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Well, I did it again. This year I managed to catch another bullet for the collection. While I didn't expect it, I love adding another to the collection.

It started out as a 150gr Accutip [and SST sold by Remington] out of my 308win model 750 carbine. Muzzle velocity is just short of 2700fps when pushed by IMR3031.

I was hunting near a small hemlock swamp on my local rod and gun club's property and looking to fill another tag. I had hardly got settled into my sit on an old blowdown when the buck showed up. I had been hearing noises behind me to the left so I was watching that direction for a few minutes. When I turned and looked across the swamp in front of me, there was a large bodied deer standing broadside about 50yds away.

With a buck and doe tag in my pocket, I wasn't wasting any time and getting picky and having the deer put a tree between me and it's vitals. I pulled up, aimed at the chest, and squeezed the trigger. At the shot the deer dropped. As I walked up, I noticed it had a rack, and it was a NICE buck.

What puzzled me, was the buck was struck in the neck. Now, maybe I pulled the shot in my haste, or the gun was off? But, when skinning the buck out, I found the bullet. It had hit the deer SIDEWAYS, not point first. That could only mean I hit a branch or something before the deer.

It weighs 122grs and shows that sometimes you get lucky.
Good work on getting your deer! Looks as if the jacket has come off from the tip, uniformly around the bullet, from what I can see in your picture, like it expanded while traveling forward in a uniform way. Looks like the core slipped forward as well by the diameter of the lead protruding. Definitely ended up sideways in the deer from the flattened side. The jacket that expanded also was flattened meaning to me the flattening occured after it did some expanding. Did you look at the bullet path from the stand to the deer, and find the offending branch/tree/twig? With the uniform jacket peeled back, and core slippage, the bullet had to do some decelerating at some point while traveling forward. I would think it centered something in the path if it made a flat, key hole entrance hole and stopped sideways in the neck. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #82
Good work on getting your deer! Looks as if the jacket has come off from the tip, uniformly around the bullet, from what I can see in your picture, like it expanded while traveling forward in a uniform way. Looks like the core slipped forward as well by the diameter of the lead protruding. Definitely ended up sideways in the deer from the flattened side. The jacket that expanded also was flattened meaning to me the flattening occured after it did some expanding. Did you look at the bullet path from the stand to the deer, and find the offending branch/tree/twig? With the uniform jacket peeled back, and core slippage, the bullet had to do some decelerating at some point while traveling forward. I would think it centered something in the path if it made a flat, key hole entrance hole and stopped sideways in the neck. Thoughts?
I haven't been back yet to look for the branch or twig. I figured it hit something started to expand in it, then hit the deer while tumbling sideways.

considering the bullet construction and velocity, it would hve expanded much more if it hit the buck point first, so what ever it hit must have been rather small.
 

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My wife and I made our annual trip to northern Michigan this year. She had a very good year, harvesting a mature doe and her first branch-antlered buck from MI. The cool thing is we recovered the bullets from both deer. Both shots were of the 'high-shoulder' variety; one was intentional and the other was from being a bit excited. :)

Both deer dropped where they stood and, considering where they were hit, didn't suffer much meat loss. The only concern was some bone fracturing that had to be carefully cleaned when we processed and packaged the meat.

These were Nosler 125gr Ballistic Tip bullets, loaded with 45 grains of H4895 out of a 30-'06 (03A3) rifle. They generate around 2,600fps at the muzzle and have mild recoil. As MikeG explained to veterans of this forum, the 125gr BT does pretty well on medium-sized big game animals, when you don't drive it too hard. Now, both of these bullet shed their core, but broke at least one scapula and some spinal column. Both were found under the skin on the off side of the animal, one in the shoulder and one went forward into the neck a bit. I greatly prefer bullets that exit, leaving a blood trail, which is exactly what these bullets do when you shoot the deer in the rib cage, behind the leg. In both of these cases, the shot was very effective and no blood-trailing was required.



Tooth examination indicates this was not a yearling, so likely 2.5 year-old buck that was apparently very ornery. He has three different points broken off and, before you ask, it's not from a mineral deficiency. This is not common for our area and we do provide supplemental minerals, outside of deer season.

 

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Discussion Starter #84
My wife and I made our annual trip to northern Michigan this year. She had a very good year, harvesting a mature doe and her first branch-antlered buck from MI. The cool thing is we recovered the bullets from both deer. Both shots were of the 'high-shoulder' variety; one was intentional and the other was from being a bit excited. :)

Both deer dropped where they stood and, considering where they were hit, didn't suffer much meat loss. The only concern was some bone fracturing that had to be carefully cleaned when we processed and packaged the meat.

These were Nosler 125gr Ballistic Tip bullets, loaded with 45 grains of H4895 out of a 30-'06 (03A3) rifle. They generate around 2,600fps at the muzzle and have mild recoil. As MikeG explained to veterans of this forum, the 125gr BT does pretty well on medium-sized big game animals, when you don't drive it too hard. Now, both of these bullet shed their core, but broke at least one scapula and some spinal column. Both were found under the skin on the off side of the animal, one in the shoulder and one went forward into the neck a bit. I greatly prefer bullets that exit, leaving a blood trail, which is exactly what these bullets do when you shoot the deer in the rib cage, behind the leg. In both of these cases, the shot was very effective and no blood-trailing was required.



Tooth examination indicates this was not a yearling, so likely 2.5 year-old buck that was apparently very ornery. He has three different points broken off and, before you ask, it's not from a mineral deficiency. This is not common for our area and we do provide supplemental minerals, outside of deer season.



it's fun catching bullets, isn't it? LOL. really give you info on bullet expansion and performance you can't always get from bullets zipping thru ribs. Ribs are not very taxing on most bullets.
 

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I appreciate seeing the recovered Nosler 125's - that's good performance, especially if they encountered some bone. I sure wouldn't drive them any faster than that, though. I'm using the same bullet in a 300 BLK, at about 2150 fps, but haven't had a chance to put one in a deer yet. I'll be really interested to see how it performs at the lower velocity. I'm hoping/expecting some mushrooming but an exit wound as well.
 

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This was a 6.5mm Hornady 123 SST from my 6.5×55 @ 2990fps muzzle vel. A nice 8 point went 2 steps after being hit broadside behind the shoulder. The bullet retained 59.5gr and there was a small copper shard I did not pick out of the hide (so probably 60 gr retained weight). I thought the lump on the offside was a broken rib, but it was the bullet under the hide with just a trace of blood and no real exit wound.
 

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Discussion Starter #89
This was a 6.5mm Hornady 123 SST from my 6.5×55 @ 2990fps muzzle vel. A nice 8 point went 2 steps after being hit broadside behind the shoulder. The bullet retained 59.5gr and there was a small copper shard I did not pick out of the hide (so probably 60 gr retained weight). I thought the lump on the offside was a broken rib, but it was the bullet under the hide with just a trace of blood and no real exit wound.

interesting to see the bullet hold up well when it's really designed for the 6.5 grendall and a speed of about 2500fps.
 

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interesting to see the bullet hold up well when it's really designed for the 6.5 grendall and a speed of about 2500fps.
Forgot to mention the deer was 160-170 yards away. I may use the 123 SST's for 6.5 Creedmoor as I have a couple hundred 129gr Hornadys and 130 Sierra BTHP. I am still real happy with the 123's performance, and the lack of an exit may be because of the design for Grendel. My gun really likes the 123, a 5 shot 100 yard group, cold clean barrel @ 1:00.
 

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I have a shoe box full of recovered bullets collected over the last maybe 65 years of hunting and being in the hunting business for much of that time..Today most all the bullets are great, they have perfected the method of making bullets, I remember when about one out of 5 or 10 was a failure, but even then they killed the animal as a rule..
 

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switched my rifle hunting (which is 6.5x55) to Lapua Naturalis 140gr projectiles. Happy to report weight retention of over 99% for the past 4 recovered white tail deer projectiles. last one (11-22-2017) had a limited shot opening and it was either now or not-today, so instead of my typical spinal column (neck or nicking the back) it was a front shoulder shot - passed both shoulders, nicked the heart and was (bullet) recovered from the aspen tree. After cleaning it up it was at 138.5gr. Shot it with my Wife's custom Savage 111 Lady Hunter rebarreled into 6.5x55 via Krieger 5R 1:8 - commercial Lapua ammo was used on that shot, as I forgot my handloads (granted same bullet) at home :) that week.
prior to that, my go to deer hunting round was SST 129gr, but I had expansion failures with it, especially at close ranges (under 100m) and shrapnel/fragments everywheres even with a perfect back severing spinal shots....
 

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Discussion Starter #93
..............
prior to that, my go to deer hunting round was SST 129gr, but I had expansion failures with it, especially at close ranges (under 100m) and shrapnel/fragments everywheres even with a perfect back severing spinal shots....
i would say it's not a failure of the bullet, but of your choice of bullet placement. The SST isn't designed for deliberately shooting heavy bones.

I've had no issues with the 129gr SST even when shot out of my 6.5x284 at nearly 3200fps, at deer under 100yds
 

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i would say it's not a failure of the bullet, but of your choice of bullet placement. The SST isn't designed for deliberately shooting heavy bones.

I've had no issues with the 129gr SST even when shot out of my 6.5x284 at nearly 3200fps, at deer under 100yds
I had double lung pass thru on the deer at 63m with 129SST and it never expanded. Also ballistic test gel with deer hide both front and back showed 65% successful expansion rate at 50m test distance with just shy of 2800fps velocity.

I love accuracy of the projectile, I hate how unpredictable it performs with soft tissue shots at close range (besides massive fragmentation on bone shots).
 

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A SST not opening up within 50 meters?? I have shot them in 270 and 308 from 20 yards to 200 yards at deer. Them not opening was never a problem. Maybe exploding and causing extensive meat damage but never seen one fail to open.

Darin
 

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A SST not opening up within 50 meters?? I have shot them in 270 and 308 from 20 yards to 200 yards at deer. Them not opening was never a problem. Maybe exploding and causing extensive meat damage but never seen one fail to open.

Darin
not opening at all in 7 out of 20 shots into the gel (did it after I had clean pass-thru on the deer, which did stop at about 225m and I did kill it then via a neck shot (which did expand)) at 50m. at 100m that rate was reduced to 0 (granted I only put 5 rounds but these all opened as suppose to). at 15m - NONE opened up. all handloaded with RL19.
I am not bashing on the bullet, I am just saying that it has its limitation and shortcomings.
 

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not opening at all in 7 out of 20 shots into the gel (did it after I had clean pass-thru on the deer, which did stop at about 225m and I did kill it then via a neck shot (which did expand)) at 50m. at 100m that rate was reduced to 0 (granted I only put 5 rounds but these all opened as suppose to). at 15m - NONE opened up. all handloaded with RL19.
I am not bashing on the bullet, I am just saying that it has its limitation and shortcomings.
well, I don't shoot gelatin I shoot deer with them. LOL. Every deer shot in NC with my 30-06 from 20' to 185yds was shot with a 165gr SST at 2850fps muzzle velocity. They all dropped on the spot and the bullets all expanded.

I also shot 2 deer at ranges under 60yds with the 129gr SST out of my 6.5 norma. One dropped on the spot in NC [bullet pictured on this thread], the other ran about 50yds spraying blood like it was coming out of a firehose.

something sounds fishy with your experience.:confused:
 

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I've only recovered two bullet's in my life. First was a 117gr Hornady from my 25-06. Went in just behind the front leg with the deer moving slightly away from me. Recovered it in the neck. Obviously bounced off a rib and changed course. Followed the back bone about half way up the neck. Didn't weigh it. The other was actually shot by a brother with a 180gr factory load in a 30-06. Don't recall the brand any more but the bullet went in the hind leg going forward and stopped before leaving the leg! Didn't weight that one either.

Everything else shot clean through with either behind the leg shot's or neck shots.
 

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What puzzled me, was the buck was struck in the neck. Now, maybe I pulled the shot in my haste, or the gun was off? But, when skinning the buck out, I found the bullet. It had hit the deer SIDEWAYS, not point first. That could only mean I hit a branch or something before the deer.
Had the same thing happen to me some years back. Deer was standing still, broadside at about 60 yards. Shot, the deer dropped in its tracks. Went to look at it and although I had been aiming at the chest, it had keyholed in the deer's neck... perfect sideways hole of a 140gr .264 caliber bullet. It still blew through and dropped it in its tracks but the bullet had exited so no recovery. I got very lucky with that one. I had to have hit a twig or something but I hadn't seen it.
 

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165 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip, recovered from a mule deer shot at about 140 yards, using my 30-06 with a muzzle velocity of about 2970 fps. The buck was facing me, and the bullet entered the chest. It was recovered just under the skin, a few inches ahead of the hindquarters.





I used that same 30-06 load very successfully on elk, black bear and pronghorn antelope too. Very effective!

I don't normally recover bullets from deer, normally my bullets exit deer sized game. Mostly I hunt mule deer. My two favorite bullets for them are the 115 gr Ballistic Tip from the 25-06, and the 165 gr Ballistic Tip from the 30-06.

I have recovered a 125 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip that a friend shot a fat whitetail with, through the shoulders. She used a 308 Winchester. That bullet was just under the off-side hide. I've got a photo of it around here somewhere. Will share if I find it.

My son managed to recover the remnants of a 95 gr Ballistic Tip that he shot a whitetail buck with a few years ago, using his 6mm Remington. The shot was also into a deer that was facing him, and penetrated through most of the buck lengthwise. I'll see about scaring up a photo of that bullet too.

Bears have been better at stopping bullets in my experience. Have recovered a couple of bullets from bears.

Regards, Guy
 
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