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Thread: Kill shot theory???

  1. #1
    Member Ak_Predator's Avatar
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    Default Kill shot theory???

    Saw the funny comment about caliber selection in the Kenai Monster Brown Bear thread and it got me thinking about the huge debate/argument that got brought up from a question I posted earlier this spring. Went back through all the posts and one stuck out.

    Topics were brought up about shooting large game and bullet entry/exit. It was mentioned no exit wound is a bad thing.
    Now I get for tracking a blood trail an exit is a great way to get that blood on the ground but let's think about this for a second.

    If you have all that kinetic energy from that bullet, enter the animal and punch through it, how much of that energy is being wasted? When an animal absorbs a bullet entirely, that animal also absorbs all that energy from your shot. You're getting a 100% of what that bullet has to offer into that animal. Sure there's no exit but the bullet being lodged on the opposite shoulder from entry, there's still plenty of damage going on there.

    And of course shot placement is always key to any type of shooting. I'm curious what some of you "old timers" think about this...

    With a well placed shot through the vitals, would you prefer your animal (general large game) to absorb that bullet or have it punch all the way through?

    *also, I'm pretty sure most would agree, but I'd prefer not to rely on a blood trail to find my game

  2. #2
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    FWIW. I don't have any experience with this, but a problem the old (black powder muzzle loader days) elephant hunters had was that they believed heavier and heavier bullets were necessary to kill elephants. They shot some huge black powder loads in guns like the 8 bore, 4 bore, etc. Huge bullets. The problem was that the bullets were usually 100% lead and they didn't penetrate very far - i.e. a 100% energy dump on the elephant's head.

    Some of the later cordite/smokeless powder elephant hunters used 6.5 mm Mannlichers, with perfect placement and long, heavy for caliber solid bullets that penetrated very well to reach the vitals (brain).

    I would always prefer a "through and through". Without that, where does the bullet stop and dump 100% of the energy? In the closest shoulder and stop? In the chest and stop? A well constructed bullet that expands moderately and cuts a good wound channel from one side to the next and through the vitals should guarantee a rapid bleed out.

    Some bullets (the Berger "hunting" bullets) are designed to penetrate and virtually explode - dumping all its energy. Sounds good, but I wouldn't want all that frag in the meat.

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I don't kill my animals with "energy" or "shock", I live in the real world and kill them with holes through their vital organs and major vessels. Two holes lets more air in and more air out, I use expanding bullets to make the holes bigger, no replacement for displacement isn't only for racecars, but I want an exit, every time regardless of angle. Doesn't always happen, but I'm happy when it does.

    Energy numbers are printed on ammo boxes and manufacturers website to sell cartridges, that's their only use period. Hydrostatic shock, ftlbs of energy, and all that jazz are nearly worthless in determining killing power. I'm sure some long and complicated formula could be drawn up at MIT or somewhere, that might have some bearing on the measure of killing power a cartridge has, but that is much too hard for my little brain. So I take the easy way out. Step one shoot a bunch of critters. Step two see how fast and hard they go down. Step three deduce after a couple traincar loads of dead game animals that they die faster and are easier to find consistently if they have two holes from each projectile. Don't matter if its a stickbow, handgun, muzzleloader, or a high powered rifle of low medium or megahigh velocity, energy dump theory is crap for big game until you get into the big calibers, and I'm not talking 45/70 or 375h&h.

    When in doubt shoot a partition or X bullet and follow the red splatter road.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I agree with the kid. I am also a fan of holes! In combat medicine they teach you to cover holes with plastic to keep air out of the chest so that the injured persons lungs don't collapse. Large quantities of air in your chest cavity is not consistent with life and an exit wound is a great place to let out blood and introduce air especially since it is usually larger than the entrance wound.

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    Member Milo's Avatar
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    If I shoot all the way through, it would seem that I had enough energy that I can afford to "waste" a little. If I don't shoot all the way through, how would I know? I guess the ideal is that the bullet just barely falls out the other side. Maybe I can work up some handloads for every situation.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  6. #6

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    Count me in the exit wound crowd. As was stated, energy is a poor determiner of a rounds effectiveness on game. I want a well constructed bullet through the vitals with an exit wound letting blood out and air in. There is no such thing as DRT every time. Every game animal reacts differently to shots.

    Case in point. A friend shot a 90 pound whitetail doe at 20 yards with a 300 Weatherby. He was expecting to take one across the field at around 200 yards when this one stepped out 20 yards away. He hit it perfectly, with a broadside heart/lung shot. The doe, unphased, pranced off in typical whitetail fashion, looking back occasionally like they do at the source of whatever startled her. He was preparing for another shot when she just fell over. She could have just as easily made a dash in her alarm back into the heavy cover from whence she came and he would have assumed a missed shot. There was no blood at the spot where she was standing and none between there and where she fell. She absorbed the 300's over 3000 foot pounds of "energy" as if nothing had happened.

    Back when I thought energy was everything, I spent more time than I care to admit tracking game that was well hit but didn't drop at the shot and didn't leave much or any blood trail. I've always found them but now I use stout bullets that I can depend on to penetrate. They don't always exit but more times than not they do. My 35 Whelen with 250 grain Partitions leaves nice 1.5-2" exit wounds on caribou when hit through the lungs. I've had them fall at the shot and had them walk off with identical shots. The good thing is they had exit wounds and were losing lots of blood via those wounds.

    I'll take the exit wounds and let the bullet spend a little "energy" outside the animal.

    Mart

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    TheKid has a good grasp on it, allright.

    Placement is everything, and holes through the animals vitals are the goal. Any bullet that exits hasnt wasted a bit of energy, if it made holes through the right places.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Another vote for two holes...I handload all of my center-fire, primarily for accuracy and to choose my bullets for big game. I want my bullet to hit the vital area, penetrate, partially expand, hold together (retain as much of its weight as possible), create a wound channel through the vital area, and exit the far side. I don't think it gets much better than that.

    I've shot several black bears on snow slides in the spring with 100grn TSX's out of a 257WBY, doing just what I described, and it sure works...same goes for 270grn TSX's out of a 375H&H with many moose and a few grizz. I have yet to recover a single bullet in these scenarios, but all animals were down without many steps after impact (and a couple of them just dropped like someone unplugged them).

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    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Two holes for me. I've shot some deer and a bear with the bergers and can't argue the results (think lightning bolt) but it just made me uneasy.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

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    Member Ak_Predator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    If I shoot all the way through, it would seem that I had enough energy that I can afford to "waste" a little. If I don't shoot all the way through, how would I know? I guess the ideal is that the bullet just barely falls out the other side. Maybe I can work up some handloads for every situation.
    Well played sir. Too funny!

    I like the responses and the reason this got brought up is bc a buddy of mine mentioned this theory to me after we were talking about some of our previous hunts. Had never heard it and wanted to hear what others thought.

  11. #11

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    Two holes for the same reasons already stated. I find it interesting when people try to dismiss the value of velocity and energy, especially when it comes to using a well designed expanding bullet. Shot placement is still the most important factor. A prime example was the doe shot at close range with a 300 Weatherby. Very high velocity with huge energy at close range equals a thru and thru with small wound channel. Still a killing shot, however, due to a good placement. Don't dismiss the value of the 300 Weatherby on larger frame animals at longer range. Shot placement is still the key, but the high velocity and high energy give a much larger margin for an ethical kill shot. Why make it an either/or question?

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    Member Meanderthal's Avatar
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    I am a two hole advocate for many of the reasons already stated but I differ from most on one point. I want the exit wound but it doesn't need to be made by a perfectly mushroomed projectile retaining 95% of its original weight. Partitions are often my choice precisely because they don't perform that way. The front half of the bullet will separate, fracture and puree the lungs while the rear half does the job of venting the far side of the critter.

    My experience with high weight retention bullets is that under certain circumstances they can "pencil through" without causing enough trauma for a quick kill. The bullet designs keep improving though so it probably isn't as big of a concern as it once was.

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    Barnes bullets has or had a discussion of this on their web sight. They measured the velocity of a bullet as it exited their ballistic gelatin and determined that the vast majority of the energy was expended into the gelatin, even with a high velocity magnum round. I hastily looked for the article, but could not find it. If you were looking for data it might be a place to look. Seems like if the bullet expands and exits it will do about all the damage it needs to do if it was fired from a 308 win or a 300 RUM. I agree two holes are better than one so you might as well have some energy to spare to ensure two good killing wounds.

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    Member cormit's Avatar
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    Guess I'm from the stone age on this one. I grew up at time when we thought a good bullet stayed in the critter .... we considered bullets that went through to be bad bullets. Always seemed logical to me that the full energy of a bullet ... no matter what the velocity ..... was totally expended when the bullet is brought to a complete stop. The energy still remaining in a bullet that passes through is no longer doing any damage where it counts. I can see I'm in the minority on this issue ....... but I like digging my bullets out after a kill ...... and can usually find them.



    The three 300 gr Noslers on the box were dug out of three different moose ...... pretty much still in one piece. The bullet on the right front is from my wife's 30-06, 180 gr, and also dug out of a moose. I'm going to keep telling my bullets to stay inside.

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I don't care if the bullet passes through or not, as long as the animal dies. I use partitions mostly and never wounded an animal and not recovered, and usually i find it within 20 yards where shot at. Some are pass throughs, but a lot of times i find the bullet against the hide on the opposite side

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak_Predator View Post
    let's think about this for a second.

    If you have all that kinetic energy from that bullet, enter the animal and punch through it, how much of that energy is being wasted?

    *also, I'm pretty sure most would agree, but I'd prefer not to rely on a blood trail to find my game
    do a little bit more than one second of thinking. The majority of shock, and energy has been transmitted into an animal with a properly expanded hunting bullet, far before it has exited the animal. Very little, if nothing has been lost by the time the mushroomed bullet somehow punched through the other side. Look at wound channels in game, look at slow motion videos of hunting bullets hitting ballistic gelatin.

    What you prefer, won't always happen in the field. lots of blood on the ground is a nice perk, to help when it doesn't.

  17. #17

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    The big key is a hit in vitals with an efficient caliber/bullet. Exit or not becomes academic.

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    Here's a good read-----------------------------http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_killing_power.htm

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    Member Ak_Predator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    do a little bit more than one second of thinking. The majority of shock, and energy has been transmitted into an animal with a properly expanded hunting bullet, far before it has exited the animal. Very little, if nothing has been lost by the time the mushroomed bullet somehow punched through the other side. Look at wound channels in game, look at slow motion videos of hunting bullets hitting ballistic gelatin.

    What you prefer, won't always happen in the field. lots of blood on the ground is a nice perk, to help when it doesn't.
    Just playing devil's advocate here... I know there are some hunters that prefer two holes and some that prefer one. Just curious what everyone's take on this issue is.

    I've had two animals where there wasn't an exit, both moose and neither took a step after the hit. (7mm Mag) So after talking with my buddy, and reading some prior posts, it got me thinking. I have paid attention to the wound channels of my downed game and watched videos on gelatin blocks. I have my bullet in my caliber that does well for me. Like I mentioned prior, I'm curious what others prefer and look for with their shots, impact & exit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by extrema View Post
    The big key is a hit in vitals with an efficient caliber/bullet.
    Agreed....

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