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  #1  
Old 12-09-2009, 01:26 PM
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Bullet Deflection


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I was reading a different post which mentioned this topic briefly and I decided to ask the question. Are larger projectiles or bigger calibers less apt to be deflected by brush, limbs, etc. You hear of folks claiming their 45-70's and 444's are "good brush guns". I have a tendancy to think there is a difference but not as much as people think. I'm sure a .22 lr is more likely to deflect that say a 12 ga slug but how does this compare to more closely related/sized hunting calibers?
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:42 PM
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The bigger the bullet is, the more prone it is to deflection, as its more likely to hit something. Round or flat nose bullets have higher deflection rates, a bigger bullet wont prevent deflection. There was a gun writer that did an article years back, about bullet deflection in the brush, he used all the classic brush cartridges, 30-30 .32 spl .450 marlin .45-70 .35 rem etc, he used more modern cartridges in the comparison, .243 .270 .30-06 .308 etc, the cartridge which ended up proving best when it came to brush deflection was the .243 win.

In my opinion it doesnt matter what your shooting, if you hit brush your shot is ruined. This year elk hunting, when i was delivering a follow up shot to the spike bull i had shot, a salmon berry bush deflected my shot from the base of the tail to the middle of theright spike. The distance was 20 yards, the salmon berry bush was 5 feet in front of the elk, and it was perfectly still. I was using a .338 WM with 225 grain Nosler partitions.

Last edited by BarkBuster20; 12-09-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 04:05 PM
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Big or small makes little difference. If your bullet deflects -- and it likely will -- then it deflects. If it doesn't, it doesn't. And it doesn't take a twig or branch, either -- even a bade or two of grass, or a leaf, can do it.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2009, 04:56 AM
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I helped a friend gut and process a deer that he shot with a 300 savage. The bullet must have hit a twig before entering the deer because the damage was devastating. There was a exit whole the size of a softball. and the wounds channel was huge. I have never seen more damage done from much larger /powerful cartridges. I am not sure about deflection but it hit the front shoulder blade and ruined about 40%of the entry shoulder and about 60% of the exit side. Blood shot meat and mush. I think the bullet must have hit sideways.

AL
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2009, 05:11 AM
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Nothing can be relied on to continue in a straight line after hitting any kind of obstruction, even a small twig. The only "brush buster" is a bullet that doesn't hit any brush.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2009, 05:56 AM
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Bullet-brush rush deflection is often argued, seldom understood.

ANYthing a bullet "hits", including a cross wind, will deflect it to some degree. Question is, how much and what is most resistant to deflection.

Mass counts, so does speed. If both a Hummer and a Cooper Mini hit a traffic barrel on an Interstate a glancing blow and at the same speed both will deflect but the Hummer will be thrown off course much less than the Mini - the effect of mass. If two Hummers hit the same barrel at greatly different speeds, the fast will deflect less. Just the physics of mass and velocity at work, not magic. Ditto with bullets.

Point shape has little effect on deflection but bullet type/design does. A hard cast bullet and a FMJ will deform little with a slight contact, a thin jacketed soft core may blow-up entirely. Of course that will be intrepreted as "deflection" but it's more correct to consider it a rupture. Even if the bullet holds together after a glancing impact it's deformed its path will be wild, not from deflection, as such, but the deformity.

The more distance between the object and the target, the greater the effect will be because of the distamce traveled after the direction change. Striking a 1/2" branch two feet from a deer may mean nothing. Striking a twig two feet from the muzzle is likely to cause a clean miss at 50 yards! A puff of cross wind at the firing point will have a much greater difference than a gale on the distant ridge top where a deer is standing.

Bullets driff very little. Many shooters speak of bullet drift in a wind, even some "authorities" call it drift. But, as briefly as a bullet flys, even a high cross wind has very little real "drifting" effect on its path. What happens is the tiny effect as a cross wind strikes - deflects - the point of the bullet to turn it, that change will significantly shift its path, exactly the same as a light touch of a defenders moving hand will shift a football in flight.

Last edited by ranger335v; 12-10-2009 at 06:06 AM.
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2009, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osprey572ci View Post
Are larger projectiles or bigger calibers less apt to be deflected by brush, limbs, etc. You hear of folks claiming their 45-70's and 444's are "good brush guns".

If you read rifle/hunting related literature from 20 or 30 years ago, you'll find this theory thrown around quite a bit. I can't recall reading any literature from the past 10 years, however, where someone has mentioned this "slow, blunt - less likely to be deflected" thing, thankfully.

I have three theories as to where the "brush busting, slow, blunt bullet" thing came from. I happen to believe it's a little of each;

Theory A) People touted various rounds such as the 30-30, the 35rem, the 45-70 and so forth, as "brush calibers" because they were typically used for hunting at closer ranges which usually meant you were "in the brush". That title of "brush caliber" got morphed into meaning that they somehow were less likely to be deflected if hitting a twig or leaf. ...Maybe because someone wondered why the .270win might not be equally suited for "brush" hunting, and some other learned individual had to come up with a reasonable response.


Theory B) Back in the day... When Joe Hunter was loving his 45-70, 44-40 or 30-30 and his neighbor got a new fangled 30-06 or .270 which used this little pointy bullet at super high velocity, Joe Hunter needed a reason to justify why his faithful old rifle was still better than his neighbors new offering. The "brush busting, slower and blunter is better" thing got started, and repeated over and over.


Finally, Theory C) The early jacketed spitzer bullets weren't considered that reliable as far as expansion goes. Today, it's often taken for granted that a jacketed spitzer will expand properly at close or long ranges with either a soft-tissue or bone hit, but in the early days of spitzer bullets, expansion was anything but assured. I wasn't around in the early days of jacked spizters, I'm just quoting what I've read in books from the 50's and 60's.

If those early spitzer designs were, indeed, questionable expansion wise, I would reason that more than a few hunters made good shoots on game but the animal was never found and left little blood. I imagine after that happened to quite a few hunters they supposed that the pointy, speedy bullet hit a twig and got deflected and either missed the animal entirely or hit it somewhere none lethal.


As I said earlier, I believe it's probably a bit of A, B and C.

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Old 12-10-2009, 06:38 AM
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In his book "Shots at Whitetails"(My favorite hunting book),Larry Koller actually tested various combinations of rifles and cartridges for their 'brush busting' capabilities.
He put targets behind brush and fired at them with deer caliber rifles.

NONE did very good,but,the 250 Savage did the best.
Frank
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Kragman71 View Post
In his book "Shots at Whitetails"(My favorite hunting book),Larry Koller
Thanks for the post, Frank.

This book had many favorable reviews on Amazon... I just ordered myself a copy.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2009, 10:09 AM
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In his book "Deer Hunters Guide", Fancis Sell did a lot of testing with various calibers at different MV and bullets weights fired through screening brush of various branch diameters. A few quips from the chapter:

All ranges were 45 yds

brush to target distance 2-4 ft

500 grain bullet at 1450 fps from the 45-70 defelcted badly in alder and hazel. Huckelberry brush showed no measureable deflection.

243 using 100 gr bullet at 3000 fps. huckelberry brush from 45 yds resulted in complete bullet blow up. vine maple and hazel (.5- .75 " dia) all bullets mushroomed before hitting the target and deflected over 4".

30-30 170 gr bullet at 2200 fps gave no deflection in huckelberry brush. In heavier brush deflections were 1-3 inches. There is good reason that this caiber is popular!

30-06 using 180 gr bullet at 2500 fps showed no defelction or expansion regardless of screening cover.

Same rifle using 150 gr bullet at 2900 fps deflection was 4-7 inches in the heavier cover of alder and hazel. No measurable defelction behind huckeberry brush. Loading it down to 2500 fps and the defelction in alder and hazel went down to around 3".

His findings summary:

bullet wt 150 gr minimum

velocity 2200 to 2500 fps

Fast and light or slow and heavey did not do well.

My 336 in 35 remington shoots a 180 gr fp at 2400 fps. Snap shooting stock is in the works.

Northwoods of mn
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:02 PM
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"My 336 in 35 remington shoots a 180 gr fp at 2400 fps. Snap shooting stock is in the works."

I've always felt that Marlin put an excellant "snap-shooting" stock on my 336C/.35. Mr. Sell convienced me of that some 35 years ago, still think he was/is right! Miss that old dude.
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kragman71 View Post
In his book "Shots at Whitetails"(My favorite hunting book),Larry Koller actually tested various combinations of rifles and cartridges for their 'brush busting' capabilities.
He put targets behind brush and fired at them with deer caliber rifles.

NONE did very good,but,the 250 Savage did the best.
Frank
Also interesting was the fact that he tried several calibers with two different bullet weights and in every instance the lighter bullet did better than the heavier.
Over the years I collected several such tests. I could not compile them all into one because they all used different test media and different scoring methods. I did place them all side by side ranking from best to worst and without exception the traditional "brush busters" like the .35 Rem, 38/55, 44 mag and such were in the bottom half of their respective tests. Well, there was one exception, in one test the .458 Winchester took first place but the .222 rem was a close second.
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:19 PM
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Keep in mind that most of the published "tests" are perhaps a few shots. 30 or so samples of each round & bullet weight might be meaningful.... seriously doubt any of the authors went to that much trouble. Could be wrong though.
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2009, 04:52 PM
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Shooting through brush accurately consistently is problematic at best
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:55 PM
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If I get the time over the weekend, I will organize Sell's data and publish here. May try to duplicate his results when weather permits.

The 336 stock I have is pretty good, but not quite where I need it - comb a bit too low, a little short and need a bit of cast-off along with a crecent butt plate so I will carve a new butt stock this winter. This rifle shoots this load (case full of 3031 over 180 gr sp) very accurately.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:14 PM
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Have done some tests, but not a serious scientific investigation. Does seem that all of them are defected a bit, some key hole, and some of the more fragile show expansion type entrance holes.

Think the big. heavy bullet does have an advantage, but NOT becasue it "pows straight though"... it won't. If bad luck strikes, and the bullet lands on game sideways (or seriously cock-eyed), a sideways 400gr. .45 bullet is more likely to penetrate deeply enough to kill while a sideways .24 cal. 100gr. isn't.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:51 PM
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If bad luck strikes, and the bullet lands on game sideways (or seriously cock-eyed), a sideways 400gr. .45 bullet is more likely to penetrate deeply enough to kill while a sideways .24 cal. 100gr. isn't.
That's a "big, slow bullet" theory I can buy...


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Old 12-10-2009, 06:33 PM
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A cresent butt plate on a snap shooting rifle? Your rifle, do it your way. But I wouldn't do that on any such weapon.

Back in '75 when I got my 336, my father had an excellant quail shootgun, perhaps the uiltimate "snap shooting" gun, and with a shotgun butt plate of course. When I laid my 336 over his shotgun the dimensions were nearly identical. I thought that meant something and it's worked well too. Originally I used receiver sights but as my eyes degenerated I had to go to a scope, a 1.5-5x25 Redfield mounted in Leupold "Super-Low" rings. Don't think they still make them, guess too many guys went to higher powered, oversized scopes to see in the dark and make 500 yard shots in the deep woods. ??

At one time I thought the 336 butt stock was a tad short. I considered adding a 1" recoil pad just to increase the length. But then I reconsidered because of the cold weather clothing I frequently wear deer hunting and left it original. Glad I did.

OKAY, I KNOW this is off topic but we're still talking brush rifles!

So, back in the mid 60s several magazines reported on the effects of shooting through brush. The only one I thought was valid was the NRA/American Rifleman. They shot different size hardwood dowels placed in such a way as to actually duplicate the strikes for each of a large number of tested rounds, not just shooting through "real brush" which be certain of NO shot-to-shot dupication for valid test results. What I first posted above is what they determined, it's not just my guessing.

Last edited by ranger335v; 12-10-2009 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:22 PM
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the cresent butt plate makes sense to me - locates the stock in the same place every time its mounted. I have a hard time arguing with Sell on his stocking designs. He spent most of his hunting life with brush guns. I have to try it and see if it works for me (ref gun digest article 1984). My 1886 winchester seems to work well with the cresent BP. To each his own.. I have read over the dowel tests. Good controlled test. Actual brush is much more random. I haved a 45-70 , 243, 35 rem so I may go ahead and try to repeat his tests. He only shot 3 shells for each condition, but used a large number of caliber-velocity-bullet wt combinations. We shall see!

nw of mn
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:08 PM
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Have done some tests, but not a serious scientific investigation. Does seem that all of them are defected a bit, some key hole, and some of the more fragile show expansion type entrance holes.

Think the big. heavy bullet does have an advantage, but NOT becasue it "pows straight though"... it won't. If bad luck strikes, and the bullet lands on game sideways (or seriously cock-eyed), a sideways 400gr. .45 bullet is more likely to penetrate deeply enough to kill while a sideways .24 cal. 100gr. isn't.
I'll go with that. Put a .30 cal bullet through a pig, sideways, once. Entrance hole 1 1/2" long and maybe less than 1/2" inch wide. It was enough to solve all the pig's problems!
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