Bullet choice

I've just been reading all the comments about whether smaller centrefire calibres should be made legal in the UK.

There's an interesting one on there from Willie (a Scot) who has shot deer with smaller calibres to great effect and what he's saying is true. However, I like to have a little margin for error when I'm shooting. By that, I mean, if the shot is a little high, low etc...then the impact is still fatal. Last year I changed from partition heads to ballistic tips (6.5x55) and I would never go back. The internal damage as the fragments pass thorough means that of the last 12 animals I've shot (Roe and fallow) none have gone more than 10 yrds from the spot they were shot and not one bullete has travelled all the way through. This isn't because I'm a fantastic marksman, I'm average and probably a little conservative.

I mention this because all the debate is about calibre, none really seems to be about the bullet choice which is critical as far as I can tell.


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Stuart you are spot on with this. I refer you to my last post on that thread. Bullet type is really important and I feel selection of the appropraite one for the job is very important. After all you wouldnt use 50 grain bullet on a cape buffalo you would use 250 grain plus. Although it does not mean you would have to use a 458 to drive this bullet you could use .375H&H or .338 lapua magnum both deliver 250 grain bullets with almost the same velocity and down range energy as the 458. I think you find that on smaller deer these smaller calibres loaded with the right bullet will have a very similar effect to what you have seen with 6.5x55 which is what I have on my ticket for deer. I would like to add .22 centrefire to my ticket for both fox and roe obviously north of the border for the latter.


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I use 50gr balistic tips in my .223 and have shot a lot of roe and foxes with this combo and have never found a bullet yet every one has gone straight thru even when it has hit bone :D :D


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This is interesting Stuart, and I have just loaded up some ballistic tips for my .270 following advice from an estate manager friend. I have yet to see how they perform on deer, but accuracy on paper has been incredible.

Regarding using ballistic tips in .22CF calibers when the new Deer management laws come in in October....they state that minimum 50gn
hollow point or soft point bullets must be used in .22CF calibers.



The only fear that I have is that in the .22cf which is going to become available in england this year that "varminting" ballistic tip designed bullets will be used on deer more. Ballistic tips come in two variaties, those for varmint shooting which are nearly explosive: and hunting weights, which are heavier walled and give controlled expansion. I use soft points, but I usually use .30-06 for stalking.



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Hi swampy you say that you are worried about varmint balistic tip type bullets will be used on deer as i said in an earlyer post i use 50gr Nosler balistic tip in my .223 and i have shot a lot of Roe and fox with this combo and every bullet has gone clean through and even when it has hit bone i still have not recoverd a bullet or a bullet fragment,i have also shot a number of Red deer with my .308 and 125 Nosler Balistic Tips and the same result entry and exit hole still have not found a bullet that has exploded.
In response to stuats post if you are finding bullet fragments passing through surely that means your bullet is breaking up and if a bullet is breaking up it is loosing its energy eg shocking power you need a bullet that expands not one that breaks up.
I might also add the furthest Roe was 180yds and the Reds out on the hill were never mentiond but 100yds is a close shot.
I don,t want to appear rude but this was my experiance with these bullet and caliber combination for the last 15 plus years and not someones second hand guess :)


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.308 & 125grn BT's


just knocking up this same load as you for the 308.

I had a worry that the bt might do a lot of damage, but from your post it you do not mention that.

A very knowledgeable guy told me that a lot of people fail to drive a bt fast enough and thats when excessive damage occurs.

What are your views.
125 B'tips

I've used 125grn Nosler ballistic tip in my .308 for 10 years doing an average of 2995fps over the chrono. I origanaly loaded them for Roe when my 150grn hornaday soft points I used for Fallow punched little holes without much expansion and a few deer running quite a long way. After trying the 125's on Fallow I have stuck with them giving excellent results, I get a little bit of damage on the entrance side(chest shot) from the jacket but always get a good exit hole and not too much damage even when I've clipped a shoulder on the way out. But the Deer fall over very quick which for me is the most important part.
As for .22c/f's they make me nervous on deer, I think bullet choice is critical. I used to shoot well over a 100 fox's every year and with .223 and have had quite a few bullets not exit. I have seen a 22.250 Ackley Improved blow up on the shoulder of a fox with a 55grn nosler ballistic tip?????


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Yes i would agree with your mate , but then again if you get them going to fast you can get bullet blow up,.
I use the same method as a lot of BR Shooters start reloading low powder levels on paper targets,watch the group come in as the powder level increases then it will open up then it will start to come in again and this is the load you want,at least it works for me.Then about the only thing you can do is try them out and see how they work on live targets.

I have seen bullets loaded so fast that they have blown up in mid air before they even got to there target,paper i may add.


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Hi Guys

The ballistic tip debate continues. Here's a different angle and that is what happens to the bullet in these fast fragile bullets. THe massive trauma is due to the fact that lead cannot hold together at meat velocities greater than 550m/s (1800 ft/s) and disintigrates into a fine dust.

What exits usually is the remains of the copper jacket. Therfore by using a very fast light for calibre BT you are loading the carcass with quite a lot of lead contamination which is OK if you are shooting vermin unless you are going to eat it.
My advice would be to go to 150 gn bonded ballistic tips such as Hornady Interrbonds or nosler accubonds in 308. In 243 start at 87 gns.

At present I use lead free bullets which gives me high velocity, minimal meat contamination and low breach pressures.

The 308 bullet weight 120 gns and travells at 3100 ft/s. The tip fragments in large copper splinters which destroy the lungs and the remaining 80% continues through the body getting deep penetration without massive tissue damage.



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Re: bullets

rh120 said:
I use 50gr balistic tips in my .223 and have shot a lot of roe and foxes with this combo and have never found a bullet yet every one has gone straight thru even when it has hit bone :D :D
This post has really captured my attention. I have been a subscriber to the view that .22c/f ballistic tips were to be avoided for deer.

I dare say that rh120 has shot more deer than I have, and must point out that I prefer to go out overgunned, so to take out the .223 out with me when there was a chance of scots roe is a extremely rare occurance.

To make more use of the .223 I have bought nosler partitions & barnes for reloading a deer load. The above post got me questioning whether I could have saved the expense of buying premium bullets & just used 55gr nosler or v-max, as I have both in factory ammo,& the means to reload for either.

My reasons for wondering this are - Roe are about the size of a labrador, a lab is just a bit broader than a coyote, these bullets must be designed to take out this sort of quarry (coyotes,not labradors).

Also I have spent a bit of time on the Berger website where they make a hunting VLD bullet which is a hollow point designed to disintegrate & dump the contents of the bullet with a shrapnel affect into the internal organs of a deer at distance... a bit like a Nosler then I suppose!