Ramblings of bullet effectiveness...

by Bri A, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 20:27 (522 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.

need the proverbial "Mack truck"

by bj @, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 21:43 (522 days ago) @ Bri A

My theory is that if a deer is spooked and adrenaline is flowing, it will take a Mack truck to drop one instantly, or a hit to the spine.

I think that's very true. Nm

by rob @, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 21:57 (522 days ago) @ bj


need the proverbial "Mack truck"

by Bri A, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 23:14 (522 days ago) @ bj

I agree, deer full of adrenaline can be tough to put down, but the first and third deer I shot in my story were calm and unaware of my presence until the bullet passed through them. The first one was so confused, he ran almost right to me and laid down.

I've had very good luck with 300 grain JHP's in my Guide Gun

by rob @, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 21:55 (522 days ago) @ Bri A

Several bucks, a doe and two hogs over 450 pounds, the smallest one we attempted to weigh and he started breaking the tree branch we typically hung the scale over as the scale hit 450. We stopped and hung him from a steel pole fixed to bumper after that. Every one of them killed with a 300 Hornady Interlock JHP just over 2250 fps. Both of the hogs literally dropped in their tracks. Every deer ran between 15-30 yards. When you shoot a hog through both shoulders with an adequate bullet they tend to drop right there...at least that has been my experience. The only two deer I've shot that dropped in their track was a buck in Del Rio with a 4" 629 loaded with a 240 XTP over 18.5g 2400 and doe I shot with a 5.5" Blackhawk 45 loaded with a 260g Keith bullet over the same powder charge as the 44 Magnum. Both required a finishing shot though.

Maybe it is the load I used...

by Bri A, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 23:11 (522 days ago) @ rob

The factory Remington 300 gr JHP at an advertised 1800 fps.

Maybe it is the load I used...

by rob @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 07:53 (522 days ago) @ Bri A

May be. My Guide Gun likes that load as well the Federal and Winchester offerings, but I've only shot game with my handload. I've done a lot of load testing with the 405 Remington and Speer bullets and a few 400+ grain cast, but I've had such good luck with the Interlock I haven't strayed.

Maybe it is the load I used...

by Jared, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 08:48 (522 days ago) @ Bri A

I have tested the Remington 300gr HP into water and it is a VERY soft bullet. I personally wouldn't trust them to break any kind of bone or exit. I would rather a 300 gr cast I find I was going that light weight in a .45-70. The 405 Remington is a great bullet and will hold together fairly well and penetrate all the way up to 2000 FPS.

It's a puzzlement, ain't it?

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 07:27 (522 days ago) @ Bri A

I can't recall (right now) any "bang, flop" type kills. Nearly all of the big game I've shot traveled at least a short distance. 'Short' might be a step or two or might be a country mile. I haven't taken any game whatsoever with my .45-70's but there have been, ahem, 'a couple' 35 caliber cartridges in the mix.

.35 Remington with 210gr cast FN. First shot on a decent sow was low and broke the off side leg. Hunter error 100%. We chased it for a while and found her in a deadfall and one to the boiler room ended her day.

.356 Winchester with 200gr FTX. Big sow quartering away was hit in behind the ribs and exited the off side shoulder/chest. Turned and took a step or two and fell down.

.358 Winchester with 225gr Game Kings. A decent boar was broad-sided at 3 or 4 yards and took off like it's tail was on fire. We caught up to it about 100 yards later absolutely dead-dead. A second pig was shot quartering towards me at around 35 yards. It wheeled and ran maybe 40 yards and piled up.

.35 Whelen also with 225gr GK's. A ~225lb boar was running along a fence line. First shot was in the front chest angling out the back paunch. Never missed a beat and ran past me. Second shot was the opposite; in the back and out the front. Still never slowed down. We found it piled up in a little draw dead as a stone maybe 75 yards away.

.350 Remington Magnum also with 225gr GK's. We were literally beating the brush and a 250lb or so boar ran out the far side. I hit him on a full run at about 75 yards, back in the ribs, angling forward. I suppose that might have been a 'bang-flop' but he had momentum on his side as he managed a beautifully executed somersault and never got up.

.358 Norma Magnum with 250gr Speer. A 350lb boar was ambling towards me and, as he turned around a tree at 40 or so yards, presented a nice broadside shot which I took. His pace didn't change and he wandered between a couple of downfalls and out of sight. I hightailed it over there and he was another 40 yards or so away when I took the second shot. At that, he took another few steps and fell. There was only a single wound so I assume the first shot was deflected by a branch or some unseen interference.

.35 Newton also with 250gr Speers. Broadside shot at a 300lb sow at probably 30 yards. At the shot, the hog hunched up like it was going to take off and I was thinking, 'Not this again!' (First hog taken after the Bulletproof Pig event.) It took a few steps while I loaded another round and fell down.

.358 STA also with 250gr Speers. Very nice boar quartering towards me at maybe 30 yards. Shot entered near side chest and exited back in the ribs. Took 2 more steps and fell. The skinner, upon opening that one up, turned to me ans said, "What did you DO to this thing?" It was a bit of a mess inside. Book velocity is right near 2900 and may be pushing the upper limit for that bullet.

And finally, not a 35 caliber. A .416 Taylor with a 400gr Hornady. A 400+lb boar was shot in a lovely broadside tight in behind the front leg. Needless to say, it was a pass through. :-P That pig took off at full speed however it was in a circle maybe 20 yards in diameter. I stood there in slack-jawed wonder as it made nearly 3 complete laps with blood shooting out both sides before falling into a heap. It looked like the scene of a particularly gruesome ax murder what with the blood all over.

I've prattled on too long so we'll skip the deer until another day.

I get the impression...

by rob @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 08:04 (522 days ago) @ Hoot

Hoot likes the 358's:) That 358 STA sounds like a fun rifle!

It's a puzzlement, ain't it?

by Jared, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 08:55 (522 days ago) @ Hoot
edited by Jared, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 11:19

The last hog i shot with my .35 Whelen was about a 150lb sow. I wanted to see how well the 250 Speer at 2500 penetrated . so I shot her right beside the eyeball while she was facing me. The bullet exited rear her tail and she went down in a pile. I was impressed because the Speer is a fairly soft bullet that expands easily.

I have shot 6 deer and hogs with that load and one doe ran about 25 yards leaving a huge blood trail. The 9 point I shot two years ago ran about 50 yards and didn't leave a huge trail but was I never my pasture so I watched him. I had just reloaded the No1 for a second shot when I saw him start that stiff leg run. So I watched him drop a few yards later.

A few days later I shot a shot a coyote with that's same rifle and load at 200 yards. The exit was fist sized, so those bullets will expand even at longer range.

I like the sound of those results.

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Friday, May 19, 2017, 05:36 (521 days ago) @ Jared

Good thing as I have a few of the Speers in the pile.

It certainly is...

by Bri A, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 23:39 (521 days ago) @ Hoot

Those results with the various 35's seems to go right along with my whitetail experiences, though I have never shot a hog.

My deer experiences have been very similar.

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Friday, May 19, 2017, 05:34 (521 days ago) @ Bri A

Different calibers but similar results.

Have always enjoyed the 35's...

by Bri A, Sunday, May 21, 2017, 08:40 (519 days ago) @ Hoot

but have not yet taken any game with them. Have taken deer with 7 mm, 30, 44, 45 and 12 ga. Have carried 6 mm, 25, 8 mm, 33 and 35 calibers quite a bit, but have not had the opportunity to take a shot at a deer with them yet. It seems that deer only appear when carrying specific arms and not any others. I have taken most deer with a Husky '06 that was given to me by my grandfather after using it to take my first deer. It has a tremendous success rate and I have never had any issues with deer running off and not leaving a substantial blood trail with it.

Penetration is paramount.

by Jared, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 08:45 (522 days ago) @ Bri A

The average 300 gr .45-70 bullet is basically a pure lead hollowpoint with a thin jacket. Most either fragment or flatten out to the size and shape of a 50 cent peice. None of which equates penetration. If a load will not consistently exit a deer on a double lung shot the bulllet is probably to soft. I have killed around a dozen deer and hogs with the 405 Remington or 400 gr Speer at 1800-2000 with no complaints. They penetrate great and still expand.

People like the energy dump theories but in reality velocity and bullet shape are what cause damage and tissue destruction. Anything below say 700 FPS makes a narrow wound Chanel with a small stretch cavity. So on those bullets that "dump" their energy in the first few inches have massive wound channels right at first quickly taper off to a small hole until the bullet stops.

On a larger harder to slow bullet the bullet expands at first making a larger cavity but doesn't have the rapid velocity loss that a lighter softer bullet would have. The now larger expanded bullet is traveling faster causing damage throughout the animal until it exits.

Personally I would rather have a coke can size wound all the way through an animal then a basketball size wound the first 1/3 then a pencil size the rest of the way. You will get some more spectacular kills with the latter, also some spectacular losses. With the former they may or may not drop at the shot but won't go far and you have two holes leaking blood thus causing more consistent results in the long run.

Penetration is paramount.

by rob @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 14:43 (521 days ago) @ Jared

I agree. I don't buy the energy dump theory. Yeah, it dumped all of its energy because it didn't have enough to get through the other side. The only round I've had stop in an animal (except for the hog that took six hits from the 44 Magnum that I failed to recover) was a buck shot in Del Rio with a 4" 629 and 18.5 grains of 2400 behind a 240 XTP. It stopped under the skin of the of side. Excellent kill, but I would have preferred an exit wound. On the hog that I mentioned below that started to break the branch as the scale hit 450#, he had a huge hole in the off side, just behind the shoulder (shot into front shoulder and exited behind the opposite) and there was a tiny piece of jacket pedal stuck in the skin. I'm extremely impressed with the penetration of the 300 Interlock in the 45-70 and my load pushes them hard too.

I'm not sure what I'll find hunting with the AR in 223 but my goal will still be to see exit wounds. It may not happen on hogs but it should on deer...hopefully. But mainly, I want to see how it performs and get good with it in the field...experience breeds confidence:)

Oh c'mon, "everybody" knows...

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 19:13 (521 days ago) @ rob

"serious calibers" begin with a '35'. :-P

Just joshin' you of course. I probably over-do most hunting opportunities, I know smaller calibers kill things. I tend to underestimate them and tend towards bigger and heavier.

As you noted below, I have a serious infatuation with the 35 caliber family. There's a few 'holes' to fill in the line-up.;-)

no .357 Herrett?

by bj @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 20:01 (521 days ago) @ Hoot

I've been interested in that one since reading about it 35 years ago. If I could get a scope mounted properly I would be able to start experimenting.

Unfortunately, no.

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Friday, May 19, 2017, 05:33 (521 days ago) @ bj

And no .357's in a long gun, nor .35 WCF's, nor 350 Rigby's (if you dream, may as well dream big). They would all have a home here.

I hope to fill the void of a .35 Epps in the near future. Need to get my butt in gear on that.

Oh c'mon, "everybody" knows...

by rob @, Friday, May 19, 2017, 07:24 (521 days ago) @ Hoot

I have toyed with wanting a 35 Whelen since about 1988. I still long for one. I had a really pretty Remington 700 on layawake for a while and changed my mind and bought something else in a weak moment...don't even remember what it was now but I wish I'd gone ahead and stayed with the Whelen. I'm gonna get it done one of these days:)

I have a couple Whelens.

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Friday, May 19, 2017, 12:09 (520 days ago) @ rob

Both '98 Mausers. Wonderful cartridge. I can't imagine being without one. Jared's No. 1 or another like it would be welcome here as well.

Back to an earlier comment. The .358 STA was built on a Eddystone Model of 1917. Nicely done but, like all P14/M1917's, it's a heavy beastie. My only complaint is that it has a brake so, in addition to being heavy, it's obnoxious as well.

Funny story. I have contemplated removing the brake but wanted to try an experiment first to see the effectiveness of the brake. Fallout from an engineering project in the past left me with some high temp silicone rubber sheet. I cut a piece to fit around the barrel end to end and then fit a piece of a pop can cut to wrap around the rubber. all secured with cable ties. The thought was to shoot it as is and then install my cobbled up blocking and see if the brake made any real difference. Well, I did just that. But, when I touched off the rifle with the blocking in place, it blew the whole apparatus to flinders. We recovered a very small, very scorched bit of the rubber but nothing else. Good for a laugh even if it didn't answer the original question.

I have a couple Whelens.

by rob @, Friday, May 19, 2017, 17:44 (520 days ago) @ Hoot

I knew where that was going as soon as you said high temp silicone rubber sheet:) Brakes are sure enough obnoxious but that rifle is probably a good candidate for one.

At the risk of being flamed. location, location , location.

by ERSisk @, Thursday, May 18, 2017, 21:51 (521 days ago) @ Bri A

Its all about where you hit'm not what you hit'm with. The very first pig I ever killed, 57 years ago. I shot with a 22lr Remington 510. He was looking straight at me, one shot between the eyes and he didn't even twitch.

No flames...

by Bri A, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 15:06 (519 days ago) @ ERSisk

We don't do flame wars around here too often. You are mostly correct, that is why I indicated the shots made and when they were poorly placed. Even solid hits can go wrong though, even with animals that are not alarmed or amped up on adrenaline. About the only hit that will anchor them every time in my experience is a spine shot and that is an easy target to miss.

Bullet effectiveness...

by Byron, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 12:31 (519 days ago) @ Bri A

Bullet effectiveness is all relative and dependent on the application.

We have shot a number of deer with the 5.56mm loaded with bulk Nosler 55gr soft points and when shot like this have always dropped into their tracks so hard they bounced.


We have shot a number of deer with the 12 bore Express rifle like this and they have all dropped in their tracks so hard they bounced.


The pigs shot with the .72 caliber round ball also went down without any drama.



Oh man...

by Bri A, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 14:58 (519 days ago) @ Byron

That 12 gauge Express looks mighty cool! Wanted one of those in the worst way when I was younger, just never had the scratch to pick one up. That looks like all sorts of fun to play with. Excellent shots with both rifles too!

Bullet effectiveness...

by rob @, Thursday, May 25, 2017, 22:38 (514 days ago) @ Byron

I'm shocked you were even able to hit that buck without a free float rail...what were you thinking? Don't you read all the forums? Sacrilege! ;-)

Bullet effectiveness...

by Gunner ⌂ @, St Louis, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 13:09 (519 days ago) @ Bri A

Several factors are involved.....

1) the animal itself, body type

2) shot placement, shocking strike on vitals

3) bullet construction, soft or hard jacketed/cast, shape of point

4) bullet velocity, higher velocity will add to the shocking ability of the bullet

5) the activity of the animal at the time of the shot, if the animal is amped up good chance it will run a ways, at rest and relaxed, might drop at the spot of being hit.

Personally I believe heavy large caliber bullets running 1900-2200 fps will put more of a thump on a large body animal than a lighter, smaller caliber bullet. Noticed I said large body, I don't believe it applies to whitetails, a 24-30 caliber Ballistic Tip will hit deer like lighting and cause a bigger shock effect than a large slower caliber bullet, even with a not so great shot placement. Screaming BT's just seem to turn their lights out.

Now having said that, I have seen large hogs, in a relaxed state take short range hits with large bullets and high tail it out of the area. Have seen 300-350 pounder take a good shot from a 7-30 Waters with a SST bullet out of a 14" TC and drop on it's nose.

My biggest hog, 600+ pounder was hit with a heavy jacket 400gr SP from a 405 Winchester, doing 1900 fps and it rolled on it side and never moved an inch. Hit a almost 400 pounder with a 400gr heavy jacket SP from a 416 Ruger, decent shot placement but upon being hit the hog turned hard right and came downhill straight at me with only it's rear end working, her chin to chest was dragging on the ground, bulldozing is what I call it, took two more 400 grainers to stop her.

It the end the only way to ensure a drop shot is a head shot with a cannon like a 416 Ruger, very messy with no head left but it won't run. Other than that it is a crap shoot what the animal will do, just too many factors involved.


41 Mags rule, Baers rock!

Exactly my point...

by Bri A, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 14:47 (519 days ago) @ Gunner

There are too many variables to count on any man portable arm to make instant, DRT shots every time. Have never tried neck shots personally, but have heard all sorts of tales about when they went wrong. Like my friend's uncle, who was a house painter by trade and a notorious poacher. One afternoon, on his way home from a job in his old station wagon, he spotted a doe grazing in the tall grass along a ditch. He slowed down, slipped his handy 22 mag rifle out the driver's window and neck shot her as she grazed. She went down like the proverbial sack of potatoes so he stopped, hurriedly stuffed her into the back of the wagon with his left over painting supplies and covered her with a drop-cloth. On the way, he needed some supplies for the next day so stopped at the hardware store in the middle of the little town he lived near. After picking up his supplies, he was at the checkout counter paying for his purchases at the front of the store, with his car just outside the window, when he heard a noise and looked outside. Just then the rear quarter window of his station wagon exploded, the car started rocking and the drop cloth became quite animated with paint cans and their contents being slung around inside the car. You guessed it, that doe had not been hit quite as well as he originally thought and was trying to make good her escape. He immediately realized what had happened and fearing she was going to completely destroy his only car, rushed outside, grabbed his rifle from it's hiding spot under the front seat and proceeded to empty the old bolt action rifle's magazine into whatever part of the animal he could see moving, hoping to stop the carnage as quickly as possible. Shortly after the magazine was empty, the drop cloth stopped moving and he went back into the store to complete his purchase before any law enforcement officers may happen to show up. Fortunately, the small town did not have their own law enforcement, the sheriff office was way on the other side of the county and this was in the days before cell phones or personal computers. Unfortunately, it was not before the days of telephones, radios or 911 service and someone called it in, with the nearest LEO responding before he could get out of town, which happened to be the area Conservation Officer.

Thanks for that story.

by Hoot @, Diversityville, Liberal-sota, Monday, May 22, 2017, 09:11 (518 days ago) @ Bri A

I had tears in my eyes before finishing!

It is a true story...

by Bri A, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 13:57 (516 days ago) @ Bri A

I've met the guy in the story, heard it directly from him. It happened in the eastern UP.

Lol...Numbers 32:23:) nm

by rob @, Thursday, May 25, 2017, 17:30 (514 days ago) @ Bri A


Bullet effectiveness...

by Jared, Saturday, May 20, 2017, 21:26 (519 days ago) @ Gunner

There I see a window in the 1800-2200 range that seems to give great performance with a big soft bullet. As Elmer Keith said a 250 at 2400 was a great woods cartridge and he would rather go up in bullet weight than velocity. Using a cup and core bullet I think that's advice is still great.

I have seen several deer that were neck shot not quite right drop in their tracks and then a few minutes later get up and run off without leaving much if any of a blood trail. A lot of neck shooters I knew were also big believers of cutting a deers throat ASAP so it could bleed out. I often wonder how many of those deer were not quite dead at that's point and we're finished off by that.

I like a neck shot on hogs but it is kind of apples to oranges.

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