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Over the years I've been luck enough to recover numerous bullets from deer shot by me. They vary in manufacturer and caliber but I think they prove that it doesn't really matter what you hit deer with, as long as you hit them in the right spot. Here are the details of the recovered bullets. All these weights are dressed weights according to a scale. Maybe someone else has some bullets and info to share here too.

22 Hornet - 45 grain Hornady. Range 70 yards. velocity 2500 fps. 110 lbs doe. Bullet entered behind right shoulder, angled forward thru lungs, penatrating left shoulder. deer traveled about 50 yards. Bullet Found under hide. recovered weight - 39 grains


250 Savage - 100 grain Remington RN. velocity 2850 fps. range 20 yards. 105 lbs spike. deer hit in cheek of ***, bullet breaking hip and spine. recovered under skin above spine. Deer dropped and died at shot. retained weight 73.3 grains


308 winchester - 165 grain speer RN. velocity 2700 fps. 130 lbs 3 point. Range 30 feet. bullet entered top of neck, traversing chest, exited chest, and lodged in left leg. buck dropped on the spot. retained weight - 125.7 grains.


308 winchester - 165 grain speer RN. velocity 2700 fps. 130 lbs 4 point. range- 60 yds. bullet entered ribcage, angled forward, exited right side of chestand lodged in right leg. buck dropped on the log he was stepping over. retained weight- 111.9 grains


6.5x55 Swede - 120 grain Nosler Solid base. Velocity 2900fps. 90 lbs doe. range-40 yards angling downslope. bullet entered front chest by left shoulder. front section exited left side of ribs. remaining section penatrated entire length of deer coming to rest in right hind quarter. doe ran about 40 yds before dieing. retained weight -81.2 grains


260 remington - 129 grain Hornady SP. velocity- 2700fps. 105 lbs spike. range about 60 yards. Bullet entered right side of deer behind the ribs, destroyed liver, wrecked lungs, and lodged under skin after breaking left shoulder. deer traveled about 30 yds. recovered weight - 86 grains.


260 remington -129 grain Hornady SP. velocity- 2700fps. 142 lbs 7 point. range 180 yards. bullet entered right front shoulder, breaking it, wrecked lungs, broke left shoulder and left leg. recovered in left elbow. Deer dropped on the spot. recovered weight - 98.5 grains.


260 remington - 129 Hornady SP. velocity - 2700fps. 110 lbs doe. range - 25 yds. bullet entered nose, shattered jaw and skull, broke neck, and recovered under hide in back of neck. doe dead before she hit the ground. recovered weight - 71 grains.


284 winchester - 154 grain Hornady RN. velocity - 2500fps. 70lbs button buck. range - 20yds. bullet entered left side of neck, went thru top of heart, destroyed right lung, and recovered in rear abdominal wall. deer dropped on spot. recovered weight - 125.6 grains


35 Whelen - 200 grain Hornady RN. velocity - 2700 fps. 125 lbs doe. range about 30 yards and running. Bullet hit behind ribs, angled forward destroying liver,wrecked 1 lung, went thru heart, and lodged in left shoulder. doe ran about 40 yds and died. recovered weight - 113 grains.


38-55 winchester - 270 grain cast bullet. velocity - 1600fps. 135 lbs spike. bullet entered base of neck, wrecking 1 lung, and exited behind right shoulder. Bullet recovered in 6" pine tree behind deer. buck went about 400 yds bleeding well the whole time. recovered weight - 266 grains.


41 magnum - 210 grain Hornady HP. velocity - 1600fps. 120 lbs doe. range - 15 yds. bullet entered back of neck, breaking spine, and recovered under skin in front of neck. recovered weight - 156 grains


50 cal. Savage muzzleloader - 250 grain 45 cal. Hornady XTP. velocity - 2000 fps. 105 lbs doe. range - 80 yds. bullet entered above the left shoulder, wrecking the lungs, breaking the spine, and recovered under hide by stomach. Doe died her bed. recovered weight - 198 grains.


I hope this info is of help to people out there when they are trying to make decisions about guns and bullets. Does anyone else have any info to share?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Almost never. I found one bonded bullet in a deer ham about 6 months after the fact, didn't know that's where it had ended up. Shot another in the chest without an exit wound, and that one was somewhere in the guts and I did not bother looking for it (cast bullet so it was in there whole, somewhere). Oh and one 180gr. Ballistic tip that grenaded somewhere in the goo of what's left of a doe's lungs. Never found much of anything but the green plastic tip. All three of those, by the way, were frontal presentations.

I had a bullet go to pieces out of my .257 WBY but that's all that was left, pieces. I'm not sure about counting that as a 'recovery'.

Everything else has sailed on through!
 

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Congradulations dpsbandit, finally someone close to my heart. It is amazing the number of hunters that have never looked for their bullet nor studied terminal ballistics, I have been doing the same for years with over 100 from my personal collection. As you I detailed inches of travel and animal reaction. I have actually waited for an animal to turn just so to get a chance at bullet recovery. Keep up the good work.
 

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I can recall recovering only 3 bullets. First was a 120 gr Speer hot core from a 25-06 from a muley buck. It didn't have much left of it.

Next was a 250 gr Sierra from a 338 Win Mag, from a muley buck. This was an interesting one as it was a running shot and the bullet passed through a 4"-5" diameter spruce before hitting the buck in the neck/spine. The bullet plopped out on the ground when the buck was rolled over. It was in decent shape with approx 200 grs remaining.

Last one was a 350 gr Speer FN-SP from a 45-70 on a raghorn bull elk. That shot was at a very steep downhill angle, and the bullet stopped in the backbone over the shoulders. Front of the bullet was mildly deformed, and probably 95% weight retention.
 

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I only collected one bullet from a deer, as far as I can recall. I shot a small mule deer from a lazered 305 yards. He was facing away, pointing uphill, on a steep slope, and I was in the bottom of the canyon. I put the bullet right between his shoulder blades and it very nearly came out his chest. I found it under the skin right in the middle of his breastbone. That was a 150 grain Nosler Partition, at about 3300FPS muzzle velocity. The front of the bullet was completely gone, and the back section was very flattened and bent about 20 degrees. I also recovered one from an elk, which I hit at around 400 yards with my .300 ICL. It was a 180 grain Partition, and it went in the left side behind the last rib, and came to rest under the skin of the right shoulder. One other time, I shot a Remington Core-Lokt (180 grain?) bullet out of a 30-06, and it went through a cow elk, and also dropped one I didn't see behind it. The two animals were nearly perfectly superimposed on each other, standing in belly-deep brush. I recovered the bullet, and it was a perfect mushroom profile, and I would say about 85-90% retention. About 100 yards range.
 

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hornet load

Over the years I've been luck enough to recover numerous bullets from deer shot by me. They vary in manufacturer and caliber but I think they prove that it doesn't really matter what you hit deer with, as long as you hit them in the right spot. Here are the details of the recovered bullets. All these weights are dressed weights according to a scale. Maybe someone else has some bullets and info to share here too.

22 Hornet - 45 grain Hornady. Range 70 yards. velocity 2500 fps. 110 lbs doe. Bullet entered behind right shoulder, angled forward thru lungs, penatrating left shoulder. deer traveled about 50 yards. Bullet Found under hide. recovered weight - 39 grains


250 Savage - 100 grain Remington RN. velocity 2850 fps. range 20 yards. 105 lbs spike. deer hit in cheek of ***, bullet breaking hip and spine. recovered under skin above spine. Deer dropped and died at shot. retained weight 73.3 grains


308 winchester - 165 grain speer RN. velocity 2700 fps. 130 lbs 3 point. Range 30 feet. bullet entered top of neck, traversing chest, exited chest, and lodged in left leg. buck dropped on the spot. retained weight - 125.7 grains.


308 winchester - 165 grain speer RN. velocity 2700 fps. 130 lbs 4 point. range- 60 yds. bullet entered ribcage, angled forward, exited right side of chestand lodged in right leg. buck dropped on the log he was stepping over. retained weight- 111.9 grains


6.5x55 Swede - 120 grain Nosler Solid base. Velocity 2900fps. 90 lbs doe. range-40 yards angling downslope. bullet entered front chest by left shoulder. front section exited left side of ribs. remaining section penatrated entire length of deer coming to rest in right hind quarter. doe ran about 40 yds before dieing. retained weight -81.2 grains


260 remington - 129 grain Hornady SP. velocity- 2700fps. 105 lbs spike. range about 60 yards. Bullet entered right side of deer behind the ribs, destroyed liver, wrecked lungs, and lodged under skin after breaking left shoulder. deer traveled about 30 yds. recovered weight - 86 grains.


260 remington -129 grain Hornady SP. velocity- 2700fps. 142 lbs 7 point. range 180 yards. bullet entered right front shoulder, breaking it, wrecked lungs, broke left shoulder and left leg. recovered in left elbow. Deer dropped on the spot. recovered weight - 98.5 grains.


260 remington - 129 Hornady SP. velocity - 2700fps. 110 lbs doe. range - 25 yds. bullet entered nose, shattered jaw and skull, broke neck, and recovered under hide in back of neck. doe dead before she hit the ground. recovered weight - 71 grains.


284 winchester - 154 grain Hornady RN. velocity - 2500fps. 70lbs button buck. range - 20yds. bullet entered left side of neck, went thru top of heart, destroyed right lung, and recovered in rear abdominal wall. deer dropped on spot. recovered weight - 125.6 grains


35 Whelen - 200 grain Hornady RN. velocity - 2700 fps. 125 lbs doe. range about 30 yards and running. Bullet hit behind ribs, angled forward destroying liver,wrecked 1 lung, went thru heart, and lodged in left shoulder. doe ran about 40 yds and died. recovered weight - 113 grains.


38-55 winchester - 270 grain cast bullet. velocity - 1600fps. 135 lbs spike. bullet entered base of neck, wrecking 1 lung, and exited behind right shoulder. Bullet recovered in 6" pine tree behind deer. buck went about 400 yds bleeding well the whole time. recovered weight - 266 grains.


41 magnum - 210 grain Hornady HP. velocity - 1600fps. 120 lbs doe. range - 15 yds. bullet entered back of neck, breaking spine, and recovered under skin in front of neck. recovered weight - 156 grains


50 cal. Savage muzzleloader - 250 grain 45 cal. Hornady XTP. velocity - 2000 fps. 105 lbs doe. range - 80 yds. bullet entered above the left shoulder, wrecking the lungs, breaking the spine, and recovered under hide by stomach. Doe died her bed. recovered weight - 198 grains.


I hope this info is of help to people out there when they are trying to make decisions about guns and bullets. Does anyone else have any info to share?
at last-the good old hornet-takes me back a lot of years-so true
 

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bullet recovery

I have recovered bits n' pieces of bullets, mostly from my dad's .243-shot deer, but the only complete bullet I have found in a deer is the one my daughter shot just last weekend. Following the original submitter's format:

44/40 - 200gr Hornady XTP @ 1500fps. Bullet entered just in front of the right hind leg, angled forward through the liver, broke 2nd-to-last rib on left side, lodging under the skin. Deer walked (didn't run) ~130 yards before expiring. Recovered bullet weight is 186gr and frontal area measures .630"
 

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I've only recovered one bullet from the various big game animals I have shot. It was from a 4 point mule deer buck I shot in Wyoming with my Sako 243. The range was about 250 yards and I was using a handloaded 100 grn Rem Core-lokt bullet at a MV of about 2.950 fps. The bullet traversed through the heart lung area and was recovered just inside the hide on the opposite side. Five more foot pounds of energy and it would have punched through. Recovered bullet weight was 72 grns and it was a picture perfect mushroom.
 

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im just glad to read an honest mans words.. now a lot of folks would not
tell that they didnt wait for the heart lung shot..tv allows that to be the only ethical shot on deer..but i ain t buying it.. i know a lotta hunters that absolutely refuse it as the spine shot takes them dn every time forum..
others live by the neck shot..most all don t miss getting a deer because they can t come in from the side door..back,front side or top ..all those doors will take deer dn ..as long as you hit the vitals or wiring..jmo of course..now if you gonna hit the hind quarter get both hind quaters..
same with the front end..
i have a ashtray full of spent rnds .. but sadly not out of deer..
ive bout decided im a better varmet an predator hunter..
didn t mean to take you post in another direction.. lets hear from others with recovered rnds..slim b
.. yall i didn t mean to hijack this post..if no follow ups i ll just delete mine this afternoon.. or moderator if you think its called for delete it now.. what ever..
the subject is recovered rnds from deer.. i just thought it was nice to read words from somebody willing to tell it like it is..without the sales pitch,, of doing what everybody is suppose to approve of..the heart lung shot thru the side door.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
im just glad to read an honest mans words.. now a lot of folks would not
tell that they didnt wait for the heart lung shot..tv allows that to be the only ethical shot on deer..but i ain t buying it.. i know a lotta hunters that absolutely refuse it as the spine shot takes them dn every time forum..
others live by the neck shot..most all don t miss getting a deer because they can t come in from the side door..back,front side or top ..all those doors will take deer dn ..as long as you hit the vitals or wiring..jmo of course..now if you gonna hit the hind quarter get both hind quaters..
same with the front end..
i have a ashtray full of spent rnds .. but sadly not out of deer..
ive bout decided im a better varmet an predator hunter..
didn t mean to take you post in another direction.. lets hear from others with recovered rnds..slim b
.. yall i didn t mean to hijack this post..if no follow ups i ll just delete mine this afternoon.. or moderator if you think its called for delete it now.. what ever..
the subject is recovered rnds from deer.. i just thought it was nice to read words from somebody willing to tell it like it is..without the sales pitch,, of doing what everybody is suppose to approve of..the heart lung shot thru the side door.

no problem slim. I get fustrated too about the TV hunting and what shot they won't take. If you noticed, none of those rifles are magnums, and none of the bullets are "premuim" bullets. Yet they went thru many inches of deer from all possible angles and killed the deer in short order. Fancy bullets are not needed to kill deer with standard cartridges, and I bet most magnums don't really need them except for close up shots.
 

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Congradulations dpsbandit, finally someone close to my heart. It is amazing the number of hunters that have never looked for their bullet nor studied terminal ballistics, ......
30-30,

I look every time - Think Its important to do the "post-oper".

However, I've never had a bullet stick in a deer and neither has my son. Between us we have used 270 Win, 308 Win, 7,5x55, 7.7x58, 8x57 and 9,3x62 on deer. but we'll continue to look.
 

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I've only managed to find two bullets from the Deer I shot. One shot with a .270 @ 250 yards 130 grain soft point weighed 115 grains found just beneath the hide on the other side. Then I shot a Deer with a .44 magnum rifle @ 70 yards with a Hornady 240 XTP bullet that entered the chest and ended up in the left ham.
 

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I've only recovered one bullet, a 115 grain Nosler Partition from my .25/06. I shot a doe and this bullet went in, destroyed both longs, bounced off of a rib, through the guts, broke a femur, turned and broke the other femur, the bullet was recovered under the skin by the final femur. Pretty crazy adventure and the bullet was pretty well opened up. I don't use them on deer anymore, Ballistic Tips or Accubonds now.
 

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Only bullets recovered in deer have been .243 bullets. Went through lots of weights, shapes, and MFGRS before I found 95grNosler parts. Ya see, if I find a bullet I consider it a failure and will not use that bullet again. Elk, african plains game, thats a different story. But on deer I demand two holes, in and out. Just my 2 cents. see ya, Bill
 

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Yeah kudu. I have tended to use heavier bullets in the past just for that reason. 180gr from a .30-06 will get two holes almost always. The past few years, though, I've been going with lighter bullets (was 150gr in .30-06, then 130gr in .270, and this year will be 120gr and 140gr in .260 although the 140gr is heavy for deer normally). Also, I tend to go for broadside heart/lung shots through the ribs and those are easier to punch through both sides.
 

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good point shane, i am first and foremost a meat hunter so i generally always go for the ribcage too. i don't have any recovered bullets but i study every animal that i take for an analysis of the wound channel etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Only bullets recovered in deer have been .243 bullets. Went through lots of weights, shapes, and MFGRS before I found 95grNosler parts. Ya see, if I find a bullet I consider it a failure and will not use that bullet again. Elk, african plains game, thats a different story. But on deer I demand two holes, in and out. Just my 2 cents. see ya, Bill

On broadside shots from Deer caliber rifles I agree. But, not every shot is broadside, and not every gun is going to send a bullet out the other side if it hits alot of bone or other things. A bullet doesn't have to exit to be a success, it just needs to kill the critter quickly and cleanly. As long as the bullet gets thru the vitals and kills the deer, does it matter if it stops in bone or hide after destoying the lungs, liver, heart, or other vital organs?
 

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In 36 yeaars of hunting I've never recovered a single bullet from a deer. All but one was pass throughs.

Had one deer stop a bullet but never recovered it. That particular time it was last few minutes of daylight and an extreamly long shot with deer walking away from me going up a steep bank. After skinning found the entry wound next to the tail, went into the back strap and followed the spine until it hit a rib and went into the lungs. The bullet must of came out with the lungs since there was no exit hole.

Nearly all was handloaded 30-06 using Hornady 150 and later 165 grain pills. Last several years have been using a 25-06 to harvest deer, antelope and a few prediators with 100 grain Sierra Pro-Hunters.
 

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The past few years, though, I've been going with lighter bullets (was 150gr in .30-06, then 130gr in .270, and this year will be 120gr and 140gr in .260 although the 140gr is heavy for deer normally). Also, I tend to go for broadside heart/lung shots through the ribs and those are easier to punch through both sides.
I've always shot there too and have yet to recover one.
 
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