Under the ‘Reliable Rifles’ category I described the rifle under the post “My one ‘do-it-all’ non-DG rifle”. This post is about the bullets I use in my Voere .30-06 Ackley, with a 1:220mm (8.67”) twist rate.
The local hunting association got hold of some of the first-generation Barnes-X bullets at a decent price, apparently after PMP had tried it out and decided to not load it into their commercial ammunition. I bought a good stock of .308 caliber 180gr and 200gr Barnes-X. I also stocked up on Rhino Solid Shank 220gr (the maximum weight in .308 cal. at that stage was 200gr but Rhino agreed to make a batch of 220gr, which subsequently became a standard item), as well as on Steward and Claw 250gr (both are bonded bullets). With Somchem S365 propellant the approximate MV of the 200gr is 2530fps, the 220gr 2380fps, the 250gr 2280fps (in testing I got about 50fps higher in each case but started seeing ‘pressure signs’). Have not tested the 180gr yet …. . I recently bought some Norma MRP and Vv N560 – so far the MRP is accurate and shows potential to increase MVs at lower pressure.
I started hunting with the 200gr Barnes-X 20 years ago for everything and it simply worked so have never changed. Not yet needed a second shot. I have only ever recovered three bullets, all from large bodied blue wildebeests (up to 141kg / 310 lbs carcass thus I guess about 280kg / 620 lbs live weight). Full 2x expansion (16.5mm / 0.65“). Two still weighed 200gr and one 192gr (96%) after losing a petal (having struck big ribs at both sides, from about 80 meters). All the others exited -- obviously I don’t really know whether they had expanded or not, but from the exit holes it did appear so. On a large blesbuck ram (estimated live weight about 180lbs) at 210 meters / 230 yds, quartering to, hit on the right front shoulder, the bullet exited just ahead of the left hip but a piece of petal remained snagged in the exit hole so it seemed to have expanded at that distance / lower impact velocity, although of course it did hit bone at entry.
The 220gr Rhinos have given amazing accuracy (during load development the average of four consecutive 3-shot groups, with different charges of S365, was under ½ MOA). Still want to hunt an eland -- will do some penetration testing of the four options on my shelf (five, including the 250gr Steward), perhaps the 220gr Rhino might be better for the eland even though the 200gr Barnes-X has worked very well on large blue wildebeest. I suspect the 250gr bullets, even though bonded and at slower impact velocity, might expand more thus penetrate less than the monolithic Barnes-X and the solid shank Rhino. Once I’ve done some penetration testing I’ll post the results here. The others will have to be impressive to make me switch from the Barnes-X 200gr …..
See pictures of the bullets, from left to right the 180gr and 200gr Barnes-X, 220gr Rhino (and sectioned), 250gr Claw (250gr Steward not shown – slightly less blunt nose than Claw). Also pictures of the three recovered 200gr Barnes-X.