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Stopping power of .30-06 vs .50 round lead ball

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by ArcherandShooter, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. ArcherandShooter

    ArcherandShooter Well-Known Member

    Hey, y'all,

    I have a question, and don't know whether it goes here or in hunting or in black powder - mods, feel free to move as necessary.

    I hunt deer on a smallish place where I am, by necessity, near the property lines at any time and place, so I'm looking to be REALLY sure that when I hit 'em they go down and stay down.

    Shot placement aside, do deer get hit harder by a typical modern deer round at high speed (smaller, faster, pointed tip) or a heavy, slower, larger round lead ball out of a muzzle-loader?

    I don't know the FPS my smokepole is putting out 'cause I don't have ready access to a whatever-you-call-it-ometer, but it's fast enough to be very reliable out to 100 yards and still punch through the 1X4 board at the target.

    I guess this is a specific application (hunting knockdown) of the ultimate "what caliber" thread, since I'm comparing traditional vs. modern in addition to fast/light vs. slow/heavy.

    Is there any research on this? Any good anecdotes? Any shoot-from-the-hip someone wants to throw out there for us to consider?

    My own thought, as far as it goes, is that the round lead ball is more likely to spend most if not all its energy on the animal, since it punches with such a large surface instead of having the pointed tip to begin penetration before the mass expansion.

    Whaddya think?
  2. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Well-Known Member

    without doing any research whatsoever, im going to say that a more modern round like the 30-06, or similar like a 308, is going to do far more damage by virtue of velocity.

    i believe that the faster everything has to get out of the way, the farther away from the actual channel is damaged.

    keep in mind that it doesnt just damage the area of the wound in the exact diameter of the bullet, but the damage radiates out from the channel, and the higher the velocity, the more devestating it is farther out.

    as an example of the effects of velocity, shoot a cantelope with a .22 rimfire.

    then shoot it with a 22-250 or a .223 remington.

    it will absolutely explode with the latter, even though the actual projectile diameter is almost identical.
  3. NELSONs02

    NELSONs02 Well-Known Member

    Only time I've ever seen deer get put down in their tracks is when you hit em in the spine.

    So to address your question, I don't think either weapon would have an advantage in "knock down" power.

    Then again Wisconsin Whitetails are much tougher then their southern couterparts.
  4. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Well-Known Member

    actually, southern folk just shoot better.

  5. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Well-Known Member

    i have seen deer that were heart shot stiffen up and fall over like an oak, and with a 243
  6. ArcherandShooter

    ArcherandShooter Well-Known Member

    As have I, since I've done it. The question begs for a ballistic comparison with actual data, and I've not a clue where to find it. You could start by chronographing your shots from your smokepole and go from there.

  7. springmom

    springmom Well-Known Member

    Oops. Had to happen again sooner or later....

    That last was from me :eek:
  8. FlyinBryan

    FlyinBryan Well-Known Member

    wait a sec.

    did you just suggest to yourself to chrono your black powder rifle?
  9. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Well-Known Member

  10. NELSONs02

    NELSONs02 Well-Known Member

    Haha you might be right on that one
  11. FiREhAwk

    FiREhAwk Well-Known Member

    To be completely sure in your situation I would suggest .50bmg. As long as you get a body shot the deer is DRT. Rarely do I suggest a gut shot but in this case if you want to keep the good meat (even it will be tenderized) poa farther to the back.
  12. interlock

    interlock Well-Known Member

    both rounds will give you buckets of knockdown power and will leave your deer "DRT" (if you do your bit.) however the .30-06 gives you flexibility you won't get with the .50 round ball. you will be accurately be able to take shots out to 3 x the distance. the 06 will allow you to place neck shots on facing you animals (within your capabilities). The 165 gr .30-06 load is a truly great hunting round. Fast, flat and strikes like a hammer.
  13. scythefwd

    scythefwd Well-Known Member

    Why not look to see if you can fire a modern .45 cal sabot from your ML? It will have less energy than the '06 (less risk of over penetration) but will still drop em in their tracks if you can put it where you need to. I have seen deer keep going after getting hit by an '06, so it's all down to shot placement if you want a drt moment.
  14. KenWP

    KenWP member

    With a BP you can most of the time eat a animal shot with it right up to the bullet hole even on a shoulder shot and even putting one right thru the hams dosn't hurt much meat. Try that with a 30-06 and see how much bone chips and blood shot meat you end up with. I would say you have a better chance of slowing a deer down with a 30-06 most of the time unless you are sure you won't ever miss. plus you have the choice of a follow up shot with a 30-06 that you don't have with a BP.
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Thats odd, cause most of the deer I've shot have done just that, even high lung shots. Can't count on it, though. I've had 'em go as far as 100 yards before piling up. Shoulder shot will put 'em down in place even if they kick a few times before croaking. A deer won't go anywhere on a broke shoulder.

    I've yet to shoot anything with my smoke pole, but paper. So, I don't know for sure, but I'm pushing a 385 grain Hornady Great Plains Minie to 1200 fps. Seems like it ought to be pretty deadly on the shoulder, to me. I'm going to hunt with it this year. I have a similar situation to yours, hunting small acreage near property lines. I'm going to bow hunt, though, call me crazy. :D
  16. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    A .50 round lead ball (.490" diameter) weighs 177 grains. Expanding .30-06 bullets of similar weight will have an advantage. They're going a lot faster, so they'll penetrate better. Round balls are handicapped by the fact that they're round. Therefore, any increase in weight has to come from a larger diameter.


    Taylor KO Factor (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_KO_Factor ) for a 165 grain .308" bullet going 2500 fps is 18.15.

    For a 350 grain .50 Caliber Maxi or similar black powder lead hunting bullet going 1200 fps, TKOF is 30.

    TKOF may not be a perfect formula, but it's a lot more meaningful than energy numbers that make tiny bullets sound like big ones on paper by pushing them a little faster.

    The trajectories of big, slow bullets make them hard to shoot for someone used to a round that shoots +/- 3" out to 300 yards. But they still work well when they hit.
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    To say the least. It's an anachronism of the 19th century black powder dangerous game era. Ballistic pressure waves ARE killers in high powered rifles. I'm convinced of that.

    However, there's more'n one way to skin a cat, and a big pill at low speed like, say, a shotgun slug, is packin about the energy that a mediocre .30-06 carries, just don't carry it as far due to a BC in negative numbers. LOL A guy that hunts with round ball is a guy that wants the challenge of doing it the way his great, great, great, maybe a couple of more greats grandpa did it. It is a movement back to the old ways. I'm sorta there with ya, but my rifle has a 1:24 twist and really likes those big, heavy pills. Of course, that was the plan when I bought it, LOL. It shoots really well with a sabot .44 mag 240 grain JHP, but I'm a little more retro than that with the BP stuff and, well, I like that big chunka lead. :D I like the sound when it hits the target board at 100 yards. THUNK! I mean, it's just gotta hurt. I figure there's no way the little deer I have down here are going to go far with a shoulder hit to 100 yards and yardage normally is closer to 50 where I'm hunting. The .308 just seems overkill. I've used handguns a lot, but I've got that Hawken figured out and I wanna start using it, have confidence in it now, at least on paper targets.
  18. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Yes, but I think you have to hit the target above a certain velocity to really get some exponential increase in that effect. Can't say for sure what that velocity is.

    Taylor, however, published his numbers in 1948, when most modern rounds (or their similar, immediate predecessors) were in use. It's not a 19th-century anachronism. And unlike, for example, Chuck Hawks, he actually compared his numbers with real-world experience hunting big game.:D

    A simple formula like that can't account for bullet design, pressure waves, etc. However, it does a better job than the common habit of just looking at the energy of the round, because it accounts for momentum, bullet size and weight, and it doesn't make the difference between 2800 and 3000 fps look like a much bigger number than it really is.:)

    Of course. However, it is important to remember that a round ball has specific limitations that go pretty far beyond the limitations of the black powder muzzleloader, including a sidelock with lead bullets.

    Are you shooting round balls with 1:24" twist, BTW?
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    I have a 54 cal round ball rifle. The bullet in that rifle weighs 230 grains. Reloading manuals show a 54 round ball load moving around 1400 fps.

    My 44 Magnum revolver pushes a 240 L at the same speed.

    Now I have been told by those who took their muskets hunting, that a 58 Cal 510 grain bullet has surprising knock down effect.

    One guy said he shot a bunch of coyotes with his musket. If it hit bone it bowled the coyote over.
  20. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    BULLET, though, not ball. That isn't to say that a 58 caliber ball won't work. The heavier bullet will work better.


    One shot kill at about 80 yards, 520 grain bullet going no more than 1400 fps at the muzzle. It worked at LEAST as well as the .300 WinMag another guy shot from much closer.

    The scrambled lungs and bloodshot meat around the entry and exit wounds (it went straight through and kept going) suggested that the ballistic pressure wave may well still have some effect at low velocities.

    If you hit a jackrabbit center mass, it will blow it back a good 10 feet, on uneven ground with brush in the way.:D
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2009

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