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Bullets for Hunting

The Bullet is the most important choice you will make when selecting components for handloading hunting ammunition. You must choose the right bullet for the game you hunt. For best results, you should consider bullet construction, weight, and shape. The ODHA primarily hunts Whitetails with a Mule Deer or Elk thrown in every few years. Here is what has worked best for us.

Varmint Hunting Bullets

Varmint bullets are intended to violently disintegrate upon impact with the target. For this reason they are usually lighter weight and have very thin jackets. Most Vamint hunters use .22 or .243 caliber centerfire rifles for varmint hunting, but for the occasional coyote or jackrabbit hunter, a deer rifle will do just fine. Favorite bullets for the popular .223 Remington and 22-250 Remington are the Sierra, Hornady , or Nosler 52 or 53 grain hollowpoint match, or the 50-55 grain plastic tipped bullets. Nosler developed the plastic tipped Ballistic Tip a few years ago, and now Hornady and Sierra have recently intoduced their own versions , the Hornady V-max and the Sierra BlitzKing.These same companies also make excellent 55-85 grain bullets for the .243. The ODHA has found all of these outstanding bullets to be extremely accurate and reliable.

We have discovered that another great varmint caliber is the 6.5 mm/.264 caliber. The 6.5x55 Swedish and 260 Remington are not only great deer cartridges, but great varminters as well. Two great varmint bullets in 6.5 are the Sierra 85 grain hollow point and the Hornady 95 grain V-max. These bullets can be pushed at velocities exceeding 3300 fps in either cartridge for extreme long range performance. See ODHA loading data for our test results.

Most of the bullet manufacturers have great web sites. Tons of information are only a click away-Photos, Ballistics, Loading data, and more..


Big Game Hunting Bullets

Bullets that are used for hunting game the size of deer and larger require two fundimental characteristics. First the bullet must expand or "mushroom" upon impact to deliver maximum energy and shock to the target; secondly, the bullet must penetrate in order to create a deep, quick-killing wound channel. Too light of weight or constrution for the intended game will result in the bullet fragmenting and poor penetration. If it is too heavy, the bullet will penetrate and wound, but may not deliver the shock to kill the animal quickly. The ODHA has tested many bullet designs and has found there are three premium bullets that can always be counted on to get the job done right.

The first is the bullet to which all other big game bullets are compared -- the Nosler Partition.This bullet has a partition in the center to prevent it from disintegrating completely, even at Magnum velocities . A soft lead core in the front half that allows rapid expansion at any range. Upon impact, the front half expands violently, and sometimes disintegrates, but the rear half continues to penetrate deeply, and usually exits the animal. (View the functioning of the Nosler above).

The second bullet is the Barns X bullet. The X bullet is made of solid copper without the lead core that most conventional bullets have. Expansion is facilitated by a hollow front cavity design, which opens into pedals upon impact for quick energy transfer. The design retains most of its original weight to provide excellent penetration.

The third is the Hornady Interlock.The Interlock design is similar to the Nosler. The lead core of the bullet is held in place by an internal ring within the copper jacket. The new SST version of this bullet has a polycarbon tip to protect the tip. This very sharp tip and boattail design at the base decrease drag and help the bullet better maintain velocity for more retained energy at all ranges.

There are many great bullets on the market today. Every rifle is different and will shoot some brands or weights more accurately than others. The only way to find the best combination for your rifle is experimentation. Try as many as possible and you will most likely find a winner that will get the job done when that once in a lifetime buck comes along.


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