Monday, September 06, 2010

.30-30 (.30 WCF) Premium Bullet Tests (part 2) by Josef A. Riekers

First - let me describe the second part of the test. The Buffalo Bore advertising mentions that it could shoot through several deer, and there's no reason to doubt that. On the internet you can find speculation regarding how each of these cartridges would do on moose or elk or bear. I put out one shoulder of the cow, propped up with the hoof in the air, against the back half of the body. This would represent the approximate thickness of meat needed to get ot the vitals on elk or moose as well as the shoulder bone. I backed off to 75 yards and fired a Buffalo Bore 190 gr load and a Speer 170 gr load. Both exited completely and burried themselves in the rumen. I couldn't dig the bullets out but I could see how far they went. A rough measurement of penetration is Buffalo Bore - 28"-30" and Speer 26"-28". Clearly either would make it into an elk or moose's vitals with at least one full lung and embedment in the other on a broadside shot.

Now the WOUND CHANNELS - The first 10.5" is head (skull).

The Hornady LE 160 gr-
The wound channel starts immediately with a significant "V" from the entry hole to where the bullet came to rest. The area along the bullet path that was destroyed was about 4 times the bullets biggest diameter at rest. The jacket and core completely seperated and the core was 1.5" in front of the jacket.

The Grizzly Hawk 170 gr-
The wound channel starts around 3" and instantly creates a square about 4 times bigger than the final biggest diameter (which is 2/3 bigger than the Hornady so keep that in perspective when figuring out how big the path was). The jacket and core seperated and the core was 2.5" ahead of and to the right of the jacket.

The Speer 170 gr Hot Core FP-
The wound channel starts around 5" into the skull, and it exits the skull a little smaller than it's final size. From the hole it looks like in 10 inches it expanded a little more than half of what it was going to. Don't forget it went another 10" in meat. The wound channel is a narrow hole for 5 inches, an oval for another 10 inches and the remaining 5 inches or so is a triangle about 1 inch in diameter.

The Buffalo Bore Hawk 190 gr -
The wound channel starts pretty quick. It shows expansion after just 3.5", and has to be the lead nose flattening out and becoming a larger metplat when it hit the initial skull on entry. The channel remains tubular and about 2" in diameter for most of the length of penetration. The last few inches increase to just over 3" in diameter.


It is interesting that each of these bullets does something outside the picture painted by their respective maker/promoter. Andy at Hawk thought the 170 gr used by Grizzly would expand quick and penetrate little to moderate with exit wounds unlikely. This was a tough test for this bullet, much tougher than an average whitetail deer - which the bullet was intended for. I think it would exit on a whitetail as much as it would stay in. In regards to the 190 gr used by Buffalo Bore their was a notion that it wouldn't expand much at all and would penetrate enormously. It did expand and penetrated more than enough to get to the vitals of any animal around here. Speer kind of down-played their bullet as an average performer for "deer sized game". It ends up that even at a modest velocity it hold together well and penetrates unbelievably. In fact, this I will now only take shoulder shots on deer with this bullet because I just can't figure how it would get any expansion with a behind the leg shot in all soft tissue. Hornady never came out and said where/what class of animals there bullet was for. However, in their advertising, internet and in magazine article and TV shows they sponsor the LE 30-30 has been used on bears, big mule deer and elk. Frankly, the amount of penetration I've seen in actual hunting use and in this test and other bullet performance factors set the setting for a good deer bullet that would get the job done on shoulder shots. I personally would not have confidence to use it on an elk or moose at any range and the bears would have to be smallish and close for me to have faith.

If you reload Speer Hot Core FP 170 gr's at around 2100 fps I think you'd be able to win a confrontation with a grizzly and you should have confidence on a fairly large animal at close range.

If you knew you'd be in bear country and wanted some extra insurance when moving around hiking, horseback riding or four-wheeling the Buffalo Bore do have an edge. If you take a head shot or double shoulder shot at close range it looks like you will get expansion and penetration. The expansion was a little more than the Speer and the wound channels damaged more area than the Speer overall. The 2 inches less penetration with the Buffalo Bore compared to the Speer is probably less of a contributing factor to quick incapacitation than the effect of the larger wound channel the Buffalo Bore makes. At over $59.76 per box of 20 it is cheap insurance if you have a real potential to need every edge you can get. I'd determine the point of impact with a 5 shot group and hang on to the remaining 15 for loading up in bear country or to use on a moose or elk at close range. NOTE - They grouped into the same spot as Hornady LE ammo from our rifle - and they were less than 3" from the sight-in ammo of Speer and Grizzly.

If you prefer a behind the leg double lung shot on deer and can shoot them accurately to 175 yds the Grizzly Cartridge load would benefit you. The penetration and expansion resulted in a wound channel that would literally shred both lungs on a medium sized deer and very likely put it down on the spot. If you did hit a bone I believe you'd still have enough penetration to take both lungs even if the bullet doesn't exit.
For $52.95 a box of 20 I'd use them if you were taking your 30-30 on an outfitted deer hunt where you could take a good trophy for some fee. If it is accurate enough in your rifle, it could mean the differenc between getting your buck in the truck now and waiting until morning to look for him.

The Speer bullets are $26.99 per 100. Unfortunately they are not going to make this one anymore - switching to their "Deep Curl" 170 gr bullet. You can load a box of ammo with new brass for $16.46. If you already have brass it could be as little as $8.76 for 20. This load will do on medium bears and elk at close range. It is a little hard for soft tissue shots on deer. I'd use them on deer at 100 yds or so with a center of shoulder hold and expect an exit wound, and hopefully an obvious blood trail. I have mixed feelings about these on deer because they are pretty tough. They would be ideal for hogs, especially bigger ones of 200 lbs or more.

Hornady LE ammo continues to underwhelm me. In this study it's not the best in penetration, expansion, accuracy, wound channel or price. The price is very reasonable though at $23.95 per box of 20. It can't hurt to try it and some folks get great accuracy. If your gun shoots it tight and you are hunting deer, or antelope or coyotes, any critter 200 pounds for less it is a viable option that should be explored.

If you want to know what I think is the best for whitetail deer, I'll go with the Winchester Silver Tip Supreme 150 grain (the black bullet with the white plastic tip). This bullet penetrates, expands and caused a lot of damage while being very accurate in factory cartridges and reloads. It can handle a shoulder shot but excels at lung shots. For black bears I would use the 170 grain Rem Core-Lokt or Nosler Partition based on their track record in my extensive client data.

-Josef A. Riekers-


Pawpaw said...

Hey, Hobie.

Email Junior. He says you emailed him and it got stuck in his spam box and some fool deleted it.

Hobie said...