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Talk Me Out of Using Powerbelts

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Talk Me Out of Using Powerbelts

Old 11-18-2013, 08:36 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pine Hill Alabama USA
Posts: 1,280
Default Talk Me Out of Using Powerbelts

Hear me out on my reasons for wanting to try them first.

I have used Shockwaves, Hornady XTP's, Hornady XTP mags, and Hornady SST's. I killed 2 deer with the XTP Mags, 2 with the Shockwaves, 1 with a regular XTP and one with a SST. Every deer I have shot with these bullets I have basically gotten a caliber size hole in and a caliber size hole out. I found every deer I shot but every single one ran anywhere from 75 to 125 yards despite double lung broadside shots. Blood trails were sparse to say the least. And the woods are thick in my area of Alabama. A deer that runs 100 yards with a poor blood trail can be a booger to find here. Even using 150 grains of pyrodex I can see no sign that these bullets expanded at all on deer. When dressing these deer the wound channel looked basically like you sharpened one end of a round steel rod and just poked a hole through them. Lethal? Sure especially through the lungs but kind of like shooting them with a full metal jacket. And yet I hear people praising these bullets and their terminal performance online all the time.

All I hear about Powerbelts is that they expand too much. But after my experiences so far more expansion is starting to sound pretty good. I just find it hard to believe that a 295 or 348 grain bullet backed by 100 grains of pyrodex won't shoot through an Alabama sized deer on a broadside rib shot. I fully realize that it is just electroplated lead but still given how overly tough those other bullets have been can these really be that far to the other end of the spectrum?
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:07 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,425

I've used all the bullets you mentioned plus the Barnes MZs...

You want full penetration and a good blood trail, move to the Barnes...

You want a deer to drop on the spot??? Use any good bullet and go with a high
shoulder shot...

My brother used PowerBelts for years and finally moved away from them for reasons stated...

A jacketed, hollow point pistol bullet gives you the best of both worlds, controlled expansion and deep penetration...Add to this the fact that you can buy them in bulk and couple them with a MMP or Harvester sabot and they are quite cheap to shoot and practice with...

Personally I don't think you have killed enough deer with any of the bullets to form a solid opinion...I prefer to have me and my buddies to shoot 8-10 deer before we decide a bullet is not doing what we want...

I ended up going to the Hornady 300gr XTPs in .429 caliber, it will do all that needs doing to a deer...
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:47 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Kerrville, Tx. USA
Posts: 2,722

If you stay at or below 100 gr of powder with deer sized game, you are probably fine with powerbelts. Shoot them with 105-150 gr of powder and you are asking for trouble. If shot too fast, they blow up and fragment, which may or may not put a deer down soon. That said, I once had a powerbelt pencil through an elk. Missed all the ribs, and went straight through. That was a flat nose though.

I switched to the Hornady FPB. They have a plastic tip up front to encourage expansion and have a lead alloy body to help it hold together. Have had good luck and good accuracy with them, and they are cheaper.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:33 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 1,607

Todd1700, I know you are wanting more expansion, but I think you're going to get too much expansion with Powerbelts. Myself, nor anyone in my hunting group have had good success with them. I've seen quite a few lost deer from Powerbelts.

Barnes, Lehigh, Nosler are all good options. About the same price as the Powerbelts as well. Barnes are probably the easiest on the shelf bullet to find.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:40 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Virginia / West Virginia
Posts: 4,906

Take a look at Speer Deep Curls. Good expansion, and hold together well. I personally like the 240gr...but they have a wide variety of bullets from 240gr up to 300gr that many folks love.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:33 AM
Boone & Crockett
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Comance county, OK
Posts: 11,408

When i got back to muzzleloader hunting in 1999 i borrowed a nice Knight rifle from a friend and bought some Pyrodex and Power Belts. Was hiking along and looked down to see the Power Belt fall out the muzzle of the gun.

Went and bought some XTP bullets and sabots. No Power Belts for this kid.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:40 AM
Giant Nontypical
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 9,557

Hornady FPB is a much better bullet than the Powerbelt, and as an added bonus they're cheaper.
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Old 11-19-2013, 08:55 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Dark Side of the Moon
Posts: 406


At what range are you shooting these deer? Bullets expand differently at a variety of ranges and velocities. I have used both Powerbelt's and Shockwaves with great success on each, but have also seen the small exit holes you talk about on the Shockwaves as well. I shoot the CVA Kodiak .50 cal & TC Triumph. I personally only use 100 grain charges as it was a more accurate load. In Southern Michigan, I have shots ranging from 10 yards to 150 yards (my personal limit), so the Shockwave is my go to right now. Would love to get a load worked up for the Barnes line.

If you are looking for expansion and your gun shoots them, look at the Barnes expanders. No personal experience, but from everything I have read there are devastating at most ranges once you find the right load & sabot combination.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:02 AM
Dominant Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 21,193

I am not going to try to talk you out of Powerbelts. I say, if they interest you, then try them. Form your own opinion, good or bad. I never hunted with Powerbelts, but have shot a lot of them. I always found them accurate and easy to load.. on the range! I too feel they would be a lethal deer projectile. I mean, if I can flatten a white tail with a roundball, why not a powerbelt. Do I think there are better bullets.. yes I do. I think the XTP, Speer Deep Curl, Lehigh, Parker, Barnes, Thors, Nosler, are all better bullets. Can I base that on hunting experience.. nope. Like I said.. I normally kill them with a roundball or a conical bullet.

And since I mentioned conical bullets, IMO from experience.. its hard to beat big lead conical bullets when dropping deer. But I have little doubt a well placed, moderate speed Powerbelt should kill a deer. Just my opinion. But my Optima shoots the 245 grain powerbelts with amazing accuracy. I think with 80 grains of powder, I could really lay a world of hurt on a deer. But I also understand, like you.. I might have a tracking job ahead of me.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:36 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,083

I tried powerbelts in my Omega and had trouble with consistant groups regarless of ammount of powder. I have heard they are prone to disentigrating or coming apart.

I have had excellent results with both shockwaves and even the cheap Scorpion Funnel point mag HP's with the Harvester crushed-ribbed sabots.

If your gun likes them you could also try some all lead conicals.
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