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Ballistic Tip Performance? #8509322 01/21/22 01:38 AM
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I have been shooting for years, mostly pistol, and want to get into hunting. I just got a rifle, in .308 Winchester, and will start working on my accuracy with a rifle. I know quality ammo is important (I even do some reloading for my pistol), you get what you pay for with ammo, and that the bullet needs to perform its job to put the animal down. Wounding isn't good, so buy ammunition designed for deer (in this case). I have several brands and weights in mind for deer, but I haven't chosen what I want to zero my rifle with yet due to my question.

Compared to many other parts of the U.S., Texas has small deer. I have a friend who hunts, typically with their father, and they are avidly against ballistic tips (their rifle calibers range from 243 Winchester to 30-06). Their reasoning is that the ballistic tips do a lot of damage to the edible meat. This is something that was experienced by them. They also dislike heavily expanding bullets (stuff that brags about expanding 1.5-2 times the bullet diameter) because it tears up more of the meat, leaving less to harvest. (Plus the father says expanding bullets are for people who can't shoot well). Again, this is something that has been experienced by them. The father has been deer hunting for decades.

So my question is wondering what your experiences with the smaller deer in Texas has been for ballistic tips? Ballistic tips have come a long way since their father first used ammo sporting them and had his bad experience, but that doesn't mean they're wrong. Since most premium hunting ammo sports some kind of ballistic tip or a hollow point with extreme expansion, I was hoping to hear others experiences with ballistic tipped hunting ammo.

I hope that makes sense. I have a lot to learn about hunting. Thanks.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509330 01/21/22 01:46 AM
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welcome Define small bodied deer? Texas is a big state with deer weights all over the place depending on the region.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509334 01/21/22 01:55 AM
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My wife has a 7x57 Mauser that I load 120 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips for. I do not load hot rounds for her rifles nor for mine. Her 7x57 ammo is approx 2700 MV. She has killed 7-8 deer this year so far with the load. Put the bullet thru the boiler room and very little meat will be wasted, just aint much meat on the rib cage of WT deer. One deer ran about 50 yds, the rest have fell with in 10-15 yds of being shot. The Nosler BT is accurate and kills quickly. It doesn't destroy any more meat than any other cup & core bullet regardless of brand.





Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509336 01/21/22 01:56 AM
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First your going to destroy meat if you put your bullet into it no matter what. Second my favorite 308 bullet for deer is the 165 grain Sierra Gameking. I would without question use the 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, the 150 grain Nosler Partition and the 150 grain Hornady Spire point with complete confidence.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509340 01/21/22 02:03 AM
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They work well but justl like any other bullet if you put one through both shoulders you will have blood shot meat. Did notice when i used them in my 243 the deer usually dropped in their tracks unlike the Remington factory loads some ran a little ways. In my opinion the ballistic tips and SST's are the best deer bullets out there.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: rickt300] #8509341 01/21/22 02:06 AM
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When they were first introduced 30ish years ago, they were indeed too fragile, expanding too fast, destroying lots of tissue but not penetrating well. Nosler has improved their design and they are now first class game bullets. However, the reputation of being to fragile dies hard

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509342 01/21/22 02:07 AM
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Well did they only tell you what they don’t use? What do they use?

Ballistic tip is t my first pic but will work fine. Messing up meat is about where you shoot more than what you shoot. Try to avoid hitting g the shoulders.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509369 01/21/22 02:39 AM
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First of all, ballistic tip is proprietary to nosler. A lot of people see a bullet with a plastic tip and call it a ballistic tip, when that is not the case. Off the top of my head, all the following have plastic tips: hornady Sst, hornady eld-x, nosler ballistic tip, nosler accubond, barnes ttsx, and sierra tipped game king. All have plastic tips yet all are very different bullets and will perform very differently. Yes, the actual nosler ballistic tip will expand violently at high velocity, but should be fine in a .308...even more so in 168gr vs.150 gr. If you get nosler ballistic tips, and they are accurate, they will be fine.


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Originally Posted by Nolanco
current federal policy is clearly irrational, scientifically insupportable and ridiculous.
Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509375 01/21/22 02:55 AM
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About 90% of the deer and hogs I have taken in my life have been with 150 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tips from a .308.

Typically golf ball to baseball sized exit holes on deer with heart/lung shots, and exits on high shoulder shots about half the time. Pass through on hogs about 75% of the time, the other 25% were head/neck shots and were DRT.

All of the shoulder shot deer and the one neck shot deer were DRT, all of the heart/lung shot deer were down within 25 yards.

I like them.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr


"Whitetail Deer are extinct because of rifles with telescopes mounted on them." - My 11th Grade English Teacher
Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509377 01/21/22 02:59 AM
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Also, the comment that expanding bullets are for people who don't shoot well is just bad advice. Bullets that don't expand would be FMJ or match bullets. Those would, with few exceptions, be poor choices for hunting. The primary goal when hunting is a quick kill. Bullets that don't expand are going to pencil straight through and do little damage, resulting in a suffering animal unless you happen to hit the central nervous system.


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Originally Posted by Nolanco
current federal policy is clearly irrational, scientifically insupportable and ridiculous.
Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: JJH] #8509378 01/21/22 03:01 AM
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Wow! Lots of responses while I looked away. That's awesome. Such great information in everyone's posts. I'll do my best to address them all.

Originally Posted by stxranchman
welcome Define small bodied deer? Texas is a big state with deer weights all over the place depending on the region.

Driving back and forth from Utah to south Texas, the deer we saw were twice the size in Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. I don't know how to gauge the weight on game animals yet, but adult does were a lot sturdier, wider, and even taller than what I usually see in the Texas heat.

Originally Posted by rickt300
First your going to destroy meat if you put your bullet into it no matter what. Second my favorite 308 bullet for deer is the 165 grain Sierra Gameking. I would without question use the 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, the 150 grain Nosler Partition and the 150 grain Hornady Spire point with complete confidence.

Those are the brands I'm looking at. Sierra, Hornady, Nosler, and Speer. I don't know if I will go with 150 grain or 165, but I am leaning towards the 150 for deer. I have yet to shoot my rifle yet, the range/shop I purchased it at does complimentary bore sighting if you buy an optic with the gun (I didn't know that until after I bought it) so they are doing that for me and I will make that call once I get to see her performance (and my skill) with the different weights. I have several different weights and velocities purchased to test what she will like to shoot best.

Originally Posted by JJH
When they were first introduced 30ish years ago, they were indeed too fragile, expanding too fast, destroying lots of tissue but not penetrating well. Nosler has improved their design and they are now first class game bullets. However, the reputation of being to fragile dies hard

That is what I understood it to be, from my research. That and I learned hunters love to find a groove and adamantly stick to it.

Originally Posted by redchevy
Well did they only tell you what they don’t use? What do they use?

Ballistic tip is t my first pic but will work fine. Messing up meat is about where you shoot more than what you shoot. Try to avoid hitting g the shoulders.

My friend is a casual hunter. They have a lifetime Texas license and go out often and takes a deer every year or every other year, but the specifics of rifles and calibers is not their forte (but they are very accurate and take neck shots). The use Winchester Super X, a soft tip spitzer.

Which comes to the fun part. I purchased a Sig 761i, which is a semiautomatic LR-308 rifle. I am concerned about it feeding soft tipped ammo properly. I know I only need one bullet, and my goal is to only take one shot (I'd be embarrassed if I need two shots with a 308), but the rifle is designed to be able to shoot rapidly if needed. Last thing I need to worry about is jams. I don't know how it will like soft tips, but I have some to use to find out. Sig has been making ammo for a few years and just moved into the hunting market, using Sierra for their ballistic tip ammo, and I don't know the producer of their all copper bullet, so I am interested in trying their hunting ammo. The more important question will come down to feeding of the semiautomatic action, as each design is different.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509387 01/21/22 03:11 AM
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All of the does in Utah and New Mexico would be almost all mule deer, way bigger than most whitetails. Colorado has both mule deer and whitetail...midwest whitetails does are bigger than most Texas does. Exception would be up in the panhandle area of Texas and South Texas. Hill Country, Gulf Coast region, Central Texas and parts of West Texas would have the smallest does in Texas. 200-250 lb live weight bucks in Panhandle and South Texas are very common with some bucks weighing more than that in really wet years. Not 300 lb deer but not small either. San Antonio is not South Texas and if you drove down IH-10 to SA, then you drove through the western Hill Country and Central Texas Hill Country areas with some of the smallest deer in the state, it will be the highest density in the state but smallest deer with the exception of the coastal prairies whitetails which are also smaller.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: unclebubba] #8509392 01/21/22 03:13 AM
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Wow! More posts in between when I started writing and posted.

Originally Posted by unclebubba
First of all, ballistic tip is proprietary to nosler. A lot of people see a bullet with a plastic tip and call it a ballistic tip, when that is not the case. Off the top of my head, all the following have plastic tips: hornady Sst, hornady eld-x, nosler ballistic tip, nosler accubond, barnes ttsx, and sierra tipped game king. All have plastic tips yet all are very different bullets and will perform very differently. Yes, the actual nosler ballistic tip will expand violently at high velocity, but should be fine in a .308...even more so in 168gr vs.150 gr. If you get nosler ballistic tips, and they are accurate, they will be fine.

Also, the comment that expanding bullets are for people who don't shoot well is just bad advice. Bullets that don't expand would be FMJ or match bullets. Those would, with few exceptions, be poor choices for hunting. The primary goal when hunting is a quick kill. Bullets that don't expand are going to pencil straight through and do little damage, resulting in a suffering animal unless you happen to hit the central nervous system.

You learn something new every day. I didn't know that ballistic tip is proprietary to Nosler. I used the term because it was an tip added to a hollow point to increase the ballistics. I like learning these technicalities and will relearn the proper vocabulary. Also, the comment was most likely a joking jab, but was about bullets designed to expand by large exponential factors. I know (and they know) bullet expansion is critical for transferring energy into the animal to put it down.

Originally Posted by LeonCarr
About 90% of the deer and hogs I have taken in my life have been with 150 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tips from a .308.

Typically golf ball to baseball sized exit holes on deer with heart/lung shots, and exits on high shoulder shots about half the time. Pass through on hogs about 75% of the time, the other 25% were head/neck shots and were DRT.

All of the shoulder shot deer and the one neck shot deer were DRT, all of the heart/lung shot deer were down within 25 yards.

I like them.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

That's some great info on performance that I will take into my calculations. Nosler is a great company and a lot of people on here seem to recommend them the most.

Originally Posted by stxranchman
All of the does in Utah and New Mexico would be almost all mule deer, way bigger than most whitetails. Colorado has both mule deer and whitetail...midwest whitetails does are bigger than most Texas does. Exception would be up in the panhandle area of Texas and South Texas. Hill Country, Gulf Coast region, Central Texas and parts of West Texas would have the smallest does in Texas. 200-250 lb live weight bucks in Panhandle and South Texas are very common with some bucks weighing more than that in really wet years. Not 300 lb deer but not small either. San Antonio is not South Texas and if you drove down IH-10 to SA, then you drove through the western Hill Country and Central Texas Hill Country areas with some of the smallest deer in the state, it will be the highest density in the state but smallest deer with the exception of the coastal prairies whitetails which are also smaller.

That is stellar info on deer that I didn't know and need to. Thank you. Also, I am aware San Antonio is central Texas and that South Texas is a different region. I'm used to speaking to national and international communities, so I usually say south Texas or south-central Texas so the northerners don't think of Dallas and the foreigners don't think of Houston.

Last edited by Mindrop; 01/21/22 03:19 AM.
Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509402 01/21/22 03:23 AM
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I’ve been using the Nosler ballistic tips since the month they came out. I guess that’s an easy 30 years. Probably killed a couple hundred with the 270 and 260. I guess I lost just 2 deer, both were dead, but not found for a couple of days. I’d shoot ‘em in the lungs and they die every time, with little tracking required. Very accurate bullet also.

Lung shots generally aren’t that messy. Small hole in and quarter to half dollar hole out, and I’m not talking about a small sample size. Biggest deer was just short of 300 pounds.

I avoid quartering shots if I can.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: 603Country] #8509412 01/21/22 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 603Country
I’ve been using the Nosler ballistic tips since the month they came out. I guess that’s an easy 30 years. Probably killed a couple hundred with the 270 and 260. I guess I lost just 2 deer, both were dead, but not found for a couple of days. I’d shoot ‘em in the lungs and they die every time, with little tracking required. Very accurate bullet also.

Lung shots generally aren’t that messy. Small hole in and quarter to half dollar hole out, and I’m not talking about a small sample size. Biggest deer was just short of 300 pounds.

I avoid quartering shots if I can.

That is great info and a lot of deer! I've done a lot of research into ballistics in the human body for self defense purposes, but I don't know game animals. Deer obviously don't have the same bone and muscle density as humans (plus their hide) and the 308 Win is very different from a 9mm Luger.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509432 01/21/22 03:55 AM
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I've killed a bunch of things with 150 NBTs in my 308. All but one dropped dead on the spot and all exited. I even drove one though both shoulders on an older mule deer buck.

I've also killed several animals with 180 NBTs out 338 Federal.


The jackets in the ballistic tips are now about 60% of their total weight so weigh retention is still decent even if the core separates.

Last edited by scottfromdallas; 01/21/22 04:02 AM.


Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: stxranchman] #8509468 01/21/22 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by stxranchman
All of the does in Utah and New Mexico would be almost all mule deer, way bigger than most whitetails. Colorado has both mule deer and whitetail...midwest whitetails does are bigger than most Texas does. Exception would be up in the panhandle area of Texas and South Texas. Hill Country, Gulf Coast region, Central Texas and parts of West Texas would have the smallest does in Texas. 200-250 lb live weight bucks in Panhandle and South Texas are very common with some bucks weighing more than that in really wet years. Not 300 lb deer but not small either. San Antonio is not South Texas and if you drove down IH-10 to SA, then you drove through the western Hill Country and Central Texas Hill Country areas with some of the smallest deer in the state, it will be the highest density in the state but smallest deer with the exception of the coastal prairies whitetails which are also smaller.



Why we nit picking deer size? Is this a deer size thread or a ballistic tip performance thread?

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: cbump] #8509489 01/21/22 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cbump
Originally Posted by stxranchman
All of the does in Utah and New Mexico would be almost all mule deer, way bigger than most whitetails. Colorado has both mule deer and whitetail...midwest whitetails does are bigger than most Texas does. Exception would be up in the panhandle area of Texas and South Texas. Hill Country, Gulf Coast region, Central Texas and parts of West Texas would have the smallest does in Texas. 200-250 lb live weight bucks in Panhandle and South Texas are very common with some bucks weighing more than that in really wet years. Not 300 lb deer but not small either. San Antonio is not South Texas and if you drove down IH-10 to SA, then you drove through the western Hill Country and Central Texas Hill Country areas with some of the smallest deer in the state, it will be the highest density in the state but smallest deer with the exception of the coastal prairies whitetails which are also smaller.



Why we nit picking deer size? Is this a deer size thread or a ballistic tip performance thread?

Originally Posted by Mindrop
I have been shooting for years, mostly pistol, and want to get into hunting. I just got a rifle, in .308 Winchester, and will start working on my accuracy with a rifle. I know quality ammo is important (I even do some reloading for my pistol), you get what you pay for with ammo, and that the bullet needs to perform its job to put the animal down. Wounding isn't good, so buy ammunition designed for deer (in this case). I have several brands and weights in mind for deer, but I haven't chosen what I want to zero my rifle with yet due to my question.

Compared to many other parts of the U.S., Texas has small deer. I have a friend who hunts, typically with their father, and they are avidly against ballistic tips (their rifle calibers range from 243 Winchester to 30-06). Their reasoning is that the ballistic tips do a lot of damage to the edible meat. This is something that was experienced by them. They also dislike heavily expanding bullets (stuff that brags about expanding 1.5-2 times the bullet diameter) because it tears up more of the meat, leaving less to harvest. (Plus the father says expanding bullets are for people who can't shoot well). Again, this is something that has been experienced by them. The father has been deer hunting for decades.

So my question is wondering what your experiences with the smaller deer in Texas has been for ballistic tips? Ballistic tips have come a long way since their father first used ammo sporting them and had his bad experience, but that doesn't mean they're wrong. Since most premium hunting ammo sports some kind of ballistic tip or a hollow point with extreme expansion, I was hoping to hear others experiences with ballistic tipped hunting ammo.

I hope that makes sense. I have a lot to learn about hunting. Thanks.

Both. He made the statements....not me. I commented on those statements in red. Most hunters from out-of-state think anything south of the Red River is South Texas.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509533 01/21/22 07:45 AM
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My dad started loading BT’s in our guns in 1886 and Ive killed something or many somethings every year since. There great bullets for their intended purpose, the only issue Ive ever ran into was I loaded some in a RUM and they blew up on contact twice before I realized what was happening but that was user error back when I wasn’t smart rofl For the record, I’m still not to smart most days rofl

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: rickt300] #8509623 01/21/22 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by rickt300
First your going to destroy meat if you put your bullet into it no matter what. Second my favorite 308 bullet for deer is the 165 grain Sierra Gameking. I would without question use the 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, the 150 grain Nosler Partition and the 150 grain Hornady Spire point with complete confidence.

I concur. The game king bullets do a great job on deer and I've shot them through MANY calibers and never had a single issue. They are also as accurate as most ballistic tip bullets like the noslers which I used to shoot a ton of back in the day.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509634 01/21/22 01:25 PM
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My youngest son shot a cow elk with a 308 168 gr ballistic tip at 327 yds DRT. Use ballistic tips with confidence.


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Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509647 01/21/22 01:55 PM
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The 165 gr Nosler BT is my favorite hunting and accuracy bullet in 308 WIN and 30-06. Between me, my son and my hunting buddy we've killed a couple hundred pigs and deer with these bullets and they are hammers. They don't always exit but the do always expand. They do damage meat but no more that any other soft point expanding bullet. As with all hunting, shot placement is the key. I shoot pigs in the head, neck and front of shoulder and almost always DRT. For deer I shoot just behind the shoulder and don't lose much meat. Trophy deer I shoot through the shoulder, high shoulder, as I don't want to lose them in the thick East TX jungle we hunt.

Only problem is you just can't buy them now. I'm down to a couple hundred that won't last long between the 3 of us. I bought some 168 A-Max bullets hoping they will give similar performance, we'll see.


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Honestly would have to say at that caliber, find what what hunting round your rifle likes the best and is most accurate. I have a few guns that I use ballistic tip with no issues and others I don’t due to how the gun shoots them. Confidence in your ammo and ability is the most important thing when starting. There are plenty of guys on here that would be a good option to reach out to for getting started advice.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: Mindrop] #8509678 01/21/22 02:31 PM
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My brother has killed many South Texas bucks with his Win. Model 70 Featherweight .30-.06 shooting the 150 gr. Winchester Silver Ballistic tip ammo, his go to.

Re: Ballistic Tip Performance? [Re: JJH] #8509685 01/21/22 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by JJH
When they were first introduced 30ish years ago, they were indeed too fragile, expanding too fast, destroying lots of tissue but not penetrating well. Nosler has improved their design and they are now first class game bullets. However, the reputation of being to fragile dies hard


This is 100% true. I've shot too many deer and hogs to count with 120 BT's from my 7mm08. It's a very, very good hunting bullet. I wouldn't hesitate at all to use a 150, 165, or 180 gr BT in .308 caliber. Where people get in trouble with BT's it trying to hot rod the bullet, then complaining about the damage it did t their deer when shot at 75 yards. Matching any bullet to the intended velocity parameters is pretty much the key with any cartridge IMO. For instance, a hunter I had was shooting a 139gr SST at about 3250fps at the muzzle. It made quite a mess impacting bone on an antelope at 75 yds.

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