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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
this is probably a no-brainer, but i will ask it anyway.

i managed to get a nice FREEZER for christmas, so i will hopefully be elk hunting for the first time next year. my rifle (.308) currently uses 150-grain loads.

i plan on switching to partitions for elk, but my question is>> should i switch to 165s as well? or is a 150-grain partition with good shot placement adequate?

logic would say that the 165s are the way to go, but with the .308 the 150s are going to be moving faster, therefore there should be fewer trajectory/accuracy issues. i already know that my rifle shoots well with 150s, should i trade that confidence for a heavier bullet? or in all reality is the 150-grain partition more than up to the task? say 250-300 yards maximum?

i want to see how everything shoots in my rifle first. i'll probably try a few of 150, 165 and 180, and if they all shoot similarly then there would be no reason not to go with the 180. if any one shoots drastically better than the other two, then i would most likely go with that.

i've been looking at the trophy bonded bear claws, to me they seem to be a little TOO tough, as do the barnes Xs. the partition seems to be the best compromise between expansion and penetration. any comments or thoughts on this in comparison with the tbbc or x?

i realize that plain ol corelokts and powerpoints are just fine, but hey, this is our hobby, and this is the kind of little project that keeps us busy, ya know? LOL~~


i can look at charts, but they are only half the story. the other half of the story is REAL LIFE experience, which i currently lack in this area. ergo, i submit this inquiry to the knights of the round table. . . . .

thanks in advance fpr replies -

ron

www.baitshopboyz.com/forum
 

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I think if it was me I'd use 165's. Your trajectory will still be fine, plus you have higher Sectional Density. You want those bullets to penetrate. I think the Nosler Partitions are great bullets for Elk. You should really look at the Federal and Hornady high performance loads for Elk hunting. I know they are expensive but they bring that 308 right up to the same class as a 30-06
 

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I agree that the 165s are likely to be more forgiving on an Elk hunt. The light mag loads offered by Hornady and Federal are good choices for the .308 if you plan to shoot over 200 yards.

Much of this depends on the way you hunt, and whether you can pass up marginal shots. This is why hunting takes skill and is challenging and fun.Most of this is intuitive, involving self assessment rather than numbers.

However, numbers can help set general limits. At my skill/confidence level, I would want to put 1500 ft-lbs or more directly into the vitals for Elk. If I wanted to take anything other than broadside or frontal shots, I would want 2000 fpe, plus sectional density times velocity should be over 600.

Looking at your .308 with 165s, you are good for the clear broadside shots out to the point where your bullet drops off to about 2000 fps.

For tougher shots, the combination of 2000 fpe and SDV > 600, you need about 2400 fps. Inside of the envelope you should be fine.

This sounds fancy, but all it means is don't take hard shots at Elk if they are very far away.

Good, safe hunting!
 

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I don't know much about theory, but my experience says the 165 is minimum. The 165 Partition is what my father-in-law and I have been using for several years now. I load them in 308 and 30-06. It doesn't over-penetrate on elk by any means! But it is adequate. I would be afraid the 150 might not do well on the shoulder, it can really tear a bullet up, even a partition. Broadside ribs would be fine, but if your part of Montana is like my part of Idaho it can be tough to tell if you'll hit the shoulder or not. It is usually a matter of threading the needle through a little hole in the brush and can be hard to pick your spot precisely. I'm a very patient hunter and don't take risky shots but you can't control everything.
I wanted to try X-bullets this fall, but neither of us got a shot. I only hunted a couple of days due to school/work schedules, and it was very warm and dry. Maybe in a couple of years after I graduate I'll be able to hunt a bit more.
The partition is a proven performer. I would use the 165 or 180, whichever shoots better. IDShooter
 

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I thought of one more interesting note - the 30-06 often gives a messier wound channel but the 308 usually penetrates deeper if it doesn't hit a big bone. Both seem to kill equally as well to me. IDShooter
 

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The subject of bullet weight really depends greatly on the distance of the shot. If you think the shot might be on the short side it's best to err on the side of more weight. The various controlled expansion bullets will work fine but up close weight=penetration. I killed a 6x7 last fall that weighed 937 lbs (weighed by game and fish officers). I shot the bull 3 times at 200 yards and 2 of the 3 160 partitions went all the way through, broadside. 7mm Rem Mag. Elk are EXTREMELY tough animals. I would use a 165 gr of some sort. Although a barnes or failsafe in 150 would also be appropriate.
 

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7mmaniac said:
The subject of bullet weight really depends greatly on the distance of the shot. If you think the shot might be on the short side it's best to err on the side of more weight. The various controlled expansion bullets will work fine but up close weight=penetration. I killed a 6x7 last fall that weighed 937 lbs (weighed by game and fish officers). I shot the bull 3 times at 200 yards and 2 of the 3 160 partitions went all the way through, broadside. 7mm Rem Mag. Elk are EXTREMELY tough animals. I would use a 165 gr of some sort. Although a barnes or failsafe in 150 would also be appropriate.
I am not a big fan of partitionsand loaded Grand Slams in my 308. I agree that 165gr is the way to go and then work up a decent load. if you do not handload then as said on the forum federal and Hornady light magnum factories are excellent choices. Keeping the 308 to respectable distances is not only the right thing to do it does add more to the hunt to try and get closer. I have shot partitions and unfortunately I wound up with a very close shot that busted a rib abd the partition decided to seperate and spread itself throughout the animal....thus I no longer use them. In my lighter guns it is grand slam (even my .338 depending on what I am hunting) and if I go for something that could bite back or absorb a lot of energy I go with barnes 165 XLC's. Hope this helps. The .308 is a great gun and any caliber within reason will do the job if you do yours....Jack O'Connor proved that with a little "270" on many continents!!!
 

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tasunkawitko said:
this is probably a no-brainer, but i will ask it anyway.

i managed to get a nice FREEZER for christmas, so i will hopefully be elk hunting for the first time next year. my rifle (.308) currently uses 150-grain loads.

i plan on switching to partitions for elk, but my question is>> should i switch to 165s as well? or is a 150-grain partition with good shot placement adequate?

logic would say that the 165s are the way to go, but with the .308 the 150s are going to be moving faster, therefore there should be fewer trajectory/accuracy issues. i already know that my rifle shoots well with 150s, should i trade that confidence for a heavier bullet? or in all reality is the 150-grain partition more than up to the task? say 250-300 yards maximum?

i want to see how everything shoots in my rifle first. i'll probably try a few of 150, 165 and 180, and if they all shoot similarly then there would be no reason not to go with the 180. if any one shoots drastically better than the other two, then i would most likely go with that.

i've been looking at the trophy bonded bear claws, to me they seem to be a little TOO tough, as do the barnes Xs. the partition seems to be the best compromise between expansion and penetration. any comments or thoughts on this in comparison with the tbbc or x?

i realize that plain ol corelokts and powerpoints are just fine, but hey, this is our hobby, and this is the kind of little project that keeps us busy, ya know? LOL~~


i can look at charts, but they are only half the story. the other half of the story is REAL LIFE experience, which i currently lack in this area. ergo, i submit this inquiry to the knights of the round table. . . . .

thanks in advance fpr replies -

ron

www.baitshopboys.com
If you want my advice I would go to a tuffer bullet in the 165 grain (myself it would be a 180 grain for out to 350yards) The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw or Swift A Frame bullet is going to give you more bullet Retention to plow through the vitals of the animal.
 

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I agree with the others. Tough and heavy. It's been a number of years since I last got to hunt elk but the last one I harvested, I shot with a 7mm Remington Magnum, using a 175 grain Sierra SBT. I shot offhand at ~50 yards. The bullet entered the left shoulder, hit the bone, exploded, and left the right shoulder looking like I'd shot it with a shotgun. Too much meat lost. However, the bull did expire with one shot. Learned: core separates from jacket in boat tailed bullets, needed heavier bullet and less speed, NEEDED BULLET THAT STAYS TOGETHER!

-91
 

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i would use the 180 grain nosler partition myself, but my .308 seems to group them almost as well as the 165 grain bullets. 7mmaniac has a point: elk often weigh more than grizzly, a bear that weighed 937# would be HUGE. elk do not just tip over, they need a good bullet in the right spot. you are thinking right: some premium bullets are made for magnum velocities and may not mushroom reliabily at .308 speeds. that's why i like the nosler partitions, they expand reliably at the lower velocities, but hold up well at the higher speeds as well. (i'm sure someone out there is gonna bring up a failure, but i've used 'em at .246 Win mag velocities down to .308 velocities on elk and like 'em)

monty
 

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monty said:
i would use the 180 grain nosler partition myself, but my .308 seems to group them almost as well as the 165 grain bullets. 7mmaniac has a point: elk often weigh more than grizzly, a bear that weighed 937# would be HUGE. elk do not just tip over, they need a good bullet in the right spot. you are thinking right: some premium bullets are made for magnum velocities and may not mushroom reliabily at .308 speeds. that's why i like the nosler partitions, they expand reliably at the lower velocities, but hold up well at the higher speeds as well. (i'm sure someone out there is gonna bring up a failure, but i've used 'em at .246 Win mag velocities down to .308 velocities on elk and like 'em)

monty
It is true Elk are heavier than grizzly but then the comparison pales in light of the muscle mass and between the 2. Grizzlies are just plain tough to get through unless a high quality bullet is used with shot placement and good old common sense. I have hunted extensively for Elk and grizzly and I will say one thing....1 shot for elk and almost always more than one for grizzly. I have shot elk with my 6.5 x 55 swede and 140 gr bullets and all were one shot kills. Yes Elk are tough but I have usually got them with one shot whereas our Yukon moose sometimes need 2 or 3. I would stick with 165gr bullets, the tougher the better but still with decent expansion. It has been said 180 to 350 yds. Well your stretching with a .308 to this range, not for accuracy but retained energy. The 165 is a better choice as the .308 has a limited charge capacity and I will go with a high SD bullet at 165gr and higher speed...kinda equalizes the loss of 15gr of bullet weight. With the 165gr you will probably get better accuracy but then if you can't hit a chest shot at decent range then something is mighty wrong. !/4 shots with a .308 after 100-150 yds is not a great idea and should only be done with something that has the energy os a moving train (7MM mag to .338 Mag ranges). I have seen a lot of animals hit hard that get away and die off 1 valley over. Get your shot, make it clean in the boiler room and get your new freezer ready. I said it before: Jack O'connor proved that placement is the key....you do your part and your .308 with 165gr will do its part. Good luck!!
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Last three elk taken were with:

6x6 bull - 7mm Rem Mag, 162 gr Nosler Partition, handload.

7x6 bull - 30-06, 180 gr Hornady Light Magnum

Cow - 7x57mm Mauser Ack Imp, 175 gr Hornady, handload
 

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My .308 has toppled many a bull elk. Back in the 70's and 80's I would not consider a bullet lighter than 180 grains. But frankly these "plain bullets" ended up weighing in a whole lot less after crashing through heavy bones.

Winchester Fail Safe bullet has changed my mind. And I'm known in my family to be stubborn and opinionated. The 150 grain Fail Safe will outperform the "plain" 180's.

Don't get me wrong. You can kill a stack of elk with 180 grain Remington core-lockt ammo. But 150 grain Winchester Fail Safe has higher velocity, less recoil (although this may not be factor for every hunter), a slightly flatter trajectory, and much deeper penetration. Instead of shooting your bull twice with a "plain" bullet, the Winchester "Premium" will do the job with one shot. No kidding.
TR
 

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Ron,

I'd like to suggest a bullet for you to think about. This summer I did some testing with the new Hornady Inter Bond .308 bullets. One of the test blew my mind. I've been using the Nosler Partition bullets, but was not real happy about the low retained weight. They were retaining between sixty and sixty-five percent of their weight. The low Ballistic Coefficient of the Nosler didn't thrill me either.

I tested the 150 and 165 grain bullets in my .308 Win. and the '06. I just loaded some mid-book loads and shot them into plastic tubs filled with newspapers and soaked with water.
Both of the bullets gave deeper penetration and a higher retained weight than I'd ever got from a Partition. The retained weight ran from 86% to 93% on all bullets fired from both rifles. Most of the test were made from 100 yards. The only exception was with the 150 grain bullet from the .308W. The measured MV was 2775 fps. For a torture test I fired a round from 20 feet. The bullet expanded to over .700", retained 86% of its weight and penetrated 15". I'd call that fantastic. Accuracy with both bullets from both rifles is half an inch or smaller for five shot groups. I didn't get to poke a hole in anything this year. But the people I've talked to who have are very happy with them.

With this type of performance, I wouldn't hesitate a bit to use the 165 grain bullet on elk. Good luck and God Bless.
 

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Wouldn't it be better to get a higher retained weigh and less-than-extreme expansion with standard calibers when large game is the quarry? The greatly expanded bullet would inhibit penetration, it would seem, in favor of expansion. I don't shoot Elk, so I don't know. Some of the "tougher" bullets would seem to be a better choice than the Nosler PT, Accubond, Hornady Interbond in this situation. Is it better to leave a well expanded bullet in the animal, or a moderatley expanded bullet that punches two holes in the beast? I would have to imagine the penetration potential of the standard bonded bullets, in standard calibers, goes way down when heavy resistance is encountered...like a shoulder bone. I"m very interested to hear what people who actually hunt Elk think about this. I realize that shot placement is the Holy Grail in a hunting situation, but we all can not be perfect all time...especially from a field rest that often isn't practiced as it probably should be. I understand that guys who shoot belted magnums at elk at 400 yards with 6.5-20 scopes don't worry about this stuff, but I'm very interested to hear about the experiences of hunters who use standared calibers. 7-08,308..30-06, .270, .280, etc, etc.
 

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it seems that when the bullet is recovered from under the skin on the off side the impact is the greatest on the elk. it seems to shut the animal down faster than going all the way thru, i don't know why, maybe because all the energy is absorbed by the elk.but that's a tall order for a bullet because the shot may be at any angle, and there may be a couple of big bones in the way.
i live where i can spot elk from my livingroom window, and have survived quite a few winters on elk meat. i'm going to repeat my first choice for .308. nosler 180 gr partition. if i was shooting a .300 mag, i'd use something a little tougher, but the .308 doesn't destroy the bullet like that. i'm sure there are lots more game bullets for the job, but i've not experemented with other brands enough to judge them. i do know the early nosler ballistic tips were much too fragile even tho they were supposed to be game bullets. i have heard the curent production are tougher.

monty
 

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Steve -

The listing above for the 3 elk represent your pretty much standard bullets. Should have mentioned that all were one shot kills. The cow was the closest at approx 250 yds, the 7x6 bull was approx 300 yds and the 6x6 was 350 - 375 yds.

All bullets except the Nosler Partition penetrated completely and the animals didn't travel more than 20 yds after being hit. The Nosler had encountered the running gear of the bull, so did a lot of bone smashing before ending up under the hide on the far side.

I would say you can hunt elk with the better bullet line of all the bullet manufacturers and do a satisfactory job, with as you say, proper placement. The new bonded bullets by the various makers has interest to me and will probably be included in this fall's hunts, if the quirky Ariz. draw system allows.
 

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kciH said:
Wouldn't it be better to get a higher retained weigh and less-than-extreme expansion with standard calibers when large game is the quarry? The greatly expanded bullet would inhibit penetration, it would seem, in favor of expansion. I don't shoot Elk, so I don't know. Some of the "tougher" bullets would seem to be a better choice than the Nosler PT, Accubond, Hornady Interbond in this situation. Is it better to leave a well expanded bullet in the animal, or a moderatley expanded bullet that punches two holes in the beast? I would have to imagine the penetration potential of the standard bonded bullets, in standard calibers, goes way down when heavy resistance is encountered...like a shoulder bone. I"m very interested to hear what people who actually hunt Elk think about this. I realize that shot placement is the Holy Grail in a hunting situation, but we all can not be perfect all time...especially from a field rest that often isn't practiced as it probably should be. I understand that guys who shoot belted magnums at elk at 400 yards with 6.5-20 scopes don't worry about this stuff, but I'm very interested to hear about the experiences of hunters who use standared calibers. 7-08,308..30-06, .270, .280, etc, etc.
I will take an expanded bullet with high retained mass that stays in the animal any old day. If a bullett has enough left, due to poor expansion, to leave the other side of the animal then you just lost all that energy transfer to the animal. A bullets energy should be used to knock the animal flat or at least make it so that the surrounding soft tissue gets a chance to absorb the energy. It is the bullets energy that jellies lungs and heart not the bullet itself. I have shot plenty of Elk, Moose and bear and if I don't find a bullet I am disappointed with the results. I want all that energy I am trying to develop (the reason I handload is to get hot loads that have A. Accuracy B. Tons of energy) to be distributed in the animal not expended driving the bullet out and through. Any bullet that drives on through is wasted energy and that can mean the difference between barbeque steak and track soup!! My opinion...take it for what it is worth. (I shoot 6.5x55, 30-06, .300 W/Mag, .338 W/Mag and have had various other cals and I shot Elk and Moose w/them all)
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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BigBob3006 said:
Ron,

I'd like to suggest a bullet for you to think about. This summer I did some testing with the new Hornady Inter Bond .308 bullets. One of the test blew my mind. I've been using the Nosler Partition bullets, but was not real happy about the low retained weight. They were retaining between sixty and sixty-five percent of their weight. The low Ballistic Coefficient of the Nosler didn't thrill me either.

I tested the 150 and 165 grain bullets in my .308 Win. and the '06. I just loaded some mid-book loads and shot them into plastic tubs filled with newspapers and soaked with water.
Both of the bullets gave deeper penetration and a higher retained weight than I'd ever got from a Partition. The retained weight ran from 86% to 93% on all bullets fired from both rifles. Most of the test were made from 100 yards. The only exception was with the 150 grain bullet from the .308W. The measured MV was 2775 fps. For a torture test I fired a round from 20 feet. The bullet expanded to over .700", retained 86% of its weight and penetrated 15". I'd call that fantastic. Accuracy with both bullets from both rifles is half an inch or smaller for five shot groups. I didn't get to poke a hole in anything this year. But the people I've talked to who have are very happy with them.

With this type of performance, I wouldn't hesitate a bit to use the 165 grain bullet on elk. Good luck and God Bless.
Bob,

Thanks for the report. I've been wondering about using some of those on pigs, having not been impressed with Ballistic Tips on hogs in the .30-06 and witnessing them being used in the .308. And the bigger .30's have to be even worse, I would guess.

Personally don't mind the low(er) retained weight of the Partition, as the front core coming apart is doing something .... lotsa little wound channels from the pieces.

But as you say the plastic-tipped bullets tend to be more accurate, and experimenting is fun.

I haven't found a Partition in a critter, but have seen some interesting wound channels with little 'pattern's around the main hole, and occasionally, a bit of jacket.
 

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MikeG said:
Bob,

Thanks for the report. I've been wondering about using some of those on pigs, having not been impressed with Ballistic Tips on hogs in the .30-06 and witnessing them being used in the .308. And the bigger .30's have to be even worse, I would guess.

Personally don't mind the low(er) retained weight of the Partition, as the front core coming apart is doing something .... lotsa little wound channels from the pieces.

But as you say the plastic-tipped bullets tend to be more accurate, and experimenting is fun.

I haven't found a Partition in a critter, but have seen some interesting wound channels with little 'pattern's around the main hole, and occasionally, a bit of jacket.
The only time I would ever use a 165 grain bullet on an elk, is if I were using a Barnes X or XLC bullet. I still favor however the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw or Swift A Frame on big bull elk. If a 30-06 loaded up with a 180 grn bullet, can kill a 5x5 elk at 447 yards, then I'll give odds that a .308 with same bullet can do the job at 350 yards.

If your speaking of section density, the 180 has more to offer than a 165 in the first and the BC is also greater too. Down range energy will NOT shed as fast as the 165 grain bullet either. Big slower moving bullets penetrate deep!
 
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