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I shot a small WY whitetail this weekend from my 12.5" AR. Shot was about 50 yards. I was using factory loaded Nosler Accubonds. I was able to recover the bullet and it seems to not have expanded very well. Is this a velocity or bullet problem? Or is this just fine and I'm worried about nothing?
I do have some 105 and 120 CBB bullets on order to work up loads for next year. I'm sure they are a better bullet.


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The last couple of years, the Accubond boxes for each bullet give you bullet deformation pictures and associated velocities. You should compare them with your calculated downrange velocities at various distances to see what you should expect. You may need to adjust your starting load to get desired expansion at expected shooting distances.
 

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The last couple of years, the Accubond boxes for each bullet give you bullet deformation pictures and associated velocities. You should compare them with your calculated downrange velocities at various distances to see what you should expect. You may need to adjust your starting load to get desired expansion at expected shooting distances.
He stated it was a factory load . The lower velocity Nosler loads to shortens the effective range by about 100 yards compared to good handloads. Even though the 12.5” doesn’t give up a tremendous amount to 16-18” it’s enough to make you think twice about 300 yard shots with factory Nosler AB .


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The good news: it got the job done.
The interesting news: I (we?) would have expected more, even at reduced velocity of the anemic factory load from a 12.5” ARP barrel and only at 50 yards.
 

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6.8mm AccuBonds do not expand as much as other 6.8mm SPC bullets. However, their smaller mushrooms are not rounded but flat like a hammer. That's exactly how they hit, e.g., like a hammer. A smaller flat expansion will leave a larger temporary wound cavity than a rounded/ball-like bullet that mushroomed to a larger diameter. Your recovered bullet is similar to the AccuBonds I tested. Note these were handloads from an 18" barrel.


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Yeah, those factory loads from Nosler are seriously weak. Every time I've chronographed them, they've come in over 200 fps slower than 110 Gr loads from Hornady. They sometimes don't have the gas to feed the next round. Nosler era SSA factory loads are the only ones to have this problem, and of those, the 110 Gr Accubond is the worst.

That said, the accuracy of the factory Accubond is the best I've found in the caliber in the rifles I've tried it in.
 

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Personally, I haven't used a better bullet for deer then the 110 gr nosler ab. I've tried others and never got the performance from them like the accubond. I handload them to about 2650 out of a 16 inch and most of my bullets exit the deer and the deer normally drop where they stood. I had one 8 point drop so hard that it's horns had to be pried from the dirt. If you reload, try working up a load with them. Unless they changed the design, they are a great deer bullet.

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I use and really depend on Nosler Accubonds but because of their construction they are loaded to chart maximum or above and used in 18" to 24" rifles. Personally I wouldn't take a 12.5" barreled 6.8 deer hunting, have over a ten 6.8s from 8.5" to 12.5" and they are all relegated to defensive work but if happened to have a short barrel in truck and had a good opportunity would not pass up a deer. Shot a medium size die in my back yard at about fifty feet with a 12.5" loaded with Lehigh Controlled Chaos because was walking from truck to house and saw it standing behind the patio. Dropped it like a hammer.

Why not assemble an 18" upper for hunting? I regularly harvest coyotes from 350 to 450 yards with an 18" or 20" 6.8 but would not even risk that shot with a short barrel. Its not too big of a deal to assemble a second upper, could keep it sighted for deer and feel confident not only in the 50 yard shots but the 250 yard opportunities.
 

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50 yards and no exit??? I have shot deer over 200 yards with the TTSX and never had a bullet not exit. entry is pencil size and exit the size of a 50 cent piece. I stopped hunting with lead based bullets when Barnes caught my attention around 2001. Better expansion, better penetration and certainly going through any bone as these bullets will go through 1/4-1/2 inch steel plate.
I only shoot factory loaded ammo to plink if I need brass from my which is not often. I only hunt with my own ammo knowing that all my testing to create that bullet for a specific rifle i my collection is going to go exactly where I want it to, no ifs, ands or buts.
I will use accubonds out at the range for out to 1000 yard targets as they have a great BC. Once I run out I will only use the Nosler RDF bullets or Custom Comps for target and copper monolithic bullet for hunting. The Hornady GMX is also a great alternative to the Barnes and I have heard good things about CBC & Cutting Edge Bullets but no hands on experience. I spend good money hunting and want to put as many Aces in my hand in order to have a successful hunt whether it is rifle & bullets or my bow/arrows/broadheads.Even my arrows go through my deer at 50 yards with a 55# draw like this deer 2 weeks ago.

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