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Knockdown in thick mountainous brush

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by BlondeBear63, May 28, 2014.

  1. BlondeBear63

    BlondeBear63 Well-Known Member

    I hunt deer as well black bear on Appalachian ridges that are generally narrow and the area below either side can be steep along with being very dense with brush. An animal that doesn't drop in its tracks can be a real pain to recover. And that is if it is killed early in the day. Imagine the joy of tracking and retrieving a 380 lb black bear that's shot, turns around and runs over the ridge to drop down the other side. And that other side is too steep to descend, thick brush at the bottom, and a mile trek back to the truck. Did I mention the sun had set?

    Hardware choices are limited to: Marlin lever action in 30/30 or 45-70 due to opportunity. The recent lack of ammunition makes it either 170 gr or 405 gr Core-Lokt. Maximum range is under 125 yards and usually 50-100 yards. Iron sights, no optics. Nothing wrong with the hardware choices, standard stuff.

    The game is white tail deer, black bear, and just maybe a 450+ lb black bear. Shot placement is pie plate sized in the vitals of a slow moving and leery target.

    The question, and I hope to hear from real experiences in situations as previously described: Given identical shot placement, is there any preference to either guns/rounds in getting them to drop in their tracks rather than drop over the other side of the ridge?[/SIZE][/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]
  2. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    Given identical shot placement, I don't think there will be a significant difference between the two options. A boiler room shot isn't going to be a DRT either way, and a hit to the lower neck or spine will drop a deer or black bear in it's tracks whether you're using a .30-30 or .45-70.

    That said, I would probably opt for the .45-70 for both animals, in this specific situation; only because the larger diameter bullet will give you a bit more room for error - which, let's face it, is of value in the real-world, hunter ethics notwithstanding.

    If you were hunting in an open field, I'd say it wouldn't matter. On a narrow ridge, in thick brush? I'd take the .45-70.
  3. Water-Man

    Water-Man Well-Known Member

    I've hunted with both. The 45-70 is a better choice.

    There aren't any guarantees that, even with a good shot, the animal will drop on spot. Therefore, if the chances are as such that the animal will not be recovered , do not take the shot.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    125 yards is a fur distance to very accurately place a shot with open sights.

    And it will take that kind of accuracy to guarantee a DRT animal every time.

    The only thing that will do it 100% of the time is a head or spine shot.

    Anything else, the animal will run some distance before his brain runs out of oxygen and shuts the motor off.

  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    You need to cut your distance in about half.
  6. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    Allow me to summarize:

    1. Even with a good shot, there are no guarantees of a DRT.
    2. You're hunting in a place where only a DRT guarantees recovery of the animal.
    3. If there is a chance you won't recover the animal, don't take the shot. (See #2, or, more simply, guarantee a DRT or don't take the shot. See #1 - There is no guarantee of a DRT.)

    Ergo, don't take the shot. Don't even hunt there.
  7. BlondeBear63

    BlondeBear63 Well-Known Member

    More insights...

    More information: I like my 30/30 gold trigger JM Marlin but really dislike tracking black bear through thick brush a mile from the truck and in the dark.

    I feel it really comes to the ability of the round to impart sufficient traumatic hydraulic/hydrostatic shock. When I get to my other computer I will link to a very interesting article based on a lot of real world kills. Basically, it states imparting hydrostatic shock through the spine or bones connected to vertebrae (ribs) will impart such shock through the spinal column as to "knock out" the animal. This explains why an animal may appear dead but regain consciousness and get back up. If traumatic injury, such as heart or lung destruction, accompanies such a shot, then the animal dies before regaining consciousness. The same is true of hydraulic shock, but rather than causing unconsciousness due to shock transmitted through solid material, hydraulic shock will "knock out" an animal due to high fluid pressure increases all the way to the cranium. Imagine the amount of energy required to impart that much fluid pressure increase.

    There is a great dichotomy in all of this: Too heavy of a bullet moving too fast will not impart as much energy into an animal as a smaller, lighter, bullet moving at the same velocity. This seems counter-intuitive, however, consider the .50 caliber round ball being shot at a heavy canvas sheet hung on a clothes line versus a .25 caliber round ball fired by a slingshot. The impact to the sheet will be greater using the slingshot as the muzzle loader round will pass through so easily as to transfer very little energy. This is the effect of hydrostatic shock. Substituting ballistics gel for the canvas quite nicely demonstrates hydraulic shock. A "boiler room" shot creating enough hydraulic shock to cause unconsciousness also causes enough internal destruction to render death before the animal regains consciousness. As previously stated, very interesting stuff.

    What would be really helpful is feedback on the effectiveness of both the 30/30 and 45/70 in "boiler room" shots and how often they resulted in DRT on white tail deer. My suspicions are there will be little difference. However, I suspect each cartridge inflicts death by different forms of shock, with the 45/70 causing greater number of deaths due to hydraulic shock.
    I feel the same to be true of black bears up to 275 lbs. Once above that weight, what really happens? Does the greater animal mass render useless the effectiveness of the 45/70 to produce hydraulic shock? If so, are the 30/30 and 45/70 equals at delivering hydrostatic in large black bears? Feedback or reports concerning the effectiveness of these cartridges on large black bears could be enlightening.
    Of course, the .50 caliber round ball...
  8. BlondeBear63

    BlondeBear63 Well-Known Member

    When my faith becomes the size of a mustard seed...
  9. BlondeBear63

    BlondeBear63 Well-Known Member

    I regularly bust clay targets at 100 yards.
  10. BlondeBear63

    BlondeBear63 Well-Known Member

    Remington ammo...

    Just checked the Remington website. It shows the 30/30 having more energy at 100 yards than the 45/70. Who would have thunk it..? :)
  11. Bobson

    Bobson Well-Known Member

    That's weird. I'm not sure how "energy" is measured in the context of firearms, but I would think it would have a lot to do with momentum.

    If a .30-30 bullet of 170 grains is zipping through the air at about 1800 FPS, it's momentum is 306,000 g f/s.

    In contrast, a .45-70 bullet of 400 grains plowing through the air at 1500 FPS has a momentum of 600,000 g f/s. Nearly twice the momentum of the smaller, faster round. But less energy?
  12. Fast Frank

    Fast Frank Well-Known Member

    This sounds a LOT like the discussions where one pistol cartridge is compared to another, and the odds of what pistol shooters call the "One Shot Stop".

    Oh, that's been a long and lively discussion indeed.

    There have been all sorts of statistics gathered and quoted, and each cartridge has it's detractors and believers.

    Let me do you a favor, and cut to the chase on where the pistol shooters ALWAYS end up in this discussion:

    Try both. Find out what one you shoot best under a wide variation of situations.

    If you are able to make better shots with one (For whatever reason) then that's The Best One.

    Shot placement trumps everything else, and a .22 hit in the brain is better than a cannon ball in the foot.

    In this case, I would suspect that the .30-30 may have a flatter trajectory, and therefore easier to make precise hits with.

    Your Mileage May Vary.
    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  13. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    I've got both, and hunt in similar conditions.
    If limited to either the Rem. 170gr CorLokt factory load for the .30/30, or 405gr Rem. Corlokt FACTORY load for the .45/70, I too would opt for the .30/30 load.

    However, change the load for the .45/70 to either the Hornady 350gr FTX factory load or most any other factory load to include the Remington 300gr HP or the Winchester 300gr HP, then definitely the .45/70.

    My .45/70 wears a Williams reciever sight at the present, but for hunting in the fall in wooded areas of the South East, I use a low powered scope such as a Leupold 1.5-5x or a 2x-7x.

    I've killed over a dozen deer with the .45/70 and mostly with cast bullets. My handloads beat the ~1,300fps of the factory loads hands down. Typically, I've used 400gr either hollow base or hollow-point cast bullets. At ~1,500fps of a hard cast bullet, expansion on deer is minimal. Complete penetration is assured ! All but one were DRT, and that one ran ~25yds and dropped. If he had run 90deg from the direction he ran, it would have been a "fun" drag.... 200yds up an 80% grade out of a gully.

    I and my younger brother who hunts mule deer, elk, and bear in NV (where he lives) and UT, and CO uses a .45/70 with 400gr FNGC handloads at ~1,500fps (50.0gr H4895).
    The elk he's killed have been very impressed with the load...
    He's yet to recover a bullet and the CNS hits have been drt.....

    My choice with the .30/30 is the 170gr Remington Corlokt bullet (component bullets) over 35.0gr of LVR or 34.0gr of RL15 for 2,300fps.
    With a well placed shot, deer and pigs have been drt... I've taken over 100 deer with the .30/30 and a dozen pigs. (And, I've lost a few, too...) It works as well as most, though I now prefer the .35Rem or .358win, or .338MarlinExpress (especially the latter!).

    But, my Marlin/Glenfield .30/30 wears a Nikon ProHunter 2x-7x scope. The light gathering of the scope gives me another 15min. of "shooting light" over the M94 Winch. that wears a Williams "Sour Dough" reciever sight.....
  14. T.R.

    T.R. Well-Known Member

    I've been a big fan of the 30-30 cartridge for over 45 years. The bullets are specifically designed for rapid expansion and deep penetration at 30-30 velocities. My favorite is 170 grain Winchester Power Point. This ammo has taken many animals for me ranging from eastern whitetails to large western mulies and a red stag which weighed well over 300 lbs. In short, 30-30 is a reliable hunting cartridge for the forests and foothills within reasonable distances.

  15. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

    You need to be a better stalker and pass on those marginal shots. Also you need to take advantage of some tech gadgets. They make thermal detectors and colored flashlights for detecting blood......heck even I have had night vision equipment for ten years now and it sure makes a Big difference over just having a flashlight.
  16. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Animals hit with deadly shots are still going to live 10-30 seconds regardless of the gun or bullet. What they choose to do during that last few seconds is up to the individual animal. Some lay down and die, others run, and can cover a lot of ground in a few seconds.

    If you want them DRT nothing kills faster than speed. Fast, quick expanding bullets in the lungs. None of your options are fast. The 2nd best choice is to break shoulders. I'd pick the most accurate of the 2 and aim for shoulders.
  17. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Well-Known Member

    Animals hit with deadly shots are still going to live 10-30 seconds regardless of the gun or bullet. What they choose to do during that last few seconds is up to the individual animal.

    ^^ This, and there's no magic pill that will "knock them down".

    You've got two ways to kill an animal with a rifle

    (1): Brain hypoxia due to lowering the cerebral blood pressure.

    (2): Massive CNS disruption.

    Taking the first: Bigger holes in larger blood vessels cause loss of blood pressure faster. Even so, there's about a 5 second period in which cerebral blood pressure can be zero and there is still sufficient oxygen in the brain for concious processes to continue. Decapitation results in progressive loss of conciousness from loss of vision (first) to loss of hearing (last). It's not an instantaneous loss. Animals can civer quite a bit of ground in the time needed for all conciousness to be lost.

    Taking the second, only hitting the medulla oblongata (very low in the brain) results in a "no-twitch" CNS disruption. Hit the brain up higher and you're still going to be dealing with the possibility of a short run.

    The old way to prevent game from running isn't to worry about killing them instantly, it's based on mechanically preventing them from running. Think African tactics: Heavy solid bullet put thru both shoulders. Deep expansion, non-expanding. This advice is likely not the generally accepted North American advice but it would be instantly recognizable to anyone hunting African game: Personally I would load up a rifle using good solids and drive the bullet as fast as I could. I'd aim for the shoulder. And if that's not possible, the solid will penetrate deeplyu from any angle and in large calibers is very effective at both poking holes thru major blood vessels if you shoot for the heart and lungs, and in penetrating to the part of the brain that will stop an animal in it's tracks if you place the bullet into the right spot. On a bear that's about the size of a half dollar. Are you that good?

    Me? I'd be shooting a short boltgun with a low to medium power scope in an adequate caliber with solids. Likely my .350 Rem Mag Lion Scout with North Fork solids. A Remington Model 660 in .350 Rem Mag would be ideal. Within your two choices neither is ideal, but the .45-70 would be better than the .30-30 by far.


    Last edited: May 28, 2014
  18. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Bear63, Most of my hunting was in WNC in very steep terrain. Deer were cut up where they landed and backpacked out. Bear was a call some friends deal, but I suppose you could backpack them too. A buddy of mine's girlfriend shot a large bear with a .270, perfect hit and less than 40yd shot. He managed to go several hundred yards (in the wrong direction!). It can't be helped. Good thing about bears is they tend to leave a good trail (disturbed ground, broken laurels, ...).
  19. courtgreene

    courtgreene Well-Known Member

    I know this isn't the question you asked, but if tracking and hauling in the dark is your concern, what about just going back the next day when it's sunny? Even if it's not sunny it's at least not dark. Then you could use whatever you desired. You could also bring people with you to help with the drag.
  20. BlondeBear63

    BlondeBear63 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your sharing your experience. I am limited to what is available off the shelf, not having the time or resources for handloading.

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