The .308 Winchester for Long Range

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by SPEEDY » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:30 am

I ran a 168gn Nosler partition, because it worked up close and out far.
But it always worked.

I had a mate running a 250gn TSX in the 338 because the sample in the shop looked so good, but damn it was a disaster.
The 250gn lapis scenar on the other hand was awesome.
I've run the 168gn Amax for a while and it's good but doesn't get any LR use these days.
I like the 165gn-168gn range in the 308, it's the best match of velocity, SD and weight IMO.


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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by stokesrj » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:09 am

I’m surprised you got any expansion at all out of a Nosler Partition at 800 yards. I had failure to expand at 565 yards with the 165 Nosler Partition from my 30-06 on a Desert bighorn. It produced a slow kill with just a caliber sized hole through both lungs.
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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by SPEEDY » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:34 am

Typo sorry, that's what I'm running now. :oops:

I ment the 168gn Nosler BT, not the accubonds but plain Jane BT.
I also used the 165's but switched for a tad more BC.
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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by stokesrj » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:52 am

Ah, that makes more sense.
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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by SPEEDY » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:59 am

All that talk of moonshine has me drinking it. :dance:
I'm soft and I don't care. :dance:

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by secondtry » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:49 pm

SPEEDY wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:34 am
Typo sorry, that's what I'm running now. :oops:
I ment the 168gn Nosler BT, not the accubonds but plain Jane BT.
I also used the 165's but switched for a tad more BC.
I'm a big BT fan, for the right target, but have never used them past 330 yards. Expansion was tapering off at that distance, so I think you did well to get them them to work at 800. Not a fan of Barnes either, for the reasons that you describe.

I'll be starting with the 168TMK in my 308 project and also trying the 195 TMK. The TMKs have a slightly thicker jacket than the Amax/ELDM and will reportedly expand decisively at 1600fps impact velocity; and less decisively down to 1400/1500, although I think I would aim for 1600.

I like the 150BT in the 308 for 100/200 lb animals, but it is not a long range bullet. We also need to keep in mind that modern measuring equipment and techniques have shown the quoted BCs for most BTs to be around 10% optimistic. Makes a difference when ranges extend.

SPEEDY wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:59 am
All that talk of moonshine has me drinking it. :dance:
Should be few stills in the area you live in now. Mind you, for some one with your trade skills, a still wouldn't be too hard to organise. :lol:

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by Corjack » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:39 pm

I think a Hornady 178 ELD X might be a happy medium. Elk size to 400, deer size to about 600.
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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by Blasernovice » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:15 pm

My friend uses the 178 eld-M in his 308 out to 700ish yards. He prefers them to the 178eld-x or the 168 versions.

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by stokesrj » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:26 am

I’ve shot a couple of hogs with the 178 ELD-X. They did a good job, but not noticeably different than the 168 ELD Match. I haven’t yet made up my mind but will continue to look at them.
To be honest, I’m still trying to reconcile “splattery” bullets, (thanks for that term Secondtry) compared to my long held prejudice against them in favor of controlled expansion bullets. It seems I may have been wrong.
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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by SPEEDY » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:49 am

At long range the more "splattery" bullets act more like a standard bullet due to the reduced velocity.

Those ELD-X® seem pretty similar to an Amax, maybe a different tip, but otherwise very similar IMO.
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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by secondtry » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:06 am

[/quote]
Blasernovice wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:15 pm
My friend uses the 178 eld-M in his 308 out to 700ish yards. He prefers them to the 178eld-x or the 168 versions.
That's good info. I can understand why he would find the 178 ELDM superior to the 178 ELDX, but surely an extra 10gns of bullet weight, all else being equal, wouldn't make much difference in the case of the 168 ELDM vs the 178ELDM ? Step up to 190/195 with equivalent construction and I get it, but only 10 grains ?

stokesrj wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:26 am
I’ve shot a couple of hogs with the 178 ELD-X. They did a good job, but not noticeably different than the 168 ELD Match. I haven’t yet made up my mind but will continue to look at them.
To be honest, I’m still trying to reconcile “splattery” bullets, (thanks for that term Secondtry) compared to my long held prejudice against them in favor of controlled expansion bullets. It seems I may have been wrong.
I think the wheel is turning full circle on splattery bullets Bob. Back in the day, bullets were soft when we didn't want them to be soft, and we simply had to make do. The pre Interlok hornadys for one certainly disappointed me with their lack of integrity. Then bullet makers got smarter and the various controlled expansion offerings came along - sometimes far too controlled, especially at low impact velocities.

Now we are at the point where cartridges of modest power, such as the 308 can be made far more effective, in some circumstances, by the selective use of very soft bullets, LR being a perfect example.

There have always been good uses for splattery bullets, but those uses have often been in only narrow circumstances, and unthinking users went outside those narrow circumstances, possibly through lack of information, and achieved unsatisfactory results.

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by stokesrj » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:18 pm

Yes, I agree there is a circle of thought and experiences that lead me to bullet selections. My entire hunting career has been one big cycle taking me along various paths driven by punctuations of disappointments among many successes. It just takes so long to fully grasp what is going on. This is a long diatribe but if you are willing to stay with me, I'll share how I came to the conclusions I have.

I started out using conventional cup and core bullets at modest velocities, what most people I hunted with used back then in the 60's and 70's. Most notably was my Marlin 336 30-30 using Winchester 170 grain Silver Tips. I killed many deer with this combination as a teenager but when I was ready to leave home, I took two rifles my Dad gave me, a Remington 660 in 243 and a Sako L57 in 308. I was leaving thick forests and white tail deer driven by dogs of my native Florida and moving to the more open country of Colorado.

It was there in Northern Colorado in 1974 that I experienced for the first time what I thought was a bullet failure. My very first Antelope I shot with that .243 using a 100 grain Remington Core-Lokt bullet. It was about a 200 yard dead broadside shot straight to the shoulder muscles. The antelope ran as though not hit along a vertical dirt embankment. I emptied the gun at him running and could clearly see each miss in the dirt bank behind him. Far behind him at first and then almost catching up but not quite. He died in full run and went head over heels a short distance further as I watched with an empty gun. As I approached the downed antelope I could see the glint of the jacket in the entry wound and upon dressing him found the remainder of the lead core lodged in the opposite side of the rib cage. I was disgusted with the slow death of the antelope, and the story of Bob Nosler inventing the Nosler Partition bullet after his 300 Holland Magnum failed to penetrate the shoulder of a big bull moose came vividly to the forefront of my thoughts. I switched to premium bullets exclusively in my mind right then and there with the Nosler Partition being my bullet of choice. However as you can see later I lacked the means and conviction to stick with that resolution.

Three years later without any further bullet failures found me lying prone on a mountainside in the Brooks Range of Alaska looking at a full curl dall sheep over the open sights of a Winchester model 70 243. I had borrowed this rifle from a missionary in Bettles Alaska along with the remainder of a box of Remington factory loads she had bought with the rifle when it was new. It had been fired three times to insure it would work but never sighted in. I shot one shot at a rock about 200 yards away and noted that it shot a little high but was otherwise dead on. Not yet learning my lesson about using high velocity rifles and cup and core bullets I shot this sheep, you guessed it, in the center of the muscle mass of the shoulder. He and his four buddies left their beds on a run but the four buddies stopped on the next ridge looking back. So I knew the ram I had shot was down. I eased up over the ridge and was surprised to see my ram bedded but head up and alert. I could see a blood spot on his shoulder but he showed no sign of expiring. So, I shot him again, dead center of the shoulder. He got up and stumbled to the next ridge and stopped to look back at me so I shot him in the shoulder again and again. By now he was limping along, his white coat soaked with blood, so I ran up beside him and shot him in the rib cage at point blank range. That shot was the only one that made it into his vitals.

The next fall found me on the Susitna River, near the headwaters at the Susitna Glacier in central Alaska. Again I found myself using a borrowed rifle without even knowing what bullet was in the chamber. I was hunting with a friend who had a caribou tag and I had a moose tag. We had spotted a herd of caribou on a ridge with two creek valleys to cross so I left my rifle at camp and was carrying only a pack frame and meat sacks when we jumped a big bull moose out of the second creek bottom slough. He was a real nice bull, 69" wide and very heavily muscled. My friend handed me his let handed Remington Model 700 30-06 and said shoot him. I did right through the shoulder, the bull was standing dead broadside at about 50 yards, he took a step forward, began to sway, and toppled over. I asked my friend what bullet he had in the chamber, and to my surprise he said 180 grain Remington Core-Lokt. He went on to get his caribou and I began skinning, quartering and hanging the moose meet. When I got the shoulder off I was surprised to find a golf ball size hole entering the chest cavity and even more surprised to find a golf ball sized exit the opposite side of the chest cavity. I found the bullet in the opposite shoulder just prior to making it through the muscle. The bullet had lost most of it's core yet had made it through more than 24" of heavy muscle. If I had known he had a standard cup and core bullet in the chamber I would have taken a rear lung shot instead of a shoulder shot based upon my two prior Core-Lokt failures. But as was evidenced here those standard cup and core bullets will do the job well if they are of sufficient mass, and impact velocity isn't excessive. I later learned that those 180 Core-lokt loads are indeed modest at just 2600 fps.

For the next ten years or so I used mostly Nosler Partition bullets in 30 caliber fired from my 308 and 30-06 in 165, 180 and 200 grain weights with complete satisfaction on everything from little coues deer to elk and moose, they did a fine job. Then in 1986, I was drawn for a coveted Desert Bighorn tag and once again found myself lying prone behind my Steyr Mannlicher Model M Professional 30-06 loaded with Nosler 165 grain partitions. The ram was at 565 yards as measured by my optical range finder, this was before laser range finders were available. I had two friends with me both with spotting scopes watching the ram. There was no way to get closer and there was no wind so I decided on a holdover and took my first shot. Both spotters said the same, no hit seen. I fired again and one of them said you must be hitting him I see blood on his shoulder. I fired again and this time he walked forward with a stiff leg and one of the spotters said he saw blood running down his leg. I fired twice more and the ram simply walked over and laid down against a bolder. He layed in such a way that the only shot I had would be his head and I didn't want to risk messing it up. So, we waited and waited, until finally his head lowered slowly until he lay still. I don't know how long it took perhaps a minute maybe more but I detest seeing an animal suffer and was not happy.

As I dressed the sheep we found five holes through his chest, all pencil sized indicating a complete failure to expand. I may as well have been shooting full metal jacket bullets. This surprised me because I knew the nosler partition had a soft lead core in the front half and a much harder rear core to help it retain weight. All the previous bullets I had managed to recover typically fully expanded and shed the front core to the partition but I had never shot an animal with one this far before, only targets.

I now had experienced failures at both end of the spectrum, fragmenting bullets at high impact velocities and premium controlled expansion bullets at low impact velocities. But I didn't yet understand.

I began using the 165 grain Nosler solid base bullet (the predecessor of the ballistic tip) in my 30-06 on lighter game, coues deer, antelope, and mule deer and reserved the partition for heavier game such as elk. This worked well and produced noticeably faster kills especially with rear lung shots at 300-400 yards. They did a really good job until one day a stalk went bad on a coues deer that had fed closer to me than I expected as I climbed the back side of a mountain. I wound up jumping him and shooting him running away at a steep quartering angle that required the bullet to enter his right ham and penetrate the paunch to reach his vitals. The deer went down at the shot, but laid there with his head up and alert. I took a rest and shot him in the neck so he didn't suffer any longer.

As I dressed this little coues deer buck, probably less than 100 pounds, I found the bullet had not reached his vitals at all. The only piece of the bullet I could find larger than birdshot was the very base of the bullet for which it got its name. Penetration was less than 14" and a complete failure to reach the vitals, even the liver.

I was dismayed but thought ok now I know the route to go, I'll use a dual load solution, a soft bullet for long range broad side shots and a tough bullet for close range or raking shots. By this time the solid base bullet was discontinued and replaced by the ballistic tip. So this was what I loaded the 165 grain Nosler Partition in the chamber and magazine and the 165 grain Ballistic Tip in reserve to be used at long range and rear lung shots only.

Luckily for me these two bullets shot to the same point of aim at 100 yards and even though the partition began to shed velocity more quickly than the ballistic tip they were close enough to the same out to 300 yards. I practiced solely with the ballistic tip at long range and used them decisively for a few years. They worked well if you understood their limitations and chose shot placements accordingly. But shot placements aren't always guaranteed at long range missed wind calls resulted in both center shots at or behind the diaphragm and shoulder shots. The rear shots resulted in wide messy wounds, but relatively quick kills. And a few times on shoulder shots the bullet spent most of its energy on the shoulder muscle leaving little payload to destroy the vital organs, resulting in slower than desired kills. Usually though these animals still went down within sight and none were lost. Still I wasn't satisfied.

My four sons all took their first deer with a little Remington Model 7 in .243 and I thought it would be a good thing for me to shoot one with it too. Then we could say that all the men in our family had killed a deer with that rifle. I chose the Nosler 100 grain partition which had performed well for them and recalling my previous failures with the .243 I wanted to use a stoutly constructed bullet.

I located a coues deer buck feeding on a south facing slope in the Sierra Ancha Mountains of central Arizona, made a stalk to within 275 yards but at a very steep 25 degree uphill angle. I found a comfortable position using a boulder for a rest steadied for the shot. I held tight behind the shoulder and center between the back and belly line, knowing the bullet would drop a little over 3 inches and put it on a path through the center of the lungs. At the shot the deer ran forward and around the mountain out of sight. I saw no visual indication of a hit but heard the impact clearly.

When I arrived at the spot the deer was standing at the shot, I found only a few strands of hair, no blood. Unusual for this time of year it had rained heavily the previous day, softening the normally hard packed ground just enough I could see the deer's hoof prints in the soil. I tracked him for a hundred yards or more to where he had ran out of sight without finding a drop of blood, but fortunately he was following a trail. Continuing tracking another hundred yards I found him lying in the middle of the trail. I rolled him over and examined him looking for the bullet hole but found it hard to locate. Finally a small tuft of hair betrayed the location of the entry hole just below my point of aim. The bullet angled upward and exited high behind the opposite shoulder. Upon opening his chest cavity the lungs had a very small diameter hole though both lobes, the bullet had entered and exited between ribs on both sides and evidence indicated no expansion at all. I'm at a loss to say why this was, this bullet has performed flawlessly on several similar shots.

Since that time which is now over 20 years ago I haven't personally experienced any bullet failures, but I use them differently, more thoughtfully and with the experiences I've gained along the way, more carefully. It seems to be working.

I have continued to use a variety bullets over the years, monolithic bullets, highly frangible bullets, and controlled expansion bullets of many makes and sizes. I don't claim to know what works 100% of the time but I think I'm starting to get a picture of what works most of the time under most situations and how to use each design most favorably and how to mostly avoid past mistakes.

Now, when using a monolithic bullet I keep my ranges short, 300 yards or less, and place a high shoulder shot to break both shoulders and the spine if possible. This almost always produces a DRT kill. If using a controlled expansion bullet like a Nosler Accubond, Hornady Interbond, Nosler Partition or similar to place it through both shoulders if possible. If I'm shooting long range I want a highly frangible bullet and try to place it behind the shoulders and through both lungs if possible.

Where once I scoffed at the use of target bullets such as the A-Max or current ELD Match, I now am more appreciative of their superior performance at truly long range, and very careful about placement at shorter ranges. I understand it is important that the bullet fragment to create a wide wound channel but to give it the best chance to create that wide wound in the vitals I avoid heavy muscle if possible. Ideally I want it to go through only the ribcage and then fragment violently.

These are my thoughts today, they may change some more if I live long enough to gain more knowledge.
Robert J Stokes

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by SPEEDY » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:55 pm

stokesrj wrote: My entire hunting career has been one big cycle taking me along various paths driven by punctuations of disappointments among many successes. It just takes so long to fully grasp what is going on.


These are my thoughts today, they may change some more if I live long enough to gain more knowledge.
Those two little paragraphs pretty much sum up life itself pretty damn well.
If we only new then what we know now. :doh: :lol:
I'm soft and I don't care. :dance:

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Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by Rod » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:38 am

:handgestures-thumbup:
stokesrj wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:18 pm
Yes, I agree there is a circle of thought and experiences that lead me to bullet selections. My entire hunting career has been one big cycle taking me along various paths driven by punctuations of disappointments among many successes. It just takes so long to fully grasp what is going on. This is a long diatribe but if you are willing to stay with me, I'll share how I came to the conclusions I have.

I started out using conventional cup and core bullets at modest velocities, what most people I hunted with used back then in the 60's and 70's. Most notably was my Marlin 336 30-30 using Winchester 170 grain Silver Tips. I killed many deer with this combination as a teenager but when I was ready to leave home, I took two rifles my Dad gave me, a Remington 660 in 243 and a Sako L57 in 308. I was leaving thick forests and white tail deer driven by dogs of my native Florida and moving to the more open country of Colorado.

It was there in Northern Colorado in 1974 that I experienced for the first time what I thought was a bullet failure. My very first Antelope I shot with that .243 using a 100 grain Remington Core-Lokt bullet. It was about a 200 yard dead broadside shot straight to the shoulder muscles. The antelope ran as though not hit along a vertical dirt embankment. I emptied the gun at him running and could clearly see each miss in the dirt bank behind him. Far behind him at first and then almost catching up but not quite. He died in full run and went head over heels a short distance further as I watched with an empty gun. As I approached the downed antelope I could see the glint of the jacket in the entry wound and upon dressing him found the remainder of the lead core lodged in the opposite side of the rib cage. I was disgusted with the slow death of the antelope, and the story of Bob Nosler inventing the Nosler Partition bullet after his 300 Holland Magnum failed to penetrate the shoulder of a big bull moose came vividly to the forefront of my thoughts. I switched to premium bullets exclusively in my mind right then and there with the Nosler Partition being my bullet of choice. However as you can see later I lacked the means and conviction to stick with that resolution.

Three years later without any further bullet failures found me lying prone on a mountainside in the Brooks Range of Alaska looking at a full curl dall sheep over the open sights of a Winchester model 70 243. I had borrowed this rifle from a missionary in Bettles Alaska along with the remainder of a box of Remington factory loads she had bought with the rifle when it was new. It had been fired three times to insure it would work but never sighted in. I shot one shot at a rock about 200 yards away and noted that it shot a little high but was otherwise dead on. Not yet learning my lesson about using high velocity rifles and cup and core bullets I shot this sheep, you guessed it, in the center of the muscle mass of the shoulder. He and his four buddies left their beds on a run but the four buddies stopped on the next ridge looking back. So I knew the ram I had shot was down. I eased up over the ridge and was surprised to see my ram bedded but head up and alert. I could see a blood spot on his shoulder but he showed no sign of expiring. So, I shot him again, dead center of the shoulder. He got up and stumbled to the next ridge and stopped to look back at me so I shot him in the shoulder again and again. By now he was limping along, his white coat soaked with blood, so I ran up beside him and shot him in the rib cage at point blank range. That shot was the only one that made it into his vitals.

The next fall found me on the Susitna River, near the headwaters at the Susitna Glacier in central Alaska. Again I found myself using a borrowed rifle without even knowing what bullet was in the chamber. I was hunting with a friend who had a caribou tag and I had a moose tag. We had spotted a herd of caribou on a ridge with two creek valleys to cross so I left my rifle at camp and was carrying only a pack frame and meat sacks when we jumped a big bull moose out of the second creek bottom slough. He was a real nice bull, 69" wide and very heavily muscled. My friend handed me his let handed Remington Model 700 30-06 and said shoot him. I did right through the shoulder, the bull was standing dead broadside at about 50 yards, he took a step forward, began to sway, and toppled over. I asked my friend what bullet he had in the chamber, and to my surprise he said 180 grain Remington Core-Lokt. He went on to get his caribou and I began skinning, quartering and hanging the moose meet. When I got the shoulder off I was surprised to find a golf ball size hole entering the chest cavity and even more surprised to find a golf ball sized exit the opposite side of the chest cavity. I found the bullet in the opposite shoulder just prior to making it through the muscle. The bullet had lost most of it's core yet had made it through more than 24" of heavy muscle. If I had known he had a standard cup and core bullet in the chamber I would have taken a rear lung shot instead of a shoulder shot based upon my two prior Core-Lokt failures. But as was evidenced here those standard cup and core bullets will do the job well if they are of sufficient mass, and impact velocity isn't excessive. I later learned that those 180 Core-lokt loads are indeed modest at just 2600 fps.

For the next ten years or so I used mostly Nosler Partition bullets in 30 caliber fired from my 308 and 30-06 in 165, 180 and 200 grain weights with complete satisfaction on everything from little coues deer to elk and moose, they did a fine job. Then in 1986, I was drawn for a coveted Desert Bighorn tag and once again found myself lying prone behind my Steyr Mannlicher Model M Professional 30-06 loaded with Nosler 165 grain partitions. The ram was at 565 yards as measured by my optical range finder, this was before laser range finders were available. I had two friends with me both with spotting scopes watching the ram. There was no way to get closer and there was no wind so I decided on a holdover and took my first shot. Both spotters said the same, no hit seen. I fired again and one of them said you must be hitting him I see blood on his shoulder. I fired again and this time he walked forward with a stiff leg and one of the spotters said he saw blood running down his leg. I fired twice more and the ram simply walked over and laid down against a bolder. He layed in such a way that the only shot I had would be his head and I didn't want to risk messing it up. So, we waited and waited, until finally his head lowered slowly until he lay still. I don't know how long it took perhaps a minute maybe more but I detest seeing an animal suffer and was not happy.

As I dressed the sheep we found five holes through his chest, all pencil sized indicating a complete failure to expand. I may as well have been shooting full metal jacket bullets. This surprised me because I knew the nosler partition had a soft lead core in the front half and a much harder rear core to help it retain weight. All the previous bullets I had managed to recover typically fully expanded and shed the front core to the partition but I had never shot an animal with one this far before, only targets.

I now had experienced failures at both end of the spectrum, fragmenting bullets at high impact velocities and premium controlled expansion bullets at low impact velocities. But I didn't yet understand.

I began using the 165 grain Nosler solid base bullet (the predecessor of the ballistic tip) in my 30-06 on lighter game, coues deer, antelope, and mule deer and reserved the partition for heavier game such as elk. This worked well and produced noticeably faster kills especially with rear lung shots at 300-400 yards. They did a really good job until one day a stalk went bad on a coues deer that had fed closer to me than I expected as I climbed the back side of a mountain. I wound up jumping him and shooting him running away at a steep quartering angle that required the bullet to enter his right ham and penetrate the paunch to reach his vitals. The deer went down at the shot, but laid there with his head up and alert. I took a rest and shot him in the neck so he didn't suffer any longer.

As I dressed this little coues deer buck, probably less than 100 pounds, I found the bullet had not reached his vitals at all. The only piece of the bullet I could find larger than birdshot was the very base of the bullet for which it got its name. Penetration was less than 14" and a complete failure to reach the vitals, even the liver.

I was dismayed but thought ok now I know the route to go, I'll use a dual load solution, a soft bullet for long range broad side shots and a tough bullet for close range or raking shots. By this time the solid base bullet was discontinued and replaced by the ballistic tip. So this was what I loaded the 165 grain Nosler Partition in the chamber and magazine and the 165 grain Ballistic Tip in reserve to be used at long range and rear lung shots only.

Luckily for me these two bullets shot to the same point of aim at 100 yards and even though the partition began to shed velocity more quickly than the ballistic tip they were close enough to the same out to 300 yards. I practiced solely with the ballistic tip at long range and used them decisively for a few years. They worked well if you understood their limitations and chose shot placements accordingly. But shot placements aren't always guaranteed at long range missed wind calls resulted in both center shots at or behind the diaphragm and shoulder shots. The rear shots resulted in wide messy wounds, but relatively quick kills. And a few times on shoulder shots the bullet spent most of its energy on the shoulder muscle leaving little payload to destroy the vital organs, resulting in slower than desired kills. Usually though these animals still went down within sight and none were lost. Still I wasn't satisfied.

My four sons all took their first deer with a little Remington Model 7 in .243 and I thought it would be a good thing for me to shoot one with it too. Then we could say that all the men in our family had killed a deer with that rifle. I chose the Nosler 100 grain partition which had performed well for them and recalling my previous failures with the .243 I wanted to use a stoutly constructed bullet.

I located a coues deer buck feeding on a south facing slope in the Sierra Ancha Mountains of central Arizona, made a stalk to within 275 yards but at a very steep 25 degree uphill angle. I found a comfortable position using a boulder for a rest steadied for the shot. I held tight behind the shoulder and center between the back and belly line, knowing the bullet would drop a little over 3 inches and put it on a path through the center of the lungs. At the shot the deer ran forward and around the mountain out of sight. I saw no visual indication of a hit but heard the impact clearly.

When I arrived at the spot the deer was standing at the shot, I found only a few strands of hair, no blood. Unusual for this time of year it had rained heavily the previous day, softening the normally hard packed ground just enough I could see the deer's hoof prints in the soil. I tracked him for a hundred yards or more to where he had ran out of sight without finding a drop of blood, but fortunately he was following a trail. Continuing tracking another hundred yards I found him lying in the middle of the trail. I rolled him over and examined him looking for the bullet hole but found it hard to locate. Finally a small tuft of hair betrayed the location of the entry hole just below my point of aim. The bullet angled upward and exited high behind the opposite shoulder. Upon opening his chest cavity the lungs had a very small diameter hole though both lobes, the bullet had entered and exited between ribs on both sides and evidence indicated no expansion at all. I'm at a loss to say why this was, this bullet has performed flawlessly on several similar shots.

Since that time which is now over 20 years ago I haven't personally experienced any bullet failures, but I use them differently, more thoughtfully and with the experiences I've gained along the way, more carefully. It seems to be working.

I have continued to use a variety bullets over the years, monolithic bullets, highly frangible bullets, and controlled expansion bullets of many makes and sizes. I don't claim to know what works 100% of the time but I think I'm starting to get a picture of what works most of the time under most situations and how to use each design most favorably and how to mostly avoid past mistakes.

Now, when using a monolithic bullet I keep my ranges short, 300 yards or less, and place a high shoulder shot to break both shoulders and the spine if possible. This almost always produces a DRT kill. If using a controlled expansion bullet like a Nosler Accubond, Hornady Interbond, Nosler Partition or similar to place it through both shoulders if possible. If I'm shooting long range I want a highly frangible bullet and try to place it behind the shoulders and through both lungs if possible.

Where once I scoffed at the use of target bullets such as the A-Max or current ELD Match, I now am more appreciative of their superior performance at truly long range, and very careful about placement at shorter ranges. I understand it is important that the bullet fragment to create a wide wound channel but to give it the best chance to create that wide wound in the vitals I avoid heavy muscle if possible. Ideally I want it to go through only the ribcage and then fragment violently.

These are my thoughts today, they may change some more if I live long enough to gain more knowledge.
That's a fairly comprehensive and informative post . Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to post your experiences.

cheers
rod

Central Vic
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:11 am
Location: Australia

Re: The .308 Winchester for Long Range

Post by Central Vic » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:03 am

Thanks for sharing your experiences. As a relative newbie and younger person I still struggle with a lot of aspects of shooting. While I learned to shoot growing up, it was all self taught and there was no technique or thought to it. Just plinking with a 22. The military taught me a little more but not being a front line trade they aren't really interested in training us beyond not hurting ourselves too much.

I'm at a point were my technical skills are limiting what I would like to do, and being the time poor person many of us are today, I find myself looking for technology rather than further practice to overcome hurdles. Last week I managed a quick overnight away to have a look at a new spot for Sambar. I found deer quickly, but being steep thick country the shot was across a gully, initially ranged at just over 400m, with the closest I could get being 370m. I was not comfortable taking the shot as I wasn't confident of my elevation adjustments. I also doubted the ability of my 308, with 168gr ELD-M to make a clean kill. I was frustrated on the way home for not having the tools to make this shot.There was no wind and the deer was standing broadside feeding in the open for about 15 minutes! Initially I thought I should look at getting a magnum and tripod to help make these relatively common longer shots in the steep mountain country easier.

After a few days of reflection, reading your post Robert and through some of Nathan Fosters books I realised that I don't need any extra equipment. I have all the equipment required to make the shot. Thats a crutch. While the 308 doesn't have massive stopping power at those ranges, a well placed shot will get the job done. The only thing lacking is my own training and confidence. Before getting more toys I should master basic skills such as shooting over a backpack at funny angles. I should also know my elevation adjustments for shots out to 400m.

Apart from practice and shooting more, I'm going to drop letters at a few of the local farms and see if I can get permission to use the unproductive steep parts of their farms as a range. Not shooting critters, just paper. I find going to the local range limiting. Its only open fortnightly for a few hours, limited to 200m and perfectly flat. I would prefer to train how I intend to hunt. If anyone knows of anything around the Bendigo region let me know.

I would also be interested to hear how some of the more experienced shooters on this forum practice and have developed their core skills over the years. What rules and drills do you use to keep your basics sharp.

I feel like now, more than ever, we are encouraged to buy more stuff before getting our fundamentals right.

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