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Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

 
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:48 PM
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Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

Often, while reading about somebodies new big bore, I find myself thinking, "I could do the same thing with my... much smaller whatever".

It is very possible to shoot the same weight and type bullet across several calibers, even from the same case, same velocity. For example a 180 in a 7, 30, and 325 WSM. I'm well aware of the BC differences, this isn't my question.

Assuming same bullet weight, construction, and impact velocity, what effect does the larger diameter have on terminal performance? Presumably the smaller diameter has greater penetration, while the larger diameter creates a wider wound channel....mabey. I realize there are no degrees of dead, and the discussion is purely academic. Still, I'm interested.

Many of the big bore calibers seem to operate precisely this way. Shooting the same weight bullets as smaller diameter counterparts. The fans of these cartridges all claim impressive terminal performance.

I regularly shoot small calibers for the application, as well as arrows and handguns with large diameters and low velocity / energy levels. My only negative experiences have been due to my shooting, as far as I can tell.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:16 PM
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Re: Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

They have caliber minimums in Africa for a reason on dangerous game. Larger calibers kill exponentially better on large and tough big game. A small caliber can kill stuff but a large caliber can do it better. I see numerous elk lost each year to 7mm's that would have been found if hit with a 338. Greenhorns have a problem with that. They know joe blow who has killed twenty elk in thirty years with his 7mm and is a top elk hunter. Many of us here see that many per year with groups of cow tags etc.

I can relay numerous stories but a good one two years ago was a guy shot a nice B&C bull with his 7mm remington three times and knew he wouldn't go far. As he followed up the ridge where the elk went for about a half mile he heard a loud shot above him. He walked up to the B&C bull and got mad because another hunter with a 338 had put his elk down and claimed it. The 338 guy said he didn't look hurt to me and rightfully claimed the bull. If the 7mm guy had a 338 he would have a B&C bull but he didn't so he was mad the other guy did. Not saying a small caliber will not kill stuff but a large caliber will do it much better on large big game like elk.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:44 PM
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Re: Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

My (limited) understanding of caliber size & it's effect on terminal performance is this: The larger the diameter of the bullet, the larger the cross sectional area of the projectile (obviously). The larger the cross sectional area the more shock/trauma exerted upon impact, at least in theory.
It reminds me of the old buffalo hunters & their rifles... Them ol' boolets didn't go very fast, but they sure could lay the smack down...
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:47 PM
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Re: Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

I've often wondered the same thing, and would love to have the money and time to test out the theory shooting cow elk with 180 grain bullets from a 7 wsm, 300 wsm, and a 325 wsm. I would expect you'd have to shoot upwards of 10 animals with each caliber from similar distances and angles before you could even start to form any conclusions. If anyone has the money, I'd be more than happy to do the testing
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:55 PM
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Re: Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

Myself like several others on this forum see a dozen or more Elk taken each year. I am of the belief that the bigger the bullet the better, no matter which way you measure it.

Jeff
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:57 PM
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Re: Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

Sure, bigger is more effective when comparing a 180 out of a 7mm vs a 300 out of a 338.

My question is more specific. Given the same bullet weight, construction, and impact velocity. Is there any real difference in terminal performance between calibers?
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Old 02-03-2012, 05:03 PM
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Re: Effect of bullet diameter (caliber) on terminal performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grit View Post
Sure, bigger is more effective when comparing a 180 out of a 7mm vs a 300 out of a 338.

My question is more specific. Given the same bullet weight, construction, and impact velocity. Is there any real difference in terminal performance between calibers?

I see what you are saying here. Like a 230 gr from a 300 rum compared to a 230 gr from a 340 Wby? Both at 2900 fps and of the same bullet construction? Then I would have to say it will at this time depend on shot distance. Out to 6 or 700 probably not alot of difference. But as you get farther then you have to enter BC and retained velocity into the equation.

Jeff
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