Okay - any of us can look at a trajectory table, or even come up with our own from one of the various ballistics programs... And even an old Jarhead like me can read that some combinations have higher retained velocity & energy downrange, due to a high ballistic coefficient.
But what hits harder? Does frontal area make any difference on impact, like it can with the big-bore stoppers used on dangerous game? By "hitting harder" I mean, does it produce more of a visible, obvious impact on the game animal?
Does a .338 dia bullet hit harder than a 7mm bullet - if they are producing about the same amount of energy? Does a bigger diameter bullet have any more shocking power, knock-down power, killing power than a smaller one?
I've shot deer with all sorts of stuff, from a .223/55 gr combo to my .45-70 and a .50 cal muzzle loader... Most have not however been at longer ranges. I know that for me, the bigger bullets have almost always produced more of a visible impact & seriously quick incapacitation - a soft lead 385 gr .50 cal hollowpoint bullet is a very effective deer-killing tool, with no tracking required.
So from you other hunters - are you seeing a difference in the field between the 6.5's, 7mm's, .30's, .338's? Do you think bullet diameter has any role or is it simply energy delivered and point of impact.
I'll be the first to state that I think point of impact is The Most Important part in producing instant one-shot kills.
When I first read this post the old question, "which weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of lead came to mind," but think that is an oversimplification. I would think that two bullets having similar energy levels striking a similar target could create markedly different wound channels depending on bullet size and construction. I would think that the larger calibers have an advantage as they would probably create a larger wound channel....but then again I dont know much.
I admit that I know just enough to be dangerous.....but dangerous at ever extending distances.
That's basically what I'm asking. What results have you seen in the field on game? Do your observations lead you to favor one caliber over another, based at least in part on bullet diameter?
Some guys have shot dozens or maybe even hundreds of game animals. Not me - varmints and some coyotes yes, but only about a dozen deer, one big elk and some wild hogs a long time ago.
The .223/55 gr deer at close range was hit in the neck. No real reaction at first, then the blood started, and the little mulie buck collapsed a few seconds later.
The large mulie doe shot at about 70 yards with the 45-70/405 gr bullet was hit high in the shoulder. She was immediately slammed to the ground. Broken spine, and the bullet went through both shoulders & out the other side. Buddy next to me who hunts with a .350 Rem mag just muttered "damn" at the sight of that doe slamming to the ground. We were both impressed.
The mulie bucks and does that I took when I was a pretty enthusiastic muzzle loader were all taken with a traditional Thompson-Center .50 cal, using a 385 gr Hornady "Great Plains" bullet at modest velocity. Every one of them simply fell over dead on impact. Most were neck or shoulder shots at modest ranges.
The several mulies I've taken with the high velocity centerfire cartridges have collapsed pretty much immediately too - no matter which cartridge I used. Again, mostly shoulder shots or neck shots. Even my son's little 6mm Remington is pretty much instant death on the mulies with a mere 95 grain ballistic tip.
My big elk had little initial reaction to the 7mm mag with the 175 Nosler Partition, but he only took a half dozen slow walking steps, then simply fell over and never moved again. The bullet took out the lungs and the big blood vessels atop the heart.
I can't say that I've seen enough difference between the various centerfires to think that cartridge choice matters all that much, but from time to time I sure hear otherwise... Looking for field experience, particularly at longer ranges here. Not sure I'm going to find a dime's worth of difference between my 7mm mag and my new .300 WSM in the field... But the new rifle sure is pretty and it shoots real nice!
That is a very complicated question (I think anyway). OK, I will be speaking from a Physics standpoint, not field experience since I havent downd that many animals.
Your question is about diameter, velocity, and weight. One huge factor is the amount of energy used.
If you shoot an animal with a high velocity large bore rifle it will do lots of damage, but how much of the kenetic energy did you use in the animal. Bullet selection will play a huge role since a harder bullet like a barns will not expand and punch a hole right through soft tissue at a high velocity. It may produce a significant wound, but it's knockdown power wasn't utilized.
I used to re-load but now I "hand-load".
-- Well, at least I try --
In my experience the larger diameter projectiles have given a more visable reaction to a hit than smaller ones..In other words a 250 338 has a more noticable impact on an Elk,Mooes,etc tham does a 160 grain out of a 300 Win Mag even when impact energy is close to the same.....
A large bore revoler such as one of my 475 or 599 calibers with a 420 or 525 grain flat point hard cast gives a more visable reaction to a hit than a 338 win Mag with 259 grain Partions in my experience...I am not saying that one kills quicker than the other,just that the reaction of the animal to the impact of the bullet has been more viable in my experiene.........
range it,check the wind, dial in correction, aim and only one shot
I have shot deer with everything from a 223 to a 338. I have to agree that bullet selection for caliber has more to do with terminal performance than caliber itself....to a point. Even though the 223 killed the deer I won't shoot another deer with it. I hit a nice buck in the shoulder at about 50yds with a so called deer "bullet". It penetrated into the vitals but just pierced the shoulder blade, not break it. If it hadn't hit a main artery by the heart he would have ran a long ways and not left much of a trail. Wrong caliber,right bullet. However, on the other end of things, the 300gr matchking last season destroyed both shoulders and liquified the innards.There was no way in hell that deer had a chance of living. Right caliber, right bullet(over kill)But, I shot a wt doe with a 300 win mag and 180 gr fail safes. I thought I had miss her three times, I quit shooting and watched her feed for about 10 minutes until she laid down. I seen a little blood on her and aimed for the head, she died that time. Three lung shots within a few inches of each other with pen hole affect. Right caliber, wrong bullet.
Courage is just fear that has said it's prayers.
The people trying to say the 2nd Amendment is outdated are probably the same folks that would say the same thing about the Bible.