A Pistol Bullet for Deer Season

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Phil Mahin

I have always wanted a lever action rifle chambered in 45 Colt.  I finally got my chance to purchase one last summer that I could use for deer season.  What I found was accurate, but I was able to get velocities that were a lot faster than what is normal for the cartridge. In fact, I was getting 1,700fps from the muzzle and that was verified with our industrial Oehler here at work. There is a good reason for the velocity.  It comes from a combination of a hot magnum primer, a lot of slow burning powder, and a case that is built well enough to hold the high pressure repeatedly. I know you may have a lot of questions about this and I’ll finish this story in my next blog, but for now, I wanted to show you what I found for expansion.

I’ve been shooting Sierra Bullets’ #8820 240gr JHC Sports Master and here are the results.

At a 1,086fps impact, it expanded very well, in fact, I would call it perfect. This one kept 235 grains of weight and is 0.780” at its widest point. From what I remember, it went through three jugs and dented the forth.


The next one impacted at 1,278fps and retained 219 grains while expanding out to a 0.850” diameter.

The next one in sequence to velocity was done here at Sierra Bullets into a gel block to see if I could get an accurate representation for penetration. It retained 147 grains and it penetrated a whopping 12 ½ to 13 inches at a 1,442fps impact velocity.

Back at home, the last few impacted at 1,700fps and there wasn’t enough of it left to talk about. In fact, the remains of two didn’t even add up to the same weight as the one above, but it still took out two jugs a piece and sent them 20 feet into every direction.

If I were to evaluate the test, I would say it was a success in the development of the bullet to the cartridge it was built for. The cartridge has a low pressure and doesn’t create a significant velocity from revolvers. At the impact velocities usually associated with it, the Sierra Bullets 240gr bullet will perform extremely well on varmints to whitetail sized animals and possibly bigger if shot placement and impact velocity are kept in mind. Next time, I’ll show the accuracy I’ve seen from this cartridge and firearm combination.

Till then, be safe shooting.

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4 Responses to A Pistol Bullet for Deer Season

  1. Brittius says:

    Reblogged this on .


  2. Michael Clark says:

    Excellent work and results Phil.

    I too wanted a pistol cartridge in a lever rifle but I picked the 44 mag, since I had the dies. I have no idea of how the bullets will perform on water or gel, and haven’t hunted with it yet. I’m rolling out your 210 grain bullet at about 2000 fps. I fear that’s too fast for close impact, but that’s the best accuracy I could get out of the rifle. The more H110 I put in, the smaller the group. 26.0 is where I am and if I had info that it would be safe I’d add a tad more. Not exactly match bolt gun accuracy, but always inside 2 inches at my 210 yard range. I’d love to get it better, but trying all I know, that’s the best I have gotten. Now I want to go catch some bullets like you did, and see how they do.

    Thanks for the report.



  3. John G says:

    Hi Phil,

    Power and weight please?



  4. Pingback: 45 Colt Report | Sierra Bullets

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