Berger 6.5 / 156 gr Terminal Performance Thread

Broz

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Thought I would start this thread since I got some data today. Then other please add your terminal reports for the 156 Berger EOL.

Took a big bodied Buck mule deer today. My load is from a 6.5 PRC and MV is 3013 fps.

The buck was ever so slightly quartering to me in some pines. I shot off hand and hit him in the crease but a little low. Bullet exited with a large exit and he went maybe 40 yards before he folded up and slid down the hill.

Not long range data, but now we know they work ok in close.

Jeff

 
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Ladd

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I took a mature Idaho mule deer buck last month at 184 yards. A 5x5 with a cheater on one side as well as nice long eye guards.

I used my 6.5 PRC, 156 gr Berger EOL on 58.7 gr of VV N565. The impact velocity was 2788 fps with 2693 ft-lbs of energy.

The buck was moving away from me and at just a slightly lower elevation. My shot entered to the right of his tail lengthwise into its body and to the chest cavity slicing the heart and liver. Severe internal devastation.






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Ladd

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I took an antelope doe in August at about 450 yards. The shot hit to the side of the shoulder taking out both lungs. The entry was bullet diameter the exit was about 2.5-inches. After a massive oil leak and without usable lungs she tipped over after a 40 yard dash.

The 6.5mm 156 gr Berger EOL out of my 6.5 PRC was going about 2495 fps on impact with about 2156 ft-lbs of energy.



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I got a 5X5 whitetail buck from a stand with the 156 in a 6.5 SS. Velocity is about 3000 FPS. Buck was less than 25 yds. Buck went down like hit with lightening. Bullet went through both sides of the chest cavity but did not exit the hide.
2nd was a pronghorn buck at around 285 yds. Broadside hit was slightly low behind the shoulder. He went perhaps 50 yds and piled up. While going to retrieve him a doe popped up at 325 yds and stood broadside. Behind the shoulder hit and down she went in her tracks. Both bullets exited with nice exits and plenty of blood loss. I like what I see so far.
Bruce
 

Broz

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Diane took a large Mule deer buck with the 156 Berger from the 6.5 PRC. Shot was in behind the near shoulder, through the heart and exit far shoulder with a 3/4 to 1" exit. Buck jumped and ran maybe 30 yards and tipped over. 1/4 of heart was shredded off, wound channel was large. Shot distance was 280 yards. Liking what I have seen so far.

Impact velocity = 2668 fps
energy = 2466 lbs
TOF = .296 second
 

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I can add another today as well... large cow elk at 490 yards. Didnt gut her but am assuming it was a heart shot. Shot hit right behind the shoulder. She jumped on impact and was dead before her feet hit the ground. MASSIVE blood loss. Very very impressed with this bullet.

Impact around 2475 FPS... energy 2120.
 
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Broz

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Towards the end of the season we took two more big white tail bucks with the shot barrelled 6.5 PRC and a MV of 2900 with the 156's.

I didn't log data, but the bullets did well. One at 700 and change, the other at just under 600.

Jeff
 

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Broz or others, how would you compare the 156gr with other 6.5mm bullets? What twist rate are most running?

How does the 156gr compare with 215gr? How much of a step down in terminal performance is it from the "gold standard" 215Hybrid?

We have taken 2 Antelope, 1 coues, and 1 cow elk this year with the 215Hyrbid and it has been a consistent at the morning sun.
 

Broz

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Broz or others, how would you compare the 156gr with other 6.5mm bullets? What twist rate are most running?

How does the 156gr compare with 215gr? How much of a step down in terminal performance is it from the "gold standard" 215Hybrid?

We have taken 2 Antelope, 1 coues, and 1 cow elk this year with the 215Hyrbid and it has been a consistent at the morning sun.

I do not have enough data in enough different scenarios yet to compare them to the 140 HVLd. But first impressions are the 156 is fragmenting more. Which would be right due to it being a hybrid o Give.

I don't think you can compare a .308 / 215 to a .264 / 156. With like impact velocities on big game the 215 will win in every category every time. It's an apples to oranges thing.

Jeff
 

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Once in a life time filmed kill shot. Perfect!

That is a bucket list item for many. And on video. Very cool.


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Ladd

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Not only a great shot but it shows how well the 6.5mm Berger 156 gr EOL performed.

I’ve been looking at loading the Berger 6.5mm 140 gr VLD or the 144 gr LR Hybrid for my Christensen Arms 6.5 PRC Ridgeline Titanium since the barrel is 2” shorter but the 156 still outperforms them.


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I would’ve expected less bullet more fragments. That bullet did well at 500 yards and I’m guessing at about 2480 fps terminal velocity.


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All positive results from our group this year. We took a 6x6 bull at 500 yards and a coues buck at 460 both from CMs using the 156 with MV around 2700 fps. One shot each. I wasn’t present for the bull being shot but saw my grandson shoot the coues and it dropped like a rock. Picture shows entrance on lower left and exit on upper right through the left shoulder. I normally lead toward the 142 ABLR but since the 156s are so easy to work-up I decided to load the youngster’s CMs with them and they delivered. Running the numbers shows an impact velocity of about 2050 fps and energy at 1500 ft-lbsB7AAA15A-23C4-402A-AFEE-071331BBED43.jpeg
 

Ladd

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All positive results from our group this year. We took a 6x6 bull at 500 yards and a coues buck at 460 both from CMs using the 156 with MV around 2700 fps. One shot each. I wasn’t present for the bull being shot but saw my grandson shoot the coues and it dropped like a rock. Picture shows entrance on lower left and exit on upper right through the left shoulder. I normally lead toward the 142 ABLR but since the 156s are so easy to work-up I decided to load the youngster’s CMs with them and they delivered. Running the numbers shows an impact velocity of about 2050 fps and energy at 1500 ft-lbsView attachment 4548
Your grandson is a good shot. Nice shooting. The Berger 6.5 mm 156 gr EOL performed well looks like.
 
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JTB

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Your grandson is a good shot. Nice shooting. The Berger 6.5 mm 156 gr EOL performed well looks like.
I appreciate that. We put a considerable amount of time in preparing them for their hunts. These youngsters don’t know it is suppose to be hard to shoot long distances. Many of us grew up on a 4x weaver and a m70 270. No binos so never had to worry about finding, or never mind, shooting a deer past 300 yards. Now we glass them up a mile out, close into 500, take time to find a rock solid mount, turn it up to 15x and squeeze it off.
 

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I would’ve expected less bullet more fragments. That bullet did well at 500 yards and I’m guessing at about 2480 fps terminal velocity.


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On the dot.
 

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My load is from a 6.5 PRC and MV is 3013 fps.
Velocity is about 3000 FPS.

What powder are you using for these results?

I'm wanting to step into a short action magnum, but wrestling with cartridge selection. Red deer and long range targets mainly for me. I'm shooting 140 gr Berger Hybrid Target and 150 gr SMK in my 6.5x55 improved with great results. I would want to shoot these projectiles, plus 156 gr Berger EOL. Vihtavuori isn't available in Australia, but H4350, H4831, H1000 and Retumbo are regularly available and my go-to powders.
 

Ladd

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What powder are you using for these results?

I'm wanting to step into a short action magnum, but wrestling with cartridge selection. Red deer and long range targets mainly for me. I'm shooting 140 gr Berger Hybrid Target and 150 gr SMK in my 6.5x55 improved with great results. I would want to shoot these projectiles, plus 156 gr Berger EOL. Vihtavuori isn't available in Australia, but H4350, H4831, H1000 and Retumbo are regularly available and my go-to powders.

Do you have RL26 available in Australia? I started load development with it before switching to N565. I was in the low 3000s at 56.6 gr in a 24” barrel.

If not then H1000 could get you up there. H4350 would be another alternative. Not sure if they would get over 3000 with the 156 gr Berger in a 24” barrel but 2900-2950 fps with the 156 is also good.


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Do you have RL26 available in Australia? I started load development with it before switching to N565. I was in the low 3000s at 56.6 gr in a 24” barrel.
Yes we do, but for a more consistent supply and reportedly less temperature sensitivity, I have have stuck with the ADI / Hodgdon powders for the last good few years. I'm with you about H1000, thanks.
 

Ladd

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Yes we do, but for a more consistent supply and reportedly less temperature sensitivity, I have have stuck with the ADI / Hodgdon powders for the last good few years. I'm with you about H1000, thanks.

I didn’t think RL26 was very temperature sensitive. Some have issues with RL26, some love it by evidence that it’s not on the shelves for very many hours before it’s sold out. I’m not sure what the issue is with it to be honest. I did the load development with it last summer and didn’t see large ES swings. But I did move to N565 soon after and have been happy.

You can’t go wrong with H1000 though. Too bad you can’t get Vihtavuori powders.


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MattK

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I didn’t think RL26 was very temperature sensitive. Some have issues with RL26, some love it by evidence that it’s not on the shelves for very many hours before it’s sold out.

Sorry, I was talking broadly about two separate issues, availability and temp sensitivity. I can't comment on RL26's temp sensitivity, because I haven't been able to buy it in the first place, despite trying, so that powder falls into the lack of availability category :). Reloder certainly comes into Australia, but it's highly sought after and its distribution is a bit patchy.
Vihtavuori used to be available in Australia. I understand from a retailer that a smaller (and maybe a family) business imported it for many years, but in recent years one of our largest arms businesses won the import rights from that smaller business, and after a relatively short period of time they decided it wasn't viable or worth the effort, so they stopped importing it. Anyway, that's how it was explained to me. But from what I have read about Vihtavuori powders, and some in particular like N565 and N570, I really hope the situation changes soon!
 

Ladd

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10-4. At least you have H1000. I’m sure it will work fine with the 6.5 mm Berger 156 gr EOL. That’s a good bullet.


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I didn’t think RL26 was very temperature sensitive. Some have issues with RL26, some love it by evidence that it’s not on the shelves for very many hours before it’s sold out. I’m not sure what the issue is with it to be honest. I did the load development with it last summer and didn’t see large ES swings. But I did move to N565 soon after and have been happy.

You can’t go wrong with H1000 though. Too bad you can’t get Vihtavuori powders.


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I have done some work with R26 at temperatures from 25-85F. Above 80F I have seen some velocity spiking(10-30FPS). Below 80F, it has proven to be quite stable. In my 6.5x284’s, I have been able to get very low SD’s with this powder, generally <5. I have spoken to a few shooters that have experienced similar results.
 

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Digging up an old thread since I’ve had a chance to harvest several animals with the 156s now. I’ve ran them through a 26 nosler at 3100ish MV and a 6.5 PRC at 2900ish MV. The bullet has expanded as expected every time. I’ve yet to recover one to examine though. I have however had some unusual exit locations (I’ll describe below)

scenerio 1- antelope broadside facing left to right 400 yds on the button, left to right cross wind, bullet enters at back half of the lungs immediately turns left and exits low in the guts.

Scenario 2- mule deer Broadside Left to right 463 yards, slight left to right wind, Bullet enters crease center of lungs turns right and exits top of neck.

scenerio 3- mule Deer broadside facing left to right 557 yards, right to left wind, bullet enters back of lungs turns right comes out point of opposite shoulder.

I added a couple still shots of the antelope video through the spotting scope. One shows the bullet in flight the second shows moment of impact. Shooter is just left of the spotter.

The 5 other whitetail and mule deer were in and out as expected.
 

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J2shooter

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James Eagleman just posted a 156 eol 20% gel test at 600 yards and 200 yards.
6.5 prc
~3000 fps.

They had fairly poor performance at 600
Very good performance at 200

A little concerning.
 

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No expert on the Gel Blocks and their different percentages. But a long time ago (maybe different Gel) we learned that bullets do not perform the same in gel as they do in animals. Actually water jugs resulted in closer results. I will continue to use them this year, we only have about 8 kills with them, but all were good and didn't go out of sight.

As for wild erratic exits. If the exit size if smaller than a golf ball, it was only a fragment that went off path and exited.

And Yes, I check all tips to be open back to lead.
 

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I’ve taken a mule deer and antelope so far, my buddy took his antelope last month, all with the 156 gr EOL in 6.5 PRCs. So far so good. I have them loaded in the truck heading for another mule deer hunt in an hour.


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I'm still going to lead off with them in my buddies new CA ELR.
 

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Just came back from Wyoming where I shot a whitetail(375 yards), and an antelope(521 yards), both mature bucks. Rifle was a 6.5x284, velocity 2950FPS, using R26/210M primers.. The whitetail was shot from a high angle behind the last rib taking off the top of the heart. Little evidence of expansion/damage until the bullet reached the heart area, approximately 15”. No exit, but I could not find the bullet or any fragments. He ran about 50 yards before dropping.....in heart-shot fashion. The antelope was shot at 521 yards, hitting just aback off the shoulder, on the spine. Entrance was about an inch, exit 2-3” with the spine completely damaged and full penetration. The bullet did appear to expand well upon contact with the spine. No bullet recovery. While down and immobile, the he did require a finishing shot. As an aside, the 521 yard shot impacted a few inches higher then my point of aim. Temperature in the morning at 50F had snuck up to 80F by mid-day. I believe the higher temperature caused a high impact due to a velocity spike with R26. This was further evidenced by the difficult extraction of that particular case. In hindsight, I realized I should have have switched to my more temperature stable 142gr load. I had experienced this effect during load testing of my 156gr/R26 load.
Overall, with the exception of the temperature stability issue with the R26, for this simple of two out to 500 yards, results were about the same as my 140-142gr VLD loads. I’m very anxious to hear of terminal ballistic reports of the 156 EOL out to 1000+ yards. The increased energy at the longer ranges is,IMO, the primary feature of this bullet.
 

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I’ve taken a mule deer and antelope so far, my buddy took his antelope last month, all with the 156 gr EOL in 6.5 PRCs. So far so good. I have them loaded in the truck heading for another mule deer hunt in an hour.


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Good luck out there Ladd.
 

Broz

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I’ve taken a mule deer and antelope so far, my buddy took his antelope last month, all with the 156 gr EOL in 6.5 PRCs. So far so good. I have them loaded in the truck heading for another mule deer hunt in an hour.


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Good Luck Ladd, Have a great hunt!
 

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So I have another 3 shots and 3 animals again this year with this bullet. Running them in my 6.5 SS at 3035 fps with RL26. First this year was a whitetail buck at about 140 yds. He was walking almost directly towards me, quartering slightly. Impact was a little higher than what I wanted. Hit the neck and the spinal column. He dropped like a rock and was dead before he hit the ground. Bullet penetration only about 8-9 inches going diagonal along the spine. Had a fragment exit. Found the bullet. It weighs 44.6 grains.
The second was an antelope doe that my son was having trouble with. About 300 yds out. His 6.5 CM hit a little low.... 2 times. She was stopped and bleeding out but on her feet. I got a good rest and head shot her. She was looking to my left 45 degrees off perhaps. Bullet entered a little below the eye. Took off the top of her skull and offside ear. Obviously that finished her.
Couple of hours later found a buck that I decided to take. He didn't like the looks of us as I was trying to set up for a shot at 325 yds. He moved out to 375 yds and stopped slightly quartering away. When I pulled the trigger I heard the hit. Thought maybe I was slightly farther back than what I wanted. He ran perhaps 75-100 yds and died. Luckily just before he dropped off into a deep coulee. Lower chest shot. Bullet exited. Lots of blood. Would of gone a lot less distance if I was 2 inches higher....
So far I have fired 6 rounds at animals with this bullet and killed 6 animals. A slightly thicker jacket wouldn't hurt my feelings, but it works well.
Bruce
 

Broz

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I had the pleasure of being with a young hunter this morning as they filled their Montana Antelope B tag with the 156 Berger.

6.5 PRC muzzle velocity 2900 fps.

Shot was full broadside at about 375 yards. Goat never took a step. Fell over and was done and never kicked.

bullet sized entry clipping a rib going in. Exit was golf ball sized taking out a rib as it left. Vitals destroyed with a huge oil leak internally. Comparing these results to a 147 ELDM, I like this a lot better. The M's make a huge mess at this distance and usually rupture the diaphragm even when you are well in front of it.

Maybe, just maybe there was a hand full of rib meat lost.

Entry.
Eva Goat 1.jpg

Exit:
Eva Goat 2.jpg
 

Ladd

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Got back last night. We took two mule deer with the 156 gr Berger in 6.5 PRCs. My friend took his with my Christensen Arms Ridgeline rifle with a 3003 fps MV. I put him on a nice buck at 160 yards. The buck stopped broadside to my whistle and the 156 entered through one side of the rib cage and out the other taking part of the heart as it worked. Entry and exit holes were minimal with very little bone hit and no meat loss really.
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Ladd

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After a heartbreaking scenario where a nice big beautiful buck with cheaters at 760 yards didn’t get my 156 sent his direction, long story, I took a respectable buck at 350 yards with my Christensen Arms Ridgeline TI. That rifle was so nice to pack around btw. The 156 gr Berger has a 2889 fps MV out of this 6.5 PRC.

My friends went home mid-week and left me solo for a couple days. I found this buck and decided to take it on my last day. Standing broadside I hit a little low. I ranged him at 250. By the time I had a shot the distance turned into 350 and I hit him through one leg then through the brisket then exiting through the the other leg. The off side leg was busted completely. The entry through the one leg was bullet diameter missing bone. About 6-inches of hide around the brisket was missing but no penetration. The bullet then went through the knee of the other leg.

It was not a kill shot so the buck gave me the slip over a rise and into a small ravine for 20 minutes until I found him hiding in the bushes. I put one into his chest as he was bedded there staring directly at me at 50 yards. Smart sucker was letting me walk right by.

The shot into the chest took out his lungs and I found the bullet under the hide on the opposite side. Maybe 50% left with a bullet diameter entry.
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Ladd

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Went with a euro on this year’s buck. Nice looking. Should be getting the shoulder mount from last year’s buck back soon. Thanks to the 6.5 PRC with the 156 gr Berger.
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Took this SE Montana Pronghorn with the 156 EOL earlier this week. 264 Win Mag running 3000 FPS at the muzzle. Goat was bedded at 345 yards. Bullet entered high shoulder with a 1” hole. No exit. Minimal meat loss. He never knew what hit him.
 

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The 156 delivered the goods again this morning. After a rough few days of deer hunting I was more than happy to punch my tag on this buck. Spotted him and his buddies bedded on the leeward side of a ridge at 560 yards. The cross wind was brutal and beyond my skill. Was able to close the distance and ended up taking the shot offhand at 90 yards. I put the bullet just aft of the front shoulder to purposefully avoid shoulder bone at high velocity and close range. Bullet exited. Deer dropped immediately then gained his feet followed by a few stutter steps then crashed. Very pleased with how this bullet performed.
 

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What powder are you using for these results?

I'm wanting to step into a short action magnum, but wrestling with cartridge selection. Red deer and long range targets mainly for me. I'm shooting 140 gr Berger Hybrid Target and 150 gr SMK in my 6.5x55 improved with great results. I would want to shoot these projectiles, plus 156 gr Berger EOL. Vihtavuori isn't available in Australia, but H4350, H4831, H1000 and Retumbo are regularly available and my go-to powders.
Depending on your barrel length and twist rate Retumbo and H1000 would be my go to powders with heavier bullets in the 6.5 short magnums. Retumbo works well for me in my 6.5 PRC. I am also working with VV N-565.
 
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Shot a bull a couple days ago with the 156. Great opportunity when a little bull fed out with a small group of cows at 164 yards. I extended my Hatch bipod to its maximum height and when the bull lagged behind the cows I aimed at the golden triangle and squeezed through my trigger.

The impact let out the tell tell THWOP and the bull took 10 steps and fell over dead. The bullet grenaded the top of the heart and stopped in the offside leg meat, did not make it to the hide. The devastation was impressive as was the quick death.

6.5 PRC 156 EOL’s @ MV 2925

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Hunt West

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Bull elk at 390 yards. 6.5 PRC at 2,900 FPS. In and out photo attached. The out was most likely just a piece of shrapnel as you can see some lodged on the hide. I didn’t bust it open since I went gutless for packing but it had to be liquified just based on how fast the bull hit the dirt.
 

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archp625

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I'm at a turning point with me 6.5 PRC. I am currently shooting the 147 ELD-M and shot a Mule deer this year and the deer literally just stood there like I missed him. Second shot he kicked and went 10 steps.

I am thinking about switching to a different pullet. Are you guys/gals still liking the 156 EOL's? I found a few I can buy.

 

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