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10 Best Long-Range Hunting Bullets: Bagging Big Game Way Downrange

10 Best Long-Range Hunting Bullets

Long-range hunting is a relatively new niche category of marksmanship that requires specially designed-hunting bullets to be successful. No only do long-range hunters require projectiles that can reliably reach distances of 600 yards or more with sub-MOA levels of accuracy, but they also need exceptional terminal ballistics to humanely put down big game animals at these longer ranges.

Not all hunting bullets are suitable for long-range hunting, but we've assembled the top 10 best long range hunting bullets that you need to stock up on for your next trip into the woods.

If you’re itching to get to the reloading bench and make some fresh long-range hunting handloads, then we highly recommend you pick up a box of the Hornady ELD-X. However, if you'd like to learn about all your different bullet options for big game hunting as well as varmint hunting, scroll down a little and check out our top 10 list.

Top Long-Range Hunting Bullets for Big Game

  • Hornady ELD-X
  • Barnes LRX
  • Berger VLD Hunting
  • Nosler AccuBond Long Range
  • Winchester Copper Impact
  • Federal Terminal Ascent
  • Sierra Tipped GameKing

Top Long-Range Hunting Bullets for Varmints

  • Hornady V-MAX
  • Sierra BlitzKing
  • Nosler Varmageddon

Best Long-Range for Big Game Hunting Bullet Overall

Hornady ELD-X

A friend called me recently, ecstatic after getting an elk ticket in Tennessee; he asked me, “What ammo are you using?” I encouraged him to pick up a box of Hornady ELD-X.

If you're looking for a long-range hunting ammo that continues to exceed expectations time and time again, the Hornady ELD-X is the round you should be loading into your bolt-action rifle this fall.

This bullet simply gets the job done with every squeeze of the trigger. Offering unparalleled levels of accuracy, precision, and expansion, the Hornady ELD-X is a bullet that long-range hunters trust to ethically and quickly put down big game animals every season.

The Hornady ELD-X is so effective against large game animals thanks to its revolutionary design. Hornady developed the ELD-X using a polymer tip to not only initiate terminal expansion, but also to act as a heatshield to prevent bullet deformation downrange.

Combined with Hornady's patented Interlock bullet design, the ELD-X transfers the maximum amount of kinetic energy possible into the target by ensuring the jacket and lead core remain intact on impact.

The Hornady ELD-X can easily take down big game animals at long-range distances well over 600 yards, and even 1,000 yards if you’re skilled enough.

For example, if you're in the market for a long-range whitetail load for your bolt-action rifle, then we highly recommend the 6.5 Creedmoor 143gr Hornady ELD-X. This round has an incredibly high ballistic coefficient of 0.625 to help fight wind drift can easily reach ranges of 1,000 yards or more with relative ease.

Unlike its match-grade counterparts, the ELD-X ammo line offers big game and varmint hunters the penetration and expansion they need to put game down ethically and quickly. What’s better is you can push the ELD-X match to the limits because it will expand and create lethal wound channels at lower velocities.

To put it bluntly, the Hornady ELD-X won’t disappoint on your big day in the woods. The projectile’s exquisite design reduces drag and wind drift, while the jacket and core increase penetration and control expansion. All you have to do is put the shot on target and you'll be coming home with that trophy bull elk or whitetail you've always dreamed of.

Barnes LRX

If you’re new to long-range hunting, it won’t take long before someone recommends Barnes bullets for big game. Not only does Barnes have impeccable quality standards, like Hornady, but the company also puts some of the greatest minds to work engineering long-range hunting rounds.

The Barnes Long Range X (LRX) bullet is designed to expand into razor sharp petals that create an absolutely gnarly wound channel that is near double the original diameter of the bullet. This puts down game quickly to ensure you don't spend all day trudging through thick brush following blood trails.

But the innovation didn't stop there as the geniuses at Barnes knew they needed a bullet that was streamlined and sleek for longer range shots. Regardless of which caliber you shoot, a Barnes LRX is going to have ridiculously high BC and offer you incredible sub-MOA accuracy results at all ranges.

Barnes LRX bullets have a polymer tip giving them a more aerodynamic design that increases the ballistic coefficient (reduces drag and wind drift). But the polymer tip also helps to control and initiate expansion to ensure that you get the terminal performance you need at close-range as well as longer distances.

The 100% copper design also means it’s perfect for hunting in "green states" like California.

If you're looking to take on large game from whitetail to elk, we'd recommend the Barnes VOR-TX LR 6.5 PRC 127 Grain LRX BT. This ammo has performed extremely well in my Ruger Hawkeye Long-Range Hunter and I always make sure to stock up on it before every hunting season.

To put it simply, the Barnes LRX has insane terminal performance that puts down big game cleanly every time. If you can't find Hornady ELD-X bullets or simply want to try something different, you can't go wrong with a Barnes LRX for long-range hunting shots.

Berger VLD Hunting

While it seems pretty easy looking at this list, finding high-quality, long-range hunting ammo for big game isn't easy. But we couldn’t forget to add the Berger VLD Hunting line of bullets as these consistently provide hunters the penetration and long-range capabilities they are looking for.

Berger VLD Hunting ammo for sale

The Berger Very Low Drag (VLD) Hunting bullet looks unassuming as it lacks a polymer tip or any other distinguishing characteristics. However, it's designed to penetrate 2-3" into a game animal before expansion begins.

This controlled expansion creates devastating wound channels that all but guarantee a quick and efficient kill provided your shot placement is on point.

Berger VLD Hunting bullets have a similar design to the Barnes LRX in that they utilize a secant ogive bullet profile to reduce drag and increase ballistic coefficient. For example, the 7mm 180gr VLD Hunting has a B.C. of .659 (my personal favorite for handloading in a 7mm Remington Short Action Ultra Magnum) while the 30-caliber 185gr has a B.C of .558, which is extremely popular in 300 Win Mag reloads.

But a high ballistic coefficient isn’t everything. We aren’t shooting at targets here; we’re hunting. So, you’re probably curious about the terminal performance (how the projectile interacts with its target).

The Berger VLD (Very Low Drag) long-range hunting bullets have an encased lead core in a thinner J4 Precision Hunting Jacket. This delivers massive hydrostatic shock and creates a substantial wound cavity. For those who don’t know, this basically means you’re sure to stock the freezer if you’re using the Berger VLD Hunting bullets!

Nosler AccuBond Long Range

Nosler is a bit hard to find these days, but if you can grab a box, do it because we promise you won’t be disappointed! The Nosler AccuBond Long Range (ABLR) is a household name for avid long-range shooters. The company produces high-quality, reliable rounds that are expertly engineered for a high ballistic coefficient, excellent terminal performance, and weight retention.

Nosler AccuBond Long Range ammo for sale

The Nosler AccuBond has the classic boattail design of most long-range hunting ammo we see today. The AccuBond line increases accuracy and promotes smooth chambering with a white polymer tip. This design helps the projectile to stay on course and resist wind drift.

For reference, the .338 Nosler AccuBond 250 grain bullet has a B.C. of .575, this bullet is a great choice for taking on big game animals like moose and caribou with a 338 Win Mag. For smaller game like hogs and whitetail, we recommend the .270 AccuBond 150gr has a B.C. of .50 for rounds like the 270 Winchester.

This long-range rifle cartridge also meets our terminal performance needs. The Lead-alloy core is encased in a tapered copper-alloy jacket meant to penetrate hide, bone, and tissue before expanding and releasing massive kinetic energy to vital organs.

When I'm loading up my favorite Remington 700 or Browning X-bolt hunting rifles with Nosler AccuBond ammo, I have no doubts that any moose, elk, or deer that finds itself in my crosshairs will drop in its tracks.

Winchester Copper Impact

Hunters who understand value and terminal ballistics reach for Winchester Copper Impact bullets when they need to ensure big game animals stay down when they're hit.

Winchester Copper Impact ammo for sale

Although Winchester gained most of its fame by producing the lever-action rifle that won the west, the Model 1873, over the past century Winchester has also become a household name in ammunition.

Taking a page out of Hornady's playbook, Winchester has been producing high-quality hunting and match-grade rounds at an affordable price. And one of the best premium Winchester hunting rounds you’ll find today is their Copper Impact line.

Winchester’s Copper Impact line has a solid copper construction that retains its weight on impact to transfer kinetic energy and knock down big game like elk and moose. It’s also great for medium game like whitetail and antelope as well.

The projectile also comes equipped with a large-diameter polymer tip to deliver rapid impact trauma while still giving long-range hunters the flat trajectory they need for longer distance shots. For example, the 270 Winchester Copper Impact 130 gr factory load has about a 40” bullet drop at 500 yards. Not too shabby for an all-copper bullet!

Combining design, composition, and high velocity, Winchester Copper Impact bullets are an excellent long-range cartridge that’s sure to drop big game on impact.

Federal Terminal Ascent

The Federal Terminal Ascent is another premium hunting bullet designed explicitly for long-range big game hunting. Truth be told, this is one of my go-to rounds for elk hunting. It’s also great for other game like moose, buffalo, and bear.

The Terminal Ascent puts all of the benefits of a bonded projectile and combines it with the profile of a long-range match-grade bullet. It’s quite a brilliant design when you take a closer look at it.

Bonded bullets traditionally have wind drift issues, so they aren’t always great for long-range shooting. To overcome this, the Terminal Ascent has angled grooves cut into the projectile’s shank. This allows for better airflow and increases the ballistic coefficient.

Take for example the Federal Terminal Ascent .308 Winchester 175 gr, at 600 yards the round still has more than the 1,000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy to take down a whitetail while only experiencing -100 inches of bullet drop and 29" of wind drift (assuming a 10 mph crosswind).

With nearly 1,700 fps of muzzle velocity even at that range, you still get excellent terminal ballistics for those long-range shots.

Similar to the Hornady ELD-X concept above, the Federal Terminal Ascent utilizes the company's proprietary Slipstream Tip, which acts as a heat-shield to protect the bullet from early deformation.

Ultimately, the Federal Terminal Ascent is a hunting bullet that combines innovation with tried-and-true terminal ballistics that can put down all sorts of big game at longer ranges.

Sierra Tipped GameKing

Precision rifle shooters have known for years that if you want an extremely aerodynamic and accurate bullet, you should always reach for Sierra. But when it comes to the needs of long-range hunters, Sierra does not disappoint with their line of Tipped GameKing bullets.

Descended from the legendary GameKing bullet line, the new Tipped GameKing offers hunters all the accuracy benefits of polymer tipped bullets combined with the terminal ballistics needed to take on big game animals like elk and moose.

The lead-alloy core is encased in a gliding copper jacket which controls the expansion and creates a devastating wound cavity. The ogive tip gives this long-range hunting bullet a flatter trajectory giving this round a high B.C.

Although not the most popular bullet on our list, the Sierra Tipped GameKing offers hunters the accuracy they've come to know and love from Sierra's match-grade reputation.

Best Long-Range Varmint Hunting Bullets

Varmint hunters have been acquainted with long-range precision shooting for many years.

Popping prairie dogs at 300 yards is not only fun, but satisfying at the same time as it validates your skill and precision with a rifle. As such, many bolt-action rifles are purpose-built for this sole purpose of eradicating pesky varmints at awe-inspiring ranges.

However, if you've built the perfect varmint slaying rig, then you need the best bullets to send down the barrel. Here are three of our favorite bullets if you like playing "Pop Goes The Weasel" in real life!

Hornady V-Max

Varmint hunters all have their opinions on what the best long-range varmint hunting bullet is, but for us it's the Hornady V-Max.

The V-Max offers shooters a flat-trajectory, phenomenal accuracy, and (literally) explosive terminal ballistics. Simply put, Hornady won’t let you down.

Similar to the Federal Terminal Ascent, the Hornady V-Max takes the best of its match-grade counterpart, the A-Max or ELD-M, and combines it with the lethality of a hunting bullet. This gives us better performance and accuracy at longer distances.

Based on my personal experience, the .223 Rem Hornady V-Max 55gr can easily knock down a coyote at 400 yards. All you need is a precision rifle and a bit of skill, then let the bullet do the rest.

Sierra BlitzKing

If you’ve ever sat on your front porch to hear the howl of a coyote 400 yards away near your chicken coop, you’ll know the value of a good long-range varmint bullet. In this regard, we definitely wouldn’t discount the Sierra BlitzKing. A specially designed round for varmints from coyotes to prairie dogs.

Sierra has supplied superb hunting rounds for generations, and like a fine wine, they’ve only gotten better with age. The BlitzKing delivers excellent terminal performance at longer distances to help you eradicate pests and protect your livestock.

The projectile's classic spitzer shape gives us that higher ballistic coefficient to push their ammunition to the limits. The thin jacket gives you better frangibility on impact, which is ideal as varmints don't have a thick hide like larger animals. Instead of penetration, you want rapid expansion, and this is exactly what Sierra BlitzKing bullets offer.

Nosler Varmageddon

The Nosler Varmageddon is more than a catchy name, as Nosler is one of the highest-quality and reputable manufacturers producing hunting rounds today. The Varmageddon is exquisitely crafted with that same attention-to-detail and innovative function of other Nosler hunting rounds.

You can choose between a hollow-point or polymer tip and get devastating terminal performance in any situation. Rather than a boattail, the Nosler Varmageddon has a flat base, but don’t worry, the loss in B.C. won’t disappoint if you’re within ethical ranges.

The ultra-thin jacket, combined with a thicker midsection, actually increases damage while leaving a smaller impact hole; for those of you who want to preserve the pelts.

While Nosler, like Norma, is a bit pricier than other options, it’s an excellent round for reloading and never disappoints when you need it most.

Parting Shots

Long-range hunting means you’ll have to push your ammo to its limits. Not only do you need exceptional long-range accuracy, but you also need reliable expansion to ensure a clean kill.

The best long-range cartridges for hunting big game and varmints are those that combine the long-distance qualities of match-grade ammo with the expansion designs of a hunting round. By utilizing any of the bullets on our top 10 list above, you'll have everything you need to tackle big game animals or pesky varmints that plague your property.

If you need long-range hunting ammo, check out our stock here. We've got all the hunting cartridges you could possibly need from 270 WSM to the 300 Winchester Magnum and beyond.

No matter if you're taking out your grandfather's old 308 Winchester Weatherby Vanguard or you've got a new-age space gun like the Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, we've got all the ammo you could possibly need for all your precision shooting needs!

Cassandra McBride
Written by
Cassandra McBride

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