Generalized bullet selection for hunting….

nksmfamjp

nksmfamjp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2004
Messages
2,306
Here are some rules of thumb regarding where I put TYPICAL limitations for the three bullet types. I'm reluctant to post this though since it's not an absolute at all and there are many factors that go into how a bullet actually performs and behaves once it impacts an animal. Please keep this in mind. The amount of sectional density the bullet has really affects these numbers and ranges, as does how much resistance the bullet will encounter based both on shot placement and body size/weight of the particular animal.

•Impact velocity range for tough constructed bullets: 1800-2600fps, ideally. If impact velocity will be above 2600fps, avoid high impact resistance shots like shoulders. If impact velocity falls below 2400fps, and especially below 2000fps, aim for areas where impact resistance will be higher, particularly shoulders.

•Impact velocity range for soft/frangible bullets: 1400-2400fps, ideally and depending on the particular one used. If impact velocity will be above 2400fps, avoid high impact resistance shots like shoulders. If impact velocity falls below 2200fps, and especially below 1800fps, aim for areas where impact resistance will be higher, particularly shoulders.

•Impact velocity range for homogeneous bullets: 2200-3200fps, ideally for most designs out there. Honestly, as long as you will impact above 2200fps, I'd be aiming high shoulder to hit the thoracic plexus as well as both lungs. If impact velocity is going to be on the real high end, like above 3000fps, I'd reduce impact resistance so that you don't simply rip off petals and leave yourself with just a caliber sized hole going through the rest of the animal from just the shank of the bullet.
Small question….and maybe where we differ philosophically…..Aren’t you concerned about putting a slow bullet into the shoulder? Won’t it risk stopping just past the shoulder. A solid shoulder hit will put them down in my experience, but keeping game anchored seems to come through bleeding of the vitals….with an exit hole.

This would be worthy of some testing. The bone may start expansion better than just ribs over organs….not sure.
 
LVJ76

LVJ76

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
3,554
Location
Tucson, Arizona
Here are some rules of thumb regarding where I put TYPICAL limitations for the three bullet types. I'm reluctant to post this though since it's not an absolute at all and there are many factors that go into how a bullet actually performs and behaves once it impacts an animal. Please keep this in mind. The amount of sectional density the bullet has really affects these numbers and ranges, as does how much resistance the bullet will encounter based both on shot placement and body size/weight of the particular animal.

•Impact velocity range for tough constructed bullets: 1800-2600fps, ideally. If impact velocity will be above 2600fps, avoid high impact resistance shots like shoulders. If impact velocity falls below 2400fps, and especially below 2000fps, aim for areas where impact resistance will be higher, particularly shoulders.

•Impact velocity range for soft/frangible bullets: 1400-2400fps, ideally and depending on the particular one used. If impact velocity will be above 2400fps, avoid high impact resistance shots like shoulders. If impact velocity falls below 2200fps, and especially below 1800fps, aim for areas where impact resistance will be higher, particularly shoulders.

•Impact velocity range for homogeneous bullets: 2200-3200fps, ideally for most designs out there. Honestly, as long as you will impact above 2200fps, I'd be aiming high shoulder to hit the thoracic plexus as well as both lungs. If impact velocity is going to be on the real high end, like above 3000fps, I'd reduce impact resistance so that you don't simply rip off petals and leave yourself with just a caliber sized hole going through the rest of the animal from just the shank of the bullet.

Thanks for sharing all that information.
 
Montana'eer

Montana'eer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
454
Location
Montana
Sometimes I get caught up in these machinations about bullets, construction, impact velocity / energy... I buy and try the latest and greatest on the range....

Love the discussion. I also love partitions.
 
Last edited:
Petey308

Petey308

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
558
Location
Missouri
Small question….and maybe where we differ philosophically…..Aren’t you concerned about putting a slow bullet into the shoulder? Won’t it risk stopping just past the shoulder. A solid shoulder hit will put them down in my experience, but keeping game anchored seems to come through bleeding of the vitals….with an exit hole.

This would be worthy of some testing. The bone may start expansion better than just ribs over organs….not sure.
No. In general, when it comes to bullets, slower results in more penetration and less expansion. So just because impact velocity might be slow, as well as the kinetic energy low, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have enough power to make it all the way through.

A 55gr VMAX, as an example, impacting at 3200fps is highly unlikely to exit. It has a very low amount of SD (mass) and is constructed soft and to come apart. However, that same bullet impacting at say 1200fps has a really good chance of exiting due to it not expanding as much at that velocity. Obviously it’s still not likely to exit on wide bodied game, but that’s not my point.

That same concept transfers to larger bullets like TMKs, ELDMs, Bergers, etc. By impacting within those ranges I gave in my rules of thumb post above, they will balance out much better regarding expansion versus penetration, particularly regarding certain shot placements.

A higher impact velocity would not necessarily mean more of a chance that it’ll have the power to punch through, but rather it’ll have more of a likelihood of expanding to the point of meeting the resistance required to arrest its forward momentum and not exit. Again, that’s not necessary a bad thing, as long as it did its job by destroying the vitals and creating sufficient blood loss for a quick and clean kill.

So again, this is why having adequate sectional density with soft/frangible bullets is so important. It’ll ensure proper terminal performance. Conversely, you DO NOT want a high SD with tougher constructed bullets because then you’ll experience the opposite regarding expansion versus expansion. You’ll have more penetration than expansion and before the bullet can inflict a massive amount of internal damage, it’ll have already exited.

Even large calibers (like .338 and up) with soft/frangible bullets can have this problem due to the sheer mass alone. The bullet can’t expand fast enough before it exits the animal. Lower impact velocities can help with those large calibers, but with those and others of the tougher construction, you also don’t want to dip below an impact velocity of 1800fps because then there’s not going to be enough opposing force to create adequate expansion from the bullet. The large caliber bullets tend to have a smaller window in regards to ideal impact velocity range.

Hopefully that’s not confusing lol.
 
Last edited:
Petey308

Petey308

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
558
Location
Missouri
The bone may start expansion better than just ribs over organs….not sure.
Bone, in general, will result in more resistance to the bullet than muscle or organs. So yes, any bullet hitting bone will expand more than if it only hit tissue. However, just because it hit bone doesn’t mean it can’t overcome it and penetrate through it and still have sufficient material left to inflict adequate damage to vitals for a quick and clean kill.

Also, when I talk about shoulder shots, I mean high shoulder shots, into the blade, not the socket or humorous bone. You’re trying to hit the brachial plexus and the lungs, ideally.

I’ve hit many shoulders with a 208gr AMAX/ELDM, 215gr Berger Hybrid, 200gr Berger Hybrid, etc from a 300wm and never had what I’d consider a bad experience. Same as with a 195gr TMK from both a 308 and 300wm. Same as a 160gr TMK from a 7mm REM Mag, 140gr and 147gr ELDM from a 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 SST. I mean the list goes on and on. My point is they work very well and without issue. In fact, I’ve found they work the best overall, especially at lower impact velocities for those longer shots. I’ve shot many bonded and other tougher constructed lead core bullets and monos too to compare results.
 
Petey308

Petey308

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
558
Location
Missouri
I absolutely recommend anyone and everyone do their own testing too, btw, and not just take mine or anyone else’s word for it. I will share my results and my experience and theories and current conclusions, but I also keep an open mind and try to gather what there is to learn from other’s experiences and testing too.
 
nksmfamjp

nksmfamjp

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2004
Messages
2,306
No. In general, when it comes to bullets, slower results in more penetration and less expansion. So just because impact velocity might be slower and the kinetic energy, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have enough power to make it all the way through. A 55gr VMAX, as an example, impacting at 3200fps is highly unlikely to exit. It has a very low amount of SD (mass) and is constructed soft and to come apart. However, that same bullet impacting at say 1200fps has a really good chance of exiting. Obviously not on wide bodied game, but that’s not my point. The concept transfers to larger bullets like TMKs, ELDMs, Bergers, etc. By impacting within those ranges I gave, they will balance out much better regarding expansion versus penetration, particularly regarding certain shot placements. A higher impact velocity would not mean more of a chance it’ll have the power to punch through, but rather have more of a chance of expanding to the point of encountering the resistance required to arrest its forward momentum and not exit. Again, that’s not necessary a bad thing, as long as it did it’s job by destroying the vitals and creating sufficient blood loss for a quick and clean kill.

So again, this is why having adequate sectional density with sift/frangible bullets is so important. It’ll ensure proper terminal performance. Conversely, you do not high SD with tougher constructed bullets because then you’ll experience the opposite regarding expansion versus expansion. You’ll have more penetration than expansion and before the bullet can inflict a massive amount of internal damage, it’s already exited. Even large calibers (like .338 and up) with soft/frangible bullets can have this problem due to the sheer mass alone. The bullet can’t expand fast enough before it exits the animal. Lower impact velocities can help with those large calibers, but with those and others of the tougher construction, you don’t want to dip below an impact velocity of 1800fps because then there’s not going to be enough opposing force to create adequate expansion from the bullet.

Hopefully that’s not confusing lol.
That makes a lot of sense and aligns to ballistic tests I’ve seen. No experience with bullet traveling like that…
 
E

emp1953

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
538
Not a lot of experience or scientific data to offer up but I was shooting 130gr Nosler partitions in my .270win, 51gr H4350. I had very few deer that fell over and died right there and several were a difficult track. All shots are 80-300yds. Most of the bullets did not exit. I swapped over to 150gr NP's same exact loading. 80% from then on were bang-flops. All bullets were through and through except the double shoulder hits which destroyed alot of meat. The ones I had to track were easy blood trails and short tracks. MV avg was 2890fps.
 
Petey308

Petey308

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
558
Location
Missouri
Not a lot of experience or scientific data to offer up but I was shooting 130gr Nosler partitions in my .270win, 51gr H4350. I had very few deer that fell over and died right there and several were a difficult track. All shots are 80-300yds. Most of the bullets did not exit. I swapped over to 150gr NP's same exact loading. 80% from then on were bang-flops. All bullets were through and through except the double shoulder hits which destroyed alot of meat. The ones I had to track were easy blood trails and short tracks. MV avg was 2890fps.
What it sounds like you experienced is a result of too much impact velocity with not enough sectional density. The Partition is somewhat unique, in that it’s a bit of a hybrid design. It has two chambers with essentially two cores. The front section (ogive) has very thin walls. The core in the base is encased and that area of jacket is also thicker.

What all this means is that the thinner front part tends to expand rapidly upon impact and if there’s not sufficient mass, that material will be shed away before the bullet can inflict adequate damage to vitals. The base can still swell enough, as well as also no longer have the sectional density left (mass) to continue penetrating and exiting.

I hen you went to the 150gr version, you increased sectional density and the mass of both sections of the bullet, which ended up being a better balance for your particular cartridge and impact velocities.

Shoulder shots with partitions, going into heavy bone, can experience a lot of spalling and the bullet material in that front section tends to produce a lot of bloodshot meat. A lot of it can be rinsed and salvaged though.
 
birddog 68

birddog 68

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2022
Messages
882
Location
Pennsylvania
The amount of discussion isn't really a measure of how pertinent the topic is. Plenty could of just read the information and not posted anything. Just make notes of the observation and carried on.
This ^^ . I appreciate all the information and enjoy learning from others more informed than me.
Once I find a bullet that works for my application I tend to stick with it since I have confidence in it. Until I have results that I don’t like, I will probably be perfectly happy using what has worked for me.
I guess I’m not a latest and greatest kind of person but I do like to hear about them just in case.
 
LVJ76

LVJ76

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
3,554
Location
Tucson, Arizona
What it sounds like you experienced is a result of too much impact velocity with not enough sectional density. The Partition is somewhat unique, in that it’s a bit of a hybrid design. It has two chambers with essentially two cores. The front section (ogive) has very thin walls. The core in the base is encased and that area of jacket is also thicker.

What all this means is that the thinner front part tends to expand rapidly upon impact and if there’s not sufficient mass, that material will be shed away before the bullet can inflict adequate damage to vitals. The base can still swell enough, as well as also no longer have the sectional density left (mass) to continue penetrating and exiting.

I hen you went to the 150gr version, you increased sectional density and the mass of both sections of the bullet, which ended up being a better balance for your particular cartridge and impact velocities.

Shoulder shots with partitions, going into heavy bone, can experience a lot of spalling and the bullet material in that front section tends to produce a lot of bloodshot meat. A lot of it can be rinsed and salvaged though.

Through the years we have moved to heavier for caliber bullets, why? We got more penetration and faster kills.

At the moment we only use two cartridges for hunting:
- 7mm-08 with 168gr Berger Hybrids, 162gr AMax, 150gr Ballistic Tip, 150gr ELD-X and have some 150gr Hybrids to try.

- 7mm Rem Mag with 168gr Hybrids, 162gr SST, and 180gr VLDH.

The only light bullets we still use are the 139gr SST and the 120gr BT, and these are uaed on the 7mm-08's for deer, javelina and coyotes.

I've seen first hand how a heavier bullet can kill better, woth proper shot placement of course.
 
Petey308

Petey308

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
558
Location
Missouri
Through the years we have moved to heavier for caliber bullets, why? We got more penetration and faster kills.

At the moment we only use two cartridges for hunting:
- 7mm-08 with 168gr Berger Hybrids, 162gr AMax, 150gr Ballistic Tip, 150gr ELD-X and have some 150gr Hybrids to try.

- 7mm Rem Mag with 168gr Hybrids, 162gr SST, and 180gr VLDH.

The only light bullets we still use are the 139gr SST and the 120gr BT, and these are uaed on the 7mm-08's for deer, javelina and coyotes.

I've seen first hand how a heavier bullet can kill better, woth proper shot placement of course.
Heavier is better only with softer/frangible bullets though, or hybrid designs like Partitions, SST’s, ELDX’s, etc.

Going too heavy with the really tough/bonded and monos can result in too much penetration and not enough expansion for ideal results.
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

T
Replies
4
Views
2K
DougsCamo
DougsCamo
mwkelso
Replies
64
Views
16K
oklahomaboy
O
R
Replies
9
Views
3K
RockyMtnMT
RockyMtnMT
Petey308
Replies
2
Views
6K
Petey308
Petey308
T
Replies
8
Views
2K
nateisw
N
Top