Terminal performance is one of those topics guaranteed to cause a fight
Everyone has their preference and they KNOW that their way is the best way!
Personally I like two holes in an animal. Some folks like one to "dump" the energy.
IMO, If I can put two holes in a broadside animal then if the animal turns as the bullet is on the way and it turns from a quartering shot to a highly quartering necessitating traversing from the hind quarter through the guts, ...hopefully liver and a lung that it will make it that far.
A bullet that won't make two holes broadside will just give me a gut shot animal.....dead, maybe not recovered....IMO, IMO!
Oh, the other reason I like two holes is because bullets disrupt tissue by traveling fast. The slower it goes the less it disrupts!
If a bullet stops inside, then just before it stopped it was going slow...meaning it was not disrupting tissue as much as if it went completely through....IMO, ( and physics ).
Good information Michael... am I going out on a limb in assuming that, by it's nature, 338 caliber is not a diameter which has an application utilizing the "complete" fragmentation kill strategy?
It sounds as though 30 caliber, and below, is where the explosive option becomes viable... and then only as a preference. The special case jmason describes, where the projectile needs to be contained within the animal, appears to be the sole condition requiring a frangible.
You will get a debate on that. There is group who like the highly frangible bullets period. Berger is coming out with a 338. That being said, thes bullets (including the 300 SMK) have a mass of of 300 grains and typically muzzle velocities of less than 3000 fps. They will hold together much better than the smaller faster ones, especially at extended ranges.
I basically agree with Micheal, except I never prefer an explosive bullet unless it's for varmit shooting, but that's just me, and there are a lot of others who think that way too. Different strokes for differnt folks.
I have shot a number of antelope, deer and elk, not as many as some. In almost all cases, they were boiler room shots with a 7mm 160 partiton. It always left about a nickle to quarter size exit hole and almost all dropped in their tracks with a few wandering off a few yards. A couple were hit just aft of the boiler in the liver/gut area. They did not go anywhere. One was a Texas heart shot (Fed 180 SP, 300 WSM) on a buck antelope. It traveled the entire length of the body and came to rest under the hide in the front of the shoulder and weighed 93 grains. The antelope didn't go anywhere dropping it's hind legs first then the front a few seconds later.
Good wound channels and exit holes kill quickly, not always as quickly as a grenade, but IMO, more reliably.
I am a total believer in Gerard's philosophy of terminal ballistics.
I would place a great deal of confidence in Gerard's judgement regarding terminal effects also. Combining the concepts of precision, and frangible, seem oxymoronic to me... much like "accurate shotgun".
If a shooter does not have the competence for good ELR shot placement, he has no business taking game at "long" range in the first place if "ethics" are a part of the calculus. If he does have the skill, why would he want to destroy so much of the animal to kill it? That would likewise seem to have an "ethical" contingent.
In the military setting, long range does not even begin short of 1,000 meters. By that measure, use of anything smaller than .338 raises "ethical" issues, for taking of game, in my mind... this time based of probability of an accurate hit in the face of variables beyond the control of the shooter.
A frangible strategy appears to be compensatory, with the single exception which jmason raised.
It's interesting that you use the term "compensatory". The facts as I understand them to be, are that Berger VLD's were originally target bullets only. After they had been used successfully on game, the Berger Co started advertising them as a hunting bullet. Sierra still advertises their Match Kings as competiton bullets, not hunting bullets. I am not saying any of this to stir the pot. These are the facts as I know them and someone correct me if I am wrong.
Soooo... the Berger VLD's were not originally designed for hunting, but rather target shooting. The hunting application was an after thought based on some postive results shown in the field. Once again, i am not saying any of this to start a debate on the ethics or practicality of using Bergers as a hunting bullet. That is for each hunter to determine for him/herself. Would i use them as a hunting bullets? Yes, in some situations. Only at ranges where imact velocity would be in the lower 2000's or less. They would only be used in a two bullet sloution where they provided the best long range capability in my rifle and another controlled expansion bullet was used for short to mid ranges. I think my biggest concern about using the VLD's as a hunting bullet is the amount of meat damage they often do. I talked with a guy at the range a few weeks ago who said he stopped using them on game because of the meat damage. He said that almost all the meat was blood shot on a couple of deer he had shot with them.
After having said all this... there are a lot of LRH members who have a lot more experience and expertise in LRH than I do, and whom I have a lot of respect for, who use VLD's and SMK's with great success. I wish them well and all success.
The military vs hunting perspective is also interesting. In military shooting, it is almost, if not in fact in some cases, more desirable to wound your target, creating a drain on your enemies resources to care for the wounded combatant. In hunting, you want that first shot to be quickly fatal.
It also seems to me, that a lot of military sniping is done with 30 cal bullets, so maybe you should get busy on a high BC (.7 or more) bullet in the .308 cal
There are significant differences between hunting people, and animals. That is why the interchange with you guys is so helpful.
One aspect in which it is identical, at least in ELR, is accurate first-shot placement. While it might be inconvenient to track a wounded animal, only the human animal will track you if you miss it at long range.
I actually have done some work on 5.56mm, and 7mm projectiles. The problem in a military context is logistical support, and interchangability. Barrel twist-rates are always in the range of 18.5 to 20 calibers.
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Re: The Solid Bullet Debate
edge makes some good points above. I cannot dissagree with him at all unless he is talking about deep penetration due to minimal to no expansion. I have killed game by both the deep penetrating controlled expansion bullets AND the explosive type. It worked about the same to me. Dead is dead.
The only problems I have had and even these were recoverd but was not pretty, was with some bullets that did not open at all. They just penciled through. The penetration was incredible but the terminal performance sucked.
This is one reason I prefer a more frangible bullet than not. I want to ensure they open at lower velocities. At close range, they explode. On a deer size critter it isnt much of a concern due to the narrow nature of the target. At long range the bullet simply opens up like a typical hunting bullet. Is this better? This is subjective. It is just what works for me. Again, with deer size critters in mind here. These principals dont apply here for much larger game.
Believe me, if I could find a bullet that would hold up at 3100+ AND open reliably at 1400 or less, I would be all over it.
I hope I didnt lead anybody to believe that I favor one way or the other. The explosive part is a bi-product of bullets used that will open at low velocity. I dont know that I prefer the explosive behavior under normal conditions. LR huntinig is anything but normal. For the record, if I were a 300 yard max range hunter, I would be using ACCUBONDS, X bullest, Interbonds or whatever hefty bullet my rifle tolerated from wolves to moose. It is only because I shoot farther with less impact velocity that I am an advocate of BT's and AMAX's.
IMHO, so long as the bullet doesnt pencil through, and expansion is acheived whether there is 100% weight retention or 35%, and reaches the vitals, the bullet has done its job. The rest is for us to argue about as to which is better. I would like to see someone prove which is better. I doubt it will ever be done.
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.
Last edited by Michael Eichele; 06-27-2009 at 12:28 PM.
The expansion displayed in those photos is completely acceptable, and would result in quick, humane kills. If your bullets will perform like that with boring repetition, losing a petal or two is no worry or crisis. No expansion at all is a crisis. 100% weight retention with the expansion displayed in the photos would be the picture perfect result for me, personally, if achieved at both low and high impact velocity. But I don't really expect that type of perfect performance to be achieved consistently by any bullet. So if your bullets lose a few petals and end up with a blunt expanded front end to continue to plow deeply - they will result in humane kills and perform splendidly on game.
A bullet that expands while retaining it's weight at high speed impacts for deep penetration on large bodied animals, AND expands at slower ELR impact velocities is what the majority are looking for. The bullet you're describing would be a performer at both extremes. It goes without saying that the ELR bullet needs a high BC and good accuracy also.
As mentioned earlier, I currently load two different bullets to cover these extreme scenarios. I do this because I've yet to find one single bullet that performs consistently well at both short and long range. I load the Bergers for ELR. There are many commercial brands of bullets available that work well at closer ranges. I use Nosler Accubonds. They've proven accurate, they have a relatively high BC, they survive high launch velocity and impact velocities with a thicker jacket and lead bonded-core bullet. I could just as well use the Barnes TSX, Hornady Interbond, Nosler Partition, Speer trophy bonded bear claw, or a number of other bullets for closer ranges because the need for accuracy is a second priority to the need for a bullet that retains sufficient weight to penetrate deeply enough to reach the vitals on large & potentially dangerous game animals. Almost any commercial bullet is accurate enough to harvest large game out to 300-400 yds.
With it's high BC and good accuracy potential, your bullet will appeal to those ELRHs wanting one bullet for both uses. And I'm betting that the majority of LRHs prefer the one-bullet approach. The last determining issue will be cost. Some LRH's shoot a lot. Some not so much. The cost to fire at game alone would never be an issue. The cost to shoot rocks could be. Most guys will enjoy shooting rocks with a $0.30 bullet longer than they will with a $1.50 - $2.00 bullet.
My two-bullet approach has economical appeal because the Berger VLDs are pretty economical to shoot.