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Thread: How often does your bullet pass through?

  1. #1
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    Default How often does your bullet pass through?

    I have shot a few game animals, not alot. I like the theory two holes are better than one and like to have enough gun to do that job. I prefer to use bullets that do not have a tendency to grenade at high velocity (3000+ fps) but of course expand well to about twice their diameter. I shoot a 300 win and a 300 RUM.

    I shot a moose this year and 2 of my 4 bullets did not pass through. Two were through the lungs and they passed through. I would expect this since there is little resistance there. One was at back end of the moose. It passed through a bunch more flesh, but did not break much bone. The other was through the neck and again, did not hit much bone. I shot the moose at 286 yards with 180 grain .308 nosler etips out of my 300 RUM. I estimate the velocity at that range close to 2700 fps. That is a 30-06 velocity. The bullets I recovered weighed about 179 grains and opened perfectly.

    My question is, should I expect those bullets to pass through? I am a bit worried about hitting heavy bone, say a high shoulder shot, at that range or further. The 300 RUM is a screamer and should have plenty of power past that range.

    Don't get me wrong, the moose died a good and quick death. And really, I probably did not need to shoot is so many times. Hind sight. It did stay out of the water though, and that is were is was headed before the .308 copper poisoning.

  2. #2

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    Funny thing about penetration, velocity can help or hurt you and the distance you are to the game when you shoot makes a big difference on velocity so there can be a lot of variance.

    If you are relatively close your bullet may expand enough to inhibit penetration. A hunting partner of mine shot a small elk a few years back and the .30-06 bullet he was using just about blew up (Old Silvertip if I remember right) and barely got to the lungs.

    On the other hand, if you are pretty far away, your bullet might not open enough and it can zip on through. Another hunt and another partner who shot a Coues deer at a distance farther than I'll report in public. The bullet wasn't recovered as it went out the other side. I suspect that it barely opened. On a bigger animal like an elk we might have had a long tracking job. As it was, the bullet was enough to do the job on that day.

    Then you may have a situation where the bullet has enough velocity to open at the longer range but not enough to punch deep. And, as you noted, dense areas are more likely to stop a bullet. All this is a long way of saying that you can expect some bullets to exit sometimes and not others, just has you have found.

    Bullet placement is still the key factor in killing an animal. Bullet performance helps. I personally think that you want a bullet that expands but doesn't break up, and enough energy to get to the vitals and beyond. The reason for this isn't to ensure two holes, but to help ensure that you do get to the vitals when you have a less than optimal shot. You need to be able to get through bone or through more mass to reach the vitals every single time. Sometimes that means the bullet will pass through on a broadside shot.

    Based on what you indicated I'd say you got good bullet performance on that moose at that range and I wouldn't expect every bullet to fully penetrate at that range but someone with more experience with that particular bullet may have more information to add to this discussion.

    Here is a question for you, what were the holes on the far side of the animal like for the two shots that exited?

  3. #3

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    I prefer no pass through. I like to find the Nosler Partition laying against the hide on the opposite side of the point of entry. I am convinced that this ensures the animal receives the full impact of the energy of the shot. I think shock killing is more effective than bleeding them out. I rarely have pass through shots with the Partition Bullets. They work extremely well in all my guns.
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    Bullspit:

    The holes going out were larger than the ones going in but not the size of a soft ball to suggest a bullet failure. The lungs were hashed on autopsy.

  5. #5

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    I prefer pass throughs with exit holes the size of a silver dollar, especially on bears. Blood trail to follow if needed. Using my .300wsm with 180 grain barnes, have only had about 5 bullets not pass through the animal out of about 25-30 animals.

  6. #6

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    I really like to recover bullets for a firsthand looksee, but in 50 years of hunting I've actually recovered less than 10% I'd guess. Over hundreds of animals in that time I've had more problems with failure to expand at long range than any other. The only bullet I can honestly say "over expanded" was a 30 cal 125 grain Sierra spitzer from a 308 at about 50 yards. Thank goodness that was on an incidental coyote rather than the deer I was hunting. Pretty well blew the dog in half.

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    As most would agree, I prefer a dead animal with one shot, I dont really care if the bullet comes out the other side or not.

    As someone else pointed out shot placement is key to a quick kill. I think expansion depends on what the bullet hits. I always try to recover the bullet if possible, it is interesting to see what they look like, however I have never weighed one after the fact.

    I recently shot a nice bull moose in the Brooks with my 300 H&H, 180 federal with a TBT. first animal with that bullet.

    It was a close broadside shot and I hit the top of the heart, which really did a number on it, he was down in 30 feet.

    One small entry hole, badly damaged heart and one slightly larger (quarter sized) exit hole, the bullet passed between the ribs on the way in and barely nicked a rib on the way out. No damaged meat and the animal went down quick, I figured it was a near perfect shot. It dont always work out that way. The bullet just barely touched the meat on the backside of both front shoulders, really was no damage as you had to really look for it.

    Some folks prefer a shoulder shot to put the animal down quick, and that works but IMO, does a lot of damage to what I want to eat. With a shoulder shot I would expect a lot of expansion and a good chance of only one hole.

    Funny thing about heart shots as I have had the animal go down imediately and then jump back up and go a short distance before they fall over. I have shot a few in the liver and they just keep walking and then fall over..............?

    I also shot a bear on the last hunt, (it was a heck of a hunt ) 318 yards thru the heart, the bear was facing me and one small hole in thru the chest, just barely got the top of the heart (actually hit the big arteries on top) and then one small hole out the back.

    So IMO from my limited experience, mo matter what you shoot, regardless of velocity, bullet size, shape or any of those things, how much that bullet expands will depend on what it hits......
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    In the past 44 years of hunting in AK, I have shot a goodly number of moose, caribou, sheep, deer, goats and a few black bear up here. In a good number of cases I have found the bullet stopped by the skin just before exiting the far side of the animal. I have hand loaded for years and have always used Hornady spire points. I used to weigh the main chunk of bullet which was present. In most of the situations where I have been able to obtain it, the weight of that was over 150 grains of the 180 grain bullets which I shot. Many of the animals were one shot kills and I decided that I liked to have all of the energy used up as it passed throught the animal. Recovery of the animal was never a problem. Obviously on some occasions the bullet did completely exit the animal. I have shot 300 win, 308 win, and more recently also some 270 win.

  9. #9
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    The fallacy behind bullet pass through loosing energy when it leaves the critter has been thoroughly researched and recently debunked. It took me a while, but I am recently conviced of this even though I have personally witnessed 2 elk dead with one bullet fired. After seeing the numbers put out by barnes and some others in test material - I go for passthroughs if possible. Google it - lots to read on it.

    The velocity, and hence energy, that the bullet leaves the animal with is, at best, minimal. Ie - think pellet gun energy...just not enough there to matter.

    Blood trailing on a red tundra carpet can be difficult for most of us should it be required to find an animal.

    I am an archery guy - I like passthroughs and will take them every time. I don't always get them - but these new one dollar barnes TTSX's that I am going to try better get them for me or I am going back to my hornady interlock loads.....

    Now for black powder guys using a 54, 58, 60 caliber 75% + melplat boolitz - I am not yet convinced that impact shock is not part of what drops them right there....

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    I haven't found a critter that could stop a 168gr TSX out of my 300 RUM. I even went end to end on a moose two years ago. thats 5 foot of penetration and bullet is still flying for all I know. 2 moose and 3 black bears so far and every shot a pass thru even when heavy bone and long angles are concerned.

  11. #11
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    I've shot enough animals to know that unless spines or brained they will all have a different reaction. It may be a slightly different reaction but different none the less. I have seen a deer dropped like a bad habit with a shot square to the paunch and I have also watched a buck I shot from stem to stern with a muzzloader run off a ways and that with 410gr bullets. I shot a big bull elk one time right through the breadbox with a 30-06 and aside of taking one step into a thicket where I could only see his antlers so no followup shot possible he showed no reaction. His lungs were hashed and he stood there on the opposite canyon wall for a full 45 minutes before tipping over, and yet I've watched bulls every bit as big go down as if poleaxed from the same shot with a 270.

    Point is since I never know what's going to happen when I stick one in them, I like exit holes. Even if it's a short trailing job, which a person always hopes it is, I want a blood trail a blind man can follow.

    All that being said I have a fair collection of bullets I have recovered over thee years maybe somewhere in the 10-15% range. I even recovered a beauty this fall from my grizzly, it was 1 of 5 bullets from the Whelen to be recovered from game, the other 4 are out in unit 17 fertilizing the tundra after making their collective exits. I also have or had a few of the old X bullets and some C&C stuff as well.

    Push em through and let em bleed is what I say, I've seen lots of blood trails, I'm yet to find an energy trail.

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    I shoot a .300 win mag and have done hears shots and shoulder hits never had one not pass through I am shootin 150 gr cor locts

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    I prefer no pass through. I like to find the Nosler Partition laying against the hide on the opposite side of the point of entry. I am convinced that this ensures the animal receives the full impact of the energy of the shot. I think shock killing is more effective than bleeding them out. I rarely have pass through shots with the Partition Bullets. They work extremely well in all my guns.
    I have to say that, in my experience with this year's moose, Akres knows what he's writing. I shot this year's bull at 89 yards with my new 375 H&H Magnum, and I expected a complete pass through. But I found the 275 grain Nosler partition just under the hide. The bullet went just behind the front shoulder taking out the lungs and clipping the back of the heart. Nice expansion of the bullet and all energy expended in the bull. My first experience with this caliber and bullet for moose, and I'm pleased so far.

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    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Haven't found a bullet yet when shot with the .300wm with the CXP3's even out to 415yds. But did find one out of a 7mm Rem Mag on the opposite shoulder that my oldest son shot at 50yds, moose dropped but didn't die as he had to finish it off when he walked up to it. Mine died instantly, spinal neck shot right below the head.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

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    I've recovered a number of bullets from my .308 and '06 from deer in years past- mostly 150gr soft point stuff that showed a lot of violent expansion. A .30 cal bullet coming unglued in the lungs equals 1 dead deer. I also hunted in the built up Southeast US and I didn't want pass through for safety reasons- lots of folks roaming the woods.

    On bigger critters up here in AK I like pass throughs with a big exit hole. Tracking usually isn't required but when I do I want to see a big blood trail. I switched to a .300 with 180ABs a few years back and I've yet to recover a bullet. The exit crater on my 'bou this year was 3" or so and no tracking was required.

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    I'm sure that what all of us are really looking for is a dead animal. Whether or not the bullet passes through is really not your primary concern.
    The last animal I shot that I recovered a bullet from was a black bear I killed with my 30-30. I was shooting 150 gr. Silvertips. The separated and did not exit, but it killed the bear. In my other rifles I use Kodiaks and Accubonds. I have never recovered any of them. My last 2 were with a 270 Win. shooting 140 gr. Accubonds at a moose and a caribou. Both shots were over 300 yards, and both bullets passed through. My freezer is full, so I guess they worked.
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    Most all FMJ's 'cept the .22lrs.
    I really thinkin' two holes is better than one,and sometimes four being twice a good as 2.....if theres no exit, then Ive smashed into something important anyway.
    I have to be Xtra thoughtfull about whats beyond my target, but we have to regardless, so its just part of the process.....
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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

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    Default delete this

    I finded answers in google

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    Shot a large variety of game with a large variety of guns and bullets and like Brownbear probably less than 10% recovered bullets found. Also being an avid archery hunter I have no reason to believe its a bad thing to have 2 holes. I think most bullets tend to stop after hitting bone or very heavy muscle but take the same bullet and drive it thru a critter from many different angles and you'll get some stops and some pass thru's...
    I have always tried hard to get the proper angle for the shot and if you do that it will be time to fill out a tag! No doubt there are many bullets better for different scenarios, but bottom line is they will almost all work well if placed properly...
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  20. #20

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    My .270 and 140gr Hornday and 130 Nos. have taken 1 bear, 1 moose, 8 antelope and a few truck beds full of deer. little hole in big hole out. Only .375 H&H recovered on off shoulder of a stem to stern Bull Caribou. 260 gr. Nolser weighed in at 180 gr. approx 100 yards with Muzzle 2605 fps.

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