Recommend a Bullet for Me?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by VanderLaan, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. VanderLaan

    VanderLaan AH Senior Member

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    Going to SA next year. Using a 30.06 and 180 grain weight. I hunt in IL and we are limited to shotguns, muzzleloaders and handguns for deer. As such, I have no experience with bullets for rifles. I intend to discuss this with my PH, but I am looking for an education and options so I can make an informed decision when I buy ammo for my trip.

    Also, is there anything wrong with buying cheaper "practice ammo" to get used to shooting the gun and then shooting the quality stuff for a few weeks before the trip (assuming that you would resight the gun)? I realize that different ammo shoots differently in the same gun. Just looking for a way to get a lot of shooting in without breaking the bank.

    Gimme' the skinny...
     
  2. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I'll recommend the 180 TTSX bullets from Barnes for your safari.

    I see no problem with you practising with cheaper bullets...like the 180 grain Core-Lokt from Remington.
     
  3. eyedoc

    eyedoc AH Member

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    It sounds to me like you have a very good plan in place for your upcoming trip to RSA. BY all means ,if you plan to shoot a lot, use cheap ammo during your early powder burning sessions. When you are getting closer to the time, if you feel compellled to switch to premium ammo only minor sight adjustments should be needed. Any good quality 180 grain bullet should work very well for all plains game species.
     
  4. VanderLaan

    VanderLaan AH Senior Member

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    I guess that is my question. I have no idea what makes a bullet "good quality". I need some insight into what characteristics I should be looking for and what brands/models have them.
     
  5. eyedoc

    eyedoc AH Member

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    Hopefully you will be shooting everything from duiker and impala, up to wildebeast , zebra and eland. That is a wide range of size and toughness to contend with. I would opt for 180 grains, (heavy for caliber) and a round nose soft bullet design. I would avoid a ballistic tip type bullet because of some of the larger animals. But I suspect if your gun handles them well you will do just fine with factory loaded Remington Core-Lokts. These are about as cheap as any load you are likely to find and if your ammo does not arrive they can be found pretty readily in RSA.

    If you want to get more penentration you might try Trophy Bonded Bear Claws or the Barnes TTSX listed above. Truth of the matter is, any well placed bullets from your 30-06 will kill plains game deader than a grounded mullet.
     
  6. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Nothing wrong at all using cheaper ammo for practice. I would however not wait until a few weeks before your hunt to find the round that shoots most accurately in your rifle. Of the various bullets out there I'd go with most accurately shoots in my rifle of the following: Nosler Partitions, Barnes TSX or TTSX, Swift A-Frames. While I've not shot the bonded core lokts from Remington, I might give those a whirl too.
     
  8. Shakey

    Shakey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I know how you feel. I grew up in Ohio, and it too is shotgun only. I didn't start shooting rifles until I was in my early 30s. I still don't know much, but I'll share what I have learned.

    The Barnes TSX bullets are great based on my experiences. These bullets are what some call "monolithic" (wrong use of the word, but it seems to be widely accepted). They're constructed entirely out of one alloy no core material such as lead surrounded by a different jacket material, such as copper.

    These bullets have a small hollow point which helps initiate their classic 4-pedal expansion. Weight retention remains near 100% and penetration is incredible. I've only recovered a few, and all have been frontal shots and the bullets have been recovered in the pelvic-bone region (whitetail, axis, zebra). All were near 100% weight retention and all had expanded as designed.

    The argument will go on for years to come over what's better - tough bullets that retain all their weight and blow thru the animal vs. bullets that penetrate, then expand significantly, even come apart, and "dump all their energy" into the animal. Regardless of what camp you're in, at least one criteria must be met - the bullet better be constructed well enough to break through bone on the side it is placed and still penetrate deeply enough into the chest cavity to kill the animal efficiently. Personally, I like a bullet that will break bone on the side it is placed, pass thru the chest cavity, and then break bone on its way out the other side. Animals hit this way seldom go more than a few feet - like what can be counted on one hand. If bone is not hit, there will be blood coming out both sides. If the animal is facing you, chances are the bullet will penetrate almost the entire length of the animal.

    The Barnes TSX certainly isn't the only premium bullet out there that will penetrate deeply and stay together. Remington factory loads 180 grain Swift A-Frames, and the A-Frames have a great reputation in both Africa and Alaska. The Nosler Partition also has a good and long reputation, but I quit trying to use these years ago because I could never get a decent group with partitions out of any of the rifles where I have tried them. Before switching to TSX, I used Trophy Bonded Bear Claws. I've taken deer, elk and moose with the Bear Claws. They didn't offer the same penetration as the TSX, but they stayed together, expanded well and penetrated well (recovered many just under the skin on the opposite side).

    So far I have yet to own a rifle that will not deliver MOA accuracy with TSX bullets, and this certainly factors into my passion for these bullets. I tried the tipped TSX from Barnes in my .300 Win, but I can't get better than a 2" group with the TTSX. The TSX in this gun will print sub MOA. A few years ago I thought the Barnes MRX was the key (has a tungsten-alloy core that is near the base of the bullet and a great ballistic coefficient). I shot a caribou on the tundra that was quartering towards me at 285 yards. The bullet broke the on shoulder, but there were 2 exit holes about 8 inches apart on the off side. In some form or fashion, this bullet with two different components came apart after hitting the onside shoulder. I've chosen to stick with the TSX, and my kids and I use these in everything from a 6.8 SPC to our .375 H&H. I use these in a 9.3 X 74R double as well.

    If you tell your PH you're using Barnes TSX, Swift A-Frame or Nosler Partition, he'll be quite happy. As many have suggested, Barnes now markets a Tipped TSX (TTSX) and there is a Tipped Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. Because many "tipped bullets" are designed for target or varmint shooting and not constructed for big-game use, guides and PHs may appear apprehensive if you pull out a bullet that has a "plastic" tip. The TTSX and the tipped TBBC are still fine, premium bullets, but the originals without the pretty-colored tips will be accepted immediately with no explanations needed from you.

    In .30-06, prices for even the premium bullets are not too outrageous. I would experiment with the premium bullets and determine which one your rifle likes best. Once you've determined that, by all means, shot often with cheaper bullets to get comfortable with the use of a rifle. After using only a shotgun or muzzle loader, it takes some time to get accustomed to a rifle. The recoil is mild with a .30-06, but it is sharper than what a shotgun delivers. Just understand that sometimes the cheaper bullets may not deliver the accuracy that you got from your chosen premium bullet. Sometimes that can be discouraging as you practice from various positions (is it me or is the bullet?).

    There are tons of articles on various websites on how best to practice. The reoccurring theme is "get off the bench". Get some shooting sticks and use them. Load the magazine fully and cycle the bolt often to both get the feel of it and to ensure there are no feeding issues with your rifle. Get accustomed to cycling the bolt and getting back on target quickly, regardless of how the first shot went. I can say all this because it is all stuff I still struggle with!

    Good luck. Planning the first safari is exciting!
     
  9. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    Ok I will put my fav bullet in....Hornady 180 grn interbond. They just started making that load last year in their superformance line. Cheap enough to practice with yet all the quality of the higher priced bullets. I used this load in my winchester model 70 in 30-06 on my trip in May. Took Impala, gemsbok, blue Wildebeest, blesbuck, and warthog. It performed like a dream. All one shot kills. No matter what bullet you choose make sure you get lots of practice! And good luck!
     
  10. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Good advices here.
    I would also consider to use 150 grain or 165 grain premium bullets.
    They perform plenty good enough. Much better than any standard 180 grain hunting bullet.
    In factory ammo I would choose between Hornady Superformance with the 165 grain GMX bullet, Barnes Vor-Tx with the 168 grain TTSX, Remington Premierï½® Scirocco Bonded 150 grain or the Remington Premierï½® A-Frame 180 grain.

    Any of these will do a great job for you:)
     
  11. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    My experiences with the X bullets (both in the old XLC and the tipped triple shock, both 168g) have been uniformly good. In fact, they have worked so well that I have never found the need to look for anything else in my 30-06, and that coming from someone who tinkers with everything looking to improve it. I honestly don't believe there is any need to go to 180g with the Barnes bullets because they hold together.

    The old wisdom is that heavier bullets penetrate better, and that is true, all else being equal. But the twist as I see it is that it isn't the weight at the muzzle that matters, it is the weight after the bullet has hit the animal and come apart that matters. An old 180g bullet may end up weighing 140g after losing some pieces, while a TSX is going to end up pretty much weighing the same as when it started. So, a 168g TSX may well end up weighing more than the old 180g bullets when it counts, and moving faster.

    Whether or not my theory is correct, they expand and penetrate. As mentioned above, there are two schools of thought on what a bullet should do; I happen to think it should penetrate deeply and exit if possible, but irrespective of one's opinion on that subject, I think all will agree that a bullet that makes a hole in something important like the heart, lungs, or major blood vessels is going to kill the animal, and that a bullet has to penetrate at least far enough to do that. A TSX will do that very well.

    I'd buy one box of some of whatever you plan to hunt with ASAP and test it off the bench as soon as you get it. If it shoots well in your rifle, order at least a few hundred rounds from the same lot and squirrel it away. Then I'd get some surplus from the CMP unless you can find cheaper and shoot the hell out of your rifle. Clean your barrel well, re-zero with your hunting ammo and then go have fun.
     
  12. LR4

    LR4 New Member

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    Was in zim this year and we took some 25 plains and one buff with tsx. Mostly 30-06. Except shoulder shot sable and 375 for buff, all dropped quickly.
     
  13. Hartzview Hunting Safaris

    Hartzview Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    Depending on where you will be hunting I would say the 180grainers works well. But if you will be where you need to shoot springbuck and blesbuck on longer distances I would recommend the 168grain TSX as you will get a little more stability out of them on longer ranges. I use this grainage in my 06 all the time and they kill the game just aswell as a 180grain bullet and you have a couple of extra yards to play with.

    Enjoy your hunt and do not hesitate to ask if there is anything else.
     
  14. BH206L3

    BH206L3 New Member

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    Well, start with a 180 gr Nosler Partition, a very good balanced bullet in that weight and it will perform very well on pretty much every thing you would be willing to shoot with a .30-06. If you hand load you can work up a good load, use say speer or hornadays for practice and save the partitions for the hunt. If you don't hand load, well there are plenty of good choices, Barnes X Trophy Bonded Bear Claw Swift A Frame. The thing is don't skimp on bullets or shooting for that matter, and once zeroed in get off the bench. Ask you PH, he knows what you will or will not need for the area and game you will be hunting. At 30-06 speeds just about any 180 gr bullet is going to perform well enough.
     
  15. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    I'm going to keep it short and sweet the winchester supreme elite range XP3 works great in 180gr in the 30-06 seen it action as well as in 270 caliber. You can buy it off the shell it might not be the cheapest but it will be all you need to shoot from duiker to eland.
     
  16. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    180 gr nozler partitions. In my gun I can shoot 180 gr core lockts & the partitions & both group - in the same place so you can have good practice with a cheaper bullet & you don't have to change a thing to shoot premium bullets!
     
  17. wildlifehunter

    wildlifehunter AH Member

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    On my hunt I used the Nosler Accubond on Kudu, Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Blesbok, Warthog. all 1 shot kills. most went right down, farthest blood trail 40-50 yards(wildebeest). only 2 bullets recoverd (wildebeest zebra). very accurate,a bonded core bullet, I used Nosler Partitions for years but like the accubond much better.
     
  18. johnfox

    johnfox AH Senior Member

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    I won't add anything to the discussion on what bullet is best, all of the suggestions are very good.

    The advice re practice is very valid also, but practice off sticks.
    Shooting sticks are probably as foreign to you as they were to me before I went to Namibia but it's essential that you learn how to shoot from them. They've changed the way I hunt and I carry a pair (smaller than what I hunted with in Africa) on all of my hunts now.
     
  19. AlSpaeth

    AlSpaeth AH Senior Member

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    I have used 165gr Nosler Partitions for twenty years from Kudu down to Steenbuck and can highly recommend them for plains game.
    If you are hunting in heavy bushveld 220gr has excellent stopping power at shorter ranges and less chance of being deflected.
     
  20. B9.3

    B9.3 AH Veteran

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    My choice in my 30.06 is 180gr North Fork SS. There are many very good 30 cal bullets available for this cartridge. There is none that I like as much as North Fork & Swift A-Frame. The same statement applies to my 300 Weatherby, 9.3x62 & 375. For general hunting of lightly framed deer or pig I am happy to use Hornady SST, Accubond etc.
    For Trophy Hunting or big heavy animals it is always North Fork, A-Frame.
     

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