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Topic ClosedMinimum bullet energy?

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Minimum bullet energy?
    Posted: 02 December 2003 at 13:14

What's yer call?

   Hmmm, I like the 1,500 ft lb rule, but know less will work with a well placed shot.   I'm conservative, and like the notion of havin' to shoot through trees, small buildings, and up to destroyer class to get at my target.  i.e. - I don't go light.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 13:44
I am starting to think that shot placement is about 10x more important than anything. Next being bullet construction, and then energy. My only example for reference are the 2 doe I got this season, one dropped, one ran 20 yards. Buddy I was with shot 2, recovered 1. Both were with his 30-06, with a 125 sp, poor choice for a bullet. the lost shot had 2300 ft/lbs at impact, massive blood trail, blood stopped after 100 yards, never found it. Recovered one had 1800 at impact, same shot location, center of mass, just above the heart, ran about 20 yards through very thick marsh. This compared to the measly 600 that was left on impact for mine, wich split the heart and dropped her under 20 yards.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 13:55

i would much rather have way too much gun than be put in a predicament of losing a deer because i was too insistent on seeing what minimum i could get away with.

bullet construction and placement are also critical factors, and i think you need to have all 3 ingredients to ensure a 1-shot stop.

as far as min. ft/lb goes... i don't know. i've never put out much effort in really figuring out energy figures (just cursory glances at ballistics software). but, i feel pretty confident that any of the rifles i typically carry have enough punch to enter, destroy, and leave a nice exit (my typical hunting rifles generally have the term 'magnum' in the cartridge designation somewhere).

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 13:56
Well, if has a good history of tipping over game, then it is good enough for me. Heck, at the ranges i hunt, all i need is a .45 colt with factory loads! It is just that close. OVer the winter i am going to get some nice loads worked up for my blackhawk, well after i get it sent in to make sure it doesnt have too large or small of a throat and to answer why it shoots 2' groups at 20 feet

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 13:59
It is not that I insist on using the lightest possible, it is just that it is all I have, it is legal, and it works. I also have my .30 carbine that I took into the woods, never shot at game though. I personally prefer the .223 over the carbine, better bullets available.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 14:42
When I started hunting as a kid, I used my dads 38-55 Winchester. 250 grain bullet and 1350 fps at the muzzle.  Not a barn burner but it would punch a hole through the heart-lung area and I got my share of deer with it.  I feel that shot placement is more important than the power of the bullet. (I don't know where the italics came from?)  I remember shooting several deer in the neck, with the 38-55, that didn't go down until I put one through the heart-lungs area. The heart-lung area as a shot placement has always worked well for me and I taught my boys (men now) to shoot their deer there and they have been successful with it over the years.  Not as much meat loss with a 30-30 or 38-55, as compared to the 30-06 when the bullet goes through a shoulder. The 30-30 and the 38-55 are good for up to 100 yard shots but beyond that you probably need a larger engine and more horsepower. Wouldn't the species hunted and the terrain really dictate the power needed behind the bullet? (rhetorical)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 15:40

Good stuff in this thread an the first message's ink ain't dry.

  I got to agree with most accounts, but specifically shot placement.

 One thing I've been seein' too much of lately is folks posting the good blood trail fer 100 yds story's. To me they mean you blow a hunk of meat out but don't hit a artery, or heart/lungs.  I've tracked a couple of these deer for friends, sometimes miles and still never recovered them.  one was an 06, another a shotgun, and one more Muzzleloader.  All had quite a bit of power.

  The neck thing is a good point, it rely's on either mass, or pressure to drop the critter.  A shotgun will squarely drop them, so will a 08 on up, but slow movers could easily run into problems.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 15:57
this is not a hard-and-fast rule, but speaking strictly for deer, i would prefer to keep it around a thousand pounds. with a .30 cal or larger, i think that 700 pounds would be adequate, but as other posters have mentioned, i believe that placement and bullet construction are much more important than energy.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 16:43
A lot depends on the individual animal. All whitetails are not the same. Around here, a mature buck might run 130 to 150 pounds, a mature doe about 90 to 100 pounds. Very different from the 250-300 pound animals up north. Bullet placement is vital, but smaller animals can get by with much less cartridge. A 175 grain cast bullet at 1190 FPS (about 550 FT/lbs at the muzzle) has killed every deer I have shot with it. I wouldn't use a load like that on one of the big guys up north.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 20:04

1.Bullet placement.

2. Bullet(matched to game)

3.I don't care what the question is give me more power.I have seen too many wounded beasts due to lack of penetration in my life to ever go down end when it comes to energy.I work at longer range and I never want doubts that when the projectile arrives it will hit, kill and preferably leave.If I damage a bit more meat at least I was sure.Remember there is no such thing as overkill.(Though my shooting associates still question the 375 H&H on rabbits.)MaccaBig smile

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 December 2003 at 23:47

Originally posted by bkcorris bkcorris wrote:

It is not that I insist on using the lightest possible, it is just that it is all I have, it is legal, and it works. I also have my .30 carbine that I took into the woods, never shot at game though. I personally prefer the .223 over the carbine, better bullets available.

bk- just to clarify... my comments were not directed at you. it is just the way i feel about my guns. i have a 223... but i also have other cartridges that are larger, so i'd rather have those w/ me when hunting deer.

also, i have a 30 carbine, too... nifty rifle, though powerful it isn't. in sd it is legal to hunt deer w/ a 223, but it is not legal to hunt deer w/ a 30 carbine (sd game laws are constructed around energy figures, and the 223 has enough, the 30 does not).

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 December 2003 at 07:28

I tend to think the energy argument probably is a holdover from a few decades past when people thought that EVERYTHING should have a black and white scientific or mathmatical formula answer. It also tends favor small and fast that was once all the rage, and attempts to discredit big and slow that works well and has stood the time test of centuries. I think the hunting regulation writers snapped it up in order to oversimplify the task of writing an arbitrary "minimum" law that could be easily enforced.

It's kind of funny that a .38/55 Winchester was mentioned in this thread. The father of a good friend of mine actually sold or traded off a .38/55 when the Colorado energy regulations were adopted that disallowed it's use. Prior to that, it had accounted for several deer over the years. This is a perfect example of how the "energy" argument can turn a bit ridiculous. I'm not sure how it stands now, but a few years ago the energy regulations for acceptable handgun rounds were modified in such a fashion as to disallow the previously acceptable .357 Magnum, unless it was hand loaded with 180 grain bullets to maximum pressure out of 6" or longer barrels. I guess the little spike buck that I shot through the heart from 25 yards with a 150 SWC backed by 4.5 grains of 231 shouldn't  have been found stone dead 25 steps from where he was hit; there simply wasn't enough energy in that load! AW

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 December 2003 at 07:39
Another reason for all the laws over energy is I think that too many people are treating hunting like silhouette shooting. Go for center of mass and it will die right? Well, maybe with a stick of dynamite, but not with most smaller guns. My using a .223 is something that most people don't like, weather they say so or not. I have 2 shots, 2 kills. I shoot it a lot, and I know right where that little pill is going, and where I want to put it. This is something that, sadly, maybe 90% of hunters never do. Honesly, how many people do you guys know that can make a box of shells last years? I know a few. For this reason, I am all for minimum laws. It does seem to underestimate the category of people with any skill at all, wich I would say just about every one here fits into.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 December 2003 at 08:16

Bryce,

It's true that the shooting skill and dedication of the average hunter is pretty poor. What's worse is how many of them think that they are pretty good shots and will try to do stuff on that once a year hunt that neither they nor their equipment are properly up to on a regular basis. You see examples every fall at the rifle range. I watched a guy burn up a box of .35 Rem trying to blow up a fairly large pumpkin at 100 yards. He had used the rifle for several seasons and had never zeroed it on paper. Another shooter proceeded to "zero" his scoped .30/06 at about 50 yards shooting rapid fire 3-5 shot groups. Never went beyond 50 yards. If the rules are written with "Mr. Average" in mind, then the serious boys and girls end up getting stuck with laws that they didn't need applied to them in the first place. A dedicated informed shooter/hunter with a .223 will easily out class any of the above examples that actually have more appropriate "deer" rifles. No doubt about it. Maybe this is why subsistence hunters that lived/hunted 24/7 got by with minimal equipment quite well and never thought that their "little" rifles were lacking. It was HOW they went about what they did more so than the tools they used.AW

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 December 2003 at 08:20
Well put.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 December 2003 at 17:44

AW....

[never thought that their "little" rifles were lacking. It was HOW they went about what they did more so than the tools they used.AW]

Finally another honest man. I've been telling my wife that for years!   

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2003 at 04:19

Placement is clearly the most important element.

In cartridge design, energy is not really the whole story, as you know it depends upon the square of the velocity.  As such it greatly reflects velocity.

Low energy guns like the 357 and 44 mag, even the 44-40 are fine deer rifles within their range.  I see more lost gut shot deer with '06 and 270 rifles.  True there are more people using the 270 and '06, but it shows that energy doesn't help on poor placement.

Extremes of measurement are usually deceptive, like minimums and maximums.  Interesting to me is that a 5 mph Honda will not hurt you, but is about 10 times the energy of an '06.  A bump by a Honda at 5 mph is much prefered to 10 shots from an '06.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2003 at 05:15
In regards to subsistence hunters commonly using substandard firearms as measured by the yardstick of the same era; has anyone ever read or heard of a compilation of stories about such backwoods subsistence hunters and their tools? It would make for an interesting read. In my own family history, it's been said that even my Grandfather and his brothers were still using hand me down muzzleloading guns as late as the early 1900's. Powder, caps and shot or ball were reportedly a lot cheaper than store bought shells. I'm guessing this may have been far more common than we moderns would expect. If I recall correctly, the story of Alvin York as portrayed by Gary Cooper had him and his friends using muzzleloaders just prior to WWI.(assuming Hollywood got anything right)AW
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2003 at 10:15
The muzzleloaders were used commonly much later. Through the Great depression, I know both my grandfathers hunted with them, up until the secound world war. When i was a kid in the fifties, one of the local service stations still had barrels full of old original muzzleloaders for 8-12bucks each, and they carried ball, caps, and powder on the shelves. Wish I would have been smart enough to buy a few then.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 December 2003 at 12:14

The muzzle energy of a .357 magnum revolver (535 fp) is adequate to kill any deer that ever walked.  Imagine placing the muzzle nearly touching the animal's chest and shooting an 158 gr bullet at this distance.  The bullet will blast all the way through.  I watched a client do this last month with a "almost dead muley". 

Take that energy figure (535 fp) and that is what it takes to get the job done.  According to my Remington chart the .243 falls to 708 fp of energy at approx. 500 yards.  Assuming a superb marksman could place his bullet into the chest at 500 yards, I feel that the .243 has enough energy to get the job done.    Yes, I know this is a somewhat stretched hypothetical situation but simply an example of energy and killing deer. 

The typewriter guys suggest 1000 fp at 100 yards to kill a deer.  Where this comes from I have no clue but I suspect that it has something to do with selling something to the reader.

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