.308 Hollow Point or Soft Point for Hunting?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by bluesea112, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

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    I have purchased everything I need to begin reloading .308 Win./7.62 NATO, and now I am ready to purchase bullets, powder, and primers.
    The ballistic charts show that Hollow Point Boat Tail bullets have the best down range speed and impact energy, but I have to wonder if Hollow Points will mushroom as well as a soft point bullet. I do a lot of shooting and Hunting, so I would like to reload with a single brand/type of bullet that is accurate, inexpensive, AND deadly (by deadly I mean a bullet that expands instead of punching a small hole).
    I often cross paths with 500 - 700 lbs Hogs, so it is very important that the bullet opens up and not just leave a small hole. From what I understand, ballistic tip bullets will not penetrate deep enough. I know soft point bullets will penetrate, but the ballistic charts show that soft point bullets lose speed and down range energy faster than hollow points do.
    Can anybody tell me if hollow point bullets will open up nicely at impact, and therefore be a good choice for me, or should I stick with soft point bullets?
    If it matters, I shoot a DPMS Panther w/ an 18" heavy target bull barrel, chambered in .308 Win.
    Thank you, in advance, for your help.

    Bluesea112
  2. bunnyhunter12

    bunnyhunter12 New Member

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    Blue, what ranges are you shooting at? Telling us the size and type of game you plan to hunt helps greatly, thank you, but we also need to know how far you'll be shooting. If long range shots are common I would trust the boat-tail, hollow points. That is the purpose of the hollow point, to aid expansion. For shorter ranges you can use the soft points and not worry about energy loss down range and they should expand nicely too. That said, for a .308 I wouldn't worry about it too much, it's a powerful round with good balistics and stopping power in any setup.

    For the record, I assume these are spire-point or spitzer soft noses right? I don't really see why they are losing so much energy down range since they are super aero-dynamic. Unless of course you are comparing boat-tail hollow points to regular, square based soft points. The purpose of the boat-tail design is to aid down-range performance by reducing the effect of turbulence and vortices around the bullet allowing it to cut through the air cleanly and carry its energy farther.


    Hope some of this helps. A lot of the guys around here reload and many also hunt hogs so more responses are coming I'm sure.
  3. Shooter973

    Shooter973 New Member

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    Use the soft points for hunting and save the hollowpoints for target/varmint shooting. I witnessed a mule deer doe get shot with a 168 gr. hollowpoint in the neck. It dropped her but she got up and took off. I ended up shooting her in the chest with a soft point that took her down for good. The hollow made a HUGE, but very shallow wound on her neck with no penitration. The hollows are not made for hunting. Stay with a soft point.:)
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  4. inplanotx

    inplanotx New Member

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    Never ever use a target bullet, i.e. 168 match king hollow point, to hunt with. Use a Nosler partition and all will be well. Use the hollow points for paper only!!!!!!!!!

    IPT
  5. smitty_bs

    smitty_bs New Member

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    Don't use those hollow points for big game hunting. They're performance is too unpredictable. They were designed for paper and varmints. Use the bullets that were designed for performance on big game. That would be the ethical thing to do.
  6. JohnK3

    JohnK3 New Member

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    Sierra warns you repeatedly in their loading manual that MatchKings are not for hunting.

    The hollow point in those bullets tends to fragment rapidly, rather than penetrate a bit and mushroom. Use a GameKing or similar bullet designed for hunting.
  7. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

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    Thank you for the responses guys. Most of my shots will be in the 100 - 250 yard range, so I guess I will not lose too much speed or energy at that distance with a soft point. I think I will look at soft point boat tails that are 155gr or 165gr. Do any of you know if one of those bullet weights performs better than the other in a .308?
    Thanks again for your comments.
  8. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    The old standby weights in 30 cal have always been 150 grainers for deer & 180 grainers for elk. The last few years the 165 grainers have been touted as the "do-all" weight in 30 cal. Just make sure your load manuals cover them. 180's have kind of been the heavyweight limit in .308 winchester. If you realy want to see your .308 perform you may want to check out Barnes Bullets. Not the cheapest but with their lighter weight solid copper bullets & slick coatings they can put your .308 up higher in killing ability.

    You may find several advantages in using flat-base bullets instead of boattails. In the .308 you don't have an excess of room in the case & may not be able to seat the bullets out long & still load them in the magazine. You can only compress powder so much(about 6%). Boattails of a given weight will leave the muzzle slower than the same bullet in a flat-base, be longer & harder to stabilize(especialy important in heavier weights), & the streamlined/trajectory advantage of the boattail doesn't come into action till the bullet slows to subsonic speed-6 or 8 hundred yards downrange. Not realy any advantage to a hunting situatio. Flat based bullets can be a better choice-especialy in the .308. Even round-nose bullets can have their advantages over spitzers.
  9. ThunderStick300MAG

    ThunderStick300MAG New Member

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    The only way I would go with the hollow points is if you loaded something in the Barnes X line of bullets. I've used the 150-165gr's with great success in the .30cal and the 100 gr in the .243cal bullets. They are all copper so they have good penetration with very controlled expansion. Very nice wound channel.
  10. LASSIE

    LASSIE New Member

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    I have not shot any game with them but there is also a flat lead point 30 caliber made for 30-30's might work for you too. I'm sure there has been plenty of deer killed with them in the 30-30's
  11. bigjedd

    bigjedd New Member

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    If you are after a real good performer on larger game, try the nosler accubond in 165gr they open up fairly quickly but have a controlled expansion so they dont lose too much of the original weight. This gives them the retained weight for deep penetration. In Australia for many years sambar deer about the size of elk were taken with 180gr speer gran slams in 30/06's but of recent times there has been a switch to the 165gr accubond in both 30/06 and 308 as they give better ballistics downrange and do a good job in close as well..
  12. williamd

    williamd New Member

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    In my days as a (too) serious paper puncher I played with a lot of bullets. Like the gent for Plano [The true home of Lance] I settled on Nosler partition for all my hunting - TX to CA to BC to Yukon. The hollow point match bullets are superior if you are looking for competition accuracy. But, fire 10 of each at [only] 200 yards into a paper target and try to figure which holes were made by which bullet! Now, go to 500 or 1000 yards and you can leave the Nosler and other non-match stuff at home. However, I won a shoot-off at 500 meters using my Nosler 160g hunting loads as I had simply run out of my Hornady 162g match bullet loads. Drove 'em with identical loads ..... But I was just better! :eek: :D Then. Plus, shot most every day regardless of weather so I'd know performance in all conditions ... and this was in British Columbia. Oh, windy day and the custom 7MM/08 on a 40X action helped in that shoot-off, too! Yea, had more $$ than good sense. Still do ...... and that is not all bad!:eek: The 40X with match bullet and my 7MM/08 hunter on a Remington action with Nosler would shoot to a single group until about 250 yards where the match bullet started getting an edge.

    Incidentally, this rifle and a couple more were gunsmithed by Wes Brandon in WA state. The 7MM/08 was, I suppose, somewhat of a wildcat, at least not common then, late 70s. But, so obvious when one thought about the great 7mm bullets coupled with the great 308 case. I chose the 162g Honady HPBT as it advertised a fantastic BC. Plus, I had (and still have) a 280 (a wildcatted 30-06 at some time) Wes built for me on a VZ24 action with Shilen and Timney riding on a Fajen AAA that liked the Hornady. Did the stock myself. I'll photo it. This 280 was done after the initial 280 bust and before Remington brought it back as the 7MM Express to ride on the skirts of the 7MMM ... and to cater to our love of metric calibres. Now it is a 280 again.

    Every stock is sworn to be my last ... but now (for over a year now and then) working on a full length stock for a 98 Mauser action ('cause I had it) .... yep, 7MM/08, 22" Shilen sport contour and Timney ... kinda back to the future??? Why not just buy a 7MM/08??? Or, shoot the 280 or 7x57? Where's the fun and frustration in that!
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2007
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Former Guest

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  14. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

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    Thank you for the link Steve! I like the prices they have listed for factory seconds.
  15. AngelDeville

    AngelDeville New Member

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    I'm with the 150gr for deer/pigs/tin cans, 180gr Elk skool of thought.
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