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Thread: Light or heavy bullets for large game.

  1. #1

    Default Light or heavy bullets for large game.

    I know a lot here like heavy bullets to hunt with and that's fine. However (take the 7 mm mag for instance) the 160 grain bullet has more energy than the 175 grain at 200 yards so wouldn't it result in a quicker kill?

    I assume the 175 gr. penetrates deeper due to slower speed which in turn has less mushrooming so it penetrates deeper. With more mushrooming the 160 gr. would inflict more trauma on game wouldn't it?

    And the 140 gr. would inflict even more trauma wouldn't if it was a lung shot?

    Speed still kills don't it?

    Phil

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    Well placed shots are what kill, and with proper penatration, as Im sure someone will point out.

    Fast , slow, heavy or light.....223 to 45/70, and so much inbetween.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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

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    Imagine a grain of salt at 5000fps. it hits you in the shoulder. It may sting but thats it. Now imagine a bowling ball traveling 300fps doing the same. you now have a mangled shoulder. Speed kills only if it has penetration. Speed and a bullets that expands quickly is great for a 150lb deer. For a 1200lb moose or a 750lb bear its not good. the bullet has to reach the vitals. While a light fast bullet is great for some game its not that way for the big critters. Shot placement with proper penetration kills. Also that is multipied by the size of the wound channel. An M16 .223 does a hell of a number up close on a human but i would not want it for a bear round.

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    Member PatrickH's Avatar
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    Default energy transfer

    The amount of energy available in a bullet is only useful while it is in the animal and transferring energy. Once it has passed through the other side, it has finished it's job even though it may have enough energy to pass through four more animals of equal size.
    Modern bullets are made for specific purposes and velocities. There are too many variables in your question. A 165 grain fmj will not perform like a 165 grain hollow point bonded bullet even though both may have the same amount of energy at point of impact. Even two different 165 grain hollow points will react differently depending on how they are made. One may blow to pieces with little penetration while the other barely mushrooms.
    Speed alone does not kill. What kills is the energy transfer to the animal and the amount of damage it does to it. A BB at 20,000 feet per second would probably pass right through a moose without much damage and keep on going.
    Hit the right place and a .22 long rifle will kill most large animals. That does not make it a good choice. Light and fast or heavy and slow, both will work if you hit the right place, transfer enough energy and do enough damage. Just be sure the choice you make is reasonable for the situation.

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    The bullet I had in mind (and should have stated) is the trophy bonded bear claw.

    Moose for the game.

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    Member jay51's Avatar
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    We're splitting hairs here, there will be little or no difference in terminal performance between the 175 and 160 grain bullets in the 7mm magnum, assuming it is the same bullet type. I've seen many moose downed with the 7mm, any good bullet of 140g+ will easily penetrate to the vitals with proper shot-placement at magnum velocities.

    The problem comes when you have to take a shot from a weird angle, or you hit the shoulder, then you want the heavier/tougher bullets for more penetration through muscle and bone.

    Moose are particularly tough and dumb, I've watched em' stand for minutes after being hit in the lungs, only to wobble and collapse in a heap after another minute. Don't let em' know you're there if possible, put one good bullet in the boiler-maker, then watch and wait. Don't go wasting ammo and tearing-up meat just to put em' on the ground a minute sooner unless you absolutely have to. Letting an animal bleed-out peacefully unaware of any human presence for a few minutes is more humane than anything else I can think of, besides a clean CNS shot, and that is hard to do. Trust me, they taste nasty after they've been running-scared from multiple shots.

    A quick kill is not always a clean kill, and vice-versa, just because it doesn't drop in it's tracks doesn't mean it isn't dead on it's feet. Shot-placement is the most important variable, pick the load that you and your rifle like the most, and practice with it as much as you can afford.

    Hopefully this doesn't come-off as a soap-box rant, I just see too many guys overly concerned about what bullet they are going to use and how fast it will kill. Physics is great, but mass times velocity equals diddly-squat when you miss.

    Best of luck,
    -J

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    Quote Originally Posted by magneto View Post
    The bullet I had in mind (and should have stated) is the trophy bonded bear claw.

    Moose for the game.

    I have killed moose with that exact combo (7mm and 175 grain TBBC bullets), it penetrates plenty, and kills as well as any 30 or 33 cal rifle I have used on moose.

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Just make that first shot count. If you can't do that then it really doesn't matter what gun you take. I use a .30-06 with 150 grain Barnes X bullets and they are wicked.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Never shoot over a 100 yards so long range FPS/FPE don't mean much to me,prefer 50 yards

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    In my experience... Ive only ever used 180 grain bullets in my 30-06, which I am going to semi- retire while I use my new rifle, a 300 win mag, which i plan to shoot strictly 150 remington coreloks out of...some experts say that the best bullet to use is the same type, brand and grain as what you used while sighting in your rifle...i believe this, and a friend has proved it over and over again....while hunting with him (he swears to 150 grain remington corelokt) I have seen him drop more game with this type of bullet than you can point your rifle at... buffalo, elk, deer, grizzlies, musk ox, black bear, moose, caribou, goats and especially dall sheep...he uses the leopold boone and crocket scope with the BDC reticles, so for him placing a shot from 200-600 yards is as simple as ranging and holding on the appropriate bead in the reticle...one shot is usually all it takes, save for one grizzly we killed last fall... keep in mind he shoots a TC encore single shot rifle, and he makes that first shot count...they also arent that expensive at $26 a box, better than what i spent $40 a box on 180 grain sciroccos and xp3's

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    Magneto, another thing to factor in here is that "energy" is a somewhat misleading way to look at killing power. The reason is that energy = mass x velocity squared. So in other words, energy goes up exponentially as velocity goes up. That is why the 160 grainer has more "energy" than the 175, because it is going faster. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will kill better.

    Also, the reason the 175 grain penetrates deeper (bullet construction being equal) is not due to less velocity or less mushrooming. It is because it has a higher sectional density, which is a ratio of the length vs. width of the bullet. The longer the bullet compared to the width, the better it will penetrate.

    Bottom line is, with a well constructed bullet in either weight and good shooting, bullwinkle will go down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by c04hoosier View Post
    Magneto, another thing to factor in here is that "energy" is a somewhat misleading way to look at killing power. The reason is that energy = mass x velocity squared. So in other words, energy goes up exponentially as velocity goes up. That is why the 160 grainer has more "energy" than the 175, because it is going faster. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will kill better.

    Also, the reason the 175 grain penetrates deeper (bullet construction being equal) is not due to less velocity or less mushrooming. It is because it has a higher sectional density, which is a ratio of the length vs. width of the bullet. The longer the bullet compared to the width, the better it will penetrate.

    Bottom line is, with a well constructed bullet in either weight and good shooting, bullwinkle will go down.

    These are always interesting discussion (to me) and I enjoy reading about them. I've also spent a lot of my own money to get educated in the field of physics so I'm somewhat sensitve to errors in its application.

    Hoosier, your explanation of the difference between these two bullets is more than adequate and will serve the purpose well but does contain a couple of errors. With all due respect please allow me to attempt to point them out.

    Energy: This is 1/2M (mass) * velocity squared and will increase with the square of velocity not expotentially. I agree it is misleading and not a good indicator of killing power and ammo makers claims of it often lead to confusion.

    Sectional Density: This the weight (in pounds) divided by the square of the diameter. Though generally a higher SD bullet will be a longer bullet it isn't the length that is used to calculate. If all were of the same material and construction, the length could be used to represent a bullets SD. You're right it is the SD number does effect penetration. SD and P (momentum) along with bullet construction and velocity.

    Momentum (P=M*V) is a much more parctical figure to use to determine a bullets effectiveness in the field.

    Lower velocity generally allows deeper penetration because it expands less at lower V, more at higher v. Also construction matters a lot. Solids do not expand and will penetrate the most, the softest cup and core will expand the most and penetrate less. We cannot really assign a mathmatical number to the construction/velocity aspect of this but certainly the SD number and momentum will make a good base for comparison of penetration of bullets given same construction and velocity.

    I would also agree with the post about very little difference between the 160 or 175 bullet in the 7mm. Not a big difference there. Moose do not seem to be difficult to put down with a vital shot from broad side. But any quartering shot will require a heavy strong bullet to penetrate through nearly three feet of moose carcass to be effective. Also these TBBC's are very strongly constructed bullets. They take the highest velocity to expand. They are almost a solid in the field. If you use the 160 you can get more velocity and improve the bullets performance, even though I generally consider heavier for caliber bullets to be best for heavier game.

    Personaly with the 7 mag I would select an A-frame in 175 grain.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Thanks guys this helps alot.

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    Member bigdog's Avatar
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    I prefer a 225 grain barnes out of my 338 win mag. works great for everything from gophers to moose....

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    Default Thanks Murphy

    Thanks for the corrections, Murphy. I didn't want to get too far down into the weeds with the physics. Just enough for Magneto to understand without consulting a physics book. I guess I should have said a heavier bullet for any given caliber will have a higher sectional density. But in my mind, that equates to a longer bullet, because given the same bullet construction and same caliber, a bullet has to get longer to increase weight--it can't expand in width, otherwise it would be a different caliber...

    That probably makes it more confusing for others, but that's how my feeble mind likes to think about it.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    These are always interesting discussion (to me) and I enjoy reading about them. I've also spent a lot of my own money to get educated in the field of physics so I'm somewhat sensitve to errors in its application.

    Hoosier, your explanation of the difference between these two bullets is more than adequate and will serve the purpose well but does contain a couple of errors. With all due respect please allow me to attempt to point them out.

    Energy: This is 1/2M (mass) * velocity squared and will increase with the square of velocity not expotentially. I agree it is misleading and not a good indicator of killing power and ammo makers claims of it often lead to confusion.

    Sectional Density: This the weight (in pounds) divided by the square of the diameter. Though generally a higher SD bullet will be a longer bullet it isn't the length that is used to calculate. If all were of the same material and construction, the length could be used to represent a bullets SD. You're right it is the SD number does effect penetration. SD and P (momentum) along with bullet construction and velocity.

    Momentum (P=M*V) is a much more parctical figure to use to determine a bullets effectiveness in the field.

    Lower velocity generally allows deeper penetration because it expands less at lower V, more at higher v. Also construction matters a lot. Solids do not expand and will penetrate the most, the softest cup and core will expand the most and penetrate less. We cannot really assign a mathmatical number to the construction/velocity aspect of this but certainly the SD number and momentum will make a good base for comparison of penetration of bullets given same construction and velocity.

    I would also agree with the post about very little difference between the 160 or 175 bullet in the 7mm. Not a big difference there. Moose do not seem to be difficult to put down with a vital shot from broad side. But any quartering shot will require a heavy strong bullet to penetrate through nearly three feet of moose carcass to be effective. Also these TBBC's are very strongly constructed bullets. They take the highest velocity to expand. They are almost a solid in the field. If you use the 160 you can get more velocity and improve the bullets performance, even though I generally consider heavier for caliber bullets to be best for heavier game.

    Personaly with the 7 mag I would select an A-frame in 175 grain.
    I agree with much of what you are saying. I do however believe that energy as both a theoretical and practical matter always determines how much damage a projectile causes to its target. This means that you must determine among other things the amount of energy transferred to the target (i.e., the energy of the bullet going in versus the energy of the exiting bullet [there is also a heat-transfer offset, but this is likely minimal]). You also have to factor in penetration, which varies in importance as a factor with different types of game. In larger, tougher game, a bullet with higher momentum, but lower energy, may be a better stopper, but this occurs when the higher-energy bullet lacks sufficient penetration because of a fragmenting bullet or lateral rathern than forward projection and transfer of the bullets shock energy at high velocity.

    Also, "exponential," in mathematics, means, among other things "any positive constant raised to a power." In the 1/2-M-V-squared energy formula, M is a constant raised to the power (exponent) of 2. c04Hoosier was thus correct that kinetic energy increases exponentially as velocity increases. Squared simply means that the number is raised to the exponent of 2.

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    Talking Newtons Laws!

    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Imagine a grain of salt at 5000fps. it hits you in the shoulder. It may sting but thats it. Now imagine a bowling ball traveling 300fps doing the same. you now have a mangled shoulder. Speed kills only if it has penetration. Speed and a bullets that expands quickly is great for a 150lb deer. For a 1200lb moose or a 750lb bear its not good. the bullet has to reach the vitals. While a light fast bullet is great for some game its not that way for the big critters. Shot placement with proper penetration kills. Also that is multipied by the size of the wound channel. An M16 .223 does a hell of a number up close on a human but i would not want it for a bear round.


    Good stuff guys! I used that exact analogy with my 8th grade science students a few weeks ago. Mass affects acceleration and that is why the choice of the bullet is so important.

    3 Years ago a friend and I were setting up a long stalk on a group of 50+ caribou, mostly mature bulls. I had my .270 loads with 136 grain bullets and a pocket full of 165s just in case we bumped into a moose. Well as luck had it we tripped over a 53-inch bull moose taking a nap and at 250 yds I took a nice shot on the bull. He took off into some heavy willows and lay down for what I thought was his death nap. After of an hour I walked down to his death bead and that B****5@# ran off like a rabbit. I cut him off at the Noatak River and dropped 2 more neck shots into hid big body at 30 yards. After I pealed his hide back I found shot # 1 just under the hide but on top of a rib. I used the caribou load when I should of used the 165s. At 250 yards it was not carrying enough Inertia to get through the rib cage when the 165 would have.


    Choose the right bullet and shoot the right spot!

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    I know most of the questions in here are geared toward larger game such as elk, moose or bear. I live in MS and the largest game I have hunted up until now is whitetail. If shooting a .270 which ammo do you think would be best, a 130 gr. ballistic tip or 160 gr. soft tip? I know it probably doesn't matter that much, as both will make a humane kill easily, but i'm trying to educate myself more on ballistics. What will be the difference in these two rounds?

  20. #20

    Default Sierra

    Quote Originally Posted by MSHunter View Post
    I know most of the questions in here are geared toward larger game such as elk, moose or bear. I live in MS and the largest game I have hunted up until now is whitetail. If shooting a .270 which ammo do you think would be best, a 130 gr. ballistic tip or 160 gr. soft tip? I know it probably doesn't matter that much, as both will make a humane kill easily, but i'm trying to educate myself more on ballistics. What will be the difference in these two rounds?
    130 gr. Sierra Game King. Just my .02

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