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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was the last weekend of regular deer season, saturday night. A long time member of the deer lease drives up to the camp, and backs his truck up to the scales. That is usually a sure sign that there is a deer in the back of the truck. They get the doe weighed and are stringing it up to skin when I walk out there.

As the skinning of the deer proceeds, there are a few of us standing around helping and watching. The topic turns to the cost of ammunition and bullet performance.

Like a lot of hunters, I tend to buy the cheapest ammo on the shelf - and that is usually Remington Core-Lokt. Over the past 14,,,, 15+ years Core-Lokt is about all that I have bought and shot deer with. During that time I have had no complaints. There is usually a hole going in and a larger hole going out.

The guy who shot the doe goes on to talk about Remington Core-Lokt and how he has since switched to Winchester softpoints. The rifle the guy used was a 270,,,, I dont remember the exact make or model. After talking for a little while, the person who shot the deer said that he has not been happy with the performance of the Remington Core-Lokt lately and that he felt it may not be expanding like it should. So he switched to the Winchester softpoints.

I can say one thing about the doe that was being skinned, there was a massive amount of bruising, bleeding and tissue damage. It was like the whole area where the bullet went through had residual damage to the surrendering tissue.

Doing a mental comparison of the deer that was shot with a 270 and Winchester softpoints, and the deer that my son took a couple of years ago with a Marlin 30-30 and Remington Core-Lokt - the 270 caused more tissue damage - both rifles were shooting 150 grain bullet. The 270 travels at a higher velocity then the 30-30, but the 30-30 is a larger in diameter bullet.

Then there is a buddy of mine that shoots a 308 and only shoots Winchester Silvertips - which can get a "little" expensive. He feels that his 308 rifle gives the best accuracy with Winchester silvertip as compared to anything else. Let say that your rifle gives 1.2 inches groups at 100 yards with cheap ammo, and .75 inch groups at 100 yards with expensive ammo. Is the $20 dollar price difference really worth it?
 

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This is the best reason to start reloading, once you have the brass and press and dies your cost per round will be much cheaper and you can use premium bullets. And let me say there is great satisfaction making a round that out shoots anything you have purchased over the counter. You might find that inch or so rifle can become a 1/2 moa rifle and you did it all yourself! Its a great hobby I hope you consider giving it a try.
 

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For that tiny difference in accuracy, the $20 price difference probably isn't worth it if you're hunting deer. It is probably worth it if you demand more out of your bullet than the typical broadside 100 yd shot on a 150lb Whitetail, like hunting elk, or where you're likely to have only angled shots.

In the great scheme of things, ammo is probably the cheapest part of hunting, and it's even cheaper if you reload. However, in the hunting fields, bullet construction matters a whole lot more than incremental gains in accuracy, so I don't try to eke out the last millimeter of accuracy.

I load the Nosler Partition bullet for everything except varmints. It is not typically the most accurate bullet in any of my rifles, but it is always acceptably accurate, and always performs perfectly when it hits. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than generic Win or Fed softpoints, but not that much more, and I don't have to worry about bullet failure.

As to Winchester softpoints v. Core-Lokts, my experience matches yours: the Winchesters definitely seem "softer". Going significantly faster (.270 v. .30-30) would magnify that difference. For an "eatin' deer", the less bloodshot meat the better. Bloodshot meat is pretty much just dog food.
 

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Put in for an antelope tag sometime. Bring lots of ammo:).
No less that 5-6 boxes. Seriously, most guy get humbled antelope
hunting the first few times and always note on how much ammo they burn. And you haven't seen blood-shot till you see a bad hit on an antelope with a 300 Weatherby. They're always running faster and further out than you think. Gets you ready for general big game season...

I use the same rifle and ammo for everything. 30-06
165 Hornady Innerlock, all handrolled.

I picked up 1K of '68 LC Match brass
and sorted em into exact lots fully prepped, fire formed. Off the
bench it will put 5 shots in 1 hole...My theory is that success favors the prepared. I practice with milsurp bullets which are pretty close to
my hunting loads, I never fail to fill my tags if I practice regularly.
I couldn't afford to practice if I used factory ammo at todays prices.

I don't know anyone that shoots factory ammo, eveyone I know handloads, but wallyworld sell ammo by the pallet so a lot of guys use it. Cheap ammo isn't worth the risk in the field. I have seen poor bullet performance esp on elk. MM
 

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I've been using Hornady 130gr & 140gr out of my 270 Win Vanguard for years. The new Superformance is even more accurate than the Custom I was using. The SST bullet when placed behind the shoulder makes a small hole in and a not too much bigger one exiting. The only thing ruined is the stuff between the ribcage. You can pretty much pour it out when field dressing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This past weekend my nephew took a doe - it was youth season here in Texas, anyone 16 and under could use any legal means to take a deer. He was using a Remington model 7 shooting 150 grain Remington core-lokt in 308 winchester.

When the bullet exited, part of the lung tissue went with the bullet and was laying on the opposite side of the entry point. The doe made it about 15 feet and hit the ground.
 

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It may depend on where you hunt also, if you hunt in areas were game may be taken at 100 yds or less, the ammo accuracy would not be worth the price. If you live in area were the common shot is 200 + yds, the more expensive ammo would be a better call if you needed to fill an out of state $500 tag. I reload my own and till buy some expensive bullets to test with, some are worth the extra and some are not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For what we do here in East Texas, with shots in the 100 yard,,, maybe 150 yard range, I think I'am gonna stick to Remington core-lokt and maybe some federal and winchester on the side.
 

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I have used Core-lock ammo in all my rifles without a hitch. I have taken elk, deer, bear, and pronghorn a from distances of 50 yards to 300 yards and never had any issue with performance. the .30 cal 150 grain Remington in an .06 or .308 are great deer bullets, they open up readily and kill quickly. They are my preferred round for blacktail deer here in the PNW. On the eastern side of the state I usually use something heavier because of the slim chance that I might see a solid buck mule deer, even then a 165 core-lock is sufficient. Elk I use a .225 or 250 grainer in a .338 because with the brush and terrain, they don't always stand around for an ideal shot. I like a bullet to drive deep, expand well, and shorten the run of a big animal. 130 or 140 grain Core-lock in my 7mm-08 does a fantastic job on deer and pronghorns out to some good distances. Hornady is good ammo but I like the ability to find ammo in remote areas if I happen to "forget" to bring it on a trip. Remington seems to available most everywhere.
 
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