150gr or 180gr 300 WM for Mule Deer & Elk

Talk anything related to Mule Deer
Sponsored by: http://www.muledeermania.com
Post Reply
byuauhunter
Fawn
Fawn
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:42 pm

150gr or 180gr 300 WM for Mule Deer & Elk

Post by byuauhunter » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:17 am

As most know by now I'm relatively new. I've been shooting 150 gr in my 300 WM for my first 3 years of Mule Deer. I'd like to start hunting elk at some point but was concerned that the lighter/faster bullet might not have enough penetration for elk. Ideally, with my 300 Win Mag I'd like to use one bullet for both my Deer/Elk so I don't have to zero between seasons.

My initial motivation behind the 150gr when I started was I assumed it would be a lighter recoil. I figured why not go with the lightest round that will still be effective.

Now, the more I read I hear things like "180 gr in a 300 WM is better for both muley/elk because the velocity's are a bit slower and you'll be better expansion and short ranges of 300yds or less whereas a 150gr might shoot flatter but at potentially short distances you'll ruin lots of meat.

I got my first (and only) muley in 2009 at about 30 yards when we best over a small hill behind me trotting behind a doe. I did notice while butchering him that the bullet exploded into a million pieces. I've heard that's because the the velocity was still super high at 30yds?

I'm just not starting to learn about ballistics so theres a lot I'm either missing or simply understand incorrectly.

Just to preface. At this point I don't feel comfortable going beyond about 250-300 accurately.

Can I stick with the 150gr for both or should I switch to a 180?

Thanks

User avatar
ABert
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 1744
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 4:45 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: 150gr or 180gr 300 WM for Mule Deer & Elk

Post by ABert » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:24 pm

Not sure you are going to like my answer, but here goes...

I've never been sold on using an "magnum" round. What truly matters is marksmanship. I have hunted with a .270, non-magnum, for many years now and have taken elk out past 300 yards to inside 50 yards. I've taken muleys out past 350 yards to inside 75 yards.

I've never had a round "explode" on me at short distances nor have I ever had a problem with penetration at longer distancens. Bullet placement is the key.

If you feel the only way to put down an animal in it's tracks is to shoot through both front shoulders, then by all means use a magnum. If you want to take an animal with minimal loss of meat, put the bullet where it will do the most damage to the internals; ie: heart and/or lungs.

I have always hunted with 140 gr. bullets but will now be shooting 150 gr. bullets for the sole fact that Winchester no longer makes the FailSafes. I'll be using the XP3's which only come in 130 or 150's. I've elected to go with the 150's and my brother has elected to go with 130's, both of us still hunting muleys and elk.

So, with all of that, I'd say go with the 180's. Much better down range energy over the 150's. Just do a double punch through the lungs at short range and plan on short tracking to save wasting meat. However, if you don't care about meat loss from the shoulders keep punching through them and don't worry about having to do any tracking.
It ain't the size of the gun but the placement of the bullet.

User avatar
dahlmer
Monster
Monster
Posts: 844
Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 7:54 pm

Re: 150gr or 180gr 300 WM for Mule Deer & Elk

Post by dahlmer » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:59 pm

If you want heavier bullet, but are unsure about the 180's split the difference with a 165. I've been shooting 180's, however when I shoot all I've got I think I'll drop back down to 165's.

I've never had a bullet explode personally, but I shoot premium rounds. I have seen it happen however, usually on a shoulder.

waspocrew
4 point
4 point
Posts: 723
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 9:49 am
Location: Logan, UT

Re: 150gr or 180gr 300 WM for Mule Deer & Elk

Post by waspocrew » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:39 pm

I've been in the same boat for Elk, but I decided to go with a 165 gr. (still debating over Barnes tsx or Nosler Accubond). I'm shooting a .308 and it'll do great within a certain range. I just don't think it has the umph needed to shoot a 180 unless it's pretty close range. I think a 165 would do great for you as well. Plenty of guys have taken elk with 130 grain .270's and I've heard of people using 120 grain 25-06 with success also. I think shot placement is most important overall though.

User avatar
derekp1999
4 point
4 point
Posts: 646
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:09 pm
Location: Clinton, UT
Contact:

Re: 150gr or 180gr 300 WM for Mule Deer & Elk

Post by derekp1999 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:28 pm

I agree with dahlmer and waspocrew, split the difference with165gr and placement is key. That's what I've done with my .30-06 (I know it's not a magnum), but it seems to do very well & I don't have to re-zero between seasons (when I'm lucky enough to draw the tags).
“The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.”
-Albus Dumbledore

Post Reply
cron