Ramblings of bullet effectiveness...

by Bri A, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 20:27 (371 days ago)

I read about everyone's one shot stops on game and how this round or that round creates a DRT effect every time, but that is rarely my experience. Oh sure, it has happened for me, a 22-250 on woodchucks, coyotes, or other critters under 50 lbs often shuts them down like flipping off a light switch. It has even happened with whitetails for me, with a 30-06 at 20 yards and at 30 yards with a 44 mag from a 4” 629 using a 240 gr SWC over 8.0 gr Unique, but those are the exceptions.

Everyone says a 45-70 with a 300 gr HP is a sure instant killer, yet that is not my experience. The first deer I shot with one was at 40 yards facing directly at me so I tried for a heart shot. I pulled the shot a bit to the right, just missing the heart, obliterating the left lung, passing through the stomach, liver and stopping in the intestines. It came right at me, laying down 20 feet away, on the other side of a brush pile, and I figured it was dead. Just in case, I started to reload my Ruger #3 preparing to sneak around and put a finishing shot in it if needed. The little buck must've caught my movement and noise though, getting up running before the reload was complete. There was very little blood, even where he laid down, my uncle and I tracked him for three hours, jumping him twice, before he ran down over an embankment along a river in front of my uncle who missed him with his 30-30. My uncle came and got me, leading me to where it was last seen and stood up on the bank while I climbed down and looked for sign. There was a narrow wetland fringe along the river and the drips of blood ended at a log on the edge of the river proper. I was afraid the buck had gotten into the deep, swift water and had been swept downstream to who knows where, but while walking back by where the blood stopped, I noticed a twig sticking up out of the mud that did not look right. I grabbed hold of the twig and pulled, it was really heavy, in fact it was the spike antler of the buck, completely submerged in the mud and very dead. Talk about a mess to field dress, covered in mud on the outside, while the inside was coated with the contents of the stomach, liver and intestines. Was very glad we had a hose hooked up at camp, which was put to use washing the carcass thoroughly.

My second experience with the 300 gr HP was while sneaking along the edge of a swamp just as the sun was coming up. As I eased around a spruce tree, there stood a nice little buck, probably a small six point, who saw me at the same time. He spun around and bolted for a road about 50' away and as he climbed the bank I tried for a neck shot. At the shot, he made an abrupt left turn and I lost sight of him. When I made it to the road, the buck was nowhere to be seen, but it looked like someone had poured out a gallon of bright red paint for 100' down the road. There was even a pothole about the size of my two cupped hands, literally filled with blood. I followed the trail to where it turned back into the brush, fully expecting a deer bleeding that heavily to be incapable of going very far. In fact a short while later a man stopped on the road, with his wife in the car, and wanted her to see what a good blood trail should look like. I followed the blood about 20 feet into the brush and the water was too deep for my boots, so I had to go back to camp for waders. About an hour later I returned wearing waders and decided it would be best to sneak in, just in case. After another hour or so, and about 200 yards into the swamp, I heard the buck take off ahead of me, but could not see it. I backed out to let my Dad know about this, gave it another few hours, then made my way back in. After another hour or so of cautious sneaking and another hundred yards, I bumped him again without being able to see him. By now it was getting really dark, so we decided to come back in the morning. The next day I followed blood drips all over a small island out in the swamp, could not find the buck anywhere on it, and could not find any blood trail off the island, even after repeated trips around it. Never did find that buck.

After that, it was over ten years before trying the 300 gr hollow points again. In the meantime I managed to kill a couple of bucks with 405 gr softpoints in very efficient manner, neither of them going more than 20 yards. I also killed several other deer with various arms and calibers, not losing any more, or having too difficult a tracking job.

The third deer I shot with the 300 gr load was a year and half old spike at 75 yards and the bullet went through both lungs, just behind the shoulder and stopped under the hide on the off side, having expanded in the classic mushroom shape. He was completely unaware of my presence and at the shot, humped up then ran off through the snow. I made my way over to where he had been standing, found a little tuft of hair and saw his running tracks through the snow, but could not find any blood. Started following the tracks and soon they joined up with several other tracks, but still no blood, I was getting worried. Finally, after over 50 yards, I found the first drop of blood. Then after another 20 yards, there started to be a substantial amount of blood, but by that point I could see the buck hung up, dead, in a down tree he had tried to get through, a full 80+ yards from where he had been shot.

Granted, the first two were obviously not great hits, and that is my fault, but the results certainly fly in the face of all the stories of deer dropping as if they had been struck by lightning at the sound of a 45-70 spitting out 300 gr HP bullets at the factory advertised velocity of 1800 fps.

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