Elephant round??


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Loyalist Dave
July 6, 2009, 10:22 PM
I had a discussion with a fellow whom I think is misinformed on terminal ballistics. He is of the opinion that a 400 grain, lead alloy projectile fired with a muzzle velocity of 1800 fps (his .45.-70) is an acceptable round for hunting elephants. I disagree, and think that you'd need the same projectile, preferably with a jacketed soft point, and at least 2000 fps muzzle velocity, and preferably 2300 - 2500 fps...., i.e. a .458 Winchester Magnum or a .458 Lott.

So would any of you use the .45-70 and a 400 gr .458 diameter projectile at 1800 fps on "Jumbo"?

LD

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freakshow10mm
July 6, 2009, 10:25 PM
If the faster .458s aren't 100% reliable with penetration a slower .458 sure as hell isn't going to be better.

Loyalist Dave
July 6, 2009, 10:28 PM
See I tried to explain this to him..., I also said if the slower round was better, than why did they go to the trouble of inventing the faster rounds, such as the Lott family, and the Nitro Express, plus the .458 WinMag, and etc? They just wanted a bigger boom?

LD

Sunray
July 6, 2009, 10:32 PM
It isn't about the bullet. It's about shot placement. Elephants have been killed with one head shot out of a 7mm Mauser, .303 British and other small calibres. Mind you, not with SP's.

Gryffydd
July 6, 2009, 10:33 PM
why did they go to the trouble of inventing the faster rounds, such as the Lott family, and the Nitro Express, plus the .458 WinMag, and etc?
Faster than what precisely? The .45-70 hasn't always been what it is now. Also, the .45-70 can push a 405 to about 2300fps.

preferably with a jacketed soft point,
Be very careful asking for expansion AND penetration on walking tanks like elephants. Solids are used on the largest of game for a reason.

jmorris
July 6, 2009, 11:07 PM
He is of the opinion that a 400 grain, lead alloy projectile fired with a muzzle velocity of 1800 fps (his .45.-70) is an acceptable round for hunting elephants.


Best? No. But I bet it has been used a time or two.

Not exactly elephants but a few 45-70 surely accounted for some of this pile.
http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/Bison_skull_pile_ca1870.png

Birdmang
July 6, 2009, 11:22 PM
Walter Bell?

7mm Mauser.

H&Hhunter
July 7, 2009, 02:04 AM
First off NEVER EVER use soft a jacketed soft point of any kind on an elephant. Elephants demand a quality solid. Second do not get confused about Bell and his 7X57. The reason that he was able to do what he did with a .275 Rigby was that he studied and knew exactly how to reach the brain from any angle on an elephant. Unless you've killed several dozen elephant with brain shots from all different angles you don't know how to do it and you'll get yourself killed using a light rifle on elephant. Third if you've spent the time to actually read Bells books he not only recommends but used a .400 caliber rifle as a minimum for following up elephant in thick cover, this after an accident where one of his trackers was killed.

There are several different brain shots on elephant the easiest is the side brain shot this is the one where you can kill an elephant dead with just about any powerful center fire rifle using a solid bullet. The trick is to sneak up on Tembo and kill him while he is relaxed and holding still. If Tembo gets pissed and turns to face you then you are forced to take a frontal brain shot. This what separates the men form the boys. And this where a large caliber rifle with deep penetration comes in real friggin handy. A .45-70 ANY .45-70 can NOT be counted on to make a clean frontal brain shot on a bull elephant.

Most current PH's prefer a rifle of .45 cal or larger when backing up elephant hunters. Some of the most experienced such as Johan Calitz (.500NE) and Ivan Carter (.577NE) prefer a .500 caliber rifle at a minimum for backing up on elephant. Buzz Chilton in Zimbabwe is a died in the wool .416 Rigby user.

Your friend has fallen victim to Randy Garrets ammo marketing scam. The simple point being that none of Randy's super duper penetration rounds for the .45-70 are even legal to hunt dangerous game with in Africa as they don't meet the FPE requirement set forth by most if not all of the game departments.

If you read the fine print in the infamous penetration info that Randy puts out where he claims that his .45-70 rounds out penetrated a .416 Rigby you'll notice that he compares a solid flat nosed .45-70 round to a soft point jacketed .416 round. That is hardly a comparative test.

A .45-70 with adequate ammo is perfectly capable of killing an elephant with good shot placement. So is a .308 and a .30-06. The point being that none of the three are legal for sport hunting elephant and should not be considered for it's use.

Loyalist Dave
July 7, 2009, 09:21 AM
Thanks. I know lots of stuff is "possible", but that's not what we were discussing, and why I brought the discussion to you folks. (He mentioned the 7mm Mauser kill on an elephant.) My suggestion of a jacketed soft point was instead of an all lead alloy round. A good jacketed solid that will drive deep is a better choice of course. Thanks for the info on the suspected source of his misconceptions.

He is of the opinion that a lead alloy 400 gr bullet at 1800 fps is a "better" round than the same projectile at 2000 - 2300 fps. He says the faster speed will cause the round to flatten faster, thus increasing friction within the game animal would slow the bullet and reduce penetration. We had started out talking about deer at pretty close range.

My point to him was that first, decreased penetration might occur, but that does not mean that the round will not hit vital areas, and second, the animal has to be large enough before this is a factor (remember we started out talking about deer). If he had a round that went through and through exiting at say 500 fps and I had a faster round exiting at 800 fps, it would be a moot point when both go through. I then pointed out is his argument was sound, that a reloaded .45-70 at 1700 fps (from a reloading manual that I have it was the fastest for a 400 gr bullet) is NOT an elephant round but at 2300 fps the same bullet from a .458 Winchester Mag is. He responded that his .45-70 at 1800 fps is an elephant round (which I thought was contradictory, as he went from the "moderate speed is better than higher velocity" to adding velocity to his argument.)

Thanks for the replies :D

LD

jmorris
July 7, 2009, 10:09 AM
For the answer to the velocity question, higher velocity should provide deeper penetration so long as the bullet deformation stays the same. The "moderate speed is better than higher velocity” Argument can be true, however; what might penetrate ok in a .22 hornet might expand violently in a 22-250, if the bullet even makes it to the target. I’ve seen some projectiles designed to expand at low/moderate velocities disintegrate in flight from centrifugal force caused by high velocities and/or fast twist barrels. On the other side I’ve shot a 700 grain AP out of my 50 BMG moving 1000 fps slower that went through a 1” thick steel plate THEN through the center of an 8” Oak tree THEN over 3’ into a red clay embankment (didn’t hit the end of the hole at 3’ in). So the bullet brings the most variables to the table.

Gryffydd
July 7, 2009, 10:41 AM
.45-70 at 1700 fps (from a reloading manual that I have it was the fastest for a 400 gr bullet) is NOT an elephant round but at 2300 fps the same bullet from a .458 Winchester Mag is.
2300 with a 405 is doable with the .45-70 in a Ruger No.1 or other similar strength action. Not that this changes the argument per se. But a 405gr at 2300 isn't exactly a long ways behind the .416 Rigby or the .458 Win Mag.

Loyalist Dave
July 7, 2009, 11:34 AM
.22 hornet might expand violently in a 22-250, if the bullet even makes it to the target. I’ve seen some projectiles designed to expand at low/moderate velocities disintegrate in flight from centrifugal force caused by high velocities and/or fast twist barrels.

Oh no doubt! I saw a fellow with hand loads in a .22-250 on the range several years ago, and I too could see the little "puff" a few feet in front of the barrel as the bullet fell apart. But, we're weren't talking about as huge a difference in my case.

My original point with this fellow was that before deformation becomes a problem between certain loads, you need sufficient material. He suggested that the "medium" velocity round (his term) would go deeper, due to less deformation causing less friction thus less velocity loss, and I suggested penetration depth was a moot point if the target wasn't large enough to prevent whatever round was being discussed, from destroying the heart & lungs on the game animal.


Thanks again!
LD

rcmodel
July 7, 2009, 03:54 PM
He is correct, but only if expanding bullets are compared.

A lead 45-70 bullet will out-penetrate a .458 Mag soft-point, because it doesn't pop the drag chute and expand like the .458 Mag Soft-Point.

If using soft-points in both calibers, the extra velocity of the .458 will expand the bullet larger then the slower 45-70 and it will slow down faster due to the larger surface area causing much more drag.

On the otherhand, you don't use expanding bullets on elephants, and a solid out of a .458 Mag will penetrate much deeper then any normal 45-70 lead bullet load.

rc

saturno_v
July 7, 2009, 05:24 PM
H&H put it very very nicely...and he has the experience to back it up...

LoyalistDave

Tell your friend to dream on and learn a bit about ballistic....:D

Your friend is probably one of the guys that fill his mouth with the word momentum.....in this world you cannot get something for nothing...

If using soft-points in both calibers, the extra velocity of the .458 will expand the bullet larger then the slower 45-70 and it will slow down faster due to the larger surface area causing much more drag.


It all depends on how the soft points are built....if the faster bullet is more stout (thicker and/or more tapered jacket) to take in account the higher velocity, it will still outnenetrate the slower bullet.

All else being equal, taking two solid bullets of same caliber and same weight, the faster will outpenetrate the slower...simple physics

Both slower and faster bullets decelerate quickly during penetration...the faster bullet will decelerate much more if an expanding bullet is used...

Faster than what precisely? The .45-70 hasn't always been what it is now. Also, the .45-70 can push a 405 to about 2300fps.



Griffydd

Checking the Hodgdon and VihtaVuori reloading manuals, no 45-70 strong loads for modern rifles (no Lever Action loads) get even close to 2300 fps with a 400 gr. bullet...the best load is from Hodgdon at 2107 fps out of a 24" barrel....VihtaVuori stops at 1883 fps with a 22" barrel.

458 Win Mag in 400 gr. reaches 2407 fps (Hodgdon) or 2399 fps (VihtaVuori)

The 458 Lott reaches 2559 fps with a 400 grainer...

The modern 45-70 is no joke but is no 458 Win Mag or 458 Lott either.....


I don't know what wildly out of spec nuclear 45-70 load can reach that kind of velocity.....

Gryffydd
July 7, 2009, 05:34 PM
Hodgdon at 2107 fps out of a 24"
Drop that in a 32" Buffalo Classic and you've got 2300. And a bruised shoulder ;)
I was half expecting you to suggest the .40 S&W for Elephant :neener:

saturno_v
July 7, 2009, 05:51 PM
...and I wonder what you would get in a 32" barrel from a 458 Win Mag or a 458 Lott....

And a barrel of that length is abosolutely a no-no in a "close and personal" encounter with Dumbo....just ask H&H!!!! :neener:

I was half expecting you to suggest the .40 S&W for Elephant

No but I bet that a 45 ACP out of an 84" barrel may do the trick...don't you tthink??? :evil::neener:

Gryffydd
July 7, 2009, 06:05 PM
.and I wonder what you would get in a 32" barrel from a 458 Win Mag or a 458 Lott
Far more, I'm sure. Doesn't change the fact that you can get 2300 from a 405 in a 45-70.
a barrel of that length is abosolutely a no-no in a "close and personal" encounter with Dumbo....just ask H&H!!!!
No doubt. I never said it was a good idea. Let's not even mention the fact that a single shot isn't a good idea either.
No but I bet that a 45 ACP out of an 84" barrel may do the trick...don't you tthink???
Something tells me it'd be going about 20fps by the time it made it out :D

saturno_v
July 7, 2009, 06:09 PM
Something tells me it'd be going about 20fps by the time it made it out

....not that slow...maybe 30 or 40...:D:p:neener:

ArmedBear
July 7, 2009, 06:11 PM
See I tried to explain this to him..., I also said if the slower round was better, than why did they go to the trouble of inventing the faster rounds, such as the Lott family, and the Nitro Express, plus the .458 WinMag, and etc? They just wanted a bigger boom?

You were right on, until you said "jacketed soft point", when you became not so right.:)

Loyalist Dave
July 7, 2009, 07:21 PM
Sorry AB, as I said I was just trying to compare some rounds to illustrate to the guy . :D He was trying to tell folks that all else being equal, i.e. the same bullet, an expanding bullet, if you push it "fast" (he never defines where moderate and fast are) you cause an expanding bullet to expand so far, it fails to do the job as it stops short inside the animal, while the same bullet at a slower speed will do the job as it doesn't expand as much, thus has lower drag. While this is true at extremes, one can push a bullet fast enough it comes apart in flight, or it could have problems on impact,..., but I was trying to point out that the animal in question had to be big enough in the first place for that to be a factor. :scrutiny:

In my opinion, deer do not pose such a problem at 50 yards or less, and from 50 to 100 yards I would continue to doubt they'd be a problem. (Elephants being big I tried to use jumbo as an example, :eek: and picked two rounds launching a .458 bullet - .45-70 and .458 winmag,...,of course the large African game guys pointed out that neither should use an expanding bullet...,:uhoh: mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa).

So bad choice of game, but I think my point was correct. There just isn't that much of a difference to an all lead bullet if you reduce the muzzle velocity from 1500 fps to 1100 fps, when going for whitetails, that one should consider "lowering" the muzzle velocity to increase penetration. Or am I still all screwed up? :banghead:

LD

H&Hhunter
July 8, 2009, 12:58 AM
You know another thing about this is that there isn't a DG hunter in his or her right mind who would DREAM of using a 400 gr bullet in a .458 win or Lott or any other .458 caliber rifle of adequate power on elephant. The .458 bullets start at 450 grs on the extreme low end with a 500 gr bullet being the most common.

Someone said that a .45-70 firing a 400 gr bullet at max velocity is getting pretty close to .416 Rigby. First off the very hottest .45-70 Buffalo bore loads are a 400 gr bullet at about 2100 FPS. The 400 gr projectile in a 458 has the BC of a Neko wafer compared to a 400 gr .416 caliber projectile. And the 416 Rigby does it at 2300 fps plus for an FPE figure just at 5000 FTLBS. The two aren't even in the same stratosphere. Now go find yourself some figures for the 45-70 with a 500 gr bullet. The poor little feller is simply to case capacity limited to do much with a 500 gr bullet.

.333 Nitro Express
July 8, 2009, 05:35 PM
I'm surprised weight-to-diameter ratio is not *the* topic of this conversation. Because, together with bullet construction, it is the primary issue affecting penetration.

Let's see if I can make sense.

Elephant-hunting requires penetration first and foremost, coupled by a minimum bullet diameter.

Penetration requires two things:

1 - A bullet that won't break up or mushroom on impact--best if a solid, but at the very least super-controlled expansion (for body-shots only).

2 - Sectional density. Even the best-constructed solid won't penetrate if weight-to-diameter is not sufficient.

I have left velocity out of the discussion because if you cut out the extremes of the bell-curve, a bullet satisfying requirements 1 and 2 will kill an elephant under normal hunting conditions at anywhere between 2,000 and 2,500 fps. Anything below starts being underpowered (see H&H's comments above), and anything above starts affecting bullet performance.

As for diameter, .375 is the minimum in most countries, so Bell and his rifle are out of the question today.

So now to the original question.

In my book, a 400gr .458 bullet with its sectional density of 0.272 is on the marginal side for elephant. I would opt for something with at least 0.3. There is simply no way *physically* that a 400gr .458 will outpenetrate a 400gr .416, even stipulating an identical velocity of (say) 2350 f/s.

So, given the advice on velocity--on which I agree, remembering however that there is a point past which velocity actually becomes detrimental to penetration--and the marginal sectional density, I have to wonder why one would want to hunt elephant with a 400gr 45-70.

To each his own, I suppose, but there's a reason why certain calibers have been used with success for the last 100 years and others discarded.

Tom

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