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  #1  
Old 01-14-2018, 2:02 PM
threeperreaper threeperreaper is offline
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Default Lead free 30-06 ammo for bear?

Iíd like your opinion on the optimal lead free 30-06 round for CA black bear..
Iím no ballistics expert, Iíve read you want a lighter faster round when using a copper bullet (for expansion or some crap)
I also read that for bear most will recommend a heavier bullet than one used for deer.

I was hoping that someone with experience can recommend a specific lead free round they use for black bear in 30-06 (brand, grain, bullet, etc)

Much appreciated
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Old 01-14-2018, 4:19 PM
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Barnes VOR-TX TTSX 150gr is what I use in .30-06 in my Tikka T3. They are the most accurate I've found. TTSX seem to be one of the best lead free options out there, not just from my personal experience (I've used several others) but also from online reviews and even from reloaders on this forum. They are very stable and consistent. Fly flat and hit hard. Everything I've shot with them dropped in their tracks (3 deer, one bear) with the exception of a cross canyon running shot on a hog where I broke both the back legs and she dragged herself down into the ravine to get finished by a 10mm to the head.

This is the exact stuff I use: https://www.sportsmansguide.com/prod...unds?a=1582746

Bought close to 20 boxes once I realized how great they were since with this ammo situation you never know when/if you'll find your preferred round.
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Old 01-14-2018, 4:44 PM
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Originally Posted by NickTheGreek View Post
Barnes VOR-TX TTSX 150gr is what I use in .30-06 in my Tikka T3. They are the most accurate I've found. TTSX seem to be one of the best lead free options out there, not just from my personal experience (I've used several others) but also from online reviews and even from reloaders on this forum. They are very stable and consistent. Fly flat and hit hard. Everything I've shot with them dropped in their tracks (3 deer, one bear) with the exception of a cross canyon running shot on a hog where I broke both the back legs and she dragged herself down into the ravine to get finished by a 10mm to the head.

This is the exact stuff I use: https://www.sportsmansguide.com/prod...unds?a=1582746

Bought close to 20 boxes once I realized how great they were since with this ammo situation you never know when/if you'll find your preferred round.
Thanks for the reply.
I was considering the same round in 180 grain but seems like 150 will do the trick on black bear and fly a little straighter.
I expect they’ll pattern fine out of my model 70 extreme weather, but am curious what twist rate and barrel length you have on the T3?
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Old 01-14-2018, 5:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threeperreaper View Post
Thanks for the reply.
I was considering the same round in 180 grain but seems like 150 will do the trick on black bear and fly a little straighter.
I expect theyíll pattern fine out of my model 70 extreme weather, but am curious what twist rate and barrel length you have on the T3?
I shoot the 165grn federal premium copper out if my 308 and I have never recovered a bullet and every animal (2 deer and 2 bear ) didn't make it 20 yard before balling up I'm very pleased with the performance
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Old 01-14-2018, 5:34 PM
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Default Lead free 30-06 ammo for bear?

We usually get at least a couple depredation permits for 3 or 4 bears and take a number of others on the ranch each year. We use what we have handy when we see em. All copper. Various calibers.

Most of the trouble bears are juveniles. They usually get head shot. So most anything works. Including lesser calibers than the 06....

150 tsx will do just fine....

Last edited by Mesa Defense; 01-14-2018 at 6:54 PM..
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Old 01-14-2018, 6:21 PM
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The 180 no lead bullet is too heavy in the 30-06.
Get the Barnes 150gr TTSX and you will be good for bear/deer/pigs and African PG. Also ground squirrels. Use TTSX(Tipped) and not TSX bullets for better terminal performance.
If you have been shooting regular jacketed bullets you will need to super clean your barrel. That means no #9. I use Wipe-out followed by Sweets 7.62 or Barnes CR-10 then last by Butches Bore Shine or something like it. Then Tetra-Gun oil or whatever oil you like. Then shoot all the Barnes you want but if you shoot a regular jacketed(or E-Tip or GMX) you will need to do the super clean again to avoid fouling and lesser accuracy.

Remember a Barnes bullet acts like a lead core bullet 30% heavier. So the 150gr Barnes TTSX will act like a 195gr lead core bullet on the game.

I would(and have used) not be afraid to use the 130gr TTSX bullet in the 30-06 or 308w.
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Old 01-14-2018, 7:40 PM
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When it comes to Barnes, speed kills...and there needs to be enough resistance to the bullet for it to perform to it's capability.

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Barnes bullets include the 130, 150, 165, 168, 180 and 200 grain TSX bullets along with the 150, 165 and 180 grain MRX bullets (MRX untested here).

The Barnes 130 grain TSX is a good all-round bullet for game weighing up to 150kg. It is highly recommended that readers wishing to experiment with the Barnes 30 caliber bullets for use on Deer, experiment with this projectile. Meat damage is as per usual minimal, regardless of violent internal wounding. The TSX really is a good meat retrieval bullet, proving useful in the .30-06 out to ranges of around 400 yards.

The 150 grain TSX bullet is best suited to game weighing between 90 and 150kg (200-330lb) and is adequate for use on heavier bodied deer up to 320kg (700lb). Wounding is at its most violent at impact velocities above 2400fps on lean game, displaying hydrostatic shock above 2600fps, as is the norm with .30 caliber bullets.

The 165 and 168 grain TSX bullets are best suited to large, heavily muscled game weighing above 90kg (200lb) and up to 320kg (700lb). The 180 grain Barnes is much the same, requiring heavy resistance, not to aid expansion, but to ensure adequate energy transfer. These are clean killing, deep penetrating projectiles but delayed killing can and does occur at impact velocities below 2400fps. The 180 grain TSX does its best work on game weighing between 320 and 400kg (700-880lb), producing excellent penetration on game weighing up to and above 600kg, but cannot, due to its bore diameter, be expected to render wide internal wounds on such heavy game.
https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Kno...ringfield.html

The 150gr would be a good choice.
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:07 PM
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Has anyone tried the Hornady gilding metal ammo?
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Old 01-15-2018, 6:06 AM
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GW, I have. I loaded some Hornady 165gr GMX for two of my 30-06's. I never could get them to shoot as well as the Barnes TSX or TTSX. Not sure exactly why, just had an easier time of getting desired results with Barnes. We seem to usually hear more about Barnes and not too much regarding GMX or E-tips.
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Old 01-15-2018, 6:33 AM
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We went with the Hornady GMX on a group buy when the leadfree thing first started and have had good results after a bit of an adjustment.

We found that 150gr copper flies like 180gr lead. The 180gr copper was too long. It takes a bigger bullet of copper to get same weight in grains, and it just did not fly right. We downsized to 165gr, then to 150gr, and now it shoots very well. Its a hotter/faster round than standard Remington green box ammo, and hits hard.

A negative is that you have to keep an eye on the little plastic ballistic tips. They tend to get bumped/bent/dented and that has to affect accuracy.

I have some Barnes as well. Everyone I know has good things to say about Barnes ammo. One other thing I like about the Barnes ammo is that the blue plastic tip can be pulled out if it gets mis-shaped. The tips will not pull out of the Hornady GMX ammo.

Interesting too that the Hornady GMX ammo is slightly hotter than the Hornady Full Boar ammo.
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Old 01-15-2018, 7:14 AM
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Have heard some very good reports about the Barnes 150 TTSX bullets.
If I was still deer, pig hunting in Ca., I probably be loading those. Heck, they'd most likely work on Elk too.
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Old 01-15-2018, 7:16 AM
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150gr barnes.
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Old 01-15-2018, 8:58 AM
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All 3 of those mentioned (Barnes, Federal Trophy Copper, and Hornady GMX) will work fine. As with any gun, one of them will likely shoot better than the others in your particular gun. Find that one and use it. I use the GMX in a Browning bolt gun because it works the best in that gun.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:00 AM
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I tried the 150gr 30cal GMX bullets in my 30-06 and could not get them to shoot well. After learning the 4 things you need to know/do with Barnes bullets I have had no trouble getting excellent accuracy(often better than lead core bullets) with hand loading them in a number of different calibers/cartridges for myself/family/friends.

So instead of wasting money I just use Barnes TTSX bullets. That said I know someone who gets good accuracy with GMX bullets in his 7mmRem Mag.
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Old 01-15-2018, 12:27 PM
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180 grn of barnes TSX is what my 30-06 Tikka likes the most for hunting.
1:11 twist so it's not "heavy" or long for the caliber.
175 grn TLX are in one hole at 100 yards
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Old 01-15-2018, 1:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennstater View Post
Have heard some very good reports about the Barnes 150 TTSX bullets.
If I was still deer, pig hunting in Ca., I probably be loading those. Heck, they'd most likely work on Elk too.
They work just fine on elk.
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Old 01-16-2018, 6:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pennstater View Post
GW, I have. I loaded some Hornady 165gr GMX for two of my 30-06's. I never could get them to shoot as well as the Barnes TSX or TTSX. Not sure exactly why, just had an easier time of getting desired results with Barnes. We seem to usually hear more about Barnes and not too much regarding GMX or E-tips.
The 130gr GMX is now my standard big-game projectile in a .270Win.

I load it .100" back off the lands, and right about at 3000fps. In my rifle, it groups about 5/8" at 100 yards.

It works great - I've taken 6 whitetail deer, 2 hogs, and one black bear with that same load.
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Old 01-16-2018, 8:27 AM
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I have been using Hornady GMX 150gr. Works perfect in my Tika T3 30-06. I have killed a few black bear with them.
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Old 01-18-2018, 8:43 AM
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Originally Posted by jhillas View Post

We found that 150gr copper flies like 180gr lead. The 180gr copper was too long. It takes a bigger bullet of copper to get same weight in grains, and it just did not fly right.
And that extra length displaces powder capacity.
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Old 01-18-2018, 9:58 AM
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OP your going to have to experiment and see what your rifle likes. For the life of my .30 cal rifles they absolutely hate 150-165 grain bullets, I’ve tried several recipes of powder, setback and just frustration and cash sent downrange in vain. Now they just love and settle down with the 180’s and 130’s, it’s just what they like.
Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones, but I have never had a Barnes bullet fail to open. Even with a 180gr. TSX. However Barnes does state velocities for expansion so your mileage may vary, just keep in mind that whatever grain bullet your shooting it’ll have more than enough velocity to fully expand at 200 yards and under.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:59 AM
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I shoot the Barnes 168 gr TTSX in my 06. I use this rifle for elk and bear. I harvested both a cow elk and black bear with this rifle and bullet this year. Flawless performance. I hope to do it once again next year with the same set-up.
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Old 01-18-2018, 5:28 PM
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I use 168 TTSX, 4 elk, no recovery. 1 elk with 180 tsx , no recovery.
I think the 168 gives you the best of both worlds, higher velocity and holds it longer then a 150gr at 500 yards and is heavier. the 180 for bear would be good to for closer ranges as minimum velocity is around 2000fps. I think 168 are designed to open down to 1800. Don't quote me, do some research and compare.
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Old 01-18-2018, 7:55 PM
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Thank you all for the replies.
Sounds like the 150 grain may be ideal (for me) since I won’t ever shoot over 200 yards
Sounds like people don’t recover bullets at 168 grains, so thinking maybe the 150 grain will hit at a higher velocity, expand more and possibly be found in opposite side of the hide.
Hopefully I’ll be able to let you know after deer/bear season next this year.
Much thanks
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Old 01-18-2018, 9:58 PM
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I remember that we used to find bullets in moose sometimes in my youth, but in 50-60 smaller critters I have touched in the last 8-10 years, only one bullet was found. All the others went right through.
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Old 01-19-2018, 6:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhillas View Post
I remember that we used to find bullets in moose sometimes in my youth, but in 50-60 smaller critters I have touched in the last 8-10 years, only one bullet was found. All the others went right through.
I've yet to find a bullet. I see all these pretty flowered rifle rounds from people who found it in their game and I feel left out of all the fun.

They always blow out the other side. Even on a deer I shot this previous season, hit both shoulders, blew them both out like it was going through butter.
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Old 01-19-2018, 8:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threeperreaper View Post
Thank you all for the replies.
Sounds like the 150 grain may be ideal (for me) since I won’t ever shoot over 200 yards
Sounds like people don’t recover bullets at 168 grains, so thinking maybe the 150 grain will hit at a higher velocity, expand more and possibly be found in opposite side of the hide.
Hopefully I’ll be able to let you know after deer/bear season next this year.
Much thanks
When it comes to copper bullets I'm mostly a 'get them to exit' kind of person. Not because I have much practical experience with them, but because it makes sense. This is my theory, followed up with practical observations. With lead bullets the bullet can fragment while soft tissue is expanded in the temporary wound cavity. Those fragments traveling through stretched soft tissue can tear that tissue disproportionate to the size of the fragment (think of sticking a needle in a stretched balloon vs. a relaxed one) creating a very large permanent wound cavity and lots of internal bleeding. If that lead bullet also comes out the other side all the better. More holes in the pleural cavity allow for more blood to come out making trailing easier if necessary. With copper, however, there are not secondary fragments (generally) so the temporary cavity gets some amount of bruising but little tearing. You end up punching a .50 (or so) caliber whole the soft tissue and disrupting less soft tissue, causing less bleeding. Without an exit wound there won't hardly be a blood trail. For something like a bear or big deer, I'd want a bullet that can exit after breaking both shoulders. I'd bet the 150 would be just fine, if not the 130 (in CA). These bullets punch above their weight class.

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Originally Posted by NickTheGreek View Post
I've yet to find a bullet. I see all these pretty flowered rifle rounds from people who found it in their game and I feel left out of all the fun.

They always blow out the other side. Even on a deer I shot this previous season, hit both shoulders, blew them both out like it was going through butter.
Of three deer I've shot with 110 grain Barnes TTSX bullets, I've recovered one bullet. The starting velocity was 3200 fps. The shot was 180 yards, quartering away. It went in through the rear most rib, through the liver, the diaphragm, both lungs, another rib, and the shoulder blade before coming to rest in the offside. The slug came out weighing around 105 grains with a small portion of bone trapped under one of the petals. At least one of the petals had sheared off, I later found it in a steak. That deer walked another 25 yards before keeling over. I don't remember if there was much of a blood trail, I want to say no.

Next was a small deer, shot at 220 yards quartering towards me through the onside shoulder and out behind the offside shoulder in the upper half of the lungs (just above the heart). That deer went down on the spot. Barely any blood (somewhat expected hitting that high up).

Next was a large doe, shot at 200 yards quartering away downhill. That shot entered just behind the onside shoulder, went under the spine, and exited in front of the other shoulder. That deer turned to the left and dropped on the spot. Maybe a few drops of blood on the ground. She dropped so fast behind an irrigation pipe that I wasn't sure if I hit her even though I heard the 'thwack'.

With the first deer, the liver was literally shattered. Livers are inelastic and don't take to being expanded very well. The liver had radial breaks/cracks in the tissue from being over expanded and showed lots of bruising. The ribs were obviously broken. The lungs had two decent holes in them, and the shoulder was busted. The slug was in the hide on the offside of the shoulder.

With the second deer, the onside shoulder was busted, the lungs showed lots of bruising but were not 'mush'. The damage seems more consistent with bruising (a.k.a. pulmonary contusion, I'm not a doctor, I'm just good friends with Dr. Google and know a trauma surgeon or two and one of the people I hunt with is a veterinary nurse that approaches field dressing as if it were a necropsy), and there was very little blood outside of the deer. Of course the lungs had a good sized hole through them. On field dressing there was s a ton of blood in the chest cavity, but it had plenty of time to seep out of the lungs and into the chest.

The third deer was similar to the first. Very little blood shot meat on any of the deer. My thoughts on why the last two deer when completely lights out are that the bullet passed close enough to the spine and/or the autonomic ganglia to knock the deer unconscious while it bled out.

I've shot a quite a few deer with lead bullets (140 grain ballistic tips) in the heart/lungs, some fell on the spot, some ran 40 yards, most ran less than 20. All of them left a moderate to heavy blood trail and I've only recovered one lead bullet.

Ultimately this was a long winded way of saying "In my experience copper bullets don't damage tissue as readily as lead bullets. Choose something light enough to impact at relatively high velocities for maximum expansion and soft tissue damage, but heavy enough to entirely penetrate the animal". Though let's face it, it's pretty hard to go wrong; just some choices are more optimal than others.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreek View Post
I've yet to find a bullet. I see all these pretty flowered rifle rounds from people who found it in their game and I feel left out of all the fun.

They always blow out the other side. Even on a deer I shot this previous season, hit both shoulders, blew them both out like it was going through butter.
Donít feel bad, out of all the copper Iíve shot and killed game I only recovered one! That one was out of a 300+ pound boar off of Taejon ranch. 120 yard shot out of a 30-06 with factory 180gr TSX federal premium. Got lodged righ under the opposite front shoulder skin.
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