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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys!

I was planning a bear hunt for Alaska 2012. At first, I was thinking of taking my .338-378 Weatherby Magnum. I changed my mind and decided that my 375 H&H Browning would do just fine, even with the recoil.

I then began to think about the possiblity of missing my shot on a large, dangerous, and enraged large animal such as the Kodiak or the Polar bear. Perhaps, it won't be a safe miss at all.

What if it's just a matter of wounding the beast and I succeed at just pissing him off? Then what? What do I do next?

At first, I said to myself,..."I'll just carry my .357 Dan Wesson, like I usually do!" But no! I don't want to do the usual thing that I'm accustomed to doing. That's kinda boring...

Next I thought, I know, I'll just carry my 12 gauge Ithaca pump and slug 'em up close. However, I had never really used slugs on deer and antelope, and most certainly never on large and dangerous grizzly, Kodiak, or Polar bears. I therefore, began to research just exactly how effective a shotgun slug would be, when used on a large bear.

Well, as it turns out, shotgun slugs have lousy effects on large-boned animals. They're most probably best suited for thin-skinned deer-sized prey and that's about it. Scientifically speaking, there's actually a calculation that is frequently used in order to determine the lethality of the rounds used on the prey that we hunt when using firearms. It's called the "sectional density". The way it's calculated is you take the weight in pounds and divide it by the square of the caliber in inches. So let's just say that you have a .50 caliber round that has a weight of 260 grains. The calculation would follow as :


(250 grains /1) X (1oz./ 437.5 grains) X (1 pound/ 16 oz.) = .0357 pound or .036 pound Now, that's your weight in pounds for the conical.

Remember: 1 oz. = 437.5 grains ****************** 16 oz. = 1 pound

The next thing that you'll need will be the diameter. Well, that's easy! It's .50 inch, that's the caliber! Now! Square that number! Let's see (.50)^2 = .50 X .50
= .25

Ok, now divide 0.25 inch squared into .036 pound to get the sectional density:

Let' see now: 0.25 squared inches into .036 pound ---> .036/ 0.25 = 0.144

Well, I'll tell ya right now, that 0.144 is a lousy sectional density quotient, if your goal is to properly dispense with your prey. So therefore, what are you to do?

That's right! You increase the weight of the conical! Let's try a conical that has a weight of let's say, 400 grains :

Let's see,

(400 grains/1) X (1 oz./437.5 grains) X (1 pound/ 16 oz.) = 0.057 pound

Therefore:

0.057/ 0.25 = 0.229 Hey! Now that's a much better quotient for a sectional density!

* Anytime you get a quotient less than 0.200 for a sectional density, you'll have reason to be concerned!

Also:

Remember this number forever: 437.5 X 16 = 7000

Now to continue:

So most shotgun slugs have sectional densities of .150 or worse. Once I discovered that, I began to investigate the practical use of a muzzleloader, as it pertains to large and dangerous prey such as the Kodiak or Polar bear.

I determined that if you use .54 caliber conicals that weigh at least 410 grains, you'll get
0.200, for a minimally acceptable quotient for a sectional density.

Therefore, logically speaking, anyone entertaining the idea of hunting any deer-sized prey or larger with slugs, should most seriously consider a viable alternative, such as muzzleloading.
In muzzleloading, you have greater control over more variables when hunting. However, since muzzleloading requires that you fire at shorter ranges in order to have good intial impact, you will be forced to close the distance between yourself and your prey. Shooting at closer distances will insure your sectional density value. However, your instrument is a muzzleloader. Therefore, you'll only have one shot. So, you'd better make it good!:)

In general, the the thinner and more massive a conical, sabot, or bullet is, the greater its sectional density.

I have therefore, decided to hunt bear in Alaska with muzzleloaders, during the year of 2012. Hopefully, I will convince both my son, Derek and my nephew, Tevin to join me in my hunt! They are both great marksmen with centerfire, rimfire, or muzzleloading rifles. I will also have my AK 47 in tow as well, just in case things go south! Of course, I will have a marksman of a guide to serve as wingman throughout the hunt.:)

PS.

Shotgun Slug Sectional Density Calculation:

12 gauge = 0.73 inch (caliber) ************** Weight = 1.25 oz.

Therefore:

(1.25 oz./1) X (1 pound/ 16 oz.) = 0.078 pound

0.078/ 0.533 = 0.146 --------------> And THIS is NOT an acceptable quotient for sectional density!
 

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Thanks that was interesting and some good info. I never really thought much about the sectional density of shotgun slugs. I always thought because they were heavy and a big diameter they should be awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks that was interesting and some good info. I never really thought much about the sectional density of shotgun slugs. I always thought because they were heavy and a big diameter they should be awesome.
Hey there Roverboy!

Yep!

That's exactly what I was thinking too! However, I just kept getting naggingly conflicting stories from deer hunters who hunt with shotgun slugs, about the long distances that they had to track deer and one time, even a hog. Then, someone would tell me that their slugs are like magic and whenever they hit a deer, they stop 'em dead in their tracks. They all seemed to be hunting with reliable slugs from reputable companies. I just seriously suspected that something was wrong. I now am quite certain that I've figured it out.

The guy who is always successful with his deer hunts who wears contacts, name is Tommy. He is slightly visually impaired and must do everything close up. You outta see this guy watch TV. He's right up on the screen! You have to ask him to back up so that everyone else can see.

The other guy, Warren, always brags about his 20/20 vision and not needing a scope to hunt with his shotgun. However, he always seems to be the one who has the problems with bagging his deer. The reason. He's too far away! He's thinking that this powerful magnum slug is just going to knock the heck outta this deer. However, he's to far away to insure a kill due to his very low sectional density and his long distance away from his prey.

Given the same distance away, I'll just bet you these guys would have very similiar results!

Respectfully,
Koanbred:)
 

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If it were me and I was going after dangerous bear with a muzzleloader... look at a White Rifle. Mine shoots a 495 grain .504 diameter or 460 grain .504 diameter conical bullet with all the authority you can stand. Also White Rifles are known for their excellent accuracy. Doc White, the inventor of the rifle has even hunted cape buffalo in Africa with the same kind of rifle. If memory serves me, he was shooting 120 grains of Pyrodex P and one of them large conical bullets.

The rifle is a great deer rifle also, all you do is load them down.



It will shoot some impressive groups. I do have a 2-7x32mm Nikon Pro Staff on the rifle.



Even with low charges you get excellent expansion from the pure lead conical bullets.



With a low charge penetration is very impressive. This was solid poplar wood. Eight inches of penetration is not too bad for that low of a charge.

A person I talk to on line uses his for elk all the time. He shoots 100 grains of powder and says it has all the power you need. Also a White shoots a slip fit conical bullet. That means a fast second shot (if a muzzleloader has such a thing). You dump the powder push the bullet into the barrel, with very light pressure it will seat the conical, cap it and your ready for that second shot.

Just a thought.
 

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Comparing projectiles solely on the basis of sectional density is very misleading, unless the projectiles in question have the exact same nose shape, velocity, and don't expand.

Once a bullet starts to expand then the sectional density changes in a very dynamic way as the cross-sectional area increases. Mostly bullets deform into what resembles a giant round nose, but that is not universal (think Barnes "X" or similar Failsafe, et al). In addition, some amount of the bullet's momentum is lost by the effort needed to deform the nose. Last, many experimenters have shown that certain velocity ranges are going to be idea for maximum penetration (look up results on the Linebaugh seminars).

All this comes very much into play with shotguns and muzzleloaders, as the savvy hunter can use projectiles that won't expand yet will still produce an impressive wound channel. Handgun hunters have learned this too over the years. Based on my experience with handgun hunting, I would take virtually any of the Dixie Slugs heat-treated projectiles as compared to any common muzzleloader bullet, sectional density be darned. That, and sometimes I miss with the first shot ;)

About the only absolute statement you can make is that the long, heavy muzzleloader bullets will surely have a flatter trajectory way out yonder as compared to the very blunt slugs. Whether that is relevant is a decision that the individual hunter must make.

So, comparing the sectional density of muzzleloader bullet "A" to soft Foster-slug "B" is not necessarily relevant, and yields little useful information.
 

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Mike,

To your point: I have often wondered why the bullets so often sold in ML sabot kits are the XTP or plastic tip style and not something like the LBT, which penetrates so well, irrespective of sectional density. Also, as projectile weight goes up, sectional density matters less, since you're talking about a substantial amount of inertia. The only place I've ever seen sectional density arguments as making any sense at all, is to describe how relatively small diameter bullets, in medium to heavy-for-caliber weights, penetrate very well, while still giving decent expansion and devastating wound channels.

A hardened, full-diameter shotgun slug that does not deform or expand, is going to penetrate and break down a large, dangerous animal as well as, or better than, anything else on the market, at relatively short ranges. To cite sectional density as a limiting factor, at close range, is missing the big picture.

Koanbred, take a picture of that big ol' hunk of hardened lead and you'll see what we mean! Better yet, get some pictures from the boys at Dixie Slugs and it will become crystal clear. :)
 

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If I'm going after big, pissed off bear I'm taking a 12 gauge with some sort of hard cast slugs like the dixie slugs some thing along that line, not a ML.

99 percent of factory slug ammunition sold in this country is meant for deer. Not big bear. That would be like wondering why your 250 savage or 30-30 didn't do well. Change the slug to something designed for that game and keep the distances "normal" and you'll have no problems at all. Big bear need hard bullets, not the softies that are sold in Dick's and Walmart.

Dixie slugs, certain Brenneke's (I'm actually not even sure if they make the ones that were "hard cast" anymore to tell the truth), the US-S slugs from european cartridge (good luck affording those, however I would not be afraid to use them on any animal on this earth) and a few others are totally fine for bear, even as a sole primary weapon.
 
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