Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

Killin' Science And Bullet Selection For The Layman
Speaking of bullet upset, there is fascinating engineering that goes into bullet design. You see that dumb piece of metal we call a "bullet" has no intelligence nor on board computer, but must juggle the depth of penetration/energy dump act to perform its best. And to compound this complexity, it must do it anywhere in an extreme velocity spread. If we shoot our massive moose tater sack and the bullet disintegrates on the shoulder muscle, we have wounded him, heíll run off and we may have lost him and wasted the meat. If the bullet zips through him without hitting a vital organ, we again have wounded him and likely lost and wasted him. Enter bullet engineering.

A bullet upsets and begins to expand. This ever increasing blunt frontal diameter increase increases the difficulty for the bullet to penetrate. This rate of expansion must be carefully controlled through inherent design to allow the bullet to expand slowly enough so it can burrow 1: Deep enough to get past the near side muscle and into the vital organs, but 2: Fast enough to not completely pass through the animal, thereby wasting energy.

That would be a feat of engineering if the bullet hit the mash tater sack at the same speed every time. But itís always impacting at differing speeds. If we engage our 1700 pound marsh wading mashed tater sack at 220 yards, the bullet will impact at far greater velocity than it will if fired from a long range hunter engaging our swamp tater at 1106 yards. Either way, the bullet must not under or over expand to penetrate sufficiently and energy dump. And amazingly, they get it right most of the time!

In conclusion, bigger is not always better in regards to quick, clean ethical kills, whether the subject of discussion be "which cartridge?" or "which bullet?"


"A man with an experience has volumes more than a man with a theory."

Tres MonCeret is a career machinist, gunsmith, competitive shooter, writer and instructor of many modern and primitive outdoor topics. He is currently looking for work in one of these venues in any geographical "cool place" to live. Resumes available.

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