Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2002
Central Minnesota
A question I have always wanted to ask. How many fps does it really take to penetrate flesh or "soft" targets without taking into account different bullets, etc?
My answer would be around 500fps. Again this depends on the toughnest of the "flesh" but an airgun will kill a bird at 30ft. muzzle vel is at of just under 500fps.

Just have a look at retained vel for handgun projectiles at different ranges. We know that a 9mm through to a 45ACP is lethal at 100yds. At least to people. The 45ACP is not going very fast but the bullet is heavy.

For me, my min. is 1000fps of impact vel. I know that moderate weight bullets will penetrate the lungs and chest cavity of any animal I am likely to hunt. Expansion would be very small so bullet diameter and weight become critical. Same affect as an arrow.

How fast is a 500gr 45 cal lead slug going at 500yds after launching at 1200fps? We know that will take out a buffalo. Big, bushy hide and wide chest cavity with an on the hoof weight upwards of 1500lbs.

500 gr projectiles from a 45-70 have lethal velocity beyond 3000 yards. Let's see now, 12 mph 1/2 value crosswind from the left, flock of gnats at 1275 yds.....
Well, 500fps seems like a lot to me, but then again what do I know. I dropped one of my 220 grain J40 bullets from about 8 inches above my reloading table and it got stuck in the wood. I would say about 150 fps would be enough to go though a deer. (not all the way.) According to the Marines the .308 Win has to penetrate 15" of ballistic gelatin at 1000 yards so who knows. Thanks for all responces.
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