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Thread: does energy (ftlbs) = knock down power?

  1. #1
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    Question does energy (ftlbs) = knock down power?

    ok guys/gals
    reloading my .44 mag for hunting. I got some 300gr/jsp I wanted to try out, but looking in my recipe book it shows the 240gr/jhp bullets have more energy. If you were going to go handgun hunting (bears) which load would be better?
    Thanks for the advice!

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as knockdown power. The way a gun kills is by damaging tissue which causes blood loss and/or destroys vital organs. The tissue destriction is caused by a wound channel, and the wound channel is measured in both dia and depth.

    As you vary bullet construction and weight you are generally trading off wound dia for wound depth. If the bullet doesn't penetrate deeply enough to reach the vitals, then your bullet is too lightly constructed or driven too fast for it's construction. If the bullet will go stem to stern but leaves a pencil sized wound you likely went a bit overboard on bullet weight and solid construction.

    As to hunting bears, what size bears and what shot placement? If you want a load that will go through both shoulders, you'll have to give up a bit of wound channel. If you want the most dramtic damage to the lungs, you might not have enough bullet to make it through heavy bone.

    Since the 44 mag really isn't that powerful, and our bears can have some pretty tough bones, I'd be hard pressed to use a bullet lighter than 300 gr in the 44 mag. Energy does not kill animals, tissue destruction does. And you need to dig deep enough to damage tissue, which requires weight.

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    If I was huniting bear with a handgun I would use hardcast bullets...period. And the bigger the bullet, the better, for better penetration. Energy can add a little to tissue damage, especially lung tissue and blood vessels. But with handgun hunting and bears it's best to go with a big penetrating bullet. You want to look for *SD* and *Momentum*. The bigger the bullet from the same cal gun the lower the energy and the high the SD and Momentum. Go big or stay home...

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    +1 with MontanaRifleman on cast bullets and big ones. In my 44mag Redhawk I use for back up is a 320gr Cast-Performance.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    Holes through vitals organs is what kills.

    I used to be impressed with numbers but now I pay no nevermind to energy figures.

    The 44 mag has hardly any energy no matter what bullet you pick.

    What it does have is the ability to put a heavy hardcast through any length of critter regardless of what the numbers say.
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  6. #6

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    The 44 mag has almost no power? Compared to what, a 22rf? a 9mm? Which would you rather get hit by, and then tell me the 44 mag has no power
    Bullets kill by
    1. destroying vital organs
    2. blood loss
    3. shock which encompasses several types of shock
    4. pressure wave which causes a wound channel, from the instantaneous hydrostatic pressure, which causes tissue damage, bleeding. destruction of organs and reverbates throughout the system which disrupts the nervous system and damages tissue to varying levels depending on the proximity to the injury site

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunaj View Post
    The 44 mag has almost no power? Compared to what, a 22rf? a 9mm? Which would you rather get hit by, and then tell me the 44 mag has no power
    Bullets kill by
    1. destroying vital organs
    2. blood loss
    3. shock which encompasses several types of shock
    4. pressure wave which causes a wound channel, from the instantaneous hydrostatic pressure, which causes tissue damage, bleeding. destruction of organs and reverbates throughout the system which disrupts the nervous system and damages tissue to varying levels depending on the proximity to the injury site
    You fourth point is a very concise abstract of terminal ballistics. You said a lot in a few words and don't be surprised if someone comments on their validity but their comments will not change the truth you have encapsulated in such a short statement.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    Energy does not kill animals, tissue destruction does. And you need to dig deep enough to damage tissue, which requires weight.
    Weight and velocity
    I certainly don't pretend to have the knowledge you gents do, but isn't BC, in appropriate calibers for the game, much more important than energy #s?

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    Member svehunter's Avatar
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    I agree with Paul H,I dont belive in "knock down" power either
    Vital hits is what "knocks" game down

  10. #10

    Talking knock down

    Maybe it's just interpetation, but I believe there is knockdown power. I've seen lots of animals flatened and literally knocked off their feet so fast that it leaves one saying "wow" everytime. And some of these hits weren't lethal and required another round. Maybe we're saying about the same thing...just with different words?
    If you like getting kicked by a mule...then you'll "love" shooting my .458.

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Maydog View Post
    Maybe it's just interpetation, but I believe there is knockdown power. I've seen lots of animals flatened and literally knocked off their feet so fast that it leaves one saying "wow" everytime. And some of these hits weren't lethal and required another round. Maybe we're saying about the same thing...just with different words?
    Maybe I know what you mean, but I always think where the bullet hits is what ultimately determines what kind of effect the animal gets from the shot.I dont belive the size of the bullet matters
    That has been proven time and time again

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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Alright the 44 has some energy but not enough for me to get excited about.

    My puny 30-06 has 3100 FPE and how does that compare to the 44 mag.

    It is and always has been the bullet that does the work.

    Of course energy does the work with a combo of speed weight and bullet construction.

    No one factor is the tell all of bullet performance.

    The heaviest bullet of a given construction will more likely give deeper penetration. But it is a variable the same as any other.

    I shoot a 30 cal 160 grain bullet that may very well outpenetrate other brands up to 220 grains.

    I say pick the brand or type you want to use then choose the weight that is best suited to what you intend to shoot with that bullet. The bullet should also match the cartridge it is being fired out of also.

    Above all else make a killing shot.
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    That's a trick question as to which would be better...for you, or the bear? Just kidding, personally, I would not go bear hunting if those two bullets were my only choice. It would be much safer(for you) to use a 300grain Keith style cast bullet with a brinel hardness at 18 or higher. You need to get the blood flowing (the bears), by creating a deep wound channel. AND an exit hole makes tracking MUCH easier if it comes to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner View Post
    Weight and velocity
    I certainly don't pretend to have the knowledge you gents do, but isn't BC, in appropriate calibers for the game, much more important than energy #s?
    BC, as in ballistic coefficient, has zip.nada to do with terminal performance.

    Maybe you're thinking of SD or sectional density and it does have an effect on terminal performance. Specifically penetration. Higher SD's and stronger constructed and momentum (weight * velocity) are the detremining factors for good deep wound cavities.

    The construction of a bullet cannot ever be over looked but if it were to be considered a constant, the sectional density (weight divided by diameter squared) and velocity will determine penetration and depth of wound cavity.

    Energy is a 'round about way to consider the same as momentum but it is calcualted with the square of velocity. Upping velocity a little will give much higher energy rating but this will just over stress bullets causing more rapid expansion and a wide but shallow wound. Moderate velocity, strong bullets that are heavy for caliber (high SD) giving deep penetration will always trump higher energy alone.

    Truth is, higher BC numbers come from aerodynamic shape, sharp pointed nose. This configuration is a notoriously poor wounding bullet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maydog View Post
    Maybe it's just interpetation, but I believe there is knockdown power. I've seen lots of animals flatened and literally knocked off their feet so fast that it leaves one saying "wow" everytime. And some of these hits weren't lethal and required another round. Maybe we're saying about the same thing...just with different words?
    I agree with Paul, there is no such thing as knock-down-power. What you witnessed is dead on their feet or when they hit the ground. This happened because your bullet did so much damage the animal collapsed. You can also shoot close to spine or neck bones and cause a temporary paralysis which causes the animal to drop, then may get up and boogie. The bullet delivers no more knock down energy than the rifle does to you in recoil. Actually less because it is pointed and penetrates easily, the rifle pushes.

    I get your point, I've seen the same thing also. I've seen it from 30-30 and 416 Weatherby, go figure.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    BC, as in ballistic coefficient, has zip.nada to do with terminal performance.

    Maybe you're thinking of SD or sectional density and it does have an effect on terminal performance. Specifically penetration. Higher SD's and stronger constructed and momentum (weight * velocity) are the detremining factors for good deep wound cavities.

    The construction of a bullet cannot ever be over looked but if it were to be considered a constant, the sectional density (weight divided by diameter squared) and velocity will determine penetration and depth of wound cavity.

    Energy is a 'round about way to consider the same as momentum but it is calcualted with the square of velocity. Upping velocity a little will give much higher energy rating but this will just over stress bullets causing more rapid expansion and a wide but shallow wound. Moderate velocity, strong bullets that are heavy for caliber (high SD) giving deep penetration will always trump higher energy alone.

    Truth is, higher BC numbers come from aerodynamic shape, sharp pointed nose. This configuration is a notoriously poor wounding bullet.
    At the end of the day Murphy,shot placement is the most important thing for clean kills dont you agree? I mean all this discussion about SD,caliber, bullet weights etc it dosent really matter if you dont make you shots count.Every hunter needs to understand the value of shot placement
    The caliber/SD/bullet weight debatte can go on forever but if you dont place your crosshairs in the right spot it dosent matter how much you know about all these topics...

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    Have to agree with Paul, there is no such thing as knock down power.

    Fill up a huge cloth bag with sand so that it weighs about 200 pounds and is about the size of a moose hindquarter or so. Hang it on a rope and suspend it in the air. Now fire a 300 grain soft point (so it will not exit) from a 375 H&H into the bag from point blank distance. It may wiggle the bag a little but nothing more.
    Place your shots well and forget the knock down power claims.

  18. #18
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I shot a small deer with my 350 rigby, 250 gr @ 2700 fps at a distance of feet, not yards. Thats 4000 fpe. The little deer died because I shot it in the neck and took out it's spine. Actually it was neerly decapitated. It did not get blown off it's feet, and that 350 Rigby has way more power than the 44 mag.

    Don't confuse recoil with terminal performance. The 44 mag has signifigant recoil for a handgun, but power wise it is on par with the weekest rifle rounds. It also has quite low velocity. It can be a potent killer when loaded with bullets that will reach the vitals, and when those bullets are properly placed. But just because it may knock you off your feet, doesn't mean the same applies to its effect on game.

  19. #19

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    Interesting, the more I write and think about knockdown power the more I have to revise my comments
    I vote for the concept of "knockdown power," though it is difficult to define and not completely understood. I think knockdown power is affected by a number of variables, but it all comes down to how much shock is imparted to the animal.
    We can define SHOCK as a disruption to the living system we are targeting. Any damage the bullet imparts that is significant enough to disrupt the normal functioning of tissue is shock.
    GOOD BULLET PLACEMENT imparts significantly higher shock and therefore knockdown power. Shoot someone with a .22 lr in the left lower quadrant, and while it will probably ruin their day it usually does not kill you, take the same shot to a grizzly bear through the eye to the brain and death ensues.
    VELOCITY adds shock by increased penetration and a wound channel
    BULLET DESIGN imparts more shock, e.g. a flat nose striking tissue imparts more shock than a missile shaped bullet.

  20. #20

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    Taylor, the famous African hunter killed more elephants (more than 1,000) in his life than any of us have killed counting all the different game animals we have individually killed, not even counting the rest of the African game he killed in his life time.

    Taylor always said after seeing bullet performance on thousands of game that the Round Nose Bullets were the best killers on lion, and large plains game than were the very pointed bullets. Also that pointed solids were not dependable. You have to have a frontal area to really do major damage to vitals, bone structure and muscle imparting shock and wonderful bullets today that if pointed are designed to open up to provide a frontal area. To assume with all the variables in terminal ballistics that one could not call the total effect "Knock Down Power" is begging the point. Now that ought to stir some conversation.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

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