Terminal performance..... velocity vs energy vs retained weight

Creedmoor shooter

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Yes I'm bringing this up.... I'm sure this is a dead horse, but I want to discuss this anyway. Alittle back ground on me. I'm a whitetail/black bear hunter as that's all we really have here in NH for medium game. I grew up killing most every deer I shot with a remington corlockt until I got into reloading. I tried nosler partitions which I didnt care for(not enough expansion), hornady sst, and other hunting bullet types. Over the past few years, I gravitated to match bullets, specifically the old a-max and now eld-match. They all killed the deer dead. However, at high velocity(over 3000 fps) I had meat loss and to be honest, didnt seem to kill them any deader than a bullet that held its weight.

So here's what I'm wondering. Does speed kill? Lighter faster bullet? Or does a heavy for caliber and a slower velocity kill better? What about retained weight? 100%? 80%? 50%? none?

I guess I fall in the category of heavy for caliber, and shedding about 50%-75% of its total weight, or whatever needs to remain to give me reliable pass throughs without completely wrecking the meat. I dont do shoulder hits as that tends to ruin alot of meat.

I've been thinking alot about this lately as I need some hunting bullets for my 7mm this year. Just want to hear everyone's thoughts. Let's please keep this as civil as we can fellas.
 

FEENIX

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I used Corelokts for many years before my reloading days as they are very forgiving on most of my rifles at the time. As you've seen from previous threads, it will get complicated. I too am a heavy bullet fan and tend to find the best compromise between accuracy and velocity. I use Berger and similar bullets primarily and retained weight is something I do not worry about, as you know they are designed to perform differently but I am very pleased with all the results thus far.


Excellent read and source >>> https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/Effective+Game+Killing.htmlhttps://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/Effective+Game+Killing.html

Good luck!
 

Creedmoor shooter

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I used Corelokts for many years before my reloading days as they are very forgiving on most of my rifles at the time. As you've seen from previous threads, it will get complicated. I too am a heavy bullet fan and tend to find the best compromise between accuracy and velocity. I use Berger and similar bullets primarily and retained weight is something I do not worry about, as you know they are designed to perform differently but I am very pleased with all the results thus far.


Excellent read and source >>> https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/Effective+Game+Killing.htmlhttps://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/Effective+Game+Killing.html

Good luck!
My only thing with retained weight is I want a pass through. Here in NH its alot of woods and I need a blood trail to follow if they decide to get out of sight, but generally they only go about 35 or so yards and tip over.
 

Plinker147

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I’m in the 50-60% retention club. I like fragmenting bullets that do lots of damage for good kills. I can live with a little meat loss.

Speed and weight/ mass are both functions of BC and killing can’t say 1 is more important than the other.

I don’t get too hung up on bullet type, I’ve used most brands and styles and they all seem to work if you do your part, As long as I can shoot it accurately I use them. I tend to heavy for calibers and sacrifice some speed. Lately I have really liked the LRAB.
 

codyadams

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I have to agree with feenix. I like as much weight for a caliber as I can get going a reasonable speed, the heaviest I can get going 2800-3100, with a couple minor exceptions....one, as you know, being a .338 Norma. The thought of a 300 grain Berger starting at 2700-2800, that is just going to be an elk thumper, and with the bc, will hold that velocity as long as a lower bc bullet like a 180 7mm, so I'm not really loosing any performance.

Also I have seen the damage a 290 grain cast bullet at 1800 fps muzzle velocity from my fathers lever gun does to an elk at close range, literally knocked a big cow on her feet.

The light and fast does kill very well too, I have seen many animals drop like lightning, as long as you can ensure proper penetration. The popularity of the 25-06 and .257 Weatherby's proove this, however the high impact velocities tend to come with a high amount of blood shot, and if you shoot them at ranges where they slow down and don't cause as much trauma, you are kind of missing the point of the light and fast aspect, it becomes light and slow very quickly, as well as experiencing high levels of wind drift and velocity/energy shed, as we know lighter bullets tend to be less efficient with a lower bc.

But for areas where your farthest shot may be 200-400 yards, light and fast may be the ticket for hunting scenarios, with the trade off usually being high amounts of blood shot.
 

Kimber7man

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My thought is that if you are a meat hunter, take a broadside shot and double lung them with a Nosler Ballistic tip or Berger bullet driven at 2,700 to 3,000 fps.

Or if you don’t care about a little meat loss and want to anchor them, go light for caliber with a Barnes TTSX or LRX through the shoulders at a higher velocity, dropping them on the spot.
 

MagnumManiac

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I have an affinity with Nosler Accubonds, small hole in and a slightly bigger hole going out.
I have re-covered less than a handful out of several head of deer, several plains game and dangerous game, most noticeable are 2 375 260gr Accubonds and 1 338 225gr Accubonds. All 3 retained above 70% of their original weight. Of note is the fact that all of them travelled the full body length of the game they hit. The 2 375’s were from a water buffalo, the first entered the chest and was found in the hip joint, the second hit the rear of the paunch just in front of the hip and was found under the chin in the hide.
The 338 was found in the rear ham of a sambar stag (similar size to an elk cow) that entered the chest angling to the rear, it was 2” from exiting and had completely smashed the femur into several pieces.
All bullets were perfect mushrooms, except the one from the hip joint, it had mushroomed, but had one side of it broken off in the bone.

My rule of thumb for nearly all of my carrridges is to go one up or more in weight over the general weight used, so in 30 mags, I run 200gr Accubonds, 338 is 225gr-250gr, 375 300gr (except deer which I use 260gr) Many years ago I used 275gr pills in 338, but that was for back up shots while guiding.

Speed DOES kill, I have seen 110gr pills out of my 270Bee decapitate a deer, not pretty but sure did the job. The same is true of 87gr pills in my 25-06, deer just drop on the spot with those, not what I regularly use, but have and will again.
Have shot deer with cup and core beside a fella shooting Barnes X, all deer died in the same way and same time frame, so 100% retained weight made no difference over 60% retained weight.
Being 25 cal, no bullets exited the animals shot, they were all in the hide when dressing them.

Cheers.
 

Creedmoor shooter

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So far, my favorite combo for whitetail is a 6.5mm 140 eld-m or old amax launched at 2850 fps. It always gives an exit wound, and it flat out kills. Meat loss is minimal. Where I run Into the issue is with my high velocity 7mm rem mag. I recently discovered my 9.5 twist can stabilize the 180 eld-m enough to group well at 100, but I'm worried that if there is a slight stabilization issue then it will perform poorly on game. Any thoughts on that?
 

FEENIX

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My only thing with retained weight is I want a pass through. Here in NH its alot of woods and I need a blood trail to follow if they decide to get out of sight, but generally they only go about 35 or so yards and tip over.
I understand. How's this for a blood trail ...



Harvested with 175 Matrix out my .270 AI at 2993 FPS ~100 yards heart shot (trees/fenceline).
 
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Creedmoor shooter

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Honestly, I don't know how the doe managed to get that far. Sometimes even when a bullet performs as advertised along with with shot placement, the game expires differently.
They have an incredible will to live. I said the same thing about an 8 pointer my wife shot a couple years ago. She polaxed that buck at 80 yards right on the edge of the shoulder. That deer took off and ran 50-75 yards before it expired. When we dressed it the biggest piece of the heart was only the size of a quarter, the lungs were not recognizable and the liver was all mashed up. Beyond me how that deer even took a step. That was shot with a 162 amax at 3100 fps. Only downside was the entire entry side of the ribcage was unuseable
 

FEENIX

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They have an incredible will to live. I said the same thing about an 8 pointer my wife shot a couple years ago. She polaxed that buck at 80 yards right on the edge of the shoulder. That deer took off and ran 50-75 yards before it expired. When we dressed it the biggest piece of the heart was only the size of a quarter, the lungs were not recognizable and the liver was all mashed up. Beyond me how that deer even took a step. That was shot with a 162 amax at 3100 fps. Only downside was the entire entry side of the ribcage was unuseable
Indeed and often "we" overlook or underestimate it.
 
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