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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question for the ballistic guys out there...
What would the drop be at exactly 200 yards in perfect conditons with a 20 inch barrel SPS Tactical, firing a 168 grain Winchester Ballistic Silvertip .308? I missed a shot on a good buck on my hunting trip at about exactly 200 yards (used a range finder). I was prone, using a sturdy backpack as a rest and my crosshairs were dead still, holding about 5 inches above the center of the vitals. It was low-light conditions and I was using a crappy Simmons 3X9X50 with cheap Weaver rings, but I'd spent a good deal of time sighting it in the week before at 100 yards, shooting slightly under 1 inch groups, in the dead center of the bullseye. There was no wind. My question is, in perfect conditions, what should the drop have been? We spent 3 hours looking for blood or any sign of a hit, I was that sure of my shot, despite the low light. I would not have missed left or right, and without the scope having been knocked around (I took great care not to do anything like that) I'm trying to figure out what went wrong. I have the empty casing on my work desk, and it stares at me... mocking me...
 

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Ballparking it, I would go with about 4 inches drop at 200 yards assuming about 2700 FPS.
 

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I havent had a chance to shoot at 200 yet, but with 180grn CT balistic tip, Im dead on at 25 about 2" high at 100, and from what I had figured Id be damn close at 200. Wouldnt that mean at 200, you would be about 2" low? Granted youre shooting a 168grn factory bullet and Im shooting a 180grn handload, but wouldnt think you would be 3" lower at 200 that I figure I am.

Or being that Im new to all this, I could be totally wrong
 

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I've been over this with him all day, and the only thing I can come up with is something changed with your optics. Either it got bumped enough to throw it off, or maybe the cold had something to do with it. I'm not up on the thermal tolerance of Simmons scopes and cheap rings, but that's my only other guess. Even if you lost 200 fps somehow it would still only drop an extra 2" or 3" which is still well within hitting the deer. I suppose one crazy thing that could've happened is the bullet entered, stopped, and the wound sealed behind it. Your spotter should've seen it drop or run off. Never know now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I actually did have a spotter, a partner who had already gotten a deer that year and was along for the fun of it. We were both prone and he was ranging for me. I later ranged it myself to double check. 206 yards. It was very low light conditions and once the shot went off, he saw at least one deer run back to the south where they had come from. But, once again, it was low light and we were both blinded for a moment from the muzzle flash. There were other factors out there, such as a slight elevation... I was on a hill perhaps 30 feet high, shooting across a valley at a deer that was on another hill - that hill was nearly 15 feet lower than my hill making my elevation from my target about 15 feet. Temp was around 23 degrees F. Windspeed 2-3 mph in my face, if that.
I held about 5 inches high. Crosshairs dead still about 2 inches below the spine.
I'm headed back out for some more hunting on Saturday. I just wanted to make sure that my ballistics were in order. I'll be hunting a different place where I won't have any elevation, and while I probably won't attempt a shot past 200 with my current setup, I'd love to know what the drop should be with that round if I'm dead on at 100. Just frustrating. But that's hunting.
 

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I doubt that you are getting 2700 ft/sec from your 20" barrel. If you are loadedclose to max, I would say 2600 to 2650 ft/sec. My 168 gr load at 2600 ft/sec drops 4.3" at 200 yards with a 100 yard zero. That bullet is a SMK. Your ballistic silvertip has a little lower BC so you would be in 4.5" to 5" drop area. Worse case sinerio, if your load drops 5" at 200 yards and you held 5" high, you probably hit that deer right where you wanted to. Chances are the bullet didn't open up or expand, just punched a .30 caliber hole straight through. I would search a few hundred yards in the direction that the deer ran after the shot. Take a trail dog with you. You will more that likely find him. The standard Weaver rings are not pretty, but they are strong. I have rifles with scopes mounted in Weaver mounts and rings that have been there for 25 years are more and still shoot good.

Lots of luck to you.

Sincerely,
Dave (Bubba) Thornblom
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. I spent a lot of time looking for blood, hoping to stumble onto the body, but looking back at it, I could have gone further south, up the hill where they came from but you start getting into the private property out there and didn't want to be walking around on private land with a rifle. He's probably coyote food by now, if that's what happened. Makes me sick.
 

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Not to worry, sooner or later it happens to all of us if we hunt enough. It is not something we get used to, but we can learn from those incidents and do things to help insure that we don't repeat those incidents. There are mixed emotions about the plastic tipped bullets. Sometimes they open up too much and make gosh awful wounds and sometimes they don't open up and punch straight through and that animal will not leave a blood trail. For my hunting purposes, lead tipped bullets have never let me down (Hornady spire points, Speer hot cores, Sierra spitzers, Winchester power points, Remington core lokts, Nosler spitzers). All of these can be loaded to shoot accurately. So, take you pick, load dilligently and shoot diliberately. I heard someone say once that no bullet does the exact same thing all of the time. Most of the mushroomed bullets we see in advertisements are shot into ballistic jello to produce the perfectly mushroomed bullet for advertising purposes. Recovered bullets in the hunting field seldom look as perfect. For hunting purposes, the old stand by Nosler partition continues to do good work. It may not be quite as accurate as other bullets, but how accurate does it need to be to hit the 10" kill zone of a white taill deer at 200 yards?

That being said, I do like the CT Ballistic Silvertip .224" diameter 55 grain in my .22-250 Remington. It is as accurate as anything I have shot so far and I am not hunting with it. I am shooting long range precision matches, 100 yards to 400 yards. At 100 and 200 yards it turns water ballons into fog. Not a single drop of water hits the ground.

Sincerely,
Dave (Bubba) Thornblom
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's a good point on the plastic tipped bullets. Plus, I'd been outside for almost 10 hours at that point, either sitting or hiking, and I'll bet that bullet was freezing cold if/when it hit the deer and maybe that played a part in it too, if it didn't open.
 

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thornblom said:
I doubt that you are getting 2700 ft/sec from your 20" barrel. If you are loadedclose to max, I would say 2600 to 2650 ft/sec. My 168 gr load at 2600 ft/sec drops 4.3" at 200 yards with a 100 yard zero. That bullet is a SMK. Your ballistic silvertip has a little lower BC so you would be in 4.5" to 5" drop area. Worse case sinerio, if your load drops 5" at 200 yards and you held 5" high, you probably hit that deer right where you wanted to. Chances are the bullet didn't open up or expand, just punched a .30 caliber hole straight through. I would search a few hundred yards in the direction that the deer ran after the shot. Take a trail dog with you. You will more that likely find him. The standard Weaver rings are not pretty, but they are strong. I have rifles with scopes mounted in Weaver mounts and rings that have been there for 25 years are more and still shoot good.

Lots of luck to you.

Sincerely,
Dave (Bubba) Thornblom
Exactly. I used Weaver mounts for many years when there wasn't much else around. I began using Redfield mounts after that and now use Leupold which are the same as the old Redfield mounts. I think the internet pays way too much attention to the latest fad in mounts.

A few years ago I lost a deer that I shot at 60 - 75 yards out the back door of my garage. No way I could have missed but I didn't find a blood trail and his tracks in the snow showed that he ran about 30 yards then meandered into a swamp. I figured I must have missed him but found him a few weeks later in the swamp maybe 50 yards from where I had given up the search. Couldn't find much on where he had been hit since the coyotes and other critters didn't leave much of him behind. Critters have to eat to. It pissed me off because I have never lost a deer in 40 years of hunting. That was with Remington factory ammo in my 7.62X39. Haven't used that gun since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm contemplating another trip out there to spend a few more hours looking. It's a 2 hour drive though. Trying to find the time around work, a new baby, and a wife who was nice enough to let me hunt for almost 4 days in a row last week. Anybody else hunt with the Ballistic Silvertip? Sonofphil suggested trying the Fusion stuff and I may go pick up some new ammo today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't handload yet. I'd like to get into it at some point but just can't find the time right now.
 

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Do you think you shot over it or under it? My guess is you either shot through it like mentioned above, or just shot over it's spine.

If that happened to me I would be puzzled as well. :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have no idea, really. Based on all the aspects of that shot, the conditions, where my crosshairs were, how steady I was, I would say the bullet didn't open and just zipped through the buck and he ran off. Since I held about 2 inches under his spine, I wouldn't have missed high. Possible I missed low, but that would have been an 18-22 inch drop or more at 206 yards. He probably ran a half mile and died. Since it was low light, after the muzzle flash, we didn't see which direction he ran. I was so confident in the shot that I was shocked he didn't just drop there or that we didn't find any blood. I should just get over it probably. By next season I'll have a better scope and some better gear, as well as a lot more training in long distance shooting. A better scope wouldn't have helped the bullet expand, if that was the problem, but at least I would have probably been able to see him more clearly and might have been able to reaquire him and see which direction he ran.
 
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