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Bullets for antelope

As this question is posed in the Antelope forum,  I won't mention ground squirrels or elk.  As with any big game animal, the first 4 out of 5 important things in killing an antelope is bullet placement with the fifth maybe being bullet type.  Stay away from frangible varmint bullets and hit them in the chest & you've got meat on the table.  A poorly hit antelope is as tough as any animal out there and if someone tells you that "all I've gotta do is touch one with this magic magnum super slayer bullet" realize real quick that that someone doesn't know a thing about antelope!

That being said, I've shot or seen them shot with .223's to 45-70's and with standard bullets (cor-lokts & silvertips) to high end premium bullets.  The only bullet I didn't care for was the Hornady Interlok, in this case an '06 165 gr more because of the damage it caused than because of any lack of killing power.  The meat is too tastey to waste and a bullet designed for penetration (partition, Barnes X, A-frame, etc.) seems to kill as well without the destruction of meat.  Too, if I could only use a cor-lokt bullet in any reasonable antelope caliber & if it was accurate in the chosen gun, I wouldn't loose any sleep over it. 

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I use

I use and like Speer bullets.  Used to use the Speer Spritzer Boattail in .270 Win 130 grain in my own handloads for pronghorn.  I seem to get the flattest trajectory with this bullet. That bullet is also constructed with a thinner jacketed and mushrooms very nice on thin skinned/light boned animals like pronghorn.  A few years ago I got sick of re-zeroing my hunting rifle for different loads and different hunts and decided for the sake of simplicity to pick one load to handle the game I hunt.  I went with the Speer Grand Slam in 130 grain.  Has proven very nice on pronghorn, deer, and elk.  It is tougher constructed so it does not expand much on pronghorn, but it drops them just as well without as much damage to the meat.  Pronghorn are really not that difficult to drop.

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Bullets for Pronghorns

I first started hunting antelope in the early '70s and back then the only rifle was a .30-06.  With that rifle, my load for deer and antelope was the Hornady 150 gr spire point bullet at just under 3000 fps.  I also killed a few bull elk with that load, but later switched to 180 gr Sierra Spitzers for elk.

Around 1980, I decided that I needed one rifle for deer and antelope size animals and a different rifle for elk, so I built a .257 Roberts Improved for deer and antelope.  That's been my primary deer/antelope/sheep rifle since.  I have never found antelope (or deer) hard to kill if the bullet is placed in the heart/lungs, therefore I use the bullet that is most accurate in my rifle.

Being a handloader, I'm always trying different bullets, just because.  With my .257 Improved, I've had about equal success on antelope with 117 gr Sierra GameKing Spitzers, 117 gr Hornady hollow points, 120 gr Nosler Partitions, and 115 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets.

I've also killed antelope with 140 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets from my 7mm Rem mag and 55 gr Remington PSP bullets from my .22-250.  If Global Warming ever returns to my corner of Montana, I'll continue trying to find an antelope load for my .22-250 with TSX bullets.

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Hal---I have a question for

Hal---I have a question for you.  You mentioned your negative assessment when you talk about the Hornady Interlock.  Are you talking about their SST or the SP and BTSP.  I have found the SST opens way too fast on about anything and use the other two, which are also Interlocks, with no problem like you mentioned.  I shoot handloaded 117s in my 25-06  and 150s in my 30-06. 

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Interloks

Morning Topgun.  Looking at the box, these were factory rounds, specifically "Hornady Custom 30-06 165gr Boat Tail Spire Point Interlock Bullets".  I chose to use these after some extensive (& expensive - really need to get back into reloading!) testing of several maufacturers using 165gr bullets.  That year I had two centerfire big game tags; a doe antelope and a desert sheep tag.  My go to centerfire, an '06 Browning A-Bolt loves 180gr bullets but doesn't typically like lighter weight bullets.  Not needing a 180gr for either species, I was looking for an accurate 165.  I picked this cartridge/bullet combo cuz the of the way it shot; won't tell you the average group size because you might call me a liar but I was really amazed.

The doe antelope was hit slighty quartering to me at around 110 yards with the entrance tight on the right shoulder and a literally fist size hole near the third rib on the other size.  The shoulder meat was almost completely wasted due to blood shot, hemoraged tissue.  The ram was hit at a lasered 276 yards, the entrance near the fourth rib on the right and what was left of the bullet (just an empty copper jacket - no lead at all) at the front of the left shoulder.  Again meat damage was extensive with lead fragments found a surprising distance away from the wound channel.  A friend using the same ammo (literally from the same box) the next season had similar results with a 4 yr old mule deer at around 130 yards.

Now I realize that statistically this is a small group size and in all three cases the animals died pretty much right now.  But for me the amount of tissue damage and the total fragmenting of the bullet on a really rather small & lightly built animal (the sheep) made me shelve this for future use on big game, especially considering the vast number of other cartridge/bullets combos available.  I might use it again sometime for antelope but won't for anything bigger.  I just don't have confidence in it for say a quartering on shot into the shoulder of a big mule deer let alone an elk.  With this rifle, I'll stick with a 180gr Barnes TXS or Partition for anything from antelope to moose - course I'll have to get a moose tag first. 

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.22-250

buffybr wrote:

I first started hunting antelope in the early '70s and back then the only rifle was a .30-06.  With that rifle, my load for deer and antelope was the Hornady 150 gr spire point bullet at just under 3000 fps.  I also killed a few bull elk with that load, but later switched to 180 gr Sierra Spitzers for elk.

Around 1980, I decided that I needed one rifle for deer and antelope size animals and a different rifle for elk, so I built a .257 Roberts Improved for deer and antelope.  That's been my primary deer/antelope/sheep rifle since.  I have never found antelope (or deer) hard to kill if the bullet is placed in the heart/lungs, therefore I use the bullet that is most accurate in my rifle.

Being a handloader, I'm always trying different bullets, just because.  With my .257 Improved, I've had about equal success on antelope with 117 gr Sierra GameKing Spitzers, 117 gr Hornady hollow points, 120 gr Nosler Partitions, and 115 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets.

I've also killed antelope with 140 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets from my 7mm Rem mag and 55 gr Remington PSP bullets from my .22-250.  If Global Warming ever returns to my corner of Montana, I'll continue trying to find an antelope load for my .22-250 with TSX bullets.

If .22-250 was legal to use on biggame here in my state I'd use my .22-250 for anetlope too.  But with what Montana has done lately for non-resident hunters I can no longer afford to hunt up there.

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Barnes are good, but not necessary

Barnes Triple Shocks are good, but not necessary.  I shoot just about every projectile I can get my hands on including those that I cast myself from wheel weights, but I seem to get the one hole groups most often with barnes Triple shock bullets (270 grain projectiles are loaded in my 375 H&H cartridges).

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Good & Necessary

For me I find the Triple Shocks both good & necessary for two great reasons. One, as stated earlier, in the rifle I use most right now, these bullets shoot MOA so I know they'll hit the target when I do my part.  Two, I know that when it hits the target the bullet will not fail regardless if the  animal weighs 100 lbs or 1,000.  Having confidence in a bullet &/or cartridge is it's own justification. 

I could argue (not successfully but could so as to play devil's advocate) that a 375 H&H isn't necessary for anything on the North American continent. I'll bet a steak dinner that you have complete confidence in yours though & that's good enough for me.  And just so you know that I don't have anything against that grand old cartridge, it's on my bullet list of calibers to aquire right after a .405 Winchester.  Neither is "necessary" and one makes the other pretty much redundant but it sure would be fun to sneak up on an antelope carrying Uncle Teddy's (as in Roosevelt, not Nugent) 405 or maybe a 375 Ruger No.1! 

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no disagreement - well almost none ;)

Hal Fast wrote:

For me I find the Triple Shocks both good & necessary for two great reasons. One, as stated earlier, in the rifle I use most right now, these bullets shoot MOA so I know they'll hit the target when I do my part.  Two, I know that when it hits the target the bullet will not fail regardless if the  animal weighs 100 lbs or 1,000.  Having confidence in a bullet &/or cartridge is it's own justification. 

I could argue (not successfully but could so as to play devil's advocate) that a 375 H&H isn't necessary for anything on the North American continent. I'll bet a steak dinner that you have complete confidence in yours though & that's good enough for me.  And just so you know that I don't have anything against that grand old cartridge, it's on my bullet list of calibers to aquire right after a .405 Winchester.  Neither is "necessary" and one makes the other pretty much redundant but it sure would be fun to sneak up on an antelope carrying Uncle Teddy's (as in Roosevelt, not Nugent) 405 or maybe a 375 Ruger No.1! 

 

With the exception of grizzly - you are right.  I know it CAN be done with a 22LR, but I think anyone chasing grizzley with less than a 375 H&H is silly, but to each their own!  You are right - it is confidence in your gear that counts, and teh Barnes bullets are good ones that you can rely on every time

Mike

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any jacketed bullet

Overall for pronghorn I think just about any jacketed bullet weighing at least 65 grains with enough velocity behind it will work well.  I know this is going to shake up the kettle real bad, but I just can't see using super premium bonded bullets on game like pronghorn. Spend that money on accuracy instead. Just my experience though.

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