Long-Range Terminal Ballistics

sscoyote

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Feb 26, 2003
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Pueblo, CO
Since many here are certainly pushing the edge concerning this topic, i'm sure this question has to have come up once or twice. What factor do you believe contributes the most to "killing power" at long-range when the #'s are so low-- energy, velocity, or maybe the expansion characteristics of the bullet??
 

Darryl Cassel

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May 7, 2001
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Pennsylvania
SS

The main killing ability of any bullet is the energy left no matter what the range.

Couple that with the surprise of the hit on the animal and bullet placement and you have a deadly combination.
That animal at longrange is in a relaxed state when it gets hit by the long and extreme longrange hunter. It NEVER hears the shot as it would if you were up close and the adrenalin never kicks in. It never hears the roar of the muzzle blast that scares the hell out of it when getting hit at close range.
We all have seen a deer get up or try and get up and run after getting hit. That just don't happen to the longrange hunter very often.
The animal will just take the full energy of the bullet and normally just lay down.
Have seen this happen 99% of the time, especially on elk.

We try to keep at least 1200 to 1400 FPS and 900 to 1000 foot pounds of energy left as our max range.
For my 338/416 Rigby IMP thats a max range of 2300 yards at the speed I'm now running it..

It really don't take much to kill a deer or elk especially if the bullet placement is where it should be.

Later
DC
 

RamBowMike

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Mar 18, 2011
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Walled Lake, Michigan
The AR-15 Platform rifle is an excellent Whitetail deer rifle provided the hunter chooses the correct ammunition for Whitetail deer.
You would not want to use a 50gr ballistic tip on a deer.
I've been using the Blackhills 60gr soft core bullets for years and the deer just drop every time.
There is a new cartridge available in the 223 manufactured by DRT Ammunition. (Do a Google Search) this bullet simply makes the deer fold.
I live in Michigan where the deer grow big. I also own 125 acres in the northern part of michigan and 20 acres in the southern part of Michigan.
I have 4 boys and we all use the AR-15 platform rifles for Whitetail deer hunting and we always get plenty of deer. As I was saying, this past year we decided to use the new DRT ammo. All 4 of my boys and myself got deer on the same day. We all talked about our hunt around the campfire that evening while sipping on hot chocolate.
Everyone of our deer shot with the new DRT did not move even one inch to the right, left, forward, or rearward: They all just folded.... (I mean simply folded)
Not one of the deer had an exit would, the energy stayed within the deer. When we cleaned them we found nothing left of the lungs but a thick jello type substance. The DRT was like a bomb going off inside the animal.
I've shot deer with 30-06's, 30-30's, 7mm mags, shotguns, and 762x39 caliber rifles and never had a deer just drop. They alway ran at least 25 yards if not 200 yards before dropping. Even with double lung hits.
This has never happened with the 223 DRT ammunition.

In my opinion nothing will drop a large Northern Whitetail deer faster than a 223 60gr DRT bullet. The second best bullet is the Blackhills 60gr bullet.
 

Topshot

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Nov 3, 2008
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I would say that bullet placement is most important.

Second is bullet expansion. If a good long range bullet is placed in the right spot and has enough energy to expand properly, then the animal should be history.

I like the .338 caliber 225 grain Hornady Interbond, they expand well at 1400 fps impact velocity. With a HP match bullet I would like a bit more velocity to ensure expansion.
 

RamBowMike

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Wow, a DRT/AR platform commercial amidst this technical LR discussion:rolleyes::D
That's O.K., (WE ARE BOTH JUNIOR MEMBERS) If i forgot to add in the LR-distance to Your so called commercial, I would like to add that the 223 is good on whitetail deer out to 600 meters using a DRT 79gr bullet.

-RamBowMike
 

jmd025

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Jan 12, 2011
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louisiana
That's O.K., (WE ARE BOTH JUNIOR MEMBERS) If i forgot to add in the LR-distance to Your so called commercial, I would like to add that the 223 is good on whitetail deer out to 600 meters using a DRT 79gr bullet.

-RamBowMike
Thanks for pointing out im a junior member. Means nothing to me, since its just a useless post count related title.

If you shot critters with all those calibers and they ran off, maybe try for the kill zone more often.

Back on topic, im curious to know the minimum accepted ft lbs necessary for ethical kills on game per animal weight
 

Topshot

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Back on topic, im curious to know the minimum accepted ft lbs necessary for ethical kills on game per animal weight
Accepted by who?
I don't think that simply using ft-lbs is a good idea. There are too many other variables to take into account.

i.e. Say you use a full metal jacket bullet with plenty of ft-lbs but no bullet expansion. In this case ft-lbs means nothing.
i.e. Say a bullet has heaps of ft-lbs but is very soft and explodes on the surface. Not a good option either.
 

RamBowMike

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Mar 18, 2011
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Location
Walled Lake, Michigan
Thanks for pointing out im a junior member. Means nothing to me, since its just a useless post count related title.

If you shot critters with all those calibers and they ran off, maybe try for the kill zone more often.

Back on topic, im curious to know the minimum accepted ft lbs necessary for ethical kills on game per animal weight
I agree with topshot: There are too many variables. This question can never be scientifically answered given the bullet weights and compositions as well as which body part of the animal the bullet strikes.
 

rscott5028

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Apr 18, 2010
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2,608
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Allen, TX
im curious to know the minimum accepted ft lbs necessary for ethical kills on game per animal weight
Ethical is something we don't discuss in this forum.

As others stated, there are too many variables to say for sure.

However, I often use 1800 fps and 1000 ft-lbs for whitetails as a quick rule of thumb. Most bullets will perform at that rate although, some are on the verge of not expanding. I beleive Berger will perform at slightly lower impact velocities and Barnes requires a little more.

Having said that, damage to vital organs is the ONLY thing that matters.

-- richard
 

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