Recommended Hunting Bullets

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#1 Oct 11, 2010
Recommended Hunting Bullets

By Chuck Hawks

Having written several articles about hunting bullets in the past, perhaps this could be considered the most basic in a series on the subject. In this case, I am simply going to list proven bullets that are available in factory loads and to reloaders. These bullets are established game getters. Note that some bullets, such as the Nosler Partition, are offered in many brands of factory loaded ammunition, as well as to reloaders by their manufacturer. For the sake of brevity, such bullets are listed under their manufacturer's name only (Nosler in the case of this example) and not under each brand of ammunition that uses them.

Naturally, any bullet must be in a caliber and weight appropriate to the game hunted. Take, for example, the popular Remington Core-Lokt bullet, which is available in numerous calibers and bullet weights for a wide variety of game animals. A 100 grain .243 Core-Lokt would be an appropriate choice for hunting whitetail deer, but not for hunting Roosevelt elk. For elk, the 180 grain .30 caliber Core-Lokt would be a much more appropriate choice. Similarly, the versatile Nosler Partition bullet is a perfectly reasonable choice for CXP2 deer in .257 Roberts, for CXP3 elk in 7mm Magnum and for CXP4 bison in .416 Rigby.

Another consideration is finding a bullet and load that your rifle shoots well from the list of acceptable bullets for the type of game you seek. This requires testing the likely candidates at the rifle range from a bench rest at a distance of 100 yards or longer. Use sandbags or a commercial rifle rest like a Lead Sled to eliminate as much shooter error as possible and the results should tell you what bullet your rifle prefers. Once you determine the preferred bullet and load for your rifle, stick with it. After your rifle/scope is zeroed, other bullets, even of the same weight, are unlikely to shoot to the same point of impact.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/recommended_hunting...

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#2 Oct 11, 2010
Bullets for Beginners

By Bob Beers

Throughout my life, conversations about deer hunting seem to revolve around rifles. So, when I became interested in deer hunting, that's where I started doing research. To say that I quickly became frustrated is an understatement. Rifle manufacturers don't usually indicate what their rifles are used for, except to shoot bullets from a specific cartridge.

As my investigation continued, it became evident that many rifles and cartridges are used to hunt the same animals. This really blew my mind! Why would such a wide variety of rifles and cartridges be used to shoot the same thing?

Eventually I realized that I was approaching the subject backwards. My research began with "rifles," progressed to "cartridges," then stalled with "animals." In other words, "I have a rifle, now what can I do with it?" The correct starting place is, "I want to kill a buck, how do I do that?"

At some point, it dawned on me that the bullet does the actual killing. The rifle is simply a means to deliver the bullet to the target. So, a basic knowledge of bullets seemed to be a prerequisite for studying rifles.

I discovered that bullets were not only different in caliber, but, weight, shape, and construction. I also discovered that, in simple terms, there are three basic types of bullet construction: frangible, non-expanding, and expanding. Each of these bullets has their specific purpose, so let's take a look at these three types of bullets.
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#3 Oct 11, 2010
The Case for Standard (Soft Point) Hunting Bullets

By Chuck Hawks

First, let's define standard hunting bullets. By "standard" I mean soft point and hollow point bullets of the types made the major bullet manufacturers. These are the bullets commonly found in factory loads such as the Remington Express, Winchester Super-X, Federal Power-Shok, and Hornady Custom lines.

Standard bullets used in these factory loads (and some premium factory loads as well) include the Winchester Power Point, Power Point Plus, Positive Expanding Point and Silvertip; Hornady Interlock; Federal Soft Point; Speer Hot-Cor; Sierra GameKing, Remington Core-Lokt and Core-Lokt Hollow Point. Standard bullets widely used by North American reloaders include most of the above plus the Sierra ProHunter, Nosler Solid Base, and Barnes Original. Most bullets referred to simply as a soft point or hollow point by the various ammunition and bullet manufacturers are standard bullets.

"Tipped" bullets, such as the Remington Bronze Point and AccuTip, Nosler Ballistic Tip, CT Ballistic Silvertip, and Hornady SST can also be included as standard bullets, since their terminal performance is similar to that of soft point bullets despite their pretty plastic tips. These bullets often appear in premium factory loads such as the Winchester Supreme, Remington Premier, Hornady Light Magnum, and Federal Vital-Shok lines, but in terminal performance these are conventional bullets.

What are NOT standard bullets are the premium priced, controlled expansion bullets featuring bonded cores, dual cores and the like. So this article is not about bullets such as the Nosler Partition and AccuBond, Winchester Fail Safe, Speer Grand Slam, Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Woodleigh Weldcore, Remington Core-Lokt Ultra, Hornady InterBond, Swift A-Frame and Sirocco, A-Square Dead Tough, and Barnes X-Bullet.

I also do NOT include cheap promotional bullets, varmint bullets, cast lead bullets, frangible bullets, full metal jacket bullets, "solid" bullets, or any kind of surplus military bullets. None of these are a good choice (and most are not even legal) for hunting CXP2 or CXP3 class big game.

Modern soft point, hollow point, and tipped bullets are built around a lead core contained in a copper or copper alloy (called "gilding metal") jacket. The jacket protects the bullet's lead core during its trip down the rifle barrel and also helps to control bullet expansion. In terminal performance it matters little whether expansion is initiated by exposed lead at the front of the bullet, a plastic or bronze tip, or a hollow point. All three will get the job done if properly engineered.

These standard type bullets are deadly on medium size (CXP2) big game animals. If you are hunting non-dangerous animals ranging in size from about 50 pounds to, say, 400 pounds, these are usually the best bullets to use. Let me repeat that: standard bullets are usually the best choice for CXP2 game.

Standard bullets will ordinarily provide more expansion and faster kills than premium controlled expansion bullets on animals such as pronghorn antelope, whitetail deer, blacktail deer, mule deer, mountain goats, wild sheep, black bear, caribou, and similar size animals worldwide. These are all relatively light framed animals, so a bullet that penetrates into the heart/lung area and expands violently, thus destroying the maximum amount of tissue, gives the quickest, most humane, kills.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/standard_bullets.ht...

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#4 Oct 11, 2010
Sectional Density for Beginners

By Bob Beers

Bullets have several quantifiable characteristics. One of the most important is Sectional Density (SD). It took me a long time to finally grasp its true significance, but once I did, much of my confusion about bullets just disappeared.

Sectional density, according to the SpeerReloading Manual No. 13, is defined as: "A bullet's weight in pounds divided by the square of its diameter in inches." Note that SD is independent of a bullet's shape. All bullets of the same caliber and weight will have the same SD, regardless of their shape or composition.

For the lay person, SD can be considered to be a calculated value that represents how much mass of a given cross-sectional area is necessary to push a bullet through a given medium (such as a game animal).

It's calculated as follows: Sectional Density =

(bullet weight in grains)
7000 x (bullet diameter in inches) x (bullet diameter in inches)

As the frontal area (think caliber) of a bullet increases, the weight behind it must increase accordingly to achieve the same penetration.

The value of Sectional Densities for various classes of animal seems to have been empirically derived by the family of hunters over many, many years. Their collective experiences indicate that these (or similar) values seem to work well. Given that a Sectional Density of .180 is good for small animals,.200-.230 is good for medium size animals,.270-.280 is good for large animals, and .300+ is good for larger and tougher animals, then we can make the following table.(I know that some of the small caliber bullets do not exist with the listed sectional densities, but I left the numbers in the table for reference purposes.)

The data in the following table shows that, for a given sectional density, the frontal area and weight of the bullet increase at the same rate. In other words, as the penetration resistance increases (the frontal area increases) the push behind it (weight) increases at the same rate, thus maintaining the expected depth of penetration for a given animal or class of animals.

Note that the sectional density remains constant for a given animal class and as the caliber increases the weight of the bullet must increase to push the larger frontal area of the bullet through the animal. The benefit of the larger calibers is that their bullets make larger holes (wound channels).
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/sd_beginners.htm

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#5 Oct 11, 2010
The Sectional Density of Rifle Bullets

By Chuck Hawks

Sectional density (SD) is the numerical result of a calculation that compares a bullet's weight to its diameter. To calculate a bullet's sectional density divide the bullet's weight (in pounds) by its diameter (in inches), squared. The higher the SD number the better the SD, and the heavier a bullet is in proportion to its diameter.

SD is important because it has a significant effect on penetration. Other things being equal (like impact velocity, bullet design and material, etc.) the higher the SD number, the better the bullet's penetration. In other words, a skinny bullet of a given weight tends to penetrate better than a fat bullet of the same weight, because it concentrates the same force on a smaller area of the target. For example, if other factors are equal, a 150 grain .270 bullet will penetrate better than a 150 grain .35 caliber bullet.

Penetration is important because the bullet must get well inside an animal to disrupt the functioning of its vital organs. A bullet that fails to penetrate the fur, skin, muscle, and bone necessary to reach the vital organs is very unlikely to bring an animal down.

SD stays the same for all bullets of the same weight in the same caliber--shape does not affect SD. This information is important to remember when comparing rifle bullets.

Here are some typical hunting bullets and their sectional densities, which are recognized as effective for medium size big game animals:
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/sd.htm

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#6 Oct 11, 2010
Want Better Sectional Density? Here are Some Common Cartridges and Loads that Deliver

By Chuck Hawks

If you have been reading Guns and Shooting Online articles about the penetration advantage of bullets with high sectional density (SD) and would like a synopsis of the common cartridges and loads that deliver, this article is for you. For the purposes of this article, "high" means SD's over .280, which (if the bullet chosen were otherwise suitable) would mean a bullet well suited to harvesting the largest CXP3 game (elk, moose, oryx, etc.). Not all of the cartridges and loads mentioned are necessarily the best choice for hunting CXP3 game; there are other factors to consider in addition to SD. However, properly placed with bullets that expand appropriately, these loads will suffice and they will also do nicely for all species of CXP2 game (deer, sheep, pronghorn, goats, etc.).

Only commonly available, factory loaded, bullet weights are considered here. You don't have to handload or invest in special bullets to realize the advantage of superior SD with these cartridges. Nor are the loads mentioned below unusual in any way, they are standard fare.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/want_better_sd.htm

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#7 Oct 11, 2010
The Killing Power Of Big Game Bullets

By Chuck Hawks

How bullets kill

A rifle bullet kills an animal by destroying tissue, disrupting the function of vital organs or the central nervous system, causing blood loss, and perhaps by shock to the animal's system. The latter can be almost instantly fatal, or almost completely lacking, depending on circumstances beyond the hunter's control. The more damage a bullet causes, the more likely it is to produce a quick kill.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_bullet_killin...

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#8 Oct 11, 2010
The Myth of Muzzle Energy

By Mike Hudson

Prior to the introduction of magnum cartridges, muzzle energy was not the hot topic of conversation that it is today. In fact, many riflemen of the era didn't even know what it was while others, who knew what it was, dismissed it as unimportant.

Writing in 1948, the famed African poacher and remittance man John "Pondoro" Taylor stated that energy was "Surely the most misleading thing in the world where rifles are concerned. Gunsmiths invariably quote it because, particularly since the advent of the Magnum, it is decidedly flattering to their weapon."

Taylor quite likely killed more game animals, including dangerous game, than any half dozen men you're likely to meet today.(Taylor's experience was deep, but quite narrow. He had, for example, virtually no experience hunting outside of British Colonial Africa.-Ed.) He was writing at a time when nearly all of the important standard velocity cartridges, and many of the larger magnums, were already in widespread use. Why then was he so dismissive of what many riflemen today accept as gospel; that muzzle energy is the single most important determining factor in ranking the killing power of the various calibers?
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/myth_muzzle_energy....

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#9 Oct 11, 2010
Bullet Trajectory: Fact and Myth

By Mike Nelson

Myths and errors regarding the path of a bullet generally come from a lack of understanding of the forces acting on the bullet before, during, and after its path through the barrel. This article will deal with the primary forces on a bullet's trajectory, and it will mention a few of the secondary forces. The approach is directed toward the average reader. There is no attempt to address concerns of the mathematician or physicist, who should either know this material or should read a more technical and comprehensive treatise.

One of the more pervasive myths associated with bullet trajectory is that "bullets always rise right after they leave the barrel." In general, bullets do rise after leaving the barrel, and they immediately begin to drop. This is not a contradiction, and the explanation is not difficult to understand.

Bullets are affected by gravity whether in flight or not, and, when they leave the barrel, they no longer have any physical support, such as the brass, the box, your pocket, the magazine, the chamber, or the barrel, so they begin to fall. In addition, they are traveling through air, so air resistance progressively slows their flight. On most occasions the barrel is slanted upward slightly to compensate for this immediate drop; thus, for all but extreme shots, since the barrel is aimed slightly upward, the bullet does, indeed, rise slightly after it leaves the barrel, but it bullet never rises above the axis of the barrel.(Just like a football generally rises above the player when they throw a pass. The longer the pass, the greater the starting angle, and the higher the "rise" before the ball begins to fall.)

In scientific terms, "thrown" objects, whether by hand, explosion, springs, compressed air, or other forces, are called "projectiles," their path in space is called their "trajectory," and the study of their trajectories is called "ballistics." Those who fail to understand the elementary physics of ballistics often misinterpret the configuration of barrel and the line of sight and assume that something "special" happens to the bullet during its flight. Many things happen, but nothing "special;" bullets fly just like any other projectile and are subject to the same laws of physics.

The following drawings, though not to exact scale, show the typical paths of bullets and the relationship of these paths to the line of sight, whether determined by open sights or optical sights.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/bullet_trajectory.h...

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#10 Oct 11, 2010
Bullets For Big Game Hunting

By Chuck Hawks

The bullet is the object that delivers the power of a modern firearm to the target. In the vernacular, it is where the rubber meets the road. This small, exquisitely formed bit of metal has been the focus of endless study, design, and research. Although bullets of one sort or another have been in use for several centuries, modern hunting bullets are the best ever.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/big_game_bullets.ht...

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#11 Oct 11, 2010
Shooting Uphill and Downhill

By Chuck Hawks

The hoary old question of where to aim when shooting up or down hill regularly rears its head. It seems that many hunters understand that shooting at a steep angle changes the point of impact, but can't remember why or in which direction.

The correct answer is to hold lower than normal when shooting steeply up or down hill at long range.(At gentle angles you can ignore the problem altogether over the maximum point blank ranges of hunting rifle cartridges.)

This seems odd to many, and they insist on making the problem more difficult than it needs to be. But the reason is simple. Trajectory, the bullet's flight path, depends on the horizontal (level) range to the plane of the target, not the line of sight range up or down hill. Your eye sees the line of sight (slant) range from your position to the target, which is longer than the horizontal range.

Remember that it is gravity working on the bullet during its flight time that causes it to drop. If you were to shoot straight down, say from a tethered balloon, the bullet would have no curved trajectory, it would travel toward the earth in a straight line, just as if you simply dropped it. Likewise, if you shoot straight up, the bullet travels up in a straight line until its momentum is expended. Again, there is no curved trajectory.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/shooting_uphill.htm

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#12 Oct 11, 2010
Matching the Gun to the Game

By Chuck Hawks

Perhaps "Matching the Cartridge to the Game" would be a better title. In any case, the point is to see what rifles are recommended for shooting some of the more common types of game animals. A good choice will have adequate killing power for the intended quarry, not too much, and certainly not too little. A sporting arm must have enough power to insure a humane kill if the shooter does his or her part.

For instance, I don't recommend using .22 caliber centerfire rifles on deer; no .22 is an adequate deer rifle. Conversely, I also don't recommend using a .458 Magnum on deer. Elephant rifles are unnecessarily heavy and cumbersome, and there is no reason to endure so much recoil when there are far better choices for the purpose. Such a powerful rifle is best reserved for thick-skinned game. In any case, its very tough bullets are not designed to expand on light framed animals like deer.

Before we start, let me say that for reasons of space I am not going to try to include every possible rifle cartridge; I am only going to name cartridges that are generally well known. If your favorite is a caliber not mentioned, look for something similar. If a cartridge with similar capabilities is included, you may conclude that your favorite must also be a satisfactory choice.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/gun_game.htm

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#13 Oct 11, 2010
Rifle Bullet Sectional Density List

Compiled By Chuck Hawks

For the most comprehensive list of rifle bullet sectional densities of which I am aware, listing many more bullet weights and calibers (including British and European calibers), see the "Expanded Rifle Bullet Sectional Density List" on the Tables, Charts and Lists Page.

Sectional density (SD) is defined as the weight of a bullet (in pounds) divided by the square of its diameter (in inches). You can use that formula to compute the SD of any bullet not listed below.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_SD_list.htm

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#14 Oct 12, 2010
Ammo: Long-Term Storage Tips
October 07, 2010
by Walt Hampton

Summary
With the run on ammunition and threats from elsewhere, it pays to store your ammo right.
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http://www.gundigest.com/article/Ammo-Long-Te...
LMAO 666

Lufkin, TX

#15 Oct 12, 2010
Thanks for the information. You the man Dollop

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#16 Oct 14, 2010
Matching the Gun to the Game

By Chuck Hawks

Perhaps "Matching the Cartridge to the Game" would be a better title. In any case, the point is to see what rifles are recommended for shooting some of the more common types of game animals. A good choice will have adequate killing power for the intended quarry, not too much, and certainly not too little. A sporting arm must have enough power to insure a humane kill if the shooter does his or her part.

For instance, I don't recommend using .22 caliber centerfire rifles on deer; no .22 is an adequate deer rifle. Conversely, I also don't recommend using a .458 Magnum on deer. Elephant rifles are unnecessarily heavy and cumbersome, and there is no reason to endure so much recoil when there are far better choices for the purpose. Such a powerful rifle is best reserved for thick-skinned game. In any case, its very tough bullets are not designed to expand on light framed animals like deer.

Before we start, let me say that for reasons of space I am not going to try to include every possible rifle cartridge; I am only going to name cartridges that are generally well known. If your favorite is a caliber not mentioned, look for something similar. If a cartridge with similar capabilities is included, you may conclude that your favorite must also be a satisfactory choice.

Also please note that, for the purposes of this article, it is generally assumed that the hunter will be using the cartridge within its customary and intended range and that he or she will select a bullet and load appropriate for the game at hand. Only in a few specific cases are bullet weights mentioned. At the end of each section I will give an example of an appropriate rifle that I would use myself.

On the subject of bullets I might note that for the relatively small CXP1 class animals a very fast expanding or fragmenting bullet is usually called for. Rapid, controlled expansion bullets are recommended for quick kills on medium size CXP2 game. For large CXP3 class game, deep penetrating, delayed expansion bullets are often recommended. The extra heavy, thick skinned CXP4 class animals require the deepest penetration. If expanding bullets are selected for CXP4 game they should be very heavily constructed, and traditional solid (non-expanding) bullets are still used on the largest animals in this class. For specific bullet recommendations for the four CXP classes of game, see my article The CXP Rating System for Hunting Cartridges.

To insure that my recommendations were not out of the mainstream, I compared my choices with the Winchester-Western Ammunition Handbook, the Barnes Reloading Manual Number One, and the usage guides in the Federal and Winchester ammunition catalogs, plus advice gleaned from reading various articles by Jack O'Connor and Les Bowman. These sources do not always totally agree with one another, but I am happy to report that the selections below generally correspond with the experts' suggestions. Now, let's see what cartridges are recommended for some of the more common game animals.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/gun_game.htm

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#17 Oct 22, 2010
If I Owned Remchester ....

By Chuck Hawks

Introduction

The idea for this article came from e-mails I have received, plus my own ideas, about things that the major American gun and ammunition manufacturers should do to improve their product lines. Listen up Browning, Federal, Henry, Hornady, Marlin, Remington, Ruger, Savage, Weatherby, and Winchester!

Hunting Rifle Calibers

One of my personal pet peeves is the seemingly random selection of calibers in various models of rifles. Has it ever happened to you that the particular caliber you want is available from the manufacturer in whose rifle you are interested, but not in the configuration you want?

Let's say, for example, that you want a certain model of bolt action rifle in .260 Remington caliber and you insist on a stock made of real walnut. But, while that manufacturer offers their short action rifle with a walnut stock in other calibers based on the .308 case, the .260 is only offered in a rifle with a synthetic stock. This kind of thing has happened to me more than once.

So, to rectify that situation, I suggest that the major manufacturers standardize their hunting rifle/caliber lines as follows. These are not the only calibers that should be offered in each type of rifle, but the calibers that should always be offered.
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/remchester.htm
night runner

Canada

#18 Oct 24, 2010
I think all you need is good light 22 mag and some hollower points

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#19 Oct 24, 2010
night runner wrote:
I think all you need is good light 22 mag and some hollower points
Got one. Remington 597 weighing 5 1/2 pounds, and I love it. But I use the CCI 40 gr. TMJ bullets.

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