View Full Version : help with lead-free ammo choices

08-02-2012, 2:47 AM

I'm going to be going to a new area for deer this year, and I am trying to figure out what I should be using for lead-free ammo. My rifle has been dead on for years with 160 grain rounds (Federal) in my 7mm Mag Remington 700. I'd prefer not to adjust my optics, I'd rather hold over, so I'd like to get something as close as possible. I've only used lead-free in my varmint rifles, which were all changed to accomidate, but they were in smaller calibers, so I'm not sure what I should be looking at. One of my hunting partners said that he had to drop to a much smaller bullet weight to keep his rounds close, he only loses about .2 -.4 inches (it hits high for him). Since I'm shooting 160 gr., he suggested I try 110, but that seems a bit dramatic. Any advise would be greatly appreciated, especially with the same caliber. Thanks in advance.


08-02-2012, 2:54 AM
If ur the type that dont wanna adjust your optics to certain loads, good luck on finding one especially in lead free factory loadings. Fyi, every gun will shoot differently with the same ammo. It's your job to adjust your sights so its zerod in NOT adjust the load so hopefully it would zero in.

08-02-2012, 3:14 AM
I understand that every gun will react/shoot differently, I'm just wondering if anyone knew what would get me close. If changes need to be done, then I'd rather get a new rifle than worry about where my gun is shooting, or mess with my "prefection" at this point. I wasn't asking for luck I was asking for opinions based on experiences, but thanks for the FYI. ;)


08-02-2012, 7:38 AM
Guessing you have seen the below link. It took me a while to wade through all of the options. In the end, I bought one box of each and just shot them. That is the only true test you can do for your specific rifle. I know it's expensive, but if you do not want to adjust your set-up . . .


These are what I bought and tried. My rifle seemed to like them all.
Barnes Bullets, Inc.
Remington Arms Co., Inc.
Winchester Ammunition

Bass Pro in Manteca carries some of these. Otherwise http://www.ammunitiontogo.com is one source.

Don't have my notes with me, but the left grouping was one of the above and the right was another. Bench rest on bags @ 100 yards [square = 1 inch].


08-02-2012, 1:18 PM
I just picked up 100 Hornady GMX bullets to work up some loads...I'm not expecting them to have anywhere near the same poi as standard lead bullets though...I wouldn't mess around with lighter bullets if I were you-use the same grain weight you would in a normal hunting bullet

08-02-2012, 2:51 PM
From what I've heard the heavier copper bullets aren't expanding fully, the lighter bullets are faster and have been fully expanded. I only use copper on deer and have yet to recover any of my slugs to confirm this though.

08-02-2012, 9:36 PM
Federal 7mag TSX make a 160 gr cartridge and Ive loved it.

08-02-2012, 11:23 PM
I would have no qualms shooting a deer with a 110 grain bullet.

08-03-2012, 11:48 AM
Factory lead free good luck!

Now if you reload GMX will do what you want.....but why not move the optics then move back? Pretty simple and easier to do than hold over. Try a 130 gr. works for .270, 270 wby mag & 7mm. Barnes is a good choice with lots of data wand real people to talk to about load data.

The ranch I hunt has been lead free for awhile and for copper to really work like lead you need over 3000 mv to get the full expansion and pedals will break off and create another wound channel. If you don't you'll get one pin hole for wound channel. You most likely won't like the way copper works...lots of lost game due to this crap! I love the accuracy but for hunting I like the bullet to never exit just fragment I side the chest cavity like the SST bullets.

08-03-2012, 1:30 PM
I had good luck on my 30-06. I had been using remington corlock in 165 gr. when I switched to the lead free 180 gr "green" rounds it only changed about 1/2" high at 100 yards so simple adjustment and now I only shoot the lead free in that gun.

08-03-2012, 1:34 PM
check your bullet construction. My rifle barnes bullets will open well below 3000 fps (verified), but still need to be moving along pretty quick.

Then I found out they want my pistol bullets moving over 2000 fps just to open up! That's no good. I actually load muzzleloader bullets in my pistol for lead free, since they open up at 1000 fps (not verified.)

08-03-2012, 3:03 PM
With the barnes bullets they work better the faster you push them. They also work like a lead core bullet that is 30% heavier. You really need to drop down alot in weight and you will have a good working load and not a bunch of cripples. Most of the problems with the non-lead bullets is people using too heavy of one(about the same weight as the lead bullet) and not pushing them as fast as possible when handloading. Also with the Barnes the TTSX opens faster and at lower speeds that the TSX. The older bullets were much worse for expansion and accuracy that the newer TTSX and TSX bullets

I found out that the pistol bullets are the same as the BP bullets except for the added crimping groove on the pistol bullets. This is the bullets with the large HP. I do not know about the other ones. Not sure what pistol bullets you are using but Barnes states that the 44mag (200 & 225gr) will open 1050FPS. The 45ACP open with(185gr bullet) 720FPS The 460mag 275gr bullet needs1400FPS and the 200gr needs 1700FPS. 357mag-140gr -900FPS. 454Casull 250gr 1050FPS. 45colt 225gr-900fps 9mm 115gr-850FPS and the 500S&W 375gr-1100FPS with the 275 & 325gr at 1200FPS. This is out of the Barnes#4 manual page 442
I have used the Barnes bullets in my muzzle loaders and they kill like lightning. I have had the same results with the pistol bullets. However I always use the ones with the large HP. Took on deer at 187 lasered yards with the muzzle loader. It was the only bullet I have recovered and it went 4.5" up the spine. Dug it out with a knife and saw for a perfect expanded bullet with a small plug of hide/hair in the center,

08-03-2012, 3:21 PM
oops! I was off by 300 fps, sorry about that. I found that the HP bullets don't fly as well as the tipped ones for me. Too bad cause the 454 250 looks about perfect. But I load the 290 muzzleloader boat tail and that flies way better for me.

08-03-2012, 3:44 PM
Forgive my ignorance... I hunt out of CA. Why lead free ammo?

08-03-2012, 3:50 PM
Forgive my ignorance... I hunt out of CA. Why lead free ammo?

Some will try to convince you it's the Bomb and you must have it but i reality it's just another brand of bullet, good for some game yet very bad for others,If you dont like experimenting dont follow the Hype.......IMO oh yeah, we have Condors here and they eat lead and die.

08-03-2012, 3:58 PM
Forgive my ignorance... I hunt out of CA. Why lead free ammo?

We have to save the condors!!! Some politicos got nervous about the possibility of Condors eating a lead bullet out of a gut pile. So....... no lead bullets in condor sensitive areas...

Of course in California.... no science was applied just hysteria.

08-03-2012, 4:45 PM
Forgive my ignorance... I hunt out of CA. Why lead free ammo?

These guys are gonna start ranting now. The reasoning, without spin, without detail, and without the bull, is that legally, in about 1/3rd of the state, projectiles must be lead free for most hunting (all big game).

As defined by <1% by weight lead in the alloy.