Nosler Ballistic Tip 140gr

le_chausson

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Hey y’all



I’ve got a box of Nosler BT 140g at home - currently the only “hunting” bullet besides a Nosler ABLR 120gr which is not going to work for a variety of reasons so we’ll omit those from the discussion. I’ve worked up some test loads which I’m going to go fire off soon in lieu of an upcoming hunt less than 3 weeks away.



The reviews on these BT’s is that they live up to their name of being “ballistic” and the jacket separation is real. They’re all I have at the moment and I’m not looking to get into the nuts and bolts of why you can/can’t use a target bullet for hunting.

Who here has used Nosler BT’s and what were your experiences (good/bad)?
If there is already a thread discussing this topic please disregard and perhaps point me in it’s direction.

Reloading data is available for Hornady ELD-X but their prices right now are outrageous down here in South Africa with the supply/demand problem and are not in stock for 10 out of 12 months of the year.


I’m looking at a monolithic bullet to go with for hunting instead of looking at tipped bullets perhaps - purely because the reviews are always great barring the trivial arguments between which bullet is better (think TTSX and TSX).

PS: I am a sucker for numbers and I am proficient in GRT and have used it to get much success in developing target loads so far.
 
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C.W. Richter

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What caliber? Guessing 264? They come in 270 284 etc having entirely different ballistic coefficients and sectional densities. A 140 grain bullet is excellent in 6.5 and 7 and everything in between. They supposedly upgraded the ballistic tips with a heavier jacket but I abandoned ship on them long ago after having bullets blow up on shoulders. You can't go wrong with the partition hunting bullet on shots under say 500 yards. A ttsx a ballistic tip is not. Also a great bullet that typically groups better than the partitions.
 

le_chausson

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What caliber? Guessing 264? They come in 270 284 etc having entirely different ballistic coefficients and sectional densities. A 140 grain bullet is excellent in 6.5 and 7 and everything in between. They supposedly upgraded the ballistic tips with a heavier jacket but I abandoned ship on them long ago after having bullets blow up on shoulders. You can't go wrong with the partition hunting bullet on shots under say 500 yards. A ttsx a ballistic tip is not. Also a great bullet that typically groups better than the partitions.
I’m really not looking (at this point in my life at least) to hunt animals further than 300m.
Oh and correct on the .264 caliber.
 

JMM

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The NBT Hunting Bullet is a great medium game killer. A long time ago, some of the NBTs had a reputation for jacket separation and lack of penetration. Not true today. The NBT Hunting Bullet is the same as the Accubond with the only difference being the Accubond is a bonded bullet and the NBT is not bonded. I have killed a pile of whitetail, elk, wildes, etc... with them. They are not same as the Nosler Varmint Bullet which is also tipped.
 

Mtn_Infantry

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Used some of the 165gr .30 cal in a .308 for years. Catch anything bone wise and that round is exploding. Worked wonderfully for neck shots on deer and even a neck shot on an extremely close black bear standing on it's hind legs.
 

F. Vaccaro

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I have shot two animals with my 6.5 Creedmoor using 140gr bullets. One antelope at 60yds using the 140gr Hornaday, the antelope was broadside & the bullet exited leaving a 2” exit wound, didn’t appear to blow up.
Another a Whitetail doe quartering towards me at a ranged 300yds. I used a 140gr Speer, the bullet traveled almost full length & exited leaving a 1” exit wound. This bullet also did not appear to blow up.
I like 140gr bullets in the 6.5.
 

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My largest Whitetail was taken with a 308 150 gr Nosler BT. DRT and perfect performance. 50 yards, not quite a Texas heart shot so I slid it up the ribs, breaking all, and making mush in the boiler room.

For smaller medium game, the 6.5 140 BT should be ideal.

I shoot a lot of the 140 BTs as a practice load in my 6.5 CM and like the accuracy. I can substitute the same load with the 140 gr Accubond (and I assume the partition).
 

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Early in my reloading career, I did some sampling with various bullets and powders (and load charges) chasing maximum accuracy out of my .30-06. I landed on a 165gr Nosler Ballistic Tip as the best performer in my quest at the time and loaded up a batch of them to use as my hunting rounds. In the 10-15 years since, I've kept the same load and taken a number of whitetail deer, feral hogs, and coyotes.

The furthest any animal has made it is about 100 yards, and that was on a doe running full sprint with a perfect double-lung and heart shot. Most of my shots are taken inside of 200 yards, and all bullets have been complete pass through. I've hit a few shoulders and punched through ribs on both sides.

I often recover a small piece of the green plastic tip and a handful of times found some jacket shrapnel. Never recovered a bullet for evaluation of weight retention, but have no doubts about the ability for that bullet to kill up to elk/kudu sized game effectively with almost any reasonably placed shot. Probably not effective against heavier bone or thicker skin for penetration purposes.

Hope that helps
 

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@le_chausson I have extensive experience hunting with Ballistic Tips. All of my African plains game, 20+, from Steenbok to Greater Kudu. North American game, deer, coyotes, pronghorn, pigs up to an Elk in Canada that weighed just over 1200lbs. And similar animals in the other countries I've hunted.

Two different rifles, both 300 wildcats (obviously hand loads) with 125gr Nosler Ballistic Tips. The muzzle velocity on the one I took on my first trip to South Africa and Namibia (and used for North American Game) was 4,000fps. After I shot this barrel out and replaced it 3,950fps was the best we were able to achieve while keeping the group at around a 1/4". I provide the speed so you can understand the rounds behavior at different distances and hopefully gauge how it will behave in your firearm.

Entry wounds under 50 yards on animals in the Aoudad or Springbok class would look like a normal exit wound. Past 50 yards the entry wound would look like any other.

Exit wounds on the same sized animals under 50 yards would range from the size of a golf ball up to the biggest, which was when I spined a black springbok, which was maybe six inches wide with shattered backbone parts sticking out. Once the bullet has time to slow down a bit, say 100 yards and out, there was never an exit wound. All the energy was dumped into the animal and they died where they stood. As long as the shot was a kill shot no problem, but if I had ever hit something other than vitals there would have been no blood trail to follow, that to me is the downside of ballistic tips- no exit wound.

My success was so extraordinary with this gun and the 125gr Ballistic tips, everything dropping where it stood, that I got cocky and thought I could take a big black bear with it no problem. After all I'd dropped a 1,200 pound elk with it. Pouring down rain on a cold day, 250 yards, I hit him perfect. I was stunned that he didn't fall over dead. Instead he started spinning biting at his shoulder. I aimed center of this spinning mass and shot again. He started off and I couldn't take a third shot because the heat from the barrel was causing a fog in front of the scope and I couldn't see anything. Tracked him a hundred yards or so and found him dead. My second shot, while he was spinning furiously, found his femoral artery and he bleed out that even in a pouring down rain I could track him. Sheer lucky shot, and a huge lesson to me.

/***** END OF MY BALLISTIC TIP EXPERIENCES *****/

For the second wildcat my gun builder eventually talked me into changing to Accubonds and going to 150gr. That dropped the muzzle velocity to 3550. Never took that gun to Africa. Have used it in North America (Elk, Deer, Pronghorn, Mouflon, Bobcats, Coyotes, Pigs), England (Muntjac), Serbia (Roe Deer) and Macedonia (Mouflon). We achieved 1/2" groups with the Accubonds, but never sub 1/2" like the Ballistic tips. Exit wounds occur occasionally.

Its barrel is approaching end of life so I'm having him build me a new gun, not a Wildcat this time, just a custom in 300 Weatherby. Barrels have improved so much in the last 20 years that we will achieve sub 1/2" with the right factory ammo and won't have to do a wildcat or even hand loads. Biggest problem with the wildcat is having to fire form all the brass and then work up the loads. Thats a lot of wear on the barrel before it's even hunted with. So I'm done with wildcats.

Once the gun is finished I'm going to insist he build some ballistic tips for it. And I know he's going to want me to use Accubonds. But those ballistic tips are amazing both in accuracy and terminal performance. I love em. But no blood trail. And, at what will be a much slower velocity, will that change its "shock" value to where the animals don't just drop, and I now wish I had an exit wound? I have no idea. Be a fun learning experience to try on some coyotes down in Texas when I pick it up.

@le_chausson I don't know if anything I said is of any value to you since we are shooting different guns. But assuming you hit where you aim at I would think you'd be just fine.

Final thought, yes, Ballistic Tips fragment significantly more than Accubonds, but a dead animal is a dead animal. And these are my experiences, others may have experienced something entirely different and of course we'd both be right. Thanks for letting me blabber a bit.
 

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My experience with them is like many others have said, they are quite explosive and do too much meat damage for me. That being said they killed deer reliably and are accurate. I switched to Speer hot cores and Hornady interlocks and got the same reliable killing without the excessive meat damage. I was using 165gr out of an '06.
 

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They are very soft, they dump alot of energy in the animal, but don't hit sholder bones or you could be in for a long day of tracking. The acubonds are a better all around hunting bullet IMO.
 

C.W. Richter

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BTs tend to be V sensitive too. Smaller-cased 6.5s (55, Needmore, etc.) no problem to the range you mention. Larger-cased magnums is where the bullets tended to disintegrate at <200 yds. A 140 gr 6.5 bullet is ballistically (BC/SD: ~.500/.287) equivalent to a 180 gr .30 bullet, for comparison. Elk and smaller, though a 160 gr (>.300 SD) would be recommended on Elk, Moose, blk Bear-sized game. The BT would be fine for ibex, chamois, roe deer, etc. I would NOT consider the BT in Africa.
 
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C.W. Richter

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<300 yds, there's no advantage of using the plastic-tipped bullets (exception being the TTSX which is a real terminal performer, as a monometal.) Use tried-and-true game bullets like Nos PTs, game kings, a-frames, oryx, PSPs, etc.
 
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le_chausson

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Some good information coming through - thanks.
I’m desperately trying to find some 140gr Accubonds as they’re seemingly the most recommended for my application.
That said, I’m not opposed to getting 140gr Interlocks for the sake of the soft point and availability though I have zero experience with either shooting or handloading them.
 

F. Vaccaro

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I have used the Hornaday Interlocks extensively hunting from small deer to Elk. They are accurate & when used within their ideal velocities of 2500fps to just under 3000fps, work well on game. Using a .308 or up, I have no qualms taking a shoulder shot. I do try to get to 300yds & under.
 

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Some good information coming through - thanks.
I’m desperately trying to find some 140gr Accubonds as they’re seemingly the most recommended for my application.
That said, I’m not opposed to getting 140gr Interlocks for the sake of the soft point and availability though I have zero experience with either shooting or handloading them.
I have used interlocks extensively and like them very much. Several years ago a friend of mine booked a hunt in S.A. He was planning on using a rifle someone built for him and Winchester super premium ammo. The day before he was to leave he called me for help. It seemed that the rifle wouldn't do better than 4" groups with that ammo. I had a load that was very accurate in my rifles using 180gr interlocks so we tried in his rifle and got lucky as in functioned well ant shot nice cloverleaf groups. To shorten the story he took my handloads to Africa and shot 12 head of game without any problems at all. Its not a premium bullet but it is a very good one. Good luck!
 

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I used them once and found them too explosive for my liking. Large exit holes.
Bet the critters didnt go far with "large EXIT holes". :rolleyes::A Outta:
 

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