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Thread: Rifles and Brush

  1. #1
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    Default Rifles and Brush

    Last weekend I missed a whitetail buck trying to shoot through some brush to the deer. I have never had a problem busting brush with the 12 gauge foster slugs, and punched through to a buck with the ML this year who's body I couldn't see (only the head and front legs) without any problem. I tried to make almost the same kind of shot with the 300 win mag, and had no success. I'm shooting 180 grain TSX federal premium.

    So when I got home, i decided to do a little test. That's the first animal i decided was a shooter and didn't get at under 40 yds. I have missed my share at longer distances and or running, but i was quite confident that I didn't miss the deer both shots because of my point of aim. Anyways, I set up the target (empty 24 pack of beer) at about 30 yards with similar size (pencil sized and smaller), density and amount (the last 7-10 yards) and fired 4 shots with 4 different bullets. One hit normal, one crashed near the edge of the target sideways, and 2 missed completely.

    3 shots with the 12 gauge slug yielded NO good hits, which was a complete surprise, considering I have never not scored when shooting through that kind of brush with it.

    What experiences has everybody had shooting through brush? I know a bow doesn't work, but I assumed that a 300 win mag could shoot through a steel plate and easily kill at that kind of range.
    You know you aren't really having fun until you ask yourself -how much is this going to cost me?

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    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    I watched or read (been so long I cant remember) a guy doing the test that you just did. He tried several different calibers. The small faster ones did better through the brush. Suprisingly the 30-30 and the 45-70 were among the worst.

    two years ago, my buddy shot at a moose. He said it was about 60 yards away. He watched the moose run off, He was a little suprised it did not flop over. Any way, he waits it out , then investigates. He doesnt find any sign of a hit at all. we play out the scene. Lo and behold, there was a little sappling that he hit. Not the center either just on the side. The bullet made a perfect half circle in the sapling. The sapling was only 30 yards from the moose. Yet that was all it took to send that bullet off course enough to miss an entire moose. He was using a 338. He said it was a really nice moose too. I laugh every time I walk by that tree.

  3. #3

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    I think you have been lucky in the hits you made so far. It takes darn little to deflect a bullet- any bullet.

    A good rule of thumb is the closer the brush to the deer, the less the deflection. The further from the deer, the more deflection.

    Over the years there have been enough tests to prove to my satisfaction that there's no such thing as a "brush busting" bullet or caliber, at least in terms of one I'd put to my shoulder anyway. And I've got 375 and 458 mag rifles, along with some other biggies you probably haven't heard of. Heck, with my 54 cal muzzleloader, I've had a single salmonberry vine deflect a round ball so bad it sounded like a bad Roy Rogers movie as it whanged off down the valley.

    That's why you find scopes on several of my "serious" brush guns. The old eyes aren't as good as they used to be, and the scope helps me spot limbs well enough to sneak a bullet between them for shots.

  4. #4

    Default No shot

    This isn't meant as a bash, but if I don't have a clear shot, I don't shoot. It leaves too much to chance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    This isn't meant as a bash, but if I don't have a clear shot, I don't shoot. It leaves too much to chance.
    Yeah, I won't be trying it with the 300 any more unless I can find a hole to put the bullet through. I just never have had a problem before with the 12 gauge or the muzzle loader.
    You know you aren't really having fun until you ask yourself -how much is this going to cost me?

  6. #6

    Default +1 on No Brush Busters...

    I agree with the post about you having good fortune with the shotgun and muzzleloader, they're not really any better at getting through brush than the .300 - it doesn't take much to deflect any projectile.

    Use a low-power scope to find a hole for a shot, or wait until a clearer shot presents itself, regardless of your weapon.

  7. #7
    Member Bear Buster's Avatar
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    Default Apples and Oranges

    I watched or read (been so long I cant remember) a guy doing the test that you just did. He tried several different calibers. The small faster ones did better through the brush. Suprisingly the 30-30 and the 45-70 were among the worst.
    A 45-70 and a 30-30 have way different performances..Apples and Oranges different.
    A 45-70 depending on load selection would be hard to beat in a bush environment.
    Maybe someone had one to many while setting around the campfire when they hear the above QUOTE...and thats all I have to say about that.

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    I'm with mauserboy.....
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    The test was conducted and then written up in one of the big hunting magazines, I think Outdoor Life but it could have been another. A large variety of calibers were tested using dowl rods in the place of brush, from very thin up to pencil size. They did in fact prove there is really no such thing as a real brush busting caliber, all deflected in the test with the bigger, slower bullets not performing any better than the lighter ones.

  10. #10

    Default Check out box of truth web site

    The Boxoftruth.com web sight has a very low tech but informative aray of balistic preformance. the include a test as mentened by Bill. If you have time its a light hearted read with some good info and a few grins.

    John

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauserboy View Post
    This isn't meant as a bash, but if I don't have a clear shot, I don't shoot. It leaves too much to chance.
    I gotta agree with this....it's part of what I was taught from Day One.....no clear shot = no shot at all!
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

  12. #12

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    "Brush bucking" is pure dogma in my experience and in tests I've seen written up, such as the one Bill S describes.

    Heck, I used to believe it myself. That is till I tried some brush bucking tests on my own when I first got a 375 H&H, then again when I got a 458 Winnie, then again with a 45-70 over a wide range of bullet weights and velocities. I was convinced the tests were NUTS, and went out to prove the brush bucking abilities of big, slow, round nose bullets.

    Shooting through a screen of salmonberry canes, not even something as heavy as alders, if the salmonberries were further than about fifteen feet from my target, I couldn't hit the target paper consistently, much less the 3'x3' cardboard backing. Any that managed to land on either one tended to hit sidways. Results were a little better with the salmonberries ten feet from the target with most shots landing on the target paper, but randomly without regard for the center, and usually oblong or broadside holes. I couldn't guarantee point-first hits on the target paper with any kind of predictability of impact point till I shot with the salmonberry canes 5 feet from the target.

    I love Elmer K and all the other big bullet buddies. But they got this one wrong.

  13. #13

    Default brush busting

    I only tried it once , wouldn't do it again . I was shooting a .458 with 500 gr. Hornaday handloads , carried that combination always on Kodiak while I lived out there . I took a shot at a buck through very little brush , almost nothing to be concerned about and my bullet was deflected a half foot , not smart .

  14. #14

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    Shooting through any brush is bad news. A few years back, I shot an elk with a .308 at 250 yards through a few scattered stalks of grass. I couldn't get around for a clear shot, and the elk was leaving the country, so I pulled the trigger rather than abandon the hunt.

    Bad move. I got incredibly lucky and broke the elk's hip (three feet from where I was aiming), and then had time to reposition for a non-obstructed lung shot to finish the animal. When I think of the gut shot that could have easily happened with the deflected bullet, I get the chills. Moral of the story, I won't take another shot through any obstructions. An animal that gets away clean is a disappointment, but gut-shot animal is a horrible thought.

  15. #15
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    funny I guess I have been lucky. My mossberg 500 is routinly succesfull through thick brush and grass. Of course I am shooting #6 shot at bunnies.

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    Default different meaning of brush busting

    When gun magazines talk about brush busters I think they mean the hunter is busting brush and is shooting at close range. Which would explain why the 30-30 and 45-70 are usually mentioned as brush busters because they come in lever action short rifles with iron sights.

  17. #17
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Shooting through the brush. Only at rabbits maybe. At least for me.

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    Default Brush busting

    Francis E Sell did some experiments years ago. Jack O Connor and Craig Boddington did as well. They found that nothing could reliably make it through brush. The ticker the brush and the further it was in front of the animal the more poorly it performed. The bullets that did the best were heavy for caliber (high sectional density) and long for caliber (Sell used an example of the 6.5 X 55 Mauser with a 156 gr bullet at 2500 fps). Boddington stated that he thought spitzers did slightly better. Sell recommended velocities of around 2500 fps.

  19. #19

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    Sell also noted that speed of rotation (gyroscopic effect) made quite a difference. The faster the rotation, the more stable the projectile and the less suseptable to deflection.
    Dan

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