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257 terminal performance whoas

257 terminal performance whoas
« on: December 27, 2017, 05:24:51 AM »
Hi guys/gals. Post number one here after yrs of lurking.

About 3 yrs our county in western NY decided to allow rifles for deer and that lead to a few purchases including what I felt was my balanced bean field sniper- a stainless S2, warne mounts a Minox 3-15x50. I bought some ammo from the cabelas and lucked into a variety pack of ammo off armslist from a local guy.  So I have the 100gr spritzers, the 87 gr softpoints and started shooting a bunch. Zeroed it at 300 and felt very very confident with it shooting to 400 w a solid rest.

 Last yr I took a 300 yard wide open shot off at a rest at what I presumed was a mature buck and he bolted 30 yards into the brush. Waited, got down and couldnt find any blood. Odd. Shot felt good and I shoot enough to know when it works. Bugged me. Later in the season I ended up shooting a 4yo buck at about 175 yards w the the 100gr again. Both lungs but toward the back. He ran 75-80 yards and stood there. Smacked him again and he fell. Next to nothing for a blood trail. Pencil entrance and exits but his insides were destroyed. Hmm. Last day I took a doe at 150ish yard, high shoulder, bang flop. I also shot a wounded little guy the neighbors were chasing- hard quartering away 175ish- no exit but macerated interior. Felt good but doubting. Like anything- off to the internet and then into reloading I went. New venture but why not?

I was shooting 100gr ttsx over 72gr rl22. Grouped about 1-1.5 moa with about 30 or so play and practice rounds. Mature buck 250-275 yds, broadside, shooting off sticks- bang and he trots off. He was the only deer to trot off of the field. I was shocked as the shot also felt great. We looked and looked and looked.. no blood no deer. Would’ve had to have made it at least 200yds not to be visible in the field.  This made me come to terms in my head that I missed.  Can’t believe it.  Doe number one- 26x yards, high heart shot off my knee- went 50yards and she appeared to have lost around 550 gallons of blood along the way. Doe two- just over 300- high lung behind shoulder catching bottom of spine. Flopped and flopped a few seconds. Doe three- 220ish- broadside Center of lungs- ran 80-90 wo a drop of blood. Had one spittle of it at her muzzle. The last day of rifle out comes the target buck. 312 yards. Was ready, dialed in, smooth squeeze and off he goes. WTH. Had snow to work with- nothing. How could it be a miss? The was nearly identical to the first buck missed this yr from a ground blind on the eve of a field. Was the grass or brush I used to camo it in the way?

Again- I practice a bunch. I also have killed bucks bigger than the three missed here with archery tackle in the same time frame and travel to hunt big ones. They don’t rattle me As much as most. I am beside myself thinking I am wounding deer and not finding them. I just ordered some 110gr accubonds to try...... prior to rifle being legal I only used  222 for chucks and a 20ga or ml for deer. Am I expecting too much? And I just missing due to poor loading? Can live it the idea of hit and run....and really enjoy this gun.... any help is appreciated.

ctw

Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 07:20:22 AM »
     Your not expecting to much from a .257 weath. That .257 weath. plain and simple is a deer slayer with the right bullets. Accubonds are an excellent bullet for that .257. I personally am not a barnes fan. I use both the accubonds and nosler balistic tips; infact I use nosler ballistic tips for my deer hunting. As far as no blood trail, its possible you missed; we all miss once in awhile and leaves us shaking our heads. ctw

Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 03:01:30 PM »
Thanks for the reply. I have no allegiance to brands regarding bullets other than Barnes for my ml (which they no longer make).

I figured the monolith ttsx would’ve done better. Misses happen...odd to have 2 they nearly mirrored each other and another at the same range but all on 200lb plus deer.  Maybe a few chokes but the ones I found without any blood trail tell me the fact of hit location there....and that’s where the suspicion comes from that I’m just poking a small hole in a big deer and they’re running. Honestly before this gun I would’ve called it a very unlikely coooncidence that someone had a runner w a chest hit from a firearm that didn’t leave a great (let alone any) blood trail. Ethically, morally and mentally I need a load I have total faith in. Have even considered selling all the reloading gear and just shooting factory ammo out of it.... would’ve leaned that way if the eldx ammo was out and I didn’t just buy more powder and the accubonds.

I appreciate the help and suggestions.

Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 03:54:02 PM »
Never had any problems with the Barnes Tsx in the 257 or Ttsx in the 300 Wbys
Roger
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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 04:55:43 PM »
No problems with my 257s and Barnes ttsx bullets either. I did shoot a buck with my 270 win and 130 ttsx's. I seen him hunch up after I shot and followed his running tracks in the snow for over 300 yards without a spot of blood. I started to wonder if I missed until I saw him lying dead in a blowdown. After gutting him I found the bullet had passed thru the heart and both lungs leaving a quarter sized hole. But both holes were covered with frozen blood from the below zero temps. If anything it doesn't take but a couple small limbs to deflect a bullet? Welcome to the Nation!
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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 07:56:11 PM »
I can see the barnes penciling through a deer( it has happened to me a few times with the tsx's), but it's hard to believe the 100gr spitzer didn't expand. Everybody has different opinions on how bullets should work on the game they hunt, maybe try some accubonds or ballistic tips and see if they perform better to your liking.

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.257

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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2017, 06:26:33 AM »
What are your groups sizes at 300, 400, and 500 yards? If you are shooting at game animals at 300 yards IMO you should be shooting to 500 yards practicing.

If you can not find any sign of a hit with snow on the ground, no hair no blood nothing where he was standing when you shot, you missed

If you think it is the bullet not expanding, try bullets that do, Berger, Nosler BT. The Accubond is a great choice but it is again a controlled expansion bullet

It is hard for anyone to tell what happened that wasn't there. But I can tell you the .257 is more than enough gun for what you are doing
Mike

Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 09:46:27 AM »
Best luck Ive had with my .257 is 115g Bergers & H1000 and factory loaded 115g Nosler ballistic tips.  Worst luck Ive had is with barnes ttsx. 

Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2017, 10:13:52 AM »
Thank you gents.

Some pretty awesome avatars,  signatures and statements there.

Regarding the spitzers - I feared they’d detonate and was shocked when they didn’t.

Not sure if it matters but this was all late nov-DEC in temps 0-40degrees. Can’t remember any of the shots being in precip as I would shy away from anything beyond a hundred yards or so. Our deer deer have thick winter coats and the bucks range 170-210lbs avg, big ones can be north of 250.

It call comes down to confidence. I wish there was a way to know for sure and, frankly, that’s where all of this comes from. I’ve missed, wounded and whalloped deer in the past (20+yrs) but for the most part new why and the outcome. So worried my new dreamy little sniper is the problem.  Again, two of the buck shots were from a brushed in soft sides ground blind w some very sparse grass around. Could it have been the grass, dog wood brush or a random passing bumble bee? Hope so. Actually I shot it last weekend at cardboard box off the back of my pickup. 300yds and I hit the 8x8x8 box every time. Wouldn’t be worth mentioning grouping as it was a random “is the scope off” check. Should’ve added a bullseye to the box as well.

As for my groups.  300 yards w bags of a portable bench- 2-5”, bipod @ little tighter, 400” 3-6/7”, 500 is just a steel piece 12x12 to which I may have missed once or twice. It’s in a buggy area in the summer so I don’t shoot beyond 400 w any frequency.

So glad to hear all of you state- it shouldn’t be the rifle or the round.... I can work on me. Moving that blind next yr so it’s above the grass and will be more cognizant of brush in the way too.

When it warms up (-15wc now) I’ll try the accubonds and maybe even get some more brass by burning up the 87s for practice.


Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2017, 10:14:29 AM »
Best luck Ive had with my .257 is 115g Bergers & H1000 and factory loaded 115g Nosler ballistic tips.  Worst luck Ive had is with barnes ttsx.
Just curious as to why you say they were the worst...accuracy, performance or ?

Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2017, 11:18:10 AM »
They were very accurate.  I like to place the bullet behind the shoulder, I found the Barnes like to be "in" the shoulder to put the animal down.  Im a fan of the "bang and flop".  The ttsx's didn't do it for me.

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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2017, 03:18:31 PM »
I am a huge fan off Barnes TSX's and have never had one fail me. But because they are such a strong projectile I think you will find if you aim on the shoulder and try to hit bone then they will perform much better. I always try to break the front shoulder of any animal be it big or small as you will still take out heart and lungs plus ruin the locomotion of the animal.
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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2017, 05:37:54 PM »
Based on everything I know about groups sizes and field conditons versus bench conditions, I'd bet your 5" 300yd group opens up to 8-10", and your 6-7" 400yd groups are running bigger than 10". That's not an insult, just an observation based on shooting a bunch, and watching others shoot a bunch. So it's possible you missed, or hit far enough up, down, forward, or back, that you didn't get a clean hit in the vitals. It's equally possible you got a clean hit in the vitals, high, and won't see blood for 75-100yds, best case, and maybe for 250-300yds. I've tracked deer (mine and others) which were solid hits, through both lungs, but relatively high, and had zero blood trail for that far. I tracked a small buck well over 3hrs, and found him down in a big field, having walked within 10' of him several times looking for him. He left no blood trail whatsoever, and was shot with a ballistic tip through both lings at 140yds. When i dressed him, cutting the diaphragm gave me a flood, so he bked out but only inside his thoracic cavity. Have you seen any buzzards circling post-hunt? That's a giveaway here that something is down, but maybe you don't have them that far north during the winter.

Shots on game at 300 are not like shots on paper at 300, so be aware that you may be reaching further than your capabilities, but it sounds like you are a good enough shot.

I highly doubt it's the bullet, as that little TTSX should still be humming along quite quickly at 400yds, even, to initiate expansion. I haven't used the TTSX on game, but I've shot half a dozen deer with Nosler E-Tips from my Weatherbys, with excellent performance, so I feel like the idea that the bullet is at fault is likely not the case. You may be having brush interference issues, but that's tough to call, unless you can identify it at the time of the shot.
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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2017, 05:10:23 AM »
Based on everything I know about groups sizes and field conditons versus bench conditions, I'd bet your 5" 300yd group opens up to 8-10", and your 6-7" 400yd groups are running bigger than 10". That's not an insult, just an observation based on shooting a bunch, and watching others shoot a bunch. So it's possible you missed, or hit far enough up, down, forward, or back, that you didn't get a clean hit in the vitals. It's equally possible you got a clean hit in the vitals, high, and won't see blood for 75-100yds, best case, and maybe for 250-300yds. I've tracked deer (mine and others) which were solid hits, through both lungs, but relatively high, and had zero blood trail for that far. I tracked a small buck well over 3hrs, and found him down in a big field, having walked within 10' of him several times looking for him. He left no blood trail whatsoever, and was shot with a ballistic tip through both lings at 140yds. When i dressed him, cutting the diaphragm gave me a flood, so he bked out but only inside his thoracic cavity. Have you seen any buzzards circling post-hunt? That's a giveaway here that something is down, but maybe you don't have them that far north during the winter.

Shots on game at 300 are not like shots on paper at 300, so be aware that you may be reaching further than your capabilities, but it sounds like you are a good enough shot.

I highly doubt it's the bullet, as that little TTSX should still be humming along quite quickly at 400yds, even, to initiate expansion. I haven't used the TTSX on game, but I've shot half a dozen deer with Nosler E-Tips from my Weatherbys, with excellent performance, so I feel like the idea that the bullet is at fault is likely not the case. You may be having brush interference issues, but that's tough to call, unless you can identify it at the time of the shot.





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Re: 257 terminal performance whoas
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2017, 06:35:15 AM »
That's not typical for a 257. When i handloaded mine with Hornady 117 btsp and put them on a deer they were boom flops no tracking involved, one was running which ended up doing an end over end when his antler dug in. Those barnes should have put him down quick especially from a 257. They are supposed to hit as hard as a 270 win. Maybe tweek your over all length to tighten groups and watch it perform.