View Full Version : 22-250 Cal. for Whitetail

April 2, 2008, 07:34 AM
Is the 22-250 cal. A better choice for whitetail than the 223 cal.?

April 2, 2008, 08:33 AM
NO. Get a 30-30.

April 2, 2008, 08:33 AM
Actually it is probably worse. The reason I say this is that most .22-250 rifles have a slower twist and are unable to stabalize most bullets over 55 grains. This really limits the bullet selections you have and keeps you in pretty much in varmint weight bullets.

If you have a larger than .22 caliber rifle available for use, use it if at all possible. Castnblast IIRC used the .22-250 to get a couple of TX deer after a surgery or somthing like that where he couldn't handle a larger caliber. Ask him what he used or search for his post here in the hunting forum.

Wild Bill Bucks
April 2, 2008, 10:52 AM
Almost any rifle will harvest a deer, with a PERFECT shot placement. But in my belief, anything less than a .30 caliber is to small for deer.

If everything is perfect, a deer might give you time to place a good shot, but in the world of deer hunting, you rarely get everything just like you want it. It would be a shame to have to take a less than perfect shot, on a big buck, and lose him, because the bullet did not make enough of a hole to keep bleeding, so that you can trail him over a longer distance.

I'm not bad mouthing the smaller calibers, as they all have their place, but I couldn't tell you how many times I have seen guys lose deer with a .223 or .243 or 22-250.

If you have a choice, go with the bigger caliber.;)

April 2, 2008, 11:15 AM
Almost any rifle will harvest a deer, with a PERFECT shot placement. But in my belief, anything less than a .30 caliber is to small for deer.

+1 !

Colorado apparently agrees - it is required by law any caliber for that size game hunting be larger than .224 -

April 2, 2008, 11:36 AM
Almost any rifle will harvest a deer, with a PERFECT shot placement. But in my belief, anything less than a .30 caliber is to small for deer.

so 7mm , 270 , 6.5 are all to small for deer? right ,and what did you dream the next night?

April 2, 2008, 12:58 PM
The .243 with an 85+ grain bullet is just about perfect deer medicine. I don't think it is adequate for elk though plenty have fallen to it. All you need in CO is a 95+ grain bullet for elk in a .243/6mm that delivers 1000 lbs of energy at 100 yards IIRC. It is a far better choice than any .22 caliber rifle for taking of deer. I took my first deer and pronghorn with the .243 and my first elk with the .30-06. I've taken every elk since then with my .270 Win. I've never found a deer yet that required a minimum of a .30 caliber to kill or where a .30 cal actually killed them any deader.

I'm not bad mouthing the smaller calibers, as they all have their place, but I couldn't tell you how many times I have seen guys lose deer with a .223 or .243 or 22-250.

Then you have been witness to some pretty poor shooting in your neck of the woods. Like what was stated before on the .223 thread no amount of caliber makes up for shot placement. A wounded deer with a .22 is a wounded deer with a .50 caliber and you are just as likely to loose it anyway.

April 2, 2008, 01:08 PM
When A larger Cal. bullet passes through the deer, the deer will not absorb all of the energy from the shot. A smaller cal. bullet that dosn't exit the animal will cause the animal to absorb all of the energy from the shot thus causing the deer to drop in its tracks so to speak many times. However this shot has to be in the vital area to do the job. The larger cal. shot that passes through may not knock the deer down even though it is in the vitals. The deer may run A short distance than die. If you make an imperfect shot with the larger cal. you have A much better chance of recovery because of the blood factor. So you absolutely can kill deer with A 223 cal. or A 22-250 cal. but you better have the right bullet and make the near perfect shot. I find the neck shot to work very well with these lighter calibers.

Art Eatman
April 2, 2008, 03:25 PM
sureshot, in my opinion for what it's worth, it's less the raw number value of energy so much as it is tissue destruction. Sure, higher energy commonly means more tissue destruction, but that's as much a function of bullet design as anything else. That is, a .505 Gibbs solid has a lot more energy than my .243, but the bullet won't tear up much tissue.

My 85-grain .243 bullet makes a double-handful of mush of a deer's heart/lungs. But, so does my '06 with 150-grain bullets--plus an exit wound.

Back to the thread: The best comment, so far, has to do with twist and bullet weight, for the .22-250. Again, shot placement with marginal bullets is far more important than with larger bullets, larger weights and bigger diameter holes of exit wounds. Further, an angling shot is, IMO, pretty much a no-no with the lesser cartridges. Penetration is also important, and no .22 is going to do that well. (Neither is my pet 85-grain .243 load, either.)

Maybe think of it this way: I've no fear of taking a shot on a running deer with my '06. I won't do that with my .243. A less-than-perfect hit with the '06 will likely put the deer down, and a second shot will finish the job. BTDT.

April 2, 2008, 10:15 PM
Have shot plenty of deer with a 22-250, never had a problem. But you need to put the bullet in the right place. 55 grain sp bullets, in the vitals will do it, or a neck shot. Quality bullet good shot placement, no problem. Saw a guy shoot an elphant with a bow on the sportsmans channel, good shot placement, need I say more? Would you like to have a bullet moving 3200 fps hit you? I know I wouldnt. P.O. Ackley wrote alot about using the .220 swift on big game, and if you want to hear a good argument for it look it up and read his opinion on small caliber, high velocity.

April 2, 2008, 10:21 PM
That smaller bullet, or any bullet for that matter that does not pass through dumps all it's energy into the animal, true. Now, a larger more powerful caliber that expands equally as well and passes through does not mean it has transferred less energy, it has transferred more. It had so much energy that it could not be stopped. Look at it this way, you hit somebody in the forehead with a 1" stick. You are not going to get a full swing, it will bounce off but you have transferred all of the energy. Take that same swing with a 3" pipe and you are going to transfer a lot more energy with some to spare even though your swing will continue after impact. Back to thread topic, if you really want to hunt with a marginal caliber I would say 22-250 with a strong bullet. Probably a Barnes X or the like.

April 2, 2008, 10:39 PM
If your rifle will stabilize the 70 gr Speer your .22-250 will kill deer just as convincingly as the larger calibers. I have seen the 55 gr (which is structured for smaller animals) not achieve deep enough penetration. I have on the other hand also seen the 55 gr work well. I however do not have complete confidence in it like I do the 70 gr Speer. The 70gr Speer will hang together and penetrate deep enough to kill the largest white tails. Your shot placement need be no better than if you were using a 6mm Rem or a .243 the results are the same.

April 2, 2008, 10:56 PM
I think bullet energy is one of the most overrated figures we can look at, and I scratch my head when I hear someone talk about pass throughs not delivering all of their energy. The truth is, even when a bullet knocks a deer over, which I have yet to see, it is blood loss that kills. The end of every shot animal (except a head shot) occurs when not enough blood reaches the brain. Thats is why my bow with its piddly 70 ft lbs of energy drops deer within 100 yards of being hit. Arrow goes in one side and out the other, creating a clear wound channel that won't suck shut. Put your finger over one end of a straw and lift it out of a glass of water. A few drips come out but most of the liquid stays in the straw. Release your finger and it all pours out. That is what happens with a pass through lung shot on game.

Will a 22-250 do this? With a perfect broadside shot and a premium bullet, sure. But you need a large enough bullet to cause enough damage to bleed the lungs out, which is why I DO NOT think a 22 centerfire is ideal.

April 2, 2008, 11:16 PM
I use a deer rifle for deer hunting and a varmit rifle for varmits. Yes someone somewhere has killed a deer with everything from an 18 wheeler to a knife with various results. With so many proven deer calibers why would one choose to go with a questionable caliber.

April 3, 2008, 01:07 AM
I have never shot a deer with a 22-250, but I watched a friend of mine do it. 300+/- yds, standing shot. Nose to toes and down in a heap. Absolutley a lightning kill. However, with most high-velocity/small caliber rounds, you typically get one of two results: either a lightning-quick, drop-right-there kill, or a wounded animal running off. I have seen a few of the first, and talked to people who had some of the other. If you go after deer with a 22-250, shoot the heaviest bullet you can.

phil mcwilliam
April 3, 2008, 08:15 AM
One morning I was out meat culling fallow deer(slightly smaller than whitetail) at a property and 9 deer were culled with chest shots from a 22-250. All dropped on the spot at ranges from 100 yards to 250 yards, except one that ran almost like it wasn't hit. It was brought down with a second shot at around 300 yards, but when it was skinned the chest area looked like it had been hit with a shotgun. Lots of little holes , along with the main second killing shot. My theory was the initial shot from the 22-250 caught a twig on the way to the target & disintegrated before it hit. This initial shot would definately not killed the deer. On this morning the 22-250 proved deadly on 8 out of 9 deer, but on the odd occasion that a shot is taken through even light bush, then a heavier calibre has to be better.

April 3, 2008, 08:42 AM
I saw this explored by a late nephew who was an exceptional rifleman and experienced deer-slayer. He eventually loaded down to about 3000 fps or a tad below, and proceeded to make clean kills on several big MO whitetail between 80-280 yards, using conventional 55 grain SP's. None went more than a few steps. That experience convinced me that a centerfire .22 can be an entirely servicable deer gun for unobstructed shots which are placed with surgical precision into the heart, or the heavy vessels supplying it.

Art Eatman
April 3, 2008, 09:41 AM
One thing to keep in mind about these discussions is that, generally, we're not the Joe Average deer hunter. A lot of us have shooting and hunting as avocations, working up loads and doing a good bit of testing of our gear--and practicing our shooting.

Compare that to the guy who hardly uses up a 20-box of shells a year. Who pumps adrenalin like mad when he sees a decent buck. IMO, he's not the type who can RELIABLY depend on "lesser" cartridges...


April 3, 2008, 12:32 PM
I agree with Art, the casual hunter needs as much help as he can get, but I am not sure if going with a bigger rifle adds up to help or not. But since here in the USA we seem to think it's OK to just let anybody roam around the woods with a rifle, we get a bunch of mediocre shots that supplement their lack of ability with a more powerful rifle. Remember that about 100 years ago, a 32-20 was considered an excellent deer rifle, and a 30-30 was extremely high powered. But our ancestors were a lot better than we are at stalking, shooting, and (obviously) tracking game.

In many ways, I like the European model of licensing hunters:
* Required shooting ability of 80% hits in a 15 cm circle (about 6") at 100 m from field positions.
* Field identification training required, so you can tell the difference between chamois and roe deer and axis deer.
* Required X number of hours on a shooting range per month, logged at your club.
* Retesting every 2 or 3 years for ability, and rating according to your reported field performance (as reported by a gamekeeper). In many European countries, if you are classified as a Master Hunter, you are someone to be respected in the field.

And, I suppose, these requirements have a lot more to do with why European hunters use smaller caliber rifles, in general.

April 3, 2008, 04:48 PM
Will kill them just as dead with proper shot placement. Buddy of mine took two deer using a 22-250 (52 BTHP bullets). One shot through the heart the other one in the head. Both of them went down fast. I prefer the 30.06 myself. Not much room for error using small caliber bullets.

April 3, 2008, 06:35 PM
Not much room for error using small caliber bullets.

I'm with you. I prefer a bit of over kill in my hunting rifles. Not every shot is going to have perfect placement and I believe a larger, heavier round is going to give you a little extra insurance. Guess I don't subscribe to the "energy" theory of fast, light weight bullets.

April 3, 2008, 07:58 PM
They're both small hot rod rounds.They both will work great.I've seen first hand INSANE damage from a 22-250,to a whitetail.For such a small bullet the 4000 FPS round makes a wound channel mess!!

April 3, 2008, 08:32 PM
Yes, taylor is correct. It does a number. I am picky about the shots I take. If I feel off, or hesitant, I follow my gut. Search my posts, I have some really graphic pix of a small 8 pt I shot w/ my 22-250. Make sure to choose your bullets wisely. stay away from SXT, varminters, etc. I reload using 55 gr game kings. They don't blow up. I shot 3 deer and two hogs this year with it as well, the hogs going approx 175. Nailed em in the neck, right where the head meets the neck. The neat thing about this little gun is that you know it does not kick. Therefore, there is 0 flinch when you pull the trigger. In my opinion, the 22-250 is a better choice due to extra velocity for deer. You get a bit more energy out of the round. BTW, this years results were used with 50 gr. speer spitzers. They are zipping out around 3897 fps. This gun is a joy to reload, because you can make some really awesome rounds for 1/4 of the price of factory premium rounds. Also, Barnes makes a solid core tripple shock in 53 grains that does not blow up and produces really nice pass throughs. I'm going to load those next year if I don't rebarrel the gun to a 250 savage. This caliber was orignally the 250-3000 savage, (25 cal) that was necked down to 22 caliber. Think of it as a 223 magnum.

April 3, 2008, 08:43 PM
But in my belief, anything less than a .30 caliber is to small for deer.

It would be nice if people slowed down before posting. I'm sure Bill didn't mean to discount the 7mm mag, .280, .270,
.264 mag, 6.5 and others that have taken hundreds of thousands of deer over the last century. How else to explain his opinion? ;)

April 6, 2008, 10:14 AM
ya you could shoot a deer with a 22-250 it depends on wether or not you want to chase it lol. I've shot one in the lung and it killed it at 100 yards with a 22-250 but if you shoot else were u probably are going to serverly wound it and **** it off as long as it is centerfire it is legall. but all a 22-250 is is just a .22 on some serious steroids (more powder) go for the .223, but what ever you think you need to shot a deer and kill it let that be your own choice.

April 6, 2008, 11:14 AM
It would be nice if people slowed down before posting. I'm sure Bill didn't mean to discount the 7mm mag, .280, .270,
.264 mag, 6.5 and others that have taken hundreds of thousands of deer over the last century. How else to explain his opinion?

I'm sure that's true and it applies to my post also. State laws vary but, in Colorado, the caliber for deer hunting must be greater than .224.


April 6, 2008, 09:11 PM
use what youre comfortable with, if you think a certain caliber may be marginal dont use it go bigger. If you are confident in your abilities go for it, youre the one who has to live with the results. Where I live is mainly shotgun usage I see more deer running around with slug and buckshot scars on them.and find more deer dead becuase they couldnt be found. All because some idiot thinks hes shootin a big enough gun that he cant go wrong.. yet i know a couple old timers that say they have shot more deer with a 22lr than anything else. Now lets talk about politics or religion:D

Lawyer Daggit
April 6, 2008, 11:32 PM
Sarge and Art Eastman made interesting comments. The .224 round on a deer is to be used surgically, Art remarked on the experience of people generally writing on these forums.

For these two reasons and these two reasons only the .224 is a capeable performer on deer. If the shooter cannot make a surgical shot on a deer with a .224 he must pass up the shot completely because he has no room for error.

April 7, 2008, 12:32 AM
IMO cartridge choice has more to do with the shooter, than the ability of the cartridge to kill a deer.

A hunter should shoot as large of a cartridge as he or she can confidently kill a deer with.. While using their own self imposed restrictions.

My girl friend shoots a 30 carbine Encore. IMO this cartridge is a bit light. But she is strictly a meat hunter. And she will not take a bad shot. If the deer is not broadside and standing still-she will not shoot. And she has the ability to hit a pie plate 8 out of 10 times off handed at 100 yards. And she will not shoot over 75 yards at a deer.

If a 22-250 is the largest cartridge that you feel you can effectively shoot, because of any reason, then go ahead and hunt with it. I am sure you realize it is not the nominal cartridge.

I personally like the 30 caliber cartridges. I agree that 30 caliber is the mimimum also, but that is for my style of hunting. I will take a marginal shot that some others will not take. But I make sure my cartridge has enough steam to pull it off. Most 30 caliber's have that steam. Most 22 caliber's do not. Tom.

April 7, 2008, 08:13 AM
Hogghead is absolutely right...If you are using a 22 cal, you must be disciplined not to shoot marginal shots, and bullet selection is ULTRA CRITICAL for the 22-250, because it is a rocket, and most bullets are designed for varnmints - lightweight, thin jacket...you need to choose one that has a thicker jacket, and is not a hollow point. Barnes X tripple shock is the best choice for this caliber. They don't blow up, and expand really nice. They just came out w/ a 45 gr, that should do increadible damage, and create lots of hydrostatic shock being it is going to be flying around 4000 fps. They also make a 53 gr that will zip out around 3750 or so. both those bullets will create exit wounds on a deer when shot in the ribs, and possibly shoulder. I personally have used 55 gr. Game King sierras, and shot deer smack in the shoulder. 2 were bang flops, one ran about 30 yds. They had tremendous internal damage...But no exit. Which is the downfall of these bullets...I recovered the remains of the jacket between the skin and tissue on the (almost) exit shoulder, and the remaining weight was approx. 13 grains out of 55. Keep in mind, this bullet wen through both shoulders and associated bone. however the solid copper construction of the barnes X is supposed to be approx 95% retension, thus should produce the exit. I generally go for neck/head shots w/ this gun, because my fear is I will get a poor blood trail due to no exit wound. I'm not at all concerned about internal damage and a quick kill based off the damage I have seen from this round. I've seen the damage from the Barnes X on an animal shot w/ a 222, which produced a nice exit...I can only imagine what it would do w/ the extra 1200 fps...

April 7, 2008, 11:54 AM
One well placed shot with A 22-250 is all it takes. If you can do the job than take it, if you can't than don't. Its as simple as that. Any experinced hunter knows what he or she can or can not do. As far as the "drop them in their tracks" goes it takes the same shot with the 22-250 as with the 30-06 cal.(PERFECT). Now if you are talking Blood Trail, The larger calibers do leave A much larger blood trail than the 22-250,but after trailing for A few hundred yards one should realize he or she hasn't made A very good shot whatever the Cal.

Wild Bill Bucks
April 7, 2008, 12:44 PM
Sorry about getting around to posting so late, but my statement about smaller calibers, did not mean to say that any caliber less than .30 is bad, it is just MY preferred caliber.

Any one reading the post should have enough common sence to know that a cartridge like the 7mm and others mentioned would have enough power to take a whitetail. If it will kill a moose then it would kill a deer.

As someone else posted, you should use what you are most comfortable with, and what you can place the best shot with. I shoot almost every day, and shoot several thousand rounds year, so I feel very comfortable with all my rifles. But most hunters around here, shoot maybe 10 or 20 rounds a year, and are probably not the best choices to be hunting with smaller caliber rifles, especially since most of the shooting here is under 100 yards.

Sorry if I stepped on anyones feelings about the smaller calibers:D

Boris Bush
April 7, 2008, 01:49 PM
I never did it myself with a 22-250. But I have seen a fellow farmer that only owns one gun and it is a Ruger 77 in 22-250. Everything he kills dies by the Ruger. He takes neck shots and I remember watching one stumble a step forward before giving up. He would use hornady 55 grain V-max bullets he loads himself.

I neither recomend for or against the 22-250 for deer, but I have seen alot of deer fall when shot by one.

April 7, 2008, 03:44 PM
When my oldest son went deer hunting for the first time at twelve years old, I thought my 270 might be a little much for a first time shooter, (he had shot my 17hmr). So I borrowed a buddies 22-250 with whatever factory ammo he had on hand and went out to youth weekend in the Texas hill country. The first morning two doe appeared at about 100 yards and he took them both with two shots in the vitals. Dropped in their tracks.

The next day he shot two more smallish bucks except he hurried one shot and gut shot him. I had him chamber another round which also dropped him. Now keep in mind our deer are a little small compared to the rest of the country, but I would not hesitate to take a 22-250 in the woods, especially for someone who may be recoil sensitive.

April 8, 2008, 07:37 AM
The V Max is one of the absolute worst bullet choices for shooting bambi, neck shot or not. :mad: Those bullets have ultra-thin jackets and is a case in point why that deer shot in the neck stumbled...They are designed to blow up on impact, and this could stun the deer, and not finish the job. That is a case in point of poor bullet selection for the intended job. Stay away from those type of bullets, and you'll be doing bambi and yourself a huge favor. DO not...I repeat DO NOT use that type of bullet for anything other than small vermin...Yes, I realize the poster did not use that bullet...

April 9, 2008, 12:56 PM
I had a friend who was loosing deer he had shot with his 7mm Mag, so he said he was going to switch to Fail Safe bullets so he wouldn't loose so many. A 7mm Mag has more than ample energy to kill a deer but he was having trouble harvesting deer he had shot.

You could loose deer with just about anything if you were such a terrible shot that you only grazed them or gut shot them. (I think he had terrible cases of "buck fever" and became so nervous he couldn't hit the broad side of a . . . deer.) :eek:

The 22-250 would not be my choice for deer hunting, but I have harvested many deer with my .243 (never lost one--all were quick, humane kills). A well placed shot with the 22-250 and the proper bullet will most certainly kill deer.

Poorly placed shots will require something larger, and terribly placed shots will require something MUCH larger. :(

April 9, 2008, 03:20 PM
As BARman said-22/250 will kill deer. It just depends when/where.

Many 'hunters' dont even look for blood. If it aint blowed over-go look for another.

April 9, 2008, 09:36 PM
Its been said, but its important. The 22-250 will kill a deer. Now, there are assumptions: good shot placement, the right bullet. If you cannot ensure #1 like hogheads gal (who I admire for her shot discipline!) then you have absolutely no business taking this caliber after deer. Period.

For the second, bullet selection is very important. The archer mentioned above that with 70 pounds of pull on his bow, he can take deer. BUT, his broadhead is opening up 1.25" of wound channel for that soft tissue damage. The bullet has 2 ways of making damage: direct tissue damage and shock damage. To understand this, lets mention some of the other inputs above.

If the bullet completely travels through the deer, it is NOT transferring ALL of its energy. Why? Because it is still using kinetic energy to continue travelling beyond the animal and transferred its remain energy into whatever it hit on the other side. (I think its Newton's law of energy) When the bullet leaves the barrel, it has a specific energy based on mass and velocity. As it travels, air friction reduces the velocity of the bullet, reducing energy. You have to account for all energy in the equation. When it hits the animal, it takes energy to go through the skin, break bone, mushroom the bullet, etc. The perfect transfer of total remaining energy in the bullet at impact would be a perfect mushroom that rests under the skin on the opposite side.

This is the reason why people shooting high velocity bullets without expansion characteristics matching their game find themselves tracking animals all over tarnation. I had a gent in FL hunting deer with a .338. He shot 3 deer over a weekend, never found one. Another shooting 7mm Rem mag in WA. Same results. Why? The shots seemed descent enough. Because the bullets they were using were intended for bigger game. They didn't get the expansion and resulting energy transfer into the animal and really did nothing more than shoot an FMJ through the animal (even though it was a "SP). This is what happened to the 7mm Mag scenario above. With todays bullet selection if you handload (which I don't but read about), using a large, high velocity caliber is doable for smaller game if you use something like a ballistic tip or rapidly expanding bullet.

Now, back to the 22-250. If the shot is marginal, will you get the collatoral tissue damage as you would with a .308, 7mm-08, etc with similarly matched bullets that can do enough damage to bring the animal down? No. That's why bigger can be better to a point.

April 9, 2008, 09:57 PM
When A larger Cal. bullet passes through the deer, the deer will not absorb all of the energy from the shot. A smaller cal. bullet that dosn't exit the animal will cause the animal to absorb all of the energy from the shot thus causing the deer to drop in its tracks so to speak many times.
That whole energy dump thing is a fallacy. Deer are killed because a bullet has put a hole through vital organs and/or major arteries/veins, not because of the amount of energy "dumped" into its body by a bullet.


April 9, 2008, 11:36 PM
Just chiming in for the lowly .25-06. One of the finest cartridges for long range deer hunting ever developed. Another one under .30 that should be mentioned. Makes a great varmint rifle too. I wouldn't go with less than a 243 for deer or antelope. My uncle has taken several elk with the .25-06 I now own, but that DOES require a precise shot and I'm not too keen at this point on the idea. That said, he didn't have to track any of them. For elk I'll borrow my dads 300 WSM (until I can afford a big boy gun myself)thank you very much.
Uncle Bob took a four point mulie buck at 450 yds with a shoulder to spine shot about 20 years ago with the ol' .25 and factory ammo. Dad still cusses that shot. It was against an opposing ridge and was several very rough miles out of camp.

April 9, 2008, 11:55 PM
Jason, If that whole energy dump theory is a fallacy, then why can blunt force trama in a car accident kill you? Something has to impart energy to those vital organs to inflict damage. That's also why hunting with FMJs is taboo in most states: the bullet would just pass through and not impart enough energy to cause enough damage to vital organs to make a humane kill. If you punch one through the lungs and make a .224 caliber hole only, will the animal die? More than likely, but after a long suffering period. Now, expand that bullet, transfer that energy into the surrounding tissue, get a larger wound channel, now you're really making hamburger. The animal is going to die faster.

Hypothetical here, not really meaning to impose harm to you. I shoot you with a .22 in the stomach. Are you going to die right away? Now I do the same with a .50BMG. You become twice the person you were initially with part of you here and part of you there. Why? Energy.

This is why bullet selection for the 22-250 would be important. Super frangible bullets designed for varmit hunting, made to almost fragment when hitting that prarie dog, might not get the penetration you want because it would expand too fast and act more like a high energy slap on a deer vs a SP bullet that would get the penetration and transfer that energy into the vitals.

I think I need to find a geek smily for myself. I'm having flashbacks of engineering classes!!!!!

April 10, 2008, 05:49 AM
Shock is one major factor in the kill when using the 22-250 Cal.Every Deer that I have killed with this Cal. also had major tissue damage. This is another reason for selective shot placement. A shot in the shoulder can turn it to JELL. I started this thread and I do use the 22-250 as well as several other Calbers for whitetail. After forty plus years of hunting I was amazed at the fact that one well placed shot from A 22-250 would put the deer down on the spot almost every time, A feat I seldom accomplished on A regular basis with the bigger Cal. rifles that I had always used. I will say I realize the 22-250 is not the perfect deer rifle and its not the gun of choice for most, but it does have A place in the deer woods. My hat is off to GLOBEMASTER 3 he has it figured out (engineer I think). Suppose you were holding A large sand Bag to your chest and someone shot it with A bullet traveling over 4,000 feet per second and the sand stopped the bullet. You and the sand bag would absorb that energy. I can't say what that would be like but i'm sure the results would be not be pleasant. Thanks for all the imput guys.

April 10, 2008, 09:02 AM

I believe what you are calling 'shock' or 'energy transfer' is actually the tearing of tissue stretched by the temporary cavity; with rifle bullets that operate above about 2200 fps, this is caused by either yaw (the bullet turning or tumbling off-axis in the target) or fragmentation- which lacerates the tissue as it is being stretched, and sometimes adds secondary wound paths via bone or bullet fragments.

It is my opinion that the best expanding bullets for hunting rifles are those which offer a large wound path that exits the body. The result is a good blood trail that is usually very short. If you can pick your shots and make that happen with your .22 centerfire, more power to you.

April 10, 2008, 08:41 PM
Sarge, rule #1 I learned as a newly minted new LT: listen to your NCOs. I believe you are hitting the nail on the head. Multiple ways of saying the same thing between shock and energy tranfer. Unfortunately mine is probably more geekish. But, many fallacies exist and like your signature, I like to challenge them with truth. I agree with your wound channel assessment. Instead of fragmentation, more like deformation, or mushrooming. Agree?

April 10, 2008, 08:55 PM
I agree, and the whole tumbling thing is a myth...unless you are shooting FMJ's which might tumble. http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=233844&highlight=tissue+damage+from+22-250 see this link, not sure how to post the link, so if anyone does, please learn me:D..Anyway, this is the actual tissue damage from a buck I shot w/ a 22-250, 55 gr. bullet. I forget the distance, but it was approx. 120-150 tops. search my post using tissue damage and it will take you straight to it. I posted this on 9-25-2007 from a deer I shot in Jan. of '07.

Boris Bush
April 10, 2008, 10:35 PM

expanding bullets will also tumble. I couldnt tell you how many fully expanded pistol rounds I have seen stopped completly backwards or sideways. As for fmjs "might" tumbleing, it is more like they might not tumble if they are shot through a thin enough target. For some reason I cann't explain weight to width also plays a part in fmjs tumbleing. For some reason 9mm 147s will not tumble for me especialy if they are truncated fmjs. 230 grain fmj 45s will not tumble for me and 95 grain 9mm Makarov fmj will not tumble for me. When I shoot 22lr solids from a pistol they tumble and expand from a rifle. When the rounds do not tumble they penetrate straight on and crush bone and keep going fairly straight. Round nose fmjs (most experience with 9mm) like 115s and 124s will tumble and change direction a little.

I do not have a link to some scientific site or fancy numbers for everyone to crunch. All I got is a pile of dead critters shot with lots of different kinds of ammo.

As for energy dump not killing. I have seen dead people killed by massive explosions that had no penetration of any projectile or shrapnel to the body have their insides jellified. Their skin over the abdomen tore when we moved him and his insides poured out all over. Energy does kill, you just need alot of it and it needs to be dumped fast. Handguns won't do it, and rifles need the right bullet and velocity to maybe do it............

April 11, 2008, 04:49 PM
Jason, If that whole energy dump theory is a fallacy, then why can blunt force trama in a car accident kill you?
Because of momentum.

A bullet that doesn't pass through isn't going to do any more damage than a through-and-through, all other things being equal. In fact, it's probably worse, practically speaking. An animal with two leaks might drop faster than an animal with one.


April 11, 2008, 05:39 PM
What about the deaths from law enforcement and military personnel being shot with their Kevlar on. No bullet penetration but blunt force trauma damaged the internal organs.

Expanding bullets are designed to do just that. Expand and release as much energy in a specific amount of time in order to do as much damage as possible.

The release of energy by a bullet into the target area is a very important part of bullet design.

Heres a link to Barnes Bullets FAQ. Some very interesting stuff that applies to this thread. Notice how they describe the opening of the bullet and the hydraulic pressure creating a massive wound channel. That's the release of energy people are trying to describe. Also on the home page there's a short video of the Triple Shock. It shows the expansion and the pushing of tissue out of the way, not by the bullet, but by the pressures and energy.


Again, as it's been stated before. Bullet selection is critical in smaller caliber firearms. I could not find a factory load for the 22-250 to use for whitetail. Everything on the shelf from Remington, Federal, Winchester, and Hornady were labeled Varmint. To me, a bullet labeled Varmint or Varminter means it will likely fragment. I don't trust them and everything I've read indicates as much. I had to hand load with a bullet designed to expand and hold together for maximum energy transfer.

I personally shot a decent buck last year with the hand loaded 55 gr Sierra Game King. The deer went 40 yards and fell over. The shot entered right behind the shoulder and was found just beneath the skin behind the opposite shoulder. The lungs, diaphragm, liver, and stomach were all mush. Down side is there was NO blood trail. A bad shot with this load = a lost deer. It's the person pulling the trigger who matters the most when it comes to using smaller caliber bullets.

April 11, 2008, 06:36 PM
What about the deaths from law enforcement and military personnel being shot with their Kevlar on. No bullet penetration but blunt force trauma damaged the internal organs.
Most people walk away from those.
I think some folks are confusing this energy dump fallacy with the simple transfer of energy. Obviously there has to be kinetic energy to drive the bullet through the animal, so there is an important energy transfer, but no energy "dump".

In the case of blunt force trauma, which everyone keeps mentioning, it is the force due to the momentum of the projectile that causes crushing beneath the impact area. Kind of apples and oranges.

The thing I am calling a fallacy is this idea that it is better for a bullet to not completely penetrate (as in a through-and-through) an animal. Some folks think that if a bullet doesn't make it through that it has wounded the animal more seriously. If you want to see the invalidity of the argument, consider this: I can shoot a deer with one round of .30-06 that will penetrate completely through the deer, or another round of "special" .30-06 that will enter, but not exit the deer, expending all of its energy in the animal (i.e. complete "energy dump"). Assume all other things are equal about the bullets. Which do you think has created the greater wound in the animal, the one that "spent" its energy in the animal, but didn't penetrate, or the .30-06 that expended only a portion of its energy, but kept going, making a complete wound tract all the way through the animal?
I'll take the through and through.


April 11, 2008, 07:33 PM
I think either one of these shots would kill the animal. So why is one the best? Each has its pros and cons. Suppose the shot that travels through the deer has its course altered and hits an object that it should have not. Suppose the bullet that stops inside the deer ruined most of the meat? I know "this is nonsense" but the point I am making is that one should consider the possible results when making his or her choice of Cal. and Bullets. I think Jason has made an excellent point, thanks

April 11, 2008, 07:48 PM
Jason, in this case, momentum = energy.;) It takes energy to make the bullet travel and penetrate. It takes energy to force the bullet to expand. In a perfect world, with a perfect bullet, it would continue to expand and transfer more energy into the animal creating more tissue damage.

Now, do I think your 30'06 passing completely through the animal caused more damage as you summize? I don't know, too many variables. What bullet are you shooting? Lets assume a medium sized deer ~ 150 pounds and same velocity for all bullets with same weight. If you are shooting a solid, no, I don't think you did much damage. If you shot a slowly expanding bullet, you did more, but not much. If you shot a medium expanding bullet, you did more damage, getting closer to optimum. If you shot a polymer tipped bullet like a nosler ballistic tip, you got even more expansion and more damage. Now, if you shoot a varmit bullet at it, now you've fallen to the other side of the curve and you begin doing less damage because it transfers the energy too quickly and doesn't do it to the vitals.

Is it purely the bullet itself? That has a lot to do with it, many will say yes without considering all the other parts, but no. Velocity plays a part and so does bullet weight. Hey, mass X velocity (or substitute acceleration) = momentum (or energy). But, you need to use the right bullet to transfer this energy.

I think the horse quit breathing. Call it whatever you want. Momentum, shock, energy transfer, energy dump (your term, not mine), but realize that if the bullet did X damage passing all the way through, imagine the more damage it could do if there was a way to make it continue inside the animal for the distance it went beyond it.

Its been a great discussion and made me shake the dust off my 14 year old degree, But, I need to put my TI calculator away...:barf:

April 11, 2008, 07:52 PM
Jason, in this case, momentum = energy.

Momentum: p = mv. Smashes and crushes stuff.

Kinetic energy: K.E. = (1/2)mv^2. Mostly gets dissipated as heat and noise.


April 11, 2008, 07:53 PM
There is no perfect bullet or firearm of any caliber for every shot. It has not been made and until it does we'll still be around having discussions like this one. :D

However, until THE GUN is made we'll still have to rely on our shooting skills and our own personal judgment when taking shots.

April 11, 2008, 08:04 PM
Dang, lots of theories about energy xfer, or not as some say.
I know this as a hunter. If I want an animal to drop in his tracks(despite the damage), then I hit him dead in the shoulder. If it's flat ground and it doesn't matter if he runs a couple hundred yards then I will shoot him right behind the shoulder.
Most of the Western hunters like myself will always agree w/ this.
The main reason is that you do two things w/ the shoulder shot.
First you have xferred all of your bullets' energy into the animal with little to no chance of an exit wound.
Secondly, you are probably creating greater tissue damage due to the fragmentation of the shoulder bone.
Other than taking an animals' nervous system out of the loop(brain or spinal cord), you will never do more damage than what I've said.
I believe in the energy dump theory but recognize that the result of said has to be tissue damage via shock wave or vital organ penetration. This is why my past experience with silvertips was poor performance as they did not penetrate beyond skin/hide depth. Also, the act of blowing up on the surface area allows the bullets' energy to richocet off rather than xfer.


April 11, 2008, 08:33 PM
I think the horse quit breathing. Call it whatever you want. Momentum, shock, energy transfer, energy dump (your term, not mine), but realize that if the bullet did X damage passing all the way through, imagine the more damage it could do if there was a way to make it continue inside the animal for the distance it went beyond it.

But it won't. That's the point. For a bullet to be stopped in the animal, it either didn't have enough energy to pass through, or was slowed by a mechanical means, like expansion of a hollow point, etc. I was assuming FMJ's in my argument, just for simplicity's sake. It sounds like you have expanding bullets in mind. If that's the case, then "energy dump" is still a non-wounding factor. Where does everyone think that the energy that is used to deform the bullet is coming from? From the bullet. That "extra" energy (the energy that would've propelled our FMJ on through the animal) is now being used to deform a piece of lead. Now, the trade off is that the bullet is getting bigger, making a bigger hole. That is good, and does increase wounding potential, but it is because the bullet is now bigger in diameter. The fact that the bullet stops inside the animal means nada.


April 11, 2008, 08:57 PM
I was told by a 80+ year old man back in the early 1980's that grew up with old indian hunters in eastern Oregon that his choice was always the top of the shoulder if he could get a side shot. This insures that one or both shoulders are fractured, and if placed on the money, that the spine was shattered as well. You get one of the three and the animal won't get far he would say. I can still hear his voice. He sounded EXACTLY like Festus on Gunsmoke.

My grandpa hunted with old Clarence from the late 1940's until the mid 1980's and said he killed plenty of deer and elk that way. Granted, Clarence had years of experience and plenty of talent. They both bought Remington pumps when they came out. Grandpa opted for .30-06 and Clarence for the .270. Grandpa cussed that .270 because for the area we all hunted (Mt. Emily in the Blue Mountains) a flat shooter can be a plus. I think Clarence was just a better shot! I saw him shoot a chukar (no rest, freestanding) from a good 300 yards once. You never could keep up with that old man. I was a pretty good distance runner in the early eighties. Clarence could outwalk me.

Grandpa Marvin passed on in 1990 or so at age 70. It seemed that half the town of Hermiston showed up to me. Grandpa was more well known than some I guess, he did build alot of homes there over the years. I'll always remember old Clarence walking up to the mortuary in his Sunday suit (not that he went to church much as far as I knew). It was 100 degrees out and since his license was revoked he had walked 3 miles from his house to pay his respect to his best friend. He passed on not too long after, I think he was 96 when he died. I guess he was exposed to some pesticide while spraying his crops and never fully recovered from a stroke brought on by the poisoning.

Sorry for going off topic. Haven't thought of those two lately. I wish we hadn't lived half a state away from them. Could have learnt (as they both would say) so much more.

April 11, 2008, 09:10 PM
I think the horse quit breathing. Call it whatever you want. Momentum, shock, energy transfer, energy dump (your term, not mine), but realize that if the bullet did X damage passing all the way through, imagine the more damage it could do if there was a way to make it continue inside the animal for the distance it went beyond it.

A fractured shoulder does often make for a quick kill. Most that I've killed DRT were because shoulder bone ended up hitting the spine or going through the thoracic cavity.


April 11, 2008, 10:11 PM
Could someone explain to me how a bomb in close proximity can kill you w/o causing a wound cavity? Assuming the energy dump fallacy then I should not die as the shock value doesn't exist sans wound cavity.

April 11, 2008, 10:22 PM
Could someone explain to me how a bomb in close proximity can kill you w/o causing a wound cavity? Assuming the energy dump fallacy then I should not die as the shock value doesn't exist sans wound cavity.
You're comparing a nuke to a tackdriver.

Energy dump as a wounding factor is a myth for most modern firearms. A bomb is going to be releasing much more energy. Different scenario.


April 11, 2008, 10:40 PM
Inspector- Off-topic or not, I sure enjoyed reading it.

I'm a big believer in the shoulder shot myself. I have always liked the older cartridges, and practiced with them to the limits of their effective range. I flattened a 185 pound forkhorn with a .30-30 Silvertip a few years ago, at 238 long steps. That bullet knocked a chunk of shoulder bone out the exit that was as big as a nickel. Of course probably wasted a lot energy in the process;)

The tumbling bullet does not necessarily apply to just FMJ's either. I have killed a groundhog and coyote now with an '06 using Sierra/150/SP's that hit prairie brush in one case and the edge of a terrace in another, producing obvious sideways entrances. Both reacted like they had been swatted hard with a 9 iron, and they were far enough out that the velocity had to be down around 2000 fps.


Thank you. Good Comm's are hard to come by. Expansion and fragmentation are different mechanisms of injury. If the bullet expands, it increases the permanent channel by maybe 150%. The radial fragmentation of a bullet also lacerates the tissue being displaced- destroying tissue that would otherwise close up, after the bullet passes.

An awfully good reference of what various bullets do in gelatin appears below and you can find examples that fit the general categories were discussing here.


April 11, 2008, 10:42 PM
So you are telling me that the 2500ish lbft of energy developed by my 06 never translates into inertia exerted on the target. Sorry,, don't buy it.
Why is this a load data that bullet manufacturers collect and compare then?

April 11, 2008, 10:51 PM
Have any of you ever seen a deer from the front get hit from the sideby an 06? In slow mo photography, you see his body bend around the impact like a cup and then straighten out. That is an impact=inertia. Soft tissue doesn't go through this type of impact w/o damage. A bullet which has fragmented would only exit the body and the body stay put if not for the inertia given to it by the impact of energy.
This is why half of the prairie dog is lying 20ft from his other half. That energy has transferred to the part that moved.

April 12, 2008, 12:29 AM
If that's the case, then "energy dump" is still a non-wounding factor. Where does everyone think that the energy that is used to deform the bullet is coming from? From the bullet.

Jason. The bullet at rest has zero energy unless you want to measure the distance from the ground it is and measure the potential energy of said bullet. In the context we are talking about, killing a 4 legged critter, it takes velocity and the mass as you said to give it momentum. It also takes the correct bullet to transfer enough energy to do enough tissue damage to cause mortal harm. What is this momentum measured as? FOOT POUNDS OF FRIKIN ENERGY! The bullet is transferring the energy to the animal as it passes through, expands, creates a larger wound channel etc. Tissue damage is the result. If you had FMJ, then there would be less damage with same velocity etc because it doesn't do what? Expand. What causes the expansion? The the bullet coming into contact with the animal. But what if you threw the bullet at the animal instead of shot it? No damage. Why? It didn't have enough momentum which in this case we are equating to energy. Kinetic? OK, calculate it. Regardless, it takes that energy to push the bullet into the animal, cause the bullet to expand, and do some damage. In the process, the animal is absorbing the impact, the energy the bullet is losing due to friction with the animal.

I'm sorry, I'm not saying this to be rude, but I think we are thinking on different wavelengths. If you want to believe that bullet hits animal, animal is hurt from big hole in animal, animal dies. OK, go ahead. This really is the simplistic result and is a lot easier to explain. Blood loss, tissue damage, interrupting the electrochemical signals from the brain, shredding the heart, lungs, fine. That is the result.

But what caused the result. That's the kind of physics related issue I was addressing since there are a lot of wives tales on the topic. I've given you reasonable explanations and arguments from an engineering perspective. If you don't believe them, fine. We can agree to disagree.

My brain hurts... My professors biggest feedback was I liked to get into the weeds. Maybe its time to go climb a treestand!:D

Art Eatman
April 12, 2008, 06:23 AM
Few threads survive beyond a couple of pages, ever notice? They go to wandering off-topic...The bad part is that way too often, folks go to gettin' snarky and personal. Not always, but...