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Caliber Over Kill

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by BigN, Feb 5, 2012.

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  1. BigN

    BigN Member

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    Is there such a thing as overkill when shooting a particular breed of animal/varmint? Dead is dead, is it not? I shoot coyotes with anything from a 204 to a 300 WSM and 15 calibers inbetween. I pick a gun I want to hunt with that particular day and that's what goes, without regard to caliber match to what I'm shooting. I don't think there is such a thing as overkill. Does the animal know and feel slighted that you're using a 7 Mag as opposed to a 223? Others have said here that it's "unfair" to shoot a woodchuck with a 257 Mag? This makes no sense to me whatsoever. Can the animal outrun a 243 bullet better than a 300 WSM? It's a totally ridiculous argument as far as I'm concerned. I understand not taking a 17 caliber bear hunting, I think we all do. But "overkill" is nonexistent. Anyone else think this is just silly?
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    If you can make a shot ethically (you are proficient with the weapon) and safely (you aren't endangering anyone shooting a .50 BMG toward a neighborhood or something) and you aren't destroying the valuable parts of the animal through excessive wounding, "Overkill" is just a term for inefficiency.

    As long as you aren't wasting a quarter of your deer or blowing apart a decent pelt, and you don't cause undue suffering, or endanger anyone, then "overkill" comments aren't really a judgement, just an personal preference.
     
  3. ldhulk

    ldhulk Member

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    I guess you could use a 50 BMG for prairie dogs if you can afford it. It's just that magnums usually cost more to shoot, kick more and make more noise. You may in some places annoy neighbors more shooting a 300 magnum than you would with a 30-30. You can kill a deer as dead as it needs to be with a 300 Savage, out to farther than I have any business trying, so why burn more powder? Of course, if you only have one rifle, and it is a magnum, that's what you use.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No, I don't think it is silly.
    I have hunted coyotes for 50+ years here in Kansas, and Colorado.

    In my younger days I didn't have a varmint rifle, so I used a 30-06 with 110-125 grain hollow-point handloads.

    More then once, I blew a leg clear off a coyote and had it run off in the brush to die where it was never found.

    I learned later that a 22-250 or .220 Swift anywhere in the front shoulder area dropped them DRT right where they stood just about 100% of the time.
    Because the little bullet at very high velocity got inside and exploded like a bomb.

    Later still, I built a 25-06 as what I thought would be my "ultimate" coyote rifle.
    And I lost more coyotes with it then I ever did with the 22-250 or .220 Swift.

    Same deal, too much power just blew on through, or blew body parts off, without the massive energy dump inside the boiler room of the two fastest .22 varmint rifles of the time.

    The other thing is, we can't be flinging .30 cal Magnum loads across the landscape around here without risk of a richocet taking out somebodys Herford cow, or 1/4 $mil John Deere tractor.

    The .224 & light bullet 6mm varmint rifles are way much safer.

    rc
     
  5. Robtattoo

    Robtattoo Member

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    If you're not bothered about meat or fir, then no, there's no such thing as overkill. Dead with a .338 Lapua is just as dead as with a .22 mag. Dead is dead.
    The trouble as I see it, is that some folks will assume that if you're using a .338 Lapua for coyotes, that you need that caliber or bigger to kill coyotes. These people then get online where they can be 'experts' & start telling everyone else that .338 Lapua is suddenly the minimum required for 'yotes.

    My biggest issue with the 'Overkill-magnum' mindset, is that a lot of folks, mainly inexperienced hunters, or dumbasses that really should know better seem to think that you suddenly need 'overkill' calibers. The number of people I've spoken to recently, either online, in gunstores or at hunting shows that tell me that a .243 is inadequate for Tennessee whitetail is unbelievable. They also keep telling me that my 1885 High Wall in .45-70 is a sub-100yd rifle........umm.........

    Sorry, kinda slipped off on a tangent there!
     
  6. Gunnerboy

    Gunnerboy Member

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    That coyotes with the 06 can be fun , especially when there still pups and your using bear loads :evil:
     
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I guess I could use the word "overkill" when using a lot more gun than is really needed for a quick clean kill. Maybe. :)

    Messing around with this, I'd sort call an '06 a bit of overkill inside a hundred yards on Bambi. An 85-grain in a .243 has worked just as well. But IMO that .243 load is sorta "underkill" at 500, where the '06 works quite nicely, thank you.

    Sam summed it pretty well, IMO...
     
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    It would seem to me that .458 Win Mag on squirrels would be a bit much unless you can always make head shots. :rolleyes:

    Getting a proper caliber for the game to be hunted is the best excuse in the world to tell the unknowing wife. Why fight that? :D
     
  9. bison

    bison Member

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    I was at the range yesterday watching a guy shoot his new Marlin lever gun chambered in some gargantuan round that he proudly told me was developed in the 1800's to shoot buffalo or the like. The rounds looked like my thumb. I asked what he was going to use it for and he told me he wanted to take it hog hunting, then went further and told me he'd use a guide that used dogs. I looked at his target (we were on the 25 yard range) and it was obvious that the recoil was causing him to flinch as there were holes across over a 12" diameter. I for one would never want to be around him in the field with dogs barking, adrenalin pumping, hogs running around, and him with a cannon that he can't control.

    So yes, I think there certainly is overkill if you can't control the gun you're shooting.
     
  10. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    It would be unethical to literally destroy a game animal with an overpowered round e.g., 30-06, or 7mm on cottontails. Other than that type of scenario, I’d say no, shoot what you’re comfortable with that gets the job done.
     
  11. we are not amused

    we are not amused Member

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    rcmodel;

    I would like to point out that if you had hit that coyote with the 30-06 in the shoulder area, it would have killed them just as dead as the .220 or .22-250. If you were using hand loads, it would be quite easy to reduce charges if so desired.

    I agree with you on the need to be mindful of what is beyond your target. But you need to be just as careful with a 22-250 as you do a 30-06.

    My father rather distrusted coyote hunters, and would run them off if he caught them attempting to hunt coyotes on our property, and considering that it was considered great fun by some of the locals to get all liquored up and pile into a pickup truck and go chasing through the pastures shooting anything that moved, I agreed with him. Too many would leave gates open, cut fence wires and run over calves. Not the best ambassadors for responsible hunting out there.:rolleyes:

    I have hunted coyotes, but never in that manner, and since I was doing predator control, usually at long range, I used a 30-06 with a scope. I found with great amusement, when we started raising Texas Longhorns instead of Herefords, that they were better at coyote control than I was.

    I do believe in using an appropriate caliber for the target, but I didn't have a .223 rifle back then, and was using Dad's 30-06 and his ammunition, (I was doing it for him). I never had properly hit coyotes run off with a leg blown off, and I was using his ammunition for White tail deer, because it was what we had, some times I was even using old military FMJ rounds, so that Dad could reload them for deer season. I don't remember loosing too many coyotes due to them running off after having been hit. Flat out missing some, yes.

    Shot placement is crucial, whether using a .22 LR or a .300 magnum, as is being sure of your target's background.
     
  12. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I'm sorry, I was often told 22 mag was a good caliber for a 20 pound coyote. Hadn't tried it, but my Dad told me about dropping 'yotes with a 22lr, if I remember the stories correctly - too late to ask him again.
     
  13. T Bran

    T Bran Member

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    A lot of what we see on these forums is mindboggling to me. Overkill only really applies to an animal that you intend to eat or skin. If varmit controll is the only goal as long as you can ensure a quick humane kill use what you wish.
    I do think it wise to use a bullet that selfdestructs to avoid ricochets as they can go a long way (prehaps further than you can see).
    I try to use a bit of common sense. Keep in mind that many new hunters are reading these replies and we have a duty as vetrans to steer them in the proper direction.
     
  14. tikka-guy

    tikka-guy Member

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    In my eyes, this is the key. Most people think "overkill" applies to what the bullet does when it hits the animal, but that's only a portion of it. I think there is such thing as "overkill", but too much meat damage is only one of the factors. Avoiding practice because a 300 mag kicks too much is overkill. It prevents you from being as proficient as you should be. You'd be much better off with a lesser caliber that you can master more easily.

    There is a factor of bullet construction as well. I haven't done it, but I imagine shooting a deer at 25 yards with a 7mm mag with a lightly jacketed round will probably result in a poor performing bullet.

    For my purposes, I would gain nothing choosing a caliber bigger or faster than a .308. Well, besides a sore shoulder and a lighter wallet. It would still kill deer, but there's minimal return on investment, if any. That is the definition of overkill to me.
     
  15. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    None of us would take a deer and leave the meat out to rot. Similarly if you're using a round that will spoil something that could otherwise be recovered and used, that's not ideal. Of course, spoiling "a little" extra bloodshot meat is not spoiling an entire animal.

    Other than that, shoot away. If you're shooting pest animals that won't be recovered anyway, overkill is fine. And on dangerous game, overkill is much to be desired, IMHO, as long as you can still shoot true and won't injure another animal with a pass through.
     
  16. john wall

    john wall Member

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    [​IMG]

    Overkill? :what:
     
  17. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Are ye trying to shoot the target or set it on fire?
     
  18. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I've always tried for a particular place on a critter, not just "aiming somewhere in the brown". So, if I don't shoot into the eating part, I don't ruin edible meat. Seems easy enough to me, no matter what I use.

    But a Federal Premium High Energy load for an '06 is not at all the ideal thing on coyotes if saving the hide is important. :D
     
  19. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Overkill is when the animal is dead AND reincarnated before it hits the ground.
     
  20. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    I go with it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish as well.
    If you are trying to get rid of pesky varmints, coyotes, etc.. etc.. on your ranch or whatever than go with what you got ex.: .22lr.-.500NE dead is dead.
    If you are trying to get pelts and meat, you might want to choose more carefully.
     
  21. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, 50 caliber skins 'em as it kills 'em. Takes a lot of work out of hog hunting. :D

    Depends entirely upon WHO'S ethics you're talkin' about. Ethics vary.

    Besides, some folks don't eat what they kill. My cousin in law has never eaten any of the African game he's got the mounts to prove he's killed, just donates what's left of the meat. If there could have been a few more ounces left, I don't think any of the native tribes have complained.

    Me, I've killed coyote and don't really wanna eat 'em. .308 killed 'em as dead as anything else. My uncle-in-law shoots hogs off his place with a .22 cause he's not a gun guy, only owns an old .22. Sometimes they don't die immediately. He figures they will eventually and that's all that matters to him. To him, they're just big rats that cost him money. Me, I eat the hogs I kill, but that's me. People on this very board have chewed me out for not killing piglets I've let go even if I wasn't gonna eat 'em. I let 'em go because I didn't wanna clean 'em and if I ain't gonna eat 'em, I ain't gonna kill 'em. But, that's me and I see their side of things perfectly and accept their reasoning. Works for them, me, I'm different.
     
  22. plumberroy

    plumberroy Member

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    On the lighter side I can not legally use a 44 mag handi rifle to deer hunt in the state of Ohio ,:rolleyes: but they are perfectly fine with me using that .458 win. mag. to hunt squirrel or rabbits :confused::eek::confused:
    Roy :banghead:
     
  23. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Member

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    Well BigN, as I said in the other post that got you thinking about this, when yote hunting, less can help in many factors. You, like I, have many rifles and cartridge choices and you know what each of them is capable of. What I said in the other post was basically meaning lower cost per round and a hell of a lot less noise and recoil. RC also pointed out a VERY key component, SAFETY. You went out intentionally after yotes with a 7mm Mag. That little yote body will do little to nothing to even slow that bullet and you now have to wonder, "well just where did that bullet go off to?"

    Yes the animal will be just as dead (in some cases) but there are many more factors you need to address when choosing your rifle for a particular quarry. When predator hunting, your smaller, faster, more "explosive" cartridge/bullet choices are best used. So to answer your question, yes there certainly is such a thing as "overkill".
     
  24. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I like it!
     
  25. Fall Guy

    Fall Guy Member

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    I haven't done either, but my guess is that a 375 H&H would probably make less of a mess than a 25-06 if you happened to clip the shoulder of a deer inside 200 yds or so. My experience is that high velocity tends to destroy more meat than energy. Some call it the "eat right up to the hole" concept.

    I guess in the woods where you can't be too picky about shot angles I would call a .264 Win Mag "overkill".
     
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