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Location: Somewhere Up There
Joined: 01/06/2007
Posts: 217
Premium Bullet Madness

Alright, it's time for someone to start the seasonal rant about premium bullets. I was at the local range today down here in Florida and the guy next to me would not shut up about the magical powers of his Winchester Silvertip ammunition. He would not leave anybody alone and was like a leg humping dog when anyone would listen for a second about the one deer he killed with these magical devices! He strolled over to my bench and asked me what I was shooting (which happened to be some Wal- Mart purchased factory 308 core lokt) and then proceeded to tell me how these bullets were no good for the mighty Florida whitetails - imagine my concern!!!

Don't get me wrong because I prefer a premium bullet for larger game such as Elk, but for any whitetail or mule deer on the continent why bother? Give me a break from the premium bullet absurdity!!! OK, rant over.

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Premium Bullet Madness

I started laughing when you said "silvertips." When it comes to premium bullets, that's not exactly a premium.

I'll agree that there's a lot of hype and marketing behind it. Hunting up here in AK has really changed my perspective on ballistics. IMO a whitetail is a very soft target, indeed, and for the most part a premium bullet wouldn't be needed.

However, there are caveats to that statement. I think where premium bullets come into play is when you're asking a lot out of a cartridge and bullet construction needs to come into play. I've seen a 180 gr Barnes TSX out of a .300 WSM out-penetrate a 200 gr Accubond out of a .325 in brown bears because Accubonds are designed to shed some weight. Both bears were just as dead, though. But if you're talking about something soft like deer at normal ranges with a .30 caliber rifle, I don't think premium would be necessary.

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Premium Bullet Madness

The first concern should be to find a bullet that shoots well out of that rifle.
Then use the round appropriately.

If you have an intended use for a rifle and can't get the proper bullet to shoot from it. Then you need a different rifle.

Whether a bullet is cup and core, poly tipped, bond core or solid. They all have a use, If used properly, and do a very good job of it.

It cost a lot of money and time to develop and manufacture bullets. I don't believe a manufacturer would put something on the market that didn't have a use.
The problem arises with the users knowledge. It's up to them to pick the proper bullet. Not necessarily the one that they want to use.

The bullet manufacturers should spend some effort in educating the general public on use of the proper bullet. But, then again, who needs it. Brick Wall,) Big smile

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Location: Somewhere Up There
Joined: 01/06/2007
Posts: 217
Premium Bullet Madness

Hmm, my mistake since I handload primarily. I thought the Silver Tips were an Nosler Accubond with some sort of coating but never really looked it up. He said they were twice the price of normal ammuntion so I assumed that they would be in the premium category. But regardless, I'm amazed at how many people think that these things make them a better hunter / marksman. I've probably burned more accubonds in the last couple of years than any ten people combined, but I've never thought about using them as a subsititute for good shooting either. I've talked with more people in deer country who have been enchanted by these things that do nothing for them especially when everyone is afraid to practice with them because it is too expensive!!!

The only advantage I see is on thick skinned heavy game such as the previously mentioned Brown Bears, Elk, Moose, etc but it still takes shooting skill - a gut shot brown bear is still a gut shot brown bear regardless of bullet construction. I'll always put my money on the guy carrying well used basic equipment over the guy with the all of the fancy gear up to and including the premium bullets!

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Location: Somewhere Up There
Joined: 01/06/2007
Posts: 217
Premium Bullet Madness

Just found it: the ballstic silvertip is a Nosler Ballistic Tip (not the Accubond as I'd thought) with a fancy coating. I knew they were a Nosler of some sort.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
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Premium Bullet Madness

There is nothing in North America I wouldn't take on with a standard cup and core bullet. I think the hype over premium bullets was developed to sell bullets, what did we do before them? We choose suitable cartridges with suitable bullets!

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Location: Wa.
Joined: 03/31/2004
Posts: 1300
Premium Bullet Madness

I'm glad the bullet making industry is making these "advances" in bullet design. If the trend to reduce lead continues. There will be a time when you won't be able to use a lead core bullet, much less find one. At least they'll be a step ahead and something will be available. Hopefully something that works as well or there's going to be a whole bunch of pressure on the sport of hunting.

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Location: Somewhere Up There
Joined: 01/06/2007
Posts: 217
Premium Bullet Madness

I'm not knocking advancement (we're Americans, that's what we do!) and you do make a good point there, but the fact that we all (me included) tend to jump on the latest and greatest thing and apply it in a way that actually hinders us instead of helping us. For instance, is a deer hunter better off shooting premium ammunition and not practicing because of the price? Does that new magnum really solve the problem at hand or just create more problems because of the time and effort that few people take to master heavy kicking rifles?

BUT, is the Brown Bear hunter or African hunter better off with a Barnes Triple X or Nosler Accubond or E-tip down the pipe? I'd say YES because more weight retention equals more penetration. Additionally, the shooter can back off one step in rifle selection (say a 300 WSM over a 338?) which will reduce recoil and aid in accuracy as well. OR, we can load the old Barnes Triple X into our trusty 7mm 08 and gain a decent amount of penetration on that old bull elk whereas before we might have been a bit shy about it before. In other words we can add a decent amount of penetration to lighter recoiling rifles which is a wonderful thing for big brutish beasties!!!

But a premium for whitetails and mule deer, I'd say put the money into quality range time.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1799
Premium Bullet Madness

Agreed, if it's a thin skinned animal deer size or smaller standard bullets are more then adequate with properly placed shot. But, the advance of bullet technology and premium bullets have made calibers like the 270, 30-06, 308, confident elk killers out to 300 and beyond where as in years past with poorly constructed bullets they often times didn't get the job done.

Dad told me back in the sixties and seventies when money was tight and he carried used guns in the above calibers with factory ammo that was available at that time he had poor bullet performance on an elk or two that required multiple shots or help to bring down.

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
Premium Bullet Madness

Just for clarification, there is a difference between "silvertips" and "ballistic silvertips." You can get silvertips in Super X Winchester ammo, and I believe it's a proprietary bullet that's been around for a lot of years. The "silvertip" comes from an aluminum tip on the end. "Ballistic silvertips" are an entirely different animal. They're not an Accubond because they're not as heavily constructed -- ballistic silvertips are Winchster's name for a Nosler ballistic tip. They're more for long-range ballistics and rapid opening against light targets at lower velocities associated with longer ranges. Use one on something heavy or at higher velocities, and they'll come apart.

The ballistic tip is a Nosler creation, and when Winchester started loading it they put a coating on it and called it a "ballistic silvertip" to capitalize on an established brand with their customers.

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Location: Misouri
Joined: 11/30/2005
Posts: 365
Premium Bullet Madness

Cor-loks and Silver Tips used to be THE super bullets of their day. Still good and still a tone of animals each year. I used Cor-loks for years and killed a bunch of animals with it until I began reloading.

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