Our recent Africa hunt gave us the opportunity to test a variety of bullets and monitor killing effectiveness, penetration and weight retention. Everyone shot reasonable cartridges, there were no Testosterone fueled MAGNUMS. Todd shot his 260 Rem. 140 NABs, Gene and Jacob shot 308s with 168 SMKs and 165 NBTs, Cliff shot a 6.5 SAUM with the New Hornady 143 ELD-X bullet, Xavier shot a 284 with 168 Bergers, Jonathan and I shot a 6.5 Creedmoor with the Hornady 140 gr. MATCH bullet.
We shot a total of 123 animals. Springbuck, warthogs, impala, hartebeest, blesbuck, wildebeest, kudu and eland. So there was quite a variety of animals to test on. Ranges varied from 25 yards to 585 yards.
All bullets killed animals as would be expected and shot placement continues to play an important role in ones success. Having said that, some bullets did perform better than others and here are the results.
6.5 140 gr. Nosler Accu-bond. 22 animals killed, excellent penetration, even on eland and kudu. Very few bullets recovered as most were complete pass-thru’s with good exit wounds. 5-Star rating.
168 Sierra Matchking. Contrary to Sierra’s claim that this is a MATCH bullet, not a game bullet, it still kills quite well. Penetration seems sufficient, although there were few exits on the larger animals, internal organ damage was superb. Animals were shot to 400 yds with this bullet. 4-Star rating.
Gene Kelly with a nice blesbuck, Gene and Jacob shot Sierra’s and Nosler BTs.
165 Nosler Ballistic Tip. A great killer on all accounts with over 20 animals killed. Numerous pass-thru’s on springbuck, warthogs, blesbuck and kudu. Bullets recovered still retained lead core and jacket. 4 Star rating.
Gene and Jacob with a nice wildebeest. This dynamic-duo used 308s and shot over 40 animals. No magnums required here! Great father and son time in the field
143 Hornady ELD-X. Cliff shot a lot of animals with this bullet and the results were sporadic. It did kill well with many DRT’s, however when bullets were recovered the lead core always separated from the jacket. Internal damage was good, yet there were few pass-thru’s even on medium sized animals. This bullet has an EXCELLENT BC, (.62) which is important and if Hornady can find a better way to bond the core, this bullet will give the Nosler Accu-bond a run for its money! As many of you know, I’m quite a fan of EXIT wounds in the event you lose sight of the animal.
Being able to follow a blood trail is VERY important and failure to find “blood” often leads to a lost animal if one’s tracking skills are marginal. 3.8 – 4.0 Star rating.
Cliff Neuse with a blue wildebeest. Cliff used a hot-rod 6.5 SAUM and 143 gr. Hornady ELD-X bullets loaded by Copper Creek ammunition. Cliff likes to travel in “FAST” company and this rifle/cartridge performed quite well!
168 Berger. Xavier shot this bullet in his 284 and smoked lots of animals. His shots were often less than 200 yds and most all of his animals were one-shot kills. At close distance the ability to place the bullet exactly where you want it is often quite easy. Xavier is a good shot and his PH was quite pleased with his performance. Berger bullets seldom exit, again posing a problem if you lose sight of the animal.
Xavier with a nice eland. Below are a pair of nice warthogs! Xavier used a tri-pod and a Hog Saddle to make several of his shots. His 284 and Berger bullets proved quite deadly…
140 Hornady ELD MATCH. I’m a big fan of the 6.5 Creedmoor and wanted to use this bullet to see how well it worked in a hunting environment. Accuracy was exceptional and it did kill well when I did my part. I tried to “stretch” the barrel a bit on several animals to see the results. We killed numerous springbuck between 300 and 585 yds. I hit the 585 one a bit low and he require additional shots at 480 yds.
Jonathan killed several in the 435-475 yard range with complete pass-thru’s. On larger animals, warthogs, blesbucks, kudu and eland, pass-thru’s were few and far between. Internal damage was good, however, many of the bullets found had separated from the jacket and failed to penetrate even to the far side of the animal.
Jonathan with a nice impala. Jonathan shot quite well during the hunt, maybe good genetics has something to do with it…
I shot a large waterbuck (600 plus lbs) at 505 yds thru the heart, he required a second shot at 550 that put him on the ground. My eland was an excellent heart-lung shot at 425 yds and required two additional shots, one at 450 and 475 yds. No pass-thru’s. While this is considered a match bullet, its make-up is very similar to the 143 gr. hunting bullet but it shoots much better, at least in my rifle. I think the jacket separation is the problem with these bullets as one cannot tell the difference between the two (140s and 143s) when the jackets are found, both designs separate.
My waterbuck shot thru the heart at 505 yds. I put a second-round in him at 550 yds. It might not have been necessary, but why take a chance on packing an animal any farther than you have to.
While my shots were farther on the average than the rest of the crew, in testing I will give this bullet a 3.75 Star rating. I hoping that Hornady will respond with some more R&D to take these bullets to the NEXT level. With its high BC and excellent accuracy, the only thing missing is a better bonded core to offer better penetration.