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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 17-----------NOVEMBER 2003



 Here it is November 1st.  Got a lot to report on this month, so better get at it!  The early deer season in our area is behind us, and the elk season ends November 2nd.  Ann, Rick, and I all managed to fill our "B" doe tags the first 2 days of the season.  No elk to be seen here at the ranch so far.

Ann had to become a left handed shooter for her deer hunt.  Unfortunately, she has had to undergo 16 weeks of chemotherapy, and the porta cath that they used to administer the drugs was implanted in her right shoulder, exactly where the toe of the rifle butt would rest.  So, she switched sides, shot a few practice rounds on October 8th, and made a one shot, left handed kill on a yearling doe on October 11th!  (As a matter of note, the chemo is now finished, the porta cath was removed October 31st, and everyone is doing fine)

Little Heifer and her doe.  (Remington Model 7 in 7mm-08 with 139 grain Hornady SST bullet.)

As reported in September, the whitetails around here are multiplying like rabbits, and the extra "B Doe Tags" were issued to help address the overpopulation problem.  I'll have more to discuss about the Hornady SST bullet used for this doe a little later in this issue.

I had intentions of using my Ruger Vaquero in .45 Colt to bag my doe this year but that didn't work out either.  Sunday afternoon, October 12th, Ann and I were preparing to load the car for a little trip to Missoula, MT for an overnight of R n R and some Birthday shopping for Ann, when Rick and Jennifer drove in.

Rick's left hand Ruger .300 Win Mag was the only rifle not in the safe, so as he was telling us about the "whole herd of deer" in the clearing north of the house, he was getting the Ruger ready to go.  I followed him out back after he shot, and was handed the rifle with instructions to shoot another one "so we can take 'em all to the butcher shop at the same time."  So, with a bit of overkill, Rick's and my doe tags were filled with the .300 Mag shooting Federal factory ammo with 180 grain Nosler Partition bullets.

Our trip to Missoula was delayed a couple of hours while we dressed and skinned two more deer, hanging alongside Ann's that Jennifer had helped skin the day before.  Don't believe me?  Take a look at this:

Her Daddy's gonna' make a tomboy outa' her yet!

A few days after we returned from Missoula, I was in the local Sportsman's Warehouse store, www.sportsmanswarehouse.com when the Hunting Manager, Chris Hodl came by.  He said, "Hey, I got somethin' to show you."  Whereupon, he pulled two Barnes XLC bullets from his pocket that were recovered from a Mule Deer.

Ryan and Chris Hodl with their Mule Deer Buck.  (Click on the Picture to see it in full size)

The bullets were 140 grain 7mm caliber, shot from a .280 Ackley Improved rifle.  One, at 205 yards, entered the brisket and came to rest in a rear quarter, while the other, at 230 yards, went in behind the shoulder and ended up in the neck.  Both bullets exhibited the typical Barnes "X" on the expanded end, with one "petal" broken off one of them.  Let's contrast these bullets with the Hornady SST, 139 grain 7mm that was recovered from Ann's doe.

Left - Barnes at 205 yards;  Center -  Barnes at 230 yards;  Right -  Hornady at 20 yards.

The Hornady bullet entered toward the back of the ribcage, quartering forward, breaking 6 ribs on the way in and lodging under the skin in front of the opposite shoulder.  As you can see, the bullet jacket and core separated.  I didn't weigh the Barnes XLCs, but the Hornady SST pieces I could find, only weighed 94 grains, for a retention of 68%.  The Hornady was leaving the muzzle of the 7mm-08 at about 2580 fps, while Chris reports that the Barnes' were turning about 3150 fps at the muzzle out of the .280 Improved.

Plugging this data into my RCBS ballistics software, tells me that at the distances of impact, all three bullets would have been traveling between 2550 and 2700 fps.

In all fairness, the Hornady couldn't have killed the deer deader, but I suspect this performance is typical of the difference between Barnes bullets and polymer tipped, lead core, non bonded, jacketed bullets of most brands.

I want to emphasize the "non bonded" here, because Hornady, Nosler, and Swift, among others, are now making polymer tipped bullets that have the lead core "bonded" to the jacket.  I have not personally killed game with any of these bullets, but my sources tell me that these bonded bullets "will not separate, and will retain 80 to 90% of their original weight!"

As I said earlier, my plan to use the Ruger Vaquero to take my doe didn't work out, but the late Whitetail Buck season opens here on November 3rd, and runs through the 19th.  If I can just get within 50 yards or so, we may find out how those 250 grain Speer Gold Dot bullets in the .45 Colt work on deer after all.

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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