Testing HDY V-Max On Whitetail


November 25, 2011, 01:45 PM
There has been a lot of talk about bullet damage lately & talk about not using a V-Max on deer sized animals. As said in other post I take head shoots so it doesn't matter much but my son may get to take his first shot this year & I would like to have an idea of what will happen.

I am also new to a .243Win but I have been shooting it a lot this year. The first box of bullets I picked up was 65gn V-Max & they shot great & I'm still playing with them so that is what I loaded for us to hunt. So I took a body shot to see what happened.

The 65gn V-Max is loaded for ~2900fps.

The deer ran about 30yds & crashed dead. There wasn't enough blood to call it a trail. The bullet entered the right side on the back of the shoulder behind the shoulder bone. It came through the shoulder just behind the shoulder bone & stopped on the left side just under the hide. All the blood was dumped in her chest(which was nice for hauling it since there was no blood to get on anything even after gutting it). Sadly the heart(my favorite meat) got tore up bad & both front shoulders are very bloodshot & will take a lot more work to make them eatable. The bullet retained 35% of its mass.

I will try to get some pictures up later.

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November 25, 2011, 05:03 PM

Where bullet stopped.

Heart. It isn't cut. That's where it is falling apart.

Retrieved bullet.

November 25, 2011, 11:48 PM
Pretty destructive. I noticed you really downloaded that 65gr bullet from a more typical 3500 fps to your 2900 fps. Perhaps the lower velocity aided your bullet penetrate a little deeper, hard to say. I assume you loaded low for light recoil for your son?

Good shooting.

November 26, 2011, 12:02 AM
The 65 grain Vmax is a varmint bullet with a poor SD. Accorning to my Hornady manual, the whole Vmax series is intended for varmint, at least in 6mm.

Considering what you used, it seems it performed pretty well.

I have a 243 which is more of a target shooter than a hunter. It could hunt and if it did I'd be loading something in the 90-100 grain range.

Marlin 45 carbine
November 26, 2011, 10:24 AM
I have loaded VMax for my Mini30 X39. they shoot great but way too lightly constructed for rakeing shot on large whitetail past about 100 yds IMO.
I shot a doe in the neck behind the skull dang near took off it's head.

November 26, 2011, 10:39 AM
A poor shot with a light weight varmint bullet on game only leaves a wounded animal to die slowly. While it can give spectacular results with the perfect shot, it isn't the right tool for the job. My humble opinion of course.

November 26, 2011, 10:50 AM
I agree with Walkalong and I'll add that I've seen the results of muffed headshots that took the bottom jaw off without killing the deer or hog. Unethical shooting all around if you ask me. JMHO Have a nice day!

November 26, 2011, 11:44 AM
The "V"-max, the V stands for Varmint. A deer is a game animal, not a Varmint. That should be the end of the argument.

The V-max has a very thin jacket, with the plastic tip to begin violent, uncontrolled expansion. If it hits anything, it explodes to reduce ricochets when the varmint is missed.

King, you got lucky. It's that simple, it worked, but it should not have. The retained weight is the most important clue. Any bullet that retains less than 50% of it's weight is too lightly constructed to be used for serious hunting. If it had hit the shoulder bone, that deer would be limping around waiting to die of infection.

We owe the animals we hunt a swift, painless death. Get something in the 85 to 100 grain weight, perhaps loaded down a bit for the young hunter.

November 26, 2011, 01:03 PM
Well said, snuffy.

November 26, 2011, 01:18 PM
I agree that the v-max will cause you a lost deer in the future. Please no head shots. A deer without a bottom jaw is a horrible death for a magnificiant creature.

November 26, 2011, 09:31 PM
ssyoumans seems to be the only one that sees what is going on here. It was downloaded for penatration concidering the light recoil to start with. Shoot placement is everything in the head or body so takeing a shoot you cant make is just wrong. It wasnt by luck that it worked becsuse I put work into testing this round & even talked to Hornady before starting. If you think it was luck please look at the pictures again. If it was going to just explode it would have on a rib or somewhere way before the other side. As for 35% not being enough it was only 65gn to start with so it lost ~40gn if it was 100gn & retined 50% that would mean it lost 50gn. It did well & the proof is in the pudding or in this case makeing pudding out of the heart & lungs.

November 26, 2011, 09:38 PM
Alos I have only tested this round out to 100yds so I wouldnt try it at longer ranges until tested out more.

November 26, 2011, 10:00 PM
I don't think you can call one instance "proof". If you continued to run this test, and compared it to a 95 grain SST (or any other bullet designed for hunting), you'd eventually see why a varmint bullet is so called.

I'm not picking on you, I've seen you post very intelligent information, which begs why you're going against convention wisdom and and using a varmint bullet on deer?

I did catch the part about you dropping the velocity. I wasn't sure if that was to keep the bullet from blowing up at higher velocity or to lessen the recoil.

What you're doing, as a man with knowledge, just doesn't make any sense to me.

November 26, 2011, 11:17 PM
I load the 50 gr. V-max in my 220 Swift and the 75 gr. in my .257 Roberts and they are both deer killers. The Swift is running around 3900 fps and the Roberts is running 3500 fps across a chronograph. I only head or neck shoot them and one shot is all it has ever taken. I personally don't have a problem using either caliber on deer in central and coastal Texas as long as the person behind the trigger is an accomplished shot and knows what they are doing. I don't suggest this practice for new or inexperienced shooters who are easily excited and can't put at least 3 rounds in a 1 inch dot at 100 yards off the bench.

November 26, 2011, 11:27 PM
I hunt whitetail with a 165 grain Fusion bullet in .308 Win. While I consider the .308 Win a good rifle for the purpose, I think shooting a varmint-built bullet weighing 100 grains less than what I shoot beyond the margin of a humane kill. If that perfectly placed bullet that you shot from your .243 Win had missed the heart, that deer would have run a lot farther than 30 yards. I killed a doe last year with the .308 load mentioned above...I hit her a little low on the chest and she ran about 75 yards down a hill through thick brush. Now that was with a 165 grain projectile at around 2500 fps...imagine that shot with the lightweight 65 grain varmint bullet...it simply isn't safe to assume that your shots will all be so perfectly effective as the one depicted above. To some extent, size and power do make a difference...recommend something in the 90 to 100 grain range.

November 26, 2011, 11:28 PM
King have you tried the 87 vmax in your .243. SD is plenty high enough and with it's higher ballistic coefficient you will find past 150 yards it is moving faster than your 55 or 65 grain bullets. I haven't shot a deer with it yet but on coyotes out at 360 yards plus the bullet has exited through bone, full length of a body or soft tissue. I really think it will make a good deer bullet and will be testing in the coming weeks on deer shoulder bones, wet phonebooks and deer hides.

November 27, 2011, 08:56 AM
Good shot, dead deer. I like it.

November 27, 2011, 12:40 PM
I have got 10 deer with Nosler Balistic tips.
The construction of that bullet is very much like the Hornady Vmax, but the walls are thicker near the base.

If you hit the soft part of the animal, Vmax would be better than Bal Tip.
But the Bal Tip would be better for hitting the hard parts.

I aim for the lungs, and the BT will liquify them, so my expansion is good enough.
So I will stick with the BT in the expansion rate trade off.

I hunt with guys who use partitions for deer. They are nuts. Worse yet, they don't listen to me. They have their own opinions. That disgusts me.

November 27, 2011, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the extra info that you guys have added to my thread. All was good points. Sorry if this came across as a indorement. That is why I left out the load info. The point was to educate about bullet constrution vs speed & what goes on inside the body cavity during expansion. Not bragging but I've always been blessed as a good shot & this deer would have been dead even without it hitting the heart because the lungs were made into pudding. Don't miss the point there was no blood trail. I chose the 65gn only because it is the first bullet I tried & the only one I've worked with. Will others work? Yes. Better? Maybe.

November 27, 2011, 02:15 PM
A better bullet would have passed through, left two "ports" to bleed from, and created a better blood trail, if that became necessary.

November 27, 2011, 03:41 PM
I don't agree about a pass through. Energy spent into the ground is just wasted. If I would have used a heavier bullet I would have loaded it to the point to have the same affect. I could have loaded this one to penetrate further. A heavier bullet coming apart at the point of exit may have left a little blood but all of the blood was dumped in the bottom of its chest instead of a like cutting a blood vain & spraying. With the damage to the heart ther was no pumping to spray.

November 27, 2011, 03:59 PM
Considering that in some overpopulated areas, whitetail aren't much bigger than a coyote, why not use a varmint bullet, dead is dead.

November 27, 2011, 04:08 PM
I hunt with guys who use partitions for deer. They are nuts. Worse yet, they don't listen to me. They have their own opinions. That disgusts me.

I have heard the virtues of the partition bullets, but this is the first time I have heard anything negative. Why don't you like partition bullets?

I have never used them, so I am curious.

November 27, 2011, 05:11 PM
I too have used a spectrum of bullets to take deer, from 35gr V-max from .22Hornet to 400gr Cast slugs from .45/70.
I prefer some intital expansion, but like penetration too.
I'm not a huge fan of the Nosler Partitons as I believe their penetration potential is over-rated. They expand quickly, but imo don't penetrate any better than the Hornady Interloks, or Remington CorLokts at 1/4 the price. Also, I get simular penetration and expansion from Sierra's at 1/3 to 1/4 the price.
I've had Hornady SST's fail to expand, and Nosler Ballistic Tips explode and not penetrate. Hence, I like a "heavier" bullet of "decent" construction for reliable performance. Lately, I'm a huge fan of the old discontinued 140gr HotCor Speer's from my .260Remington. Excellent expansion, dependable penetration, and superlative accuracy. When I exhaust current supply will have to try the Sierra 140's...
I've seen 75gr Hornady HP's at 3,500fps from my .257Roberts as well as 85gr Nosler B.T.'s completely penetrate ~130-200lb deer, but ranges were over 300yds to closer to 400 where bullets had slowed down and expanded less violently.
I shot a 200lb 8pt buck behind my house in 2010 with .35Rem w/200gr FTX @ 2,200fps (chrono'd handload). Bullet went through both lungs and heart and exited. .35cal hole in, .35cal hole out. Deer ran 90yds and I only found it by accident walking my property line. It had stopped to look as it crossed a fire-break and "expired". Last 75yds w/o a blood trail through dense brush.
So, give me expansion AND penetration, Thank You !!!

Frozen North
November 27, 2011, 05:17 PM
I will never understand why people go through such pains to make the wrong bullet work in a marginal way.

November 27, 2011, 05:36 PM
It looks like you are attempting to draw conclusions from an "analysis" that uses only a sample size of one and which had an outcome you liked. Using the same methodology one might easily conclude after a spin at the roulette wheel that you always make money at that game. After. All, if the first spin went my way...wont they all? Who could argue with the results if i won money on the first spin? If you had 1,000 hunters shoot 1,000 deer with this load the i suspect the outcome would be much different than what is being sold here.

Hunting shots dont exist in an optimal world. Animals move, the wind blows, hearts beat, adrenaline flows, branches become harder to see in the dark, you get cold and tired...these arent optimal conditions. I try to plan accordingly.

I wont claim to have a special formula for the minimally acceptable caliber/weight combo for use on a deer...lots of combinations will work...but I always want to have one in the chamber that will kill quickly in the event that Mr. Murphy shows up.

In my view the question shouldnt be "how small a bullet can i use and still kill a deer?". Dang near any gun can kill a deer under the perfect conditions...but hunting doesnt deliver perfect conditions all the time...nor do manufacturers deliver perfect bullets every time.

Last year my 10 year old son shot a whietail buck at 142 yards with a 105 grain hornady SST. He hit it a little high in the back of the shoulder in what should have been a double lung shot. The bullet blew up on impact and failed to penetrate the chest cavity. That deer ran 311 yards and it took 2.5 hours to track him.

If i use this as my own sample size of one i come to the exact opposite conclusion as you. If i just use the one sample then the conclusion must be that the .243 cant kill a deer...or that 105 grains is an impossibly lit deer load. Luckily i have a lot of experience to draw from so Im not forced to settle for conclusions based off a single example. This didnt cause me to swear off 105 grain bullets...but it did make me switch to a more solid construction.

Logic and experience tell me that your choice of bullet will eventually lead you to uneccesary losses in the field. Its obviously a light weight varmint bullet that will only kill cleanly under optimal conditions...and a child taking his first shot at a deer is pretty far from optimal conditions.

Since you reload...why not use a 90 grain scirocco or other solidly made bullet? The recoil difference wont be much and youll be using a much better tool for the job. It would be a shame to have a kids first deer wounded and un-recovered.

Pray for the best, plan for the worst.

November 27, 2011, 06:28 PM
It would be a shame to have a kids first deer wounded and un-recovered.

Pray for the best, plan for the worst.

Wisdom there.

November 27, 2011, 07:39 PM
Goose, have an opinion about Accubonds? That is Accubonds making contact in the 2800-3000 fps range.

November 27, 2011, 09:25 PM
Wisdom there.
I hate to say it but there is no wisdom in that post.

If you people were smart enough to read this thread was never about the best tool for the the job, what gn bullet, what cal, or even where to shoot. The point was matching velocity with bullet construction.

If there was any other point I wouldn't have put it in Reloading section.

November 27, 2011, 09:39 PM
I hate to say it but there is no wisdom in that post.

If you people were smart enough to read this thread was never about the best tool for the the job, what gn bullet, what cal, or even where to shoot. The point was matching velocity with bullet construction.

If there was any other point I wouldn't have put it in Reloading section.
It really doesnt matter where you post this idea...your analysis is faulty and your method will lead to poor results.

November 27, 2011, 09:39 PM
I hate to say it but there is no wisdom in that post.

If you people were smart enough to read this thread was never about the best tool for the the job, what gn bullet, what cal, or even where to shoot. The point was matching velocity with bullet construction.

If there was any other point I wouldn't have put it in Reloading section.

The trouble with your theory is that bullet is intended to simply EXPLODE at it's usable velocity, which according to Hornday is 2000-4000 fps. If you launched it 1500fps, if that could even be done, I might see your logic.

I'm really starting to wonder what the whole point of the thread is?? Is it to suggest a varmint bullet can be turned into a hunting bullet by slowing it down? If so, why bother? There's no cost savings and a varmint bullet might be .2MOA more accurate.

If you're dead set on proving varmint bullets, why not use the 87 grain Vmax?

None of this makes much sense.

November 27, 2011, 10:14 PM
The point is simply controling expantion with velocity. It has nothing to do with price or I would buy something cheaper then 15 cents. I have never shot anything other then a 65gr. I made a post when I first bought the rifle asking for suggestions of bullet weight for my twist & no one seemed to have any idea what I was asking so I started with this bullet & it works.

I also don't see the point in have 2 different bullets when you can make 1 work well on both jobs.

Thanks for keeping it on topic tho.

November 27, 2011, 10:24 PM
If I followed that logic, I'd have only one rifle, one pistol and one shotgun. I'd also try to hunt with Sierra Matchking bullets, take my car camping and on dump runs. You get the idea.

I don't want to go back and re-read the thread, but if I recall, the point of the thread was vague to begin with and I think that led a lot of people to criticize.

I did notice you were launching that bullet at 2900 where it's capable of 3400, if I remember -- but you didn't say why and a lot of people speculated that it was for lower recoil purposes. I'm of the mindset, if I think my velocity might cause a blowup, I'd just choose a tougher bullet.

If this is any value to you, I had better accuracy with the 87 Vmax than the 65 Vmax. I also get ALMOST the same accuracy out of 90 or 100 grain hunting bullets. I shoot a 1:10 twist.

November 27, 2011, 10:35 PM
I have been visiting gun forums for a long time, and terminal ballistics brings out the worst in posters. There are just too many out of control variables. We don't get to use 50 deer at the range to practice bullet placement and see the results. So we have to develop opinions on scant data and hunches.

I try to maintain a sense of humor about bullet expansion. You pay your money and take your choice.

link to post with pictures of penetrations for various deer bullets and partition bullets (http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2105082&Searchpage=3&Main=188649&Words=Clark&Search=true#Post2105082)

That link will show pics of most deer bullets penetrating ~14" despite the terminal velocity.

It also shows penetration of partitions to be ~19" independent of terminal velocity.

I have been shooting deer broadside through the lungs with Ballistic Tips, and the bullet always goes through. I don't care about meat damage to the lungs. I don't care about a blood trail, they go between 0 and 150 feet.

This mule staggered about 50 feet without his lungs.

November 27, 2011, 10:58 PM
Yes there is value to your knowledge. You don't have to agree with me for me to accept your post with value. I even put up with theory based on knowledge. I do hate when someone tells me Im wrong when they have no idea.

I am posting from a phone I hate so I do try to be as short as possible. I did go back & try to clear it up tho.

I did say a good bullet for both jobs so the logic would be more like using a s10 to pick up a loaf of bread or pick up a sofa.

November 28, 2011, 01:58 AM
ArtP, re: Accubonds. Good question. My latest episode with the Ballistic Tips involves a 70lb yearling and a 150gr Ballistic Tip from my 7mm08. The shot is a lased 152yds (from my kitchen window to oak tree deer were under) and the bullet hit it between the shoulders with the deer down-hill facing me. (kitchen window is on second level of split level) Bullet jacket base was recovered- core disintegrated into #9shot sized flattened fragments. Deer standing next to it didn't run far enough and took a broadside hit through chest. Exit wound was 1.5" and perfect performance. (though first shot was expected performance). Load was 46.0gr of RL17 for 2,800fps from my 20" bbl. I've seen a 139gr SST and Interbond fail to expand at all from similar shot..... Might be "ok" from a 7mmRemUltMag though......

I've had similar penetration from same loading with Nosler 140gr Partition, partition only shed 45% of it's weight and was similarily lodged in pelvis of deer. That's right, a 70lb whitetail yearling stopped a 140gr Nosler Partition w/2,775fps launch speed...... Even though same box of reloads penetrated broadside a 1,000lb elk at 250yds a month earlier, 3 times with 3 shots.... go figure. (no bones except ribs, though lungs and heart were ripped to shreds..).

I've got a box of 140gr Accubonds (.284") I intend to load and try, perhaps next year..... I'm still infatuated with the .260Rem and this is my first season with it. And next up is a .375Ruger with some 235gr Speers, 250gr Sierra's and 270gr Hornady Interloks..... Too many guns, too many bullets, not enough time, money or "spaces" on my licenses..... (in Georgia, we can "only" take 12, not more than 2 antlered... some exceptions on WMA's. But, it's 3 bucks a year and doe-a-day in Alabama and I have that license too! )
And, it's a lot of work to process the deer. Done five already this year. Freezer space is running low......

November 28, 2011, 10:07 AM
This probably deserves another thread. But to the guys who have been discussing bullet purpose here, what's your take on this...

I pretty much use Sierra .277 bullets for practice. They are hunting bullets and suitable for deer and "normal" size hogs. Partitions and Barnes "X" and other ultra premium bullets certainly cost more and are probably more justified for tougher game or game that might fight back.

My thought is, since we all spend a boat load of money on these activities, the cost of the very few bullets sent to dispatch game is really meaningless, so why not use the very best bullets available, regardless of cost? May not open quick enough? At least the partitions should.

November 28, 2011, 10:40 AM
I don't have a take on those because I don't use them but I want to use a round that I know because I have already shoot 500 or so of them & tried differnt test on them. I'm not a hunter. I shoot for meat & I want a quick kill with no tracking. I'm also a little soft hearted & I don't like to watch a deer die. I fell a little better when I know it never knew it was hit. I love shooting long range but I no longer shoot over 100yds at deer.

November 28, 2011, 12:13 PM
I don't agree about a pass through. Energy spent into the ground is just wasted.

There is no "magical" transferral of foot pounds of energy (as listed on ballistics tables) to a game animal, wherein the animal gets it all if the bullet doesn't exit, and some of it is wasted if the bullet exits. It is all about the permanent and temporary bullet channel created, and either causing a drop in blood pressure or shutting down the central nervous system. In the case of causing a rapid loss in blood pressure, a large exit hole is ALWAYS better than a similar bullet that does not exit, to say nothing of its benefit for tracking purposes.


November 28, 2011, 05:35 PM
King I see where you are going with this, one gun for varmints and deer, one bullet to take them both. I as others have advised try the 87 gr Vmax. I have actually split and compared bullets and the 87 vmax while having a thin up front jacket has a big lead base and has the sectional density and ballistic coefficient to make the 65 look very bad. The 65 gr bullet while having more speed out of the muzzle looses it much faster and in 150 yards or less the 87 vmax will be traveling faster and flatter. With the right powder achieving 3400 fps is very doable.

November 28, 2011, 07:18 PM
What distance was this at?

November 28, 2011, 07:37 PM
About 75yds give or take about 5yd.

November 28, 2011, 11:01 PM
75 yards to 100 is probably OK. Consider this, using Hornady data on factory loads

243 58g 1,546-lb ME @ 100 yards
30-30 150g 1,279-lb ME @ 100 yards
44 mag 225g (pistol) 761-lb. @ 50 yards
44-40 200g (rifle) 629-lb. @ 100 yards

Considering the 30-30 and 44-40 probably killed more deer than any cartridge outside of the '06, it looks like this is an OK OK load for 100 yards or less. Surely not the best, and not what I would use, but not sure if I would consider it inhumane at the distant shot.

Would be nice to compare the terminal ballistics of this 243 load to a more typical deer load on the light side. Bottom line, get a bigger gun. http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/slow_vs_fast.jpg http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Misc_Images/DocGKR/40052-MilitaryAssaultRifleWPcopy.jpg

December 14, 2011, 10:19 PM
There is no "magical" transferral of foot pounds of energy (as listed on ballistics tables) to a game animal, wherein the animal gets it all if the bullet doesn't exit, and some of it is wasted if the bullet exits.

If the bullet is still traveling then it still has part of its Engery. I it is stoped it must have transfered all of its engery.

That isn't the point tho. Again the point was to slow the bullet down enough to get enough penetration before expansion. I wanted the exapntion after a few inches. Then it to come apart to deliver all of its engery.

I still don't want it going all the way through. Who needs a blood trail when the deer is right there.

My neighbor shoot one with his 30-06 factory ammo that was a pass threw & a nice heart shoot. He didn't even look for it because he didn't find blood. I told him we should look anyway & found it about 30 yds away. Took about 2 minutes to find it. Point is don't count on a blood trail. DRT is always better.

December 14, 2011, 10:49 PM
If the bullet is still traveling then it still has part of its Engery. I it is stoped it must have transfered all of its engery.


Please explain how this "energy", which is nothing more than a mathematical equation kills? As previously stated, it is tissue destruction and blood loss or shutting down the CNS that kills, and once a bullet has done it's job, who cares if it continues on into the ground behind the deer. You will no doubt get into trouble with that load one day. Since your bullet is light for caliber, it has a very low sectional density, which does not help for penetration. Should you ever hit a solid bone, the bullet would be unlikely to punch through it, and you may lose the deer. Just MHO.


December 14, 2011, 11:16 PM
I generally use 150 grain or bigger 30 caliber hunting bullets for hunting.
But, I got to thinking.

This little bullet - 65 grains- hit this deer. Bullet carried about 1000 ft-lb of kinetic energy. Deer died.
The bullet didn't exit. It broke up, but all the pieces stayed in the deer.
So the only things that changed were, 1, the bullet did about 1000 ft-lb worth of work on the deer, and , 2, the deer died. The deer was still there. The bullet was still there.

It must have been the energy that killed the deer.

December 15, 2011, 06:36 AM
The engery transfer is what did the damage.

December 15, 2011, 08:12 AM
It must have been the energy that killed the deer.

Hmm, so if this energy was transfered to the deer, then we should at least find bits of this "mysterious" energy inside the deer when we cut it open? It is probably very small, and no doubt we will need to examine it with a microscope, maybe even a electron microscope, but I'm sure it's there.:rolleyes:


December 15, 2011, 08:31 AM
Don please don't take this as talking down to you because I do enjoy reading about your knowledge you share in your post.
It has been a long time since school but ether grade or middle school I was taught that all things are engery & engery can not be added to or destroyed but can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. Even your pencil is made up of engery if you burn it the engery is transformed into heat. If a moving car hits a parked car the engery form the moving car is transferred to the parked car.

December 15, 2011, 09:34 AM
Even your pencil is made up of engery...

Okay, taking the pencil as an example, if I were to take a pencil in my hand and with all my might, drive it between the ribs of an animal into the heart, would it be this mysterious "energy" (carbon?) contained within the pencil that kills the animal, or would it be the destruction of the heart tissue and resultant blood loss that kills the animal? The "energy" number that is found in some ballistic charts and on cartridge boxes is nothing more than a mathematical formula that allows us to compare one cartridge to another. It does not take into consideration bullet construction at all, which is a primary determinate as to whether a bullet will continue to penetrate and cause further tissue damage, or blow up and leave a shallow and possibly non-lethal wound. For example: a .22-250 firing a 45gr bullet at 4,000fps is said to generate 1598 ft lbs of energy, while a .45-70 firing a 405gr bullet at 1330fps generates 1590 ft lbs of energy. Similar energy figures, yet the .22-250's 45gr bullet would blow up and not penetrate much at all on a deer, while a .45-70's large caliber, heavy 405gr bullet would put a very destructive large hole completely through a deer, and I doubt anyone would argue that these two cartridges are caparable deer cartridges. Similar energy figures - completely different results.


December 15, 2011, 09:39 AM
Energy is the ability to do work. Kinetic energy which is what we are talking about, is a nebulous figure applied to bullets as it can be expended in different ways.

If it is expended on non-essential tissue, then it is "wasted". If it is applied to essential tisssue, and that tissue is disrupted and residual energy is expended into the air/ground behind the animal, it's besides the point.

I shot a 90lb doe with a Hornady 35gr V-max from a 22Hornet at 3,100fps m/v in 1998. The bullet entered the left side of the chest behind the left shoulder angling foward into the chest cavity. The Heart was obliterated as well as the forward portion of the left lung. The cavity left was the size of a soft-ball. The largest piece of bullet was the plastic tip that was located in the wall of the far side of the chest. Little damage was done to the right lung. Most piceces of lead were smaller than #9 birdshot.

No, I wouldn't use the load again, but then I was hunting crows in a pecan orchard and the owner wanted a "tender young doe" if you can get me one. I did..... But, if I'd hit the humerous of the left shoulder, I'm sure I'd have never found the deer, which was DRT (dead right-there). But, no blood trail would have been problematic... as there were many, many deer tracks through the area..... A lack of penetration is a huge drawback. Excessive penetration even with two holes can also be problematic. No expansion and insufficient tissue disruption is just as big a problem as explosive expansion and no-penetration. Hence. "HUNTING" bullet development has been the blending of the two. Why give up on 100's of years of experience and R/D, in trying to re-invent the wheel.....
Use enough gun and bullet. Due to hard-headedness, Laws, such as I used to enforce such as "No FMJ'S", and "minium caliber's", are necessary.
Some states such as Alaska and Colorado have laws that make "wanton waste" a felony. It could be construed in a prosecution for such that use of insufficient "ammo" is such.....
Don't make the gov'mint idjits get in your busniess.... !

Use the varmint bullets on deer if you must, but be aware that a bad shot will give worse results than using the proper bullet.....

re: Sierra's vs. Barnes, ect. For deer the cost and neccessity of resighting the rifle (the monolithic bullets have different friction/load data requirements and change impact from zero w/"normal" bullets) dictate against the Barnes, ect. If you are explicitly using a rifle/caliber for the purpose of large/dangerous game, then the "one bullet" concept is viable...... But if I'm going to spend $40.00 for a box of bullets, I prefer that it has 100 instead of 20 or 25.......! Especially if "shooting" deer....

December 15, 2011, 10:13 AM
The old argument about energy "dump" inside an animal by bullets of any kind of construction has been going on since the invention of gunpowder. It never will be settled.

It's been a generally accepted figure that the minimum energy required in a modern rifle using an expanding bullet, 1000 ft pounds minimum. That's for the normal sized whitetail deer. That's why some states have a 24 caliber minimum for a rifle, and only allow magnum cartridge handguns. A .223 in some loadings is under that.

In Don's example above, if that 22-250 was using the barnes 62 TSX-BT, then the results would have been exactly the opposite .

December 15, 2011, 11:42 AM
Reread what I'm telling you. These are not the numbers on the box that I'm talking about.

I actually slowed the bullet down to have less engery so it didn't rip itself apart. This made the bullet retain more of its engery to penetrate deeper before coming apart. The heavier the construction of the bullet the more engery it retains & will use that engery to penetrate but if it gets dispersed it does more damage to the areas it comes in contact with.

It isn't about more engery it is about using the engery you have correctly. The only info on the box that I ever look at is the picture that shows how much the bullet comes apart at what speed but that just gives you a guess where to start working with it.

I slowed this bullet down so much that it went threw b jugs of water & only broke the plastic tip off. It left a nice little hole that the water drained from. I have also had it fast enough that it turned the first jug inside out.

The pencil. The engery is delivered from your hand & that transferred into the boby. The engery that the pencil is made of is never released. It is still a pencil. The engery of the bullet itself is never released ether it only transfers the engery from the gases expanding to the kinetic engery delivered to the animal.

December 15, 2011, 12:16 PM
I have had great luck harvesting deer with a 243. First deer i ever killed was with a 243. Although i love to shoot those light bullets i save them for shooting at small critter. I stick with a 90 to 100gr bullet designed for controlled expansion and have had great results. I personally like the 95 nosler ballistic tips because they shoot great in my rifle. I have also used sierra bullets and they have done a great job on deer. I personally wouldnt shoot a deer with anything lighter than a 90gr bullet in 243. I had to shoot a canine that was killing my father in laws sheep a few years ago. I shot it about 60 yards and didnt get an exit wound which would leave me to believe that a deer hit in the shoulder would just be wounded. Just my .02

January 12, 2012, 10:03 PM
first off kingmt, nice shot. i am like you in that i prefere lighter bullets in 243. last one i had preferred 85 gr sierra varmint. bout the heaviest i like. have tried 95gr sst. shot doe through both lungs and clipped bottom of heart. she ran about 100 yards before falling. exit wound was not much bigger than entrance. not impressed at all. have kille about 15 deer with 22-250 that either fell Im their tracks or went less than 30 yards. am firm believer in dumping as much energy inside as is possible. it does no good to have a bullet carry 2500ft/lb of energy and dumps 90% of it on the ground on the other side. that being said there is no replacement for a well placed shot. no bullet regardless of weight will make up for a poor shot.

January 13, 2012, 11:09 AM

April 26, 2014, 03:10 AM
Just a update to this thread I long forgot about. Two of my sons & I used this load again last year & year before My oldest son & I. Year before last I think my shot was only 60 yards(DRT) My sons was 80ish yards(Bad shot that went between the gut & lungs with a little bit of liver damage) which had a lot of blood inside but we had to track it about 300 yards & take a fallow up shot. Last year I took my deer about 150 yards(DRT) My two sons were within 70 yards(DRT). This load has proven itself to me. I'll be sticking with it.

April 26, 2014, 03:58 AM
I've tried a lot of different bullets over the years, V-max included, and I keep returning to Speer Hot Core's, or the Grand Slam for a real good penetrating bullet. Especially the Hot Core though, it's a very accurate bullet, and the integrity it maintained on the animals I've taken, and seen taken with it, has been nothing short of impressive.

I haven't tried the Deep Curl yet with .243, but it did well in the 7 mag.

As for energy transfer, I have an example of such that is pretty interesting. I shot a 1/2 piece of plate steel from around 150 yds. using a 130 gr. standard lead core PSP BT .284" bullet, Speer if it matters. The chrony showed the bullet was doing about 3350's fps from the 7 mag.. Having done this before, punch hole in steel, I've always wondered what comes out the opposite side.

So on to the shooting part, I propped the steel up against a 5 gal. container of water in an effort to recover the fragments of bullet. Here's the weird part, I ended up with a rather large hole in the container and a 1/2" diameter half shaped sphere, and perfectly smooth and bowl shaped inside, and perfectly smooth on the outside. When I got home I put a magnet to it and sure enough it contained steel. I then took a propane torch to it and no lead melted off, so it appears to be all steel, no lead. And it appears that pure energy is what punched that 1/2" piece of steel out of the plate. The piece of steel weighted 153 grs., 23 grs. more.


April 28, 2014, 01:00 PM
While this V-max may be a varmint bullet and all that, its the first one that gets offered when someone asks here about what a good SD bullet would be for .223. Why is that?



April 28, 2014, 05:58 PM
People are not nearly as tough as deer. Not even close.

April 30, 2014, 06:36 AM
I took my first vmax coyote the other day, a 50 grain .223.....I will be switching over to something else. It's interesting that people are getting satisfactory results with the vmax on deer, because I was not happy with what I saw on that coyote.
At 2900fps or so I got a baseball size entry wound with no bones hit...and that's it. Maybe 3" of penetration that I could see and no exit wound. The coyote was only 35lbs or so, so it didn't even make 6" of penetration.
Dead coyote, but if I had hit a shoulderblade I wouldn't have found it. Same bullet as the .243 used on deer in this thread, same speed, just different bullet weights...but totally different results from the pictures I saw.
I guess the extra weight out of a .243 is just enough to retain some mass to punch through vitals.

I don't trust the vmax against coyote, but I feel pretty confident in them as a SD round out of a carbine.

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