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Location: Colorado
Joined: 08/03/2009
Posts: 32
Nosler 165 grain Ballistic Tip

Anyone use the 165 gr Ballistic tip from nosler on elk? I picked up a box on sale and ran em through the barrel. My rifle loves these bullets. 1/2 MOA groups were consistent for me. My concern is nosler recommends them for deer. Will they penetrate enough on an elk?

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4422
A ballistic tip bullet is

A ballistic tip bullet is designed for rapid expansion and in my book should not be used on a animal the size of an elk where you need deep penetration through heavy muscle and bone.  It should work just fine for deer and antelope. 

buckykm1's picture
Location: Vicksburg, Mi
Joined: 11/24/2010
Posts: 366

It may work, but i wouldn't use them, for Elk you want a bonded bullet.


GooseHunter Jr's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
Posts: 3748
I 5think the Ballistic Tip

I 5think the Ballistic Tip bullets are a good bullet for thin skinned animals.  As said before they are a rapid expansions bullet and elk being think skinned and big bioned I like a bullet that will hold together better.  With that all said that is not to say that with a well placed shot that you wouild not kill an elk with one.  I have killed elk with far less superior bullets than a ballistic tip.

buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
Ballistic Tip bullets

Ballistic Tip bullets would not be my first choice for elk.  I did, however, use 140 gr ballistic tip bullets in my 7mm Rem mag on my first hunt in South Africa and had one shot kills on a Kudu, a Gemsbok, a Blue Wildebeest,  an Impala, and a Blesbok. 

When I first started elk hunting the only premium bullet was the Nosler Partition.  My first 10 rifle killed elk were killed with Remington, Hornady, and Sierra cup and core bullets.  When I started pushing 180 gr bullets at 3000 fps, I switched to Partitions for elk.  My favorite elk load now is with TSX bullets.  Penetration is no problem, I just have to make sure there isn't another elk standing behind the one that I'm shooting at.

Keep your shots under about 200 yds, broadside, and hold tight behind the shoulder, and your 165 gr Ballistic Tips will kill elk.  For not so perfect and longer shots, premium bullets just may work a little better. 

hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
I have to agree like some of

I have to agree like some of the others have said that the ballistic tip will in fact kill elk if used precisely but I just would not want to take the chance. I used them a few times on deer and antelope and for myself I won't even do that anymore as the explosive nature was just to extreme. In one case my dad shot a doe antelop with a 150gr ballistic tip out of a 30-06 and the bullet exploded and a small 22 caliber piece exited the animal at an angle and killed another doe that was standing more than 10 feet to one side but somewhat behind the first one. Fortunately Wyoming will sell you more than one tag so he was already covered when it happened. They shoot great but the only thing I will use them for is prarie dogs or similar animals out of my .223 or .220 swift.

There are many accurate bullets that will perform much better on heavy boned animals.


exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
not all Ballistic Tips are equal

It's important to utilize them as they were designed, but Nosler is also cagey about which ones are more stoutly constructed.  Anyway, while I love Nosler Ballistic Tips, I doubt I would use the 165 above -06 velocities (it's really impact speed that matters).  

Most of the big game Nosler Ballistic Tips are in the popular weights have a well deserved reputation for rapid expansion and fragmentation, which I do not love when elk hunting.  And you dang sure don't need a bonded bullet if you are keeping your impact velocities in a reasonable window and are using an appropriate bullet weight when going cup and core.  BUT, and there's a big BUT here, not all Ballistic Tips are created equally.

This is not widely known, but there are a handful of Ballistic Tips that are made with an extra heavy jacket, sometimes as much as 60% of the total bullet weight.  Nosler won't specify to me exactly which ones those are, but according to John Barsness they are the 150 grain .270, 120 and 150 grain 7mm, 180 grain 30 caliber, 180 grain 8mm and 200 grain .338 (now only available as the CT Silvertip).  Steve Timm (another gunwriter, but less well known, though he has better personal contacts with Nosler) claims the 95 grain Ballistic Tip is another of the heavy jacketed Ballistic Tips.

Anyway, my point is, don't be afraid of Ballistic Tips for elk hunting.  If you want to use one in 30 caliber, use the 180 grain, which was redesigned for magnum impact velocities on elk.  They are great bullets.

niceshot_smitty's picture
Location: Los Alamos, NM
Joined: 06/08/2011
Posts: 452
Two years ago i used a 165gr

Two years ago i used a 165gr Ballistic tip out of my 308 on a elk at 100 yards and it didn't make a exit hole, and i had to track him for 500 yards.  I don't like it at all and this was perfect lung shot too.  Go with a bonded bullet. 

Location: Colorado
Joined: 08/03/2009
Posts: 32
Thanks for the replies. I

Thanks for the replies. I just started reloading this year and I have been experimenting with different bullets. Kind of what I was expecting but I thought I would get some other opinions as these are definately the best groups my hunting rifle has ever put on paper. Think I'll load up a batch of the Accubond in 165 grain and see if the performance is the same.


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