# What is the minimum amount of ft. lbs needed

Discussion in 'Elk Hunting' started by Randyd, Jun 25, 2009.

1. ### RandydMember

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I have been a competitive shooter and I have an accurate rifle and under good conditions, I am capable of hitting an elk's vitals at ranges up to 1000 yards, but I believe my range is limited by the amount of energy needed to cleanly bring an elk down. I read once that a bullet should deliver a minimum of 1500 ft. lbs. on an elk. Does anyone have any information on the minimum amount of ft. lbs. needed to cleanly bring an elk down. If there are other websites or threads that address this issue, I would be appreciative if you could provide a link to the site. I use an HS Precision rifle in .300 Win. Mag. and I reload my own ammo and use a Berger 185 gr. VLD. Thanks

2. ### J E CustomWell-Known Member

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Randy

There is a system that is called the -Taylor Knock Out Values.

And it uses the estimated energy for one shot kills on game.

It uses a recommended energy and a minimum energy for each animal.

On Elk it recommends 2000 ft/lbs and 1500ft/lbs as a minimum. this is at the Point of Impact.

Deer are 1200 ft/lbs and 1000 ft/lbs minimum.

These values are conservative but are a good place to start.

You could use less energy but the results would vary especially if shot placement was not
the best.

J E CUSTOM

3. ### kcebcjWell-Known Member

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I think the first thing to look at is the bullet and see where its velocity performance numbers are. Accubond recommends impact velocity’s no less than 1800 fps. Having that then I look to see where the 1500 ft lbs (recommend low for elk size game) energy number is in relation to the velocity. I then find the yardage where the two numbers are acceptable and use that number as a max range. I’m working on a load for a new 300 Win Mag and without any real testing FFS is showing the max yardage at 820 for the 200gr Accubond velocity @ 1859 and energy @ 1495 and momentum @52.43. If that was a proven load then 820 yards would be my maximum range for elk.

4. ### CoyboyWell-Known Member

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A few years ago when more seasoned long range hunters were on the site, the impact energy that was considered minimum by them was in the 750-1000 range for elk. I would try a search of about 3-4 years ago for "impact energy for elk"

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6. ### KevinWell-Known Member

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Don't get hung up on KE. It is not just the KE to be concerned with. It is how the bullet performs at certain velocities. There are tons of examples that can be given here. So I guess I will give one. A .204 ruger shooting 32gr bullets at 4000fps vs a 44mag shooting 240gr bullets at 1450fps, both have just over 1100ft-lbs. Many people carry and trust 44 mags as defense against bears, but I doubt many people would trust a 204. But both have less KE than your setup would have at a 1000 yards.

I would trust your combo on elk at 1000 yards maybe a little further. Guessing on some numbers here since I don't know your load, but your bullet is probably going 1800fps ish at 1000 yards which is 1330ft-lbs. One interesting thing to look at is the tests Barnes did. They shot the 168 berger into gelatin at 1890fps. It clearly expanded and penetrated plenty in my opinion. I shoot the 190 JLK and have always figured 1200-1300yards to be a good max depending on temp and altitude. This results in about 1600fps impact velocity. And also corresponds to about as far as my rangefinder will work anyway.

7. ### J E CustomWell-Known Member

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Sorry coyboy; but I think there are more seasoned long range hunters on this site now
than a few years ago and I for one would never RECOMEND using 750ft/lbs on an elk.

The Taylor knock out Values were developed for Humane one shot kills.

They were not the absolute must to kill with just RECOMENDED based on a lot of experienced
big game hunters actual experiences especially on dangerous game.

You can kill a cape buffalo with a 22 but would you want to. I think not unless you have a death
wish.

SCI not only endorses the Taylor KO values it also recommends it's use on all big game because
it works.

Energy is not every thing but it is one of the key elements along with bullet performance ,
accuracy and impact velocity.

Nothing personal I just don't like sending a man armed with a knife to a gun fight.

J E CUSTOM

8. ### CoyboyWell-Known Member

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J E , that didn't come out exactly right. There were more experienced Ultra Long Range hunters frequenting the discussions. They were more into minimums at extreme range, and what worked in the real world. I never stated my opinion on the subject.

If a guy wants info, I was just trying to direct him to some.

9. ### theodoreWell-Known Member

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What altitude are we looking at for the elk hunt and the speed of this 185vld load? This will determine your max range.

For 30cal 185vld, I would base my max range by using 1800fps as minimum impact velocity for elk since its a larger diameter bullet that creates a larger hydraulic shock.

A 243 winchester can send the 105 vld @ 3050fps, it produces 1470ft-lb at 400 yards. I'm skeptical about using it on an elk due to smaller diameter bullet that produces less hydraulic shock.

This is complicated math which hasn't been figured out yet(or I thought). So that is why I go with proven calibers like the 30s for elk and the minimum impact velocity to make sure that dang bullet expands!

10. ### J E CustomWell-Known Member

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Sorry CoyBoy Mine didn't come out the way I intended it to either .So were even.

You are right about less energy being used many years ago but things have changed
a lot in the past 10 years and this is the reason the energy has changed.

Long range hunters have pushed the distance to unheard ranges from a decade ago.
(I can remember when 300 yards was the exception for an Elk shot ,not the norm. and
the 7mm mag or the 300 win mag were the preferred calibers.

With better bullets, accuracy, barrels, optics, stocks,bigger calibers and powders the range
has moved out from the days of the 7s and 300s.

But if you look back at the ballistics of the 7mm mag at 300 yds with the ammo of the time
you are down to less than 1800 ft/lbs and with bullet performance at the time that was
marginal. (I can remember when 2000ft/lbs was recommended for Elk and 1500ft/lbs for
deer) but with better bullets and with the trend to go with 338s for Elk the energy numbers
have came down.

I hunted Elk with a great shooting 270 Win and had great success , But I limited my shots to
250 to 300 yards because I could see a marked decrease in DRT kills as the distance increased.

I have stated many times that I am conservative in my hunting philosophies But over a 50 year
span of hunting and close to 500 big game animals taken with gun and bow I have only lost 2
and that's 2 to many.

The only exception to that is if I get a shot at a pig then it's no holds bard.

Sorry if I sounded a little salty

J E CUSTOM

11. ### RandydMember

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Thanks everyone for the advice and direction. I have used your advice to do searches on this site and on the internet, and I have done a lot of reading and have a lot more to still read. At this point, it seems that there is a lack of scientific study on terminal ballistics on animals. I have read many opposing comments and the authors make persuasive points to support their varying hypothesis. Accurate bullet placement appears to be the only undisputed factor amoung all of the comments that I have read. I am confident that I have selected a bullet that performs well to put the elk down. At least I do not need to change these two factors.

A little background on how I arrived at this question. Last fall while elk hunting in Colorado, I had data to use my load out to 500 yards. The last day of the hunt, at 30 minutes before sundown, I looked across a canyon and saw a moster bull and my rangefinder indicated that it was 750 yards away. There was no time to stalk closer; going down the canyon, I would have lost sight of the bull. I was uncomfortable taking a shot without knowing my bullet drop at 750 yards. So, all I could do was watch the bull as the sun set and the season closed. I submitted this question so I will be prepared for this situation if it ever happens again.

12. ### CoyboyWell-Known Member

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No apoligies necessary JE, I respect your opinion on the subject. Your field experience outways mine, but I'm trying like hell to catch up!

13. ### gritWell-Known Member

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I agree with Jim on a couple points.

First, there were many more experienced and serious long range people here a few years back. They have moved on because they got tired of arguing with all knowing amatuers. Second, I have zero doubt in a 750-1000 ft lb payload for elk. Been there, done that, several times in fact, as have countless others.

Argue for your limitations, and they will be yours.

Randy, I suggest you take a look at the 210. It has less drift and more energy than the 190. This makes it the better bullet in my opinion.

Kudos for passing on a shot you were unprepared for.

14. ### theodoreWell-Known Member

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The drift might be a problem due to heavier bullet and twist rate stuff. I heard it was common for the 190vld in 300 win mag drifts to the right about 12" consistently @ 1000 yards because of the twist I think, but it was not the wind. My guess for the 210vld, it would drift more, but it does dodge the wind better. Just something else to consider.

Dang, hopefully you get to see another bull like that within your new range capability!

Good luck