Nonlead bullet performance

stiffblade

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Jul 21, 2007
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Ricardo
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Hello all,
Just wondering what the consensus is with local San Diego hunters who HAVE harvested local deer here with non lead bullets. I shot a buck that the bullet did not expand or give energy to take him down. Shot was good behind the shoulder. I was using Federal non lead factory ammo in .270 Winchester. This year I plan to load my own due to ammo prices and availability. I have the Barnes TTSX in 130gr. Somewhere I read or heard that one should drop down to the next lower bullet weight for faster expansion. We don't have large heavy deer here, so bullets are just passing through. Anyone see any truth to this? Man I miss my Sierra Gamekings!!

All positive comments welcome.
PS. I will also be loading nonlead in .308/.30-06, 7mm-08, .243 Win.
 
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MJB

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  • Jun 19, 2008
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    sold it!!
    130 are perfect for the 270

    Load them hot then back them off the lands, for a tight group.

    Shot placement has changed hit bone like the scapula they go down good. Copper was designed for big boned african game.
     
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    Heatmaster75

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    Jul 20, 2019
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    Rather Be Fishing
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    Loading your own will greatly improve the performance of the caliber. Copper monolithics are deep penetrators and the expansion is all in the petals of the bullet.
    I have been using TSX or TTSX handloads for over a decade and I tend to agree that the performance on light skinned game is not what a Nosler Partition or other premium lead bonded bullet delivers. I also don't feel that greater velocity is the cure for this seemingly lackluster performance of the copper pills. I do agree that your local Blacktails should not be that hard to kill. My first deer was Monterey County forky that I took with a .243 in 1989.

    130gr for the .270 is the sweet spot, but I have also loaded it as heavy as 150 with TSX's and actually recovered them from elk. Performance was adequate with the slower velocity of approx 2700 at the muzzle.

    I have also recovered 140 gr TTSX's from a dead bull that my buddies son shot with my daughters 7mm-08. It did take 4 to anchor him at 100 yds, and 2 of the bullets were stuck in the hide. They were mushroomed nicely, but we are lucky that bull hung around long enough for the kid to put 3 more holes in him. I have watched my daughter just waylay Whitetails with the same load, and I have watched her poke holes in Mule deer with blood spurting out both sides and they just stand there and leak for a minute before laying down.

    20 ish years ago I poked a Cow elk with a 180 Swift Scirocco out of a 300 ultra. Knocked her down, but she immediately got back up. Shot her again a little farther back and killed her. Upon field dress autopsy we found that the bullet had failed to penetrate the shoulder, and basically had disintegrated against the bone, with lead fragments all over. I quit shooting lead bullets for big game shortly after that, because the lead poisoning thing scared me, all I could think about every time my wife made elk burger spaghetti.

    My standard load for my 300 WBY is 86 grains of RL-22 with a magnum primer and a 180 TTSX, crono's at approximately 3250 FPS muzzle. I have had many elk dump DRT, and have had just as many take a second shot and still stumble 100 yds into the bushes.

    What I am trying to say is critters all take a bullet different, some dump in their tracks, some can go a ways even after having their heart turned to jelly. I would not loose faith in the capabilities of the copper bullets, especially if you are rolling your own loads. This whole bullet performance thing is a very DEEP rabbit hole. All of my examples are anecdotal of course, and having faith in your load/rifle/accuracy is a big deal. Just trying to relay the message to not loose faith based on one outcome that did not go how you expected. I personally don't feel that I am handicapped in the least with Barnes bullets in my loads. ( I am still a big fan of Nosler and Sierra too!)

    Good luck on your journey! Hopefully the component/ammunition search gets back to normal soon. I take great satisfaction in taking game with bullets that I put together myself. Watching your kids kill game with cartridges that they made is even better. It also gives you something to sneak away and do when the Inlaws visit!
     
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    MJB

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  • Jun 19, 2008
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    sold it!!
    Copper needs speed to expand and the accuracy improved in my TSX with the hot loads.
     
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    JFK

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    Apr 3, 2008
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    I’ve shot 130gr factory TTSX with success. Once I started handloading I loaded up some 110gr TTSX and they work well. Very flat and screaming fast at around 3300fps from the muzzle. Basically no hold over out to 300 yards.

    I recently got some 117gr Hammer bullets (smaller outfit from Montana). They are a copper bullet that’s designed to fragment. Going to load some up and use them this year.

    The newer copper stuff works and it’s been my experience that it likes to be pushed fast, both for on game performance and accuracy.
     
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    Tesoro

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    Shoot em in the neck! thats the only place I will shoot one if its about the meat and not horn huntin.
     
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