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Discussion Starter · #541 ·
Third Category - Failure of the hunter - Bullet Placement.

I personally have not experienced a "failure" of a copper bullet while hunting in the above scenarios, but I have in this one.

Let me explain it via specific hunting situations. Of all the elk I have shot, I have had three that didn't drop after a couple steps. In two of these situations, I didn't recognize that the elk was slightly quartering towards me when I took the shot resulting in only one lung being hit when shot behind the shoulder. An elk can run pretty far with one good or partially damaged lung. Tracking and a follow-up shot were required.

In the third situation, as I rushed to set-up for the shot, I asked the guide for the range which he passed as 350 yards. I missed (or so we thought). The next morning, I shot an elk running a ridgeline the next valley over. When we approached to field dress it, the guide said the elk looked like the one I missed the day before. Then we noticed there was a second wound where a bullet had passed through the sternum. I then asked how he had determined the range the day before. Instead of using his range finder, he had estimated (guessed). Using a map, I determined the range was 450 yards or more. I should have taken another couple of seconds to use my range finder. Correct distance is critical when taking a long-range shot. Thus, in this situation, the bullet did not hit the vitals and the elk ran off. It was pure luck that I shot the same elk the next day on a 500,000-acre ranch.

How many hunters might blame their bullet in situations like these?

In closing, the majority of today's copper bullets are designed and function effectively. I have found monolithic bullets from Barnes, CavityBack, and Hornady reliably expand. They expand quickly and have fully mushroomed by the time they penetrate the near-side ribcage of an elk. They are so consistent in their expansion that their diameter directly correlates to the kinetic energy on impact.

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Discussion Starter · #542 ·
Even though there hasn't been a lot of 6.8mm bullet testing recently, I have been testing .224, 243, and .308 caliber bullets mainly focusing on monolithic copper bullets. I will work to post some terminal test results in dedicated threads over the next few months. To give you a glimpse of how the different caliber groups compare with respect to kinetic energy and expansion, here is a graph documenting the different caliber bullets. Note how the KE envelop grows larger with each step up in caliber size.

63131


To keep the plots from being over-cluttered, it is missing two bullet groups. Copper bullets designed for the 6.8mm are not shown as they would have overlapped too much with the .243 plots. Second, no CavityBack MKZ Bullets in any caliper are shown as their expansion is greater and some would have been off the chart.
 
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Retrieved from my deer today, 100g accubond from druid hill. Didn't take pics of the internal damage but this entered front right, almost straight on and traveled most of the length of the deer. Retrieved just inside the hide at back left quarter. DRT. Funny thing is the deer did a complete backflip in the air when hit, and was facing the opposite direction. It was weird.
 

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View attachment 65157 View attachment 65158

Retrieved from my deer today, 100g accubond from druid hill. Didn't take pics of the internal damage but this entered front right, almost straight on and traveled most of the length of the deer. Retrieved just inside the hide at back left quarter. DRT. Funny thing is the deer did a complete backflip in the air when hit, and was facing the opposite direction. It was weird.
Impressive performance. Any chance you have a scale to report the retained weight? Looks pretty close to full weight from those pix. Congrats on the kill.
 
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Even though there hasn't been a lot of 6.8mm bullet testing recently, I have been testing .224, 243, and .308 caliber bullets mainly focusing on monolithic copper bullets. I will work to post some terminal test results in dedicated threads over the next few months. To give you a glimpse of how the different caliber groups compare with respect to kinetic energy and expansion, here is a graph documenting the different caliber bullets. Note how the KE envelop grows larger with each step up in caliber size.

View attachment 63131

To keep the plots from being over-cluttered, it is missing two bullet groups. Copper bullets designed for the 6.8mm are not shown as they would have overlapped too much with the .243 plots. Second, no CavityBack MKZ Bullets in any caliper are shown as their expansion is greater and some would have been off the chart.
I recently started using some cfe black with 90gr Speer gold dots using fc brass. Well here's what I came up with.
Using AR platform 20" barrel, cci 400 primers, 29.9gr cfe black, coal was 2.247.
3,045 FPS 1,850 FT/LBS. SD 6.3 ES 16. I use just water jugs for testing and the mushroom was great and weight retention was 78gr all the pedals where still intact to the core. .61" group of 5rds. @ 100yrds. Primers where just starting to flatten.
Warning this load data worked safely in my rifle however it may not be safe in yours.
 

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I recently started using some cfe black with 90gr Speer gold dots using fc brass. Well here's what I came up with.
Using AR platform 20" barrel, cci 400 primers, 29.9gr cfe black, coal was 2.247.
3,045 FPS 1,850 FT/LBS. SD 6.3 ES 16. I use just water jugs for testing and the mushroom was great and weight retention was 78gr all the pedals where still intact to the core. .61" group of 5rds. @ 100yrds. Primers where just starting to flatten.
Warning this load data worked safely in my rifle however it may not be safe in yours.
Yes of course in the 6.8 spc
 

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Even though there hasn't been a lot of 6.8mm bullet testing recently, I have been testing .224, 243, and .308 caliber bullets mainly focusing on monolithic copper bullets. I will work to post some terminal test results in dedicated threads over the next few months. To give you a glimpse of how the different caliber groups compare with respect to kinetic energy and expansion, here is a graph documenting the different caliber bullets. Note how the KE envelop grows larger with each step up in caliber size.

View attachment 63131

To keep the plots from being over-cluttered, it is missing two bullet groups. Copper bullets designed for the 6.8mm are not shown as they would have overlapped too much with the .243 plots. Second, no CavityBack MKZ Bullets in any caliper are shown as their expansion is greater and some would have been off the chart.
I'm definitely interested in your testing. Currently I am working up loads in my daughters .308 using the 125g MKZ, and also trying to develop a youth load using the 125g tipped MKZ for muzzel velocities around 2600 FPS.
using SW precision powder, I have developed a load that groups 1.2 MOA with the 125 MKZ with a velocity of around 2950.
No testing on game, yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #549 ·
I shared some low speed .308 bullet testing with the Herrett guys.


The MKZ out expanded all others as typical with the .277 caliber bullets. The 125 MKZ expansion was over 0.9" in diameter. The 168 MKZ expanded to a diameter of 0.75". This is significantly better than other 130 to 180 grain .308 bullets I have tested in this speed range and most won't expand that well at higher speeds.

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I shared some low speed .308 bullet testing with the Herrett guys.


The MKZ out expanded all others as typical with the .277 caliber bullets. The 125 MKZ expansion was over 0.9" in diameter. The 168 MKZ expanded to a diameter of 0.75". This is significantly better than other 130 to 180 grain .308 bullets I have tested in this speed range and most won't expand that well at higher speeds.

View attachment 73101
Xman, do you believe that an impact velocity of 2600+ with the 125MKZ would shed petals? That's some serious expansion at 1800 FPS. Would make a great youth load for certain, but I'm questioning close shots inside of 100 yards with mv near 3000fps.
thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #551 ·
First, CCB makes two 125 grain .308 caliber bullets. One for the 300 BO which opens up at lower speeds than the version made for the 30-30, Herrett, and .308. Which do you have?

Second, regardless, I have been hunting the last year with copper bullets with enough KE in-close to cause pedal loss leaving only the core to penetrate - and they have had impressive terminal performance. The detached pedals radiate outward with enough mass to cause additional trauma beyond the typical wound channel while the remain core continues penetrating. Specifically, .224-caliber 70gr MKZs and 55 E-tips have been dispatching coyotes, a deer, as well as hogs (both large and small) without reduction in terminal performance inside 100 yards when their pedals separate - actually terminal performance was improved. A heavier .30-caliber bullet should be even more effective if the in-close KE causes the pedals to detach.
 

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Xman, do you believe that an impact velocity of 2600+ with the 125MKZ would shed petals? That's some serious expansion at 1800 FPS. Would make a great youth load for certain, but I'm questioning close shots inside of 100 yards with mv near 3000fps.
thoughts?
I shot a doe last year at 150 yards with the 105mkz at 3000 fps from my 270msr. She took maybe 4 steps before dropping. It was a perfect broadside shot through the lungs. when I skinned her they were 3 exit holes, So the bullet definitely shed pedals but it still performed perfect. Since the pedals exited the animal i don't think they shed off until the bullet was pretty far into the chest cavity. 10 minutes after I shot a buck following the does scent. He was quartering hard and I shot him right on the point of the shoulder, dropping him in his tracks. I agree with xman I wouldn't be concerned with pushing the mkz's fast.
 

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First, CCB makes two 125 grain .308 caliber bullets. One for the 300 BO which opens up at lower speeds than the version made for the 30-30, Herrett, and .308. Which do you have?

Second, regardless, I have been hunting the last year with copper bullets with enough KE in-close to cause pedal loss leaving only the core to penetrate - and they have had impressive terminal performance. The detached pedals radiate outward with enough mass to cause additional trauma beyond the typical wound channel while the remain core continues penetrating. Specifically, .224-caliber 70gr MKZs and 55 E-tips have been dispatching coyotes, a deer, as well as hogs (both large and small) without reduction in terminal performance inside 100 yards when their pedals separate - actually terminal performance was improved. A heavier .30-caliber bullet should be even more effective if the in-close KE causes the pedals to detach.
I am very impressed with the quick opening of the 125 bo.bulkets in 300 bo . I wonder if they may be good in 30/30 if pedals peeling too early is not a problem .

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First, CCB makes two 125 grain .308 caliber bullets. One for the 300 BO which opens up at lower speeds than the version made for the 30-30, Herrett, and .308. Which do you have?

Second, regardless, I have been hunting the last year with copper bullets with enough KE in-close to cause pedal loss leaving only the core to penetrate - and they have had impressive terminal performance. The detached pedals radiate outward with enough mass to cause additional trauma beyond the typical wound channel while the remain core continues penetrating. Specifically, .224-caliber 70gr MKZs and 55 E-tips have been dispatching coyotes, a deer, as well as hogs (both large and small) without reduction in terminal performance inside 100 yards when their pedals separate - actually terminal performance was improved. A heavier .30-caliber bullet should be even more effective if the in-close KE causes the pedals to detach.
Actually, I have both the tipped 125g for 300 BO, as well as the open tip 125g. Currently developed a load using the open tip with a MV of around 2930 (not in front of my notes).
I had intended to use the tipped 300 BO bullet for use in reduced recoil youth hunting loads with a MV around 2400-2600 FPS. IF I could find the time.
I live in Houma, La and Hurricane Ida has me busy on other projects lol.
 

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Nosler 90gr PSP vs Federal 90gr Gold Dot

Thank ack495 contributing a box of the new Nosler 90gr Bonded Core (BC) bullets for terminal performance testing. The Nosler 90gr BC is one of the newest 6.8mm bullets on the market and is loaded by Silver State Armory, now part of the Nosler company. The 90gr Bonded Core bullet weight is match quality, 89.9 to 90.0 grains for 5 bullets (avg 89.94 gr). The SSA proprietary powder was well metered at 31.1 +- 0.1gr. The SSA powder looked to be double-based. This SSA Load is at the max resulting in flat primers with craters on all rounds fired. The 90gr BC were shot through 16- and 18-inch barrels. The 90gr BC did not have very good accuracy in either barrel - 2 MOA. However, when 3 bullets were pulled and downloaded to 30.0 grains of powder, 0.5 MOA was achieved in the 18-inch ARP. Velocities of SAA and Federal factory rounds were:

90 F

Nosler 90gr Bonded Core (Factory) [BC 0.227 est.]
16" ARP 2840 fps (2842, 2795, 2879, 2824)
18" ARP 2920 fps (2904, 2911, 2943, 2917, 2898, 2911, 2914)

Federal 90gr Gold Dot (Factory) [BC 0.236]
18" ARP 2915 fps

In the picture below, the 90 BC is in the front row and 90 GD in the second row. Left to right is 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards (1850 fps), and 1650 fps. The 100-yard GD is turned over so you are looking at the base. This shows the 5 prongs that peel back on the Gold Dot. At 100 yards, the prongs/pedals actually wrap all the way around behind the base of the bullet. The Nosler 90 BC doesn't appear to have pedals when it expands (nothing preformed in the bullet design). Weight retention for the 90 BC was 84.4 gr for both the 100 and 200 yard bullets. The 90 BC recovered at 200-yards looks just like a 110 Accubond at 200 yards. Nosler probably made the 90 BC with the same lead as the AccuBond which is harder than the GD/Fusion bullets that Speer manufactures. (the 90 GD on the left is a 1200 fps impact - only GD I have left that shows its basic shape)

Minimum expansion velocity is likely above 1900 fps for the Nosler 90gr BC. The 90 BC recovered at 300 yards and min velocity test, 1850 and 1650 fps, respectively, did not expand and way over-penetrate. Compared with the 90gr Gold Dot, the 90gr Bonded Core expansion was limited. The GD expanded as well below 1700 fps as the 90 BC did at 2150 fps.

Very helpful. In your opinion is the Fed 90gr GD the best deer round available or is there general agreement on something else that is better? Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #556 · (Edited)
In your opinion is the Fed 90gr GD the best deer round available ...
No, in my opinion, there are better 6.8 bullets that are more lethal for deer. The 90 GD has excellent expansion. It basically turns into a very round mushroom or "ball" with the petals wrapping around behind the base of the bullet. Rounded mushrooms, however, do not make as large a wound cavity as those that are flat, even if the flat mushroom is a smaller diameter. I've shot a doe broadside at 190 yards with the 90 GD and recovered the bullet below under the skin of the off-side hind quarters. The bullet's roundness and shortened length caused it not to maintain its trajectory after impact. The doe ran 75 yards with no blood trail. I was lucky that the brush was not thick and could see she run. I've also shot two small hogs with the 90 GD, was disappointed, and stopped using them after that. The 115 GD/Fusion version of this bullet has performed better for me.

Can you harvest deer with the 90 GD? Yes, plenty of hunters have. But you asked if it was the "best" for deer. In my opinion, other expanding bullets like the MKZ, AccuBond, GMX, and 95 TTSX, will serve you better. Others may disagree.

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I agree with xman about the fed 90 mushrooms into a ball and doesn't stay on course sometimes . I had one go in on the left shoulder on a broad side shot and come out on the point of the Sturm and literally split the hide for over a foot . I found the deer not far away almost completely field dressed . That is not putting down the Fed / gold dot because I have seen other brand bullets in other calibers go off course . It is usually those that mushrooms into a ball . The cavity back is my favorite roll your own and now factory load . Second best factory is S&B 110 ptsp . Second best roll your own is 100 grain accubond . If exit wound is not important SST are usually very accurate and put critters down fast . That said I have around 500 90 grain gd loaded and about that many in the box and would not hesitate to shoot anything I felt needs shooting with them . No matter the caliber or bullet never count on an exit or blood trail .

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No, in my opinion, there are better 6.8 bullets that are more lethal for deer. The 90 GD has excellent expansion. It basically turns into a very round mushroom or "ball" with the petals wrapping around behind the base of the bullet. Rounded mushrooms, however, do not make as large a wound cavity as those that are flat, even if the flat mushroom is a smaller diameter. I've shot a doe broadside at 190 yards with the 90 GD and recovered the bullet below under the skin of the off-side hind quarters. The bullet's roundness and shortened length caused it not to maintain its trajectory after impact. The doe ran 75 yards with no blood trail. I was lucky that the brush was not thick and could see she ran. I've also shot two small hogs with the 90 GD and was disappointed and stopped using them after that. The 115 GD/Fusion version of this bullet has performed better for me.

Can you harvest deer with the 90 GD? Yes, plenty of hunters have. But you asked if it was the "best" for deer. In my opinion, other expanding bullets like the MKZ, AccuBond, GMX, and 95 TTSX, will serve you better. Others may disagree.

View attachment 76048
Thank you so much!
 

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XMan, this is little off topic, but what are your thoughts about the most effective shape for causing the most damage at 6.8 SPC speeds. Over the years I have seen arguments that a nice round mushroom-shape like formed by the Gold Dot causes less tissue damage than something with a relatively flat or fluted face. The argument is that the flat or fluted faces throw tissue aside better and cause more tearing.
This question occurred to me again this weekend when I saw Ron Spomer interviewing a rep from Hammer Bullets whose bullets are designed to shed their petals and present a flat face when traveling through tissue.
Thanks

edited to add: I did not mention the "propeller-shaped" petals from bullets like Cavity Back, which are a whole other kettle of fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #560 · (Edited)
Nincomp, an appropriate question. I'll keep to expanding/mushrooming bullets.

It has been my experience that bullets that expand to flatter mushrooms create more effective wound cavities than a rounder/ball-shaped mushroom, e.g., 100 AB vs 90 GD. Among the 6.8 bullets, AccuBonds have one of the flattest mushrooms. They hit like hammers in both terminal performance testing and has my experience on deer, hogs, and coyotes. Other expanding/mushrooming bullet that have somewhat flat mushrooms that do well are the 100 GMX and 95 TTSX which have been more effective for me than the 85/100 TSX.

With class-leading expansion, 105/120 MKZs' terminal performance is different than the other expanding bullets mentioned above. They expand with 3 separate, "propeller-shaped" petals. I often think of them as mechanical broadheads for rifles. They create a tri-star wound cavity that promotes hemorrhaging beyond what I've experienced with any other bullets, a "whole other kettle of fish." I've taken elk, deer, hogs, coyotes, and turkey with the MKZs.

The past 3 years, I've been hunting frequently with .224 MKZs and E-Tips that have been driven fast enough in 5.56 and Valkyrie rifles to shed their pedals. The fragmented pedals have enough mass to cause additional trauma as they diverge outward and the remain bullet shank continues with deeper penetration. The impressive terminal effect on deer, hogs, and coyotes have removed any concern I had regarding copper bullets shedding their petals. This is the design intent of the Hammer bullets you mentioned. I have not tested or hunting with them. As Hammer noted on their website, faster barrel twist rates positively affect monolithic bullet's terminal performance and their mushroom's expansion diameter. Or in the case of the Hammer bullets, how quickly the separated pedals translate away from the bullet shank. Note, Because of the design of the MKZ bullets with external scoring to create bullet expansion, I have not experienced a significant difference in the expanded diameter based on twist rate.
 
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