exploding bullets on impact...is this real or are people guessing?

emp1953

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Sep 29, 2013
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145
A match bullet is not a hunting bullet. A match bullet is designed to meet a different set of performance criteria than a hunting bullet is. If you get lucky and find a match bullet that performs well on game then do consider yourself lucky. Also keep in mind that just because someone else has good performance on game with their match grade bullet/caliber doesn't mean that your match grade bullet should perform similarly. There are an awful lot of quality, accurate hunting grade bullets on the market. I am not a long range competition shooter. When I zero my rifle if I can't achieve MOA at a given range my goal then is Minute of deer. If I manage the minute of deer goal out to 600-800 yards then I'm more than satisfied, 99 times out of 100 I successfully fill out my tag.
If I were a long range competition shooter I would purchase one of the fine Precision Rifles on the market and work up a load that will shoot the warts off a pickle at 500 yards. But I would not take that rifle and load out to the woods and expect to be happy with the results.
 

WildRose

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Finally happened to us on a coues hunt yesterday. 6.5 ELD-M 147 at 560 yards (MV ~3000) hit squarely on the shoulder. Could see bone protruding from the entry wound but only lost function of the front quarter. Was able to take a follow up shot that was effective. When we quartered out the deer the front shoulder was shattered and we found jacket fragment scattered throughout the front quarter but there was not even so much as bruising on the rib cage under the front quarter. No penetration to the vitals what so ever. Would not have believed it on a coues deer if I had not seen it happen. That was my first and only experience using an ELD-M for hunting. I know many have had great success with the Ms but this happened yesterday. No guessing. ELD-X has been perfect when used by our crew so far.
This is why I tell people to know your bullet and put it where it'll be most effective. Had that round hit behind the shoulder and just penetrated the ribs you'd have probably been ok.

It's also why I won't use these types of bullets for hunting since we can't always control where they will impact.

No matter how perfect we'd like to think we are, we simply aren't and the wind alone is enough to cause a good shot to become a bad hit.
 

JTB

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Things happen when in the field. Our hunter could probably take another 100 similar shots and not be able to duplicate that exploding shoulder shot with an ELD-M. We do what we can to help mitigate the risk of failure but sometimes it just happens. We gain experience and make adjustments but no guarantees. I generally go on hunts (6-10/year) with my family and a few friends each year so I’ve been able to see what has and hasn’t worked under a variety of situations on mostly coues and elk (like a lot of us). We were only unable to recover 1 animal in the past 15 years or so on a double lung pass through shot from one of the most beloved pills out there. No blood, period. Likely this would not happen over the next 99 shots but this is normally how we all acquire and cherish our biases. I’m not saying the ELD-M will not be effective over the next 99 shots but in the back of my mind I will always carry that doubt, same with the other one mentioned. Others have these same doubts on the ones I believe least likely to fail, because of a bad experience. Use what works for you (ELD-M or whatever) and it will likely continue to work. Good hunting and Merry Christmas all.
 

WildRose

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Things happen when in the field. Our hunter could probably take another 100 similar shots and not be able to duplicate that exploding shoulder shot with an ELD-M. We do what we can to help mitigate the risk of failure but sometimes it just happens. We gain experience and make adjustments but no guarantees. I generally go on hunts (6-10/year) with my family and a few friends each year so I’ve been able to see what has and hasn’t worked under a variety of situations on mostly coues and elk (like a lot of us). We were only unable to recover 1 animal in the past 15 years or so on a double lung pass through shot from one of the most beloved pills out there. No blood, period. Likely this would not happen over the next 99 shots but this is normally how we all acquire and cherish our biases. I’m not saying the ELD-M will not be effective over the next 99 shots but in the back of my mind I will always carry that doubt, same with the other one mentioned. Others have these same doubts on the ones I believe least likely to fail, because of a bad experience. Use what works for you (ELD-M or whatever) and it will likely continue to work. Good hunting and Merry Christmas all.
The ELD-M simply isn't designed for punching heavy muscle and bone. I would avoid shoulder shot with it completely.

Behind the shoulder or just above the elbow in the "crook" for the heart/lung shot and it should give good performance consistently but it's going to be highly frangible and unpredictable with shorter range high velocity impacts.
 

Orange Dust

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Oct 23, 2015
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This is why I tell people to know your bullet and put it where it'll be most effective. Had that round hit behind the shoulder and just penetrated the ribs you'd have probably been ok.

It's also why I won't use these types of bullets for hunting since we can't always control where they will impact.

No matter how perfect we'd like to think we are, we simply aren't and the wind alone is enough to cause a good shot to become a bad hit.
You may also do everything right and have the animal decide to just take a step or turn while the bullet is in the air. Doesn't matter how good you are, Mother Nature can, and WILL throw you a curve. This is why many of us use guns that seem overkill for the game we are hunting. Seems like there is a barrier at about 600 yds that it takes a big gun to overcome if everything just does not go perfectly. I've had great success with a 300RUM at long range on Whitetails with 190gr ABLR, started at about 3300fps. The same gun will literally destroy one within its point blank range if you hit any bone to speak of. This year I've been hunting with a 28 Nosler with 162ELDX's. Couldn't get the ABLR's to shoot well enough with it. Not nearly as hard on them as the RUM up close, if you stay in the ribs, but the jury is still out on how well they will do at LR. If I Went Elk hunting again and was planning to shoot one far, an Edge is the smallest gun I would take. I have learned over the years that I just like to do all my hunting BEFORE I pull the trigger. I would not hunt without a controlled expansion bullet of some kind and also prefer bonded bullets to anything else I have tried, but I don't hunt LR with little guns. WildRose knows what he is talking about. Match bullets can work very well over 600 in a big gun. Problem is in reality most shots are closer and they can be very erratic at high velocity, and will usually come apart. You need a bullet that will hold together close and still expand at long range. This is why many folks that hunt long range with match bullets will also carry a load with a bonded bullet for closer shots. Usually takes a lot of tuning to get two loads to shoot close enough to the same for this. Too much thinking for me.
 

Sod Farmer

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I have witnessed this first hand, 300 wsm. Guy was using a hot load with A max. He shot a Iowa whitetail at 50 yards in the shoulder. It left a 6" diameter wound that was only about 1-2 inches deep. He was able to head shoot it at 100 yards after bedding down. The bullet did not penetrate to the vitals. I will never forget that one. He learned target bullets aren't for hunting.
Kaboom -
I hope you are mistaken about this happening in Iowa. Until just a few years ago, Iowa was a shotgun only state for deer hunting. Today, the only legal rifle cartridges allowed are straight walled cases like a 45/70. Any cartridge with a shoulder, like the 300 WSM you described, are not and never have been legal for deer hunting in Iowa. What you have described is highly illegal and considered to be poaching.
 

emp1953

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Out of a 24" barrel with a 1:12 twist, muzzle velocity at 3000fps and lets say for the sake of simplifying the math, a .25cal bullet, doesn't that equate to around 6000 rpm for bullet rotation. Match that dynamic with the bullet traveling over 2000 MPH, hitting a solid object (bone) why shouldn't it be expected to come apart, spectacularly.
 

WildRose

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Out of a 24" barrel with a 1:12 twist, muzzle velocity at 3000fps and lets say for the sake of simplifying the math, a .25cal bullet, doesn't that equate to around 6000 rpm for bullet rotation. Match that dynamic with the bullet traveling over 2000 MPH, hitting a solid object (bone) why shouldn't it be expected to come apart, spectacularly.
That didn't sound right so I did some digging.

Closer to 180,000rpm I think. Looks like you left off one step in the calculation.

Bullet RPM Formula
Here is a simple formula for calculating bullet RPM:

MV x (12/twist rate in inches) x 60 = Bullet RPM

Quick Version: MV X 720/Twist Rate = RPM

Example One: In a 1:12″ twist barrel the bullet will make one complete revolution for every 12″ (or 1 foot) it travels through the bore. This makes the RPM calculation very easy. With a velocity of 3000 feet per second (FPS), in a 1:12″ twist barrel, the bullet will spin 3000 revolutions per SECOND (because it is traveling exactly one foot, and thereby making one complete revolution, in 1/3000 of a second). To convert to RPM, simply multiply by 60 since there are 60 seconds in a minute. Thus, at 3000 FPS, a bullet will be spinning at 3000 x 60, or 180,000 RPM, when it leaves the barrel.

Example Two: What about a faster twist rate, say a 1:8″ twist? We know the bullet will be spinning faster than in Example One, but how much faster? Using the formula, this is simple to calculate. Assuming the same MV of 3000 FPS, the bullet makes 12/8 or 1.5 revolutions for each 12″ or one foot it travels in the bore. Accordingly, the RPM is 3000 x (12/8) x 60, or 270,000 RPM.
http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2008/06/calculating-bullet-rpm-spin-rates-and-stability/

Well constructed bullets designed to penetrate bone will not blow up on impact, they'll hold together and drive all the way through.
 
Last edited:

emp1953

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Sep 29, 2013
Messages
145
That didn't sound right so I did some digging.

Closer to 180,000rpm I think. Looks like you left off one step in the calculation.



http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2008/06/calculating-bullet-rpm-spin-rates-and-stability/

Well constructed bullets designed to penetrate bone will not blow up on impact, they'll hold together and drive all the way through.
Wow, 180,000 Its been 40 years since I sat in Physics class. That drives my point home even better about the dynamics going on with the bullet. If the bullet is designed for competition target accuracy at long range, don't be surprised by what it does or doesn't do on an animal. Your line "Well constructed bullets designed to penetrate bone will not blow up on impact", says it all, again. 180,000 rpm says alot to explain spin drift.
 

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