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Killing Power

8105 Views 41 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  2Bits
While looking at the E. Aurthur Brown web site I saw this article on their "Bench Rest Magnum" cartridges. This is probably an unfortunate name as they are not magnums. But the cartridges are interesting and the thoughts on killing power are very interesting (because I agree with them?).

(I'm not a computer guy, I actualy attached a link!)
The gist is that they think, and so do I, that there is magic in the 2400 to 2500 feet per second range. Actually I think it is from 2300 to 2500 fps but I wont argue over 100 fps.
Take a look and tell me what you think.
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If you look back to page 5 on general forum i posted "one mans opinion" we discussed this very article by Walker.

I enjoyed the article and his views and observations were certinally interesting.

I fully admit that this bullet must be "devasting" when it performs you must admit you are required to get a "good angle"

While i would go with a bullet that exits leaving blood trail as more dependable in all situations.......

I will at some point try some bullet tests with this bullet......

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Thinking along these lines....
Has anyone hunted deer with the .444 and a 180 grain bullet?

Thanks for your input. I will go back and read your post about Mr. Walker.

Let us know how those Speer 130 grain hollow points perform.
It is not the proper bullet for a broadside front shoulder shot.
Any factory 150-165 grain soft point bullet fired from a 30-06 at 2900 fps into the broadside front shoulders of the typical Southern whitetail deer will usually drop immediately. The shooting distance here is usually less than 50 yards unless you are shooting over a bean or other field, or up/down a power line or a natural gas pipe line. Most are shot from an elevated stand, in the woods, over a rye grass food plot.

The same 150-165 grain soft point bullet fired into the heart/lung area of the same deer will "zip" straight through both sides and the deer will run for 75-100 yards before it folds. I don't know the statistics, but in my experience a large percentage of Southern whitetail deer are shot right before dark. At that time of day the muzzle flash from any deer rifle will blind you for a few seconds which is just long enough to miss seeing exactly where the deer ran. You know that you should wait 15-30 minutes before tracking your deer. As you ease down from your deer stand water runs down your back. It rains a lot in the South. Now it is dark and raining as you begin tracking.

That is exactly what happened to me many years ago when I was fortunate enough to find the 10 pointer that is now hanging on my gun room wall. The 165 grain Hornady interlok bullet entered several inches above the heart and zipped straight through both sides. I found it two hours later over 100 yards from where it was shot.

I am still shooting that same 30-06 but now it fires the Speer 130 grain hollowpoint handloaded with 54.0 gr. of H335 into Federal cases ignited by a CCI-250 magnum rifle primer.
I haven't kept exact count but at least 30 deer have dropped dead, instantly dead, ever since that day.

Hogs? That's a whole different ball game.
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Nitro: We live in the same city.

Have a friend use to hunt with (he's too old to hunt now, but not too old to shoot). He taught me to cast, and we both used cast bullets on deer.

Now this old guy believed (and still does) in using a 210gr. 30cal. cast bullet at 2300fps. It would usually shatter the front 1/2, sending framgnets into the body, and have the shank penetrate/tumble on through. Odd choice for an old guy, but that'show he used cast bullets for 50 years.

I used (and still do) a big heavy bullet (.379" , 460", or .515") at 1200-1600fps out of a softer alloy that MAY expand a bit without fragmenting, usually exits.

He killed deer,,,,I killed deer...but there as a differnce in effect. While I never lost a deer, mine did tend to run a bit after being hit huless big bones were broken (and with this load, I do aim to HIT / shatter the shoulder and prefer to hit the off side as well). He got more "fall down in a shower of sparks" kills where the deer basically fell into it's own shadow, but he also had to shoot more deer a second time.

That last isn't fair, as I was using a single shot, and there were times my deer would have gotten a second shot if I had one on immediate tap....but I still only got the drop-in-tracks effect when I shattered both shoulders or the spine...he got the effect from hitting just BEHIND the shoulders, missing the big bones.
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O.K. You asked for it

I have been shooting and reloading awhile and I
Have no Idea shape versus weight versus speed
Versus design.

Let us say best is most effective in a moose say
When the object is to kill quickly at ranges of from 50 yards
to say 275 Yards. (We practice a lot at 250 Yards but
most of the moose we shoot are between 75 and 125 Yards.)

So is there any difference in the following example

300 Win vs 338 Win both shooting same bullet design
at 200 yards and both bullets are 200 grains (one 30 cal
the other 338 cal)? Speed of above is almost identical
at 200 yards with same energy, the 338 is wider
but in the same gun we know it gives more perceived recoil.

If the above is equal you are going to go with the 300,

We know incidentally that that the answer at 225 grains favours the 338 over a 300 Win at same weight because it is moving faster.

I don't think there is a formula only "I remember when stories..)

At 200 yards again

After this puppy compare 180 grains of 300 win Mag to same bullet shape for 200 grains speeds are 3118 Vs 2950 fps at
the muzzle; at 200 yards the speeds are identical.

I think this is easier but is it worth the additional recoil?

Tough questions.
Does it matter?
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Something you have to think about when comparing cartridges of different diameters. Even though the speed may be the same between the 200 grain 338 load and the 200 grain 300 load, the sectional density and ability to penetrate and jacket thickness of the two bullets differ quite a bit. The 200 grain load in a 338 is not ideal for bone breaking shots in big animals, but it is in the 300. To get the bullets to act similarly upon impact, you need to move up in weight for the 338. I don't have any bullet data in front of me at the moment, but would suspect you need to move up to the 225-250 grain class in the 338 to get bullets with similar design characteristics and performance. The X bullets and Failsafe's are kind of an exception to this rule, though you can still count on the heavier X to hold together and penetrate further in each caliber.

To compare apples and apples when thinking of bullet performance on game between different calibers, we need to compare bullets of same construction and densities. Speed is what gets us into the operating parameters of the bullets design and allows us to place our shots where they are most effective, it is the bullet that does the work.

Just one man's humble opinion through years of shooting moose, caribou, sheep and deer.
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More thoughts about the 300 and 338, unless you really redline the 338 or until you get into the 250 grain and heavier bullets, the felt recoil isn't as bad to me as 180 and 200 grain 300 Win Mag loads. It may be heavier, but isn't near as sharp or painful, at least to me.

Having said that, the 338 really doesn't come into its own until used for such large animals as moose, grizzly or brown bear. I've used mine on deer and sheep, but doesn't kill any quicker or more effectively on those size animals than a 7mm or 30-06, at least from what I've observed. I have typically loaded heavy when using mine because the very reason I was carrying it instead of lighter caliber was because I was just as likely to see a big bear as I was a deer or sheep.

If the big bears aren't on the menu, other cartridges will perform just as well and be in a lighter rifle with lighter recoil. It is a grand cartridge, as is the 300, but kind of like keeping a Ferrari in second gear if it isn't used for what is designed for. I've had 3 or 4 338's and a couple of 300's, I'm down to one 338 now and no 300's. I do have my eye on a 300 H&H, though.:D
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300 Win vs 338 Win both shooting same bullet design
at 200 yards and both bullets are 200 grains (one 30 cal
the other 338 cal)? Speed of above is almost identical
at 200 yards with same energy, the 338 is wider
but in the same gun we know it gives more perceived recoil

Love this hobby, I own a 300 win Mag in a Sako Model 75 SS and have spentsome real time on the gun over the past 4 years. On many occassions I have fired the same gun in 338 win mag and incidently it is not bad. I happen to agree with
your points and think that if I was buying a gun for moose
and up and I was doing it again I would labour over it and on many a day I think I would choose the 338 for moose.
Now, having said that I have had a lot of fun with the 300
and have probably put over 700 rounds through her.
She is more versitil, and incidently we think the perceived recoil with 180 grain bullets is very similar to a Remington 700
in 30-06 loaded with the same bullet, but moving 450 plus
feet per second faster.

The Base is 10% larger at the same weight but the ballistic co-efficient of the 30 caliber is superior at 200 grains so
it actually passes the 338 shell at about 200 yards.
It is a gain versus pain question .... just know that I would
not put as many loads through a heavier gun. If you
buy a 338 I would go 250 grains. Just speculating.

How a about part 2 have fired both 180's and 200 grain
noslers, I can feel the difference, 200 grain passes the 180
at about 200 yards gain versus pain,. I have shot mostly
180's (even ground hogs out to 275 yards!) The 200 grainers
are just asaccurate, ballistically superior but no fun after
6 or 7 rounds in an afternoon. Having said that my last moose was a 4 year old Bull a Guessing 1150 lbs, my 180
grain bullet broke through the rib cage passed through the lungs and hung up in the hide on the other side. It weighed
117 grains and looks like a round ball. Perfect.... well two
nights later a Big French Canadian Guy came rushing into camp raving about a huge moose he had Killed, next day
we went to visit .... we figure 2000 lbs (my partners both are
beef farmers and keep bulls) and terrifying. I am moving up to 200 grains and I will take the Pain.The other guys are
trading in there 7mm rem Mags. for 338's. That monster bull took a 7mm Rem in the hump and it did not even bother him
He came back 1/2 an hour later coaxed in with a cow call.
They actually dropped him with a 300 win with a Hail Mary shot in the throat. He moved 50 Yards and choked. He was
hanging vertically and it was tought to measure but he was 14'4" from his bum to the tip of his front leg. Incidentally
he had something else strange no one had ever seen before.
He had only a 50" rack , but he had 2 of them! Perfect replicas of each other out of giant bases. Neat eh!
Standing below and looking up at him was terrifying and he was dead!
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Moose are big animals, no doubt about that, but aren't that hard to kill. Unless you hit the CNS, you probably won't drop one instantly, but if you get a nice heart/lung shot give them a few minutes, they usually don't run far and will be on the ground shortly. You just can't shock these animals down. Thousands of really huge bulls are taken every year with 270, 7mm, 30-06 class rounds and as long as you put the bullet where it counts, are perfectly adequate. The trouble with 270 and 7mm on the really large 65"+ and 1700 lb bulls are that shot angles are very restrictive. I wouldn't shoot one in the hump, not a good place to shoot one, it's mostly muscle. Moose just aren't that hard to kill, they do take some time to expire, though.

300 is probably a bit more versatile than the 338, but even it isn't really needed for moose. The 30-06 gets the bullets in the performing velocity just fine out to as far as the moose needs to be shot. Use 180 grain Failsafe, Barnes or Nosler Partition and the old 30 is a grand performer.

Having said all that, I'll keep my 338 because of the bears.;)
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Optimum bullet speed

The 'time' spent inside the target has absolutely nothing to do with energy transfer. The rate of deceleration does.
Now there is an old theory..."transmission dwell". British seemed fond of it, the idea that the time spent applying force was somehow an off shoot of the momentum theory. The general idea being that a 10 foot pound force applied slowly on a bank vault door with your hip will move it...the same 10 foot pounds applied by a swinging fist just breaks your hand without moving the door.
william iorg said:
I grew up reading about W.D.M.Bell, Lysle and Pease. I am a believer in medium velocity bullets of good sectional density and bullets of either a wide meplat or good expansion.
This subject hits me close at home.
For a long time,I felt that 2300-2500FPS was the optimum for Whitetails.
I sold my 30'06 and adopted a 30/40,and my hunting load was 2500 FPS. It lived up to all my expectations.
I bought a 270Win,a while back.It grouped within a minute of angle at 2900FPS,but was woeful at 2700FPS. I sold it.
I now have a 300Savage,and am using PPB's at 2380FPS.I plan on using it this upcoming Fall.
I've never had any reason to give up on this opinion,but never tried to "sell" it either. It's good to see that I'm not alone.
2300-2500FPS is "magic" is like saying that a ferrari has a high top speed because of it's low drag. ANY bullet can kill anything @ any speed, provided the bullet was engineered for it. Bullets kill by dumping their energy into the animal in question, well a bullet aimed at a rock chuck needs to dump the energy ASAP!! However if that same bulet is expected to kill a deer, you better aim for the spine, otherwise all the energy gets dumped to quickly and no vital organs get destroyed, just meat.
As we all know bullets are expected to preform over a large range of speeds and distances. This makes it very difficult to have the bullet be very good at any one task. For this reason Round nose, or "large frontal area" bullets were made. It aids is the "opening" of the bullet, when used at lower velocities. On the other hand, use that same bullet @ very high speeds and it will act like a varmit bullet, because it is forced open too quickly. I like Barnes X-bullets if you are going to be shooting lower velocities, they will open well below what any other bullet will. Tipped bullets such as the SST and Noslers will open well at lower speeds also. Again that is fine and dandy in long shots with 30-30's or even .308's. But be prepared to laugh your tail off, when you see some gomer with his brand new 300 Ultra Mag shooting tipped bullets. Then kindly offer to provide the kill shot for the poor beast that is now pissed off and limping along.
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You lost me there, Darrker -

I think you started out phoo-hooing the use of big slow bullets and then ended up laughing about someone trying to use plastic tipped bullets in high velocity cartridges.

Can agree with the gist of your post - shouldn't use fast opening, thin jacketed bullets in high velocity rounds at close range and expect to recover much, unless varmit hunting. Shouldn't use tough jacketed or constructed bullets at low velocities and expect them to bloom into big mushrooms.

Now, the moderate velocities (and I construe this to be anywhere from 2250 - 2700 fps) work well with the soft pointed bullets that are the kitchen counter type of bullets (i.e., core-loc'd, power point, interlocked, Pro-Hunter, Game King, etc), plus a good, hardcast wide meplat bullet.

As noted, a little thought has to go into just exactly what you intend to do with the bullet/cartridge type and load accordingly.

There is no one "perfect" bullet for all instances, but the new breed of bonded bullets are getting mighty close. Have to agree too, with the Barnes "X" bullets to an extent. Their new Triple Shock bullets are proving to be very accurate in my rifle that used to hate Barnes bullets - and they aren't leaving about half of their copper in the bore like the old ones!
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In my sole opinion, bullets kill by being placed in the vital zone of an animal and penetrating those vital organs. NOT by dumpping energy into the animal.

If that were the case, than ALL those Texas Heart Shots on moose, elk, bears etc. would have dropped said animals in their tracks. In other words a hit in the rear quarter would be as good as one in the heart and lung area.

Some things that have been posted are correct! However, the guy who is talking about using 130 grain bullet on deer has NOT convinced me of this light bullet stopping deer theory. I once did that with a 30-06 and 125 grain bullets. The first time things looked good. However, the second deer hit had it's rib broke and the bullet made a big 5 inch ROSE on the animal, not killing it at all.

I use premium bullets on my big game hunts, as I have said many times before, it is the cheapest form of insurance a hunter can buy. I have never had a problem with big game using those TBBC, Nosler Partition or GOLD, Swift A Frame bullets in a 300 Win mag or 338 Win mag. Penetration is "KEY" to hunters success!
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Interesting thread. In my opinion killing results from the destruction of the CNS through a direct hit or indirectly by denying it oxygen via a rapid drop in blood pressure. The larger the surface area of a wound channel through the vitals, the more rapid the bleeding and hence the more rapid the onset of death. Bigger animals need larger wound channels with greater surface areas to achive critical losses of blood (and hence rapid blood pressure drops) than smaller animals, so generally a larger caliber is more effective. I don't believe energy has anything to do with killing effectiveness although factors that effect the creation of the wound channel do. All this assumes that correct shot placement is achieved on vital organs.
Con said:
Interesting thread. In my opinion killing results from the destruction of the CNS through a direct hit or indirectly by denying it oxygen via a rapid drop in blood pressure. The larger the surface area of a wound channel through the vitals, the more rapid the bleeding and hence the more rapid the onset of death. Bigger animals need larger wound channels with greater surface areas to achive critical losses of blood (and hence rapid blood pressure drops) than smaller animals, so generally a larger caliber is more effective. I don't believe energy has anything to do with killing effectiveness although factors that effect the creation of the wound channel do. All this assumes that correct shot placement is achieved on vital organs.
I agree with you, but there seems to be two schools of thought on this. Death occurrs from: 1- Lose of blood or 2 Shock.
I am an old bow hunter, and had a lot of experience shooting and tracking animals that I've shot as well as others have shot.

The arrow kills only by loss of blood, there is no shock to it.
Heart/Lung area hits will find the carcass 30-100 yards away dead from loss of blood. However I have seen many deer shot with a gun through the heart/Lung area that still traveled that same 30-100 yards. Humm, no shock, high loss of blood.

On the other hand, extremely high velocity bullets will"shock the system" as the bullet enters the body. If all of the energy of the bullet is used inside the body, it can produce immediate results.
I've seen our ranch owner shoot and kill a big buck in its tracks with a .17 Remington that he is fond of.

The 7mm and 300 magnums still produce those kills where tracking is involved, I believe because of bad bullet choice. It didn't use all of its energy inside the animal.

I've probably seen at least 500 deer & hogs size animals get shot, and most of them run off.

I think killing by shock is too risky to me, I would always
take a shot based on a good wound channel that would produce blood loss.

I would tell anyone here to have confidence in the shot and learn to track! You don't need to shoot a cannon.

Just holding up my end of the conversation!

Good Luck
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I've have much first hand experiance on the demise of many big game animals. Yet this subject of lethality is something I'm still learning. Every few years or so an event I've witnessed occurs which affects previous notions. I've witnessed many elk kills with various cartridges. 30-30 and 35 Remington do quite well when distances are closely observed. You won't read about these cartridges in modern elk articles but look backward to 1930's Outdoor Life and you'll discover that 35 Reminton was well rec'd by the shooting press.

300 Savage, .308, 6.5mm Swede, 7mm-08 are all so-called deer cartridges that perform quite well for elk past the 200 yard mark. Again, writers defame them as unacceptable for elk sized animals. But my first hand experiances tell me otherwise.

For example, my sister-in-law hunted elk with her .257 Roberts rifle for 5 years. But about four years ago, her bullets did not slow a bull much. We chased it a long ways before it toppled over and she had shot it four times. Perhaps Premium bullets would've made a significant difference. But difficult to determine after the fact.

Now she hunts elk with a 7mm-08 with no problems. My wife takes elk with her custom 6.5mm Swede. Neither bullet of these two cartridges is significantly larger diameter than the Roberts but lethality is quite different indeed. So as I see it, the difference is bullet weight.

As far as a cartridge's ability to quickly topple an animal the following factor is Paramount: shot placement. Shoot the animal in the right spot with the first bullet and typically the animal will fall over after a few bounds. Second factor is bullet construction: use a bullet matched to the animal you're hunting and death quickly takes place. For example, I've witnessed .223 and 64 grain Winchester bullet topple a muley just as quickly as 270 with 130 grain core-lockt. Big difference in bullet weight and diameter but results were identical.

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I also agree with Con on this one, but have my doubts about the "shock" theory. If you mean hypovolemic shock, which is caused by sudden loss of blood pressure from massive bleeding, then yes, but that goes back to causing CNS failure, which needs blood supply to function.

But when others speak of shock, it seems to conjure up the image of a bullet with so much energy it knocks the animal off its feet. I'm not sure I'd WANT to shoot a rifle that has enough power to knock a 900lb elk off it's feet from sheer impact energy; the recoil would disable the shooter. A bullet that can cause significant internal damage (not including a direct CNS hit) depends on a number of factors, including velocity, bullet construction and density, and density of the target medium, which has pretty well been covered here.

In all, it's an interesting thread. Much like the "What is the ideal bad guy stopper for CCW?" thread; I still haven't found the final answer to that one because bad guys vary. Bottom line is, hit where you aim. Bullets can't make up for improper shot placement.

Just my $.02 ;) ;)
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Metplate, Velocity, Penetration, Bullet Weight or Shot Placement?

If one ponders over the above question long enough your eyes may begin to cross over one another perhaps.

However, I believe back when factory bullets weren't able to keep up with the velocity of todays times, bullet failure was indeed going to take place. Thus the idea and testing seemed to sort that bit of information out for us. I don't think the boys in Africa should be given all the credit for such a finding. I myself believe that no matter how big a bullet might be or how slow it is going, the one thing it must do to down an animal is to penetrate it's vitals. I to this day believe that is above ALL things the most important issue.

Elmer Kieth did have a handhold on this idea himself years back no doubt! Today we do have bullets that can take the higher velocity of today's big magnums. Only to have the "Super Mags" enter the picture, which brings about more demise to the standard bullets, that hunters want to use on big game. Thus the bullet wars between companies has emerged, to the tune of who's bullet can travel the fastest?
Who's bullet is the best on penetration? Who's bullet is the most accurate at these "super sonic speeds"?

I don't think one has to Sloooow down a bullet, for the sake of doing a better job of killing a big game animal! I think what is most important is for the hunter to do his or her homework and select the bullet that will mushroom out, penetrate deeply and by all means, stay together (retaining at least 70% to 80% of it's original bullet weight) under the velocities they plan on shooting it from their gun.

I also think that plan Jane factory bullets are OK in some areas! Not for taking of elk, moose and mule deer being shot out of magnum rifles or Ultra magnum rifles at higher velocities. A hunter must use a little common sense these days in ammo selection, if not a reloader. Factory bullets today are far superior to those of yesteryear, so that should make it easy pickens for those who haven't learned the pro's and con's of bullet selection.

The other thing I wish to mention is that I myself have been doing bullet testing for over 20 years! I just don't trust everything you read in a magazine about this or that new bullet. I want to be "showed" how this product is going to preform in the hardwoods or mountain ranges. The best insurance one can take on a hunting trip, is to purchase the very best bullet available for your gun.
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