Copper and factory ammo for deer....your thoughts?

Mass-n-trash

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I've been using Winchester Accubond factory ammo for years however, with the 2019 copper rule coming, I am starting to think about which ammo to use next. First of all I do not reload and don't want to reload. I bought 3 boxes of Accubonds years ago and still have over a box left. Every year i shoot a round or two to check zero and then, if I'm lucky, I also shoot a deer or elk. I've also been lucky that most have been "bang flop" kills...so I don't go through much ammo. In fact, I'm sure I spent more money on boxes of other factory ammo when I was trying others out to see what shot best in my rifle. So being a novice in the copper ammo world here are my question and concerns.

When searching the net, it seems as though the most common issue reported with copper bullets is the lack of expansion/mushroom or "pencil in and pencil out." I'm not saying this is the way it is....just saying IF there are problems , this happens to be the most prevalent complaint. One the other hand, accuracy seems to be very good with copper. Another suggestion is that SPEED is your friend! Another common theme seems to be the advice of dropping down to a little lighter bullet when shooting copper. With all this in mind....how many of you have tried various factory ammo/bullets and which ones seem to perform better? No offense, but I'm only looking for info from Folks that have tried and had experience with some of the various factory loads available. I'm sure many of you have had great luck with the copper round you are shooting...but I'm only looking for comparisons.

From what I have found, I can get factory ammo loaded with these bullets...Barnes TSX and TTSX and LRX, Nosler E-tip, Federal Vital-shok, Winchester E-tip with the lubolox coating, Remington, Kalahari and I believe someone is loading Cutting Edge. I think there are a few others loading, but I'm not sure what bullets they are using (Hornady, Black Hills etc)

I will be using this ammo in a 270wsm mostly for deer. I'm shooting 140grn Accubonds now and I'm thinking of going to 110grn to 130grn copper.

Pro's, con's, thoughts, comparisons, recommendations???

Thanks,
M-N-T
 
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parkermann

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I have shot multiple pigs with Barnes ttsx out of my 30-06. From about 120lbs to one well over 250. All have been dead right there. I have not had any experience shooting deer with it. I have heard that on it doesn't expand as well on smaller body animals like deer but i have also heard a lot of people saying it works well. Hopefully someone has experience killing multiple deer with copper and can let us know what they think. I think it would work just fine for elk
 

ltdann

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It's been my experience (and I've been shooting lead-free since the condor zone BS.) that lead-free accuracy VS rifle is much more finicky. You'll need to find what your rifle likes and stick with it.

I had a 30-06 that absolutely would not shoot lead-free in any form. I went thru $500 worth of barnes ammo looking for accuracy, couldn't find it...best I could do was 6" at 100 yds. Retired the rifle and bought a new one. About that time Nosler came out with e-tip and fortunately the new rifle loved it.

Expansion....Barnes is terrible....inconsistent performance. little holes in and out. I've never recovered a Barnes in a deer or a pig. E-tips pretty good, almost like a partition. Hornady GMX...not good but cheap. Some of the guys I hunt with have good luck with vital shock, I never did.

IRT .270, very difficult to find lead-free anywhere for that, even now. Remember that it has to be on the CA approved list. Since we're not going to be allowed internet orders to the house, best to find what your rifle likes now and order a bunch. Every deer season, my partner spends months looking for lead free ammo for his 270. "In 2019, you'll be hard pressed to find it anywhere in the country. According to NSSF, CA currently uses 40% of total .270 lead free production. I can't imagine in 2019.

I long ago gave up trying to buy 150 gr E-tips at a store. I haven't seen a box on the shelf in almost 3 years. I saw the handwriting on the wall and starting making my own.

When 2019 rolls around, there's going to some very surprised people out there when they can't find lead-free.

And expensive! My 12 gauge slugs are $3 each!

I
 

Planetcat

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My new favorite lead free ammo is Sellier & Bellot eXergy. They come in 180 grain variety for .30 cal. My .308, .30-06, and .300 win mag all shoot it equally well, with very acceptable accuracy consistent across all three rifles. The bullets are copper hollow points with the cavity filled with aluminum for expansion, then rounded of in sort of a Euro style round nose. My son dropped a 405 lb. cow elk with one shot out of my .308 at about 180 yards. I think the blunt nose of the bullet has some impact shock value that tipped ones don't. The S&B are very well priced too.

Other factory ammo: My .308 has decent, consistent accuracy with Barnes TTST (I prefer the TSX though), Hornady GMX and Federal Trophy Copper. The .30-06 and .300 wm don't like the Barnes or the Hornady. I've had the pencil hole experience on blacktail deer with the tipped copper bullets, but better expansion results on hogs.
 

54hawken

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The key to copper bullets is to go lighter and faster. Coper is lighter than lead bullets of the same weight are longer and often require a faster twist barrel to stabilize properly. Copper is not as soft as lead so higher velocity helps expansion and can help to stabilize a bullet. Need to find out what load works best in your rifle and wear point of impact is, some of my rifles have same point of impact as lead others by 4 to 5 inches at 100yards. I have never had a problem with expansion with Barnes bullets but keep in mind that even without expansion a bullet will leave a 7 to 8 inch wound channel through lungs
 

Mr. Luckypants

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When I started reloading/hunting, experienced folks would tell me to never shoot a super high velocity rounds at big game as it will only expand at the surface and not penetrate much. Example would be a 50grn 22-250 lead bullet going 3500fps hitting a deer in the chest. More than likely it will explode at the surface and not penetrate. This is why they only recommend this round and rounds like it for varmints.

Now, imagine a 110grn round going 3500fps hitting a deer and NOT exploding at the surface but instead penetrates ALL the way through. The destruction it will cause hitting meat and bones at that speed is devastating. This is why I shoot very light copper bullets at ridiculously fast velocity. I reload for my 300WM and I have chronoed my 130grn load at 3600fps.

Every deer I've shot drops dead right there. So if I were you I would look for the lightest bullet weight load possible. One thing I would not do with copper is I would not shoot at long range. To me long range is 300yds+. You'll get that pencil in pencil out result. Similar to using HEAVY bullets with copper.
 

TheGDog

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Barnes VOR-TX cartridges with the Barnes TTSX !!! Devastating and a pass-thru!
 

Brnsvllyjohn

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MNT In the group that I hunt with the results have been all over the board for accuracy. I don't know of anyone in the group that has had any complaints on bullet performance but of course you hear a lot of rumors about poor bullet expansion and lost animals.
My personal experiences are lot like Ltdann's. One gun will not shoot any non toxic load well enough to hunt with. My main gun is a 7 mag and I tried 4-5 different loads before I found one I like. Here is my list
E tips were terrible 6 inch at 100
Barnes just slightly better maybe 4 inch groups
Hornady were 1.5 to 2 inch groups at 100
Trophy copper shoots less than 1 inch groups at 100
I spent a lot of money on different brands and bullet weights and I now hunt with Trophy copper in that gun.
I gave a hunting buddy who has a 7 mag some ammo to try. His gun shoots Hornady the best so he is keeping those. He could not shoot the Barnes or the E tips.
I also have a 7 mm08. I have not found a non toxic load it doesn't like. I have tried Hornady, Trophy Copper and 2 kinds of Barnes and it shoots all of them well.
One guy I hunt with has the same caliber you have. He could not find a factory load his gun liked so he is now loading Barnes bullets and he has found a recipe
that shoots well in his gun. I could go on and on with examples of friends guns and the struggles with finding a factory load that shoots well but I think you get the idea. No rhyme or reason why some shoot well and some don't. I have killed a few deer with the Trophy Copper by Federal and I have no complaints on bullet performance yet. I have seen deer taken with the Barnes bullets and they seem to perform well.
Unfortunately you may be buying multiple boxes of ammo to find one you can live with. When you find the one you like buy a few to stock up. You wont know how well the bullet performs untill you take 5-6 animals with it. The only thing the bench shooting will tell you is how accurate they are in your gun. Some guys blame poor performance on the ammo when the shot placement was terrible. Not saying there hasn't been some issues with expansion, I just haven't seen it be a problem yet.
 

Mass-n-trash

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Figured i would share an e-mail response from Barnes. I had asked about the long range bullets (LRX) and how they would perform at closer ranges. You can see their response below but, In short, they are claiming the the LRX bullet will open better at longer ranges/slower speeds and possible fracture up very close at faster speeds. Up close I think this would be similar to the cutting edge bullets that are designed to shed 5 or 6 petals for a larger wound channel. They compare it to the Nosler partitions that sometimes break apart. So I wonder if this might be the best of both worlds????

Here's a link to the Cutting Edge bullets https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...E6F4475F6EF9F536113CE6F4475F6EF9F53&FORM=VIRE

Here's the response from Barnes...

The window of expansion has been slid down on the LRX’s in order to get expansion at longer ranges. However in high speed magnums, you can now break petals from the bullets in very close range scenarios. Honestly I’ve seen the high impact testing, and they still perform exceedingly well with all the petals gone – 65% weight retention and about 1.5 diameter expansion on the remaining shank. That’s a very best case scenario for a Nosler Partition at normal impact velocities – they break down more under your high velocity conditions at close range.

The .277 cal 129gr LRX requires 1700fps at impact for expansion and we test them up to 2600fps for 100% weight retention. Typically they’ll go a few hundred fps above this number without petal loss – we just don’t keep shooting until petals begin to break.

If that has you worried the 140 TSX loaded in our factory ammo has a 2100fps – 2900fps window. They shouldn’t break even at close ranges with this one.

Thanks, Ty
 

nickman123

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My 2 cents worth. From my limited experience on the animals I've shot, the copper seems to work as well as lead. But regardless of accuracy, it absolutely shoots "different" than lead. In other words, if you've been shooting 150 grain lead bullets and you switch to 150 grain copper, it's going to change where it hits and you'll have to rezero your rifle. The copper can be hard to find too. I eventually settled on the Trophy copper too ,mostly cause it was the only brand that always seems to be in supply and available when I want it. The worst part though is the cost. $60 to $70 per box is the best I've been able to do. $3 or more every time you pull the trigger is pretty painful.
 

CaliforniaKid

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I shoot factory Federal Premium Vital-Shok Trophy Copper out of my .270 and it's spectacular. My rifle loves it. Been shooting the 150 gr. bullets and at 200 yards I have bullets touching. I am going to reload some Cutting Edge, but I know the Federals are great.

EDIT: Mis-typed!
 
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ChrisAMX

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I've been using Winchester E-Tip Ammunition 300 Winchester Magnum 180 Grain
 

Huntin Dave

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Have never had any luck posting pics, so if anyone can rotate them that would be great.

This is a Hornady .270 GMX 130 gr. Took out a 300lb Tejon Hog right through the boiler room. Shot was only 40 yds. The round was found in the opposite side fat cap. As you can see the mushrooming is pretty impressive and not hot enough to completely pass all the way through even at 40 yds. However it was a big boar, so a complete pass through is always tough. I have not killed a deer yet with the GMX. Still using lead for deer and out of state elk.

Mushroom1.jpgMushroom2.jpgMushroom3.jpgMushroom4.jpg
 
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T F Coyote

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I have taken one deer with a 130 grn. Barnes TTSX in .270. The round passed through the neck, but it created an impressive wound channel. The deer was dead on the spot.
 

MariotheBarber

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Hmm, I've got a Rem 700 in .308 that I've only shot lead through, now Im thinking I need to figure out what Im gonna use once the lead ban goes into effect.
 

ltdann

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I'm not kidding when I say it's hard to find lead-free on a shelf. Guns shoot this lead stuff very differently than lead. When I first started trying to find a round for the old rifle, I was shooting 180 gr nosler partions. I figured 180 gr TSX's would be similar....it was 17 inches different.

By the time you find a box of GMX, Barnes, Vital shock and e-tips to experiment with, your already over $100 before you fire the first round.

If you think that ammo manufacturers will step up production to meet the 2019 ban, your crazy. Here's a 2014 report from NSSF on lead free impacts on production http://nssf.org/share/PDF/CA-Alternative-Ammo-Impacts_9-15-2014.pdf

In 2014, they estimate that CA alone will exceed the total US production of .22 lead free by 472%
 

DAQ80

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I got lucky with my .308. It shoots 150gr GMX and Barnes TTSX the same as is it shoots 150gr lead. But it likes the GMX the best, that's with a Black Hills Gold load, haven't tried the Hornady Super performance.
My sons .243 took some adjustment from lead. We've shot e-tips and Barnes with it, seems to like the Barnes better.

As for effectiveness, it's been great. Nothing's gone more than 20yds, of course placement is the key.

Price and availability is a PITA though.


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eoats

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For me;

Nosler bullets, eTips loaded in the Winchester supreme or whatever didn't shoot well from my 30-06 Vanguard.

2nd best was the Barnes. Found no big difference between the TSX & TTSX.

1st place is the Hornady GMX Super Performance in 165 grain.
Got my first sub MOA group with these.
(The 'regular,' slower GMX was less accurate/consistent than the Barnes.)

All in all the 150 grain bullets were less accurate than 165 or 180 grain from my rifle.
 

Brnsvllyjohn

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The trend I am seeing here is a lot of us have had to try multiple loads to find something that works. I know one guy who is determined to shoot Barnes bullets. So far he has not had great success. He continues to purchase lots of loaded shells at 70 per box and produces a lot of empty brass. I tried to buy some other stuff for him in Idaho last year and he said no, he is going to shoot Barnes. If your gun doesn't like a particular brand then you need to move on or try hand loading that projectile. That is where I am on one of my guns.
By the way the Sportsman's Warehouse in Twin Falls has WAY more non toxic ammo than any store I have been in in Ca. Why? They don't have any rules that require it.
 


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