The 5 Best Antelope Bullets (2023) (2023)

Pronghorn antelope are unique among North American wildlife. They are neither antelope nor goats as described by Lewis and Clark, but occupy their own unique branch on the tree of life. Their closest living relatives are the okapi and the giraffe. They are the second fastest land animal on earth and have the most efficient cardiovascular system of any mammal. They are ancient creatures that outlasted any predators that evolved to hunt them and are one of nature's true wonders. And when antelope are cared for and dressed properly, they are some of the most delicious wildlife around. So you will forgive me if I insist that they should not be hunted with an ordinary deer rifle. Instead, they deserve to be pursued with cartridges as interesting as they are. That said, here are the best antelope cartridges out there.

The 5 Best Antelope Bullets (2023) (1)

6mm Creedmoor: Advanced antelope cartridge

When I approached Hornady to do a Wildcat in 2007, right after6.5 CreedmoorWe agreed that the all-new 6.5mm version would make an excellent parent for a 6mm version. I imagined it like thisAdvanced cartridge for target shooting at 1,000 yardsand a powerful cartridge for predators and small to medium-sized game such as deer and antelope.

In all honesty, none of us saw the 6mm Creedmoor being so successful, but its benefits were too numerous to ignore - especially with the advent of thePrecision Rifle Series, where it was excellent.

I've used the 6 Creed for antelope since the beginning and I don't think there is a better cartridge as far as inherent accuracy and ballistics at range.

The choice of bullets is large. I had tremendous success in shootingBerger hybrids with 105 grainsat 2917 fps. That's a relatively mild load that's incredibly accurate and holds up well in the wind. Any of the heavy-for-caliber bullets of 103 grains or more are great for Pronghorns, and you can certainly fire the bullets faster than my load and get excellent results.

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For a state-of-the-art cartridge built on the principles of modern cartridge design, you can't beat the 6mm Creedmoor.

The 5 Best Antelope Bullets (2023) (2)

.257 Roberts: The Challenging Choice

The .257 Roberts was hot stuff when it was conceived by Ned Roberts in the 1920s. It is a weakened version of the original high-performance 7x57mm Mauser cartridge offered by Remington as a commercial cartridge in 1934. For the cartridges of the time, it offered an excellent balance of low recoil and flat trajectory.

At +P speeds, it's still not a slack.Hornadys 117-Korn-SSTkicks out of a 24-inch barrel at 2945 frames per second and hits a 200-yard zero elevation at 300 7.3 inches deep.

One of my favorite combos is the 110-grain Accubond loaded with RL-19 at around 2825 fps. It is extremely accurate and the bullet performs flawlessly. This has been my son's favorite antelope cartridge for years. A few years ago I watched him stalk a shallow drainage ditch in an alfalfa field to within 300 meters of a small herd of antelope. He jumped out of the ditch, knelt down, and promptly knocked over a handsome buck. Can't say I was surprised - that's what the bob does best.

The 5 Best Antelope Bullets (2023) (3)

.257 Weatherby: High-Plains Speedster

The quarter calibers are in many ways the ideal bullet diameter for antelope, and there is no cartridge quite as reminiscent of the far west as the .257 Weatherby. So it is only natural that it has earned a place among the best antelope cartridges. This is also my sneaky way of apologizing for not including the .25/06 on this list. While a worthy cartridge, we can only have a limited number of .25 rifles here and the middle child (in terms of muzzle velocity) is overlooked.

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I spent a lot of time staring at trajectory charts when I was young, firstly because I was fascinated by ballistics, and secondly because I couldn't actually afford a gun. Like countless other youngsters who dreamed of hunting in the West, my eyes kept falling on the .257 Weatherby, which seemed to have a magically flat trajectory.

No bullet demonstrates this better than the 80-grain Barnes TTSX. The bullet fires from the muzzle at 3,840 fps and has a height of just 2 inches at 100. At 500 yards, the bullet drops just 17.4 inches but still retains 1,123 ft-lb of energy. How can this not capture the imagination of an aspiring western hunter?

The truth is that wouldn't be my first choice for antelope - although I'm sure this bullet is responsible for many pronghorn. I'd rather go for something in the 100- to 115-grain class. Barnes makes a 100-grain TTSX, and the aforementioned 110-grain Accubond and 115-grain ballistic tip will get the job done as well. The muzzle velocities of these projectiles range from 3,400 to 3,600 fps, and the trajectories are flat enough for all but the most die-hard shooters.

The 5 Best Antelope Bullets (2023) (4)

6.5-284 Norma: The exotic antelope cartridge

There is something mysterious about the 6.5-284 Norma – mostly because the cartridge has a hard time figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up. It's unclear who first decided to tinker with the .284 Win. and downsized it to 6.5 mm (.264 in), but it wasn't long after the introduction of the .284 caliber in 1963 that wildcats started playing with it.

The Wildcat 6.5-284 Winchester (as it was first called) was originally a hunting cartridge, but eventually shooters discovered its excellent abilities as a long-range target cartridge. For many years it was the first choice in 1,000 yard benchrest events and was a dominant cartridge in several long range events such as F-Class and NRA High Power.

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Norma marketed the case in 1999, which was good timing for her given the explosive growth in distance shooting and hunting since then.

The 6.5-284 has a loyal following but will never achieve the same popularity as the 6.5 Creedmoor or the even newer 6.5 PRC. That's fine, because it's that exclusivity that put it on this list of the best antelope cartridges. While these other 6.5s are serviceable, they seem a bit ordinary compared to the 6.5-284.

The most distinctive feature of the 6.5-284 Norma is the use of a folding rim (which is shared by the mother cartridge). The idea is that one can use a standard, smaller bolt area while still maximizing case capacity for better performance. The two disadvantages of this concept are that the brass is more expensive to produce because turning down the case rim requires an additional machining operation, and that rebated rimmed cartridges can be more difficult to feed reliably.

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Before the .284 Winchester, the most well-known cartridge with a rebated rim was the.425 Westley-Richards. Don't feel bad if you're not familiar with it. His comparison group was even more unclear. Among them were the 11.2×60 Schuler (the first folding rim cartridge), the 8.2×52 Austrian, the 10.75×63 Mauser, the 575 Miller & Greiss Magnum (perhaps the dumbest cartridge in history) and the 9.3 ×60 Peterlongo – all well-known names.

Today, in some short magazines and some large caliber AR rounds, we see a few isolated rimmed designs - .450 Bushmaster, .458 SoCom and .50 Beowulf. But the 6.5-284 Norma is the original of modern long-range big game cartridges. So if you are looking for an antelope cartridge that will stand out from the crowd, this is your choice.

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The 5 Best Antelope Bullets (2023) (5)

.243 Winchester: The Classic

The .243 Winchester is the opposite of exotic, but there's no way it can be discounted from the list of best antelope cartridges, as it has more pronghorns than all the other cartridges here combined.

Despite being one of the most widespread (and effective) pedigree dogs out there, it does have an interesting and distinctive pedigree. The .243 Winchester is the .308 Winchester scaled down to 6mm. The champion of it wasFeld & BachShooting editor Warren Page, who had been toying with 6mm Wildcats since the mid-1940s. He and his colleagues wanted to develop a multi-purpose cartridge that would deliver the highest accuracy in the brand new sport of benchrest shooting and would work well for wildlife. After the .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952, Page jumped on it like a proverbial duck on a June bug and his wildcat picked up speed so quickly that Winchester introduced it as a factory cartridge in 1955. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Pest shooters shiver with excitement as they engage the .243 Win. with lighter projectiles that can be fired at breakneck speeds, such asSierra's Blitzking with 70 grainsor Berger's 68-grain flat-bottom target bullet. But for antelope, the best bullets are in the 90-100 grain range. The 95-grain Nosler ballistic tip is hard to beat and can be loaded to speeds in excess of 3100 fps with the right powders.

However, there is no need to manually load the .243 win file. Because there are so many variations of factory ammunition – at least in normal times – that you shoot a different charge every season and never repeat yourself in the course of your life.

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Which caliber is best for antelope hunting? ›

Everything up to . 270is a solid choice. Anything beyond that wastes energy and money,” said Janis Putelis of MeatEater. "A good Pronghorn cartridge is one that you can shoot accurately at ranges between 300 and 400 yards."

Find out more >

Is a PRC of 6.5 good for antelope? ›

6,5 VR China.If the 6.5 Creedmoor is a good antelope cartridge, the 6.5 PRC is a great one. It fires the same super sexy, high BC, elongated bullets, faster.

Read more >

Is 300 Win Mag good for antelope? ›

No that . 300 WSM Winchester Short Magnum is OVERKILL for Pronghorn hunting, in average conditions, at medium range, with a medium-grain bullet and with correct shot placement.

Read the full story ›

Is a 6.5 Creedmoor good for pronghorns? ›

Known for its exceptional accuracy, flat trajectory, low recoil, high energy storage at long range and really good aiming performance.Today more and more hunters are using the 6.5 Creedmoor to hunt elk, deer, wild boar, pronghorn and other big game species.

see more >

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4th caliber for big game with Janis Putelis

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What is the best Hornady bullet for antelope? ›

It's hard to beat Hornady's 143-grain ELD-X bullet for antelope. It exits 24-inch barrels at around 2,700 fps, and has a G1 BC of 0.625.

What is the best 6.5 Creedmoor bullet for antelope? ›

Our Pick: 135-Grain Berger Hybrid Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor Wind Drift at 500 Yards (10 mph crosswind): 15.9 inches Drop at 500 Yards (200-yard zero): 42.7 inches Recoil: ~13 ft. -lbs.

Is a 300 win mag too big for antelope? ›

No, the . 300 WSM Winchester Short Magnum is OVERKILL for pronghorn antelope hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.

Is .308 too big for pronghorn? ›

308 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest pronghorn antelope - and to this question, the response again is yes, the . 308 Winchester is A GOOD CHOICE for pronghorn antelope hunting.

What is the best 7mm load for antelope? ›

I'd recommend using the 140 grain AccuBond bullet for game like deer and pronghorn. The 160 grain AccuBond will also work great on deer sized game (to include antelope), but is also a really good choice for larger and tougher game like black bear and elk.

What grain bullet is most accurate in 300 win mag? ›

The 180 grain load is quite possibly the best . 300 Win Mag ammo for elk, bear, and moose hunting. The 165 grain load will also work for larger game like elk, but it's perfect for bigger deer and bear. That high velocity 150 grain load is great .

What is the best long range bullet for 6.5 Creedmoor? ›

Hornady 143-Grain ELD-X (Precision Hunter)

This is arguably the most accurate hunting bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor. It's designed for long-range hunting and operates well past 600-yards for deer. The ELD-X is sort of king of the hill when it comes to hunting loads for the 6.5 Creedmoor.

What is the best grain bullet to shoot in a 6.5 Creedmoor? ›

The 120 grain load is an outstanding choice of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo for deer, pronghorn, feral hogs and maybe even black bear. This ammunition uses a slightly more aerodynamic bullet than the comparable 120 grain factory load in the Barnes VOR-TX line.

What is the best grain for 6.5 Creedmoor long range shooting? ›

6.5 Creedmoor fans have long touted that the ideal Rifle Bullet weight for this cartridge in Precision Rifle competitions is somewhere between 140 and 150 grains.

Is a 270 too big for antelope? ›

270 Winchester is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest pronghorn antelope - and to this question, the response again is no, the . 270 Winchester is OVERKILL for pronghorn antelope hunting.

What is the longest range for a 300 Win Mag? ›

The . 300 Win Mag sees use in long-range benchrest shooting competitions and has been adopted by law enforcement marksmen and by a few specific branches of the U.S. Military for use by snipers. Maximum effective range is generally accepted to be 1,210 yards (1,110 m) with ammunition incorporating low-drag projectiles.

Is 270 good for antelope? ›

There is absolutely no need to hunt antelope with anything larger than a . 270 Winchester. And even a . 270 produces enough recoil to hamper the long-range accuracy of some hunters.

Is 6.5 Creedmoor good for antelope? ›

Yes, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is A GOOD CHOICE for pronghorn antelope hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.

What is the difference between 243 and 308 pronghorn? ›

243 Winchester has less recoil and a flatter trajectory at typical hunting ranges. On the other hand, the heavier and larger diameter . 308 Winchester bullets have more frontal surface area, more resistance to wind drift, and carry more energy down range.

What is considered a trophy pronghorn? ›

Most pronghorn have ears that measure 6 to 6-1/2 inches. If the horns appear to be 2-1/2 times the length of the ear then you have a good candidate. Generally speaking 15 inches and above is the length you are looking for on a trophy pronghorn.

Is 7mm Rem Mag too big for antelope? ›

No, the 7mm Remington Magnum is OVERKILL for pronghorn antelope hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.

What caliber is best for elk and antelope? ›

30-06 is still a top choice for elk hunting. It generates more than enough force to take out an elk — even at a distance. In fact, the. 30-06 Springfield promises an accurate shot up to 1,000 yards away.

How big of a cooler do I need for antelope? ›

Summary: Antelope: at least 55 quarts.

What's the difference between 300 Win Mag and 30 06 at 1000 yards? ›

Nine inches is not insignificant, but the difference between these two cartridges really shows when you hit the 1000-yard line. At 1,000 yards, the 30-06 has dropped on average -397” while the 300 Win Mag has only dropped -295”. That's 8.5 feet difference between the two cartridges.

What rifle is more powerful than a 300 Win Mag? ›

The 338 Lapua shoots larger diameter and heavier bullets that are generally more aerodynamic than the bullets the 300 Win Mag uses. The two cartridges have a similar trajectory at normal hunting ranges, but typical 338 Lapua loads have 30-40% more muzzle energy.

Is 300 Win Mag overkill for deer? ›

The . 300 Win Mag with a light 150-grain bullet such as a Power Core, PowerMax Bonded or Power Point can reach velocities of up to 3390 FPS and is a great round for wild hogs, pronghorn, Dall sheep, and all of the various deer species.

What is the most accurate bullet brand? ›

The GameKing has a reputation as likely the most accurate hunting bullet on the market.

What has more energy 6.5 Creedmoor or 308 at 1000 yards? ›

This 6.5 is going almost 50% faster at 1,000 yards and has 94.2% more kinetic energy than this . 308. Effective range of the 6.5 is 58% farther.

Can 6.5 Creedmoor reach 1000 yards? ›

The 6.5 Creedmoor stays above this threshold out to about 800 yards so it is definitely a viable option for tipping over a big buck out to 800. For predator hunters this would be a fun gun to kill wolves or coyotes even out to 1,000 yards.

Where is the best place to shoot a deer with a 6.5 Creedmoor? ›

30/06 and aims just behind the shoulder for a double-lung shot. Simpson advises hunters (using any method—bow or rifle) to aim for the vital V: the lower third of the deer, just behind its elbow.

What is the most accurate rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor? ›

However, the Ruger Precision Rifle is likely the most accurate mass produced 6.5 Creedmoor rifle straight out of the box because it incorporates so many accuracy improving features like 5R rifling, minimum bore and groove dimensions, minimum headspace, a centralized chamber, an externally adjustable Ruger Marksman ...

What is the best grain bullet to shoot a deer with? ›

For all medium sized game from Whitetail deer, Mule deer, and Pronghorn, the 150 grain is very capable of killing them quickly and humanely out to reasonable ranges. The popular 165 grain bullet is also a great choice and caught on as a popular choice for the between bullets.

What is the effective hunting range of a 6.5 Creedmoor? ›

The 6.5 Creedmoor stays above this threshold out to about 800 yards so it is definitely a viable option for tipping over a big buck out to 800. For predator hunters this would be a fun gun to kill wolves or coyotes even out to 1,000 yards.

Which is better 6.5 Creedmoor or 30 06? ›

30-06 has a longer effective range and gives hunters more flexibility with shot angles on really big game when compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor. Regardless of which cartridge you choose, use a controlled expansion projectile and a heavier bullet weight for your elk or moose hunt.

What animals can a 6.5 Creedmoor take down? ›

The 6.5 Creedmoor works astoundingly well on varmints, feral hogs, pronghorn, whitetails, mule deer, black bears, and even on animals as large as kudu, elk, and moose.

How far does a 270 drop at 300 yards? ›

Nosler Partition or Nosler Ballistic Tip zeroed at 100 yards will drop only 1 inch at 200 yards, 2.9 inches at 300 yards, 5.3 inches at 400 yards and 8.2 inches at 500 yards.

Is a 270 more powerful than a 243? ›

Ballistics If you're going for power, the . 270 Win. wins this race in a landslide. The taller cartridge can push a 130-grain bullet over 3,000 feet per second at the muzzle, producing 2,702 foot-pounds of energy.

How far will a 270 win shoot accurately? ›

270 Win. is still cooking along at 1,800 fps all the way out to 680 yards. That additional 100 yards of effective range is why many long-range western hunters have opted for the . 270 Win., and why many have stuck with the venerable old cartridge even as sexy new long-range cartridges have come onto the market.

What is the bullet drop at 500 yards for a 300 Win Mag? ›

There really is not a significant difference in bullet drop between the two cartridges until you get to the 500-yard range. At this point, the . 300 WM rounds show an average bullet drop of 38 inches while the . 30-06 rounds have an average bullet drop of 48 inches.

How much does 300 Win Mag drop at 1000 yards? ›

At 1000 yards this translates to an extra 20 inches of drop and 10 inches more drift in a 10 mph cross wind for the 300 Win Mag.

What caliber do snipers use? ›

The most popular military sniper rifles (in terms of numbers in service) are chambered for 7.62 mm (0.30 inch) caliber ammunition, such as 7.62×51mm and 7.62×54mm R.

What game can a 270 take down? ›

For those reasons, the 270 Winchester is a quintessential deer and sheep hunting cartridge. The cartridge is not limited to thin-skinned medium game like sheep or deer though. Indeed, many hunters use the 270 Winchester on bigger game like black bear, elk, and even moose with a lot of success each year though.

What is the best caliber for mule deer and antelope? ›

270 Winchester is arguably the best caliber for deer in North America. The 270 Winchester Short Magnum (270 WSM) fires the same . 277” diameter projectiles as the . 270 Winchester, but the 270 WSM has a shorter and fatter case that can hold a little more powder.

What is a big score for an antelope? ›

For most die-hard western antelope hunters, an antelope buck is considered of trophy quality when the score hits near or around the 80' mark. This buck will represent a mature animal in the top 10% or better for the species in both genetic makeup and nutritional health.

What is the best all around hunting caliber? ›

270 Winchester. Since it was first introduced, the . 270 Winchester has been a reliable and popular choice among long-range hunting calibers. The bullets are very flat shooting among this group of rifle calibers, so you don't have to worry as much about bullet drop over long distances.

Is a 223 good for antelope? ›

No, the . 223 Remington is UNDERKILL for pronghorn antelope hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.

Does 6.5 Creedmoor kick harder than 308? ›

Recoil impulse depends on rifle weight, bullet weight, and load construction, but all things being equal, the 6.5 Creedmoor produces about 25% less recoil than a . 308 Win. That toned-down recoil helps prevent flinching and allows hunters to make shots in more awkward shooting positions.

What is the best 6.5 bullet for pronghorn? ›

As with the Creedmoor, arguably the best bullet for pronghorn is the 143-grain ELD-X. Good 6.5 PRC rifles push it around 3,000 fps. Other excellent choices are Nosler's 130-grain AccuBond and Berger's 140-grain VLD Hunting.

Is a 243 more powerful than a 30 30? ›

243 bullet is hauling 522 f-p more energy than the much heavier 30-30 slug. At 400 yards the puny, ineffective 243 is still packing more punch (1,077 f-p) than the 30-30 at 150-yards, what many consider “dead deer” distance for the famous 30-30.

What caliber is good for pronghorn? ›

243 Winchester. Most pronghorn hunters will do just fine with a . 243 Winchester. The classic mid-bore has been around since 1955, and it may be the ideal pronghorn cartridge.

Which state has the most antelope? ›

Wyoming has the largest antelope population in the country.

How many pounds of meat do you get from a pronghorn? ›

An average buck will yield 30-40 pounds of boneless meat.

What is the average pronghorn antelope score? ›

A pronghorn with heavy 14-inch horns and four-inch prongs will score about 70 points and is a trophy no one need be ashamed of.

What are the most accurate Hornady bullets? ›

The ELD-X® (Extremely Low Drag - eXpanding) bullet is a technologically advanced, match accurate, ALL-RANGE hunting bullet featuring highest-in-class ballistic coefficients and consistent, controlled expansion at ALL practical hunting distances.

What is the best hunting bullet from Hornady? ›

ELD-X. The ELD-X® bullet is a technologically advanced, match accurate, all-range hunting bullet featuring highest-in-class ballistic coefficients and consistent, controlled expansion at all practical hunting distances.

What is the best Hornady bullet for big game? ›

Hornady ELD-X

Hornady's Extremely Low Drag eXpanding or ELD-X bullets are designed to offer exceptional accuracy at very long ranges and they expand reliably at lower velocities than traditional hunting bullets, making them a top choice for long-range hunting.

Is the Hornady a max bullet good for hunting? ›

The accuracy of these bullets offer you a great way to engage targets at extreme ranges. This is why the A-MAX is popular among varmint hunters who need long-range accuracy over rapid expansion. Some hunters swear by its performance on deer-sized game. (This link shows A-MAX performance on deer, but is very graphic.)

What ammunition does the FBI recommend? ›

In 1992, Speer introduced the Gold Dot bullet which was specifically designed to meet the FBI protocol. To this day almost every knowledgeable professional pistol carrier I know has either HST or Gold Dot in their gun. That says a lot.

Which has more recoil 115gr or 124gr? ›

While the 124 grain would theoretically have more recoil than the 115 grain according to power factor, many shooters would probably disagree. Ultimately, felt recoil is pretty subjective, and therefore you should test out both flavors to see which feels best to you.

What ammo is most accurate? ›

A Hollow Point Boat Tail is one of the best bullets on the market. HPBT bullets tend to have a high ballistic coefficient, which means they're very accurate. They're great for hunting and target shooting, but they tend to cost much more than a JHP or FMJ.

What is the fastest hunting bullet? ›

The . 220 Swift remains the fastest commercial cartridge in the world, with a published velocity of 1,422 m/s (4,665 ft/s) using a 1.9 grams (29 gr) bullet and 2.7 grams (42 gr) of 3031 powder.

What is the hardest ammo to get? ›

Popular calibers such as 9mm, . 223, 45, and . 40 S&W rounds have been the hardest to find.

What is the most popular hunting bullet? ›

30-06 Springfield. By and large, most game in America is shot inside of 200 yards, and no cartridge is more capable than the . 30-06 for that use. This old warhorse is America's most popular hunting cartridge — hard to believe considering that it's well over 100 years old.

What rifle caliber is the best all around? ›

308 Winchester. The . 308 Winchester deserves a spot on our list of long-range hunting calibers too, because it is just a solid all-around rifle caliber. The cartridge packs enough power to keep energy downrange.

What is the hardest hitting rifle round? ›

The . 700 Nitro Express (17.8×89mmR) is a big game rifle cartridge.
Bullet mass/typeVelocityEnergy
1,000 gr (65 g) SP2,000 ft/s (610 m/s)9,000 ft⋅lbf (12,000 J)

What is the most accurate big game caliber? ›

Shooting high BC bullets that hold velocity and easily buck the wind, 6.5 Creedmoor is one of the most inherently accurate cartridges available to modern big-game hunters.

Is Hornady FTX bullet good for hunting? ›

The one-piece, high antimony lead core of the FTX® is mechanically locked to the jacket with an InterLock ring. This, along with a specially designed jacket, results in reliable performance and maximum weight retention for deep penetration on large or heavy-bodied game animals.

What is Hornady V-Max used for? ›

The Hornady V-MAX line of ammunition was created for varmint control, as the bullet has a thin jacket and was designed to fragment on impact with a target, even at low velocities.

How accurate is Hornady V-Max? ›

That being said, the V-Max bullets are accurate enough to use for predator hunting at ranges out to 300 yards, or even further with a bolt action rifle with a slower rifling twist.


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