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Old 01-11-2011, 03:19 PM
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Default Minimum Whitetail Ballistics



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Arguments abound in relation to "the best" deer round around.
I wonder if the question became one of simple ballistic data rather than .308 vs. 30-06, etc...

-So-

What are the minimum numbers?
Minimum Bullet weight and diameter
Muzzle velocity & energy
50 yard velocity & energy

I realize that this could get complicated so let's keep it simple. Choose the lightest bullet weight that you would be comfortable with shooting a whitetail deer at 50 yards. Then give the minimum ballistic data.
Old 01-11-2011, 04:06 PM
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It's not about the lightest bullet, it is about what works, IMHO a 30-30 is the best deer cartridge ever, not under powered not over powered, just right, plus it comes in one of the best American rifle platforms, the Lever action. It is not a long range cartridge, so one has to know how to hunt, I will go out on a limb and say east of the Mississippi, if everyone would use a 30-30, more Deer would be killed and recovered
Then what we have today!

IMHO next in line would be the 44mag in a lever rifle, from 0-125yards they are real hard to beat!

My favorite deer rifle is a 444Marlin, accurate, hard hitting and my wife and I have never lost a deer with our 444's, bang, flop, deer sammitch.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:56 PM
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I have heard 1000 ft/lbs of energy at 100yds ( I believe that is a state requirement, which state I do not know)

Some states require center fire, some minimum .243 cartridge.

Myself, I would use minimum of .243!

I do know, here in Texas, on small hill country deer a .223 or .22-.250 works really well.

FWIW
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:11 PM
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My 30-30 shoots a 170 gr. RNFP non expanding cast lead bullet traveling about 2000 fps. the bullet design does the killing,muzzle velocity not so much. I could shoot it even a bit slower and get the same results.
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:26 PM
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Check your local game regs and you'll have your answer.

For me, I used to have a friend that had only two guns.
A .44 Special wheelgun for daily carry.
And a factory suppressed .25-20 that he bought originally (Yes he was that old).
He lived right off a major mountainous national park and took deer year round.

I wouldn't consider the .25-20 a deer round but wouldn't and haven't hesitated to make some culling/finishing shots with mine, or it's twin the .32-20.

The .30's are a good place to stay. Components are plentiful and they're powerful enough.
.30-30, 7.62x39, .308, .30-06, etc.
Old 01-11-2011, 08:31 PM
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900 ft lbs of energy seems to be the min for deer, 1400 ft lbs for elk.
Old 01-11-2011, 11:07 PM
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50 yards? That's easy shooting. 22 LR and 22 WMR. Certainly not the best but I would wager more of them have been taken with those two than with all others.

30-06 180 will handle anything, anywhere, at any time, in North America.
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:14 PM
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I have shot deer with a .22LR (head shot) up to .30-06, 55gr to 220gr. Its all about preference and shot placement.
Old 01-11-2011, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paramilusmc View Post
I have shot deer with a .22LR (head shot)...
Was going to mention that the many poachers on SB claim that .22LR is plenty.

- OS
Old 01-12-2011, 01:51 AM
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I harvested my last deer with an estimated 360ft-lbs of energy, (passed right through, broke a rib on exit.) The 357 8" barrel, using 158gr bullets, muzzle velocity of 1130, only gets 448ft-lbs at the muzzle.

Quote:
50 yard velocity & energy
Energy at the target is of importance, energy at an arbitrary distances is trivia.

I would need to write an entire post on "effective range" to do the subject justice, but in a nutshell...
The firearm's "effective range" is what should be determined. Which is figured by first calculating what energy at the target is needed to place the bullet of choice into or through the 'boiler room, (or kill zone of choice,)' causing enough damage to kill, (somewhat subjective.)
Then figuring how far that distance is with the specific firearm, using the load of choice, accurately.
"Accurately," comes into play because you may have enough energy, but if your bullet goes transonic, it will result in inaccuracy.

Of course, one's personal "effective range" then comes into play; can I place that single shot into the 'kill zone' consistently? I am about at half of my 30-06's 'effective range.'

The "900/1000ft-lbs of energy" benchmark we often read about is for the eventuality of a slight miss at the 'boiler room;' there would enough hydrostatic shock to cause damage to it.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Win_94 View Post
I harvested my last deer with an estimated 360ft-lbs of energy, (passed right through, broke a rib on exit.) The 357 8" barrel, using 158gr bullets, muzzle velocity of 1130, only gets 448ft-lbs at the muzzle.
First off, welcome to the SBoards, neighbor.

That is the exact answer that I was hoping to see from someone with practical experience in this realm that could understand my question.


I am going to do some assuming now...
So according to your numbers; a 125g .35" bullet with muzzle vel/enrgy of 1500/520 and with 50yd vel/enrgy of 1317/400 should be able to take a whitetail in the size range of 100 - 130lbs?

I think the answer is yes as long as it is a competent shooter pulling the trigger. What do you think?
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:34 AM
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I would say a minimum of the .243..my first deer rifle in ND was a Winchester 670 with a 4x Weaver and took many a whitetail, ocasional mule, antelope, lots of coyote, some fox, (sold the pelts) lots of prarrie dogs...rabbits ,skunks and anything else 16 yr olds wanted to kill...

good muzzle velocity and energy, decent trajectory too....

100gr btsp 2760 fps @ 100 yds 1690 pds energy @ 100 yds approx 1.5 " high at that range...

Now, i'd go with a .308 for a variety of reasons, ammo being the number one, lots of .308 out there....
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:16 PM
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I have heard of people using 9mm handguns, and .223 shooting rifles. These will work with the perfect shot placement at close ranges. If you want something that is half decent then I would have atleast a .243 rifle, and a 30/30 is perfect if your shooting under 150 yards, which most people do.

If your sitting in a treestand, and have the opportunity to shoot out to 200 yards then something like a .270, 7mm,.308, or 30/06 would be the right choice.

I have shot a deer with a .300win mag and the deer did a backflip and dropped dead on the spot, and that was at around 200 yards out.

If I'm pushing the bush, then I use a Marlin 336, 30/30 lever action, or a semi auto rifle that shoots 7.62x39 with soft points.
Old 01-12-2011, 12:30 PM
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A lot of it depends on weight and velocity, and what the bullet does once it hits the target. A heavy .357 or .44 magnum bullet stays in one piece as it hits a deer, acting more like a rapidly travelling arrow or magnum blackpowder round than a more modern rifle bullet.


Energy is a bit of a misnomer, as well....ultimately, it's not how much 'energy dump' there is in the target, it's how many holes and how big they are that you put in the CNS or major organs. I've taken shots at hogs before with .223 milsurp M193 and had excellent results....the bullet fragmented and shredded the diaphragm.

Would I normally trust .223 for hog and deer sized game? No. The only reason I took that shot was because the hogs are a pest and I was already target shooting, so I had a target of opportunity. The little bullet, even if it's a soft tip bullet that expands, will not create a large wound path, and fragmentation is unreliable, at best.

That being said, the things I ultimately look for when I'm choosing a deer/hunting cartridge is penetration (at least 3/4 as deep as the average chest depth of the animal in question) and size (at least 1/2" when fully expanded for deer sized game). That makes my minimum the .243 in modern rifle cartridges, or the .357 in magnum handgun cartridges.

The cartridge you're describing sounds like a .357, and should be adequate out to the limits of the cartridge. I dropped my first two deer with a .357 lever action, actually, and I can vouch that the gun did it's job so long as I did. I would, however, recommend a heavier bullet. My personal favorite was the 180 grain Hornady XTP in a .357. Punched through deer chests in one side and out the other with fair regularity, and those that I recovered were over 1/2" across.

My .02.

Use or abuse as you see fit.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:31 PM
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Back before they made poaching a felony here in Texas, we hunted poachers here on our ranch. The majority,I'd say 90% used a .22 long rifle cartridge. They had no problem killing deer,even a few calves. Shoot for the head. It was also tough on us hearing when they shot.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:43 PM
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/deer_cartridges.htm Deer cartridges by Chuck Hawks
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:23 PM
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Here's the simplest answer to your question OP. The minimum caliber your state allows for hunting deer.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkullyWV View Post
First off, welcome to the SBoards, neighbor.

That is the exact answer that I was hoping to see from someone with practical experience in this realm that could understand my question.


I am going to do some assuming now...
So according to your numbers; a 125g .35" bullet with muzzle vel/enrgy of 1500/520 and with 50yd vel/enrgy of 1317/400 should be able to take a whitetail in the size range of 100 - 130lbs?

I think the answer is yes as long as it is a competent shooter pulling the trigger. What do you think?
I would say yes!

I prefer Hornady 140Gr XTP's (yotes and pigs)

I load 18.5 gr of W-296 w/mag primer out of a S&W 686 with 8 3/8 barrel

This is a very hot load....Approach with Caution!!!!!!!

If you must use 125gr bullets, use JSP's not JHP's

I'm using 21.5gr of W-296 on those (aslo very hot) I have used these on coyotes

The 140gr XTP at this velocity is devastating at close range (25-50yds)

Disclaimer: These are loads I shoot and have worked up, approach with caution, work up from 3grs less than what I have shown. You need a heavy type of weapon for a steady diet of these.....

Maybe this info will help you
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKpredator View Post
50 yards? That's easy shooting. 22 LR and 22 WMR. Certainly not the best but I would wager more of them have been taken with those two than with all others.

30-06 180 will handle anything, anywhere, at any time, in North America.
22 WMR is THE poachers round. At least East of the Miss. river.

.223 loaded hot with the right bullet will do the job on average sized whitetail deer at <150 yards with proper shot placement.

Big corn-fed deer that are in their prime habitat, in thick brush, or at distance, I might choose something larger, as .223 isn't in it's sweet spot there.

1,000 ft./lbs. is the number I've always heard bantered about, but that only means something on paper.
Old 01-12-2011, 09:10 PM
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A .22 LR to the nogin beats a .50 BMG to the lip all day long.
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