Stopping power of .30-06 vs .50 round lead ball


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ArcherandShooter
July 2, 2009, 12:22 AM
Hey, y'all,

I have a question, and don't know whether it goes here or in hunting or in black powder - mods, feel free to move as necessary.

I hunt deer on a smallish place where I am, by necessity, near the property lines at any time and place, so I'm looking to be REALLY sure that when I hit 'em they go down and stay down.

Shot placement aside, do deer get hit harder by a typical modern deer round at high speed (smaller, faster, pointed tip) or a heavy, slower, larger round lead ball out of a muzzle-loader?

I don't know the FPS my smokepole is putting out 'cause I don't have ready access to a whatever-you-call-it-ometer, but it's fast enough to be very reliable out to 100 yards and still punch through the 1X4 board at the target.

I guess this is a specific application (hunting knockdown) of the ultimate "what caliber" thread, since I'm comparing traditional vs. modern in addition to fast/light vs. slow/heavy.

Is there any research on this? Any good anecdotes? Any shoot-from-the-hip someone wants to throw out there for us to consider?

My own thought, as far as it goes, is that the round lead ball is more likely to spend most if not all its energy on the animal, since it punches with such a large surface instead of having the pointed tip to begin penetration before the mass expansion.

Whaddya think?

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FlyinBryan
July 2, 2009, 12:33 AM
without doing any research whatsoever, im going to say that a more modern round like the 30-06, or similar like a 308, is going to do far more damage by virtue of velocity.

i believe that the faster everything has to get out of the way, the farther away from the actual channel is damaged.

keep in mind that it doesnt just damage the area of the wound in the exact diameter of the bullet, but the damage radiates out from the channel, and the higher the velocity, the more devestating it is farther out.

as an example of the effects of velocity, shoot a cantelope with a .22 rimfire.

then shoot it with a 22-250 or a .223 remington.

it will absolutely explode with the latter, even though the actual projectile diameter is almost identical.

NELSONs02
July 2, 2009, 12:34 AM
Only time I've ever seen deer get put down in their tracks is when you hit em in the spine.

So to address your question, I don't think either weapon would have an advantage in "knock down" power.

Then again Wisconsin Whitetails are much tougher then their southern couterparts.

FlyinBryan
July 2, 2009, 12:37 AM
Then again Wisconsin Whitetails are much tougher then their southern couterparts.

actually, southern folk just shoot better.

(joke)

FlyinBryan
July 2, 2009, 12:39 AM
i have seen deer that were heart shot stiffen up and fall over like an oak, and with a 243

ArcherandShooter
July 2, 2009, 12:45 AM
i have seen deer that were heart shot stiffen up and fall over like an oak, and with a 243

As have I, since I've done it. The question begs for a ballistic comparison with actual data, and I've not a clue where to find it. You could start by chronographing your shots from your smokepole and go from there.

Jan

springmom
July 2, 2009, 12:46 AM
Oops. Had to happen again sooner or later....

That last was from me :o

FlyinBryan
July 2, 2009, 01:03 AM
wait a sec.

did you just suggest to yourself to chrono your black powder rifle?

fireman 9731
July 2, 2009, 01:06 AM
Well one way to figure out "knockdown power" is to compare energy in footpounds. Or you could try the Taylor knockout formula.

PointBlank software can easily figure both and then some, its free to download. http://accurateshooter.wordpress.com/2008/02/26/free-point-blank-ballistics-software/

Just plug in the numbers and compare

NELSONs02
July 2, 2009, 01:10 AM
actually, southern folk just shoot better.

(joke)

Haha you might be right on that one

FiREhAwk
July 2, 2009, 01:49 AM
To be completely sure in your situation I would suggest .50bmg. As long as you get a body shot the deer is DRT. Rarely do I suggest a gut shot but in this case if you want to keep the good meat (even it will be tenderized) poa farther to the back.

interlock
July 2, 2009, 04:48 AM
both rounds will give you buckets of knockdown power and will leave your deer "DRT" (if you do your bit.) however the .30-06 gives you flexibility you won't get with the .50 round ball. you will be accurately be able to take shots out to 3 x the distance. the 06 will allow you to place neck shots on facing you animals (within your capabilities). The 165 gr .30-06 load is a truly great hunting round. Fast, flat and strikes like a hammer.

scythefwd
July 2, 2009, 04:49 AM
archerandshooter,
Why not look to see if you can fire a modern .45 cal sabot from your ML? It will have less energy than the '06 (less risk of over penetration) but will still drop em in their tracks if you can put it where you need to. I have seen deer keep going after getting hit by an '06, so it's all down to shot placement if you want a drt moment.

KenWP
July 2, 2009, 08:11 AM
With a BP you can most of the time eat a animal shot with it right up to the bullet hole even on a shoulder shot and even putting one right thru the hams dosn't hurt much meat. Try that with a 30-06 and see how much bone chips and blood shot meat you end up with. I would say you have a better chance of slowing a deer down with a 30-06 most of the time unless you are sure you won't ever miss. plus you have the choice of a follow up shot with a 30-06 that you don't have with a BP.

MCgunner
July 2, 2009, 09:04 AM
Only time I've ever seen deer get put down in their tracks is when you hit em in the spine.

Thats odd, cause most of the deer I've shot have done just that, even high lung shots. Can't count on it, though. I've had 'em go as far as 100 yards before piling up. Shoulder shot will put 'em down in place even if they kick a few times before croaking. A deer won't go anywhere on a broke shoulder.

I've yet to shoot anything with my smoke pole, but paper. So, I don't know for sure, but I'm pushing a 385 grain Hornady Great Plains Minie to 1200 fps. Seems like it ought to be pretty deadly on the shoulder, to me. I'm going to hunt with it this year. I have a similar situation to yours, hunting small acreage near property lines. I'm going to bow hunt, though, call me crazy. :D

ArmedBear
July 2, 2009, 10:40 AM
A .50 round lead ball (.490" diameter) weighs 177 grains. Expanding .30-06 bullets of similar weight will have an advantage. They're going a lot faster, so they'll penetrate better. Round balls are handicapped by the fact that they're round. Therefore, any increase in weight has to come from a larger diameter.

HOWEVER...

Taylor KO Factor (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_KO_Factor ) for a 165 grain .308" bullet going 2500 fps is 18.15.

For a 350 grain .50 Caliber Maxi or similar black powder lead hunting bullet going 1200 fps, TKOF is 30.

TKOF may not be a perfect formula, but it's a lot more meaningful than energy numbers that make tiny bullets sound like big ones on paper by pushing them a little faster.

The trajectories of big, slow bullets make them hard to shoot for someone used to a round that shoots +/- 3" out to 300 yards. But they still work well when they hit.

MCgunner
July 2, 2009, 02:12 PM
TKOF may not be a perfect formula

To say the least. It's an anachronism of the 19th century black powder dangerous game era. Ballistic pressure waves ARE killers in high powered rifles. I'm convinced of that.

However, there's more'n one way to skin a cat, and a big pill at low speed like, say, a shotgun slug, is packin about the energy that a mediocre .30-06 carries, just don't carry it as far due to a BC in negative numbers. LOL A guy that hunts with round ball is a guy that wants the challenge of doing it the way his great, great, great, maybe a couple of more greats grandpa did it. It is a movement back to the old ways. I'm sorta there with ya, but my rifle has a 1:24 twist and really likes those big, heavy pills. Of course, that was the plan when I bought it, LOL. It shoots really well with a sabot .44 mag 240 grain JHP, but I'm a little more retro than that with the BP stuff and, well, I like that big chunka lead. :D I like the sound when it hits the target board at 100 yards. THUNK! I mean, it's just gotta hurt. I figure there's no way the little deer I have down here are going to go far with a shoulder hit to 100 yards and yardage normally is closer to 50 where I'm hunting. The .308 just seems overkill. I've used handguns a lot, but I've got that Hawken figured out and I wanna start using it, have confidence in it now, at least on paper targets.

ArmedBear
July 2, 2009, 02:28 PM
Ballistic pressure waves ARE killers in high powered rifles. I'm convinced of that.

Yes, but I think you have to hit the target above a certain velocity to really get some exponential increase in that effect. Can't say for sure what that velocity is.

Taylor, however, published his numbers in 1948, when most modern rounds (or their similar, immediate predecessors) were in use. It's not a 19th-century anachronism. And unlike, for example, Chuck Hawks, he actually compared his numbers with real-world experience hunting big game.:D

A simple formula like that can't account for bullet design, pressure waves, etc. However, it does a better job than the common habit of just looking at the energy of the round, because it accounts for momentum, bullet size and weight, and it doesn't make the difference between 2800 and 3000 fps look like a much bigger number than it really is.:)

A guy that hunts with round ball is a guy that wants the challenge of doing it the way his great, great, great, maybe a couple of more greats grandpa did it.

Of course. However, it is important to remember that a round ball has specific limitations that go pretty far beyond the limitations of the black powder muzzleloader, including a sidelock with lead bullets.

Are you shooting round balls with 1:24" twist, BTW?

SlamFire1
July 2, 2009, 02:32 PM
I have a 54 cal round ball rifle. The bullet in that rifle weighs 230 grains. Reloading manuals show a 54 round ball load moving around 1400 fps.

My 44 Magnum revolver pushes a 240 L at the same speed.

Now I have been told by those who took their muskets hunting, that a 58 Cal 510 grain bullet has surprising knock down effect.

One guy said he shot a bunch of coyotes with his musket. If it hit bone it bowled the coyote over.

ArmedBear
July 2, 2009, 02:37 PM
Now I have been told by those who took their muskets hunting, that a 58 Cal 510 grain bullet has surprising knock down effect.


BULLET, though, not ball. That isn't to say that a 58 caliber ball won't work. The heavier bullet will work better.

http://ellie.crankylabs.com/albums/familyetc/IMG_3071.thumb.jpg

One shot kill at about 80 yards, 520 grain bullet going no more than 1400 fps at the muzzle. It worked at LEAST as well as the .300 WinMag another guy shot from much closer.

The scrambled lungs and bloodshot meat around the entry and exit wounds (it went straight through and kept going) suggested that the ballistic pressure wave may well still have some effect at low velocities.

One guy said he shot a bunch of coyotes with his musket. If it hit bone it bowled the coyote over.

If you hit a jackrabbit center mass, it will blow it back a good 10 feet, on uneven ground with brush in the way.:D

627PCFan
July 2, 2009, 03:32 PM
A 50 cal ball or 45 cal sabot going at a moderate/resasonable speed offers ALOT of impact energy without worrying about loosing energy through over penetration. Knock them over, then get hand to hand-

schlockinz
July 2, 2009, 03:54 PM
I think the solution to this is easy, shoot a 45-110 with black powder.

If it were up to me, I'd go with the 06, I've had too many problems with muzzloaders to trust them

MCgunner
July 2, 2009, 06:45 PM
Taylor's arithmetic (I hate to call it math) is just a momentum calculation. It may have been published in 1948, but it's 19th century thinking and involved large, dangerous game calibers. There's much more to terminal ballistics than that. Even handguns produce pressure waves that can disrupt nerve function. Any high power rifle bullet does. It's energy, not velocity, that matters, at least as I understand Doctor Courtney's work.

ArmedBear
July 2, 2009, 06:57 PM
Momentum and bullet diameter, i.e. how big of a hole, in three dimensions, does it make. This is the predictable part of a bullet's effect on the target.

It's energy, not velocity, that matters.

It's probably more something along the lines of energy transfer over time -- which brings us back to velocity.

The problem with these waves is that they're FAR less predictable than what TKO looks at. Taylor was undoubtedly more interested in what WOULD drop his quarry, than in what MIGHT.:)

MCgunner
July 2, 2009, 09:17 PM
I agree, just sayin' Taylor only had part of the story and in the OP scenario, it's not what's the best elephant stopper, but what the best to drop a deer in its tracks, energy has a lot to do with it. I'd chose the centerfire rifle if all I wanted was to ASSURE a DRT. I'd also do a shoulder shot with it, which would probably work with the round ball, too, but heck, I know it'd work with an 06. :D

alsaqr
July 2, 2009, 10:49 PM
I kill a lot of hogs. Have killed hogs with .22 LR, .22 Magnum, lots of them with a .223, .308, .30-06 and .300 Win Mag to name a few. However, most of my hogs have been killed with a .50 caliber muzzleloader using the excellent 240 grain .430 Hornady XTP bullet. That bullet and my old CVA StagHorn has accounted for well over 200 hogs: Some of those hogs weighed over 300 pounds. One went 352 pounds field dressed. That muzzleloader is just as deadly on hogs at 100 yards or less as my .300 Win Mag is; maybe more deadly.

JImbothefiveth
July 2, 2009, 11:35 PM
I'm not sure the pine board is really a good measurement. I don't think those will even stop a .22 at close range

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 5, 2009, 11:57 AM
I don't know the answer to the question, or if there even is a correct answer, but the key to dropping them is placement, not caliber, in my view. Neck shots or "high shoulder" shots are the key.

But if I had to venture a guess to the question, I'd say the high-speed bottleneck round has a higher chance of instant drop *with a vital organs shot* due to the effect of velocity spiking the blood pressure higher, instantly, which can sometimes cause the animal to drop, if it coincides with the right timing with the heartbeat - the way I understand things.

Uncle Mike
July 5, 2009, 01:32 PM
What causes a bullet to kill an animal....

What is the bullet doing to the beast to cause it to cease functioning.....

If you know the answer to these questions, then you know which... bullet or ball, that will turn off an animal the mostest and bestest.(these are words, I know this because my grandson says it):neener:

:D

jephthai
July 11, 2009, 03:40 PM
It's energy, not velocity, that matters.
It's probably more something along the lines of energy transfer over time -- which brings us back to velocity.

Don't forget sectional density, which incorporates both diameter and mass.

There are multiple factors that interrelate. No one's published a "unified theory" as far as I've seen.

jhco
July 11, 2009, 04:38 PM
I don't know about the stopping power of the .50 ball. I however do think that the 30-06 with the right load should drop a white tail deer on the spot. If the shoot is placed well of course.

Vern Humphrey
July 11, 2009, 04:38 PM
By and large, for deer it's a wash. In the old days, .54 caliber roundballs were the medicine for buffalo and grizzley, so a .50 roundball would be adequate for deer. However, in my .50 caliber deer rifle, I use a 360 grain Lee Improved Minnie Ball, and I have to say it hits with great authority.

saturno_v
July 11, 2009, 05:10 PM
Both Taylor knockout and hydrostastic shock theories are just that..theories..and very weak to begin with....

A whitetail hit in the same spot, let's say at 100 yards, by a soft point 150 gr. 30-30 bullet is going to die as fast as being hit with a 30-378 Weatherby Magnum and with the same amout of damage (assuming an in and out shot and same diameter expansion with a thicker jacket for the 30-378 to account for the higher velocity) unless the 30-378 Wby explode fragmenting or yaw violently or tip over because of its much higher impact velocity...


Don't forget sectional density, which incorporates both diameter and mass.


Bingo....

Cowboygunsmith
July 12, 2009, 11:42 PM
You answered your own question with the first two word in your question. Shot placement nothing beat it and if you are not sure of your shot placement then get to the range and practice until you are for your saftey and mine.

avan47
July 13, 2009, 05:58 PM
I have killed a lot of deer with both 30 – 06 and muzzle loaders. With the muzzle loader either .45 or .54 using a patched round ball, I never saw a difference in their ability to drop a deer. Shot placement is, of course, most important. I have found that the state of the animal is also a significant factor. If he is just wandering along, minding his own business when you put a ball through his lights, he will generally drop in his tracks. Of course a spine or head shot will also drop him in his tracks. I have seen that happen many times on game even with a .22rf. If the deer is on an adrenalin high when you hit him, he is going to run. On one hunting trip, I shot a deer that looked like he had just had an encounter with a bigger buck. He was prancing around like he was expecting more trouble. I was using my .30 – 06 with 165 gr. bullets, and hit him just behind the last rib as he was quartering away from me at about 125 yards. After I hit him, he took off running, and I had to track him over 200 yards. The bullet put a 2 inch diameter hole in his liver, destroyed both of his lungs, and clipped of the top of his heart. I found the bullet, mushroomed perfectly, under the hide on the off side. I can find no fault with that bullet performance. I did not get a chance for a follow up shot. I think the results would have been the same with a .50 cal. round ball.

OurSafeHome.net
July 13, 2009, 06:26 PM
I have found that the state of the animal is also a significant factor.

Indeed. When I was wounded (got 'zinged' by 7.62x39, barely broke the skin), I was so hopped up on adrenalin that I didn't even know I was hit!

When the corpsman pointed out that I had been shot, I started wailing like a girl. Up until that point, everyone thought I was as tough as John "fix-up-my-buddy-first" Wayne.

Tully M. Pick
July 13, 2009, 10:14 PM
actually, southern folk just shoot better.

(joke)

You have to, what with those runty little deer.

mgregg85
July 13, 2009, 10:46 PM
Only time I've ever seen deer get put down in their tracks is when you hit em in the spine.


I can attest to that, I shot my deer in the spine(my fault but it worked out alright) with a .30-06 and 180 grain soft points. It dropped like a rock but after about 5 minutes it was still lively as ever and kicking its legs but unable to get up. I took pity on it and finished it with two .45 slugs from my XD.

Todd1700
July 17, 2009, 10:41 AM
Well first, there is no absolute certainty of any caliber or cartridge always dropping a deer right on the spot unless you hit the brain or spine. That said I have killed deer with a 50 cal muzzleloader and with a 30-06. Despite being much bigger in caliber my 50 cal never seems to put deer down as quickly as a modern cartridge like a 30-06. Some times it drops them right there but most of the time they run a bit. I guess it's just the difference in velocity. So of the two I'd definately go with the 30-06 for more rapid kills.

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