Home Main Category Hunting

Using handloads for hunting dangerous game

JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior MemberPosts: 7,930 Senior Member
Byron Dalrymple is an author I used to read and enjoy. He wrote a number of hunting books, as well as articles and stories in periodicals such as Field and Stream. From what I could tell, he wrote primarily from experience, as much of his writing was based on his own hunts.

One of the comments I remember reading was that he never used handloads when hunting dangerous game. He didn't say why, just that he always used factory ammo.

Maybe if was spending thousands on a hunt of a lifetime, spending the extra bucks on premium factory ammo wouldn't seem like much. I have had one experience, though, in which a handload failed me. When I extracted a loaded cartridge from the chamber, the bullet pulled out and cost me a very makeable shot at an antelope. That's the only problem I've ever had with my own handloads while hunting, though. Now, before I head out, I cycle every round I will be taking from the magazine and through the chamber, and make sure it feeds and extracts cleanly.

I don't expect I'll ever hunt dangerous game, although any hunt in the rockies provides the possibility that one might encounter a bear, lion, moose or whatever that could be considered dangerous.

Anyway, what do you think about the notion of only using factory ammo if hunting dangerous game?
Jerry

Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.

Replies

  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,396 Senior Member
    The only bad experiences I have ever had regarding ammo while hunting have been with factory. As long as I can go in with a known set of variables, I am taking handloads. If I dont know anything about the critter and the person I am paying to get me on it says 'Use X" then I am going to use X
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,075 Senior Member
    I wouldn't have an issue using MY handloads for dangerous game.

    They'd be built meticulously, sealed, and function tested through the action.

    I've had more factory ammo fail to chamber than I have my handloads that I carefully crafted for a particular rifle. Hornady had an entire run of 6.5 Grendel Brass (and ammo loaded with it) that was just a touch too long, but they figured it was close enough.... not in my rifle. They paid to get all 5 boxes back. and replaced them.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    I could afford such pursuit, I wouldn't bother making my own ammunition.

    I do however believe a careful individual could equal or better most factory ammunition offered.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,972 Senior Member
    I will likely never hunt what I'd consider to be dangerous game. But, if I did, I'd use my handloads. I would rather face the situation using a gun built by my Mentor and ammunition I made myself.

    Kind ms of the icing on the cake.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,710 Senior Member
    Well, they used to hunt such things with muzzle loaders.
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,916 Senior Member
    There's no way any factory loaded ammunition can be put together with more attention to detail than the stuff that comes off my reloading bench....I own rifles that have NEVER had a round of factory ammo fired through them....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,148 Senior Member
    I'm pretty much with Jayhawker on both fronts: I put a ton of attention into hunt-specific round and I have quite a few guns that have only ever seen, and been afield with, rounds that I have handloaded.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    The biggest game I've ever hunted is whitetail deer or feral hogs. I have never killed either with a factory load. I started hand loading at about age 20, loading .308 and .30 Carbine, and I never killed a deer when I was younger and hunting with factory ammo.

    I put special care into loading my hunting rounds, and test them quite a bit. So, I would stick with that for dangerous game, I think...if I had any desire to hunt dangerous game.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,930 Senior Member
    FYI, I think it was John Wooters, not Byron Dalrymple, who made this statement.

    Darned old age.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    early wrote: »
    I could afford such pursuit, I wouldn't bother making my own ammunition.


    Regardless of how much money I had, I get a bit of personal satisfaction from harvesting game with ammunition that I loaded and especially with bullets that I cast. It has nothing to do with money.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    Regardless of how much money I had, I get a bit of personal satisfaction from harvesting game with ammunition that I loaded and especially with bullets that I cast. It has nothing to do with money.

    ^THIS^

    The actual shot is anti-climactic to me. I enjoy the preparation, the shot, and processing the meat as a wholly satisfying procedure. If I lived where spot and stalk was practical, I'm sure I would put more emphasis on the shooting part. But, the trick for me is to get them to walk into a kill zone that I'm allowed to hunt, where making the shot is basically a slam dunk. That's not to say I can't screw up an easy shot, but making a 100 yard shot on anything bigger than a squirrel, with a modern scoped rifle is not a major achievement. Finding the right place to set up is much more important.
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,720 Senior Member
    The only factory ammunition I use for hunting is .22lr. Everything else is ammo I have hand crafted, .243, 6mm, 270, 308, 38 special, .357 magnum, .41 magnum, .44 special, .44 magnum, .45acp, and .45Colt. I cast bullets for all but the 6mm, .270 and .308. All max or close to max powder charges are weighed and hunting bullets and primers are sealed with clear nail polish........robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    I too have guns that have never fired a factory made round. Also, If I'm going on a hunt that includes animals that can kill and maybe eat me I'm going to have a back up. If it's in Africa or Alaska or somewhere that large, potentially dangerous animals frequent, I will have a guide and that guide will have a dependable rifle with him. If my rifle would go ft-ft-ft-ft-ft and fizzle, I would have the back up person-gun shoot it. But in truth I've never really had a hand load fizzle.

    Once I had one that I seated the bullet out too far and the lands grabbed the bullet and extricated it from the case and spilled powder into the magazine and the bullet was stuck in the barrel, which caused a missed opportunity at a deer for a friend (I think he may still be pissed about that), but that was part of my learning curve. Now, I never seat a bullet that close to the lands and when I work up a load, I check it out well before I try to use it. I run a few the rounds I'll be hunting with through the chamber once.

    Saturday I had a couple of 7 mag rounds that didn't go off, but I'm quite sure that is the rifle's problem. Either the firing pin spring is weak, or the inside of the bolt is crudded up with gunk. I haven't done so yet, but I will spray the bolt inside flooding the firing pin channel with Brake Cleaner and lubing it. If I have to I'll remove it and clean it well. I never had this happen before on that rifle, but I think that's because these loads have a CCI Primer which I believe is harder than the Winchester primers I was using. When I pulled the trigger and it didn't fire, I looked at the primer and the dent from the firing pin was not very deep at all. I tried these two again and they fired fine. I really believe the thing is just gunked up with dried oil and grease plus a little dirt. I'll see what a good cleaning and lubing will do.

    But I have faith in my hand loads, more faith than any factory rounds. I'm surprised Wooters would say something like that.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,958 Senior Member
    I knew guides in Alaska that didn't care what you used unless it was for Brownies. Maybe a liability issue, I don't know.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,109 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Nothing is ever a 100% sure thing. Except death and taxes.

    ............and I am not 100% sure about death............

    If I am going to hunt dangerous game, I would prefer to die by malfunction of my own ammo rather than have my death caused by a machine from a foreign country............
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,572 Senior Member
    There's no way I'd go out and buy ammo for a hunt.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,972 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    ....the opinion of someone who's not paid to promote factory ammunition.

    Much truth in this.

    Which, is the reason I don't read gun magazines anymore.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,249 Senior Member
    Well, if I'm running a British double .470 Nitro that costs more than most luxury cars, I'd probably be inclined to spring for the Kynochs the barrels were regulated for, rather than try to duplicated them myself.

    Apart from that. . .I've seen factory ammo with backwards and sideways primers, backwards bullets, crushed cases, failure to drill flash holes, fired rounds with charges that were obviously light, etc..., so basically my attitude is generally this: I would rather get stomped, bitten, clawed, tusked, or gored for something stupid I did, than for something stupid that someone else did. If you KNOW that you're hunting a creature with that kind of potential for destruction, and you're NOT trying to beat Eley Tenex for quality control. . .well, that's something stupid you've done right there.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,805 Senior Member
    Bigslug makes a point, if you are using a double it may be hard to get handloads properly regulated, maybe not.

    Frankly ALL I would care about, factory or handload, is that the ammo is reliable and functions flawlessly, and that means hundreds of that exact round you plan to use, fired in practice. 1-hole accuracy is nice but not needed, not at dangerous game ranges, but function can literally be the difference of life and death. Not just your life either, your guides, trackers, porters, game scouts, innocent locals who may be harmed by a wounded animal down the road.
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    Byron Dalrymple is an author I used to read and enjoy. He wrote a number of hunting books, as well as articles and stories in periodicals such as Field and Stream. From what I could tell, he wrote primarily from experience, as much of his writing was based on his own hunts.

    One of the comments I remember reading was that he never used handloads when hunting dangerous game. He didn't say why, just that he always used factory ammo.

    Maybe if was spending thousands on a hunt of a lifetime, spending the extra bucks on premium factory ammo wouldn't seem like much. I have had one experience, though, in which a handload failed me. When I extracted a loaded cartridge from the chamber, the bullet pulled out and cost me a very makeable shot at an antelope. That's the only problem I've ever had with my own handloads while hunting, though. Now, before I head out, I cycle every round I will be taking from the magazine and through the chamber, and make sure it feeds and extracts cleanly.

    I don't expect I'll ever hunt dangerous game, although any hunt in the rockies provides the possibility that one might encounter a bear, lion, moose or whatever that could be considered dangerous.

    Anyway, what do you think about the notion of only using factory ammo if hunting dangerous game?

    I think Dalrymple wrote about football also. I think he wrote a novel about a UT player in the 50s or 60s. I guess he could have also written for Field and Stream. I know he was an outdoor writer. Hell I can't remember. All I remember is that book he wrote.

    I remember Warren Page though. But Page wrote for Outdoor Life. He was a pioneer in Bench Rest Shooting. He and the guy that created the Models 721,722, 725, and finally the 700 Remington, Mike Walker, helped make Bench Rest shooting what it is.

    Oops yep big time back in the day up until damn near when he died Byron Dalrymple wrote for Field and Stream. But I didn't read much of his stuff, because I wasn't a big outdoor reader at the time. I think I was into hot rods back then. I guess that was back in the day before Field and Stream got to be a libtard publication. Says he wrote a lot of books and articles besides Field and stream too. I did a search and he wrote like 5000 articles for Field and Stream alone plus he wrote 28 books. That dude was Busy!

    But I remember John Wooters well. I met him at the 1990 Shot Show in Houston. I just can't believe he would say that about hand loads. I guess he didn't have much faith in his own work.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    I reload in an effort to produce a better, more consistant cartridge. Why would I then use something I consider inferior to hunt something that can kill me?
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    I reload in an effort to produce a better, more consistant cartridge. Why would I then use something I consider inferior to hunt something that can kill me?

    Putting all our bone headed political arguments aside, this is a BRILLIANT statement.

    This about sums it up for me too. Well said Tuba, But don't get the big head, you're still wrong about Trump,

    :roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2:
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,128 Senior Member
    Using the same logic, we should all be better off with factory built rifles as opposed to those inferior custom rifles-- rubbish! If you trust factory over your own handloads, it is time to take a step back and examine your technique.

    In a high stakes, high value hunt, you are a butt head if you don't have a dialed in load and have function tested every one in the chamber before heading out in the field. While someone can easily make inferior ammo compared to factory, they should be capable of making stuff that is superior as well.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    Putting all our bone headed political arguments aside, this is a BRILLIANT statement.

    This about sums it up for me too. Well said Tuba, But don't get the big head, you're still wrong about Trump,

    :roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2::roll2:

    What happens in the political forum stays in the political forum.:beer:
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    Jermanator wrote: »
    Using the same logic, we should all be better off with factory built rifles as opposed to those inferior custom rifles-- rubbish! If you trust factory over your own handloads, it is time to take a step back and examine your technique.

    In a high stakes, high value hunt, you are a butt head if you don't have a dialed in load and have function tested every one in the chamber before heading out in the field. While someone can easily make inferior ammo compared to factory, they should be capable of making stuff that is superior as well.

    I have some time proven loads that are reasonably accurate ( Plenty accurate to get the job done with aplomb) and I know they will go bang every time the trigger is pulled. My old .270 load that I worked up right after I started loading and it was my favorite of the 3 or 4 loads I worked up for it I would trust my life with. Not that I'm going to use the .270 for dangerous game, but if that's what I had in hand when attacked by an animal I'd trust it to go bang and at least hit the attacking animal.


    Now my 30-06 could well end up a dangerous game rifle and I have a load that I would definitely take to the bank for any game dangerous or not. That is with a 200 grain Sierra Game King over 56 grains of IMR 4831 or 58 grains of Hodgdon 4831 at 2600-2650 FPS. It's a HOSS!

    Now for a real dangerous game rifle, my 9.3 x 62mm Mauser with a 270 grain Speer Hot Core Bullet over 59 grains of IMR 4895 at about 2500 FPS MV. I killed one deer with it that literally flattened it like somebody dropped a piano on top of it. Instant Death Ray. I trust all these with my life.

    For any Dangerous game gun you're not looking for a load that will print .2 groups, you're looking for something that will group inside 3 inches and flatten what it hits putting it down before it can get to the shooter or hurting agranyone.

    I've recently worked up a new load for my 8x57. I used to load a 150 grain bullet over 55 grains of BLC2, but I lost faith in it. I have since graduating up scale with a 175 grain Sierra Pro-Hunter over 54 grains RL-17. I've only shot it at the range so far, and am waiting for the opportunity to use it on game.
    But I wouldn't be too worried if something got after me and all I had was that rifle with that bullet and load.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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