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I began to enter this under the thread of anealled nose .44's, but thought I'd better start a new thread.  

This might ruffle some feathers, but here it comes anyway.

When the subject of expanding bullets comes to mind, we think of the "classic hydrostatic shock" that was espoused by Roy Weatherby and Jack O'Connor during the golden years of magnumania, which we seem to now be revisiting.

When we speak of expanding handgun bullets, here too the idea of all bullet energy being "dumped" in our game animal by the expanding bullet when it doesn't exit, therefore we haven't wasted the energy and we have perfect performance... is hogwash!

Here's why, too much energy is used in "deforming the bullet", something these expert ballisticians and armchair theorists seem to overlook.   It take energy to deform that bullet!  These guys talk about all the energy dumped into the critter they are shooting, but the fact remains that the energy DOES NOT ALL GET DUMPED!

Ever try to deform a bullet so that it looks like the "classic mushroom" by putting it in a vice and pounding on it with a hammer?   If not you should sacrafice one bullet just to say you have... it takes a LOT OF ENERGY to deform that pill!  

Now, energy is energy, and when that bullet leaves the bore, it only has so much energy imparted to it.  Some of that energy is lost in flight by friction, the resistance to flight by our atmosphere.

Also, some of that energy is naturally lost on the animal in question as the bullet penetrates bone and flesh.   <span style='color:maroon'>But, the bulk of that energy is used to deform the bullet!</span>  That's right, not dumped on the game animal, but in the simple deformation of the bullet!  As you deformed that expanding bullet in the vise with your hammer, did you feel the bullet?  Notice how warm it became?  That is a result of the resistance to deformation, but we all know that it takes energy to heat something... right?  Where did the energy come from to deform the bullet and to make it warm up?  From the hammer you used to hit it!

Now, using this same information and applying it to the bullet penetrating the game animal we are harvesting, what is going on?  A huge percentage of the available energy is being used to deform that expanding bullet!  The game animal isn't contributing to that energy, it is merely providing the necessary resistance for the expansion to take place!  If the energy is being used to deform the bullet, then also, the heating factor, discovered in our vise/hammer experiment is also happening... all consuming energy!  

Now, having said all of this, do you really think, from a logical and realistic point of view that all the energy expended was really spent on the game animal?  Absolutely not!

As an extreme example of this, a friend of mine Peter Thorniley, the originator of the Thorniley Stopping Power Formula, was speaking to me on Christmas Day about a deer he had harvested.

He shot a smallish Oregon blacktail buck, at 40 yards with his .300 Weatherby MKV using an Alred Bonded Core 220 grain bullet at something over 3200 fps.  A frontal shot, and the bullet lodged in an off side hindquarter.  

Now, for the rest of the story... the deer never flinched!  It turned 90 degrees and ran full tilt for 80 yards!  The bullet was the "classic mushroom" when recovered, and retained 90+% of its original weight, yet failed to even knock down a peacefully feeding 120 pound class deer!

We compute the energy available here, and it is staggering... what happened?  I simply propose that it is a very extreme example of what I just outlined above!  The energy necessary to massively deform that extremely tough Alred Bonded Core Bullet probably nearly exhausted what was available to it!  If not, wouldn't you think that little blacktail deer would have done a backwards cartwheel with all the available energy "dumped" in it?

Yes this is but one example, and an extreme one that has made me consider this theory over the years... although I have no quantitative way making measurements of energy to prove it, I thought I would share it as my very biased opinion!

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Excellent points Marshall.

From a handgun standpoint, I have read more than one gun writer stating that you needed the bullet to mushroom and stay inside the animal so it could dump all it's energy on the animal. Idealy, lodging under the skin on the off side. This is a TALL order to say the least.

First off, a handgun will never compare to a high intensity rifle cartridge as to energy and hydrostatic shock affect. When I was thinking of getting into handgun hunting in the mid to late 80's, I spent more time fretting and sweating over trying to find the ideal jacketed bullet to accomplish this. It shot my confidence to crapola.

I then happened on the writings of Verl Smith. At the time he advocated "small mushrooms" with his soft-nosed lead bullets. This evolved into wide meplat handgun bullets and what really controlled wound diameter.

Since then, in using the calibers over 35, I subscribe to the full penetration school of thought and go for the largest wound diameter and fastest bleed out possible. I now handgun hunt with complete confidence and know if I do my part, the bullet will take care of the rest.

I also don't feel it's really necessary to have cylinder bulging loads in our revolvers to get the job done.

Thankfully too, the LBT designs are living on here as Verl was a pioneer in this respect.
 

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Marshall and Friends of the Forum....The one thing about this forum is IT MAKES US THINK! Again..I am impressed by this "THINK TANK"! Remember that the "eggheads" say that a bumblebee does not have the wing surface vs bsats per minutes vs body weight to fly!
A few things to throw in..it appears that Hydrostatic happens only when bullet is (or remains) above the speed of sound @ a given elavation/temp. Next.. We did prove that an non-expanding bullet lost velocity, but no weight, passing through the test material. We also proved that by enlarging the meplat of the bullet it lost more velocity. My question is..if it lost velocity, it lost energy...where did it go?
Not in deformation.
I, like the rest, feel that a large wound channel( all the way through) and deep penetration is best! Remember that Taylor's formula was about full patch roundnose bullets!
Here's a formula to play with...Sectional Density x (Meplat x Meplat)x velocity.
Marshall..I've got to think about all this awhile!
Best Regards from to Hammock....James  
 

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Mr. Gates,

You are most certainly correct about the energy transferrd by both the full patch bullets and the flat meplat bullets in the tests you did with the gelatine blocks!

My post is only meant to stimulate the synaptic receptors!  In regard to "energy dump" of EXPANDING bullets.   Obviously the bullets will impart a portion of their energy into the target, but disproportionately so by measurement when figuring in the expanding bullet and the energy it consumes being deformed.  

Besides, I like stirring the pot!

Blessings to you my friends,

Marshall
 

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I've played both sides of this question. When I shot a ground hog with a 100 grain Speer hollow point out of a 25-06, if I held him right I could see daylight thru him or shake him and he's sound like a half full thermos. Then there's shooting a whitetail with a 105 .243 round nose from Speer and there would be little hole on my side and a big hole on the other side. Shot one in the neck and it removed a whole vertibre out the other side.
Then I got bit by the big bullet bug. A 445 grain 45-70 slug out of a Siamese Mauser, some where around 2,00 fps does a fine job on deer, turkeys, the odd grouse, and a ground hog.
The big hole going in and all the way thru lets the air in real fast. One of my hunting buddies is of the mind that it's getting lots of air in the animal quickly the brings them down fast.
I think that hitting the animal with something that creates a large hole all the way thru, busting up any bones on the way thru is the best and most humane way to kill.
Jim
 

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I agree that energy dump is kind of a mystical thing.  Sometimes you see it work with fantastic results.  For example, high velocity .22 caliber bullets SOMETIMES can make "hit by a lightning bolt" kills on deer sized game and smaller.  Other times a .300 Weatherby won't stop an antelope in its tracks.  Why?  I don't know and I don't really care.  What I do know is that my .45-70 with 400 gr. cast bullets at 1900 fps. ALWAYS will drop any deer in my area when shot through the shoulders.  The deer may not DIE immediately but it always stops.  It physically cannot continue to move.  No hydraulic shock, no hydrostatic shock, no energy dump.  Just simple, bone breaking penetration.  The wound channel created by the wide meplat is just icing on the cake.  My opinion on bullet energy and other such matters is that it is Man's innate desire to predict inherently variable outcomes by quantifying everything in life into little formulas.  This is fine until he begins to substitute formulas for real world results.  Wide meplat hard cast bullets negate variability.  Just my opinion.
 

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Thanks Marshall,

I have had this very discussion with a couple of outdoors writers who apparently kill their deer with a word processor.  Energy dump is not mystical, it is mythical.  I have killed a little over 100 deer with with a broad range of calibers and conditions.  Based on my experiences I have found the only way to kill an animal is severe hemorraging.  The only way to surely stop an animal is to overload/destroy the nervous system or breakdown the support(skeletal) system beyond function.  The "bolt of lightning" hits on small vermin spoken of earlier is simply a matter of extreme overmatching of bullet to game.

As I said, my opinions stated here are the result of skinning out a lot of dead animals.
 

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Well, Boys..I didn't just get off the boat either! Let's put this thing in focus! All these formulas and tests do not tell anything about how well a bullet kills. If it's dead from a .257 Roberts or a .45-70 it's still dead! All have opinions, and opinions are like rearends--We all have one..and there's nothing unique about either. What we do know is..some tests can show one bullet's shape, and style,
against another bullet's shape or style performance-wise. It was obvious in our tests that a large meplat on a non-expanding bullet performed bettter than a roundnose. However these were tests on bullet vs bullet.The dicussions of Hyper-velocity vs. Heavy bullet is "old hat" and will go on as long as hunters pull triggers. It's kinda like..years ago Col. Townsend Whelen, John Olin (owner of Winchester-Western), Warren Page, and all of the WW sales force were at Stan & Biggie's place in St. Louis. We had a "newbie" on the sales force, who wanted to say something important. He asked the Col.-"Col.,I understand you still shoot a Highwall in .30-40 Krag...Why don't you switch to a .30-06, since it's 24% more power?" The Col. light his pipe slowly, turned to the "newbie" and said, "You know I would, but I've never killed anything 123% dead"...Finus "newbie"
So..Let's look at various test and see if anything new comes up, however most of the time it just shows what we alresdy knew..Like Little Redding said.." We will never cease exploration, and having explore all, we will find we have return to whence we began, and know it for the first time!
Best Regards from The Hammock....James
 

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Well, Boys..I didn't just get off the boat either! Let's put this thing in focus! All these formulas and tests do not tell anything about how well a bullet kills. If it's dead from a .257 Roberts or a .45-70 it's still dead! All have opinions, and opinions are like rearends--We all have one..and there's nothing unique about either. What we do know is..some tests can show one bullet's shape, and style,
against another bullet's shape or style performance-wise. It was obvious in our tests that a large meplat on a non-expanding bullet performed bettter than a roundnose. However these were tests on bullet vs bullet.The dicussions of Hyper-velocity vs. Heavy bullet is "old hat" and will go on as long as hunters pull triggers. It's kinda like..years ago Col. Townsend Whelen, John Olin (owner of Winchester-Western), Warren Page, and all of the WW sales force were at Stan & Biggie's place in St. Louis. We had a "newbie" on the sales force, who wanted to say something important. He asked the Col.-"Col.,I understand you still shoot a Highwall in .30-40 Krag...Why don't you switch to a .30-06, since it's 24% more power?" The Col. light his pipe slowly, turned to the "newbie" and said, "You know I would, but I've never killed anything 123% dead"...Finus "newbie"
So..Let's look at various test and see if anything new comes up, however most of the time it just shows what we alresdy knew..Like Little Redding said.." We will never cease exploration, and having explore all, we will find we have return to whence we began, and know it for the first time!
Best Regards from The Hammock....James
 

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This is just too tasty to pass it by.  You see, I started reading all about guns & bullets & penetration & such in the early 70's.  From those who purported to represent truth. I heard all about minimum energy to kill a deer (1000 ft lbs), using all the energy inside the animal, faster is always better, 1:38" twist will not stabilize heavy bullets and on and on.  Over the last 10 years I have been slowly unlearning all the garbage that was (and still is in some cases) for sale at the newstand.  There were are are a few good writers but the key word is few.

Personally, I have this theory of how the truth got so ignored.  It was like a couple of narcotics.  About a hundred years ago, our forefathers smelled smokeless powder and lusted after jacketed bullets.  Just like a drug addict, all good sense went out the window.  Everything was about speed, speed and more speed.  Momentum picked up (though the opposite was happening to the bullets) until sillyness became the truth.  

It seems that we are just now picking up where we left off a hundred years ago for both rifles and handguns.  There are exceptions to that of course, but pretty few.  It is good that men like Veral Smith and Marshall Stanton keep shouting the truth until it is heard.  For example, can anybody understand why it took so long for the advantages of flat nosed bullets to be seen over round nosed bullets (I know that this is mostly an issue since we started either hardening lead bullets or putting jackets on them).  

Yes sir, give me big, deep, through and through holes.  Give enough velocity to make the hole with accuracy.  Then buy a bigger freezer!  

Thank you Marshall for stirring things up.  One of our greatest challenges both in this context and in life in general (pardon my soapbox) is to find the truth and stick to it.  Thanks.

God bless....................  Bill M
 

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Excellent thread, and certainly proves the point that since no two animals are the same or will react the same after being shot, it's best to go with a weapon that will give you the greatest chance of recovery in as many situations as possible.  A 100 grain jacketed bullet at 3000 fps will certainly be effective on a deer struck broadside through the lung/heart area, but would you like that same bullet when presented with a facing shot?

I also have been on the broad, cast bullet wagon for a few years now.  There are some good jacketed handgun bullets out there, the Nosler Partition being one of the better.  But, for ALL possible circumstances it seems tough to beat the "punch a big hole on both sides" concept.  I've also shot a fair number of deer with a bow and arrow, and the same concept applies there.  No arrow is going to kill by shock, but it will cut a good hole and bleed it out.  Now if the hole is on both sides, it just helps with the tracking.............
 

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Here are the addresses of two interesting articles on this subject. Both are quite long.

http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/wpages/wpgs650/buffalo.htm

  The memoirs of an old buffalo hunter. Some information on the old Sharps rifles and how they killed.


http://ulfhere.freeyellow.com/ballistics/wounding.html
 
  The strong opinions of a "Ballistics Engineer" (?). This one should start a few fights.

Bye
Jack
 

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Matt,

The small mushroom theory that Veral Smith subscribed to with his earlier soft noses was based on the Nosler partition concept. A soft front that mushrooms immediately with the rear most area of the bullet that stays intact (partition). If the front portion is even torn off, the rear portion powers on through being essentailly a wadcutter.

Now we are just using the rear portion concept with the wide flat nosed slugs we use today in the bigger calibers.

Marshall has some great writings with the 30 calibers and soft noses.
 

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I read the story about the Buffalo Hunter and enjoyed it very much.  Then I attempted to read the balistics article.  I am currently half way through it and I have a headache.  Where is my Excedrins?

From what I have read so far, it comes down to what Keith said:  Big Flat Bullet going fairly fast = end of situation and / or meat on table.
 

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Hey, Hey way to stir things up Marshall! Well as long as everyone else is contributing......here goes my pennies worth. All this talk about energy, expansion, theories, etc. dosent mean squat. All it does is get your brain hurting trying to figure out an answer that is so simple. An animal dies, or a human for that matter, from one of two things ...Blood loss or a central nervous system shutdown, Period. How you cause that is very subjective. A .458 Winchester Magnum with a wide meplat bullet shot full length through an elk will kill it. Guaranteed! BUT will it drop immediatly, maybe, maybe not. But a .223 through his brain will drop him in his tracks! Guaranteed! So what did we learn? That the .458 Winchester Magnum is not adequate for elk? No. Is the .223 the best elk caliber in the world? No. It only worked because the  central nervous system was shut down!!! Given enough time the elk would have expired with the .458 because of a severe loss of blood pressure. Now, the bigger the hole you make and the number of holes you make contribute to this rapid drop in blood pressure, thats where the LBT's come in. They make a large hole going in and coming out which makes the blood pressure drop quicker, Correct!
Lets pretend a minute. Lets say you have a Buck Rogers ray gun. And this ray gun has a dial that you can adjust to make your ray any diameter you want from .22 cal all the way up to 3" Which one of these diameters is going to cause the quickest drop in blood pressure. If you said the .22 cal you need to shut this computer down and go back to watching Sponge Bob Square Pants on the T.V. I think you all get my drift on this subject. Large hole, complete penetration, rapid blood loss, freezer full.
End of Surmon

God Bless

Chris
 

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The only thing that's "mythical" about "energy dump"  ---  is that it's not mythical.  -----  It's just that there are a lot of VARIABLES.  -----  There are variables within and without the target/carcas/animal;  ---  internal (wound) ballistics, external projectile ballistics, -- the "wizardry" of propulsion, etc. etc.   -----   Certain COMBINATIONS produce an optimum killing and /or stopping power, that appears to be superior to others that; have the same MV, or SD and MV, or jacket thickness or bullet construction  --  or any other COMBINATION of variables. --  But the trap in perception, here is that almost everyone puts blinders on and tries to think in a linear way; in terms of one or more of these -- ( i.e. tunnel vision).   --   Ideal "energy dump" is when a bullet expends all of it's energy inside the target, and just barely pops out on the other side (leaving an entrance and an exit hole).  -- But that says nothing about the wound channel, and/or WHERE most of the energy was "dumped".  ---  And all of that, does not explain why some "mythical" cartridge/bullet combinations, kill, stop, clobber, thump; -- better than others.  --- The ultimate answer lies in so many variables and thousands of combinations of those variables as to defy easy formulization.  -----  Better to study FIELD RESULTS (the bigger the data base, the better); -- especially in terms of the specific animal you plan to hunt,   ---  and forget about "mythical" concepts like "energy dump"   (which entail a million variables).   ----  I like straightforward PRACTICAL concepts like the legendary "Use Enough Gun"  --- "Legendary" is better than "Mythical".      ---------- MMCOUGAR.
 

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I stand by my earlier post as to "energy dump".  To answer your question, most of the energy goes into deforming the bullet.  Many people seem to confuse the idea of energy and work.  If my 260 grain JSP Freedom Arms factory load was to impart all its 2200 foot pounds of energy into a 150 pound deer, it would be moved several feet in a direction. This is work, also known as the energy dump.  Anyone who has shot animals in the field knows that this does not happen except in the case of extremely overmatching bullet to quarry, i.e. prarie dog shooting.   We are in agreement on the use enough gun.  Energy dump in my opinino is just a term that gun writers use whislt killing game with their word processors and not their firearms.  

(Edited by MS Hitman at 6:37 pm on Jan. 17, 2001)
 

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 ---  MS HITMAN  ---  I agree, I agree. ---  "Energy Dump" is kind of an abstract and theoretical consideration in the (practical) business of hunting.  ----  It surely exists, -  it is quantifiable; -  an expert with a specialty in internal ballistics can reduce it to math, and can show it graphically in controlled mediums (like gelatin blocks), etc. etc.  -----  But when you introduce the other Variables found in the field; and in the animal, and in the CIRCUMSTANCES of "the shot", -- it becomes pretty theoretical.   ---  There was a time early in the evolution of jacketed handgun bullets, -- when energy dump was a big topic in defense handgun work (and in law enforcement).  --  But it was discussed so intensely, because they didn't have well designed jacketed bullets that opened up reliably, and resulted in "energy dump".  --  Almost all magnum bullets "shot through" with lots of steam left.  ---  This terrified police departments and agencies with the specter of innocent bystanders, down-range, being hit; (and well it should have).  ---  It was a highly relevant concept in that context; --  but actually, "energy dump" just became a buzz-word to ask the questions; -- does the round have a good chance of transferring all of that energy into the target, to stop the undesired behavior (usually shooting at the Officer) -- and will it overpenetrate and harm someone down range - ??  -----  In the Hunting arena, I don't think it's that important a concept.  ----   Better to read up on what works well for what you want to hunt;  --  gather all the info. you can via cartridge manufacturers, experienced hunters; and most important, expand your own experience.  ---  You have to decide what CIRCUMSTANCES you want to give top priority to;  --  e.g. are you interested in stopping an adrenaline filled Bear, in full charge - ?  --  or are you going Bear Hunting - ?    -----  Do you want your .45-70 or .458 to shoot through for maximum PENETRATION AND BONE-BREAKING (from any angle) or do you want maximum shock and disruption in the vital organs on a heart-lung shot - ?   -----   When you decide your PRIORITIES; --  then, how much "penetration" vs. how much shock ("energy dump"), and how deep inside you want that dump to occur, becomes a usefull concept.   ----------     MMCOUGAR.
 

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Energy alone will not stop or kill any creature by itself in almost all circumstances. For example, I'm confident many of us have been hit with a baseball. If you just consider the amount of energy you absorb by that thrown baseball, then you've just been hit with the equivalent of a .45ACP or better. But unless you're unfortunate enough to have been hit in the head and not wearing a batting helmet, then most likely you aren't dead or hospitalized. That's because the energy wasn't directed to a vital spot, nor did it penetrate to reach vital places. The same can be said for bullets and game or miscreants. Unless the blow can be well-placed, it matters little what one shoots. Your game will get away. Or in the case of anti-personnel defense, your attacker may still be able to inflict a dangerous blow to you. Either way, accurate placement is arguably THE key component to clean kills or "one shot stops." This is a lesson on which I think we all agree.

The small blacktail stopping the .300 Magnum/220 is quite interesting. I don't think any of us can explain it. If you hunt long enough, such oddities will happen. But that doesn't mean a .300/220 still isn't pretty darn good medicine for elk, big bears or lion. Nor does it mean all those deer taken every year by .243/100's, .257/117's and .270/130's are less dead. In the vast majority of similar cases, I think blacktail hunters would be far better armed with one of the latter cartridges than a .300 Magnum and stoutly-constructed 220's. If anything can be learned from that incident it's that this particular Alred Bonded Core bullet didn't penetrate very well. That long 220 should still be going after full penetration of a 120 lb. deer!
 
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