question on impact of bullets


December 4, 2010, 12:15 PM
I`m know little about ammo and their ballistics.

Question: If you have a 40 grain bullet traveling at 1200 ft. and you compare it to a bullet that is traveling at 1/2 the speed 600 ft. and the bullet is 2 times heavier 80 grains. Which will have the greatest impact on live animals?

Is diameter of the bullet any more important than the speed or vice versa?

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December 4, 2010, 12:22 PM
What size animal?

December 4, 2010, 12:27 PM
Folks have been arguing about that since gunpowder was invented.
If you only look at energy figures?
40 grain .22 @ 1,200 = 127 ft/lb.
80 grain .44 @ 600 = 63 ft/lb.

The fact of the matter is though, the .44 bullet will knock the snot out of Superman.
The .22 won't.

In truth though, an 80 grain .44 bullet would be impractical.
The closest it would come would be somewhat similar to an old .44 C&B revolvers round ball.
And they were formidable on the battlefield.

Nobody was using .22's on the battlefield.


December 4, 2010, 01:33 PM
The 40 grain bullet traveling at 1200 ft. would be better.Shock is what puts deer down where they stand. This takes 2700fps & 90Gr bullet, more is better. The velocity is the most important factor. Shock. An arrow can go thru the center of the heart and the deer still can run 200 yds. A 30WCF can go right thru and the deer gives no reaction what so ever that its hit good. If you hit the spine, or a neck shot, all work well. Heavy slow bullets punch a hole, penetrate deeply. High speed soft point bullets create shock to the animals nervous system. When assessing the likely severity of gunshot wounds, there are numerous variables which include the following, considered either singly or in concert:

* the particular type of weapon used; rifles are generally more destructive than handguns. For example, a close-range abdominal wound inflicted by a 7.62 NATO rifle will be much more severe than one inflicted by a .38 revolver from the same distance.

* the calibre of the weapon; e.g. a wound from a small diameter bullet will generally be less severe than a wound inflicted by a larger diameter when the velocities are the same. The cartridge designation is generally an approximation of bullet diameter and is of value to the gun knowledgeable in estimating other characteristics; velocity, weight, design, etc.

* the design of the bullet used and its velocity. Expanding bullets are more damaging than non expanding. Of the non expanding bullets, flat or very blunt nosed bullets are more damaging than more pointed bullets as the more pointed bullet may push some tissue aside. Heavier bullets will penetrate more deeply than lighter bullets at the same velocity.

* the range at which the victim was shot; i.e. wounds inflicted from a distance of 5 metres will invariably be more severe than those fired from a range of 500 metres if all other factors are equal. The velocity of a bullet (and therefore its destructive potential) gradually reduces as it travels from the muzzle of a firearm.

Destructive effects

The immediate damaging effects of the bullet are typically a loss of blood, and with it, the potential for hypovolemic SHOCK, an inadequate amount of blood in the circulatory system. More immediate effects can result when a bullet strikes a critical organ such as the heart or damages a component of the central nervous system such as the spine or brain. Common causes of death following gunshot injury include exsanguination, hypoxia caused by pneumothorax, heart failure and brain damage. Non-fatal gunshot wounds can result in serious disability.

Gunshot injuries can vary widely from case to case since the location of the injury can be in any part of the body, with wide variations in entry point. Also, the path and possible fragmentation of the bullet within the body is unpredictable. The study of the dynamics of bullets in gunshot injuries is called terminal ballistics. Shock-High Velocity works.

December 4, 2010, 10:21 PM
I agree with 243winxb, but I try not to quote wiki anything.

I have shot many deer with a 30-30, and it killed them. Unless I hit the spine, or I hit the neck. They would run. Some 30 yards, and others 300 yards. Didn't matter if it didn't have a heart or lungs.
This was true with 150 and 170 grain 30-30 bullets. Great round, and a does a good job, but try to break the front shoulders, or your in for a blood trail. Most of the time. Not all of the time, and I am not knocking the 30-30 as you will see.
I started loading a 125 grain FNHP from Sierra. Even at 2150 fps this round put deer down. I loaded them light for my wife, and also I shoot them in short lanes 50 yards or less. I also have pushed them to just over 2500 with IMR 3031. Very accurate, and will drop deer easily. It changed the 30-30 for me, and I probably will never shoot a 150 or 170 FN/RN bullet from my 30-30s again. Penetration is outstanding with the 125 grain FNHP from Sierra.

But my first experience of the "SHOCK" factor on a deer was with my .25-06 shooting 115 grain Winchester Supreme Ballistic Tips. It was something to see. I dropped two does at 300 yards. Boom/flop - Boom/flop. It was something I'd never experienced before, and made me a believer of the "SHOCK". You need something that will make the blood run backwards in the animal to kill it quick. Figure of speech there, but some truth to that statement.
I have seen shock from a .223 on deer, but the whop wasn't hard enough to actually drop the animal. It was more of a ripple. Although I do think the .223 even with 55 grain soft points is perfectly adequate for taking deer. Again. Like the 30-30, the .223 will and can drop them if you heart/lung shoot the deer, but neck or spine is a better hit if using a .223.

These are just some of my experiences, and I am now a .25-06 addict. I think it is the best whitetail round around. Low recoil, more pop than a .243, and is just plain awesome. I like the long action as well. If it is a bolt gun. Gimme a long action bolt gun.

December 5, 2010, 12:33 AM
You've got that part right rc ! I couldn't agree with you more, just an example, look at the Battle of Gettysburg, 54, 58, 60 caliber bullets, huge hunks of lead, not a .22 found anywhere.

December 6, 2010, 08:13 PM
There isn't a proven method to say which is better. Both kill. Every creature is different. Believe in what you have confidence in, and the real world experience might back up what you choose, and it might not.
Like I said before. 30-30s 170/150 grain @ 2200 fps in the heart more tracking than bang/flops on deer.
.25-06 115 grain bullet at 3000 fps more bang/flops than tracking.

December 7, 2010, 09:56 AM
Just shot with a 30-30 170gr factory round, still running. :D

December 7, 2010, 01:09 PM
Then there are those who think that velocity is highly, highly overrated. We like to punch big holes in critters with heavy bullets. They end up just as dead.

If you're having trouble with .30-30'd deer running off, your problem isn't the cartridge. :rolleyes:

December 9, 2010, 10:47 PM
awe now, CraigC. There's no need to get personal on me. I agree that it is a good round, but I have shot many deer with the 30-30 from high shoulder to gut shots, and have had probably a 85% tracking be it 30 yards to 300 yards.

Last deer I shot with a 30-30 was right under my stand. Dropped on the spot. Broke the back.

I just say in my experience is that the .25-06 with shots in the same spot as a good 30-30 shot will drop the deer more times that the 30-30 shot. This with the 30-30 using 150/170/160 grain bullets. I have mentioned that things change when you load the 30-30 with the 125 FNHP from Sierra. You can push that bullet very accurately to 2500 fps if not a little more, and it really changes the 30-30 from a pooky deer gun to in the class in my opinion to a true high powered rifle within 150 yards. I have been very impressed with its performance. Also like I said, but maybe not in this thread. I will never shoot anything but the 125 FNHP out of my 30-30s again. It is just to good a round, and really makes the 30-30 shine.

December 10, 2010, 09:48 AM
A deer shot in a ham is a wounded animal. A deer shot in the brain is a dead animal. It really doesn't mater what you hit them with, as much as where you hit 'em.

December 10, 2010, 12:38 PM
Question: If you have a 40 grain bullet traveling at 1200 ft. and you compare it to a bullet that is traveling at 1/2 the speed 600 ft. and the bullet is 2 times heavier 80 grains. Which will have the greatest impact on live animals?

You can very well have a situation where wounds created by light/fast bullets look exactly like those made by slow/heavy ones. It all depends on weight, diameter, and velocity.

If they are both 22 caliber, the light/fast bullet will make a larger temporary cavity because it will create more hydrostatic shock on impact (Flesh is liquified on concact with a high helocity projectile. The bullet pushing on the liquid creates pressure which presses against the surrounding flesh magnifying the damage). The slow/heavy bullet will punch a small 22 diameter hole because the lower velocity makes less hydrostatic shock, so all it has to work with is it's frontal area which is not much.

However, if the slow/heavy bullet is larger in diameter, it's size will increase the hydrostatic shock in proportion to the frontal diameter.

You have to strike a ballance, however, else you will limit penetration. If you increase bullet diameter but keep bullet weight the same, you will reduce sectional density. Sectional density enables penetration. If the bullet lacks penetration, it loses lethality. Imagine a baseball going 60 mph striking you in the abdomen. It's gonna hurt, but it isn't lethal. Then imagine a 45 ACP bullet hitting you in the abdomen. Both the 45 and the baseball have the same momentum (mass x velocity), but the 45 has a greater sectional density and is able to penetrate deep into your vitals. All the baseball can do is bruise. You'd prolly have increase the baseball's velocity 10 times to match the penetration of the 45 ACP. At that point, it would explode you on impact, much like a 22-250 vs a ground squirrel.

December 10, 2010, 01:24 PM
As others have stated and alluded to above, energy does not kill. Many of my friends like to quote energy numbers when talking about killing power - not the whole story for sure! Making sufficiently large holes in major organs kills. You want deep penetration to reach those major organs and then sufficient bullet diameter (expanded or not) to do catastrophic damage.

A Historian
December 10, 2010, 02:45 PM
I`m know little about ammo and their ballistics.

Question: If you have a 40 grain bullet traveling at 1200 ft. and you compare it to a bullet that is traveling at 1/2 the speed 600 ft. and the bullet is 2 times heavier 80 grains. Which will have the greatest impact on live animals?

Is diameter of the bullet any more important than the speed or vice versa?

As other people have pointed out, the most important factor with any shot taken on an animal is the shot's placement. A 30-30 might be an outdated piece of technology from over 100 years ago, but there is a reason it still is being used today - it does its job. You just have to be sure to do yours.

What follows after that is kind of tricky to explain. Others have already brought up the the concept of hydrostatic shock. This is the effect the transference of energy from a bullet has on the flesh of the target. Flesh is made to move and be malleable, it's advantageous for it to be so to help avoid injuries and the such. When enough hydrostatic shock occurs, it moves the flesh beyond what it's meant to. This is what can cause such horrible damage, especially to vital organs. While hydrostatic shock is nice and all, it's actually more important to hit and pierce those vital organs to ensure a kill. (It won't guarantee a faster kill, mind you, but a shot to the heart is a shot to the heart.) I know people will disagree with this statement, and even I do to a certain extent (after all there is a reason we don't hunt with full-metal jackets,) but I've seen shots taken with high-velocity rounds that didn't have the proper momentum for deep penetration. They still manage to kill the deer, but what would have been a quick-kill heart shot end up being a liquefied lung and a jaunt for tracking. A lot of bruised and damaged meat as well.

Momentum is key word in all of this. While we do want penetration, we want a proper amount, and not too much of it. Too much momentum means not enough energy is going to be transferred into the target as the projectile passes clean through it. While mass and velocity figure into momentum, when we're talking about penetration we rely mostly on mass. All things equal, a light projectile going fast and having the same force as a heavy projective going slow isn't going to penetrate as much. This is because the heavy projectile has more momentum. On the flip side of the token, with the light projectile not penetrating as deeply, that means it's transferring more of its energy quicker - this is when lighter projectiles cause hydrostatic shock in flesh.

Thankfully, though, choices in bullet construction aids us in being able to have the ballistics we want with the penetration we need. Eb1 provided us with a good example of this.

All this said, though, use what you're most comfortable with, just don't go to either extreme.

December 10, 2010, 04:20 PM
It all depends on what you're shooting at. A small .22 LR CCI Stinger will explode a Coke can much better than a full load of buckshot from a 12 gauge. But if you were a deer standing on the other side of the Coke can, you'd prefer the .22.

The moral of the story is that energy transfer and hydr0static shock are limited in their effect depending on the size and makeup of what you are shooting at.

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