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#202654 - 10/16/19 10:18 AM Testing .308 Bullets
Bob Roach
old hand

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 1006
Loc: Missouri Ozarks

I have been wanting to see exactly how much Penetration and Expansion I am getting with my Hunting Handgun Bullets. I almost never recover a bullet in a deer, so I am just guessing at how well the bullet Expanded or what the Penetration Depth would have been at a different angle than broadside.

The formula to convert water penetration depth to 10% Ordinance Gelatin is 1.8. Divide water penetration depth by 1.8 to get the depth in Gelatin. One Gallon Zip Loc Bags are much cheaper and easier to get than Ballistic Gelatin.

I finally got my Fackler Water Box constructed. I constructed this box 5 Feet deep expecting Rifle Bullets to penetrate fairly deeply. I was correct on the depth of the box. I had one bullet stop in the last bag (35 BullBerry 200FTX).
I constructed this Box with a 2" X 12" bottom Base Board, and 2" X 10" Side Boards. After destroying box Number One I regrouped and added two wraps of steel strap all the way around the box front to hold the hydrostatic shock. I also put two pieces of the strapping across the front to stack the bags against. I left about 2.5 Inches to shoot through at center bag. I quickly discovered that it would be hard to over build the box.
The box is designed to hold One Gallon double seal zip loc bags stacked in a row. Shooting Distance was 35 yards.

I killed my 8 point buck last year using my Encore in 7.62x54R with a 125 Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet. The shot was behind the front shoulder and centered vertically. The distance was 100 yards. The deer went 100 yards or so and went down. The thing I was not impressed with was the blood trail. The exit hole was very small. I suspected that the bullet might not have expanded as it did not hit a rib on either side.
That theory was dashed after testing this bullet.

My 7.62x54R would be comparable to a 308 Winchester or 307 Winchester handgun with 15" - 16" barrels.

125 Nosler Ballistic Tip
The Jacket and Core separated. The expanded jacket was folded back almost flat against the bullet base. Penetration was 25" (25"/1.8 = 14")
Expansion was only .41
Retained Bullet Weight was 75 grains.
This changed my theory that the bullet did not expand. If I had hit a rib it probably would not have went completely through the deer only leaving the small entry hole.

150 Nosler Ballistic Tip
This bullet completely disintegrated. I recovered the mangled jacket at a depth of 13" (13"/1.8 = 7.2")
WOW I would never have guessed that a 150 BT would have came apart that badly. My guess would be that long range expansion would be much more impressive.

130 Speer Flat Point (30-30 Bullet)
This bullet seems to have a good reputation with 30-30 Contender Hunters from what I can tell. It's main purpose is as a low recoil 30-30 rifle bullet.
Things are starting to look up with this bullet.
Penetration was 31" (31"/1.8 = 17.22")
Expansion was .485-.490 on the front core with a couple Petals measuring .585.
This bullet is going to Penetrate Deeper and expand less with velocity loss.
Speer 130FP from a 15.75" 30-30AI Velocity 2450 fps
Penetration 39"/1.8= 21.75"
Expansion Core .440-.465 Petals to .530
Still fairly impressive at 30-30AI velocity from 50 yards.

170 Hornady Flat Point (30-30 Bullet)
This bullet did very well. I do not see the Flat Point design being a problem within my normal maximum handgun range of 125 yards. NOTE: My Maximum Range is set by the area where I hunt.
Penetration Depth was 38" (38"/1.8 = 21.1")
Expansion was .560 - .595

150 Nosler Partition
I was hoping for good things out of this bullet.
Penetration Depth 32" (32"/1.8 = 17.77)
Expansion .532 - .660 Expansion was in an Oval and pretty much text book.

From the above results I would rate the 150 Nosler Partition as the best bullet tested. It has a good ballistic profile, expanded well, and penetrated enough that I would not worry about shot angles with it.

For the second best bullet it would be a toss up between the Speer 130FP and the Hornady 170FP taking into consideration that I primarily make broadside behind the shoulder shots at 50 thru 125 yards. I believe either will get the job done well. The 170's penetration depth of 21.1" would be better for raking shots. The 130's penetration depth of 17.2" would indicate to me that it might expand a little quicker for broadside "meat saver" shots.

Is my testing method perfect? NO
It does however give me an idea of what to expect from the bullets tested.

Bob R
See You At The Range

#202655 - 10/16/19 11:43 AM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: Bob Roach]
old hand

Registered: 11/27/15
Posts: 746

Interesting results. Accurate or not it is always nice to have some kind of reference or idea about loads and especially bullets.

#202661 - 10/16/19 05:13 PM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: cherokeetracker]
Distinguished Expert

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 4686
Loc: Castalia, NC

content Online
Ballistic tips work for me in my 30/221 (300 Blkout) but, that's pretty much the only thing I use them in. They are perfect at that velocity, but that's where I draw the line, but that's just me.
The Eyes are Useless, When The Mind Is Blind

#202665 - 10/16/19 06:11 PM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: Franchise]
old hand

Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 1006
Loc: WV

Real life testing on my 2000+ deer show 150/165 BTs usually go all the way through. 165Xs never stay in a deer. 150 Horn. SPs frequently stay in. Internal damage in the 2-3 1/2" range on the Noslers and about 1/2-2/3 as much with the X.
The big surprise is the little 115 gr. Lehigh Chaos. Never had the base stay in a deer out to 400, but a few pedals do, and if you experiment with powders you can make them shoot the same as 150s at least to 400.+ Internal damage around 2 1/2" for the base,1/2" for the pedals.

#202725 - 10/19/19 08:12 AM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: wvhitman]
Bob Roach
old hand

Registered: 03/02/10
Posts: 1006
Loc: Missouri Ozarks

wvhitman you should put together a book with all the information you have gathered on cartridges, bullets, and how they performed at various ranges. It would be a shame for that much real world experience to be lost to all of us at some point down the road. I normally harvest one or two deer a year, which is more than likely what most who read this forum do. My hunting locations pretty much limit my shooting range to 125 yards or possibly just a little further in a couple places. One or two deer a year at 75 - 100 yards average, limits my real world experience on bullet performance. Then add the fact that I pretty much always take broad side behind the shoulder "meat saver" shots, and I never recover a bullet in a deer ever. Most of my deer run a short distance and go down.
The above is what has me doing my bullet testing. It will be nice to know how some bullets compare to each other in both expansion as well as penetration. I have determined the 125 BT to be a little to fragile for the velocity of the 7.62x54R at the range I will be making a shot. Likewise the 150 BT again looked to be a little to fragile for very close shots at the velocity the 7.62x54R is capable of. I am 100% sure that the 150BT would perform much better at a slower speed and at longer range. I am also sure on a broadside rib shot it would kill a deer with no problem of it getting away wounded. Just very likely no exit hole.

I hope to do more testing with the 30-30AI, 7-30 Waters, 6.5-30JDJ, 35 Bullberry, and 357 Maximum in the future.

Bob R
See You At The Range

#202754 - 10/20/19 10:11 AM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: Bob Roach]

Registered: 12/09/18
Posts: 126
Loc: KY

Thanks for sharing! Very interesting.

#202798 - 10/21/19 01:10 PM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: RSW]
old hand

Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 752
Loc: Minnesota

 Originally Posted By: RSW
Thanks for sharing! Very interesting.

Very interesting to read. Also surprising to read about the BT bullets. I know Nosler has lighter jacketed varmint BT bullets but they are all smaller bore bullets. The 308 are all suppose to be their heavier constructed hunting bullets. Not reassuring to hear about the separation in water. Thanks for the box description too! I might have to try that.

#203652 - 11/21/19 08:50 PM Re: Testing .308 Bullets [Re: karl]

Registered: 05/05/14
Posts: 85

If anybody knows, WV Hitman knows. I think him & Doc co-authored Handgun Hunter Intl.

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