Bullet failures

RockyMtnMT

RockyMtnMT

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Well Wild Rose I will bow to your multitude of animals killed but examining wound tracks in the field is hap hazard at most. Not to denigrate your experiences, but in less than a full necropsy laboratory I would find it hard to do any kind of a determination relating to a supposed bullet failure out in the woods or fields instead of a lab. Our thoughts do not necessarily revert to facts until proven scientifically.
How do you evaluate bullet success or failure?
 
RockyMtnMT

RockyMtnMT

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You know, we talk about bullet failures all the time and how so and so lost a deer because the bullet penciled through and so on. What about bad shots where bullet performance lead to a dead animal? Maybe this should be a different thread?
I shot an 8 pt Whitetail a few years back and by all intensive purposes I should have never recovered the deer. Bad shot, far back, deer should have never been found. It was straight up gut shot. Center punched in the stomach. I backed out, came back in next morning and found the deer 250yds or so from where I shot him. The 115grb Berger jellied his insides. If I would have been shooting a less explosive bullet I don’t think I would have found him? In this situation I feel the bullet over performed!
We learn more from bad shots than we do from good ones.
 
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Petey308

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This is very interesting too. Something else we have learned that I would have bet against. We have figured out that a lighter bullet that sheds the nose will out penetrate a heavier bullet that sheds no weight. This goes against the math that says the heavier projectile will have more momentum which would result in traveling farther through the animal or test media. This also comes down to stability. The heavier projectile that is carrying more momentum is also longer. Because it is longer it needs more rpm's to keep it point on. As it loses rpm's it begins to turn sideways. Now it greatly increased the surface area that the media is reacting to and causes the bullet to stop faster resulting in less penetration. The bullet that sheds it's nose winds up with a shorter retained shank that will maintain stability longer while paying through the media resulting in greater distance of penetration. If too much mass is lost on impact then this would result in less penetration. So there is a line where this is no longer true.
If there is less contact surface, there will be less deflection and alteration of its course, especially if the frontal area remains rounded and evenly shaped, like if it sheds all its petals and is left only with a shank remaining. If only one petal remained, that remaining petal would cause the bullet to alter its course, sometimes drastically- same as if the whole bullet started turning and tumbling without expansion.

Tipping in flight doesn’t just come from reduced RPMs, it comes from the center of pressure sliding back to or behind the center of gravity of the bullet, which causes the nose to tip and allow the bullet to begin to tumble.

Shedding weight will allow the bullet to also shed momentum and velocity and that in turn will increase the penetration up to the point in can no longer overcome the resistance it is encountering. This is why starting with a good deal of sectional density (mass) is ideal with a bullet that sheds weight. You want enough of the bullet remaining to continue to penetrate. A heavier bullet that does not expand but also does not penetrate deeply typically does so because it tumbled upon impact and increased its contact surface to the point its forward momentum is indeed arrested and it stops penetrating. Coming apart and reducing contact surface would allow for more/deeper penetration.
 
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phorwath

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This is why starting with a good deal of sectional density (mass) is ideal with a bullet that sheds weight. You want enough bullet remaining to continue to penetrate.
I won't shoot a Burger bullet that's less than 3" long. To ensure there's enough core length left for penetration, after the front 3/4 shrapnels to lead dust.

Hence, I no longer have Burger failures. Because they don't make a bullet longer than 3".
 
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Petey308

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I won't shoot a Burger bullet that's less than 3" long. To ensure there's enough core length left for penetration, after the front 3/4 shrapnels to lead dust.

Hence, I no longer have Burger failures. Because they don't make a bullet longer than 3".
Honestly, as long as you don’t impact shoulders or other dense bone/muscle above like 2400-2600fps impact velocity and with a sectional density of around .280 and higher, you’ll be fine with a good Berger like the hybrid ogive design. It’s when you take them out of their limitations on impact velocity, amount of resistance upon impact, and without sufficient sectional density is it when you run into issues. Many many hunters having absolute success with Bergers tend to agree. Running one longer than three inches (or to any set specific length) isn’t what should be focused on or a limitation that should be set. Sectional density is based on weight and diameter, it just so happens with a particular diameter, the only way to increase weight (SD) is to increase the length, so in that regard they are related.
 
Mike from Texas

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This I believe is dead on. I have posted many times about our experience impact testing bullets and learning the relationship of stability and terminal performance. Just because a bullet is ballistically stable and shoots lights out does not mean it has enough rotational vel to perform properly on impact. There is no calculator to determine terminal stability. All I can tell us what we have concluded. I'll add that the longer a bullet is for caliber the more critical this gets. Short bullets have much less terminal performance issues. We determine min required twist for hunting with the Miller stability formula but never enter in altitude. A 1.5 sg calculated at sea level standard atmosphere is considered minimum for proper terminal performance. I personally want to see a stability factor close to 2.0 sg calculated at sea level for my personal rifles. I think it is very likely that experience of bullets changing direction after impact or not opening on impact is a result of running to low of stability. rpm's is what keeps the bullet point on after impact. If the bullet does not stay point on long enough for the bullet to fully deform it will likely change direction, tumble, or pencil.

My next chore is to add a preferred twist rate to all of our bullets along with our minimum twist that is currently listed.

When it comes to bullets that are not able to open if the impact velocity is too high. I am not sure how this could be possible. The only way to prove this theory would be to shoot this bullet into gel at high velocity and see if it will open after x inches of penetration once it has slowed enough to open. Then shoot the same bullet at lower impact velocity to see if it will open with less penetration. My experience impacting bullets is they do not have speed sensors in them. Nor do they have depth sensors telling them when it is time to open or when it is time to stop penetrating once they have reached the far side of an animal. What I do know is that a bullet that will open at xxxx fps will open more rapidly the faster the impact velocity gets. It is certainly possible to impact a bullet faster than it can handle, causing it to lose all integrity and fail to retain enough mass to continue on its directional path. I remember hearing the stories when I was young about how magnum rifles would fail to open bullets at short range and they would just zip through so fast that the bullet couldn't react quickly enough to cause damage. If this was true the bullet would expand after exiting the animal. Another campfire legend passed down through the generations. If someone can show me a test of lower velocity expanding a bullet better than high vel I will eat that crow without seasoning!
I’m glad I’m not the only one that buys the zipped right through theories.
 
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BigNate

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I would label it a failure if a hunting bullet doesn't expand and it is supposed to. Barnes.

Bullets that don't penetrate because they came apart on Shoulder shot is rarely a failure of the bullet, but more a failure of the hunter to pick proper placement for the bullet chosen.

If you are going to shoot a bullet designed to expand at lower velocities (Berger) why do people insist the bullet failed when they shoot shoulders at 60 yards? Or inversely, why try to use monos to shoot lungs at a greater distance and lower velocity? Again it's Shooter error.
When a bullet fails to expand on a close shot it failed. (Not including solids on dangerous game)

If you hunt areas where close shots are fairly common why would you load fragile bullets in the gun and choose to shoot at the shoulders? Why expect a solid copper bullet to expand at low velocity? Do people really think there isn't a difference?

Why not load the gun with a stout constructed bullet that shoots good enough up close to shoot wherever you want, and a long range choice available for long shots. Long shots aren't quick, and ejecting a mono to load an Accubond or Berger that's exactly what is needed in that situation will not take enough time to matter.

I surmise that blaming bullets is easier than admitting failure.
 
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phorwath

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I would label it a failure if a hunting bullet doesn't expand and it is supposed to. Barnes.

Bullets that don't penetrate because they came apart on Shoulder shot is rarely a failure of the bullet, but more a failure of the hunter to pick proper placement for the bullet chosen.

If you are going to shoot a bullet designed to expand at lower velocities (Berger) why do people insist the bullet failed when they shoot shoulders at 60 yards? Or inversely, why try to use monos to shoot lungs at a greater distance and lower velocity? Again it's Shooter error.
When a bullet fails to expand on a close shot it failed. (Not including solids on dangerous game)

If you hunt areas where close shots are fairly common why would you load fragile bullets in the gun and choose to shoot at the shoulders? Why expect a solid copper bullet to expand at low velocity? Do people really think there isn't a difference?

Why not load the gun with a stout constructed bullet that shoots good enough up close to shoot wherever you want, and a long range choice available for long shots. Long shots aren't quick, and ejecting a mono to load an Accubond or Berger that's exactly what is needed in that situation will not take enough time to matter.

I surmise that blaming bullets is easier than admitting failure.
Was this doe antelope too close? Was it too large for a .338 300gr bullet? Should the hunter admit failure or should we admit that this bullet failed to perform?

Posts #191 and #195, in the above link to this 2015 Thread:

Post #191
Some seem to be under the impression that Bergers just blow up like a v max or something like that, they do a slow burnband even very hard hits on heavy game I have not seen one blow up.

"Never say never. A member we both know and have talked to related his experience to me of shooting an antelope with his .338. I purposely avoid identifying the cartridge, but the cartridge has a large capacity. His 300gr Berger OTM hit the antelope, broadside profile, in the shoulder and the bullet never penetrated to the lung cavity. Antelope was still alive when he walked up to it and he had to shoot it again to kill it. That's the most extreme, reliably documented incident of a frangible bullet exploding on impact I've heard to date. It wasn't even a buck antelope. I've had a 210gr VLD dust within 9" on a medium size black bear 20 feet off the muzzle. That didn't terribly surprise me due to the high impacting velocity just off the muzzle. But how 300 grains of copper-sheathed lead can disappear in such a shallow wound on the side of a doe antelope's shoulder goes well beyond my imagination and expectation. I wouldn't have believed this if it didn't come from a member I've come to know over the past 6 years. He's well informed. Meticulous preparation for his long range hunting encounters. Quality equipment all the way around. He has a LOT of hunting experience over many years afield.

This experience convinces me more than ever of the wisdom of my practice of loading controlled expansion bullets for close range shots on large, dangerous game/predators. If an itsy bitsy doe antelope can shake off a 300gr OTM, imagine what's possible from an animal packing 10 or more times that weight."

Post #195
"Well, I have never shared this publicly before tonight. I'm the guy that shot a doe Antelope and the bullet never entered the vitals that I could see. Before I explain I need to back up a little.

When Berger came out with the 300g Berger I bought 250 of them. Shortly after we heard about the slump nose problem, so I did not shoot them. They are still in my cabinet as a matter of fact. A little while later they came out with the OTM's and I purchased 250. Don't remember what year that was?

In 2014 I used them exclusively that year. The Doe was 800+yards out. Wind was full value 8-10mph. When I shot the doe went straight down. My 12 year old grandson and I drove my utv up to what we thought was dead animal. When I pulled up next to it she picked up her head. When I got out to finish it, she tried to get up and run but could not. She actually made it 1/2 way into my ranger then fell out. I could not believe what I was seeing and all this in front of my grandson!

When I gutted it, I was looking for damage to the vitals and could not find any damage at all! The bullet hit her square in the shoulder. Yea, yea I know! I was aiming for crease but was off about 3" hitting shoulder squarely. When we skinned it, looked like bomb went off on entrance side. It was blood shot badly all the up to head. Don't think we saved any meat from that front quarter. Opposite side was perfectly fine?"
 
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BigNate

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My answer is going to ruffle your feathers, but maybe it was a failure on the shooters part.

There are factors that would quite possibly have contributed to the bullets performance.

It does seem to be a failure of some sort on the part of the bullet. It sounds like one of the extremely rare actual failures.
It would be interesting to know the velocity, twist rate, etc. But at 800, I agree it shouldn't have been a shallow wound.
 
nksmfamjp

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You guys need to look up SimpleMindedFella on YouTube. Videos are not well edited, but do contain great info on bullet perfmance.
 
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phorwath

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How do you evaluate bullet success or failure?
Gotta be a pathologist, with 10yrs experience in the morgue.
And monitoring instruments connected to the animal, collecting vitals.
Must be hooked up to the animal for 5 minutes prior to bullet impact. Gotta have some baseline data prior to bullet impact.
 
codyadams

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Gotta be a pathologist, with 10yrs experience in the morgue.
And monitoring instruments connected to the animal, collecting vitals.
Must be hooked up to the animal for 5 minutes prior to bullet impact. Gotta have some baseline data prior to bullet impact.
That's it!!! We just gotta start shooting animals in zoos, and we will have 100%, rock solid data!




Just kidding people, don't do that lol
 
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