Good Factory Loads for All-Around (CXP2/CXP3) Hunting

By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff

Here at Guns and Shooting Online, we get plenty of e-mail asking what load we like for all-around hunting in a particular caliber and model of rifle (.270 Winchester Model 70, for example). Such questions are impossible to answer, because we have no way of knowing what load will shoot accurately in any given rifle. All rifles are individuals and ammo that shoots well in one rifle may not group well in another, even if they are the same model and caliber.

Naturally, most hunters prefer to zero their rifle for one bullet weight and load that they can use on, for example, both deer and elk. The alternative requires changing loads as the seasons change. (Sticking with the .270 Winchester as an example, a 130 grain soft point bullet for deer and 150 grain premium bullet for elk.) Changing bullet weights almost always requires the time and expense of re-zeroing the rifle, so most of us would prefer to find a load using, say, a 140 grain bullet that is adequate for both purposes. In this, we may be able to help.

Over the years, we have found that certain factory loads and bullets consistently perform well on game. If these loads provide sufficient accuracy in your rifle, as they have in many rifles, we can suggest them for hunting most CXP2 and CXP3 game. This is as specific as we can be, so if you write to us asking for a good all-around load, we are going to refer you to this article!

Factory loads from the likes of Federal, Hornady, Remington, Weatherby and Winchester are good quality ammunition and will serve nicely for their intended purpose. General purpose bullets that have earned a reputation for adequate expansion on CXP2 game and adequate penetration on CXP3 game, at least under most circumstances, include the Federal Trophy Bonded Tip, Hornady FTX, Hornady InterBond, Hornady InterLock, Nosler AccuBond, Nosler Partition, Remington Core-Lokt, Remington Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded, Sierra GameKing BTSP, Speer Hot-Cor, Speer Grand Slam, Swift Scirocco, Swift A-Frame, Winchester/CT AccuBond, Winchester/CT Partition Gold and Winchester Silvertip. That is plenty of bullet choices and since most of them are offered in one brand of factory-loaded ammunition or another, you should be able to find a load that shoots well in your rifle. If you reload your own ammunition, those bullets are available in many calibers and weights. If the list below does not include a specific recommendation in your favorite caliber and bullet weight, look for a load that uses one of the bullets mentioned above.

Since the subject of this article is general-purpose factory loads, we will start with 6.5mm caliber. Calibers smaller than .264 are probably best reserved for CXP2 game only. Calibers more powerful than various .300 Magnums, .35 Whelen and .350 Rem. Mag. have been excluded, because they are not all-around, CXP2-CXP3 game calibers. (Frankly, the .300 Magnums, .35 Whelen and .350 Rem. Mag. are pushing the limits for use on CXP2 game; they are mostly CXP3 cartridges.) Cartridges like the .338 Win. Mag., 9.3x74R and .375 H&H are excessive for use on CXP2 game and are best reserved for CXP3-CXP4 game.

Okay, here are some specific loads we would happily use in our personal rifles for general-purpose hunting. These are widely distributed loads (not specialty ammunition) offered in major U.S. brands: Federal, Hornady, Remington, Weatherby and Winchester. Where applicable, we have recommended standard price, rather than premium, loads. This is ammunition you should be able to buy at your local sporting goods store and, in many cases, from big box department stores.

  • 6.5x55 SE - Hornady Custom 140 grain SP InterLock, Remington Express 140 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • .260 Rem. - Federal Premium 140 grain GameKing BTSP, Remington Express 140 grain Core-Lokt PSP, Remington Premier 140 grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded
  • .264 Win. Mag. - Remington Express 140 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • .270 Win. - Federal Premium 140 grain AccuBond, Hornady Custom 140 grain BTSP InterLock, Remington Premier 140 grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded, Winchester Supreme 140 grain AccuBond CT
  • .270 WSM - Federal Premium 140 grain AccuBond, Winchester Supreme 140 grain AccuBond CT
  • .270 Wby. Mag. - Weatherby 140 grain AccuBond, Weatherby 150 grain Partition
  • 7mm-08 Rem. - Federal Premium 140 grain Partition, Remington Express 140 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • 7x57mm Mauser - Federal Premium 140 grain Partition, Hornady Custom 139 grain BTSP InterLock, Remington Express 140 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • .280 Rem. - Federal Premium 150 grain Partition, Remington Express 150 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • 7mm Rem. SAUM - Remington Express 150 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • 7mm WSM - Federal Premium 160 grain Trophy Bonded Tip, Winchester Supreme 160 grain AccuBond CT
  • 7mm Rem. Mag. - Federal Premium 150 grain GameKing BTSP, Hornady Custom 154 grain SP InterLock, Remington Express 150 grain Core-Lokt PSP, Winchester Supreme 160 grain AccuBond CT
  • 7mm Wby. Mag. - Federal Premium 160 grain Trophy Bonded Tip, Hornady Custom 154 grain InterBond, Weatherby 154 grain SP InterLock
  • 7mm STW - Federal Premium 160 grain Trophy Bonded Tip
  • 7mm Rem. Ultra Mag - Remington Premier 150 grain Swift Scirocco (III), Remington Premier 160 grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded (II)
  • .30-30 Win. - Federal Premium 170 grain Partition, Hornady LeverEvolution 160 grain FTX, Remington Express 170 grain Core-Lokt Soft Point, Winchester Super-X 170 grain Slivertip
  • .308 Marlin Express - Hornady LeverEvolution 160 grain FTX
  • .30 T/C - Hornady SuperForce 165 grain SST
  • .308 Win. - Federal Premium 165 grain Trophy Bonded Tip, Federal Premium 180 grain Partition, Hornady Custom 165 grain BTSP InterLock, Remington Express 180 grain Core-Lokt PSP, Winchester Super-X 180 grain Slivertip
  • .30-40 Krag - Remington Express 180 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • .30-06 Spfd. - Federal Premium 180 grain Partition, Hornady Custom 180 grain SP InterLock, Remington Express 180 grain Core-Lokt PSP, Winchester Super-X 180 grain Slivertip
  • .300 RCM - Hornady Super Force 180 grain SST
  • .300 Rem. SAUM - Remington Premier 180 grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded
  • .300 WSM - Federal Power-Shok 180 grain Soft Point, Winchester Super-X 180 grain Power Max Bonded
  • .300 Win. Mag. - Federal Power-Shok 180 grain Soft Point, Federal Premium 180 grain Partition, Hornady Custom 180 grain SP InterLock, Remington Express 180 grain Core-Lokt PSP, Winchester Super-X 180 grain Power Max Bonded
  • .300 H&H Mag. - Federal Premium 180 grain Partition, Hornady Custom 180 grain InterBond
  • .300 Wby. Mag. - Federal Premium 180 grain Partition, Hornady Custom 180 grain SP InterLock, Remington Express 180 grain Core-Lokt PSP, Weatherby 180 grain SP InterLock
  • .300 Rem. Ultra Mag - Federal Premium 180 grain Trophy Bonded Tip, Remington Premier 180 grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded (II, III)
  • .303 British - Remington Express 180 grain Core-Lokt Soft Point, Winchester Super-X 180 grain Power Point
  • .32 Win. Spec. - Hornady LeverEvolution 165 grain FTX
  • 8x57mm Mauser - Remington Express 170 grain Core-Lokt Soft Point
  • .325 WSM - Winchester Supreme 200 grain AccuBond CT
  • .338 Marlin Express - Hornady LeverEvolution 200 grain FTX, Remington Express 250 grain Soft Point
  • .338 Federal - Federal Premium 200 grain Trophy Bonded Tip, Federal Premium 210 grain Partition
  • .338-06 A-Square - Weatherby 210 grain Partition
  • .348 Win. - Winchester Super-X 200 grain Slivertip
  • .35 Rem. - Hornady LeverEvolution 200 grain FTX
  • .358 Win. - Winchester Super-X 200 grain Slivertip
  • .35 Whelen - Remington Express 200 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • .350 Rem. Mag. - Remington Express 200 grain Core-Lokt PSP
  • .444 Marlin - Hornady LeverEvolution 265 grain FTX
  • .45-70 Govt. - Hornady LeverEvolution 325 grain FTX, Winchester Supreme 300 grain Partition Gold CT



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