more hunting = less belief in "stopping power"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by antsi, Nov 25, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. antsi

    antsi Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,398
    All my previous reading had already had me skeptical, but a hunting experience yesterday really made me think twice about the concept of "stopping power" as regards self defense situations.

    I shot a deer from about 40 yards with a .50 cal muzzle loader. The projectile was a .45 caliber 250 grain Barnes MZ, hollow point. I think this gets about 1200 fps out of my gun. I didn't recover the bullet, but I know from past experience that these things expand very nicely.

    It was a perfect kill shot - entered the left side of the chest, straight through the heart and out the other side. Both lungs were deflated and the heart was utterly destroyed - opened up like a clam shell. All four chambers of the heart were open to the chest. Loss of blood pressure must have been instantaneous - I cannot imagine there was any significant perfusion to any part of the body after that hit.

    Despite sustaining a wound like that, the animal jumped over a fence and went about 30 yards by the time the smoke had cleared. She dropped, twitched, and died right there. From the time of the hit to the time of death was probably 3-5 seconds.

    Translate this into a defense shooting. I don't think I could hope for a better shot, or more lethal damage to an assailant. But it is not hard to imagine what a determined attacker could do in that 3-5 seconds. It's certainly enough time to get off a few well-aimed shots. It's probably enough time for an attacker to close in with a knife and stab me.

    This has led me to consider:
    1) Avoid lethal combat situations to begin with. Surely being armed would improve your chances, but even if you put the bad guy down there is no guarantee he won't put you down, too
    2) Don't expect an assailant to go down no matter what you shoot at them and no matter where you hit them
    3) Finding cover and don't get shot yourself is probably more important than getting off your shots
    4) Consider CNS as a target?

    What do you think about this?

    I just found it sobering to realize what a living organism is capable of even after sustaining a devastating wound.
     
  2. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2,601
    Location:
    Northern California
    Deer don't know they're supposed to die from a gun shot wound.
     
  3. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    7,402
    Location:
    all over Virginia
    I shot a four-point buck dead-center through the heart with a 30-06 (Remington Core-Lokt 150 grain) from a distance of no more than 40 yards.

    That deer ran at least 75 yards before it collapsed. The heart had a through-and-through hole big enough to drop a roll of quarters through it. The blood trail looked like it had been laid down with a fire hose.

    While we are taught to aim at the lower area of the chest to hit the major organs, a higher shot through the lungs will often deliver a shock to the spine which puts 'em down DRT.
     
  4. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Messages:
    11,537
    Location:
    Northwest Arkansas
    Most experienced hunters eventually come to realize that the entire notion of "stopping power" as as much a load of bunk as global warming.

    When I read a post that mentions "stopping power" or especially "knockdown power" I tend to take the posters comments with a rather large grain of salt
     
  5. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    4,523
    Contrast the above statements with this. I once saw a man "knocked down" by a blank fired in a juvinile prank. After it was over the victm said he felt something hit his chest (the wad) and in his mind, it was a bullet. The prank had been set up in such a way that he really belived he had been accidently shot, and reacted the way he had been conditioned to by a lifetime of movies and TV.

    The British army had issues with stopping power during colonial days. It seemed that some of the locals were so primitive that they had never seen a gun and upon being shot, did not react like more "civilized" people as they were unaware of the extent of their injuries.

    It would seem that stopping power depends on the mindset of the person being shot.

    OS
     
  6. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    9,976
    Location:
    SouthEast PA
    Here's what the FBI had to say on the topic.

    The long and the short of it is that short of major disruption to the CNS, you must expect someone with a destroyed circulatory system to have 5-20 seconds worth of full voluntary movement left in them.

    Note that this is longer than the duration of most gunfights.

    Basically, it's enough time to have a whole 'nother gunfight.

    Don't forget this.
     
  7. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    5,213
    Location:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    head shot or spinal cord hit are pretty much the only ways to practically guarantee an immediate drop, and even then there's the slight chance your bullet might get deflected off a bone or something and not drop the target instantly.
     
  8. Regolith

    Regolith Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,365
    Location:
    Nevada & Oregon
    The only time I've seen a large animal stop dead in its tracks is if there was a central nervous system hit, such as the spinal column being severed or a shot to the brain stem. There are some rare times when you hit them in the heart and lungs and they bleed out so fast that they simply drop after taking one or two strides, but usually they go a little farther.

    The mindset and the amount of adrenaline flowing are almost as much a deciding factor as bullet placement. Unless your using so much gun that you literally obliterate your target, you can't count on them to simply lie down and die.
     
  9. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,068
    Location:
    NJ
    YUP

    As Jakemccoy said, "Deer don't know they're supposed to die from a gun shot wound."

    There is a lot of truth in the mental side of a shooting, but some folks can be encouraged by this; known that their time is up and thus not caring about anything else but taking you with them. That is why your best bet is shooting until the threat has been neutralized. Taking out the pump, aka the heart, while fatal, can leave an attacker with over 30 seconds of life. The only thing that can stop an attack for sure is a central nervous hit. Kill the brain or sever the spinal cord and an attacker cannot continue to fight.
     
  10. B yond

    B yond Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,270
    I could be wrong here, as I know very little about muzzleloaders, but shouldn't you be using .50 cal bullets in a .50 cal rifle? Couldn't the pressure escaping around the bullet through the .05" gap cause reduced velocity and therefore less stopping power?
     
  11. goon

    goon Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Messages:
    7,249
    My dad had a similar experience with a deer. He hit it directly in the heard with a .300 Savage and he told me that there wasn't a piece of heart left in that deer bigger than the tip of his pinky.
    The deer still ran nearly a hundred yards and collapsed in some brush.
    This and several other observations and experiences lead me to think that knockdown power is a fairy tale.

    BTW - for hunting I was told to always wait until the animal exhales. There is supposedly less chance that they will run if their lungs are empty when they are hit.

    And I think he was using Sabots. They basically use a plastic "cup" to hold a 44 or 45 caliber handgun bullet tight in the bore and cause it to spin when fired.
     
  12. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    4,523
    The problem is that people who need to be shot are usually very irate and pumped full of adernaline.
     
  13. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Messages:
    2,068
    Location:
    NJ
    B yond

    Most likely he was using a 50 cal sobot with a 45 cal bullet inside.

    Please see here:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp?id=0020976212849a&type=product&cmCat=Search_Results_NYR&returnPage=search-results1.jsp&QueryText=sabot&N=4887&Ntk=Products&Ntx=mode+matchall&Nty=1&Ntt=sabot&noImage=0
     
  14. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,549
    Location:
    Lewisville, Tx
    Hit a deer this weekend with a Hornady .308 150gr SST. Clean through the vitals. It ran a good twenty yards before folding over it's front legs and stopping for good. An attacker isn't likely to run as fast as a deer, but then again, I'm not likely to have a .308 on me. When we dressed that deer, it was clear that it had been dead from the instant the bullet hit it (massive shock damage), it just took a while for the deer to be convinced it was dead.
     
  15. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    5,906
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada
    makes me glad there are no deer near my house at night!

    :evil:

    Next time a deer hits me up for a smoke or some spare change, I'm being real polite!
     
  16. garymc

    garymc Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    243
    Location:
    St. Louis
    After 30 years of deer hunting and killing about that many with a 30-06 I have to agree. One button buck I shot with a poorly aimed shot bleeted and dropped in his tracks. I had shot high and took out 2 inches of his spine at the shoulders. All the rest were shot through the heart and/or lungs and ran from 20 to 60 yards, usually between 30 and 40. And then there was usually some thrashing after that. I don't think humans are as tough or athletic as deer, but a typical self defense weapon is nothing comparable to a 30-06 either.
     
  17. JKimball

    JKimball Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    609
    Location:
    Orem, UT
    My experience hunting has caused me to think about this too. There is another aspect to this reality that I believe is worth pointing out. Don't let getting shot stop you. If you find that you are headed for a gunfight, recognize that you may take some lead, but that it won't stop you immediately. Focus on stopping the threat.

    Just read any Louis L'amour novel. ;) Or if you don't have time, just read the last two pages of any Louis L'amour novel. The hero is always going up against stacked odds and plans on taking some lead but not letting it stop him. Of course in the books he always wakes up a couple days later with his sweetheart nursing him back to health. In reality you may wake up dead, but if you save your loved ones from attack in the process, you have succeeded. Three to five seconds is plenty of time to draw and place a couple of well aimed shots.
     
  18. bogie

    bogie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    9,567
    Location:
    St. Louis, in the Don't Show Me state
    Bambi doesn't immediately go into shock and start twitching.

    Then again, you give Bubba enough happy juice or twitchy dust, and he doesn't either.

    CNS, folks, CNS... I used to "hunt" for meat. Bambi don't run into the next county, much less the next row, if you blow half the head off.
     
  19. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    5,288
    This has always been the case. Movies and games have given people (both pro and anti gun) an unrealistic expectation of being shot.
    Take most westerns where the infamous gunfights occur. Like a duel or fight where they see who will go for thier weapon and fire first as some sort of challenge.
    The winner gets to his weapon first and fires a lethal shot, the other one is down and out.
    However in real life if was quite common for both to end up shot. Many people who had participated in duels had several bullets in thier bodies.
    In a time with limited medical care for gunshots, and when microbiology and protection from infection where not well known it could easily be fatal to recieve a shot that you could be saved from today.

    That however does not have the theatrical appeal of a clear winner, where the fastest gun escapes death. Or where the good guy wins because he is more skilled or a superior individual.

    If two people are facing eachother and open fire at eachother's torso it is very likely both will get off a few shots. The one who shoots a fraction of a second faster is not the automatic winner.
    In fact by the time the brain of the second to shoot registers he is shot he will have already fired if he made the decision to fire before or at the same time as being shot.

    This is especialy dangerous if they have a full auto weapon at close range. Even a destroyed CNS can immediately result in a tightening of thier muscles, including thier trigger finger. So return fire is possible no matter how good of a shot you are or where you hit them.

    Movies and video games are entertainment. The bad guy with his finger on the trigger does not always drop safely when shot by a marksman. The faster draw does not always live, and definately does not always avoid taking return fire.

    Reality is that anytime you are in a "fair" gunfight you may be shot regardless of your level of skill and regardless of speed or shot placement.
    All your skill does is reduce the amount of time you are at risk, and reduce the risk you pose to innocent people. "Stopping power" does the same thing. It just means your well placed shots will count immediately and begin the timer on what is the rest of the engagement. Less stopping power just means that timer may be longer, or not be reliably started at all.

    This is why defensive measures are as important as offensive ones. Taking cover, evading, moving, or even grappling with the opponent to keep the muzzle of thier weapon pointed away from you as your shots take effect (if at such a distance). There is also passive measures like body armor. These are all things that decrease your chance of being hit in the time it takes for your shots to have an effect.

    Part of the stopping power of a gunshot is psycological as well. If the person expects to be dead when shot (as many do)they will be more likely to go into immediate shock as soon as they realize they are shot. If however they think they are Rambo, or care more about shooting you, or are so amped up on something they don't think about it much at all then it can be several seconds before there is any forced physical effect.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
  20. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    17,376
    Location:
    Northern Indiana
    Deer hit COM typically have about 5-8 seconds, even if their heart is destroyed. A deer can move a LONG ways in 8 seconds. That's why I like the thru and thru shot. Lot easier to follow if they're leaking from both sides. In fact, depending one how and where they're hit, you may get little or no blood trail from an entry wound.

    Every year we have somebody post that they want "all the energy dumped in the animal". Well, look at the wound channel from a 12 gauge slug. Approximately 1" hole most of the way thru.
     
  21. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    11,059
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    This is where folks get into trouble. They make head shots that don't produce the required result. It isn't good enough just to make a head shot. The round needs to penetrate the cranium and do damage to the cerebrum or brain stem. Too many shots simply hit the face or otherwise pass by the cerebrum.

    Here is a report of a 12 ga. multiple shot suicide where the guy made a headshot and survived well enough to walk 130+ yards and set up his second shot to his chest.
    http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/173_11_041200/herdson/herdson.html

    In other words, making a head shot may not be good enough. The round really needs to penetrate the cerebrum, brainstem, or high on the spinal chord.
     
  22. JWarren

    JWarren Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,632
    Location:
    MS and LA
    All of the accounts on this thread are very familiar to me. I've been around hunters all my life and have heard about various shots.

    However, in almost 30 years of hunting, I have never had a deer take more than a couple steps after a shot. All of my shots have been aimed at the front shoulder where the heart and lungs are. I've never missed the heart.

    Almost every deer I've taken has either been with a 30-06 (180 grain) or .308 (150 grain) using Winchester Ballistic Silvertips (or pre-ballistic equivalents. A couple have been taken using 7.62x39 (122 grain, I think) at shorter ranges using Remington soft points.

    Because we are in thick woods, all of the shots are shorter than 150 yards. Most of my kills have been in the 60 to 120 yard range, with the longest outliner shot being 298 yards on a pipeline. The 298 yard shot was a heart shot kill and the deer dropped in its tracks using a 30-06 Ballistic Silvertip in a 24 inch barrel Remington 700.

    This next year, I plan on trying to use both 6.8 SPC and 70-grain 5.56x45 after reading several reports that both cartridges have been used with good results.

    For what it's worth, rifles used have been:

    HK-91 .308 (16 or 18 inch barrel-- I can't remember): No shot over 100 yards
    Remington 700 30-06 (24 inch barrel): Longest shot was 298 yards.
    Remington 700 30-06 (20 inch barrel): Longest shot was 150 yards.
    FAL .308 (18 inch barrel): Longest shot was 130 yards.
    Saiga .308 (16 inch barrel): Longest Shot was 135 yards.
    Vector AK-47 7.62x39 (16 inch barrel): Longest shot was 45 yards.


    I've seen people here use magnum calibers a bit, but those are the minority. Around here, we have to balance stopping power with tissue damage. Rarely, if ever, has anyone here been in a situation where the range or energy of something like a 300 Winchester Magnum was required. What you end up doing is destroying quite a bit of meat using those. Even 30-06 and .308 can damage quite a bit of meat-- which is why I am considering trying a couple smaller calibers. After all, a number of people around here have been using .243 and 25-06 with excellent results. One guy had his daughter do well this year with a 22-250.

    The Whitetails here are roughly equivalent in size to a Texas Whitetail. We aren't talking about huge deer like Michigan Whitetails or Mule Deer. But at least ours are bigger than those you Florida guys have to hunt. :neener:


    At any rate, we'll see how it goes. If I get any indication that the 5.56x45 70-grain isn't enough, I'll be putting that barrel up for hunting season. I don't anticipate any problems with 6.8 SPC.



    -- John
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
  23. def4pos8

    def4pos8 Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Messages:
    560
    Location:
    SW Ohio
    I agree with the "only CNS hits equal stop" arguments above. I learned this when hunting.

    Tactically, this is summed up as "two to the chest, one to the head". I know I'm not the first guy with that idea. . . .:scrutiny:

    The other basic, tactical point is: "When in doubt, empty the magazine." This was beaten into my head by guys with WAY more miles on the clock than me.

    Finally, an old neighbor of mine at Minot, North Dakota while admiring my modified Garand rifle (a BM-59): "You can never have a big enough magazine." He had survived a night at a place called Bloody Ridge, commanded by a guy named Edson.

    If you young folks don't know where that is and who that was, you need to "look it up".
     
  24. JWarren

    JWarren Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,632
    Location:
    MS and LA

    I dunno... I've always been taught that a well-aimed shot goes a lot further than a follow-up shot.

    Even though I have often hunted with semi-autos, I have never had to take a second shot. It's really a point of shame around here to have to do that.


    I think "empty the magazine" applies better to combat like you reference than it does to hunting. Regardless of what some say, hunting and combat are different mentalities. Well, they are as long as the deer don't start shooting back.



    -- John
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
  25. bruss01

    bruss01 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Messages:
    626
    The flip side of this discussion is that, if you are in a gunfight and you get hit with a mortal wound, you still have 5 seconds or more to do what you can. In that 5 seconds you can down an attacker and prevent him from doing the same to your wife or children, or at least avenge yourself. If you're going down, do all you can to take the MF'r with you. It requires a bit of mental determination that can aptly be called "True Grit" but discussions like this help us overcome the programming that "I've taken a hit... fight's over...." and stay in the fight until we are truly down for the count.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice