understanding the shoulder shot


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JJHACK
February 4, 2014, 02:13 PM
This question comes up many times in my lodge when hunters are trying to decide where to shoot African game. I think it's best to sort out a few terms, such as "shoulder". The shoulder is not a bone, it's a joint, it's also referred to as the muscular region around the scapula and humerus. I would bet the vast mojority of people don't fully understand this bit of anatomy. The scapula is also known as, or is often referred to as, the shoulder blade. The humerus is the first long bone of the front leg which is connected to the scapula. There is no single part of the anatomy that is a "shoulder", but rather the area of the joint which is called the shoulder.
http://huntingadventures.net/HA-OldSite/images/img_kudu-shoulder.jpg

In this Kudu anatomy drawing, you can see the scapula isn't really covering anything vital. A small portion of the spine, which is a very small target to define, when under the skin and muscle. If the shot is too high, the bones can still be hit solid, but no vital organs will take a direct hit. A miss of the scapula, too low, is much better.
When you hear a person say they "broke the shoulder(s)", they typically refer to that (in my opinion) as the scapula or humerus bones. An absolutely dead on the money bullseye into the shoulder would be the joint between the two. However I challange anyone to show me that they've broken them both!
Shooting through the shoulders is simple enough but doesn't always mean any bones were broken, or any vital organs hit. I have a shoulder blade right here on my desk from a black bear that has a healed bullet hole right through it. It has another hole from my bullet which actually killed the bear.
http://huntingadventures.net/HA-OldSite/images/img_kudu-shoulder1.jpg
This shows the relationship of the scapula and actual humerus bones. The lower humerus was from the other side of this bear, or opposite front leg. It was shot and broken and then healed just fine allowing this bear to keep on living, although he had a severe limp. The scapula also had a bullet hole on the top edge. My bullet hit lower and killed the bear many years after the original hunter wounded him, by taking the shoulder shot only inches too high.
If an animal has the shoulder joint between the scapula and humerus broken on both sides they cannot make forward progress with there front legs, that is plain and simple. If you shoot too high, through the shoulder blades, you will be below the spine and above the organs just as this scapula above shows. If you blow through the humerus you will, in nearly every case, hit vital organs and make quick death of the animal.
The vast majority of hunters I've heard say "I broke the shoulders" are referring to the front legs being broken. My question would be (if I was rude) lets skin him and see what's broken I want you to show me where the shoulder is. It would not likely be identifed properly by the majority of recreational sport hunters.
I like the low scapula shot and take it often. Anyone shooting this way must have a fair bit of anatomy knowledge. This whole assembly floats inside the body. The front scapula and leg bones are not linked to the rest of the skeleton with a joint. They are free floating and have no skeletal connection to the rest of the skeleton's bones. From the scapula down they are only connected to each other and not the rest of the skeleton. Again most hunters don't picture it this way and most assume there is some big joint connecting the front legs to the main skeleton similiar to the pelvis joint.
http://huntingadventures.net/HA-OldSite/images/img_kudu-shoulder2.jpg
This is a closer photo of the off side broken humerus bone which had completely healed. It's 30% shorter than the other side, but this bear lived many years after being shot in the leg. My guess is that the bears leg was too far forward climbing up a hill and the bullet that broke this leg exited the armpit and missed the body completely.
Because of this when an animal walks climbs or stands up hill or down hill the joints in the front legs move a great distance. The scapula can move nearly a foot under the skin in every direction, it's loose under there and moves all around depending upon the stride or reach of the animal.
Making this your aimpoint causes various concerns depending upon the way the animal is standing. The bones on the right do not always match the bones on the left either. They are fully independent of one another. I like to "break the shoulders" but what exactly does that mean? To me it means break the humerus or the joint connecting the humerus to the scapula. Anything higher is non vital except for the very small section of spine (although likely pretty painful) and lower is below any reasonable reference to a shoulder shot. Even though lower can be a perfect heart shot and still very lethal. With some high powered rifles and explosive bullets, a shot through the scapula will destroy enough bone that the additional fragmnets will explode into the chest cavity causing additional hemorage of vital organs.
I think the most important thing to remember about the whole thing is not to deliberately shoot for the scapula but rather just below it or at the bottom of it. A shot going only a few inches high will be a complete distaster and the animal will run for a long way! Missing the mark on the lower side is going to be better every time.
Here is another angle of the scapula above showing the top edge of the bullet hole. Not much of a miss too high, but it was enough to allow him to survive for years. It has quite a lot of abnormal growth but the hole is still through it.
http://huntingadventures.net/HA-OldSite/images/img_kudu-shoulder3.jpg

It's important, I think, to understand these concepts before you go out and start trying to bust shoulders!

If you enjoyed reading about "understanding the shoulder shot" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
buck460XVR
February 4, 2014, 03:08 PM
This question comes up many times in my lodge when hunters are trying to decide where to shoot African game. I think it's best to sort out a few terms, such as "shoulder". The shoulder is not a bone, it's a joint, it's also referred to as the muscular region around the scapula and humerus. I would bet the vast mojority of people don't fully understand this bit of anatomy.


I think the showing of folks that not every game animal has the same "sweet" spot should be the just of this thread, not whether or not we are using the correct term for body parts.

I think part of the confusion comes from the common knowledge that in humans, "shoulder" is a term even Doctors use to describe the group of structures in the area of the shoulder joint made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone) as well as associated muscles, ligaments and tendons. They then tend to refer to the shoulder joint itself as the glenohumeral joint. Folks then just transfer this to animal anatomy.....and understandably so. Most of us know what folks are talking about when they say they broke a shoulder. Usually means breaking any of those structures comprising of the shoulder system making an animal incapable of using it's front leg/legs. Is it the correct place to aim? Depends on what you are using and what you are hunting. Generally works well on deer when using a high powered rifle. Not only is the animal generally incapitated, but both lungs and major arteries lay between the "shoulders". With a handgun things are more iffy, depending on the caliber and bullet. With a bow it used to be one place you did not want to hit because it stopped the arrow from reaching the biggest piece of the boiler room. Modern compounds have almost done away with this tho. Now what works well on deer does not always apply to other animals. Major reason is anatomy and it differs between species. Every responsible hunter should know where to place their shot on the game they are hunting with the weapon they are using....not a big surprise. If they are hunting game unfamiliar to them and using a guide, I would assume it's a very basic responsibility of that guide to inform the hunter where to place his shot and to make sure they are using the appropriate weapon to make that shot. Not only because that's what they are getting paid to do, but outta consideration and respect of the quarry. Now whether or not that hunter has the skill to place the shot or will even listen to the guide depends on the hunter. Prime example is Turkey Hunting. Common knowledge is that a turkey needs to be hit in the head/neck or spine for a quick clean kill and folks need to pattern their gun to make sure it shoots to POA with the loads being used. But many folks never pattern their gun and in their excitement aim at COM and wonder why the bird flies off never to be seen again. Same with deer, folks know that a gut shot is one of the worst possible scenarios, but how many folks in their excitement to hit the animal aim, just like they do at the paper targets at the range.....dead center. The result at the range is a bullseye....in the field it generally means a long iffy bloodtrail. While a poorly placed shot trying to break the shoulders may result in a lost animal, one does not have to miss a "heart only" shot by much and lose an animal either.

Vol46
February 4, 2014, 07:25 PM
One of the thinks that really struck me on my African bow hunt several years back was how much lower & further forward the vitals of many of their "plains game" animals were than our whitetails ( see JJHACK's Kudu picture). Fortunately, I was hunting with a competent PH who spent a lot of time before the hunt going over anatomy, & reinforced those lessons while watching animals from the blinds we hunted.

twofifty
February 4, 2014, 09:07 PM
JJHack thanks for posting what for me is a useful anatomy lesson, and for starting what I hope will be a great discussion re: shot placement on N. American species.

I am particularly interested in hearing about anatomy and placement on quartering-away deer and elk. I imagine a bullet first perforating the liver and going on through the diaphragm into the lung/heart/shoulder area.

Loyalist Dave
February 5, 2014, 09:41 AM
One of the fellows on an exclusively traditional muzzleloader website took nothing but shoulder shots on deer this year and harvested several. They dropped in their tracks, for when properly hit, the ball not only messes up the joint but also impacts the spine.

Forsyth in 1867 wrote that he preferred the shoulder shot and a patched round ball on deer type big game, even though he had access to conical bullets. He was a world famous, "dangerous big game hunter" in India and author of The Sporting Rifle and It's Projectiles.

For you folks with modern cartridges, a heavy enough bullet to remain intact, plus a powerful enough load..., a shoulder shot should be an excellent choice.

:D

LD

3212
February 5, 2014, 10:29 AM
I took a 140 lb 6 point whitetail last fall with a shot to the shoulder area.It was in brush at 80 yards.The .243 struck the bone between the leg and the neck and forced a 1 inch segment into the chest cavity and fragmented.It was the shot I was presented with and the deer dropped and kicked for about a minute.

Vol46
February 5, 2014, 10:39 AM
JJHack thanks for posting what for me is a useful anatomy lesson, and for starting what I hope will be a great discussion re: shot placement on N. American species.

I am particularly interested in hearing about anatomy and placement on quartering-away deer and elk. I imagine a bullet first perforating the liver and going on through the diaphragm into the lung/heart/shoulder area.
For deer, aim at the far shoulder on quartering away shots. Depending on the angle, you may get liver or heart, but it will definitely put them down quickly.

sage5907
February 7, 2014, 07:55 PM
Quote: "This question comes up many times in my lodge when hunters are trying to decide where to shoot African game. I think it's best to sort out a few terms, such as "shoulder". The shoulder is not a bone, it's a joint, it's also referred to as the muscular region around the scapula and humerus. I would bet the vast mojority of people don't fully understand this bit of anatomy. The scapula is also known as, or is often referred to as, the shoulder blade. The humerus is the first long bone of the front leg which is connected to the scapula. There is no single part of the anatomy that is a "shoulder", but rather the area of the joint which is called the shoulder."

I fully agree with this statement. I try to use a high shoulder shot on every large game animal I shoot aiming for the joint. This aim-point is automatic for me and the skill was developed largely from my archery training. When I aim at a deer with a bow I first see the front leg and follow it upward with my eye to the center-line of the deer and then the eye would go back about 4 inches to the lungs where I would pick a spot to shoot. With a rifle it's go straight up the front leg to a point above the centerline of the animal.

MCgunner
February 7, 2014, 08:17 PM
I think the showing of folks that not every game animal has the same "sweet" spot should be the just of this thread, not whether or not we are using the correct term for body parts.

No better example of THAT than the difference in hog and deer anatomy, something I'm more familiar with than African antelope, but no matter the animal, you need to know where to shoot it, and they do differ.

sage5907
February 7, 2014, 10:34 PM
It's the same thing on a hog. If you shoot a hog in the lungs he runs and you have to go find him. If you shoot him on the shoulder joint he falls where he stands. I had trouble when I first started shooting hogs because the front leg was so close to the head. From a distance they look like they don't have a neck and the head is stuck to the front leg. This makes a deer hunter want to shoot them too far back which ends up being a lung shot.

Boxhead
February 8, 2014, 05:48 AM
I have never had a double lung shot fail me. So this is where I shoot contrary to only my African PH's.

MCgunner
February 8, 2014, 08:23 AM
From a distance they look like they don't have a neck and the head is stuck to the front leg. This makes a deer hunter want to shoot them too far back which ends up being a lung shot.

The problem with hogs is there are no lungs behind the shoulder, just guts. The diaphragm is up under the back of the shoulder and lungs and vital reside such that a shoulder shot is necessary to get at them. My first hog, I made this mistake. On gutting it, I realized my error. I had to blood trail that thing for 350 yards through heavy cover and got attacked. Fortunately it was moving sorta slow at the end of that tracking job, running out of life, so I brought it down with a shot from my .357 magnum to the head.

sage5907
February 8, 2014, 09:03 AM
A high shoulder shot on the joint is the quickest way for me to bring a big animal down. About 20 years ago I started using a high shoulder shot and it brought me to using larger caliber bullets. I hunted for years with a 25-06, and then a 270 Winchester and finally settled on a 30-06 as working the best for me. I'm working on a 338-06 now because I like the idea of a 200 grain bullet @ 2700 fps.

Again back to hogs, I've shot a bear at close range but shooting a large hog in the brush is far more exciting if you shoot them too far back. It's amazing how fast a large hog can run. They look like a Volkswagon beetle going through the brush and I pity anyone who shoots them too far back and gets in their way when they run.

JJHACK
February 8, 2014, 10:17 AM
My loaner rifles at camp in Africa are 30/06 for good reason. In the last two decades of this business we have harvested many thousands of animals.

There becomes a line in the sand you begin to see with this high resolution of game taken. Bullets with the .308 diameter shot faster then 2800 fps are a better killer of big to very big game then anything smaller.

.308 also is the diameter that begins to provide you functional levels if blood for tracking. Sure some smaller diameters will too, but not always. I'm not suggesting that .308 is perfect, but it's the starting point of rather consistent blood tracking.

With the advent if the TSX and TTSX bullets this same rifle is now every bit the equal to a 300 magnum shooting standard cup and core bullets. Our load in the loaner rifles is 165gr TSX shot at 2900-2950 fps. It has now accounted for several thousand big animals up to eland(2000lb) I shot a giraffe with it as well although it was a brain shot.

No need for anything heavier, the 165 grain retains all it's weight and exits 80-85% of the time. It's plenty accurate too, I have Kenton industries turrets on this rifle. Laser the target set the elevation turret to that distance and shoot. It returns to zero and adjusts from 100 to 700 yards in a single 360 rotation.

sage5907
February 8, 2014, 02:04 PM
Quote: "No need for anything heavier, the 165 grain retains all it's weight and exits 80-85% of the time."

I can understand that in Africa you would want a bullet that provides deep penetration and exits 80-85% of the time. But here in the U.S. it's not that necessary and as a quick killing agent I want a bullet that expends 100% of it's energy inside the animal. I also want a caliber size entry hole with no exit hole. I do taxidermy work and when I see a large entry wound I know that bullet is not for me and I always ask what cartridge and what bullet were you using. I also prefer standard cup & core bullets primarily because of the price but also because I shoot predators and targets with the same bullets I hunt bigger game.

JJHACK
February 8, 2014, 02:13 PM
It's not just Africa, I have been 12 years as a hunting guide in Alaska, and 15 years in damage control in Washington state.

I want an exit as often as possible, finding what I shoot is mandatory, blood tracking is a critical part of success. Energy expanded inside animals is not a reality. Tissue trauma and massive hemorrhage is where the rubber meets the road. Our hunters come with all kinds of bullets and loads. They bring every cartridge. The volume of repeatable success and failures begins to show through. I would bet you will find the majority of professional hunters in Africa and guides in NA will want clients shooting the TSX bullets.

Monolithic bullets only make a bore size entry. They open as entry begins. Most of the time we actually struggle to even find the entry hole. Exits with mono metal bullets are usually 25-30 bigger then entry.

Your mileage may vary, but after many thousands of African game, more then 400 bears, and countless other species in North America, Australia, and Europe, I can say without question the monolithic bullets that exit are by a very wide margin the most dependable and lethal bullets available today.

If the only species hunted are deer, then any center fire cartridge is fine. Deer are on the end of the scale with marginal will to live. Much like the Kudu, they prefer to run a short way and lie down. Unlike herd species which will run dead on their feet a very long way trying to stay with the group.

Mountain goats are a very tough animal with extraordinary will to live. Much like blue wildebeest and zebra.

sage5907
February 8, 2014, 07:59 PM
JJHACK, you experience and discussion are respected and very interesting. I have no reason to question your logic about the TSX bullet except in the interest of discussion. There are several quality bullet makers in the U.S. and each one of them thinks their premium bullets are the best. Thousands of reloaders use their bullets each year with huge confidence in their chosen bullet, and many of them, even with premium bullets, don't have the skill to place the bullets where they should hit.

This brings up my point and I will be interested in your response. The 30 caliber TSX is an all copper bullet with a density of 8.96. The lead in a standard cup & core bullet with a premium well designed jacket has a density of 11.32. This lack of density requires a 165 grain copper bullet to be larger in mass (longer) to achieve the 165 grain weight. My logic says a less dense/longer bullet will shed velocity faster than the cup & core version and thus will have less striking energy at 300 yards or further. If a TSX is hitting with less velocity and imparting more energy on the hill on the far side of the animal, how can it be so much more deadly? It appears that the lead bullet would have greater impacting energy, penetration to the skin on the far side, and a large wound channel. An exit wound is not necessary if the animal falls where it is shot which is what happens with most North American animals hit in the shoulder joint. I'm wondering if some of the success of the TSX bullet is from your mentoring skills before the hunters use them.

JJHACK
February 8, 2014, 08:52 PM
The ballistics lessons required on this will be another rather long series of posts.

The "energy" is not the ultimate defining element in lethal force, the destruction to tissue is.

A cup and core bullet of 180 grains will likely shed 50-60% of it's mass before it's through the organs. A monolithic bullet will retain 100%
The greater retained weight and momentum trumps the higher starting weight every time. It's why they exit so often.

The reference your bringing up here is often referred yo as sectional density. But sectional density only matters with solids, bullets that cannot lose weight or length. With a soft point or expanding bullet, the instant of impact so drastically changes the sectional density it no longer matters. Google sectional density for the particulars. SD no longer works when comparing heavy cup and core to mono metal bullets. It's only use is of bullets of identical construction, and even then it's questionable.

It's is not of much consequence to have a big heavy bullet in flight, if after impact it goes to pieces. Better to start with 75-80 percent of that weight and never lose any of it.

How many cup and core bullets have you recovered that still weigh the original amount? Even the legendary nosler partition rarely holds more then 60% and that bullet was the apex of hunting achievement in its day.

I'm in no position to judge anyone's choices. I'm simply offering up an unbiased view of performance based on a very high volume of big to really big game over decades of doing this for a living.

No debate, argument no hard feelings, I like the conversation. Just one guys opinion, it's worth what it cost you!

Velocity loss and accuracy are no issue, these are 8" green circles. The 30/06 camp rifle using Kenton turrets.

http://www.jesseshunting.com/photopost/data/500/medium/kenton2.JPG

http://www.jesseshunting.com/photopost/data/500/medium/kenton1.JPG

ridgerunner1965
February 8, 2014, 09:22 PM
a bullet that exits is always what you want.with out the exit hole you will not get a good blood trail.if the game drops at the shot then you dont need a exit. but how often does that happen?

JJHACK
February 8, 2014, 09:33 PM
http://www.jesseshunting.com/photopost/data/500/medium/sized_Zebra_entry_wound.jpg

As you can see the entry hole that concerned you is of no concern at all. This is a Zebra, not many soft skinned animals are more solidly built. If a bullet was going to blow up and make a huge hole this would be one of those species.
http://www.jesseshunting.com/photopost/data/500/Zebra_shot.jpg

The Exit hole and the defining performance.


My hunter with an Impala. as you can see, or not see the entry is not visible. http://www.jesseshunting.com/photopost/data/500/medium/impala_good_smile.JPG

However the exit hole was enough to track easily.
http://www.jesseshunting.com/photopost/data/500/medium/sized_Ings_Impala.jpg

sage5907
February 8, 2014, 10:13 PM
Very impressive, how do you get the 2950 fps with the 165 grain TSX? Are you using 50 grains of IMR 4064? By looking at the broken shoulder on the zebra and the exit hole on the impala I don't think either of them ran very far. I have never used the TSX but I have read about their having some problems of inconsistent pressures. Looking at your long distant group examples that doesn't seem to be true.

twofifty
February 8, 2014, 10:32 PM
The idea that bullet recovery under the hide is preferable to a pass through was always puzzling to me. I believe energy's job is to drive the bullet as far into and through the animal as possible, to maximize damage and ensure a blood trail. In other words, 2 benefits from 1 bullet !

This Fall I was happy to see my deer with a 3" or so cup/core exit hole. It piled up after 3 big strides without so much as a twitch. There was a lot of blood on the ground.

Years ago a friend cleanly took a black bear. His cup/core bullet was recovered just under the skin. That long ago bear was just as dead as this year's buck, but if we'd had to track it the day would have been long. There was hardly any blood on the ground.

JJHACK
February 9, 2014, 01:12 AM
58 or so grains of 4350.

Remember that Barnes has had a number of variations of the "X" bullet for a long long time.

The current TSX bullets have narrow bands in the shank that ride the rifling, the friction is so greatly reduced with this design that they shoot as consistently as is possible. The density of the shank is exact, unlike lead which is formed with the jacket, the TSX bullets are as if they had been turned on a lathe.

Boxhead
February 9, 2014, 07:07 AM
JJ,

Agree or not?

sage5907
February 9, 2014, 08:15 AM
That's a grain more than I load with standard cup & core bullets and I get excellent accuracy. I note that the Barnes website says to seat the bullet @ .050 off the lands. I measure the seating depth on my 30-06 rifles so that isn't a problem for me. In the past I have been disappointed with the newer designer bullets but you have me curious enough to give the TSX a try. I appreciate you willingness to share the loading data.

Grumulkin
February 9, 2014, 08:23 AM
There is nothing quite like making things complicated. Pretty much every hunter out there with the intelligence above a moron knows what, in common parlance, is a shoulder. When you start talking about the scapula, the glenohumeral joint, etc., hardly any of them will know or remember if you tell them and, in fact, it's not necessary to know. For something people can remember, terminology like shoulder, on the shoulder, low shoulder, high shoulder, behind the shoulder, chest etc. will probably work a bit better.

This "premium bullet" nonsense is also way overblown. My criteria of a good bullet is if it shoots accurately in my gun and if the animal was dead that is was used on. I've been on several trips to South Africa and none of the 40 or 50 animals I've shot (all of which were recovered and entirely shot by me) were with a so called premium bullet. Most of them were one shot kills. For the ones that weren't one shot kills, the fault wasn't in the bullet.

That's not to say I don't use things like Barnes bullets if they happen to shoot accurately for me. That said, the only animal I've ever taken with a monometal bullet; a Barnes TSX; was a groundhog with a 30/06 and it worked (no kidding) and it wasn't even a shoulder shot! By the way, Barnes bullets aren't God's gift to accuracy so I only use them in 3 different guns.

http://www.orchardphoto.com/d7zo210.jpg

A Hornady 250 grain SST/ML bullet that came out of at 460 S&W Magnum handgun at around 2,350 fps and impacted an impala at around 80 yards in the anterior chest. It was a bang flop kill. Notice how well the bullet stayed together. Was it bullet failure?

http://www.orchardphoto.com/d7zo27.jpg

There was complete penetration through the hind legs of a Klipspringer. Yes, also a one shot kill. It goes to show that size dies matter. It was taken at about 180 yards with an Encore handgun chambered in 460 S&W Magnum. It was standing on a rock and my idea had been to shoot it just behind the chest as a shoulder shot would have dislodged a lot of the fragile quills. Just as I shot, I'm told, it started to jump off the rock and hence the rear leg shot.

http://www.orchardphoto.com/i27zci28.jpg

Is that an OK blood trail? It was hot with a 270 grain Speer cup and core bullet from about 200 yards with a 375 H&H Magnum. There was no exit wound.

http://www.orchardphoto.com/j8zci11.jpg

FINALLY, a Barnes bullet exit wound from a shoulder shot. The bullet probably took out both shoulders, both scapulae and quite a bit of lung. My friend wanted some "solids" for smaller animals so loaded up some Barnes XLC "solid copper" bullets for his 340 Weatherby Magnum and then used that load on this steenbok. The PH told him to shoot it just behind the chest; in the excitement he took out the shoulder.

http://www.orchardphoto.com/i23ud-214.jpg

That little red dot on the shoulder with blood dribbling down is the single shoulder shot on this kudu. It went 20 or 30 feet; once again, not a premium bullet but a Hornady 265 grain FTX out of a 444 Marlin handgun. The exit wound was about the same size as the entry wound.

JJHACK
February 9, 2014, 09:51 AM
A 250 grain bullet going to pieces on a 125 lb impala ?

Talk about making things complicated! Will anyone question that as functional bullet integrity!

Next up a 460 bullet with a klipspringer, that is a whopping 40lb animal

Then a zebra with a 375HH, but we were not talking about anything bigger then the 30/06 in all the previous posts. The poster wrote specifically about using his 30/06 which was the entire direction of conversation.

Next you have a steenbok small as a little coyote, shot with a 340 weatherbys magnum using Barnes technology from 15 years ago. The XLC that's among the worst performing bullets I've ever had the displeasure to see in use,

In any case, the entire previous conversation was based on the questions from the poster with the 30/06. For which real world real experience was delivered.

Your antagonistic views, large bore bullets used on tiny animals relates in no way to the context of what was being discussed.

Well except for the only single animal being a groundhog with a 30/06 and the TSX bullet. Hardly the kind of experienced input that provided meaningful content in our conversation.

This forum is called the " the high road" ...... Think about it.. Do you just follow me around and continue to post your disruptive content for your own entertainment? Because it certainly does not flow well with the rest of us.

sage5907
February 9, 2014, 11:04 AM
I'm not young any more, in fact I'm running on a quarter of a tank. I can still walk many miles with a rifle on my shoulder and I shoot better on game than I did years ago. I have never been satisfied with the status quo and I am always listening to new ideas to make my rifles shoot better and my hunting experiences more successful. This has been an interesting thread to me because I use a shoulder joint shot and the 30-06 is my favorite cartridge. I spend the spring months working on new loads and tweaking my rifles. JJHACK has given some me thought for a new project and I will see where it goes.

twofifty
February 9, 2014, 01:25 PM
For deer, aim at the far shoulder on quartering away shots. Depending on the angle, you may get liver or heart, but it will definitely put them down quickly.
Thank you Vol46. Aiming for the far shoulder on a quartering away is a great visual tip.
Much appreciated.

AKElroy
February 9, 2014, 02:35 PM
I've not read the entire thread, but I do find utility in the shoulder shot on texas whitetail. On fast-paced reduction hunts or when hunting in really thick country, that is the only way I go. For open country, I'll take a neck or boiler room shot to maximize meat retention.

The lease I am on now has been cattle free for 4 years, so the grass is high year round. The mesquite and a adders are so thick, that if an animal manages to run out of sight, (with very narrow shooting lanes, out of sight can be 6-8 yards from where they were tagged), it may well be gone for good. This is difficult country to track in.

Whitetail don't always leave a blood trail. I had one this year that ran several hundred yards from a high-ish heart/lung shot. Body cavity was full of blood, none of it hit the ground until I opened her up. If not for the ground being damp enough to follow her tracks, she would have easily been lost. Shoulder shots on these animals solves that issue.

Hogs are different. First, identifying the actual joint is more difficult, and secondly, that is the best part of the animal IMO, and the only part I generally field harvest to crock for camp.

Grumulkin
February 9, 2014, 04:15 PM
A 250 grain bullet going to pieces on a 125 lb impala ?

Talk about making things complicated! Will anyone question that as functional bullet integrity!

Next up a 460 bullet with a klipspringer, that is a whopping 40lb animal

Then a zebra with a 375HH, but we were not talking about anything bigger then the 30/06 in all the previous posts. The poster wrote specifically about using his 30/06 which was the entire direction of conversation.

Next you have a steenbok small as a little coyote, shot with a 340 weatherbys magnum using Barnes technology from 15 years ago. The XLC that's among the worst performing bullets I've ever had the displeasure to see in use,

In any case, the entire previous conversation was based on the questions from the poster with the 30/06. For which real world real experience was delivered.

Your antagonistic views, large bore bullets used on tiny animals relates in no way to the context of what was being discussed.

Well except for the only single animal being a groundhog with a 30/06 and the TSX bullet. Hardly the kind of experienced input that provided meaningful content in our conversation.

This forum is called the " the high road" ...... Think about it.. Do you just follow me around and continue to post your disruptive content for your own entertainment? Because it certainly does not flow well with the rest of us.

Maybe it's "use enough gun" and you don't need a premium bullet for everything.

I would have been just as happy using something smaller on the klippie but as you well know, the maximum number of guns allowed into South Africa for hunting is one shotgun (which I didn't need or take) and two rifled guns of some sort which in my case were a rifle and a handgun. A 223 would have been just fine for a klipspringer but may have been a bit small for some other stuff.

Interesting about your experience with Barnes XLCs since all they were were Barnes X bullets with a cool looking blue coating that was supposed to reduce fouling and maybe increase velocity which it probably did. My friend took a bunch of animals with his with nary a problem.

Follow you around; not really. I've been coming here for a long time. Just adding an alternate opinion.

KC45
February 14, 2014, 12:06 PM
When I have to go tracking after wounded hog I carry the most lethal rifle I have in the safe and that's a Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70. I keep it loaded with 375gr WFN cast bullet with enough 3031 to get it moving to 1,450 fps. It make two holes (entrance and exit) on hogs from all directions and it has never failed to anchor the animal quickly.
According to the calculator it's not an impressive cartridge but the real world results are impressive. I'm not sure if it's the bullet design or heavy weight but it works very well.

RPRNY
February 14, 2014, 12:46 PM
JJHack, thanks for an informative original post and for sharing your hard earned personal experience with plains game in Africa. Your comments regarding shoulder anatomy and shot placement are just as relevant to North American game.

With regard to "monolithic" bullets as you term them, you will find that 99% of experienced North American whitetail hunters deem them entirely unnecessary and potentially counterproductive. While Barnes, fir example, have made great improvements to their bullets in the last decade making them generally suitable for what are fairly frail animals in most of NA (the whitetail) except in tv hunting shows, any reasonably constructed lead core bullet from the Core-lokt, to the Hot-core, etc will do perfectly well. Indeed many thousands of deer are taken ethically with soft lead round ball and the despicable Foster slug every year. So, while my limited experience with African plains game suggests that your views on the benefits of a deep penetrating monolithic bullet are virtually unassailable, the fact that I have had killing pass through shots on deer with ye olde 30-30 and 150 grs Remington Core-lokt, and seen plenty of the same, strongly suggests that our little old whitetail just isn't built of the same stuff (users of the 300 mag to the contrary, I understand).

So, I don't think there's a real difference of opinion here, just different experiences forming valid opinions.

Bbear
February 15, 2014, 01:29 PM
JJHack and everyone else. I've enjoyed reading this thread. RPRNY, I agree. I am in the process of finding the 'perfect' bullet for use on the ranch I hunt. This is 3400 acres (roughly 2000 hectares) of mixed cover country. Shots can range from inside of 100 yards to over 400-500 with a couple of places a 600-700 could be taken.
Each year we take between 60-90 whitetail off of there as well as another 100 Axis. Most taken by paying hunters. The number ONE problem we run into is their inability to hit a floor, wall or ceiling if they were locked in a barn.
The SECOND problem is that many use mono-metal bullets that leave very small exit wounds. It is rare that a deer hit with such a round leaves ANY blood trail. Many of the youth hunters and lady hunters use 'lighter' calibers - 270, 25-06, 243 when taking whitetails standard cup and core bullets perform fairly well on those. The mono-metals pass through and leave smaller exit wounds. On the Axis deer, the smaller calibers with cup and core, pass through about half the time and leave from a double-diameter sized exit wound. On the whitetail, some of the exit wounds 2-4" in diameter. Blood trailing is better on these. But, again, the mono-metals seem to just pass on through.
I have been involved in too many tracking jobs (without a dog) that results in an animal recovered after meat spoilage to like the mono-metals on small to medium (100 - 225 lb) whitetails. Yet the pure cup and core bullets can often leave exit wounds that either destroy meat, if a 'shoulder' shot is taken or massive damage in the ribcage (which isn't all bad). On Axis (125lb to 300lb) the cup and core's usually don't pass through the heavier animals and on a smallish axis doe, have similar results to the whitetail.
So, I'm working on using bonded bullets to try and find a 'happy' median between the two.
Should I ever be lucky enough to take a hunt in Africa, I will go through the process again for finding that 'perfect' median for the game I would expect and hope to take over there.

H&Hhunter
February 17, 2014, 09:26 AM
As I've read through this I find myself 100% in agreement with JJ. While it would seem that the term "shoulder" would be a simple thing, as a guide you'd be shocked at how many hunters don't understand what the "shoulder" is and where to shoot when you say shoulder. As far as TSX and TTSX bullets go. I've never found a rifle that won't shoot them with bench rest style accuracy if they are put together correctly. I've had devastatingly good results on game with Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets and my sampling is well into the multiple hundreds of critters mark with these bullets. I'll be the first to mention that they do not always kill as fast as a rapid expansion cup and core bullet if they are shot behind the shoulder on a smaller soft animal. However if you learn the shoulder shot it completely solves that issue.

BTW for the "lung" shot behind the shoulder guys. If you shoot hogs or go to Africa keep this in mind. There is very little or no lung behind the shoulder on most African animals and hogs. Learn the term "vital triangle" that is where the goods are on any animal on the planet, the ones in North America simply have longer lungs that extend further back into the rib cage.

Grumulkin,

The whole point of using the 06 as a loaner gun is that your average hunter can shoot it well. The whole point of using the TSX in it is that they increase the capability of the gun on heavier game allowing those who shoot it to use it for larger game such as zebra and eland without the worries that you'll have on heavy game in that caliber with a cup and core bullet. Therefore it becomes a defacto "enough gun" for the average man. Because if hand the average man who isn't a big time shooter a .375H&H he's going to have problems adjusting to the recoil at first. It is really just that simple and should be pretty obvious to an old salt like yourself.

BigBore44
February 21, 2014, 05:06 AM
Personally I think JJ and H&H are just paid spokesmen for Barnes Bullets. I mean, being guides in Africa and taking thousands of african animals doesn't really mean they have any real world experience hunting in Africa.

Oh wait, nevermind.

Now, all joking aside, TSX bullets are what these guys prefer and have the most faith in. Is that wrong? No. Are other bullets capable? Yes. But if I'm spending several grand to go to Africa and my PH tells me to bring TSX bullets, that's probably what I'm gonna bring. I don't want to spend 10 grand to have my PH tell me "I told you so".

buck460XVR
February 21, 2014, 11:06 AM
As I've read through this I find myself 100% in agreement with JJ. While it would seem that the term "shoulder" would be a simple thing, as a guide you'd be shocked at how many hunters don't understand what the "shoulder" is and where to shoot when you say shoulder.

This was why my first reply in post #2 was...


I think the showing of folks that not every game animal has the same "sweet" spot should be the just of this thread, not whether or not we are using the correct term for body parts.

Major reason is anatomy and it differs between species. Every responsible hunter should know where to place their shot on the game they are hunting with the weapon they are using....not a big surprise. If they are hunting game unfamiliar to them and using a guide, I would assume it's a very basic responsibility of that guide to inform the hunter where to place his shot and to make sure they are using the appropriate weapon to make that shot.

While folks want to talk very scientifically and describe basic anatomy in medically correct terminology, it really isn't rocket science. Even before primitive man understood how CNS and circulatory systems worked, they knew the "sweet spot" to stick specific animals they hunted with their spears. Even tho they didn't know why, they knew hitting small game in the head with a rock killed them. As modern hunters, we know why lung/heart shots kill and why CNS shots incapacitate. The problem still lies with knowing where within in a specific animal they are...... and hitting them there with the appropriate weapon.

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