Shooters Forum banner

Optimum and Maximum Practical Game Weight

9914 Views 39 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  mikmarandola
I have searched the internet for Information on stopping power and formulas and tried to figure a formula to account for explosive wounding. This formula can be found under Hunting Stories, perhaps the wrong place to put it..

As I said before I think the Taylor, Hatcher and Thornily formulas to be among the best. I found a post on a forum claiming the Optimal game weight formula to be the best. I found a ballistic program which whilst calculating a ballistic chart also would calculate Taylor's knockdown number or any other of twenty-six knockdown formulas.

The text attached to the program gave the formulas, plus other formulas to calculate gel wood and steel penetration. It also had a chart for each formula so you could know what was needed for each class of game. When you calculated the number for a deer rifle on Taylor's chart, then calculated the number for almost any other formula it still came out as a deer rifle. So it matters not what formula you use as long as you have a chart to go with it.

I then thought what is the best formula. Going back to what I know.

1/ The 45 auto has a great reputation for short range stopping power. It loses 30ft/sec over 100yds so it doesn't lose much stopping power over distance.

2/ The 30 cal carbine was considered to be a bit marginal when it came to stopping determined enemies.

3/ The 223 Armalite/M16 could inflict terrible wounds (at short range) due to explosive wounding and or an unstable bullet.

I think these guns should be rated 1, 3, 2, or perhaps 3, 1, 2, at very short range. Looking at these weapons using OGW gives 1/ = 41lb 2/ =141lb 3/ = 97lbs.
The advantage of this formula is obvious, a 150lb deer is to much for a 45 auto, or is it.

There were several game weight formulas with my ballistics program. My favourite Maximum Practical Game Weight uses Energy calibre and bullet weight to produce the target game weight. EN x BW x CAL divided by 100
1/ = 341lb 2/ = 203lb 3/ = 111lb if these weights are the maximum you can expect to get a quick kill with a well placed bullet. I then divide by 2 to get what I consider the "Optimum" game weight". The result means (3/ = 56) the Armalite/M16 could be relied on to take down coyotes at over 100yds. If the game is dangerous divide by 4, e.g. You have just been surprised by a 120lb mountain lion at 50 paces you can't rely on a 45 auto (1/ = 85) to stop it with one shot.
I haven't forgotten about bullet types I would multiply the above numbers by Hatcher's bullet chart e.g. 0.9 for FMJ, 1 for LRN. I have read that pointed bullet tend to tumble for these I would use a factor of 1.5 which still doesn't turn the Armalite/M16 into a good deer rifle.
With these and most other stopping power formulas a base ball has more stopping power than a big game rifle. However apples are not oranges and a baseball is not a bullet. The formula I Have for Gel Penetration is:
MOM divided by Cal^2 x 6.625
This gives a gel penetration of .9 inches hardly what is required for an offensive weapon.
As for explosive wounding as far as I know it seems to happen with very high velocity bullets. Perhaps this is already figured in the formula as energy increases with the square of velocity so does the expectation of explosive wounding occur.
After much study these two formulas seem much better than I originally thought.
See less See more
1 - 12 of 40 Posts
FWIW - None of the three cartridges you listed are "good" deer hunting rounds. They can be used, in some places, though most states ban them for hunting deer...and with good reason.
The 223 is rather effective on Deer with a proper bullet.

This thread is about nothing but Deer taken with the 223:

Shot location is the most important and then the bullet.
I'd bet that a properly place 45 ACP bullet will most certainly stop a Couger pronto
Well, that's a topic I won't debate again, but as I stated, most game agencies do not allow them, probably because too many uneducated hunters would try to use military ammo or something with a bullet that is NOT well-suited to harvesting big game. Note that I said they're not "good" deer cartridges, but stopped shy of saying they aren't capable, in the right hands and in the right situations.

The Military ammo is not a good arguement. The 308 and the 30-06 has and or doe have a lot of FMJ ammo available on the market. Also FMJ ammo is not legal for hunting in the US that I am aware of.

Many states do allow 22 center fire for huntin and I would argue that state that do not are ill informed
The most dangerous game on the face of the Earth is hunted with the 5.56 NATO round IE 223
...and with bullets expressly intended, by international treaty, to wound, not kill. Also, I hold my enemy in contempt, and the game I hunt in the highest regard. If the former suffers I will not lose sleep, but I absolutely have and will, if the latter does not die expeditiously.

I have introduced more than a few new people to hunting big game and would never even consider recommending a 223 for such. As many of the members on this sight have noted, the much more powerful 243 is an "expert's" cartridge. What does that make the 223?

I have nothing further to say on the subject. I respect your right to use it, where legal, but I have even greater respect for the animals I hunt, as well as the hunters who choose an appropriate tool to do so.

That is totally incorrect. You may have confused the Hague accord with a treaty, but the the US is not a signature if the Hague accord. The military also use th SMK bullets in there Sniper rifles and the Marine Corp recently purchased 2 million rounds of "open tip" ammo for their troops to use in the M-16/M-4 weapons

I've too many beginers and women use the 223 and 243 very sucessfully on Deer to classify them as an experts gun

As with all calibers and weapons bullet choice and shot placement is for more important.

I know a local hunter here that swears that a 243 is a better Deer killer than the 264 win mag, because he has had more Deer run with the 264. That does not make his assertion true, but that has been his experience

This thread has post by a LOT of people successfully using the 223 on Deer and at least 1 or 2 photos of the wound channel damage and the damage is impressive and does not look inadequate
See less See more
Interesting read on the Military's use of "open tip" ammo

Jag Ruling:


From here:

  1. Law of War Application.

    From both a legal and medical standpoint, the lethality or incapacitation effects of a particular small-caliber projectile must be measured against comparable projectiles in service. In the military small arms field, "small caliber" generally includes all rifle projectiles up to and including .60 caliber (15mm). For the purposes of this review, however, comparison will be limited to small-caliber ammunition in the range of 5.45mm to 7.62mm, that is, that currently in use in assault or sniper rifles by the military services of most nations.

    Wound ballistic research over the past fifteen years has determined that the prohibition contained in the 1899 Hague Declaration is of minimal to no value, inasmuch as virtually all jacketed military bullets employed since 1899 with pointed ogival spitzer tip shape have a tendency to fragment on impact with soft tissue, harder organs, bone or the clothing and/or equipment worn by the individual soldier.

    The pointed ogival spitzer tip, shared by all modern military bullets, reflects the balancing by nations of the criteria of military necessity and unnecessary suffering: its streamlined shape decreases air drag, allowing the bullet to retain velocity better for improved long-range performance; a modern military 7.62mm bullet will lose only about one-third of its muzzle velocity over 500 yards, while the same weight bullet with a round-nose shape will lose more than one-half of its velocity over the same distance. Yet the pointed ogival spitzer tip shape also leads to greater bullet breakup, and potentially greater injury to the soldier by such a bullet vis-à-vis a round-nose full-metal jacketed bullet. (See Dr. M. L. Fackler, "Wounding Patterns for Military Rifle Bullets," International Defense Review, January 1989, pp. 56-64, at 63.)

    Weighing the increased performance of the pointed ogival spitzer tip bullet against the increased injury its breakup may bring, the nations of the world-- through almost a century of practice--have concluded that the need for the former outweighs concern for the latter, and does not result in unnecessary suffering as prohibited by the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Expanding Bullets or article 23e of the 1907 Hague Convention IV. The 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Expanding Bullets remains valid for expression of the principle that a nation may not employ a bullet that expands easily on impact for the purpose of unnecessarily aggravating the wound inflicted upon an enemy soldier. Such a bullet also would be prohibited by article 23e of the 1907 Hague IV, however. Another concept fundamental to the law of war is the principle of discrimination, that is, utilization of means or methods that distinguish to the extent possible legitimate targets, such as enemy soldiers, from noncombatants, whether enemy wounded and sick, medical personnel, or innocent civilians. The highly trained military sniper with his special rifle and match grade ammunition epitomizes the principle of discrimination. In combat, most targets are covered or obscured, move unpredictably, and as a consequence are exposed to hostile fire for limited periods of time. When coupled with the level of marksmanship training provided the average soldier and the stress of combat, a soldier's aiming errors are large and hit probability is correspondingly low. While the M16A2 rifle currently used by the United States Army and Marine Corps is capable of acceptable accuracy out to six hundred meters, the probability of an average soldier hitting an enemy soldier at three hundred meters is ten percent.

    Statistics from past wars suggest that this probability figure may be optimistic. In Would War II, the United States and its allies expended 25,000 rounds of ammunition to kill a single enemy soldier. In the Korean War, the ammunition expenditure had increased four-fold to 100,000 rounds per soldier; in the Vietnam War, that figure had doubled to 200,000 rounds of ammunition for the death of a single enemy soldier. The risk to noncombatants is apparent.

    In contrast, United States Army and Marine Corps snipers in the Vietnam War expended 1.3 rounds of ammunition for each claimed and verified kill, at an average range of six hundred yards, or almost twice the three hundred meters cited above for combat engagements by the average soldier. Some verified kills were at ranges in excess of 1000 yards. This represents discrimination and military efficiency of the highest order, as well as minimization of risk to noncombatants. Utilization of a bullet that increases accuracy, such as the MatchKing, would further diminish the risk to noncombatants.
  2. Conclusion.

    The purpose of the 7.62mm "open-tip" MatchKing bullet is to provide maximum accuracy at very long range. Like most 5.56mm and 7.62mm military ball bullets, it may fragment upon striking its target, although the probability of its fragmentation is not as great as some military ball bullets currently in use by some nations. Bullet fragmentation is not a design characteristic, however, nor a purpose for use of the MatchKing by United State Army snipers. Wounds caused by MatchKing ammunition are similar to those caused by a fully jacketed military ball bullet, which is legal under the law of war, when compared at the same ranges and under the same conditions. The military necessity for its use-- its ability to offer maximum accuracy at very long ranges--is complemented by the high degree of discriminate fire it offers in the hands of a trained sniper. It not only meets, but exceeds, the law of war obligations of the United States for use in combat.
This opinion has been coordinated with the Department of State, Army General Counsel, and the Offices of the Judge Advocates General of the Navy and Air Force, who concur with its contents and conclusions.

An opinion that reaches the same conclusion has been issued simultaneously for the Navy and Marine Corps by The Judge Advocate General of the Navy.

Authored by W. Hays Parks, Colonel, USMC,
Chief of the JAG's International Law Branch
FNa1. The M118 bullet is loaded into a 7.62mm (caliber .308) cartridge. In its original loading in the earlier .30-06 cartridge, it was the M72.

FNaa1. While this review is written in the context of the M852 Sierra MatchKing 168-grain "open-tip" bullet and a 180-grain version, the MatchKing bullet (and similar bullets of other manufacturers) is also produced in other bullet weights of 7.62mm rifles (.308, .30-06, or .300 Winchester Magnum).

FNaaa1. For example, 7.62mm bullets manufactured to NATO military specifications and used by the Federal Republic of Germany have a substantially greater tendency to fragment in soft tissue than do the U.S. M80 7.62mm ammunition made to the same specifications, the M118, or the M852 MatchKing. None fragment as quickly or easily upon entry into soft tissue as the 5.56mm ammunition manufactured to NATO standards and issued to its forces by the Government of Sweden. Its early fragmentation leads to far more severe wounds than any bullet manufactured to military specifications and utilized by the U.S. military during the past quarter century (whether the M80 7.62mm, the M16A1, M193 or M16A2 5.56mm) or the opentip MatchKing bullet under consideration
See less See more
Sierra Match-King "open tip" bullets are not to be confused with hollow points; ie, they are not designed for rapid or violent expansion. Their hollow-tip design, as explained above, is there to promote greater long range accuracy and velocity. As such, they do not expand the way a "hunting" bullet would, nor does Sierra advocate their use for such purposes. I would also point out that the preponderance of the dissertation you referenced above pertains to 308 caliber ammunition, as explained in the footnotes.

To clarify: A competent shooter, using a firearm chambered for the .223 Remington cartridge, with an appropriate bullet, can successfully harvest deer-sized game. I do not dispute that and haven't since responding to the OP. What I have said, repeatedly, is that it is not a "good" deer cartridge. It allows little to no margin for error. In my opinion, and in the opinion of most game agencies in this country, the 223 Remington is not powerful enough to consistently and humanely harvest deer under a wide variety of conditions. It is a marginal cartridge that is effective under ideal conditions. Hunt long enough and you'll eventually discover that you don't always have ideal conditions. The 223 is a great varmint cartridge and is best utilized as such. In the south, where the live weight of a deer is frequently 150 pounds or less, sometimes quite a bit less, perhaps it is suitable for hunting them. However, even then there are better options that offer a significantly better compromise between bullet weight, sectional density and recoil.

On a related topic, I find it ironic that your tag line suggests you prefer a 45 caliber handgun over a 9mm, yet you espouse the virtues of a center-fire 22 varmint cartridge for big game. To each their own, where the law allows, anyway. :rolleyes:

The SMK "open tip" bullets contain nothing but air and while designed as a match bullet they do in fact expand and or fragment in flesh violently IME on game. True the SMK was designed as Match bullet only when it was designed. Sierra will never ever recommend the SMK for hunting as long as they have the Military contract. That was one of the determ9ining factors in choosing the bullet (the fact that the bullet was not tested nor recomended for hunting). As a matter of fact Berger Bullet were never recommended for hunting until it became clear to them that they were not going to get the Military contract away from Sierra.

The military is playing semantics with thephrase "open tip". The SEALS have been using 77 grain Barnes TSX in their M-4s. Imagine they are just "open tip" as well.

The 9mm and the 45ACP do not exceed 2000 FPS and does not create the amount of hydraulic pressure the way a high velocity rifle does. Secondary wounding does not acure below 2000 FPS. The 9mm and the 45 ACP rely only on the bullets frontal area to cruch tissue, thus my preference for the larger caliber

Wound channel of a 223 on Deer and recovered bullet, doesn't look marginal to me

from here:
See less See more
A 130 grain Partition on this Deer just a couple days ago did not exit. This Deer ran and no blood trail in fact no blood where we found it. I am glad that you have never reocvered a bullet, because penetrationis good, but failure to exit happens rather regularly even with larger than 223 rifles

NO Exit

See less See more
I've acknowledged that deer in the south are smaller and even said, "The 223 is a great varmint cartridge and is best utilized as such. In the south, where the live weight of a deer is frequently 150 pounds or less, sometimes quite a bit less, perhaps it is suitable for hunting them."

What I must not be conveying very well is that I never said you can't kill a deer with a .223 Remington...I just said it's not a good cartridge for the job. I stand by that, even on smaller deer. If others choose to use one, where it has been deemed sufficient, I'm fine with their choice. On the other side of the equation, I think a 300 Win Mag is too BIG for hunting deer with, but I also don't have a problem with someone choosing that caliber, if it's what they want to use. Neither is a particularly good choice if guns chambered for other cartridges are available and neither is anywhere close to ideal for inexperienced hunters. Whether others agree with me or not is immaterial...I will not equivocate to appease anyone, particularly when it's strictly a matter of opinion.

If the 223 is not a good choice then it must be a bad choice and that is where we differ. Too many Deer killed cleanly for it to be a bad choice

On the other hand if you mean that the 223 is not your choice then no difference here. It's not my choice either, but I can't call it a bad choice when it is proven to work
Obviously there are a lot of people using the 223s for huning judging from the amount of Deer bullets made in the calber.
Barnes, Nosler, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Winchester all make bullets suitable for Deer.

Natives in Alaska even hunt and kill bears with the 223. Yes, Grizz and Polar

Check out the link they went hunting this bear with a 223
I agree with you Broom 110% ...

a .243 is plenty, a .223 is not. and anybody that really believes otherwise is not well informed.

you can lead a man to knowledge, but you cannot make him think......

To ignore the many Deer taken successfuly each year with the 223 is to ignore the facts

If the 22 center fires were not used by so many each year, then there would be no market for the "Deer" bullets made for them by MANY manufacturors, including but not limited to Nosler, Speer, Barnes, TBBC, etc.

Those that refuse too admitt that the 223 works, makes me wonder if they have ever seen one used on Deer with a proper bullet and shot location (any where through the chest acavity
The 223 was not chosen to wound the enemy, it was chosen as you correctly stated to be able to carry more ammo and be controllable to fire in full auto mode. With proper bullets the 223 is effective on the battle field and in the Deer wounds and the facts support this. The short barreled Military weapons with the reduced velocity and the longer engagement distances (300 yard and beyond) in Afghanistan is where the 223 is lacking and glaringly so

Math can indeed solve all problem if one understands the math and all of the science involved in wound trauma incapacitation

Duncan MacPhearson has produced a math model that works and was proven by Dr. Martin Fackler

{Moderator edit: Sorry, no copyrighted materials may be posted without written permission of copyright holder. See the policy change thread here. Sorry for the inconvenience, but you can provide a link to a page selling the book if you like.}

Duncan's model is for handgun cartridges and velocities. The added velocity of rifles add other dynamics to the equation, scuh as greater amounts of hydraulic pressure that also aids in the size of the wound channel as well as secondary projectile wounding
See less See more
Spot on Uncle Nick
1 - 12 of 40 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.