Whitetail Ammo — Why it Makes a Difference on Deer

Whitetail Ammo — Why it Makes a Difference on Deer

Here's why hunting with a deer-specific cartridge is a smart move

What do we want a whitetail bullet to do?

Most whitetail hunters are looking for fairly rapid expansion that will induce massive trauma on the animal, followed by penetration that will result in at least some substantial part of the bullet transecting the body of the deer. Bullets used in whitetail-specific ammo tend to be "softer" than most premium-bullet designs and offer more expansion and less penetration, which is fine so long as you pick your shots accordingly. Such bullets are relatively easy to manufacture and are, therefore, available at a lower price than premium designs that require more intricate procedures and pricier component materials, so whitetail hunters can save a few dollars.



Let's take a look at four of the most common whitetail-specific product lines on the market and how they benefit whitetail hunters.


Untitled-1


Remington Whitetail Pro Core-Lokt

Remington never really left the party when it came to whitetail-specific ammunition. Its Core-Lokt bullet has been around for over 75 years and remains a standby for whitetail hunting. The bullet was considered a groundbreaking premium design at its introduction since it mechanically controlled expansion and produced consistent mushrooms on game. Bullet technology has long surpassed the Core-Lokt when it comes to deep-penetrating and expanding designs, but it is still the standard by which other "cup and core" whitetail bullets are judged.


The Core-Lokt not only is a solid performer, but also is available in factory ammunition for a wide variety of cartridges, including some unusual ones, such as the .300 Savage, .303 British, and .35 Remington. Though these cartridges don't get much, if any, love from the outdoor media these days, there are plenty of them in the hands of whitetail hunters across the nation, and they kill deer just as dead as they did before World War II. Core-Lokts aren't setting any records for ballistic coefficient, but that matters little to 90 percent of deer hunters. It's hard to beat this classic when it comes to putting deer in the freezer.

HUNP-160100-GL-2

Winchester Deer Season XP

Winchester's deer-specific load is called the Deer Season XP, and it is probably the most explosive of the designs discussed here. Winchester's whitetail line differs from the other brands in that it utilizes a polymer-tipped bullet to facilitate expansion and provide a slightly higher ballistic coefficient. Bullets in this line are light-for-caliber and are loaded to fairly high velocities.

This load is designed to expand rather violently and create a massive wound channel, exactly what some whitetail hunters are looking for. I wouldn't expect many exit wounds when using these bullets, so if deep penetration is your thing, look elsewhere. Winchester's cartridge selection is fairly limited with loads available for eight common cartridges, including the .243, .270, and .300 WSM.

HUNP-160100-GL-3

Hornady American Whitetail

Hornady's whitetail line uses the company's long-proven InterLock bullet, which I've often heard described as a "poor man's premium" due to its excellent terminal performance and low price. The InterLock uses a tapered jacket and a locking ring to mechanically control the expansion of the bullet on game. The bullet acts a bit like a Nosler Partition: The front expands, and sometimes fragments, while the shank stays intact and penetrates deeply.

I have used handloaded InterLock bullets on countless deer, feral hogs, and a black bear and have never witnessed anything but great performance. Just last year I used a 162-grain InterLock at very close range on an Alabama whitetail buck, and despite an impact velocity of well over 3,000 fps, the bullet exited after dropping him where he stood.

My own experience has taught me that InterLock bullets often produce exit wounds on broadside shots, a virtue I hold in high regard. Hornady's American Whitetail ammo is loaded in 10 common whitetail cartridges, including the .25-06, .30-30 WCF, and the 7mm Remington Magnum.

HUNP-160100-GL-4

Federal Premium Fusion

Federal was one of the pioneers in offering premium bullets made by nonaffiliated companies in its loaded ammunition line. This was a great thing for hunters who didn't handload, but it created a price and performance gap. Federal created the whitetail-focused Fusion line to fill this important niche.

While Hornady and Remington use similar mechanical means to control expansion and keep the bullet's lead core attached to the jacket, Federal uses a more modern molecular bonding method to "fuse" the elements. In theory, the jacket and core in a bonded bullet such as the Fusion cannot separate, which means the bullet will not "blow up" on the shoulder when shot at close range.

The Fusion is available in a broad variety of cartridges, from the .223 Remington to big-bore magnums, such as the .458 Lott, and even includes a deer-appropriate load for the often-underrated 7.62x39mm. The Fusion is a tough bullet I wouldn't hesitate to drive through the shoulder bones of a big buck at close range.

Recommended for You

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators. Guns

Best Rimfire Rifles for 2019

Keith Wood - April 23, 2019

Every hunter needs a rimfire workhorse for varmints and predators.

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the place for you. North America

From Bucks to Bears to Ducks, Saskatchewan Is a Hunter's Heaven

Lynn Burkhead - February 05, 2019

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the...

Whether you're pursuing black bears, moose or whitetails, Quebec will put you on the right track. North America

Big-Game Adventure Beckons in Quebec

Lynn Burkhead

Whether you're pursuing black bears, moose or whitetails, Quebec will put you on the right...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 8: Midnight Sun Grizzlies

Kevin Steele and CZ-USA's Jason Morton return to Alaska's arctic tundra for Kevin's second and Jason's third attempt on the legendary species. Things are looking up on day one but time will tell if the boys will get a shot a the king of the tundra.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the whitetail North America

Top 10 Trophy Whitetail States

Joseph von Benedikt - December 18, 2017

Many of the states in our glorious nation provide great hunting, but only a few have the...

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223 Ammo

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

Joseph von Benedikt & David Faubion

What's The Best Coyote Cartridge? .22-250 Versus .223

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the Hunting

The Ultimate Hunting Trailers

WA Staff

I have never felt that camping trailers at least the "house on wheels" variety that most...

See More Stories

More Whitetail

By the third hour on the first morning of his $7,500 dream hunt, David McCoy's good time ran out. Whitetail

5 Most Overrated Whitetail Hotspots

Jeff Johnston - November 22, 2016

By the third hour on the first morning of his $7,500 dream hunt, David McCoy's good time ran...

Craig Boddington arrives in Montana and gets his gear ready to track whitetails in the wooded Whitetail

Gearing Up for Montana Whitetails

PHTV Adventures - April 05, 2017

Craig Boddington arrives in Montana and gets his gear ready to track whitetails in the wooded

A primer to hunting white-tailed deer and other wild game on military bases

 Many military bases Whitetail

Hunting Inside the Perimeter

PH Online Editors - June 05, 2018

A primer to hunting white-tailed deer and other wild game on military bases Many military...

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×