Re: Minimum Velocity Clarification
I haven't read all the posts so be kind to me if I express something previously covered.
1: I have no idea if berger bullets expand below 1800'sec. Ive killed one animal with them and expansion was not a problem. That said, the impact velocity was WAY above the 1800'sec mark.
2: I believe that there are many factors that come into play as to whether or not a bullet will expand at below manufacturer stated velocities. That's assuming that their number is based on firing into a media such as jugs of water. Some game has thicker hides than others, denser muscles, heavier bone etc...Obviously if you hit an elk versus an antelope all other factors being equal, they likely will offer different results at say 1500'sec or 1600'sec and so on. Elk hide is definitely tougher than antelope hide and surely will affect expansion one way or the other. Obviously if rib bones are encountered on either, it would have an effect versus slipping the bullet between ribs.
3: I believe that expansion is more beneficial than 'energy'. Energy to me is NOTHING more than a mathematical equation. A 2000# car moving at 6' per second may offer similar energy as a 140 grain bullet moving at 1800' per second. The vehicle will likely barely even phase a deer if struck at 6' per second but the 140 grain (expanding or fragmenting) bullet may make it act as if it were hit by lightning. This is not an apples to apples comparison and that is the point. Energy is just a mathematical equation. I use (for ballistic purposes):
bullet weight in grains * velocity^2/450380.
It has been brought up that non expanding bullets will 'pencil' through an animal and offers anything but rapid terminal effects. This has been my experience. Even when hit square in the lungs 1, 2 and even 3 times I have seen game survive for quite some time. Small holes that are poked into tissue rather than holes ripped and torn through tissue tend to 'seal' up which minimizes blood loss and air loss. I have seen bullets that did expand kill game VERY quickly. Often within seconds and often right on impact. This is likely due to a good wound channel and energy transfer. Mathematical energy and energy transfer are not the same thing.
4: IMHO, energy transfer is somewhat important but not as important as a good wound channel. Arrows offer well under 100'# of energy yet can kill quite quickly when sharp broad heads are used. This is obviously due to hemorrhaging and other tissue damage. When lungs are involved there is also an oxygen depletion to the blood supply which is being expelled from the body anyway or being re routed into the lungs/chest cavity deriving oxygen to other vital organs and the brain.
5: IMHO, shock (due to energy transfer from expanding bullets) can have an effect on small to medium game such as deer. This is caliber/bullet dependent. I have seen lung shot deer fold in their tracks when hit in the lungs but never moose. Moose absorb a lot of energy. Even with 338 caliber expanding bullets. 300 grain Bergers, 250 grain partitions, 300 grain accubonds, you name it. They don't even act like their hit most of the time but after a few seconds of airing out, they expire and fall down. Pencil through them and you may never find them. Moose often die in about the same time shot with an arrow assuming a good broad head was used with adequate penetration and of course good shot placement into the lungs or heart area. IMO, this proves that creating a good wound channel is of more value than raw 'energy'. Energy is more of a side effect of other important factors working together. At least as far as terminal ballistics are concerned. Sectional density, momentum and expansion IMO are much more valuable than energy which is more of a side affect.
Only my opinions/experiences here. Nothing more.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.