The Ideal Deer Bullet

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Q: For many years now I’ve been using bullets such as the Remington Core-Lokt, Hornady Interlock, and Winchester Power Point for deer. I know that they are just as effective on deer- size game today as they were decades ago when they were first introduced. But the point I’d like to make is that these standard cup-and-core bullets have not been improved either; they are no better killers now than they were many years ago. Today, we have an excellent selection of premium-grade bullets capable of holding together and penetrating deeply into very large game animals. But which ones perform best? In other words, what do you consider the ideal deer bullet?

Larry Richards

A: First of all the ideal deer bullet must be capable of minute-of-angle accuracy simply because any bullet that’s properly designed and made using modern machinery and technology has no excuse for not doing so. It must also have a high B.C to enable it to shoot flat, lie close to the wind and deliver maximum energy to the target at long range. It must constructed so that the tip expands on deer-sized game at extremely long range where impact velocity is quite low, even when landing in the chest cavity where resistance is low. But just as important, the bullet must be constructed strongly enough to hold together and retain enough weight to penetrate deeply at close range where impact velocity is high even when hitting a high-resistance area such as the shoulder of a deer . That’s a tall order for any bulletmaker, but there are any number of bullets that will deliver the goods. As well as monolithic designs like the Barnes X, Nosler E-Tip and Hornady GMX, there’s plenty of controlled- expansion bullets to choose from including the Nosler AccuBond, Hornady Interbond, and the Swift A-Frame and others. But the monolithics have the advantage that they can be relied upon to penetrate even if bone is struck.

Various 7mm deer-suitable bullets
Various 7mm deer-suitable bullets




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.


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