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Bullet weights for deer- what gives?

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Spray-n-pray, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    Deer season is upon us! As I was getting some gear ready last night, I was thinking about which ammo from my stash I want to take. I will be using a .30-06 with either 150,165, or 180gr bullets. I looked at some online ballistic charts to compare their performance, and they all look fairly similar as far as bullet drop goes. Where the heavier bullets seem to excel over lighter bullets is in energy delivered on target as range is extended. If the heavier bullets do not have an appreciable difference in drop, then why would it ever be desirable to use the lighter bullets? Am I missing something?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    I am a fan of heavier bullets. They hit harder and drift less in the wind. Lighter bullets will have less recoil and a slightly flatter trajectory. The deer won't know if it was a 150 grain or a 200 grain bullet that killed them.
     
  3. mattg521

    mattg521 portland.,or Member

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    Bullet construction is likely the difference. Light for caliber bullets (ie 150 gr in .30-06) are likely for the lightest animals one would hunt with that cal. Probably yotes up to smaller deer for your '06. Heavy for cal. like the 180's are probably better suited for heavily built game like elk.
    All of this may vary by manufacturer and specific bullet type.
     
  4. Spray-n-pray

    Spray-n-pray Battle Ground Moderator Staff Member

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    That is pretty much what I figured. I think I will take out the 180gr.
     
  5. Quaka Wacka

    Quaka Wacka SW Washington Member

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    I shoot 180AB's for everything out of my 300. I load 165AB's in my dads 06'. The critters won't know the difference. I just find a bullet and load that works well with a particular gun and shoot it for everything. Cats and dogs, deer and elk. They all get the same.
     
  6. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I shoot whatever ammo shoots best in my rifle. IMO accuracy and bullet placement is far more important than any marginal gain you might get from a 180 gr bullet over a 150 gr at least for anything I would hunt in Oregon. If you start talking about heavy dangerous game like Grizzly or some of the African species then I would definitely opt for the heavier bullet maybe even solids.
     
  7. n47587

    n47587 creswell Member

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    I have taken deer with my 1903 springfield using 110 hp as well as the 150 sptzr. they seemed to go down equally with both. usual range was about 75 yrds.
     
  8. theorren

    theorren Medford Member

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    I don't go deer hunting with anything smaller than a 1 oz. 12gauge hollow point slug.

    Just kidding!

    I shoot 154gr with my 7mm mag. Never had an issue with it not being enough for deer. but it also shoots the 154 better than the 165 gr.

    Either way you decide to go, good luck with the hunt!
     
  9. BroncoFan

    BroncoFan Eastern Oregon Well-Known Member

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    180 grn Corlokt. All the bucks I ever shot never took took more than a step or two and most just piled up on the spot. Clean, Quick and you'll NEVER notice a recoil difference when the deer is in front of you.
     
  10. The Cheese

    The Cheese somewhere special Member

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    If guys i know can take deer with 60gr soft points in 223, I think even the lightest of bullets in an '06 will get the job done. Take the 150gr ballistics and compare them to, say, a 30-30 or a 243 and see what happens. Probably going to have a lot more FT/LBs of ouch than either out to 300yds or more. And a cr@p-ton of deer have been taken with those two calibers. All in all, with an 06, find a load that shoots good in your gun and you will be just fine. But if you want to hunt elk as well, I would go with 165's and 180's and just do the one load thing for simplicity.
     
  11. i8asquirrel

    i8asquirrel Keizer, oregon Member

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    <----Killed mine this year with .223 60 gr Vmax heart /lung stacked up in less than 20yds.
     
  12. sandman1212

    sandman1212 NW Oregon Active Member

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    I believe it has to do with accuracy...different grain bullets are more accurate out of different guns. whereas my 1911 shoots 230G in a tighter pattern than it does 185G by upto 3", different grain out of rifles doe the same thing...and what the intended target is.
     
  13. usmc

    usmc oregon Active Member

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    i shoot barnes 165 tsx. or hornady 165 BTSP. my rifle likes these the best. you only gain 300 lbs of energy with the 180's. its all shot placement. pick what your rifle shoots the best.
     
  14. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    +1. All modern ammunition bullet performance is OK. Pick the ammo that
    your gun shoots well. Example: I've got a Ruger M77 30-06. It shoots
    most 180's into 2"-3" at 100 yds. Sprays every 150 i've tried in it all over the
    paper. Shoots 165's into 1.5" all day long. In THAT gun, I shoot 165's!:)
     
  15. johnboy

    johnboy Hillsboro Member

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    Out to 200 yds anything is fine (just about) 250+ is where you should pay some attention to ft lbs energy, Ballistic coefficients applied to the animal being hunted. I will always try to get closer but am confident at longer ranges . I will not shoot if I feel I cannot make the shot...just not worth it to me. But...a broadside shot is doable with just about any bullet if you can get it just behind the shoulder.....
     
  16. ZX10Aviator

    ZX10Aviator N. Bham Member

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    We shoot 140gr barnes out of our 7mm mags with handloads. Farthest kill so far is just over 500yds. Lots of kills at 300yds. They are fast and flat.
     
  17. gehrheart

    gehrheart fidalgo island Well-Known Member

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    WOW, does that work? :D I once ran into a hunter around Tillamook years ago hunting deer (not even Elk) with a .460 Weatherby.:eek::eek:

    He couldn't believe I was using a little .257.

    I left with the assumption he has mastered the shoot and gut at the same time.
     
  18. thebriarman

    thebriarman CO New Member

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    Depending on the size of the deer, 150-165 for medium, and 180 for large. For the smaller deer, you can always use a lighter load. My favorite round is a light loaded 165 BT. Good luck!!
     
  19. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    In the .30-06 for deer, I would always choose a bullet in the 150g range (given that one can be found that is accurate in the rifle).

    Heavier bullets (such as 180-220g) may not expand as quickly, and deliver the fast kill realized from a lighter, faster expanding bullet. Save them for the elk and the moose.

    If I knew I was on a trip for heavy muley bucks, I might consider a 165, or rather opt for a 150g premium controlled expansion bullet like a Nosler Partition. This would give me the improved trajectory over the heavier bullets, and yet punch through heavy bone if needed.

    It is not that a 180 or 220 won't do a good job of killing a deer. It's just that they aren't at all necessary, and a fast expanding 150 (such as the incredibly accurate Nosler Ballistic Tip) has always for me delivered that "lightning fast" kill, on the spot: expanding violently in the chest, and delivering nearly all of its energy within the animal.

    I take issue with the stipulation that trajectories are similar: a 150g, tossed out at 3000 fps (max velocity in Nosler book) will arrive at 400 yards, 9.8" below point of aim (sighted with 200yard zero). A 180g at max 2800fps will arrive there 12.4" low. (2.6" difference--significant within the same caliber).

    I grant that this is a worst-case scenario, and I am not in the habit of frequently launching bullets at deer at 400 yards, but for somebody who thinks this is a good idea, an error in hold could result in a miss, or worse: a wounded animal. The 150 would give you almost 3 inches of insurance.

    Finally, anybody spending any time at all with a .30-06 will soon know without a doubt that the bigger bullets kick noticeably more. It is a fact that we ALL shoot lighter recoiling guns better. One more reason to go with the 150.
     
  20. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    In the .30-06 for deer, I would always choose a bullet in the 150g range (given that one can be found that is accurate in the rifle).

    Heavier bullets (such as 180-220g) may not expand as quickly, and deliver the fast kill realized from a lighter, faster expanding bullet. Save them for the elk and the moose.

    If I knew I was on a trip for heavy muley bucks, I might consider a 165, or rather opt for a 150g premium controlled expansion bullet like a Nosler Partition. This would give me the improved trajectory over the heavier bullets, and yet punch through heavy bone if needed.

    It is not that a 180 or 220 won't do a good job of killing a deer. It's just that they aren't at all necessary, and a fast expanding 150 (such as the incredibly accurate Nosler Ballistic Tip) has always for me delivered that "lightning fast" kill, on the spot: expanding violently in the chest, and delivering nearly all of its energy within the animal.

    I take issue with the stipulation that trajectories are similar: a 150g, tossed out at 3000 fps (max velocity in Nosler book) will arrive at 400 yards, 9.8" below point of aim (sighted with 200yard zero). A 180g at max 2800fps will arrive there 12.4" low. (2.6" difference--significant within the same caliber).

    I grant that this is a worst-case scenario, and I am not in the habit of frequently launching bullets at deer at 400 yards, but for somebody who thinks this is a good idea, an error in hold could result in a miss, or worse: a wounded animal. The 150 would give you almost 3 inches of insurance.

    Finally, anybody spending any time at all with a .30-06 will soon know without a doubt that the bigger bullets kick noticeably more. It is a fact that we ALL shoot lighter recoiling guns better. One more reason to go with the 150.