January 22, 2013
We all sit around the campfire and fuss over the best cartridge for deer: .270…30-06…7 Mag…maybe one of the short magnums? It’s good fun, but seems to me we are missing the point. Isn’t it the load and more to the point, the bullet, that kills deer. Put a good bullet in a buck’s boiler room and he won’t go far, caliber notwithstanding. Here are 5 great bullet choices. I’ve killed a bunch of whitetails and muleys with them.
Bullet: Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
Weights for Deer: 140-grain .270; 165- and 180-grain 30 caliber.
Comments: Copper jacket and lead core with fusion bonding for controlled expansion and intense penetration. The 130-grain .270 TBBC blew right through the first buck I shot with it years ago; the deer ran 70 yards and left a gushing blood trail that any nimrod could follow. When I gutted the deer I found the lungs destroyed, which meant the bullet had expanded well inside the animal before exiting. I’ve had similar results on the other deer I’ve shot with the TBBC. I love those blood trails, something you don’t always get with a more rapidly expanding bullet that stays inside a deer.
Bullet: Remington Premiere Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded
Weights for Deer: Thirty-plus pointed soft-point bullets in the Remington factory ammo line, from 100-grain .243 to 165-grain .30-06 (whitetails) to 180-grain for mule deer, elk and larger game.
Comments: The original controlled expansion Core-Lokt has killed as many deer as any bullet in the World. Copper jacket is locked to the lead core (hence Core-Lokt). The best all-around hunting bullet I’ve ever used. Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded load and bullets are typically accurate in any bolt-action rifle, and they retain up to 95% of their weight with max penetration and energy transfer on game. The 140-grain in 7mm Remington Ultra Mag. is currently my go-to deer load.
Bullet: Sierra GameKing BTSP
Weights for Deer: 100-grain .243; 117-grain .25-06; 130-grain and 150-grain .270; 150- and 165-grain .30-06; 165-grain .308.
Comments: Tapered bullet with boat-tail base has been popular with hunters for years, especially Westerners who get the long shots. Accurate bullet that by design has reduced drag and wind drift than similar-weight pills. Impressive downrange velocity and game-thumping power, too.
Bullet: Nosler Ballistic Tip
Weights for Deer: 130-, 140- and 150-grain .270; 150-, 165-, 180-grain 30 caliber; 140- and 150-grain 7mm.
Comments: One of first bullets to use polycarbonate tip to initiate expansion; fully tapered jacket with lead alloy core. I remember the first of many bucks I’ve shot with the Spitzer Ballistic Tip, a rutting 8-pointer in Alabama at 120 yards. When the 130-grain bullet struck, he shook violently, jumped 20 yards and fell. The bullets hit hard, kill fast.
Bullet: Barnes MRX
Weights for Deer: 130- and 150-grain .270; 150- and 165-grain 30 caliber; 140- and 160-grain 7mm.
Comments: MRX bullets (100% lead free) feature a tungsten core surrounded with an all-copper body for deep penetration on deer; polymer tip for flat long-range trajectory, and to initiate rapid expansion. On impact, the MRX expands into four tough, copper petals, doubling the bullet’s original diameter. Creates maximum shock and tissue damage. Definitely worth a look if you expect long shots at bucks.