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Boddington’s Top 10 Picks for Big Game Bullets

by Craig Boddington   |  June 28th, 2012 11

Campfire cartridge controversy is lots of fun, and we all have our favorites, but there are lots of popular calibers that are actually pretty darned close in diameter. It’s a very subtle progression as you go from, say, .257 to .264 or from .277 to .284. How many of us can tell at a glance a bullet that is just .007 inch fatter than another? (Wait, let me get my glasses on!)

With diameters so similar, there are a lot of calibers—and cartridges within the calibers—that are virtually identical in effect on game. Most of our campfire arguments are based largely on personal preference (based on limited personal experience) and, from a purely objective viewpoint, are pretty thin. But there is one irrefutable concept: Regardless of the caliber or the cartridge, it’s always the bullet that does the work.

I’ve hunted with virtually all of the popular bullet diameters, generally multiple cartridges in each. My word isn’t law on the subject, but my purpose here is to offer my preferred big game bullet weights in the popular hunting calibers.

  • T Hunts

    Boddington, you wussed out! A "better", more informative, article would have included manufacturers. The cheapest yet most important part of ANY hunt is the bullet that you send down range into the vitals of an animal. My choice has been Barnes for years. An older gentleman introduced them to me, prior to an elk hunt. I did some experimenting on wet yellow pages, poor man's ballistic gel, and haven't backed up since. Comparative side by side analysis on post-mortem whitetail vitals has proven that Barnes is a more superior bullet.

  • Dan

    I have to say that it was pretty basic. I agree with the heavier side of bullet choice. Nothing at all compares to a nosler partition's effectiveness down range and accuracy. The only thing barnes ever got correct was copying the base diameter of nosler in the .308 caliber line up. Well, i take that back, they copied the bearing surface as well.

  • Mike

    This article is pure generalization garbage which certainly did not take an expert to write. Judging by the title I expected specific bullets – that is manufacturer, type, and size. This article was a pure waste of time.

  • TTSX Believer

    T Hunts…Craig likes shooting short range rainbows. And with old technology bullets you are pretty much locked to that theory. When using Barnes TTSX's which retain nearly 100% of the base weight instead of fragmenting, you can start with a 20% lighter bullet, more velocity and still have a complete pass-through with damage beyond your wildest dreams. Remember Barnes likes hyper velocity, unlike old school thinking, which makes them shoot flatter, and do more damage, The 180 gr Barnes @ 300 yards from your 308 won't work well, but sending a 130 at speed……I run the 130's through my 30-378 and 06, 120's through my 7 RUM, Firebird and Rem Mag. Also remember energy is mass x the square of velocity.

  • Bill Bryan

    I like the Barnes bullets too. They are the most accurate I've ever shot. The reason I don't shoot them is because the people at Barnes are so arrogant and nasty.

    • TTSX Believer

      Of all my years dealing with Barnes, that is the first bad thing I have heard about the people. They are like a happy family. I can't even imagine what happened to give you that opinion. (not saying you are wrong) But they are of the most humble yet intelligent folks in the industry I have dealt with. There are others too, but the Barnes folk are with those at the top.

  • Eddie

    Boddington You left out a great bullet from your otherwise good article. I like the Nosler Accu Bond and the Nosler Partition bullets I use in my 7mm STW They have never let me down. We have 22 straight one shot 7MM STWkills with the Nosler bullets in the over the last 7 years. 2 Elk in Wyoming and 20 amimals in Africa ranging from a Lion and Wildabeest to a Diker. 4 different hunters use the 7MM STW of this period and we hope to continue this with the Nosler bullets 140 gr and the 165 gr

  • Robb

    I too am disappointed in the article.. I am a firm believer in small fast calibers…I like Swift Siroccos and A-Frame. I few years ago I contacted Conley Precision to reload some Barnes Triple-X in 200gr for my 300 RUM for very large game.. I was lucky to have the owner answer the phone.. We got to talking and he suggested the Swift Sirocco for deer size game.. I have been reloading them since and my 300 RUM groups as well as my 22-250 at 400 yards.. The bullet has never failed me in 15 years… My family has taken quite a few deer in different calibers with this bullet none has failed and it
    keeps tight groups..

  • Starky

    There are quality bullets from all manufactures and we all have our favorite and caliber we use them in. This being said let's remeber one thing first and foremost shot placement is what gets it done. The best bullet in the world means nothing if it is not put in the boiler maker. Our father, grand fathers and great grand fathers all harvested game with simple lead core, copper jacket bullets and got the job done fine. Yes premium bullets will provide a better chance of bring the game down but only if we have done our part on shot placement .

  • Mr. Ed

    exactly, Starky. Too much attention is put on what is the best bullet. Today they are all good and much better then what our ancestors used….But they got the job done with what they had because they had to.
    I have used the Winchester Fail Safe bullets in my Parker-Hale .308. A good bullet but expensive and not any harder hitting then any Remington or other brand. Hit them in the vitals..and they go down.

  • Hump

    This was a very general article at best even though the title indicated the content would be more specific. Very weak Craig….

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