360 Buckhammer season results

bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
908
535
So, I thought I would pop back in here to report my results from using my new .360BH and my reloads for deer season this fall. As some may remember, I had settled on the 180gr Speer JSP as my bullet of choice, using Accurate 1680 powder, at about 2300fps.

To cut straight to the chase, the results were extremely disappointing. I connected on both a buck and a doe, at distances of less than 100 yards. In both cases, the deer mule-kicked and ran off, leaving a relatively minor blood trail. Shot placement for both was my typical behind-the-front-leg shot, which usually results in a short run but avoids meat loss. Indeed, the same shot placement dropped two deer during our muzzleloader season. In the case of the .360BH, neither deer was recovered, despite hours of searching. We followed the doe's trail as she circled the hillside opposite me, and the blood petered out and we could not determine where she had gone. In the case of the buck, we followed his trail down into a bottom and up the hill on the opposite side, until it was approaching the property boundary. In both cases, it was evident that both deer were still moving quite well after being shot, and neither showed any inclination to bedding down.

In almost 50 years of deer hunting, I have never had two wounded deer run off and not be recovered, in the same season. That, to me, is extremely disappointing and I only hope that they both recovered from the wound. I hate the thought of a slow death.

In a post on another site, another user warned me about slow velocities with the Speer 180's, and at 2300 fps I would think that would be enough. But based on the results, I believe that in both cases the bullet just penciled right thru without doing much damage.

https://www.marlinowners.com/threads/360-buckhammer-first-hand-loads.658596/post-8786810

So, I'm now going back to the drawing board. Some bullet tests are in order, and I'm going to do some experimenting with 200gr cast GCHP as a possible replacement for the Speers. Maybe look at the Hornady 200gr RN, as well.

I would be interested to hear thoughts, suggestions, or results that anyone else had with the .360BH this fall.

Cheers,
Brian
 
After doing some research, I found GT Bullets online. This is the bullet I'm going to test as a possible replacement, when I can get some. Right now, they are about 7 months behind on shipping.


In the meantime, I got some 200gr hard cast GCHP from Montana Bullet Works to experiment with.

 
I've been following your thread on this subject over on Marlin Owners forum.

Disappointing yes. :(

I've only shot the 360 Buckhammer casually, testing factory ammo. It seemed, as implied by the cartridge name, that it should be a fine deer round. Black bear and elk as well.

The possibilities that come to mind are: either a poor shot, or poor bullet performance.

You're an experienced hunter and skilled marksman, so two poor shots at under 100 yards, in one season seems highly unlikely. Any of us can make a bad shot, but somehow I doubt that you made two bad shots in one season at modest range. *Have you checked the sights/scope since making those shots to see if the rifle is still properly zeroed?

Also many of us have used Speer bullets with great satisfaction on game. It seems unlikely for such a simple hunting bullet to fail to perform. You are going to test the bullets for penetration & expansion, so that should reveal if there's a problem with them. I think any bullet maker can turn out a poor lot of bullets time to time. Lead too hard, jacket too hard, or maybe too fragile of a bullet. One leads to bullets over-penetrating and failing to expand properly, the other to poor penetration and over-expansion.

I'm very interested in seeing what you learn about the bullets!

Hunters would use a cartridge like the 360 Buckhammer for that bigger diameter, heavier bullet for both good penetration and good expansion. Disappointing indeed for it to not perform as you hoped.

Thanks for bring this up on a couple of hunting forums now. It's an interesting subject for sure! I suspect that a lot of guys just wouldn't have even mentioned it online. We can all learn from your experience. Thanks!

Regards, Guy
 
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I've been following your thread on this subject over on Marlin Owners forum.

Disappointing yes. :(

I've only shot the 360 Buckhammer casually, testing factory ammo. It seemed, as implied by the cartridge name, that it should be a fine deer round. Black bear and elk as well.

The possibilities that come to mind are: either a poor shot, or poor bullet performance.

You're an experienced hunter and skilled marksman, so two poor shots at under 100 yards, in one season seems highly unlikely. Any of us can make a bad shot, but somehow I doubt that you made two bad shots in one season at modest range. *Have you checked the sights/scope since making those shots to see if the rifle is still properly zeroed?

Also many of us have used Speer bullets with great satisfaction on game. It seems unlikely for such a simple hunting bullet to fail to perform. You are going to test the bullets for penetration & expansion, so that should reveal if there's a problem with them. I think any bullet maker can turn out a poor lot of bullets time to time. Lead too hard, jacket too hard, or maybe too fragile of a bullet. One leads to bullets over-penetrating and failing to expand properly, the other to poor penetration and over-expansion.

I'm very interested in seeing what you learn about the bullets!

Hunters would use a cartridge like the 360 Buckhammer is for that bigger diameter, heavier bullet for both good penetration and good expansion. Disappointing indeed for it to not perform as you hoped.

Thanks for bring this up on a couple of hunting forums now. It's an interesting subject for sure! I suspect that a lot of guys just wouldn't have even mentioned it online. We can all learn from your experience. Thanks!

Regards, Guy
Appreciate the feedback, Guy. I guess it's what I get for being an early adopter, lol. Someone has to do the grunt work.

I will post more on this as I am able to do some bullet tests this year. It will be an interesting experiment, to be sure.

Stay tuned, folks. I will update as more information becomes available.

Oh, and to answer your question: I have not yet checked my zero to see if that was an issue. But I will do that before running any bullet tests.
 
Very surprising results. I have been using that bullet in my 35 Remington for many years, and have never had a deer run more than 15 yds after getting shot with it. Most times they have dropped at the shot. My load in my 336 runs around the same velocity as you’re getting in the Buckhammer. How old is the box of bullets you loaded? I have heard rumors of old lead hardening up. Maybe that was the case and they penciled through. Or could be you hit both a little behind the vitals.
 
Very surprising results. I have been using that bullet in my 35 Remington for many years, and have never had a deer run more than 15 yds after getting shot with it. Most times they have dropped at the shot. My load in my 336 runs around the same velocity as you’re getting in the Buckhammer. How old is the box of bullets you loaded? I have heard rumors of old lead hardening up. Maybe that was the case and they penciled through. Or could be you hit both a little behind the vitals.
That's good feedback, thanks.

Bullets were new manufacture, so that's not the issue. And it is quite possible that the fault is mine, but I've never had that happen before.

As I mentioned above, a member on another forum warned me about issues he had experienced with that bullet, but now I'm waiting on some details from him. Sounds like his experience was a bit different than yours.

Whatever the results of my bullet tests, I will post them for everyone to see.
 
Very surprising results. I have been using that bullet in my 35 Remington for many years, and have never had a deer run more than 15 yds after getting shot with it. Most times they have dropped at the shot. My load in my 336 runs around the same velocity as you’re getting in the Buckhammer. How old is the box of bullets you loaded? I have heard rumors of old lead hardening up. Maybe that was the case and they penciled through. Or could be you hit both a little behind the vitals.
What is your load with this bullet for your 35 Rem?
 
Too bad about the deer. I know that feeling as others have. Don't have 360 but do have couple of 35 Rems and have used the Speer 180 with good results. One not a very good shot placement with this bullet was at about 20yds quartering away. When I shot the doe turned away from me and I saw her flinch from the impact but didn't know where she was hit. Waited a few mintues and went looking. Found her after about 75yds was hit in the right hind quarter and the bullet was underneath the hide in the left ribs. With this shot placement not much blood trail but hip joint was shattered and good internal damage. Without recovering the deer it's only a guess where shot was made. Hope you get some answers from your tests. Also the Remington CL and Hornady 200gr FTX are good. Dan.
 
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