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I have cleanly anchored a fair number of deer using my 280Rem. loaded with Nosler 120gr. Ballistic Tip (Hunting) bullets. Originally, I went down to the 120gr. weight, because I wanted a flatter shooting bullet for mule deer and pronghorn in Wy. That bullet has killed white tail as well, here on the east coast. The most distance any of them have gone, after being hit, has been 30 yards. I have built up a lot of confidence in that little bullet.

This year, I joined a new club in south central Ga. Over the years, the club has been run very strictly to make every attempt to only shoot 4 year old bucks, or older, going more by mass of antler. As a result, I agree that these more mature bucks may be tougher to knock down, than are small antlered 2-3 year old bucks. However, I do not believe that these older bucks are bullet proof.

The land owner, along with a number of club members have encouraged me to not use any bullet lighter than 150 grain, because, "You'll find out! These bucks are 'northern variety' and very tough! Hit with your 120 gr. bullet, you may well lose them!"

Okay, I am brand new to this club. I previously killed bucks farther east in Ga. in sandier areas. This area is red clay and perhaps, even adds something to the bucks toughness. I have no knowledge of that. I do know that like some of the big mule deer that I have killed, these Ga. white tails will die cleanly and quickly if I punch hole in the correct spot.

One issue that has come up is shooting distance on deer in this area. I have not seen anywhere on the place, where I will take deer under fire at a distance greater than 300 yards, and that is stretching it. Most stands showed fields of fire inside 200 yards.

My question is: Should I heed the warnings of the local "experts" who have taken deer in the area, and go to a heavier bullet, or even use my 7mmRemMag, instead of my 280Rem? Or should I stick with the 280Rem. with the 120gr. Nosler, and continue to have confidence that if I put the bullet where I want to put it, the deer will not go far, if he goes anywhere at all?

Best,
Steven
 

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It's obvious you are happy with what you have used and had success with. My only question is why you feel the 120s are actually flatter at longer ranges? The BC of the 120gr BT is a good bit below the BC of the 140gr in either the Ballistic Tip line or the Accubond line (.417 vs .485). The faster (over 3,000 FPS??) initial velocity of the 120s will be lost by about the 200 yard range with a 140gr @ 3,000 FPS (This is where Nosler loads their 7mm/.280 140gr Accubond)

Again, there's a lot to be said for having confidence in a known load, but I see nothing but upside to going with a 140 in either the BT or AB line.
 

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I got noticably better results...

using the lighter bullets in my .284 than with the 145gr weights.... 145's experienced 100% pass threw while the 115/120gr did not, in a behind the shoulder hit.
Win. 150gr Silvertip fragmented like crazy. ave distance 100yds
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Have taken large bodied mule deer bucks in New Mexico with 120 gr Hornady SST's in my 6.5-06 with pass through shots at 200 yds and more. If you're competent with your present loads and rifle, why change?
 
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(east coast) 280 rem

A 280 is PLENTY of gun for ANY whitetail on the planet. They are not armor plated, so many choices will work. ANY expected ranges? If you want to stick with Noslers I'd go with the 140 - 160 gr partition or accubond & keep shots to 300 yards, not because the round won't reach out there, but unless you are in a beanfield or the like, you won't get a shot that far, + deer can move during the time of flight. Avg distances of shots in the East being well under 100 yards. If you practice & place shots well, it's gonna be a done deal with pretty much any well made bullet. Good luck & stop listening to "experts" or they will have you using a 300 win mag, as a minimum. :D
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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If you know the bullet will hold together, then I wouldn't worry about it. Shoot a few hogs with those bullets and you'll find out ;)

I am skeptical of any plastic tipped bullet until it is shown that they really do hold together. Got some bad results out of the early Ballistic Tips and have been avoiding them since. The Accubond seems to get good reviews and I have some to try...

My biggest hog shot was 275lbs on the hoof and a 100gr. Solid Base in .257 Roberts brought him down, no problem. So you don't know until you try.
 

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I generally favor heavier bullets for the caliber. Had rifles that prefered light bullets and they take game just fine. Agree with MikeG about the BallisticTips, well at least the older ones. You know the saying, Once bitten twice shy, well thats me and BTs.
If you have confidence in the bullet and put it where it needs to go, I'd have no reservations on using it.
 

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You have confidence in your chosen load, and I'd have to figure that you are putting them where they will perform best! That combination is hard to beat! I use the 139 gr. Hornady with equal success, and I think that the shooters confidence and proficiency is the main factor by far, as opposed to a heavier bullet.
 

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There are people here that use 120 Barnes in a 6.5 to take elk and are very happy with it. That said, I personally prefer a slightly heavier bullet, but that's just what I'm used to using. In a 280, I would think a 120 would be a rather small for caliber projectile. I think the real question to ask is that while I know this is your confidence load (and that means an awful lot here), do you think it will do a pass through on a large bodied deer? If that isn't a big concern, and you seem to have plenty of faith that you can get the bullet into the right spot, then go for it!
I mean, a 243 will enter the cavity with a 100 gr bullet and mess up the vitals enough to kill it quickly enough, although it very possibly won't do a pass through, and if bone is encountered, it most assuredly will not pass through. I've always loved the 7mm bore size, but always used at least a 140 grain bullet (mind you, that was many years before Barnes brought out the "X" series), and now days, many prefer a 175 grain as an all around bullet, assuming you have the throat to accommodate it.
 

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Use what has been working for you, anyone telling you the 120 grain load out of your .280 will not anchor a Georgia whitetail, even the "northern version" is just a little full of themselves. It really comes down to the shot as always a bad hit is a bad hit regardless of caliber. Put it in the boiler room and the deer is dead.

good luck
 

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First, The 280 Remington is one of the most underrated cartridges going. It leaves nothing on the table to the 7mm Remington Mag in the hunting you were doing or in many other cases when the distances are 300 yards or so. However, loading the .280 with a lightweight bullet of lesser ballistic coefficient and sectional density in the overall scheme of things hamstrings it to some extent.

Second, with respect, 120-130 gr Barnes X (TSX, TTSX) bullet in most any caliber from a 6.5 up to .308 is many times more bullet for heavy game like elk than a quick opening 120 grain ballistic tip in 7mm. That really doesn't compare, IMO.

With that said, something that has not been addressed much other than by the OP... His shots are going to be around 200 yards, +/-.

I would go up in bullet weight to 140-150 grain and know bullet integrity with a bit heavier ballistic tip would be better and relatively speaking not much less on expansion capability for destruction of vitals.

Reality is when everything is not perfect the heavier bullet is insurance of a humane kill all else equal in this scenario you have set. Your trajectory will not change much at all.

Certainly the confidence you have in that load and bullet is high. However you would have no less confidence with a heavier ballistic tip as they only become more reliable in performance as they become heavier with less potential for massive and limited expansion if everything doesn't go perfect.

That would be my philosophy regardless of what deer species I was chasing or what state it was in.

This is not directly related, however I started my big game hunting in Colorado with much bravado and a 300 Winchester Magnum. It did the trick on whitetails, muley's, and bull elk. Shooting a 180 grain Barnes XBT nothing made out very well on the receiving end and everything went pretty much straight down when hit. I loaded a 160 grain Nosler partition in my fathers 280 Remington and he had pretty much the same success. My point being a bit heavier bullet than what you are running will simply be more reliable overall when and if something isn't "just right" whether a ballistic tip or other. Especially if the bucks are on the large side. A heavily muscled shoulder does a lot more to initially expand a bullet then a smaller younger less muscular animal.
 

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Heavy deer! Stick with 120 gr or.......

I've had several youngsters kill large whitetail with the 120 gr BT from a 7mm-08 at 2500 fps because they can't handle more recoil. The Nosler BT will certainly kill a whitetail and your capability with it is proven.

However, a heavier bullet is recommended for those times when something extraordinary happens - like when the buck turns at the shot or when an unseen twig or fence wire is hit. Additionally, the heavier bullet loses less velocity down range and has less wind deflection.

I love the 160 gr NP in my 280 and its penetration is outstanding. I have no doubt that your 120 gr BT will kill a whitetail and even provide complete penetration on a broadside rib shot. It's the tough shots that we prepare for and we get greater confidence when using more bullet weight for these.

I may be like some of those advising you to go heavier, as I'm one hunter whose sick and tired of spending my hunting time looking for deer shot poorly or with what might be considered too small a caliber or too light a bullet. But as hunters, we're obligated to track!
 

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for anyone who hasn't seen the latest...

edition of "Rifle Shooter" (NOV-DEC) there's an article by Boddington about using "today's bullets" (unleaded). ----- Guess I'll wait till someone starts a thread to comment.
 

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Plus 1 for the Barnes TTSX ......

....but to be honest the animal is not going to notice the difference out to 400yrds between a 120 and a 140 grain projectile if it is put in the right spot. Both are travelling at close to the same velocity out of a 280 Rem and in fact the 140 has a little better performance out at 400 than the 120 ..but again the pronghorn will not go "OUCH! that was an inch high!! Use a 120 next time."
 

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I got to hunt out of Valdosta, GA, back in 1984. Me and two friends hunted a week on "Bud McKeys I-75 Hunting Reserve'. He was fine old gentleman, insisted you only hunt from a treestand, and only allowed 8 hunters on the place at a time. It was my first time to hunt the "Northern Variety" whitetail as we were from East, Tx at the time. Back then, we were all oilfield workers, and we only had one "deer rifle" each. My friends used 30-06 and I had a 7mm Rem Mag ( I had "graduated up from a .280- I should have kept the .280,ha) I used the 150 partition, just to keep from tearing up our smaller deer, and it worked perfect at 25yds on nice buck. He came right by my tree ( you gotta "know" your trees there...you have to in the "right one', a)
One of my friends was skunked, the other took a buck with 180 round nose. The bucks we shot were younger bucks, but there were some bruisers taken off the place that weighed 250, a couple even 300 ponds! My shot was indeed "perfectly broadside", at 25yds ( I could have used my pistol) My friends was angling a bit. "If it were me", after what I saw/did, I think I would use a good 150, one that will penetrate from any angle. If you like 120s, the Barnes 120 will do just that. Through the years I have been priviledged to hunt in South Africa, Namibia, several states, lots of Texas Exotics...what I call "money hunts". If I wounded it/lost it, I still payed for it. Being a stingy Scotts/Irish and a good Christian Steward, I used bullets that would penetrate the animal I was hunting. That way I could take some shots that many others would pass on. My first "scoped" deer rifle was a Mod 77 .280 and I used factory 150 corlokts. From hog to 125pound deer they worked swell. I then began handloading and used the Hornady 139sp...another good one. But I didn't play with partitions until I got that 7mm Rem Mag...they were indeed "the cats meow. Tell us what you decide on, make a decision, go for it and don't apologize to anyone for it! :)
 

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Used to be heavy-for-caliber bullets were the best option for big game because they had a higher sectional density and penetrated better, even under less than ideal conditions.

These days, bullet materials and design have changed that, to a certain degree. I wouldn't recommend the 120gr BT from a 280 Remington, unless the shooter was handloading them to a reduced MV. I'd choose a heavier bullet in the 140-150gr range, because I've seen BT's blow up on very close shots...the heavier bullets are less likely to do that. YMMV
 
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