# How much Energy to kill a Deer?

#### jwp475

##### Well-Known Member
No.... this is not a ballistic pendulum. This is a bullet that strikes a steel target and falls inert to the ground with zero velocity, energy and momentum and the target is left standing. You are ignoring what happens to the bullet and the target. It takes a transfer of "energy" to deform both the bullet and the target. This is in fact where most of the energy goes.

We are not talking about 1 ft lb of energy, we are talking about 4800 ftbs. If most of that energy was transfered into thermal energy, it would blister your finger to touch the target or bullet. There is only a very slight amount of energy that is tranfered to thermal energy in this type of collison or when a deer gets shot. You will find zero data to back your claim.
One foot pound equals about 1.36 joule, 0.32 calorie, or 0.0013 Btu.

4800 foot pounds equates to 6.24 BTU's not enough heat to matter

#### trueblue

##### Well-Known Member
JE ,
That is the type of information we need to be furnishing to guys in order to keep it simple for most of them.
I found the thread starting to go off on a differnt tangent, and just wanted to post some basic guidelines for most of us to go by.
Thanks for chiming in also.

#### MontanaRifleman

##### Well-Known Member
One foot pound equals about 1.36 joule, 0.32 calorie, or 0.0013 Btu.

4800 foot pounds equates to 6.24 BTU's not enough heat to matter
You still haven't answered what forces cause the deformatiom of the bullet and the crater in the plate.

#### MontanaRifleman

##### Well-Known Member
This is the best guide line to use.

It is based on the Taylor knock out values and has been the standard energy to recomend
for good clean one shot kills. This does not mean that less will not do only that 1000 ft/lbs
for deer size game and 1500 ft/lbs for Elk size game works most of the time if the shot is well
placed. 2500 ft/lbs is recommended for animals weighing 1500 pounds and 4000 ft/lbs + for
dangerous game for obvious reasons.

The main thing is to use a bullet at or above it's designed velocity and energy so as to get the
best performance from it under ALL hunting conditions. So to sum it up if you are hunting deer
size game you want to look at your ballistic tables and find the distance where the bullet drops
below any of the aforementioned values (1800 ft/sec,1000 ft/lbs of energy or accuracy is
insufficient to make a lethal hit) and just limit your distance to less than the max you will be
fine.

If you let the bullet performance dictate the velocity, accuracy,energy and the type of game
you will have many enjoyable hunts.

This criteria is for rifle hunting at longer ranges and should not be compared to other hunting
projectiles because they are designed to perform under different circumstances and cannot
be compared and are for the most part shorter range projectile's, Like the arrow (Kills by hemorrhage and not with energy) and the pistol (Not the ones that use rifle cartriges).

This has all ways been a debate and each person has to live with the outcome if they chose to
extend the range or performance beyond the projectiles limits.

You can kill a deer with a rock ,but would you want to.

J E CUSTOM
JE, that was a good post and I basically agree very generally with everything except that energy is not what kills from bullet wounds. Game anaimals die from hemoraging or major CNS damage when shot by a bullet. Actually they die from lack of oxygen to the brain which is caused by extremely low blood pressure, which is caused by hemoraging or the severing of major arteries. Energy is only involved in an indirect way and that's why I dont look at energy for determining a bullet's potential to kill. Energy transfer is a product of the destructive forces of a bullet meeting bone and flesh, it is not a causal factor of tissue destruction. The right combination and design of mass and velocity (momentum) are what cause destruction to living tissue. JWP posted a good example of a 22-250 vs a 475 for taking a bear. A lot of deer are very adequately taken with much less than 1000 ftlbs of energy with shotguns, muzzleloaders and handguns. This is because of the size and construction of the bullet. On top of that, deer come in a great many sizes.

Having said that, 1000 ftlbs of energy is a fair but very rough wag of most modern rifle's bullets potential to kill deer in that it reflects a combination of mass and velocity which amounts to a potential killing force.

Not trying to be argumentative, but I think folks should be taking a closer look at their bullets and their game. There is a wide variety of bullets these days that perform quite differently and you can find 60 lb deer to 400 lb deer and 200 lb elk to 1000 lb elk, so to try to assign an arbitrary number with all these variables is a very very rough wag at best.

Now it's time to go out and see if I can put this to practice.

Cheers,

Mark

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#### IAmLegend

##### New Member
If they are shot in the neck area with a high performance cartridge, they
can also die from a stroke caused by the severe pressure change.

#### MudRunner2005

##### Well-Known Member
I've shot a pile of does with a 22-250 out to ranges where they are running 600-800 ft lbs of energy but all that energy was delivered to vital organs. If you don't deliver energy to the vitals you need to make that up with larger bullets to get the wound channel needed to do a good job.
BINGO!!! Shot placement is very key to determine how much energy is needed, and what diameter and weight bullet you will need to do the job. This is what I have been saying, when I was comparing the 7mm vs the .338 calibers. I don't make shoulder shots. Rarely have, and try my best not to. I usually go for the soft area (rib cage) directly behind the shoulder, in that little "button" or divit, and that button will clip the heart and both lungs. Clean, quick, and humane, with VERY minimal meat loss.

If you hit in the tender vitals, it don't matter what size bullet you shoot them with. If you're going for a meat shot, like a shoulder shot, to get to the heart, then of course you're gonna want a monster bore caliber with ALOT more kinetic energy. That makes perfect sense. However nobody has yet to discuss this, or mention this, when we have had our caliber vs caliber discussions.

#### MudRunner2005

##### Well-Known Member
If they are shot in the neck area with a high performance cartridge, they
can also die from a stroke caused by the severe pressure change.
This is also true. I know a guy who still hunts with the same old Remington 700 .22-250 with 55gr Hornady SST's that he has since way back in the day (before I was born). He always takes neck shots. Knocks 'em down and as many years as I've hunted with him, I've never seen him lose a deer.

#### Beluebow

##### Well-Known Member
Mud did you notice this thread is almost 31/2yrs old lol