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Lead or copper rifle bullets?

Old 04-20-2011, 05:03 PM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 132
Talking Lead or copper rifle bullets?

Gentleman, I have a question to ask all of you rifle shooters out there, What do you perfer? lead bullets or copper? I have used lead bullets for many years on whitetails and had good luck with them but last year I tried a Barnes bullet and it to performed very well also.
I know that lead is much cheaper than copper and I know what works for me, but I am just asking your thoughts on this matter, what say you?
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:03 AM
Boone & Crockett
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ponce de Leon Florida USA
Posts: 10,079

I've never used pure copper bullets yet, and as long as I can get Hornady BTSP cartridges I won't change. IMHO the only advantage would be about the potential lead poison problem. A couple of years ago I read about an entire semi load of donated deer meat for the homeless being carried to the dump because a test showed minute amounts of lead in it.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:57 AM
Typical Buck
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 797

I'll always be a lead shooter even if they outlaw it. I got tons of my favorite bullet put back just in case someone pays off the right democrat to outlaw it. Lead is in our water along with arsenic and a bunch of things in excess that will cause major health issues. Not only is it in our water it's in the ground itself. So does one ever think about the particals that come from the vapor off of everyone's car battery's. Yeah lead is bad for ya. I've reloaded for ages without washing my hands right away or eating a sandwich while doing so. Well we're all more educated now but the rest of us aren't immediately dying from lead. No worse than the preservatives they stick in the food from the grocery store.

Here's the debate. For years I've seen solid coppers come about and seen the results in the field. I seen a 50/50 good/bad results from solid copper. Some of them don't expand when hitting the animal. I don't know if it's a bad angle and the point don't make a solid enough contact to preform like the manufacturer claims. Even last year I finally found a bull elk that a guy shot using Barnes T Shock 7 hours later and the bull was still alive after taking one to the chest. There was no bullet to recover because it went through the lungs like a FMJ. That elk was shot at 200 yards with a 300 RUM. 2200 Fps is there cut off for expansion. So for most standard calibers that takes you out of the long range game right there. Magnums 400+ yards might work, for standard calibers 350 yards or less would be the max effective range. I use to cringe when someone brought failsafe bullets now I have a bigger list to cringe about. In all fairness there's been some major failures in lead bullets performance but manufacturers tend to correct those after enough complaints. After seeing over 10 bad performances from solid coppers they will never get my vote. I'll save ya'll a bullet next time when it don't open. So you can see what i'm talking about. The last one's went to Barnes with a nice little letter telling them to get there heads screwed on straight.

Maybe solids are accurate to certain distances and maybe they perform well at 100 yard kills. But when it comes to knock down energy and long range consistency in accuracy that field belongs to lead bullets. I'm not bias I hate solids. I'm tired of tracking wounded game from the next best thing they event.

I know what's coming so do your worst.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:12 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,926
Default Nothing new about lead

Hunters, like Daniel Boone, used lead in their flintlock rifles. I think that was a little before our times.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:32 AM
Dominant Buck
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Location: On an Island in Vermont
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I switched to Barnes TSX for my 06's and have had great results on deer and elk. I found them to be very accurate on the range and devastating on game. The not opening on long shots is a concern now that I have heard this. All my kills have been inside of 210 yds so long range issues haven't occurred for me but it is something to talk about.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:16 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,186

I have very limited expereince with solid copper bullets. Only one and only season. That is a 50 Cal. made by Barnes for use in muzzle loaders. I used it last season in my Savage 10-ML. It performed superbly at the range with a load I matched up with it and the rifle. It also was flawless in the field. I shot at and killed cleanly 7 white tail deer with this bullet. Closest shot was about 20-30 yards. Longest shot was about 185 yards. I have used lead core bullets, both factory loads and my hand loads, in my center fire rifles for decades. I have use about every brand of bullet out there at one time or another. My two favorites are the Nosler Partition and Sierra Game King. I cannot imagine any advantage a that solid copper would have over either of these for what I normally hunt ... white tail deer, wild hogs and occasionally mule deer.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:19 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,085

I started using Barnes X bullets a few years ago...

Since then I have shot a moose, a couple of caribou, 3 or 4 hogs and perhaps half a dozen whitetails with them, plus 3 coyotes...

So far, in every case, the Barnes bullets expanded well and in most cases dropped the game right where they stood..

They also seem to create much less bloodshot meat than lead bullets, and are very accurate in my rifles..

SO I intend to keep using them until I have a reason not to...
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:46 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,149

I think a lot depends on what your hunting, i know they have great results with barnes in bigger game, but also with bonded lead bullets. For deer stick with lead .
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:15 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,837

Barnes all the way if they will shoot well out of that particular gun.
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:56 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 44

Been shooting Barnes TSX for years now. Love em.
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