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Thread: Factors in Killing Effectiveness

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    Default Factors in Killing Effectiveness

    I have fallen out of the long range accuracy shooting (cost) and over the last few years focusing on real world hunt shooting. Having a very limited time crunch (new family dynamics) and budget I have been researching ballistics and maximizing my range time with hunting rounds not match grade as in previous years.

    In researching what will work for me and my intended hunts I have began to question my traditional thinking, which I believe we all should. This questioning is based off of research and ballistics comparisons of many factors in ammo. Velocities, flight path, weight, bullet construction, energy delivery, etc. It now seems that the standard 180 grain .30 bullet at ~2800 fps might be old school and while it still is amazingly effective there might be better options available.

    I have graphed and plotted 3 different rounds at different weights and velocities and discovered that a 150 grain bullet @ 2950 fps actually (on paper) has more energy delivered to target at all ranges and flatter shooting than a 180 @ 2800 or even a 168 @ 2885. I am wondering why would I not switch to this bullet?

    So I ask for feedback and an open discussion on what everyone thinks, feels, and knows. I am looking for real experience or data, not the typical "I use this and it has worked so it's the best" dialog and attitude.

    I will get started by a good read from Chuck Hawks.
    http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_bull...ling_power.htm

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    My current best load is a .570" diameter 280 grain bullet at 1550fps. It's dropped everything I've shot with it, quick one-shot kills. Can't get much better than that in my book!

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    Where to start....

    First, energy is only (at best) an approximation of wounding potential. Bullet construction is the factor that transfers energy into tissue destruction. A bullet that's matched to the game hunted generally works best, smaller lighter game typically dies faster from bullets that open more readily and tougher game needs a tougher bullet to ensure adequate penetration. Some designs like the Partition, TBBC, and Accubond attempt to have the best features of both and (more or less) succeed. I've killed a number of caribou with the Accubond and been well pleased with wide wound channels and large exits without undue meat damage.

    Trajectory...meh. In doing a lot of work with the '06 and 150-180gr bullets under field conditions there isn't enough difference in trajectory to worry about. It's only a couple of inches at most to 300 yards and very few guys can hold that in the field anyway. Which one to pick? The one the gun shoots best.

    The .30cal 180gr plodding along at 2800 fps is one of the most splendidly boring ballistic combinations ever devised. You can get stuff that works "better" on paper, very little that's better on animals.

    A much better plan (at least to me) is to round up 100 rounds of any old plain ammo and head to the range. Maybe work in an extra weekend or a couple more days of hunting time.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    When punching holes in a flat paper target their are few variables to consider - that changes dramatically when your killing game animals for sure..
    Size of animal, bone structure, angles, distance, do you want to stop it before it eats you etc get complex for a simple answer. However BrownBears comment sums it up pretty well - a big bullet, of good construction, put in the right place is hard to beat. Any bullet that penetrates far enough to cause excessive blood loss will do the trick.
    I have probably killed more game with two basic bullets. A 180 grain NP in 30 cal loads and a 139 gr Hornady Spire Point in 7mm loads. I don't get caught up much with speed, more with accuracy and ultimately BULLET PLACEMENT! I know what my gun and what I am capable of and then live within that. I would probably choose more bullets like the Barnes line up when dealing with real heavy game on an annual basis but I have found the 2 types I have stuck with mainly over the years to be very effective. There is usually a reason you see so many people compare whatever they are touting to a NP - no reason to get too caught up in finding the Magic bullet IMO... Take good ethical shots within your abilities and the game will go down...
    I have killed my fair share of big game with rifles and handguns and black powder - but I have killed even more with archery tackle - poke a hole in a vital spot and get your skinning knife ready...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    In my opinion, which is worth just what you're paying for it, there has been way to much hype put on the new premium bullets and faster velocities. Use a caliber large enough for the intended game, a bullet somewhat heavy for the caliber and put it in the proper spot at somewhere between 1500/2600fps or so and pack out the meat. A 30/30 with a 170 gr whatever, will kill a very big moose graveyard dead with proper bullet placement. Dead is dead, what more do you want? Which is the best? I don't know, but who cares so long as what your using works. I have shot big game with a 30Rem, 7mm Rem Mag, 30/06, 270win, 300 H&H. All have performed splendidly using plain Sierra, Speer, Rem, and Hornady bullets. Oh, I've also shot a couple of caribou with a bow that has less energy than a 38spl. Again, what's the best? Who cares? Load some of those 180s at 2800 place the bullet properly and leave the paper numbers to someone that cares. This combo has worked great for over 100years so unless PETA starts making bullet proof underwear for all the forest creatures it will work for another 100 years.

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    Jack O'Connor wrote MANY years ago, quoting a native Alaskan Inuit : "Any gun good gun shoot'em right".

    Still excellent advice.

    My only edit to the Eskimo: make sure the bullet is strong enough to reach the vitals. Not all are, especially from bad angles.Personally, I like bonded core . But that is not to say conventional cup and draws won't work. Just that bonded core work virtually 100% of the time.

    Beyond that, hunting is not a MOA game. Even if your rifle could shoot .000, you can't in the field. If you can hit a volleyball 90% of the time from field positions, then you have a legitimate shot.

    Study and learn penetration distances from bad/awkward angles. You need a bullet that gets there...with some "umph".

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    A varient of the question that you're asking has been around for quite some time. i.e., the killing power of a lighter/smaller bullet going faster Vs a heavier/bigger bullet going slower. It is a fun discussion, but it's been my observation that there never is an objectively conclusive answer. Those who do a comparative ballistic analysis seem to end up on one side or the other or indifferent because "dead is dead". We all know that this discussion led Roy Weatherby, a believer in that smaller going faster is better, to develope a variety of really interesting cartridges which he used to kill a whole bunch of different animals to prove the killing power of the smaller going faster perspective.

    I personally go with the lighter going faster perspective (and smaller going faster...sometimes), and like many of you I handload, so I get to play around with my preference. As an example of lighter going faster, I load 270grn bullets (2800fps) in my 375H&H as opposed to 300grn (2500fps). This is not a gigantic difference (10%) between the two, but there is a difference in down range bullet drop, velocity, and energy...but does that difference amount to anything meaningful? I can report that I have killed (and helped friends kill) several grizzly bears, and I have taken numerous moose over the years with the 270's. All the animals went down just fine and died. Every animal I shot would probably have done the exact same thing if shot with a 300grn bullet...because dead is dead. That said, the 270 is my preference and I'm not ever loading 300's. I also only load TSX's for this particular application. I'll add, that every single animal that I have taken in these examples was within 100 yards (ironically), and shot placement was where it should be, and every single time the bullet penetrated, expanded, and exited the animal...which is exactly what I want. Once again, a 300grn TSX might have done or may do exactly the same, but I'll never personally know because I've made my decision to stick with the 270's.

    Blood-shot meat in a smaller bullet going faster may be a factor to consider, and other guys can pipe-in on their experiences. I have not experienced that myself in the examples above.

    It's great to have choices...

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    You're way over thinking this. Last year I took a caribou at 250yds with a .308, 168gr SSTX doing 1650fps and he was down in 6 seconds. If you're throwing lead at 2800fps, then hit the lungs and go home with your critter. Use a Barnes and you will never have to worry about the ballistics again. IMOA, Barnes bullets are the best hunting bullet out there. No jacket separation, no fragmenting and no weight loss. There not as precise as target rounds, but I still hit an egg at 400yds and an apple at 600yds. 2800fps! Crimanny! A 180gr doing 2800fps would drop a moose 800yds. You're a long range shooter. You got this. No worries.

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    Yup. Adjust the bullet weight/construction for the game you're after, then adjust the shooting distance for your trajectory and shooting skills. Mess up on any of them, and it's your mess to clean up.

    I have the skills, guns and loads for real long range shooting. Fun for me to poke holes in paper waaaay out there. But it's just not in me to hunt game that way. I vastly prefer the challenge of getting inside 100 yards of the game, and 50 yards is better yet. I just like stalking close and spending a lot of time with the animal before I ventilate it.

    Last deer I killed was at 22 yards using a pure lead .735 diameter round ball at 1000fps. Did I need that "much" load for deer? Just about anything that would have poked a hole in the right place would have done the job at that range. I was carrying that particular gun because I like it. Meanwhile I saw that deer first time at about 400 yards in fairly open country. Spent the next two hours working my way up close enough for the shot. Could have shot it at 75 yards, but I was having too much fun. Only reason I shot it at 22 yards was it started getting nervous and I didn't think I could get any closer.

    It's my whistle and I'll toot it the way I want. "Efficiency" for me comes in the form of very good stalking and hunting skills. If I'm only going to shoot one deer for the year, I'm going to get as much fun out of it as I can, even if the deer bolts and I don't get a shot. There's another deer out there waiting somewhere, and I'll look forward to starting the whole process over again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASUS-DAG View Post
    You're way over thinking this. Last year I took a caribou at 250yds with a .308, 168gr SSTX...
    TTSX?... unless you know something I don't, or maybe I'm dyslexic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7STW View Post
    Jack O'Connor wrote MANY years ago, quoting a native Alaskan Inuit : "Any gun good gun shoot'em right".

    Still excellent advice.

    My only edit to the Eskimo: make sure the bullet is strong enough to reach the vitals. Not all are, especially from bad angles.Personally, I like bonded core . But that is not to say conventional cup and draws won't work. Just that bonded core work virtually 100% of the time.

    Beyond that, hunting is not a MOA game. Even if your rifle could shoot .000, you can't in the field. If you can hit a volleyball 90% of the time from field positions, then you have a legitimate shot.

    Study and learn penetration distances from bad/awkward angles. You need a bullet that gets there...with some "umph".
    Haha! Apparently a favorite polar bear round for people around Barter Island was the .22 Hornet.

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    I went through this same dilemma a year or so ago with the 30-06 and right now with the 30-30 Winchester. Although, we are living in a golden age of bullet manufacturing, I have been drinking the Barnes kool-aid exclusively since the late 1990s.

    In the 30-06, I believe the 168 TTSX will outpenetrate every other 180 grain lead core bullet on the market. I have not tested it, I just believe it to be the case because of its high weight retention and moderate expansion. Other 180s like the venerable Nosler Partition are designed to shed roughly 40 percent of their weight so the remaining mass can penetrate. Accubonds offer similar performance to the Partition according to Nosler. This weight loss diminishes their ability to penetrate deeply. Others like the Swift A frames maximize weight retention for deep penetration but their larger frontal diameter works against it. A larger expanded frontal diameter means more resistance when traversing tissue in game. The Barnes bullets split the difference by offering high weight retention and more moderate expansion which means less resistance and deeper penetration.

    None of this is meant to imply Partitions and A-Frames don't penetrate deeply as plenty of big game animals around the world have been successfully killed with them. It's just a matter of what type of performance you want in a hunting bullet. Like most other things in life, it's tradeoff. Greater bullet expansion means less penetration and less bullet expansion means more penetration but less tissue damage along the way.

    The question is how much expansion and penetration do you want for the animal you are hunting? This same line of thinking has me handloading 150 grain TSX FN bullets in my new 30-30 for deer hunting. Probably more penetration than needed for blacktails but I'll take it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Yup. Adjust the bullet weight/construction for the game you're after, then adjust the shooting distance for your trajectory and shooting skills. Mess up on any of them, and it's your mess to clean up.

    I have the skills, guns and loads for real long range shooting. Fun for me to poke holes in paper waaaay out there. But it's just not in me to hunt game that way. I vastly prefer the challenge of getting inside 100 yards of the game, and 50 yards is better yet. I just like stalking close and spending a lot of time with the animal before I ventilate it.

    Last deer I killed was at 22 yards using a pure lead .735 diameter round ball at 1000fps. Did I need that "much" load for deer? Just about anything that would have poked a hole in the right place would have done the job at that range. I was carrying that particular gun because I like it. Meanwhile I saw that deer first time at about 400 yards in fairly open country. Spent the next two hours working my way up close enough for the shot. Could have shot it at 75 yards, but I was having too much fun. Only reason I shot it at 22 yards was it started getting nervous and I didn't think I could get any closer.

    It's my whistle and I'll toot it the way I want. "Efficiency" for me comes in the form of very good stalking and hunting skills. If I'm only going to shoot one deer for the year, I'm going to get as much fun out of it as I can, even if the deer bolts and I don't get a shot. There's another deer out there waiting somewhere, and I'll look forward to starting the whole process over again.
    It's all because you're a hunter first my friend. I've heard Smitty of the North say it too.....not zacary in these words but the jest of it is and You and I concure is that when hunting take only the shots that you know that you can make and leave the exhibitional or stunt shooting for paper targets.

    I also yawn at all of the my bullet is best stuff. I have shot cup and core bullets all my life and they have never failed me. I only shoot game animals in the boiler room and from a sensible distance.

    I hate what is being promoted by so called. "hunting" shows where the game animal is spotted a half mile or farther out. Then no effort is made to close the distance. Then one of the 10 guys that are on hand to make sure that the hunter doesn't work up a sweat sets up his Caldwell on stilts. Then while everyone is talking in normal voices the "hunter" announces like a golfer getting ready to putt that he is going to shoot. Four guys calling the shots with binos announce that the 3rd shot has found it's mark. Of course the first two misses were editted out for the sake of embarrassment to the sponsors and to fit the time slot. What is never known to the hunting party is that poor Newt who's shanty is just over the ridge has spent the last 4 hours belly crawling up on said game animal and just as he's about to pull the side hammer bašk on his winters supply of meat the rich jackass that has been running up and down the road with a Range Rover full of "yahoos" for the last 4 days shoots his meat supply from yonder ridge where the sun goes down every night.

    The last 10 minutes of the show are spent talking about all of the things that made this "hunt" possible......the "x" brand custom rifle with a scope that cost more than Newt's shanty. Before it's all said and done the brand of under wear worn by the crew gets some credit for the hunt and the only girl on the staff happens to be beautiful and here backside gets more footage than the critter being hunted. In the end poor Newt is back sitting on his porch with is stomach growling while back in front of the camera the snob hunter is donating Newt's groceries to some poor gang banger in Portland what needs to pull his pants up..........or something like that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    TTSX?... unless you know something I don't, or maybe I'm dyslexic.
    Yup, That would be my kicking in dyslexia. lol (TTSX)

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post

    I hate what is being promoted by so called. "hunting" shows where the game animal is spotted a half mile or farther out. Then no effort is made to close the distance. Then one of the 10 guys that are on hand to make sure that the hunter doesn't work up a sweat sets up his Caldwell on stilts. Then while everyone is talking in normal voices the "hunter" announces like a golfer getting ready to putt that he is going to shoot. Four guys calling the shots with binos announce that the 3rd shot has found it's mark. Of course the first two misses were editted out for the sake of embarrassment to the sponsors and to fit the time slot. What is never known to the hunting party is that poor Newt who's shanty is just over the ridge has spent the last 4 hours belly crawling up on said game animal and just as he's about to pull the side hammer bašk on his winters supply of meat the rich jackass that has been running up and down the road with a Range Rover full of "yahoos" for the last 4 days shoots his meat supply from yonder ridge where the sun goes down every night.

    The last 10 minutes of the show are spent talking about all of the things that made this "hunt" possible......the "x" brand custom rifle with a scope that cost more than Newt's shanty. Before it's all said and done the brand of under wear worn by the crew gets some credit for the hunt and the only girl on the staff happens to be beautiful and here backside gets more footage than the critter being hunted. In the end poor Newt is back sitting on his porch with is stomach growling while back in front of the camera the snob hunter is donating Newt's groceries to some poor gang banger in Portland what needs to pull his pants up..........or something like that!
    Oh gosh yes! The only decent one I've watched to more than 5 minutes in is the Steve Rinella one. All the rest are just rich boy, would be, comfort loving parodies of what hunting has traditionally been in America. I honestly don't give a crap how it's done in Europe... fancy hats with feathers, $3K rifles, put a plant in the animals mouth rituals... stuff and piffle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    Before it's all said and done the brand of under wear worn by the crew gets some credit for the hunt....
    I can verify that firsthand. We are (or were-we're retired now) commercial photographers. We were hired to do a still photography ad shoot for one of ESPN's hunting shows featuring 4 retired NFL stars that they were shooting the video for. Neat guys and we had a lot of fun in the hills and in the studio over a couple of days.

    The second day the stars showed up for a particular shoot and the ESPN ad director asked one of them if his shirt was a "sponsored" shirt. The star responded that no it wasn't, rather it was just his favorite hunting shirt and they were going hunting after all. We all got to sit around for 3 hours (we at our contract rate of over $500/hr) while the star and an assistant drove back into town, searched and found the sponsored brand of shirt in a local sporting goods store, drove back and put it on. Had to sit around a while longer while a handful of assistants took it off him again and went to folding and spindling and flapping the shirt around to get the new creases out of it....

    That's TV hunting for you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Oh gosh yes! The only decent one I've watched to more than 5 minutes in is the Steve Rinella one. All the rest are just rich boy, would be, comfort loving parodies of what hunting has traditionally been in America. I honestly don't give a crap how it's done in Europe... fancy hats with feathers, $3K rifles, put a plant in the animals mouth rituals... stuff and piffle.
    Amen to that. I occasionally watch Rinella and Uncle Ted for his enthusiasm and general "backstrap-edness".

    My fear going forward is that some day in America's future, hunting will become a rich man's sport. Just like in Europe, you'll have to be a member of a club, carry insurance, be licensed by the government and have to pay for the meat you kill. We are all literally born to consume meat. It is in our DNA, it's why our eyes, teeth and digestive systems are constructed the way they are. It will be a sad, sad day when this happens in America.

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    I am glad that most of the responses have been positive and intelligent discussions, and kind of what I was digging for.

    My initial query was to an upcoming hunt in which there are equal chances at moose and caribou. Yes one round is capable of both, but I was hoping for one that would not blow out the ribs on a bou but still humanely drop a moose. Yes I know shot placement, distance, etc. and even though I am very capable of 300+ yard shots I don't feel it necessary and would not want to attempt unless needed. There is a difference between being a "hunter" and not a shooter.

    I know I need not worry about having the same accuracy and consistency as target shooting because its not. Yes dead is dead and unless you totally yak it up and gut shoot something you will be pleased with the shot.

    I am currently working on the new Hornady GMX bullet. To me it has a little of everything and I like it so far. I had a bonded bullet over penetrate on a bear this spring (through and through, far shoulder, continue with enough to penetrate a steel barrel through) and it was pretty blood shot on the far side. It was around 2800 fps. My thinking is that a faster round with more retention will still penetrate but with less blood shot meat.

    On another note I have completely switched rimfires to the 17 HMR, only have a 22 pistol left. That round is amazing.

    I like this discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Figure8 View Post
    I am glad that most of the responses have been positive and intelligent discussions, and kind of what I was digging for.

    My initial query was to an upcoming hunt in which there are equal chances at moose and caribou. Yes one round is capable of both, but I was hoping for one that would not blow out the ribs on a bou but still humanely drop a moose. Yes I know shot placement, distance, etc. and even though I am very capable of 300+ yard shots I don't feel it necessary and would not want to attempt unless needed. There is a difference between being a "hunter" and not a shooter.

    I know I need not worry about having the same accuracy and consistency as target shooting because its not. Yes dead is dead and unless you totally yak it up and gut shoot something you will be pleased with the shot.

    I am currently working on the new Hornady GMX bullet. To me it has a little of everything and I like it so far. I had a bonded bullet over penetrate on a bear this spring (through and through, far shoulder, continue with enough to penetrate a steel barrel through) and it was pretty blood shot on the far side. It was around 2800 fps. My thinking is that a faster round with more retention will still penetrate but with less blood shot meat.

    On another note I have completely switched rimfires to the 17 HMR, only have a 22 pistol left. That round is amazing.

    I like this discussion.
    The 17HMR can really grow on a person. I've been shooting woodchucks at my lease with my Ruger American 17HMR. It is definitely a big step up from the 22.

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    I still use almost exclusively the Ol corlokt psp for my big game. The deadliest mushroom in the woods, worked great then and still works now. As was said dead is dead. I have used the swift A frame with success but seem to gravitate back. BTW I'm loving the .17 HMR it's way to much fun.

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