Velocity vs Energy

WiscGunner

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Aug 2, 2016
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194
I know this can get a bit dicey but all things considered...
In your opinion, is velocity or energy more important for an ethical kill on big game? I have heard/read various levels of acceptable energy related to game size (1000,1200,1500,2500 ft-lb) but also hear/read that velocity is more important due hydrostatic shock. Personally, I prefer the “wind resistance” of the 7mm for insurance with inaccuracy of wind calls.

Would you choose...

7mm, 180g
2057fps/1692ft-lb
or
338, 250gr
1810fps / 1819 ft-lb

Trying to decide which setup to go with for Elk/Caribou/Moose/Black Bear.

Thanks
 

HARPERC

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Spokane, WA
......I haven't seen energy make a difference to animals. Velocity is necessary to ensure proper bullet performance.

1800 fps seems to be a threshold for reliable bullet expansion in most cases. Given identical bullets the 7mm should expand better. Enough to overcome the .338 being slightly bigger to begin is anybodies guess.
 

Greyfox

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Northeast
IMO, 7mm with the “right” bullet will get the job done with superb ballistics, and more then sufficient killing power.
 

Bravo 4

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I would take that expanding .338 bullet over the 7mm any day against larger game. The number differences seem small on paper, but that 250 grain bullet will smack the crap out of anything it hits. If you were to hit a steel target with those two examples there would be no question about it. I know what some are thinking, steel and animals are different media. That is true, but you would only say that if you haven’t seen animals hit with both.
Just my opinion having shot lots of game with both.:D
 

J E Custom

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Joined
Jul 29, 2004
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10,725
Location
Texas
I know this can get a bit dicey but all things considered...
In your opinion, is velocity or energy more important for an ethical kill on big game? I have heard/read various levels of acceptable energy related to game size (1000,1200,1500,2500 ft-lb) but also hear/read that velocity is more important due hydrostatic shock. Personally, I prefer the “wind resistance” of the 7mm for insurance with inaccuracy of wind calls.

Would you choose...

7mm, 180g
2057fps/1692ft-lb
or
338, 250gr
1810fps / 1819 ft-lb

Trying to decide which setup to go with for Elk/Caribou/Moose/Black Bear.

Thanks


There is a general rule that the bigger the game, the bigger the caliber. This is just a rule of thumb, but generally a good one.
Chances are that if you have a favorite deer rifle, it will be on the light side for Elk size game.

Where I hunted Elk it was very important to drop him in the best place for recovery. So many times you would have to wait for this shot or spend days recovering you meat.

Smaller calibers will definitely kill big game, but will seldom drop them in there tracks. So I would recommend a large caliber like a 338 for Elk if you hunt in thick brush or rough terrain to make recovery better.

Just My Opinion

J E CUSTOM
 

truck driver

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Jun 16, 2012
Messages
168
Though not the same calibers but similar in size difference, .30 verses .35
I've shot my share of deer size game with .30 cal cartridges and a few with .35 cal
( 30-06 vs 35 Whelen ) and there is no doubt which one hits with more authority and that would be the bigger diameter bullet.
If it were me and recoil wasn't brought into the situation I would choose the 338 over a 7mm every time for large body game.
 

cohunt

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Location
Colorado Springs, CO
Does the 338 bullet expand at that speed? If not, then i would definately take the expanding 7mm over a non expanding 338...you need to transfer energy to the target for a quicker kill, the non expanding 338 will definitely still kill if you put the bullet in the right place but it may not kill as quickly.
 

WiscGunner

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Aug 2, 2016
Messages
194
Does the 338 bullet expand at that speed? If not, then i would definately take the expanding 7mm over a non expanding 338...you need to transfer energy to the target for a quicker kill, the non expanding 338 will definitely still kill if you put the bullet in the right place but it may not kill as quickly.

I picked these numbers because this is the lowest speed the bullets will expand (1800fps). This happed to be with the .338 first so I posted the comparible numbers for the 7mm at the same distance. I personally do not care to shoot game at tge very edge of doable but it gives a good comparison mark between the 2 calibers.
 

Wild Bill G

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May 13, 2016
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304
The bigger the bullet diameter the better it is supposed to kill. This is based on another formula for measuring killing power can not remember the name. That is why I assume the 375 is the minimum caliber for hunting dangerous game in Africa. Velocity and energy are related along with bullet weight.
Now in your case and the game you are hunting I would choose the 338 WscGunner. You might also want to consider you could easily run into a Grizzly considering the animals you are hunting.
 

RockyMtnMT

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Mar 25, 2007
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Location
Montana
I lean toward vel, but the info you provided is not enough to pick one over the other. Larger dia bullets of the same construction will tend to have better terminal performance.

Steve
 

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