Report on 26 Nosler for Plains Game

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by MerlinMc, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. MerlinMc

    MerlinMc AH Member

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    Cartridge Report for 26 Nosler

    Because this was my first hunting trip to Africa, I asked the outfitter what rifle to bring and was advised to bring a deer rifle I was comfortable shooting. My current deer rifles are chamber in 260 and 26 Nosler. The 260 is a Desert Tech rifle (https://deserttech.com/html/product_overview.php?product_id=2&load=product_overview), which I love to shoot and is incredibly accurate. Although it a bolt action, I worried that it might attract unnecessary attention as it looks a little like an AR15. So I brought my 26 Nosler, which is a traditional-looking bolt action rifle.

    Here is a report on how the 26 Nosler cartridge performed. I used Nosler 140 grain ABLR (accubond long range) bullets. [MV ≈ 3300 fps ME ≈ 2400 ft lbs] I brought 129 grain ABLRs with 100-150 fps higher MVs but didn't use them on the trip.

    Shots ranged from 75 to just under 200 yards. Area hunted Limpopo near Botswana and Zimbabwe borders. Lots of bushy vegetation.

    Impala 1. First animal shot. Hit in chest behind shoulder (classic America deer placement), quartering slightly away. Ran less than 50 yards. Bullet found on opposite side just under the skin.

    Zebra. Shot as PH advised in shoulder at “sergeant strips.” Ran about 100 yards, circled briefly and feel over dead. Shoulders broken, lots of lung blood. No exit wound.

    Waterbuck. Shot in shoulder. Animal ran 75 yards and fell. The waterbuck then struggled to its feet as the PH’s Jack Russell approached. Shot again and it immediately went down. Shoulders broken with no exit wound.

    Kudu. Shot in shoulder. Ran less than 50 yards. We found it dead minutes later. Shoulder broken, lots of lung blood, no exit wound.

    Impala 2. Shot in the crease behind just shoulder as the animal was moving. Ran at least 100 yards at high speed after being hit. We could observe this animal well as the area was open with trees rather than brush. Impala fell over dead at the end of the run. Small exit wound which can be seen in the photo.

    Warthog. Shot just above and slightly behind shoulder. DRT, fell over immediately and didn’t even twitch. Shoulder intact but heart severely damaged. No exit wound.

    The bullets we recovered retained most of their weight. I didn't get a chance to load and bring Barnes 127 grain LRX (long range version of triple shock); I suspect these would have performed well too.

    Whitetails here seem to expire more quickly with this round than the African game. The PH didn't seem concerned that most of the animals ran a little bit before going down. Overall, I was happy with how the rifle and cartridge performed. The trip was great -- one of the most enjoyable hunts ever.

    All of the game meat was fantastic to eat. Had to request that it be cooked rare to medium rare as the local preference seemed to be medium well or beyond.
    Impala 2.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2016
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  2. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Thanks for the review. This is the first report I have read about this cartridge!

    Who was your outfitter? Sounds like it was a great trip.
     

  3. MerlinMc

    MerlinMc AH Member

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    Hog Saddle Report

    Also brought my Hog Saddle http://www.hogsaddle.com/ along with my rifle. Used my camera tripod with a ball head and quick release plate. It was more stable but much heavier than the PH's sticks.

    I would bring the saddle again because I always bring the camera tripod. The tripod can be adjusted down to seated and lower (prone) positions. The sticks, on the other hand, only work OK for standing shots. See attached for what the set up looks like.
    Hog Saddle.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2016

  4. MerlinMc

    MerlinMc AH Member

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    Sent PM on the outfitter. The cartridge is great as a LR hunting round. It will obviously be a barrel burner. However, for a hunting rifle that gets fired < 40 times per year, I will be "burned out" long before the barrel is burned out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  5. colorado

    colorado AH Fanatic

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    Awesome report and rifle. Sounds like a rimless 264 Win Mag which had a great reputation on elk and mule deer.
     
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  6. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    @MerlinMc thank you for this report! I was interested in the 26 and 28 nosler.

    Given that the bullets didn't exit, and that they had high fps hits, what do you think was going wrong? 6.5x55 wouldn't have had so many 50 yard runs would it?

    Do you think a 156 or 160gr bullet would have more expansion and also slow the velocity for more hang time in the animal? Seems like you did great but just wondering what could be done about the lack of drt?
     
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  7. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    I like that cartridge but I already have a 264Win mag custom I plan to take with me in 2017. I prefer Swift A-Frame bullets and they worked great when we went in 2013. Looks like your load worked also. Looks like a nice Impala. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

    "I think" that an A-Frame would have caused more animals dropping in place as they did with us. I will find out in 2017. That Nosler bullet was designed to have the jacket fold back tighter to the shank to get more penetration. Doing so means less mushroom and shock/internal destruction. They work but are just designed a bit different. Much like the Barnes bullets use the 4 smaller petals. They also work well but are a bit different from what most people think a bullet should look like, if recovered.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  8. MerlinMc

    MerlinMc AH Member

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    @rookhawk A couple thoughts on your questions:

    I think Drivenhunter's theory is correct. The ABLRs stayed together but didn't expand much. I am anxious to try the Barnes LRX on game to see how those do.

    The impala in the picture was the only animal I had a full broadside shot. Every other shot was at least slightly quartering, so there was more body mass for the bullet to traverse. Damage inside the body cavity was usually extensive; I don't know how or why most of the animals ran. In multiple cases, at least one shoulder was completely broken.

    While I'm used to NA game dropping quickly, the PH (who was very experienced) didn't seemed even slightly concerned about the animals running after they were hit. The terrain reminded me of south TX where I grew up hunting. Lots of brush with thorns where it is not easy to see a downed animal. It would not have been easy to find some of the animals even though they didn't run far. The PH and tracker did a great job going right to the animals.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

  9. MerlinMc

    MerlinMc AH Member

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    @Divernhunter, I was planning on a 264 Win Mag when I started to build this rifle, but the 26 Nosler was available. Very similar cartridges except no belt on the 26. Both the gunsmith who built the rifle and Nosler are in OR which is just the next state over. I will have to check out the Swift A-Frames.
     

  10. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    I have actually considered getting one but my 264 is pretty close in speed, shoots so well and I really do not want to add another rifle to the mix.....at least for now. I would rather use the money for more hunting trips/animals since I already have at least a dozen+ hunting rifles in different chambering's. I had my 264mag before the Nosler rifle/cartridge came out and could get brass for it.
    Most all our animals dropped where they were with the A-Frames in Africa and a number have done the same here in the USA. I really like them for the mag rifles especially. My daughter also used them in Africa and here with no tracking in her 257Roberts. However a Nosler partition would probably work in her rifle just as well. I do know it is a real good killer with the Swift Scirocco bullets---several pigs and deer.
     

  11. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Merlin, Divernh.............Thanks for the info on the Nosler 26 and what sounds like a great hunt. While the Nosler is probably a better cartridge, I also have a 264 Mag for more than 30 years. I took it to Africa twice, and its performance on plains game could only be described as spectacular. I now own a Nosler 26 and am getting about 100fps more with 140 grainers than I used to get with the 264, before I shot it out. I doubt one will notice the difference in the field, but getting rid of the belt was an improvement.......................Merlin...great hunt, Divern...........no better cartridge for plains game...........good luck.................FWB
     

  12. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    You know what I love about AH? Arguing about which super model is prettiest!

    26 nosler. 6.5x284, 7x57, 6.5x55, 264 win, 284 win, 7x64, 280 AI, 6.5x54MS. 260 Remington. 7.08

    We banter about what is best but let's be honest, we have our pets and our biases but the fact remains this forum likes what are the definitively finest, most versatile firearms in the world. There isn't a loser in the bunch and I'd offer a bourbon and a stay at my hunting camp to anyone that showed up with any of these gentleman's guns.

    Those are the best depending on regional variation, action type, distance to animal and weight of gun. No losers, only winners each and every one of them!
     
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  13. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    ^^^ So what will we be hunting and when during the year? I have the 264win mag/6.5X55 and 7mm-08 to bring. Does that mean I am welcome for 3 years? :)
     

  14. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    No, you only get one offer per person unless you pick my specific favorites from that list more than once. Unfortunately, you didn't say both 6.5x55 and 7x57 so you lose. One bourbon, one hunting camp visit for you! :)+
     

  15. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    Long-range bullets are more frangible and designed to expand at slower impact speeds than many bullets. On extremely high velocity hits expansion is rapid and violent. It's those hits you expect to recover the bullet on. It's slower impact velocities where you'll typically get the pass throughs. It doesn't sound like anything went wrong but rather they worked exactly as expected. I suspect tissue damage was extensive!
     
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  16. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    Rookhawk---Reread my post. I did say I have a 6.5X55. It is in a Tikka T3 Lite with a Leupold 3X9X40 just like my 7mm-08. Does that get me a few more days hunting or another hunt:)
    So what and when are we hunting? I have not hunted whitetail deer yet. It will have to be after may 2017 as I will be in Africa then. :) You could come with me if you like spot and stalk PG hunting. I am set for 10 full days of hunting and then sightseeing again.
    Can I get a rum and diet coke instead? If not a bourbon will be fine.
     

  17. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    @Divernhunter I conceded i owe you bourbon and hunting camp lies. Just one though because you only said 6.5x55, not both of my pet cartridges.

    Regarding rum and coke, that's not allowed. You have to drink "spook and diesels" which is an African rum and coke except the rum has more turpentine, naphtha and benzine then a normal American cocktail.

    All kidding aside, has anyone ever tried doing a multi-PH fly camp rondezvous before where there are multiple PHs but one camp and hospitality team?

    It would be really fun to have a meetup in Africa with a group from this forum for nightlife in the bush if it could be accomplished.
     

  18. MerlinMc

    MerlinMc AH Member

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    That (rapid expansion with lots of tissue damaged) is exactly what happened. Most of the animals still ran a bit.
     

  19. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    Sounds like the bullet did exactly what it was designed to do. It wouldn't be my first choice for close range hunting.
     

  20. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    What you are experiencing is a bullet problem, not a caliber problem. I load my 6.5 Creeds with the 127gr LRX and always get dramatic effect on game and complete pass-throughs. That 127gr LRX packs more punch than the 140gr lead bullets I have used.
     

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