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Bullet choice?

This is a discussion on Bullet choice? within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Hello everyone I was just wondering the other day about bullet choice..mainly between good soft points and gliding metal bullets. ...

  1. #1
    Christian3006 is offline AH Member
    Jan 2012

    Hunted Kwa-Zulu Natal

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    Default Bullet choice?

    Hello everyone

    I was just wondering the other day about bullet choice..mainly between good soft points and gliding metal bullets. For example say you are going to hunt a kudu or elk sized animal with a 270 win. Would you rather hunt with the lighter but deeper penetrating, greater weight retaining 130g Barnes ttsx or a heavier 150g soft point like the partition, where you have a heavier bullet that will hit with more "oomph" so to speak, but not penetrate as far as the ttsx?

    I look forward to seeing the results.
    Thanks in advance for the input.

  2. #2
    Hank2211 is online now GOLD SUPPORTER
    Jan 2010

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    You'll likely get as many opinions on this issue as there are members on this forum, but for what it's worth here's mine.

    I have used a number of different bullets over the years, with a focus on Swift A-Frame, Trophy bonded Bear Claw, Nosler Partition and Barnes Triple Shock (or TSX). I've come around to relying almost exclusively on the Barnes for all plains game, using a 300 Win Mag. This past summer in Africa I used the 165 grain.

    I recovered darn few bullets on that trip, and I shot quite a number. Complete pass through on smaller animals, as you'd expect, but also on kudu, haretbeest, nyala and even a good frontal chest shot on a zebra (huge exit wound on this one - even I could track it from the blood spray on just about every blade of grass). In theory I should prefer a bullet that does not pass through, and expends all of its energy in the animal. In practice though, my experience is if the animal is well hit with a triple shock, you will normally get an exit wound that will bleed profusely, making tracking a much easier job. I recall shooting a 31" waterbuck a few years ago with an A-Frame. We found a speck of blood - less than a baby fingernail - and not another drop until we found the animal dead some hundreds of yards away. The bullet had stayed in the animal, and the entrance wound had closed up almost immediately. Just as dead, but had we not found that one speck of blood (our Zim game scout at work!), we'd have assumed a miss.

    So I'd rather hunt with the deeper-penetrating weight-retaining bullets, and of these, my choice is the Barnes.

  3. #3
    Diamondhitch's Avatar
    Diamondhitch is offline AH Legend
    May 2011

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    Option #3 try the 150gr TSX although I am sure the 130 TTSX would be just fine.
    The journey is the reward.

  4. #4
    Cliffy's Avatar
    Cliffy is online now AH Elite
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    As my past posts have said- I like partitions. I've used them expensively and they perform spledidly.
    Your mileage may vary :-)

  5. #5
    Cliffy's Avatar
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    expesively???? OOPPPS EXTENSIVELY

  6. #6
    Cliffy's Avatar
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    Hey lighten up It's my wife's birthday Maybe too much wine:-)

  7. #7
    graybird's Avatar
    graybird is offline AH Veteran
    Dec 2010

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    I've used both the 180 gr Nosler Partition (Gold) and the 180 gr TSX on African game and even a couple African exotics in Texas. Personally, I like the Barnes TSX over the Partition for the sheer expectation of getting an exit wound; thereby, potentially increasing the blood spoor.

    Of the animals I've shot including two kudu, black wildebeest, scimitar horned oryx, and bull elk, I've yet to retrieve a bullet. I've only retrieved a single petal from the exit wound of a kudu I shot at 225 yards.

    Just last weekend I shot a pronghorn doe at 228 yards with a 243 Win using a 80 gr TTSX as she was attempting to go under the property boundary fence. I shot her thru the center of her front shoulders dropping her in her tracks DRT. This is relevant because your shots in Africa will be similar because of the heart/lung area being behind the shoulders of African critters.

    Using a 270 Win, I would use the 130 gr TTSX. I'm even reevaluating my 180 gr TSX load in my 300 WM that I've had such success using for the 168 gr TTSX.

    Regardless, either bullet will work for the critters you expect to take. The deciding factor might be the bullet that shoots best in your rifle, because shot placement trumps bullet choice.

    "Make no mistake, it's not revenge he's after ... it's the reckoning."

  8. #8
    PHOENIX PHIL's Avatar
    PHOENIX PHIL is online now AH Elite
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    Try 130gr TTSX, 150gr Partitions/A-Frames/North Forks maybe even Accubonds. I like heavier soft points and lighter in the TSX/TTSX. The latter like speed to open up better. Pick the one that shoots most accurately in your rifle and hunt with confidence. They're all capable bullets.
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  9. #9
    Norwegianwoods's Avatar
    Norwegianwoods is online now SILVER SUPPORTER
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    I have tried a lot of different bullets in very many calibers and speeds.
    Soft bullets that expand a lot, make a big wound channel and don't penetrate so much is what many like, but I don't.

    Often when hunting, everything is not perfect and things happen.
    You will not always get a broadside shot at an animal that stands totally still.

    Sometimes your only choice is to take a quartering from or quartering to shot or let the animal walk.
    Sometimes you get a poor shot placement. Either because you did a mistake, the animal moved or the bullet deflected on something you could not see.
    You then need to follow up with shots with bad angles.

    In all these situations you want to be sure to have enough penetration.

    Today I only use Barnes TSX and TTSX.

    In a 270 I would use the 130 grain TTSX and feel totally confident hunting Moose, Elk and all PGs

  10. #10
    35bore's Avatar
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    Personally I like the medium/heavy for caliber SP bullets, I am a fan of the 'Energy Dump". Almost every shot I have taken on North American game and the animals I took SA were complete pass through's using SP bullets. My thought though is if I have a bullet stop inside the animal for whatever reason, I want it to be a heavier bullet. The few extra ft.lbs. of energy may or may not be what kills the animal, but, I would think that every ounce of energy the animal absorbs the better for me, (not for the animal). Also on an absorbed shot, chances are there is going to be a lot more tissue damage i.e. lead, copper, bone.

    I AM BY NO MEANS SAYING use cheap chinese SP ammo, but, choose a quality SP and you can't go wrong. I am also NOT saying that there is anything wrong with the TSX or similar bullets, just that I prefer the other.
    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" Friedrich Nietzsche // That which does not kill me, better run like hell" Scott Smith

  11. #11
    Nyati's Avatar
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    I have always used A Frames o plainsgame with total satisfaction.

    Trophy Bonded Bear Claw on buffalo.

  12. #12
    VanderLaan is offline AH Senior Member
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    I think you need to focus on finding a well constructed bullet that your gun shoots well.

    That aside, I used Barnes TTSX 180s on my recent trip to SA and I will probably shoot no other. My reasons are that my Savage shoots them very well and with the exception of a Gemsbok (double lung), every animal where I did my job effectively fell over dead. That includes a Kudu, Black Wildebeest and a Zebra. Two of the three Impala I shot dropped like a sack of concrete and the third ran about twenty yards. No need for a tracker when they fall within ten feet of where you shot them.

    Not sure where you get the idea that a TTSX will not pass-through. The only bullet that was recovered from my nine animals was from the Gemsbok when I took a rear shot trying to put him on the ground and that was found under the skin at the base of his neck. My PH was please when he saw me loading the TTSX bullets. Now I know why.

    I am not the rifle guru that some of these guys are, but I suppose you would put me in the "heavier, deeper penetrating bullet" camp.

  13. #13
    colorado's Avatar
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    So I just bought 50 of the 150g North Fork soft points to try in my 270 Win and 270 Weatherby. I'm hoping for perfect devastating double caliber mushrooms, penetration as deep as a TSX with more of a would cavity and exiting on elk sized game. I expect to get 3000 fps out of my 270 Win, and 3250 fps out of my 270 Weatherby with these bullets. Anxious to try them out.

  14. #14
    jduckhunter's Avatar
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    I like Speer grand slams. I used 250 gr. GS in my .338 WM on a recent trip to Namibia for plains game. I took 6 animals with them including a blue wildebeest with 6 shots and no need to track any of them. I have used these bullets on a lot of North American game too and have had nothing but good luck with them. Just pick a bullet that is heavy for your caliber and good luck.

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