Pro Tip: Choose The Right Bullet For The Job


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Late last month a few guys and I went to Lonesome Boar Adventures in Mountain Home, Texas to do a little hunting. Thinking we’d be shooting mostly coyotes at medium-to-long ranges, wild boars from close to far, and perhaps some axis deer, I built up a Pork Sword Rifle for my buddy, Peter, and a Pork Sword SBR for Jimmy, the owner of Atibal Optics, to use, both chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

While I could have put these guns together in other chamberings — and, indeed, I brought a gnarly 375 Raptor for myself — Creedmoor is super accurate and easy to shoot, especially over varying ranges with hastily-estimated wind calls.

My friend Peter had never hunted before and is a once-a-year kind of recreational shooter (a blow-up-soda-cans-on-a-square-range-in-the-woods kinda shooter, which described me for most of my life).

I wanted an accurate, low-recoil setup that he’d be rightly confident behind, and even mounted up a SIG SIERRA6 BDX 2-12x scope all synced up with a SIG rangefinder and programmed with the ballistics of the ammo I provided. Range the target, and a fiber optic aiming point lights up in the reticle with the correct elevation hold for that target. It’s pretty freaking awesome.

Jimmy is a great shooter and an experienced hunter who likes to take game at long ranges, so I knew he’d do his part behind an accurate, capable rifle. I wanted to give him something compact to show off how handy yet effective a short barrel is, so he got the 12-inch SBR on which he mounted up an Atibal Stealth 5-30×56 FFP. An axis deer was on his radar, and he planned on taking home all of the meat.

Though the ingredients of each shooter differed, both guns came out of the oven chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

At the same time, knowing from experience that Ryan, owner of Lonesome Boar Adventures, has a knack for finding bigger, tougher game than what we planned on shooting, such as aoudad, red stag, bison, blue wildebeest, and other creatures roaming around his and neighboring properties, plus how large and tough these Texas feral hogs can get, I made a very specific ammunition choice.

Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range, which, in 6.5 Creedmoor, is loaded up with 142 grain Nosler AccuBond LR projectiles. All of this makes for a brand of ammunition with a name that’s clearly too long, but the results are worth it.

Designed for taking game from close to long ranges, the high ballistic coefficient (0.625 in the 142 grain 6.5mm) AccuBond LR bullets mushroom reliably from 1,300 FPS of velocity on up. With a bonded jacket and core and a tapered copper jacket, weight retention at close ranges and through tough game isn’t a concern.

From Jimmy’s 12-inch barrel this gives him 875 yards of reliable bullet performance. Should be plenty. Though, if I’m honest, I didn’t expect to put it to the test quite as well as he did.

First, let me say that I talked this cartridge up when we were getting all zeroed and settled in at Lonesome Boar Adventure’s hunting house. I showed it off to Peter, Jimmy, my customer-turned-friend Steve, and Ryan and explained that it has been one of the most consistently-accurate loads I have ever used across dozens of different review and test guns from many different manufacturers, and that I had full faith in the abilities of this projectile to go through hard bone and big animals and perform correctly.

Ryan, having guided hundreds of hunters shooting hundreds of 6.5 Creedmoors, was cautiously optimistic, explaining that he jokingly calls the cartridge “6.5 Bleed-less” and has struggled to track (due to the frequent lack of a blood trail) and has lost more wounded animals shot with 6.5 CM than any other cartridge.

A lot of that was undoubtedly the hunter’s bullet choice. 6.5 CM, being an incredibly accurate round that’s great for long range precision, is more frequently loaded with target style projectiles than hunting style projectiles. On top of that, the vast majority of the hunting-focused 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is loaded with lighter duty bullets made for game that’s whitetail deer size and smaller, plus for predators like coyotes.

Asserting that, nah, this ammo is absolutely legit and is going to perform like a hammer, I was sticking my neck out.

It performed like a hammer. So did Jimmy, for that matter.

Rounding a corner in one of Lonesome Boar’s side-by-sides on the way to post up in a hunting blind near a creek where feral hogs frequent around dusk time, Ryan and Jimmy spotted an absolutely gigantic red stag a whopping ~400 yards down the road near the tree line.

The stag looks up at them, Ryan yells at Jimmy, “shoot that stag!,” and Jimmy whips his Pork Sword out from the footwell of the SxS and sets it on the dashboard.

Right as the red stag makes up his mind to sprint into the trees, as he turns his head and begins the first stride of his run and leap out of sight, Jimmy puts a 142 grain 6.5mm Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range Nosler AccuBond LR into his shoulder.

It went through the shoulder bones, one lung, the heart, the other lung, and the far side shoulder before stopping underneath the hide on the far side. The stag turned around and then dropped in place.

I’m not weighing the bullet because I can’t get all the gristle out and I also can’t find my powder scale…

But it looks pretty freakin’ intact. I can’t identify any obviously missing pieces of lead or jacket.

To put it extremely mildly, Ryan was highly impressed with the wound channel as he and Jimmy butchered the red stag. There was far more tissue destruction than he expected, again based on hundreds of animals’ worth of 6.5 CM experience, and the bullet maintained its trajectory despite encountering heavy bones.

It did exactly, every bit of what you’d hope for.

I’d also like to add, in a bit of [further] shameless Black Collar Arms promotion here, that the first thing Ryan and Jimmy excitedly talked about when Peter, Steve, and I caught up with them was the fact that Jimmy would have never gotten this shot off with a typical rifle. Riding in the side-by-side with the Pork Sword SBR muzzle-down in the footwell, stock rested on the seat next to Jimmy’s leg, there simply isn’t enough room to maneuver a standard length hunting rifle up and onto the dashboard. Certainly not in time to have taken the shot before the stag was gone.

With a 12-inch barrel and comparatively light weight, the Pork Sword can be maneuvered within the confines of a small vehicle, switching quickly and easily from shooting over the dash to around the roll bars and out the sides, or from inside a deer blind or when walking through brush, etc.

Jimmy grabbed it, whipped it up onto the dash, and took the shot. Ryan is now picking up a 10-inch .308 Pork Sword SBR. If you visit Lonesome Boar Adventures in a few months and don’t bring your own gun, this is likely to be your loaner and, if you do bring your own gun, don’t be surprised to see Ryan carrying a 10-inch chassis gun with a dead sexy deep spiral fluted barrel and a folding stock. They’re insanely capable and can’t be beat for how handy and maneuverable they are.

Peter and Steve (faces blurred to protect your eyes) simultaneously shot a pair of mangalitsa pigs at about 140 yards, command firing with me counting them down.

It was a great couple of days and another fantastic time hunting at Lonesome Boar Adventures in the gorgeous Texas hill country.

When you go hunting, wherever you go, make sure you choose the right bullet for the job.

On a related note — and this hasn’t been publicly announced yet but I may as well get that ball rolling here! — during this trip Jimmy convinced me to sponsor this massive African Safari Hunt Giveaway with a rifle.

With a prize package valued at well in excess of $20,000, including flights for two to Africa, four amazing animals during 11 nights and 10 hunting days with Johan Petzer Safaris, and a fully-equipped (Atibal Stealth scope, Accu-Tac bipod, etc) Black Collar Arms Pork Sword Rifle chambered in 375 Raptor, this is a massive giveaway.

Sign up at AfricanHuntGiveaway.com and please tell your friends, family, and anyone else you know who’d want to go on the hunt of a lifetime with one of the most badass rifles on the market, if I may say so myself.

 

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