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Soft point or FMJ?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by The Deer Hunter, Aug 7, 2007.

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  1. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Member

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    I bought a box of 7.62x54R full metal jacket today and was wondering if the soft points or the FMJ were better for hunting.
     
  2. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    In most states NON expanding ammunition ( FMJ ) is illegal for hunting
     
  3. S&WKING

    S&WKING Member

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    hollowpoint or ballistic point
     
  4. xd45gaper

    xd45gaper Member

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    seriously?
     
  5. TehK1w1

    TehK1w1 Member

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    With an FMJ round even a shot through the heart will not always immediately kill the animal, and a shot anywhere else will just pass right through the animal with minimal expansion, leaving a badly wounded animal that can still run for a long time before dying-it's just generally a bad idea.
     
  6. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    You don't know what you're talking about.

    First of all, most heart shot animals don't die "immediately." They generally run a bit. Whether shot with with an expanding or non expanding bullet, most animals will die promptly. An exception might be something like elephant that have a huge rubbery heart that might close the hole of a small caliber solid. You don't have to worry about that in North America unless you're hunting in a zoo or circus.

    If you gut shoot an animal with a solid or an expanding bullet, it could be defined as "badly wounded" and will indeed take awhile to die. If you shoot an animal with an expanding or a solid bullet in the lungs, liver, heart, great vessels, brain or spine near the head, it will die promptly whether shot with an expanding or non expanding bullet.

    Keep in mind that solids are the bullet of choice for the biggest animals hunted. In the case of some like buffalo, many recommend softs first but follow-up shots are with solids. Decades of professional hunters have proven that solids work when used correctly. Military loads, which have been used to kill people, are loaded many times with FMJ ammo. Also, users of cast lead bullets most of the time are using nonexpanding bullets.
     
  7. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    doubletap
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2007
  8. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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  9. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    Soft points are the gold standard for hunting medium and larger game. Quality will vary among brands, but for knock down power, the soft point rules.

    I use Speer Hot Cor soft points, and recently experimented with Speer's Trophy Bonded Bear Claw soft points. The TBBC's were fantastic, though not quite sure if they are worth the expense for me.

    I don't know many guys who use HP's or FMJ to take game over 50lbs. I'm sure I could take game with some of my cheap Soviet ammo, but I respect the animal enough to spend 50 cents more on a decent bullet.



    P.S. Ballistic gelatin doesn't have any bones.
     
  10. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    In the case of FMJs, no doubt because you don't know many guys who hunt elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, walrus & giraffe. In the case of HPs, you apparently don't know many guys who shoot Barnes TSX bullets.
     
  11. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    Pretty much established that when spitzer ball ammo hits flesh it will swap ends and the flat rear area now is going forward through the animal or person.
    Why did people when shot with 8mm, 30-06 and 7.62 x 54 russian rounds fall down dead in WWII? Might it be thier internal organs got blown out the back side! Come on now, if you shoot a deer sized animal with a 30 cal battle rifle round he is going to expire quickly just like the soldiers of WWII. If you have to use ball shoot them in the shoulder and go get your dead deer. Ricochet is the real reason most states dont allow these rounds. They will penetrate trees and bounce around quite a bit. Soft points will stick in a tree.

    Hollow points designed for hunting are great, .30 cal 165 gr Siera Game Kings come to mind. Hollow point target rounds some times expand and some times act like solids, example .30 cal 168 gr Siera Match King.

    If you doubt that ball ammo kills well, buy a couple 150lb hogs and shoot them and see what happens. Big chuncks of tasty hog meat will be laying upon the ground ready to be cleaned.

    All being equal, the modern soft point is best for deer hunting, ball will work but is illegal in most states for deer and be careful of the ricochets.
     
  12. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    The general history of using FMJ bullets for hunting North American game animals is that it's a really bad idea. The bullets punch through without expanding, and the wounded animal is commonly lost. This naturally ignores a hit to the spine; legs are not commonly the intended target. You can't rely on this "tumbling" thing for effectiveness; there's no such thing as "always".

    With solids for large African game, the whole idea is to either break the major bones, immobilizing the animal for a second (or third) shot, or to penetrate the skull of something like the buffalo or elephant in its charge. In-depth penetration is also far more important on a ton of buffalo, compared to a 200-ppound whitetail. And, at 45-caliber and up, they could be likened to "pre-expanded" 30-caliber bullets insofar as blood trail.

    Art
     
  13. Schwebel

    Schwebel Member

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    I've always wanted to take a Mosin deer hunting, let us know how it works out. Unfourtunatly I live in Ohio and can't rifle hunt for deer...:mad::mad:.
     
  14. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    Hard Ball through the shoulders of a deer will blow the other shoulder off the animal. Expansion is not required as the first shoulder bone is turned into multiple smaller projectiles. .30 cal battle rifles are not toys and will blow appart a normal 125# Texas deer. They do not just slip through. Every time you shoot a deer through both shoulders with a 30-06 M2 Ball round the deer will be within 40yds of the shot. The hole will look like a soft point came out.
    Is it the best round ? No. But it is not a pansy round either. Shoot a pig or two and find out.
    Look at some of the battle films from WWII and see how the soldiers fall instantly when hit! The energy carried by these high velocity heavy bullets tears up any human sized animal they hit. It is what they are designed to do. Ask a WWII ot Korean war vet what happens when these bullets hit people. They do not ease on through and the people take several days to figure out they have been hit! It is lights out!
    All that said, the soft point is the best round for hunting as it does have superior wounding capabilities on double lung shots etc. But really fellows, do you think a 100gr .243 soft point will cause a worse wound than a 30-06 150 gr M2 ball round? at deer hunting distances? I dont think so.
     
  15. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Member

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    Wow what a silly question to ask, on my behalf. I think I meant to ask, would FMJ be ok to hunt with?

    I think I will get some softpoints anyways.

    i feel you man, I live in MA and I cannot rifle hunt here, rather I go up to NH(I live close) and hunt with my father. But its like $250 for a license with only 1 tag, and I can apply for an area M doe tag.
     
  16. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Member

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    use a soft point amd aim for the central nervous system (base of skull or neck/body junction) or heart/lung junction.
     
  17. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Member

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    I plan on mounting it, and I don't want to miss either. I think there is a reason most people shoot for the vitals(heart and such) of the deer.
     
  18. unreal45

    unreal45 Member

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    Try remington core lokts, shoot them in the heart/lung area and they wont go far.
     
  19. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Well Art, you're partially right.

    I don't know how you know that there is history on hunting with FMJ bullets in the U.S.A. and that it's a bad idea. For as long as I can remember, and I've been around awhile, the official stand has been to use expanding bullets at least when using jacketed bullets, for big game hunting in the U.S.A. In fact, in many places, it's required by law for big game hunting. This ignores the truly long history in Africa where FMJs were use extensively with good results. It also ignores that fact that in many places (probably most) solid lead balls or bullets are allowed for hunting (in muzzle loaders for instance) and haven't been found to be a bad idea; these are nonexpanding bullets. I would agree though, that a tumbling bullet can't be counted on.

    It is true that with large dangerous animals, penetration to vital organs is of paramount importance. The same is true when hunting a rabbit, a deer etc. The difference is that it's a lot easier to get a bullet through to vital organs in a smaller and softer animal. Both a solid and an expanding bullet would penetrate a deer and if either hit a vital organ, the animal would die.

    The advantage of an expanding bullet is that when it hits an animal, it essentially changes to a larger caliber bullet and creates a bigger wound channel, more bleeding and an earlier death. If you hit a deer with a .224 caliber bullet that expands to .458 caliber you've essentially created about the same diameter wound channel that a .458 caliber weapon would have caused. Of course, the hypothetical .224 caliber projectile wouldn't penetrate nearly as far which won't matter in smaller thin skinned game.

    The fact remains, FMJ and other nonexpanding bullets are lethal if you hit a vital organ with them. To postulate that a nonexpanding bullet will just zip right through vital organs like heart and lungs and not do enough damage to kill is a little ridiculous.

    Oh, and regards to African game, solids are pretty much the bullet of choice with elephant where brain shots are the norm. Depending on who you talk to, when hunting cape buffalo, a good quality soft is generally the first bullet directed at the hart and lungs. As long as the expanding bullet is built strongly enough to get to the heart/lungs it is better to have a .458 caliber bullet that expands to .600 caliber and is less likely to pass through to injure other animals in the herd. Subsequent shots are with solids since angles including the Texas heart shot or raking shots may be needed and excellent penetration will be of paramount importance.
     
  20. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I use a very good soft for the first round on buff then solids after that.

    Elephant I use all solids.

    For everything else it's Barnes bullets. A hollow point bullet that I've killed everything from jack rabbits to cape buffalo with.

    As far as FMJ on NA animals it isn't legal in most places so it is kind of a mute point.

    ALSO there is a huge difference in performance when a pointed spitzer type FMJ is involved vs a square nosed or round nosed large caliber hunting solid.

    Spitzer FMJ's tend to give erratic performance due to the fact they tend to not give straight line penetration.

    The simple answer to the original question is use a good soft point bullet. For two reasons, one it is legal two you lessen the chance of over penetration and wounding or killing a critter on the off side of the one you've shot.
     
  21. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Actually, in most places it IS legal to use FMJ bullets under certain circumstances; varmint and fur hunting for instance. They generally aren't legal for big game hunting but are under certain circumstances in certain places. The fact remains, it's a bit illogical to maintain that FMJ bullets can't be used and that projectiles like solid round balls and nonexpanding hardcast bullets can be used but that's the way many laws are written.

    As far as erratic performance of spitzer FMJ bullets is concerned, that may be because they tumble at times. Of interest is some testing done on round nosed vs spitzer bullets written up in Handloader magazine a few years ago. Testing was done to see which type of bullet was deflected more when encountering obstacles in flight. As I recall, they used wooden dowels for the obstacles. It turned out that spitzers were deflected less than round nosed bullets. That, of course, doesn't prove how they act once they hit tissue.

    The FMJ .224 bullets used in the M16 were (maybe still are) notorious for tumbling and, as you say, erratic performance. I suspect this was more from an inadequate twist rate rather than from an inherently unstable design.

    Lastly, I don't object to the advice to use a good soft point. In about 95% of cases, this is the best way to go. What I object to are the sweeping statements that FMJs/solids just "zip right through doing very little damage." I've seen the latter statement or something similar to it quite a few times and it's really a bunch of baloney from those who haven't really thought things through and reveals an ignorance of anatomy, physiology, ballistics and the quite extensive history of killing things with solids and FMJ bullets.
     
  22. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I didn't say a spitzer-shaped FMJ wouldn't kill Bambi. The point is that there is less tissue damage and a slower bleed-out. The critter can travel further before dying. Ergo, more liklihood of its not being found.

    Back during the Depression, when some folks were instituting their own independent deer hunting seasons and bag limits in order to have food, the common store-bought ammo was considered too expensive. Surplus WW I GI stuff, however, was cheap.

    Some guys would pull the bullets and re-seat them butt-first, with all that lead exposed. Good for close range, insofar as reliable accuracy.

    Some guys would take a hacksaw to the tip of the bullet. A little too much enthusiasm, there, and the lead core could blow out--with bad results for the next shot.

    Now, I got into the '06 business in 1950. I listened to the stories of guys who then were Old Pharts as I am now. I have a pretty good memory. There was a reason for all this folderol with bullets: GI FMJ just didn't work as well as soft points for a quick, reliable kill. And I'm talking about guys who'd kill bucks, does, fawns; twenty or thirty a year, for food. The 1930s were rough times.

    Enough. Suffice that it's not just "Art's opinion". When folks who hunt to eat offer comments from what they've experienced, I tend to listen. And I burned around 1,000 rounds of GI stuff when I first got to '06ing, working over rocks, trees, jackrabbits and the occasional coyote. Soft points and hollow points work a helluva lot better.

    Art
     
  23. Big Daddy K

    Big Daddy K Member

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    I use FMJs in my 17hmr.
    Cast in my 44 mag
    and Win Balistic Silver Tip in my Deer Rifles.
    Although I have discovered that the elcheapo blue box federal SP shoot pretty dang good.
     
  24. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    NOT .30 CALIBER SOLIDS! Besides, FMJ spitzers are not the same thing as monolithic solids. Apart from the diameter difference, the solids used for hunting are RN and designed to penetrate very deep and break massive bones. FMJ spitzers aren't designed to do any such thing. When Bell & co were using military ball to kill elephants, the ball in question was low velocity RN in 6.5 or 7mm with a super high SD and a very thick jacket. A 54R spitzer is completely different in every possible respect.

    You're also WAY off base in comparing FMJ spitzers with soft lead slugs. Or with hardcast slugs. Soft lead smacks hard and deforms easily, making it quite lethal. Hardcast slugs penetrate deep and like the monolithic solids are designed to break heavy bones. They're also usually of .44 cal or larger, making expansion much less important. FMJ military spitzers are again designed to do no such thing. The only thing spitzer 54R's would be good for are fur bearers. I used them to kill grouse once. But they're far from perfect for those applications, as you're better off with a .22 for a variety of reasons.

    Can you use them for large game? Sure. You can use a .22LR to kill moose. But it's cruel, stupid and illegal.

    There is plenty of SP 54R out there that has been used for hunting with good results. Get that.
     
  25. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Grumulkin,

    I would assume that "the deer hunter" was referring to hunting big game in his post.

    And as far as I know there isn't a state in the US that allows FMJ bullets on big game animals.

    I've killed a load of coyotes with 55 gr ball ammo. It works just fine. I think it becomes far less effective on larger animals. Of course if you put a hole through the heart it is game over. But not always with a lung shot if you are just pin holing it.

    But the facts are you can't use FMJ in any states that I am aware of for hunting big game animals.

    PS I've seen healed over 7.62X39 FMJ wounds on a buffalo that had several rounds through the lungs.
     
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