Terminal ballistics of subsonic .308 bullets

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Michael Courtney, May 4, 2014.

  1. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1168&context=icwdm_wdmconfproc

    Possibly of interest

    ABSTRACT: The resurgence in popularity of subsonic .30 caliber bullets in 300 Whisper and 300 Blackout has led to the development of bullets that will expand at subsonic velocities. The availability of these bullets has led to questions about the applicability of this caliber for wildlife damage management. We conducted a preliminary investigation to determine the potential of subsonic .30 caliber bullets to quickly incapacitate medium-sized game animals, such as white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and feral swine (Sus scrofa). We tested several bullets, including Lehigh Defense Maximum Expansion (LDME) bullets, reported to expand at 878 ft/s (268 m/s), using ballistic gel and calculating retarding forces and kinetic energy. The retarding force, effects on the ballistic gel, and kinetic energy was similar to those seen in 9 mm hollow point bullets. Based on this initial analysis, .30 caliber bullets fired at subsonic velocities are unlikely to instantly or near-instantly incapacitate a medium sized game-animal unless the central nervous system or heart is directly struck. Additional research should be conducted to further characterize the effectiveness of these bullets and for the potential of subsonic .30 caliber bullets to be used for wildlife damage management.
     

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  2. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking about getting some of the Lehigh controlled fracturing subsonic .30 caliber bullets to load in a .308 I have threaded for my suppressor, and testing them on deer. I shot a few hogs and a whitetail with the .510 controlled fracturing subsonic bullets last fall and it was freaking devastating! All were bang-flops (without a lot of the bang) with a bullet behind the front shoulder. One of them was at almost exactly 200 yards.
     

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  3. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    Yes, one of the ideas that didn't make the paper was that a .50 cal fragmenting bullet would be much more effective due to both increases in energy and wounding with a given amount of energy. We did some experiments with quik-shok bullets a while back where we showed that the fragmenting bullets really do kill quickly if minimum penetration requirements are also met (10" for broadside deer). But with 500 ft lbs of energy, there is still only so quickly you can kill a deer and some still run 50-100 yards. With closer to 1500 ft lbs of energy + fragmenting (or controlled fracturing as they call it) you are in a zone of truly rapid incapacitation. With the .30 cal bullet incapacitation will not be as quick as with the .510.
     
  4. Bravo 4

    Bravo 4 Well-Known Member

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    Part of the reason for building the subsonic .510 cal rifle was the fact that even if the projectile didn't have any expansion or tumbling, it was still leaving a 1/2" + sized hole through whatever I hit with it. Plus the momentum of a 500-900 grain bullet would ensure lots of penetration.
     
  5. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    By excluding lead tipped bullets designed to expand at subsonic speeds, the study effectively shot itself in the foot. I understand game management wanting a "green" solution, but for the rest of us shooting subsonic bullets - lead bullets such as those made by Outlaw bullets - seem to get the required results.
     
  6. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    Outlaw is welcome to shoot calibrated ballistic gelatin and make penetration data, expansion data, and high speed video of gelatin impact available.
     
  7. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    I probably shouldn't have mentioned any bullet specifically. Just mentioned them as one example. No ax to grind here. No horse in this race.

    I was just wondering why these types of bullets were left out of the study. I think I read something about lead contamination in the article, but wasn't sure how that applied to damage control. Just looking for addl info. Sorry if I offended in any way.
     
  8. Michael Courtney

    Michael Courtney Silver Member

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    We tested a modified 220 grain Nosler Partition as a baseline for comparing likely performance of lead bullets. In many large, government sponsored deer culling operations, the USDA or other sponsoring agency would like to donate the meat to food pantries and such. Meat that may be contaminated with lead fragments cannot be donated, per federal rules. Silly, I know, but that's why the Feds are favoring lead free bullets for culling operations.
     
  9. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. That was the piece of the puzzle I was missing.