Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Killin' Science And Bullet Selection For The Layman
Now let's shoot our tater bag deer simulator with an American favorite: the .270 Winchester. If we could see the hit in slow motion we would see the waves of energy rippling the surface of the bag. It literally looks like the concentric rings coming from a stone dropped in still water. We significantly displaced the surface of our tater sack. It's swinging pretty good overall. We go to examine it and see we have a full sized football shaped "wound cavity" in the near side of tater sack and a bullet diameter hole the rest of the way through.

[Cavity dimensions and "football size" references are not literal, nor dimensionally accurate, nor have I ever shot ďmashed taters.Ē They are merely used to illustrate to the readerís mind familiar mediums and sizing/shapes, while conveying whatís happening on/in target accurately overall.

It's hard to draw a series of pictures in a readerís mind, but in doing so with these familiar shapes and references, I feel I have transferred the actual science to the reader accurately.]

So what is happening in that instant the bullet transfers energy into the medium? That's the hydraulics we were talking about, essentially a violent water column radiating out from the bullet entry point. From scalpel to bullet "energy wand."

So the scalpel made no real cavities at all. Our high velocity rifle round made a serious temporary and permanent wound cavity. So let me illustrate what this hydraulic water column does. Back to our hanging 100 lb. mashed tater filled punching bag. This time we hang our tater sack in the bay of the high pressure car wash. We again are armed with our .270 Win but let's dump out our taters and fill our bag with well cooked green peas. These green peas represent cells, the individual cells tissue is made of. When we introduce energy into tissue from a blow, the water contained goes the equal and opposite direction, violently! Think of if we dropped $1.50 into the slot to activate the high pressure sprayer of the car wash. We stick the wand down into the peas and pull the trigger. What happens? The water pressure basically makes the immediate peas seemingly vanish, the closest mangle, and the furthest affected by the water to burst and leak.

Thatís a good verbal picture of what is happening to tissue when massive amounts of energy are transferred from a bullet to flesh due to hydraulic energy forces, and it's quite understandable that as amazing as bodies are, some tissue, i.e. the permanent wound cavity, does not recover.

So this is the way we actually kill targets. So what do we do with this information? We wish we our military could shoot terrorists with expanding hunting type bullets! We can use our new found knowledge of energy transfer from bullets to mash taters to better select the weight and style of bullet we shoot. Bullet selection all depends the on the average size, weight and range of the mash tater sack we are hunting. You see, there are three schools of thought with hunters. The first is the antiquated and Neanderthal thought: "make the biggest hole" [wound CHANNEL] you can - all the way through the animal, to produce maximum amount of (blood) leakage."

And the second sounds so clean, sterile and harmless on the printed page: Transfer all the energy. Sounds ho-hum, boring. (But itís incredibly devastating and violent!!!)

The third school got high in the bathroom and donít care. They just like to hunt.

Think of this: A bullet moves because energy has been imparted to and into it. Once it leaves the bore, pressure is relieved from the firing system and the bullet got what it gets and is now leaking energy slowly into the really low viscosity water we shoot through called air. If you ever have a conversation with a bullet it will refer to same as drag. If it runs out of energy it would stop forward motion in place, spent. (If there were no gravity.) There! You get it! Wait, you look uncertain. I'll give it to you: You want the bullet to stop. IN the target. Why? Transfer. Energy transfer. 100% wicked violent energy transfer. You see, if your bullet, regardless of caliber, diameter, weight or speed passes through the target and travels beyond, it did not give you its all. Any energy the bullet had to travel beyond our tater sack was wasted. We could have dumped that leftover energy into the mashed taters as well for an even bigger car wash wand effect!!

So there it is. With a high velocity, high energy round we want a complete energy dump into our wild free range 12 tined tater sack we so carefully stalked. Thatís why there are so many bullets to choose from for a given caliber. Enter bullet (a.) design and (b.) weight. Real world example: I know a well meaning greenhorn who was new to shooting, new to rifles and new to hunting. He went on a coyote sized furry predatorial tater sack hunt with a friend and was hooked. So he decides he needs a good rifle, camo and a few calls. Talking about his new love on the job a coworker offered to sell him a like new ultra lightweight 300 Win Mag complete with scope, for an incredibly low price. "Because it will kick your teeth out," the guy said. So our young greenhorn figured one, that "he could take it," and two, that all that power would for sure blast a dog sized fur covered flea infested mange pocked mashed tater sack into the next siriometer or so. He took the rifle.

So Mr. G. Horn went and bought some 300 WM ammo, on sale. Winchester 180 grain Power Point factory loads. A real world MOOSE load. (He did not do the math I'm sure. I'll do it for him: 3500 ft. lbs. of car wash wand effect at the muzzle.) Looking at the big shiny menacing ammo, I'm sure Mr. Horn was sure it would blast the doggish creature for at least a siriometer!!

So after a while he calls me. "Man this thing really, REALLY kicks!" I chuckled, having been there, done that in my youth. I threaded his barrel and installed a nice muzzle break. He was really happy with the recoil reduction and off he went. Soon enough he made his first "I got one!" phone call to a buddy. But he was quick to tell me the critter just limped about 20 paces and died. No siriometer. I chuckled, having been there and done that in my youth, and explained bullet selection.

You see, if Mr. Horn had hand loaded him some little bitty 110 grain Sierra hollow points at an anemic (for the Win Mag with this bullet) 3200 fps, he would have opened up that critter like a book, displaying its most every deep and inner thing, literally. True, the little bullet would had a good bit less energy, 3200 lbs., But it would given Mr. G. Horn its all!

The little bullet would have disintegrated in the critter for a 100% energy dump, whereas the moose bullet that was actually used likely zipped right through with no "upset," commonly called expansion or mushrooming, on behalf of the bullet in the 35 lb. target. After all, that load was designed to hold together, burrow deep and energy dump in a dangerous big boned hardy built massive tater sac weighing upwards of 1700 pounds for the Alaskan-Yukon variety.

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