Penetration on Brown Bear

senecanation

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I'm in the process of developing a defensive bear load for my 454 and have been testing 370 Grain CP WLFN CG's and 22 grains of W296 with CCI SR primers. The load is surprisingly mild and relatively accurate for a gun with such a short barrel as my Ruger Alaskan. I do not own a chrony so I don't know the velocity. Since I can comfortably shoot this load all day should I stop here or work my way up to maximim case capacity? Are there any advantages to shooting through a bear rather than through the vitals only? It seems like the energy transfer would be greater if there was not full penetration. Am I off the mark on this one?
 

2PawsRiver

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You don't want to penetrate completely, wastes energy, but you do want to be able to penetrate skull...........I would say you want to go as hot and heavy as you can handle and still place one shot accurately, but then again I would say you want to go bigger period.:)
 

Murphy

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I'm in the process of developing a defensive bear load for my 454 and have been testing 370 Grain CP WLFN CG's and 22 grains of W296 with CCI SR primers. The load is surprisingly mild and relatively accurate for a gun with such a short barrel as my Ruger Alaskan. I do not own a chrony so I don't know the velocity. Since I can comfortably shoot this load all day should I stop here or work my way up to maximim case capacity? Are there any advantages to shooting through a bear rather than through the vitals only? It seems like the energy transfer would be greater if there was not full penetration. Am I off the mark on this one?

Two things; First I'd say your load is lighter/slower than you want it to be. Though there is no magic velocity I think about 1100 fps would be all you will need and all you'll ever get from the snubby 454.

Secondly penetration is the name of the game. An exit hole is worth three entrance holes when dealing with big bore hand gun hunting. The hard cast WLNGC 370 grain bullet is ideal for the 454 and it will perform like a well designed solid (it is), which is to penetrate. You have the right bullet, just add powder until yuou reach the velocity/recoil you can tolerate.

I always want to as; What happens differently when all the energy is expended inside the animal. 2Paws post is an example. I do you program the bullet to go this far but not this far? You cannot.

Expending all the energy in the animal may sound good but the problem with that is that if a bullet and our hopes and dreams are to stay in the animal, there is no way to program the bullet to go deep enough. And at some point it will not go deep enough. (when the angle is wrong or when there was too much bear) Also two holes will allow twice as much blood to flow and will always be the result of good penetration. With good penetration and good shot placement the vitals will be destroyed. Both are needed.
 

MontanaRifleman

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Two things; First I'd say your load is lighter/slower than you want it to be. Though there is no magic velocity I think about 1100 fps would be all you will need and all you'll ever get from the snubby 454.

Secondly penetration is the name of the game. An exit hole is worth three entrance holes when dealing with big bore hand gun hunting. The hard cast WLNGC 370 grain bullet is ideal for the 454 and it will perform like a well designed solid (it is), which is to penetrate. You have the right bullet, just add powder until yuou reach the velocity/recoil you can tolerate.

I always want to as; What happens differently when all the energy is expended inside the animal. 2Paws post is an example. I do you program the bullet to go this far but not this far? You cannot.

Expending all the energy in the animal may sound good but the problem with that is that if a bullet and our hopes and dreams are to stay in the animal, there is no way to program the bullet to go deep enough. And at some point it will not go deep enough. (when the angle is wrong or when there was too much bear) Also two holes will allow twice as much blood to flow and will always be the result of good penetration. With good penetration and good shot placement the vitals will be destroyed. Both are needed.

I have to compleyely agree with Murphy. Wound channels kill animals much more than does energy. Especially in the case of bears. Bears can absorb a lot of energy. Shoot big tough bullets that stay together and make exit holes.
 

senecanation

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Two things; First I'd say your load is lighter/slower than you want it to be. Though there is no magic velocity I think about 1100 fps would be all you will need and all you'll ever get from the snubby 454.

Secondly penetration is the name of the game. An exit hole is worth three entrance holes when dealing with big bore hand gun hunting. The hard cast WLNGC 370 grain bullet is ideal for the 454 and it will perform like a well designed solid (it is), which is to penetrate. You have the right bullet, just add powder until yuou reach the velocity/recoil you can tolerate.


Murphy,

I found a load at loadswap.com that had a max of 27 grains of H110 at 1500 FPS out of a taurus raging bull 8.5" barrel. I imagine you would really have to compress the powder to seat those big 370 grainers with 27 grains of powder . Could I only expect 1100 F/S out of a 2 1/2" barrel even with a load that hot?
 

Murphy

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Murphy,

I found a load at loadswap.com that had a max of 27 grains of H110 at 1500 FPS out of a taurus raging bull 8.5" barrel. I imagine you would really have to compress the powder to seat those big 370 grainers with 27 grains of powder . Could I only expect 1100 F/S out of a 2 1/2" barrel even with a load that hot?

I don't know what velocity we could get from that 2 1/2" barrel but certainly there will be a limit and that powder may limit much sooner than another. Short barrels and H110/W296 don't mix well. My expectation is that we could get 1100 from that barrel or close and that would be a fair compromise for the combination you have there. I do know that bullet weight is the answer. That barrel/powder combination will limit velocity to some number but will well achieve the limit velocity with several bullet weights from 250 to 400 grains, therefore we will be better served with the heaviest bullet and I think the 370 grain is a practical limit in that regard. I would only change to a powder that will respond better to the short burn time afforded by the 2 1/2" barrel, namely Vihta 110 or maybe N105 or Norma R123. I just haven't tried the caliber in such a short barrel but have used the 41 and 44 mags that short as well as the 45 Colt and all have done better with powders other than the H110/W296. I think Lil'Gun may help slightly, also.
 

senecanation

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I don't know what velocity we could get from that 2 1/2" barrel but certainly there will be a limit and that powder may limit much sooner than another. Short barrels and H110/W296 don't mix well. My expectation is that we could get 1100 from that barrel or close and that would be a fair compromise for the combination you have there. I do know that bullet weight is the answer. That barrel/powder combination will limit velocity to some number but will well achieve the limit velocity with several bullet weights from 250 to 400 grains, therefore we will be better served with the heaviest bullet and I think the 370 grain is a practical limit in that regard. I would only change to a powder that will respond better to the short burn time afforded by the 2 1/2" barrel, namely Vihta 110 or maybe N105 or Norma R123. I just haven't tried the caliber in such a short barrel but have used the 41 and 44 mags that short as well as the 45 Colt and all have done better with powders other than the H110/W296. I think Lil'Gun may help slightly, also.

I know from reading your posts in the past that you are a fan of the Vihta n-110 for the big magnum pistols and I have seriously thought about going down that road. However, the only time I saw that powder on the shelves in Alaska, at MT View Sports I think, they wanted $44/1 lb can and they only had 1 can. Maybe I'll give the Lil Gun and 4227 a try. My only reluctancy to trying those powders are pressures. According to my data the 4227 and Lil Gun run about 10% higher pressures and velocity is a bit slower than that of the W296. The resource I am using does not state what lenght of the barrel test was. I guess I'll just had to give it a try.
 

Snyd

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...Short barrels and H110/W296 don't mix well...

How short is "short"? I am getting all excited to load up some 360gr with H110 for my 4 inch Redhawk 45 Colt.
 

Murphy

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How short is "short"? I am getting all excited to load up some 360gr with H110 for my 4 inch Redhawk 45 Colt.

John Taffin and I are in complete agreement, H4227 is the best powder for the 45 Colt. It does work well at 4" of barrel and is much more consistant propellant at extremes of temperature and a wide variation of bullet weight. I've used 20 grains of H4227 with bullet weights from 250 up to 355 grains in a solid old Ruger.

Shorter than 4" will never be much of a performer in any of the large capacity big bore revolvers. If a 2 1/2" or 3" barrel is more important then sacrifices will be made. I do think I can duplicate the performance of a 2 1/2" 454 with a 4" 45 Colt with a clean consistant powder burn using H4227 and 300 grain and up weights of bullets.
 

454casull

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.454 Casull load

.454 Casull load

My pet load that I use is a 360 grain WLNGC Cast Performance bullet pushed with 27.0 grains of W296 and a CCI 400 primer in a Hornady case. This load is fairly stout (I actually have not chronographed it so I don't know the velocity out of my gun for sure), yet manageable (in my gun). I am shooting a Freedom Arms premier grade with a 4 3/4" barrel.
 

bird-dog

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454 & LIL' Gun Powder

454 & LIL' Gun Powder

Hello, I used to have a 7” Freedom Arms 454 and I would load 31.5 grains of H110 with a Freedom Arms 300gr JFP Projectile at 1700 FPS. This proved to be a great round, but very dirty…However, I’m not sure if Freedom Arms sells the 300gr JFP any more. I sold the 454 and purchased a Freedom Arms 475 Linebugh and started off with H110 again then I changed to LIL’ Gun…What a nice change!! It burned cleaner, I could drop my load by 2-3 grains and maintain the same FPS it seemed to be a “no brainer”. 23-24grs of LIL’ Gun in my 475 using a 425 Hard Cast Performance pushed this projectile an easy 1300-1350 FPS out of a 6” BBL .

I strongly recommend if you can find some LIL’ Gun give it a try…Just load it down a couple of grains and enjoy a cleaner powder, more consistent burn, with the same FPS. God willing I will never go back to H110 in my “big bore” handguns…I think you will like it. I hope you can get a chance to give it a try.

Respectfully, bird-dog
 

senecanation

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Hello, I used to have a 7” Freedom Arms 454 and I would load 31.5 grains of H110 with a Freedom Arms 300gr JFP Projectile at 1700 FPS. This proved to be a great round, but very dirty…However, I’m not sure if Freedom Arms sells the 300gr JFP any more. I sold the 454 and purchased a Freedom Arms 475 Linebugh and started off with H110 again then I changed to LIL’ Gun…What a nice change!! It burned cleaner, I could drop my load by 2-3 grains and maintain the same FPS it seemed to be a “no brainer”. 23-24grs of LIL’ Gun in my 475 using a 425 Hard Cast Performance pushed this projectile an easy 1300-1350 FPS out of a 6” BBL .

I strongly recommend if you can find some LIL’ Gun give it a try…Just load it down a couple of grains and enjoy a cleaner powder, more consistent burn, with the same FPS. God willing I will never go back to H110 in my “big bore” handguns…I think you will like it. I hope you can get a chance to give it a try.

Respectfully, bird-dog

Were you using magnum primers? It seems like that would make some difference it burn consistency.
 

bird-dog

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Primers, Powers & Bone Smashing Power...

Primers, Powers & Bone Smashing Power...

Were you using magnum primers? It seems like that would make some difference it burn consistency.

Yes, as I remember correctly and a quick check look in my log showed I was using a small rifle Mag primer for the 454 and large pistol Mag for the 475. My main point was how much I really liked the LIL'Gun these days in the big bore hand guns...It just seems (for me at least) to be a better powder. But, H110 has been a good old faithful powder...However, It just seems to be a dirty powder and you use more compared to Lil'Gun. But that is just my opinion - And you know what they say about opinions:) I tried the LIL’Gun and was hooked...I recommend to just give it a try.

On a side note...I read a while back if you wanted to try out your load and check out how well it works on bone smashing power was to go to the local butcher and ask for the biggest piece of femur from a cow you could get and wrap it with news paper that has been soaked in water for 24 hrs (memory serving right) for a few good inches and then give it a shot and see how it turns out! You will need to wrap it a few inches…I’m sorry but I don’t remember the exact thickness, but I pretty sure it was close to 4-6 inches or so? But, one thing that stands out was to only soak it for 24 hrs no longer…

At least it is a fun target to shoot at and you can get a good feel for how well your load will work…Especially for us pistol shooters on bear and the big boys that can bite back! If I’m wrong in any of the above soak times or so it’s been a while for that one…Please correct as needed.


Respectfully, bird-dog
 

KCASEY

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Expanding bullets

Expanding bullets

I think the thing to remember is that expanding bullets are fine on thin skinned light boned game ! If you are shooting to defend against a large tough animal like a bear you have to have enough penetration to get through the tough parts like bones and sculls and from almost any angle ! remeber that some of the Kinetic energy is going into deforming that expandable bullet ,not all of it is transfered to the animal !Whereas a nonexpanding bullet that expends all its energy within the target has actually transfered all of its energy to the animal !if I hit a soft spot and the bullet goes all the way through !! thats OK ! Kevin
 

bird-dog

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Penetration on Brown Bear

Senecanation, I think your headed down the right direction with the info that has been provided with all the replies. The constant is the hard cast LFNGC and a good choice. I can’t shoot a LFNGC in my 475 Linebaugh, Freedom Arms pistol I need to stay with the WFNCG bullets if I want to stay in the 425 grain plus, again because of overall length!

It’s just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions! I personally would go down to a good 300 grain bullet and push that sucker as fast as you can. I wouldn’t touch a “hollow point bullet” I would use the Freedom Arms 300gr JFP if they still sell them. If they don’t I would give cast performance a call and I would look at a 300gr WFNCG or LFNCG.

I also like using the Taylor Knockout Formula (TKO Formula) in place of energy charts (again, just personnel opinion) because it takes in actual bullet info in the figures and it’s used as a “real world approach to stopping power comparisons”. Here you go Bullet Weight (in grains) multiplied by Caliber (in inches) multiplied by Velocity (in fps) divided by 7000 = TKO rating. Memory serving me correctly you should be around 22+ for bear and the likes.

I will use my old load data and we can compare a couple of loads just for fun and so you can get a feel for the formula and its point-
So it will look like-
300 X .452 x 1700 = 230520 / 7000 = 32.93………….
Now let’s look at an estimate of your load-
375 X .452 X 1100 = 186450 / 7000 = 26.63………….

Weight is not always the best way to go…There is a balance of diminishing return. I like to look at my options and your bullet diameter is big already so just give it some speed. The reason I wrote down the idea about the bone and water logged newspaper is you can see how you load will really perform. I believe I got that idea from cast performance? I lived in Kodiak for 11 years and all of the guides I spoke with wanted to be able to break a bear’s front shoulder to “anchor it” and stop the charge. Their heart beats very slowly…You will be lucky if you get one shot. So, a bear can still kill you with a heart or lung shot – But, break its shoulders or split its head and it will go down.

Just some food for thought…Now let’s see how bad I get ripped up :)

Respectfully, bird-dog
 

senecanation

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Senecanation, I think your headed down the right direction with the info that has been provided with all the replies. The constant is the hard cast LFNGC and a good choice. I can’t shoot a LFNGC in my 475 Linebaugh, Freedom Arms pistol I need to stay with the WFNCG bullets if I want to stay in the 425 grain plus, again because of overall length!

It’s just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions! I personally would go down to a good 300 grain bullet and push that sucker as fast as you can. I wouldn’t touch a “hollow point bullet” I would use the Freedom Arms 300gr JFP if they still sell them. If they don’t I would give cast performance a call and I would look at a 300gr WFNCG or LFNCG.

I also like using the Taylor Knockout Formula (TKO Formula) in place of energy charts (again, just personnel opinion) because it takes in actual bullet info in the figures and it’s used as a “real world approach to stopping power comparisons”. Here you go Bullet Weight (in grains) multiplied by Caliber (in inches) multiplied by Velocity (in fps) divided by 7000 = TKO rating. Memory serving me correctly you should be around 22+ for bear and the likes.

I will use my old load data and we can compare a couple of loads just for fun and so you can get a feel for the formula and its point-
So it will look like-
300 X .452 x 1700 = 230520 / 7000 = 32.93………….
Now let’s look at an estimate of your load-
375 X .452 X 1100 = 186450 / 7000 = 26.63………….

Weight is not always the best way to go…There is a balance of diminishing return. I like to look at my options and your bullet diameter is big already so just give it some speed. The reason I wrote down the idea about the bone and water logged newspaper is you can see how you load will really perform. I believe I got that idea from cast performance? I lived in Kodiak for 11 years and all of the guides I spoke with wanted to be able to break a bear’s front shoulder to “anchor it” and stop the charge. Their heart beats very slowly…You will be lucky if you get one shot. So, a bear can still kill you with a heart or lung shot – But, break its shoulders or split its head and it will go down.

Just some food for thought…Now let’s see how bad I get ripped up :)

Respectfully, bird-dog

Thanks for the info Bird Dog.
I did an analysis of your TKO formula using the published data from Hodgdens website with the 454 Casull. The data is based on Lilgun as that is the powder I plan on using next. There are 2 different velocities in the chart, one for the posted velocity based on whatever barrel length Hodgden used and one for the short barreled 454 Ruger. I am using a 14% decrease in velocity for the short barrel Ruger as that seems to be a the average loss according to what I have read on the subject.


Bullet (g) Bullet Type
Bullet Diameter Powder Weight (g) Velocity(fps) std. Barrel Velocity(fps) 2.5" Barrel TKO std. " Barrel TKO 2.5" Barrel 240 FA JHP 0.452 38 2033 1748 31.51 27.09 250 BAR X 0.451 28 1738 1495 27.99 24.08 260 FA JFP 0.452 35.5 1895 1630 31.81 27.36 300 FA JFP 0.452 31 1746 1502 33.82 29.09 325 CPB LFN PB 0.452 24 1526 1312 32.02 27.54 335 CPB LFN GC 0.452 24 1517 1305 32.81 28.22 360 CPB LFN GC 0.452 23 1477 1270 34.33 29.53 395 CPB LFN GC 0.452 20 1331 1145 33.95 29.20

According to your calculation the 360 grain CPB has the highest TKO factor. I'm sure hodgden's velocites are based on ideal testing conditions in a vacuum and my assumed velocity loss with the short barrel is only a ball park figure. At any rate the key here seems to be velocity with any bullet one chooses. Thanks for the information.
 

stevelyn

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You don't want to penetrate completely, wastes energy, but you do want to be able to penetrate skull...........I would say you want to go as hot and heavy as you can handle and still place one shot accurately, but then again I would say you want to go bigger period.:)

No such animal. Energy doesn't kill. Wide gapping holes through vitals dumping blood at maximum flow does.
 

2PawsRiver

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No such animal. Energy doesn't kill. Wide gapping holes through vitals dumping blood at maximum flow does.

You need to do more reading on the subject and realize the difference between killing an animal in a hunting situation and killing an animal in a self defense situation.
 
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