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How much is too much?

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  • How much is too much?

    There is no doubt that a .30-06 Spgfld is more than adequate to actually slay a whitetail.

    A lot of newbies come here and ask, "What is the best caliber....?", "What is the best bullet....?", "What is the best cartridge...?" etc, etc.

    Let's be brutally honest, if you deliver a lowly .22LR rimfire bullet into the brain or into the heart of any beast in North America, it's going to die.
    I guess the question is, "How reliably can my choice deliver that projectile to brain/heart?"

    If I've had to climb a tree and find myself just out of reach of a determined grizzly trying to stare me down, I think (?) I could stick a .22LR into the brain pan. Party over.
    Hoping a .22LR to the heart will stop a grizzly from killing you? HA! Lot'sa luck!

    But, we all know that a heart shot game animal can often cover a considerable distance before blood/oxygen loss causes death.

    So the question becomes:
    cartridge/caliber vs blood loss/organ damage.

    I shot a buck behind the left ear with a .22 Hornet that field dressed 152 pounds. Recovery was pretty simple. Bang-flop!
    I've also shot deer with a .270 Win I had to search for, even with a perfect heart/lung shot.

    As hunters, our goal is to kill the animal as quickly and cleanly as possible.

    Will the .223 Rem kill deer?
    Without a doubt! From a pint sized blacktail to the biggest deer in America, the moose.
    But I wouldn't suggest that caliber for ANY deer.

    But where is the happy medium between clean kill and over kill?


  • #2
    You are dead right. If you think about what you are doing and only take shots that will kill instantly with the rifle you are using, they all work. However, some give you a broader sweet spot meaning, more knockdown power, more range and a larger variety of possible hunting conditions.

    I have also noticed something called "hydrostatic shock". You see that in cartridges capable of exceeding 3500 fps to above 4000 fps. Bullets in this velocity range do strange things in hunting situations. The .257 Weatherby or 25-06 Improved shooting a 100g bullet at 3600 fps will stun and instantly kill anything within 200 yards that is hit practically anywhere. I shot a deer about 1/2" behind the front of its throat at 100 yards. The deer dropped into its tracks and never even wiggled an ear or kicked a let. This is common. Its lungs and liver were ground into hamburger and the brain was mush. I harvested smaller animals (beaver, muskrats, rabbits, squirrel, etc.) by shooting them in the front foot or just over their head. It was common to see mushed brains and broken bones even though the bullet never touched their body.

    I did a test shot on running whitetails at 120 yards to test the impact difference between a 150g .308 and a 100g 25-06 Imp. Both deer were running scared and each bullet hit exactly the center of the same rib high behind their shoulder. The deer hit with the .308 accelerated (did not fall) and ran about 1/4 mile toward a timber. I had to shoot it again with the 25-06 at that point to avoid having to track it in the thick timber. The deer hit with the 25-06 Imp turned instantly limp and rolled end over end. You could tell it was dead instantly with no sign of life in any muscle. Lungs and brain were mush. This was pretty typical of what I've seen over the years. My 300 Dakota shooting a 130g bullet at 3950 fps does the same thing but at much longer ranges.

    If you are shooting deer under a corn feeder at 25 yards, it does't make much difference what you use. If you are hunting running deer, coyotes, foxes and antelope on the prairie and are required to shoot longer distances there is a difference in your selection. I love the .308 for so many uses but I can tell you honestly, I have never seen one hit a running antelope in roughly 50 years of hunting them. But that is because the hunters were using 150g-165g bullets. If I were to use a .308 for antelope, I'd be using a 110g bullet going almost 3500 fps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Bubba, that's an interesting question. I have limited experience compared to DakotaMan and many others on this site. But I know what has worked for me. Generally, I'm not concerned about meat loss.

      I've had three feral pigs run off after being shot with .22lr and can only figure the bullets never penetrated their skulls. Perhaps if I'd been closer... And, it's illegal to use rimfire cartridges on deer here in Alabama so that's only a topic of discussion for these kind of forums. But I've killed a couple of pigs with the .22 magnum.

      Next up in power that I've used are subsonic 190 grains from an AR in .300 Blackout. Two deer dropped to neck shots, one right there and one ran 40 to 50 yards. However, I lost a doe hit in the shoulder... no blood trail. She appeared on my trail cam a few weeks later with an obvious limp and probably eventually died from the wound. Two other deer dropped in their tracks when I used supersonic loads.

      I've killed two deer and two pigs with hot .45 Colt loads from a revolver. The meat damage was minimum but I consider it a strictly short range option.

      Shotgun slugs leave big holes and the 10-point I took with the Remington Slugger dropped like a wet dishrag. Deer taken with my .50 cal muzzleloader do the same. The .45-70 also hits them like Thor's Hammer. All of these large projectiles are relatively slow and the meat damage is at a minimum, but they come with a cost of greater recoil.

      Most of my deer and pigs have been taken with the .308 Win but I've seen practically no difference in performance on the ones I've dropped with the .30-06 and 6.5 Creedmoor.
      Bottom line... I'll pick the .308 Win, .30-06, or 6.5 CM as a good compromise of power vs. trajectory vs. recoil. At least in the places I hunt deer...
      Trump 2020 - Keep America Great!

      Comment


      • #4
        FB David slew Goliath with a slingshot , anything can happen! Trouble with the 22 killing the polar bear and 223 killing deer is yes it can be done/ has been done but .....who cares. The question is what give reasonable results in the field! So I think for the majority of us what kills whitetails 300 yards in at several different angles we can agree on as ethical shots ! I’m of the opinion anything under 25 cal is limiting yourself in the field . The 6mms can be devastating deer killers in the right circumstances but make the hunter wait for the right shot. Nothing wrong with limiting yourself however where I hunt there are many different types of shots. Heavy cover , broken cover , fields . For me I want a gun to shoot 15 to 500 yards. 30 to 300 yards is much more common.

        I like the 25’s 6.5’s , 7mm08 and the 270 win for deer , to me I do not think that I’m limited with anyone of these rounds. I don’t think I’m overgunned with the 06 either. Too many times bullet deflections that still delivered the kill from 30 cal bullets , I have a friend who killed a black bear on the second shot after it went through a wrist sized cedar tree. Putting the bear down with a broken shoulder. Like I said we all do it differently and in Pennsylvania was the practice of deer drives and few deer were shot standing . It wasn’t a question taking the right shot but taking the shot given. There the thirties are king.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would suggest that the best happy medium is a rifle chambered in a caliber with which a hunter is most capable of properly placing a quality bullet through the vitals of his/her quarry.
          ​​​​​​

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post
            FB David slew Goliath with a slingshot , anything can happen! Trouble with the 22 killing the polar bear and 223 killing deer is yes it can be done/ has been done but .....who cares. The question is what give reasonable results in the field! So I think for the majority of us what kills whitetails 300 yards in at several different angles we can agree on as ethical shots ! I’m of the opinion anything under 25 cal is limiting yourself in the field . The 6mms can be devastating deer killers in the right circumstances but make the hunter wait for the right shot. Nothing wrong with limiting yourself however where I hunt there are many different types of shots. Heavy cover , broken cover , fields . For me I want a gun to shoot 15 to 500 yards. 30 to 300 yards is much more common.

            I like the 25’s 6.5’s , 7mm08 and the 270 win for deer , to me I do not think that I’m limited with anyone of these rounds. I don’t think I’m overgunned with the 06 either. Too many times bullet deflections that still delivered the kill from 30 cal bullets , I have a friend who killed a black bear on the second shot after it went through a wrist sized cedar tree. Putting the bear down with a broken shoulder. Like I said we all do it differently and in Pennsylvania was the practice of deer drives and few deer were shot standing . It wasn’t a question taking the right shot but taking the shot given. There the thirties are king.
            If the friend shot through a tree he must have had a full metal jacket solid. My BIL and I shot at a tree and he went through and my 30-30 penetrated only the bark and a little further. He was shooting .303 military solids.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Red Angus View Post
              I would suggest that the best happy medium is a rifle chambered in a caliber with which a hunter is most capable of properly placing a quality bullet through the vitals of his/her quarry.
              ​​​​​​
              That's about as good an answer as there is, redangus.
              When I worked in a sporting goods store and a customer asked me the "best caliber" question, I always answered. "The largest caliber you can shoot comfortably.".

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post

                If the friend shot through a tree he must have had a full metal jacket solid. My BIL and I shot at a tree and he went through and my 30-30 penetrated only the bark and a little further. He was shooting .303 military solids.
                Jim it was a 165 grain Nosler partition.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Red Angus View Post
                  I would suggest that the best happy medium is a rifle chambered in a caliber with which a hunter is most capable of properly placing a quality bullet through the vitals of his/her quarry.
                  ​​​​​​
                  WOW! Do you mind if I frame that for my shop Red? That is the absolutely best answer I've ever heard on this mystery question. You've got to get the bullet predictably to the vitals and that is what counts. The rest is gravy. For some the deer is standing at 20 yards, for some, it is running through underbrush and for others, it is bounding across a gap full speed at 300 yards. For the first two, I like a .35 Remington with a 200g round nosed bullet. For the latter, I like a 100g 25-06 AI. There are plenty more that will work but these work for me.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DakotaMan View Post

                    WOW! Do you mind if I frame that for my shop Red? That is the absolutely best answer I've ever heard on this mystery question. You've got to get the bullet predictably to the vitals and that is what counts. The rest is gravy. For some the deer is standing at 20 yards, for some, it is running through underbrush and for others, it is bounding across a gap full speed at 300 yards. For the first two, I like a .35 Remington with a 200g round nosed bullet. For the latter, I like a 100g 25-06 AI. There are plenty more that will work but these work for me.
                    I don't mind at all.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post
                      FB David slew Goliath with a slingshot , anything can happen!
                      Just for reference there PMacc, a river stone or a lead sling bullet of the time, with slings or handled slings of the time had a range of over 400yd. David hit Goliath with a shotgun slug to the face... Just saying

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Buckshott00 View Post

                        Just for reference there PMacc, a river stone or a lead sling bullet of the time, with slings or handled slings of the time had a range of over 400yd. David hit Goliath with a shotgun slug to the face... Just saying
                        Perfect BuckshotOO , you embellished the killing power of David’s sling! As I remember the stone struck and dented his head and did not take his head off or part of his head off, a slug would have done such a thing. Back to my original point We can all point out examples of something of lower power or caliber killing. Doesn’t mean it’s best overall .... just sayin

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Amazing what you can do with a folded blue suede tennis shoe tongue and some paracord!
                          ...and just how dangerous the resulting weapon (?) can be!
                          Especially when coupled with a smooth, flat, slick river rock.
                          Horror of horrors!
                          Maybe a WSA? (World Slingshot Association)

                          ....and then there is the distinct inequality of a tiny man (David) having the ability to take down a giant (Goliath) with a mere stone!
                          (I wonder if David actually passed a background check and was he of age?)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pmacc60 View Post

                            Perfect BuckshotOO , you embellished the killing power of David’s sling! As I remember the stone struck and dented his head and did not take his head off or part of his head off, a slug would have done such a thing. Back to my original point We can all point out examples of something of lower power or caliber killing. Doesn’t mean it’s best overall .... just sayin
                            oh boy here we go🙄 I guess I should have specified exactly that the given the type of sling used and sling bullets available David's sling would have thrown a 1 to 2 oz lead projectile at somewhere between 55-145fps which by the way is exactly within the range of denting one's head all the way to caving it in. Obviously lower than a modern shotgun slug, clearly there were reasons that armies moved from slingers and archers to firearms.

                            Slingers were used in warfare up until and including the early introduction of firearms, far more common than archers. In fact, most armies would outfit soldiers with slings, and then have special sling units where highly skilled and more accurate slingers would get longer or handled slings (stave slings) because they had ranges way farther than composite long bows.

                            Given the investment of linen or leather armors at the time, slingers were far more effective against light infantry than archers.

                            My point is the perception of what is best and what is actually "best" are often different things.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think most of this is the point that a mere .22LR can be "lethal".

                              Many moons ago, a friend and I were out squirrel hunting. I had a shotgun, he had a .22LR rifle. It was an idyllic fall afternoon, so we sat down beside a log and just kinda watched the world go by.

                              Sorry, got sidetracked! LOL!

                              As we sat and smoked, we heard the leaves rustling behind us. We quietly turned around and saw a small (legal) buck picking up acorns.
                              Mitch said, "Be real quiet and watch this!" as he brought the little .22 to bear on the deer.
                              I whispered, "Don't shoot that deer with that .22!"
                              POP!
                              The deer jumped, looked around and resumed picking up acorns. About 30 seconds later, the deer stumbled, raised his head and wavered on his feet.
                              Then he laid down, stretched out and died.
                              One .22LR through the heart at 30 yards.

                              In the general "scheme of things", as hunters, we want to shoot our game, watch it fall and collect the animal.
                              Light calibers, .223 Rem etc, are a bit light in the britches for heart/lung shots to work consistently and reliably.
                              Therefore, we most often choose calibers that will cause enough immediate heart/lung/tissue damage and blood loss to incapacitate the animal as quickly as possible.
                              ANY animal (native) on the North American continent "CAN" be killed with a simple .22 to the brain. Unfortunately, that can't always be accomplished. ergo, the .30-06, etal.


                              Last edited by FirstBubba; 08-09-2020, 01:24 PM.

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