard of that but it doesn't mean that it couldn't happen, but if it did it would be when hitting heavy bone and then it may just flatten out more. 

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Location: Colorado Springs
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Well, I'll be heading back to

Well, I'll be heading back to the range in a couple of weeks, I'll drop the load and see what happens.  My only concern is that accuracy will be lost.  I know these are finicky bullets, so I hope they'll still shoot MOA or within reasonable tollerances. Thanks for the advice.

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Location: Colorado Springs
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Well, I'll be heading back to

Well, I'll be heading back to the range in a couple of weeks, I'll drop the load and see what happens.  My only concern is that accuracy will be lost.  I know these are finicky bullets, so I hope they'll still shoot MOA or within reasonable tollerances. Thanks for the advice.

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I don't personally believe

I don't personally believe that the accuracy will drop off any and it may improve a little.  Excessive pressure is a funny thing when you are reloading.  I had a brother in law that had some 7mm Remington magnums that he was shooting right at the  limit.  We still don't know what happened weather it was a bad case or if somehow it was charged a little bit more but he froze an action with one shot.  We had to put the receiver of the rifle in a vise and use a rubber hammer to get the bolt to open up after that one shot.  After that he decided not to walk the edge anymore. 

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Back to the range today and....

So, I went back to the range today and what a difference!  I started out by shooting my previous load but backed off the powder - IMR 4831.  Still had pressure signs.  So, I switched to RE-19.  Man!  what a difference that made!!  The pictures below say it all - the first picture is the load I think I'll go with - 115 gr. Barnes TSX, 49 gr. RE-19, WLR primer.  I weighed all the bullets also to ensure the most accurate results.  This load produced 1/2" groups at 100 yds. and by the data I used, should be getting more than 2900 fps, which I believe is well within respectable velocity for my Elk hunt.  The second picture is of my last group - 115 gr. Barnes TSX, 50 gr. RE-19, WLR primer.  While it was 3/4 - 1", I'm worried because of the grouping - 3 shots in a straight line upwards.  I think that may have resulted from a VERY warm barrel, so I plan to reshoot it in about a week.  At any rate, I am very pleased with these results and I do expect them to perform quite well at 200 yds. also.  Comments??

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SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
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With

Groups that tight I wouldn't worry about the straight line instead of a cloverleaf. My 22-250 groups like that 3 shots touching but in a straight line and I still hit whatever I shoot providing I'm doing my part. I think you're good to go as long as you do your part and sink that barnes into the boiler room which it looks like you'll have no problem doing. Good luck, take care, and post pics of your kill!

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I prefer the barnes myself.

I prefer the barnes myself.

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