2 x 270 Win bullet performance tests

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
0
I posted this on another forum, but as I have just joined this site and saw this section it seems entirely appropriate to share the results of the following fairly basic experiments I did in this section. Sorry, the methods are a bit crude but for a bloke from the scrub it was as about as good as I could do.

I did two separate tests so I will post them one after another....

Wanting to compare a variety of different bullets in my 270 I found it difficult to benchmark one against another because shooting animals with them results in different circumstances every time. ie Sometimes the animal is big, small, you hit bone or you don't, or the range is different with each shot.

Obviously I don't have ballistic gel, and I have done the wet newspaper thing before but found it too soft, not much of an indicator of what a bullet does when it hits something hard.

So right or wrong I modified this traditional test by sandwiching both dry and wet paper together to simulate the bullets passing through soft flesh and harder, denser parts like ribs, fighting pads on pigs, thick skin etc. I alternated 1cm of dry paper with 1cm wet, over and over.

Definitely not a perfect medium, but a rigorous one for sure and one which would subject the bullets to a hard test. Perhaps too rigorous, but that's ok. I mainly shoot pigs, some of them are big, and there's nothing soft about them. Pound for pound I firmly believe they are harder and tougher than the likes of deer or goats and that's the criteria I was looking to simulate.

So now to the contenders for Bob's pig bullet test. I tested only cup and core bullets. There were no all copper or other homogeneous metal bullets like the GMX or X-Bullet. There were also no bonded bullets like the AccuBond or Scirocco. The only reason for this was that I don't use them. I have used the AccuBond before in a variety of calibres but for the extra money I found I was just as well off using a heavier non bonded bullet at half the cost. If I had had any of these though I surely would have loved to test them against the others.

The rifle was a Zastava bolt action with a 24 inch barrel and a 3-9 Sightron scope in 270 Win. Standard fare for a knockabout hunting rifle. The bullets were all in handloaded rounds, using ADI powders of medium-slow variety. The loads were generally mild to slightly on the warm side. They have all tested as being accurate in this rifle and show no signs of stress re excess pressure.

The only "premium" bullet I did have to try was the 160 grain Nosler Partition. I have not used this bullet on the pigs before, having only starting developing loads for them a few months ago. I bought these at a good price to use on the odd occasion I might get after a really big deer, or scrub bulls, donkeys, camels etc. I imagine the 150 bullets I bought will last me quite a few years. They are nice and accurate and seem quite comfy being driven between 2800 and 2900 fps.

The others I tested were the 90g Sierra HP, 130g Hornady Interlock SP, 130g Speer Hot Cor SP, 130g Nosler Ballistic Tip, 150g Hornady SST and the aforementioned 160g NP rounded out the six.

This lot represents a relatively incongruous sextet I admit, but this is what I had and covers a range of applications from light varmints, through medium game right up to a couple of true big game bullets.

All shots were fired into the same bundle of test paper, from a distance of only 15 yards. This ensured I was able to evenly space out the bullets in the media, and to accurately state the impact velocity which was important to me. To that end of course, impact velocities were relatively high and results would vary at realistic hunting ranges. This latter notion will be the subject of further testing later.


So in no particular order, here were my observations:

160g Nosler Partition
Impact speed: 2820fps
Distance penetrated: 280mm
Retained weight: 129g
Comments: This bullet lived up to its premium billing. It out penetrated the next best by 55mm and its retained weight was equal highest %. It created a nice wide consistent wound channel, and mushrooms nicely despite the harsh dry paper it had to repeatedly punch through. Some of the front core was wiped away however the bullet remained intact. It would have been great to benchmark this against an X-Bullet or similar.

IMG_20120804_145909.jpg


150g Hornady SST
Impact speed: 2925fps
Distance penetrated: 225mm
Retained weight: 120g
Comments: This bullet created a big wide wound channel right through the media, starting expansion early and then maintaining that big hole right to the point of stopping. The recovered bullet was the widest of all recovered, and if somewhat flattened compared to the NP, it just pipped the bigger bullet for % of weight retained. This is my favourite big game bullet in the 270 because I have found it more consistently puts down pigs of all sizes quickly, it shoots damn flat and is very accurate. At less than 50c a shot in Australia it's economical enough too.

IMG_20120804_145942.jpg


130g Nosler Ballistic Tip
Impact speed: 3075fps
Distance penetrated: 185mm
Retained weight: 62g
Comments: The NBT created the widest wound channel of all the non varmint bullets. It tore up more paper and really pulverised it. It also penetrated the least with the exception of the 90 HP. Don't think I am criticising it though. It performed well, just the way it is intended, but the more rapid and wider expansion naturally reduces penetration. Given the harsh test media, the loss of over half its weight was not a surprise and the recovered bullet was still a solid well formed pill. In this aspect it was on par with the other 130g bullets. These bullets can be driven safely up to 150fps faster in my rifle but this load is accurate and easy to shoot.

IMG_20120804_150007.jpg


130g Speer Hot Cor
Impact speed: 3040fps
Distance penetrated: 205mm
Retained weight: 59g
Comments: This is a really accurate and mild load in my 24 inch barreled rifle, it puts 3 of them into half an inch at 100y and has proven a consistent killer on pigs out to over 200y.
Given the Hot Cor's rep for toughness I was a little surprised that it broke up as much as it did, the lowest weight retention of the non varmint bullets, though the recovered pill was still a cogent representation of the original, considering the ordeal it went through.
On this theme, I believe a lower dry to wet paper ratio would be less harsh and more realistic? In any case it was consistent for all during this test.
In any case, this bullet was a good penetrater, with a good consistent wound channel at a modest velocity. For the price of about 35c a piece in Australia, it's a winner.

IMG_20120804_150020.jpg


130g Hornady Interlock SP
Impact speed: 3080fps
Distance penetrated: 220mm
Retained weight: 63g
Comments: Considering the price and weight of this bullet, I was surprised at how well it performed. The penetration was only 5mm behind the 150g SST, with a nice wide wound channel. The retained weight was identical to the NBT, albeit with a smaller wound channel but far better penetration. At around 40c a shot, this test indicates its a great all rounder.
I have driven these reliably to 3240fps in my rifle. I don't think that speed is necessary however, nor would it be conducive to good performance such as I saw at this speed.
While this bullet penetrated nearly as deep as the 150 SST, the bigger bullet made a wider wound channel and retained twice as much weight. In my view this ensures the bigger bullet more consistent performance, especially if heavy bone is struck.

IMG_20120804_150033.jpg


90g Sierra HP
Impact speed: 3400fps
Distance penetrated: 135mm
Retained weight: zero
Comments: In this loading the little 90 grainer was loaded pretty mildly. I have pushed these up to near 3700fps so this impact velocity would be a fair indicator of performance out at more realistic ranges.
Though this bullet understandably didnt penetrate nearly as far as any of the others, interestingly it didn't begin to penetrate at all until it had travelled over 70mm through the test bundle, whereas all the other bullets started to widen almost straight away. Once this bullet went about 80mm however it blew up completely, and there was nothing left but small fragments at the end of it's travel. The fact that it didn't explode straight away when it hit the first layer of dry paper was encouraging that at a pinch you could use it for medium game, provided you landed it in the ribs. Other than that it did exactly what you'd expect it to do.

General Comments:

As stated above, the harshness of the test media might have been a little extreme. A little more wet paper and a little less dry might be more useful. Also, the close ranges involved exacerbated this effect. Perhaps a good example of worst-case performance however.

Its a shame I didn't have a 130g SST to benchmark against the NBT or the bigger SST. My experience with the smaller SST on pigs lends me to think it would also expand very quickly like the 130 Nosler did.

It was good to benchmark like-for-like with the Interlock vs the Hot Cor. The 130g Interlock for a lightweight cheapy, really did the business. I like those bullets for pigs.

The big Partition showed the value of it's price tag. Cheap insurance for the hunt of a lifetime. If they weren't the best part of $1.20 a piece here I would use them a lot more for general shooting. As I said, it would be good to repeat this test, pitting the NP against the likes of the X-Bullet and the Accubonds. Maybe next time.

For middle of the road price and all round solid performance, I am now even more impressed with the 150g SST. With good penetration, a big wound channel, and equal best retained weight percentage, it's clearly a fantastic general purpose bullet. Great out at long range too with a BC of 0.525.

There are a few notable absentees that would have rounded out this cup and core test, such as the Pro Hunter and Gameking, Powerpoints and the Core Lokt of course. Maybe I will need to open a gun shop if I am gonna test them all!
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
0
Test 2, conducted several months later.....

Firstly, when I ran the test previously I used a mixture of dry and wet paper. In hindsight I felt there was too much dry which made the test media too hard. Secondly, I was running the bullets at full speed and hitting the media from only 10 or so yards away. This was hardly indicative of real world hunting, where shots can be taken from hundreds of yards away, though typically in my area from 50 to 250 yards. Velocity was too high in the initial test so for this test I carefully loaded down the rounds to deliver real world impact velocities.

This time I omitted a couple of bullets from the first test, namely the 90g HP and the 160g Partition; mainly because they were at both extremes of performance. I was more interested in how similar-ish products shaped up against one another. I was also pushed a little for time when doing this test.

Here are the contenders:

1. 130g Speer Hot Cor - this was a good middle of the road performer in Test 1
2. 130g PMC Spitzer Soft Point - I got onto 200 of these cheap, real cheap, so thought I would include them as a generic style cheap cup and core bullet
3. 130g Hornady Interlock - This bullet performed above its weight class in the last test
4. 130g Nosler Ballistic Tip - I was dissapointed by the lack of penetration of this bullet in the last test, and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to re-run the test with more realistic velocities
5. 130g Nosler Partition - The 160g version was such a clear winner over the others in the last test; I was keen to see if the 130g version could do as well
6. 150g SST - I tested this one again because it has been the standard in my 270 Win for accuracy and fast kills. In the last test it had expanded to the largest diameter and penetrated more than the 130g bullets, as you'd expect. I was interested to see it at lower speed.

The loads I assembled consisted of minimum charges designed to give impact velocities for around 2750fps for the 130g bullets, and around 2600fps for the 150g SST. Depending on how hot people like to load or what factory rounds they buy, these speeds would be representative of impact velocities at ranges from 130 to 150y or so. I thought this much more realistic than point blank range speeds.

For this test also I used only thoroughly soaked 100% wet paper and magazines. The media was soaked for 3 days so it was good and soggy.

The test rounds were fired from 10y into the same bundle of media spaced evenly to ensure consistency from load to load.

RESULTS:

1. Speer Hot Cor 130g
IMG-20130204-02056-1-1.jpg

Penetration: 13.5 inches
Retained Weight: 57g
Expanded Diameter: .381
Notes: The little 130g Hotcor penetrated as far as the 150g SST, which is no mean feat. It did lose more weight than any other bullet. It was also poor in the expanded diameter result compared to the others, though as others would, it may have generated larger size during its path through the media. It is a cheap bullet that I have had some great success with on pigs and goats, and I would not hesitate to use it on a deer under 100kg, but shot placement would need to be accurate. I have always found these accurate loaded to around 3000-3050fps in my rifle.

2. PMC Soft Point 130g
IMG-20130204-02057.jpg

Penetration: 11 inches
Retained Weight: 71g
Expanded Diameter: .459
Notes: These PMC bullets in cross section and performance appear like a classic low cost soft pointed bullet. They penetrated the least of the six tested, but retained weight was not the worst, nor was expanded diameter. I have shot just one pig of any size with this bullet and it worked fine. For really big pigs I am sure it would be ok with good shot placement. I would say the same for any medium sized deer. I think that's as far as I would push this budget minded bullet.

Hornady Interlock 130g
IMG-20130204-02058-1.jpg

Penetration: 13.75
Retained Weight: 83g
Expanded Diameter: .504
Notes: Again, this bullet - for the cost of it - gave a great account of itself. It penetrated as far as the Nosler BT, retained virtually the same weight and was not left behind in terms of expanded diameter. At around $20 per hundred less than the NBT, it is a bargain. The only disadvantage I can discern that it gives away to the NBT is the obvious flatter trajectory and greater velocity downrange the NBT can deliver due to its higher ballistic coefficient.

Nosler Ballistic Tip 130g
IMG-20130204-02059-1.jpg

Penetration: 13.75
Retained Weight: 84g
Expanded Diameter: .501
Notes: Well as suspected this bullet did a lot better than in Test 1. On that occasion while the NBT produced a large wound channel, it was out penetrated by even the Hot Cor, and was the shallowest penetrator of the 130g bullets. On this occasion however, it penetrated further than even the 150g SST, was equal with the 130 Interlock and beat the PMC hands down for penetration and weight retention.

Nosler Partition 130g
IMG-20130204-02060-1.jpg

Penetration: 15.25 inches
Retained Weight: 107g
Expanded Diameter: .554
Notes: Just as its big daddy the 160g NPT did in Test 1, this bullet took the prize. It penetrated considerably further, had the second best expanded diameter and by far the best retained weight. It even retained 10g more than the 150g bullet! These bullets are the old version in the yellow boxes, 250 of which I have in my reloading stash. I suspect they will all get used and be just the thing for red deer.

Hornady SST 150g
IMG-20130204-02061-1.jpg

Penetration: 13.5 inches
Retained Weight: 96g
Expanded Diameter: .654
Notes: As I indicated above and in Test 1, this bullet has been a standard for me since I went up from the 130g SST a couple of years ago, and it acquitted itself very well in the first test. Oddly, the bullet shed a lot more weight in this test, despite doing more than 300fps less at impact. It also penetrated less than the NBT and Interlock which are lighter bullets, though only by a quarter of an inch. It had the largest expanded diameter of all.

COMMENTS:
None of these bullets can be called duds, especially when cost is accounted.

The Ballistic Tip was the big improver as far as the lower velocity was concerned. The bigger SST was probably the only disappointment. It is hard to work out why this bullet would go backwards in regards to relative weight loss at lower velocity. This a good example of why more volume of testing is needed to draw final conclusions.

SUMMARY:
Once again the Partition lived up to its premium billing. What a great bullet. These can be safely driven to 3200fps (further actually) in my rifle but for practical purposes 3050 to 3100 is plenty, which is where I load it too.
The 130g Ballistic Tip impressed me a lot more this time around. It has a great reputation of course and it lived up to it in this test.
So too, the Interlock did the business, and consistently across Tests 1 and 2, has stood up to be counted. This point is relevant; at both 3075-ish and 2750-ish fps, the Hornady Interlock gave a great account of itself. There is something to be said for that. Consistency means "can be counted on" to me.

I guess all I can say as a final word is this: If I was handed a hundred bucks and told to go buy as much in the way of components as I could for the 270 Win, I would probably opt for a box of 130g Interlocks, and whatever was left over I would try in some way to convert into a box of 130g Partitions and as much powder I could get! With what components cost in this country though, it would take some bargaining on my part!

But for the money they cost, the Hornady 130g Interlocks really impressed me in both tests.

Thanks for reading. I welcome any comments and critique of the test/s or the way I have interpreted the results. It is very likely there is something I have missed or some point of relevance someone will see.
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
0
Anyway I hope someone finds some interest in there. The testing of course is far from conclusive, but gives me some indication of relative performance.

It was good fun. Regards.

- Bob
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,291
541
GREAT test and awesome amount of work. Thank you for posting those results. That is one of the best I have seen for the .277" bullets! Please keep posting all of this and your hunt pictures as well!
 

FOTIS

Range Officer
Staff member
Oct 30, 2004
23,120
269
Welcome to the forum and thank you for all the work!
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
34,989
1,373
Welcome to the forum, bobnob. Those are most interesting results you've posted. Thanks for all your work. I certainly find the study suggestive.
 

gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
10
Welcome Bob and thanks for posting the results of all your testing. This will be very helpful for owners of 270 cal rifles.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
Good tests and interesting results Bobnob. They hold and parallel closely the works that has been done by others in the US. Plus, your results pretty much tracked what I would expect them to be. You did a lot of work and testing for $100 Aus. For your information: I use the Partitions, Ballistic Tips, Accubonds and Interlocks in that order which is close to what you got. I have been using the Partition as my main .270 Winchester and 7mm Rem Mag game bullet for 50 years (130 and 160 grain respectively). I also use the 200 gr Interlock in my .338 Federal and use Ballistic Tips and Partitions for game and target shooting in several other calibers up to 9.3mm.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
The old style Partitions work as well as the new ones. They may not look exactly the same but I have been using them since 1963 and they always work!
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,721
986
Bob,

Welcome to the forum, glad to have you here.
Outstanding work. Thank you for sharing with us.

JD338
 

bobnob

Handloader
Nov 3, 2012
673
0
Oldtrader3":11nzmkx0 said:
The old style Partitions work as well as the new ones. They may not look exactly the same but I have been using them since 1963 and they always work!
Thanks all. Not a chore at all.

Gerry and Oldtrader, I lucked into 400 of the old Partitions in 160 and 130g weights for 50c a piece, and they seem to shoot accurate and kill fast, especially on pigs. The 160s are way too much bullet for pigs and fallow deer but one of these days I might get after a sambar deer for which they should be just the ticket...

IMG_20120505_091333.jpg
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
Welcome to the board BTW. Those old Partitions are just as good as the new ones and work the same. Yours have the crimping groove which I like on certain calibers (i.e. 9.3x74R). They are a great buy for $.50 apiece! Hogs take some penetration with the cartilage shield on their backs but any of the bullets that you got good penetration with should be sufficient for most hogs. My grandson killed a 350 pound hog in Texas with my old .280 Remington, Browning bolt action and 160 partitions. They worked great!

I have never used the 160 Partition in my .270 but use it all the time in my 7mm Rem Mag.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,291
541
bobnob":3axdl67n said:
Oldtrader3":3axdl67n said:
The old style Partitions work as well as the new ones. They may not look exactly the same but I have been using them since 1963 and they always work!
Thanks all. Not a chore at all.

Gerry and Oldtrader, I lucked into 400 of the old Partitions in 160 and 130g weights for 50c a piece, and they seem to shoot accurate and kill fast, especially on pigs. The 160s are way too much bullet for pigs and fallow deer but one of these days I might get after a sambar deer for which they should be just the ticket...

IMG_20120505_091333.jpg

Great picture Bob! Love that old Nosler stuff.
 

35 Whelen

Handloader
Dec 22, 2011
2,074
4
Great job and very interesting stuff! Is there someone on here that can date that box of Noslers??
I am 55 and have been reloading since the early 1970s but dont remember EVER seeing a yellow box with that font ???? How old are those bullets early 1950ish ????? Anyone on here old enough to remember that vintage??? :?
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,291
541
35 Whelen":1lbhxc02 said:
Great job and very interesting stuff! Is there someone on here that can date that box of Noslers??
I am 55 and have been reloading since the early 1970s but dont remember EVER seeing a yellow box with that font ???? How old are those bullets early 1950ish ????? Anyone on here old enough to remember that vintage??? :?

Here is my oldest box of Nosler's.

DSC_1249.jpg


DSC_1250.jpg


DSC_1251.jpg


DSC_1252.jpg


Got them from an old gunsmith back when I started reloading. Still have a handful of those old 140's too.. Used most of the box for hunting and had my longest streak of deer/animal's, that never went anywhere.. Full load of H870 in my old 7mm Mag was pretty deadly with those buggers.
 

Kodiak

Handloader
Oct 4, 2006
1,051
0
OT3,

How long has it been since you've seen a RED box of Nosler bullets? When I shot 6MMs, years ago, I had several boxes of the 95 gr. in a dark red box.
 

Oldtrader3

Ammo Smith
Nov 6, 2009
8,406
2
35 Whelen":3d1tlvox said:
Great job and very interesting stuff! Is there someone on here that can date that box of Noslers??
I am 55 and have been reloading since the early 1970s but dont remember EVER seeing a yellow box with that font ???? How old are those bullets early 1950ish ????? Anyone on here old enough to remember that vintage??? :?


I started using them about 1963 and that was the yellow box that I remember from that era until 1970 or so. The Ballistic Tip bullets were in a red box in the early 1970's, when they came out for public sale.
 
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