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How far and fast will a modern whitetail load (130-150 grains, 2750-3000+ fps, expanding bullet) travel after exiting a deer? I'

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  • How far and fast will a modern whitetail load (130-150 grains, 2750-3000+ fps, expanding bullet) travel after exiting a deer? I'

    How far and fast will a modern whitetail load (130-150 grains, 2750-3000+ fps, expanding bullet) travel after exiting a deer? I've shot all my deer from an elevation, but I've often wondered about the post-impact trajectory of a bullet and the safety considerations thereof when hunting on level terrain, especially in heavily hunted areas.

  • #2
    To many variables to give a definite answer. Best bet is if an animal doesn't have a safe backdrop behind it, especially sky lined near homes, don't shoot. Always safety first, once a bullet is fired, you can't take it back "EVER".

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    • #3
      I agree, safety is always the priority. It was just a point of curiosity.

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      • #4
        The range of a rifle is 4 miles

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        • #5
          range of a 22lr listed is 1 1/4 miles I say 1 1/2 miles due to other known freak accedents

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          • #6
            Idahooutdoors is right, waaaaaaay too many variables to put any kind of a hard number on it.

            I thought about breaking out my handy dandy nonlinear ballistics simulator for this question, but I would have to guess on so many of the parameters that the number would be meaningless.

            We can think it through and come to some conclusions though.

            The upper limit on the range would be if the bullet only struck very soft tissue and continued its ballistic trajectory. If you assume that the bullet didn't mushroom at all and lost only a minimal amount of velocity, then Clay's estimates measured in miles might be feasible.

            Though, we should be clear, if you hit the deer, this EXTEMELY unlikely, almost impossible.

            A much more likely scenario would be if the bullet struck some firm tissue, mushroomed, and used a good chunk of its kinetic energy penetrating the deer. In this case, upon exiting the deer, the bullet would have a cross sectional area and a velocity similar to 12 ga. slug. (though it would have much less mass and therefore slow down more quickly)

            If we use 12 ga. slugs as a benchmark we would be dealing in distances measured in hundreds of yards at most. Almost certainly not miles.

            All that being said, when you squeeze the trigger you can never be 100% sure that you're not gonna miss. If you miss then Clay is exactly right, you're talking miles.

            So, safety first, don't squeeze the trigger unless you're sure of your target AND BEYOND.

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            • #7
              Another thought, if someone were to use a jacketed bullet then all bets are off. (rumor has it that this is how they roll in Europe)

              A jacketed round is quite a bit more likely to penetrate something squishy like a deer without transfering much energy. In this case the bullet could exit with an aerodynamic shape, spin stabilized, and at supersonic speeds.

              This make's Clay's estimate of miles MUCH more likely.

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              • #8
                This is why we are sure of our target AND BEYOND. How far beyongd is a guess. In mountainous country hopefully terrain is a backstop.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the responses and for emphasizing safety when shooting.

                  I didn't anticipate any mathmatical answer--I understand that this question has too many variables for that--I was hoping someone might have an anecdotal or experimental answer.

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                  • #10
                    If you miss and the bullet doesn’t strike anything?

                    It's 4 Miles!

                    4 Miles you must take into account regardless of hit or miss!

                    You are responsible for that projectile from departure from the barrel to final resting spot and hope to God nobody steps on it slip and fall on it striking there head and die form the result of an concussion!!

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                    • #11
                      We have a man facing criminal charges here because the deer he shot had the bullet exit and hurt somone in their home. I think he's gonna get off it was innocent, but as others said, what's behind your target/game?

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                      • #12
                        Thanks so much for thinking about this before firing. I have anticdotes for you to help emphasize the point. As Clay says, its four miles and may be a little less depending but you can't count on that "depending". My brother was checking the zero on his 100 grain 25-06 load at my dad's house prior to a coyote hunt. He shot into a target backed by a frozen pile of dirt. The gun was zeroed so he headed out for the hunt. About a half mile away, he thought he saw a coyote and jumped out of his car to glass the movement. It was another hunter crawling who had been shot in the leg by my brother's sighter. He said he heard a loud whiz and it felt like someone hit him in the thigh with a stick. The x-ray showed a perfectly formed Hornady 100 grain 25 caliber bullet parked backwards against his femur. That bullet hit him at a range of approximately 1.5 miles after impact with the backstop. Although the bullet was somehow not deformed, it was apparently tumbling. Also, I was once walking on the ice in the middle of the Missouri river. I saw a gleaming object coming toward me... it was a spinning bullet that slid right up to my boot, bounced off it and stopped on the ice in front of me. It was red hot and quickly melted an indentation in the ice. I picked it up and looked it over. A nice 150 grain .30 caliber bullet... no marks or deformity of any kind other than the rifling marks. I never heard the shot and assume it was at least three or four miles away when launched (very glad it wasn't 2 miles). Finally, while antelope hunting two years ago, we encountered a sad rancher who had just discovered a dead angus cow. Shot in the head with a .30 caliber bullet most likely a bullet launched by someone who didn't look four miles behind their target. Thank heaven we were all shooting .22s and .25s. Bottom line, don't shoot until you know what is WAY behind your target and PLEASE everyone recognize that those bullets usually KEEP GOING. Don't count on a flimsy deer carcass to stop your bullet.

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                        • #13
                          Agreed with DakotaMan and + 1 for you sir!!!

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