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Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??

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Unread 11-21-2003, 06:50 AM
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Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??

I'm on vacation but still manage to check this board and e-mail...

This is kind of a continuation of Shaky's thread and somthing I posted..

I have always been somewhat of a believer in needed energy for killing but a few people I respect posted otherwise...

I am a fanatic on accuracy and shot placement so I am on that band wagon..I'd like to hear ( read ) your thoughts on energy needed to efficiently kill an animal, any data ( real world experience ) to back this up would be great...

I feel we have enough wealth of knowledge on this board to discredit or reverse the data and preachers that you need tons of energy to kill and thats the only way to kill...

I'm very interested and curious about this...
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Unread 11-21-2003, 08:30 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,757
Re: Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??


I "try" for a minimum of 1000 Foot Pounds of remaining energy and set my max range for that when possible.

We have killed animals cleanly with less then that & with complete pass through body shots though.

Have seen 750 Foot Pounds kill a large mule deer with the 250 gr MK from a 340 Imp case at 1800 yards.

Not sure what the minimum "can" be but, I don't like to go much below 1000 Foot Pounds.
That seems to have worked well for us over the years at extreme range.

Keep in mind, the heavier, higher BC bullets will retain energy much better then the light bullets will, "way out there". That's why we went from the 6.5/300 Weatherby up to the 7/300 Weatherby, to a host of Improved 30 cal cases to the 30/378 Weatherby and now into the 338/416 Rigby imp.--More retained energy in each jump of bore diameters and heavier bullets used in them.
The heavier bullet impacts can be seen much better at extreme range also.

DC [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
Darryl Cassel
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Unread 11-21-2003, 08:50 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??


I can only offer the data based on our penetration tests.

First I would say that bullet construction, geometry and materials all together do in fact make a difference in penetration or lack thereof.

Lets consider shape (bullet geometry): A blunt, wide meplat bullet has a wide frontal area already, this being the case it will meet more resistance then a pointy bullet.

Material: A jacketed, lead filled bullet is going to be more frangible than a bullet made from solid copper. Copper is tougher/stronger then lead.

A bullet made from solid copper, to a point, without a hollow point, will penetrate better, with less energy required, then a lead filled bullet of the same shape - considering other factors. The solid copper bullet will deform less then the lead filled bullet simply based on materials used - same design.

We conducted a test using a 210gr lead filled bullet that is manufactured/designed for high penetration. We loaded and shot this bullet out of a 338 win mag at 100 yards. We then loaded a 206gr EXP Groove Bullet for the same rifle with very similar velocities and shot it at 100 yards. Both bullets were shot into the same media. The 206gr EXP Groove Bullet had almost double the penetration of the lead filled bullet. The lead filled bullet opened much more then the 206gr EXP. This frontal area slowed the penetration - common sense. The 206gr EXP lost its petals, as designed, and the back of the bullet drove onward. Because the copper bullet, 206gr EXP, is made of solid copper it did not expand to anywhere near the degree of the lead filled bullet thus providing additional penetration.

That was a head-to-head example. Now I offer this data.

We took the same exact bullet, a 159gr EXP Groove Bullet, and loaded it up in a 300 win mag and produced a reduced load in a 30-06. Both were shot at 100 yards into the same media. The 300 win mag produced a velocity around 3200 FPS and the 30-06 (reduced load) produced a velocity around 2000 FPS. After shooting both into the same media the bullet that started at around 2000 FPS had almost the same penetration as the same bullet starting out at around 3200 FPS. Obviously the bullet starting at around 2000 FPS had less energy then the one starting at around 3200 FPS.

The reason that both had about the same penetration has to do with what physically happened, or didn't happen, to the bullet. The bullet launched at around 3200 FPS, upon impact, lost its petals, as designed, and the back of the bullet drove onward. The same bullet launched at around 2000 FPS did not loose its petals and did not loose much of its original form, retaining all of its original weight allowing it to penetrate to almost the same degree.

Conclusion: The fact that the bullet starting out at the higher velocity did in fact open up, causing for a larger frontal area, slowed its penetration. Although the energy played a role, its role was minimal.

These examples are why I don't hold much regard for a certain "energy" level to effectively kill any animal. There simply other variables that come into play.

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Unread 11-21-2003, 09:43 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Elizabethville Pa
Posts: 123
Re: Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??

For regular white tail I like 800-900 fpe.. But this is all in how you look at it.. If you plan to punkin shoot one it doesnt have to be all that high.. Now im not sure what the fpe of a 22LR is (prolly under 150fpe @ 50yds) but if you punkin shoot one at say 50-100 yds they would drop like a rock.. For boiler room shots I would say @ least a good 800.. Then again if you hit them just right in the bolier room you could prolly get away with less then 800..

6.5 Bandit

[ 11-21-2003: Message edited by: 6.5 Bandit ]

[ 11-21-2003: Message edited by: 6.5 Bandit ]
Reach out and touch something!!
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Unread 11-21-2003, 11:45 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montana
Posts: 259
Re: Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??

Personally I don't know why energy became such a popular value to look at in determining wether an aminal will die or not. But I will throw out some real world data anyway.

The smallest value I have ever shot a deer with is 560fpe. This was a 547 yard shot with a 220 swift and 55gr bullet impact velocity was about 2150fps. Shot impacted one shoulder and hit a rib on each side leaving aproximatly a 1" exit hole. Dear went 20 yards and fell.

The smallest value I have seen a elk shot with was 525fpe. This was a 44mag rifle, shot was 250 yards. 265gr impacted at 945fps. Bullet hit high in the back but below the spine. Did not pass through. The elk fell immediatly upon impact.

These are exact opposite comparisons since one was a light bullet at high speed and the other was a heavy bullet at low speed. Make of it what you want, but both resulted in meat in the freezer.
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Unread 11-21-2003, 11:51 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Finland
Posts: 179
Re: Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??

I assume we talk big game here. I have some moose experience to share.

Itīs not the energy, itīs what the bullet does with any given energy. Sometimes the good old Taylor Scale comes to mind,too.

Like,a sledgehammer and a 50 grain bullet, move them so that they have the same energy,say,1500..., hit something... see?

Also,energy goes both ways. While pulling the trigger,you receive the same amount of energy as the bullet has. If itīs the energy that does the job,nobody should be able to kill anything weighing more than the shooter -without passing out,huh?

Take a look in the link below,only one page of a huge examination,the rest can be found from some links on that page. Iīm not trying to be smart,this is just very interesting.

Ahh... but: okay,I also have an opinion: I like heavy,large diameter bullets with some oomph left. But I want to know the impact velocity AND what I want to do with the bullet. Penetrate,expand,both and WHY?

I fluently use jacketed and cast bullets in a 45-70. If I need to stop:Cast 400 grains in the shoulder, if I want the best meat, a jacketed one ,sideways lungshot.


(Iīm building a subsonic deer load right now, suppressors are legal here. Almost done, not much energy in a 400 grain sub bullet but man,does it stop! )
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Unread 11-21-2003, 03:14 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Potter Co. PA
Posts: 135
Re: Needed Energy for killing.... is it a myth??

using energy values, and only energy values as a table for, or against, a round matters only to those who choose to believe it.

first off, above all else, shoot placement is everything. period.

second, bullet design is just as important as whatever energy its carrying. fmj's have plenty of energy- no expansion. ballistic tips have plenty of energy and expansion, but probably not the best for something like elk due to less penetration.

matchkings werent designed for hunting, but we all know what they can do to game. muzzleloader round balls just deform and dont carry much energy, but guys dump deer left and right with them around here. i've heard a 357 is too light of a revolver round for deer, yet i've put holes the size of quarters thru deer with it.

an arrow has hardly any energy at all, but relies on the wound channel created by the broadhead to do the work. bullets can work using the same method.

theres waay too much other stuff besides energy to take in to consideration. some rely on it solely, but i dont buy in to it.

energy is energy. while it counts for some, it has no direct correlation with performance.

If it were easy, I wouldn't be doing it.
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