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Old August 10, 2006, 10:46 AM   #1
gr8gun
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Is there a down-side to too much bullet?

If it's not obvious, I'm new to hunting. I've been talking to people when ever I get the chance, trying to gather info before the fall. I plan on taking a "Hunter's Safety Class" before I go, but in the mean time I keep asking questions.

The type of hunting I'd do on my first time out would be deer in thick mountain brush. The buddy who's taking me says 99% of the shots would be 25 feet to 50 yards tops. I have a S&W .357magnum w/6" barrel and a 4x scope that he said would be perfect. He might use his SKS. The local deer are not very large, as deer go. I'm not interested in using a handgun on my first hunt, but that's one end of the spectrum in terms of caliber advice I'm getting.

Talking to another hunter, I hear a story about an Elk hit with some big magnum round. The Elk's shoulder was shattered, and the bullet went through the heart and both lungs -- and on three legs without vital organs it ran/stumbled for 200 yards before it dropped... His advice is use the biggest caliber you can and have as clean a kill as possible.

So, to get to my question. I'd rather risk "overkill" than "underkill". Is there any downside to using a larger caliber than is necessary? Other than recoil, noise, and perhaps expensive bullets?

I was considering getting a CZ 527 in 7.62x39, comparable to 30-30 as I understand it, and a round I already "stock". Now I'm thinking I should just go for a .308 and be done with it.

Thanks for the info.
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Old August 10, 2006, 11:09 AM   #2
charlie in md
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both will work

Both the 7.62x39 and the .308 will work. It doesn't matter what caliber is used, you cannot absolutely guarantee that the animal will simply collapse on the spot. This is why tracking skills are just as important as shooting skills.

The .308 is probably more "versatile" overall.

Whichever you choose, make sure it is sighted in;

- know where the vitals are on the animal.

- If it does run after the shot, don't panic. Memorize where it was when you shot, and where you last saw it. Be patient and wait a bit. If you check and find blood, mark it with toilet paper. You can make a visible trail using the TP which will help guide you. Don't be surprised if the animal goes over 100+ yards with a shot through the boiler room.
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Old August 10, 2006, 11:25 AM   #3
Wild Bill Bucks
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Lots of guys go for the vitals, and in most circumstances, even at 50 yards will, most certainly turn in to a tracking situation. If given a broadside shot, on a standing animal, I will always take a neck shot, as this will leave them laying in their own footsteps, with a .308 or 30-30 at fifty yards. Shot placement is THE most important aspect of shooting, so practice practice practice.
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Old August 10, 2006, 11:28 AM   #4
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The 308 would be perfect. And, as said, practice. But also, if the deer doesn't go down at the shot, Keep shooting. Don't admire your shot, try to put the deer down.
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Old August 10, 2006, 11:28 AM   #5
DAVID NANCARROW
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If this is your first hunt, I'd probably recommend a rifle. Either the 7.62x39 or the 308 Win will work very well for the range you describe. Make sure you match the bullet to the game. Stay away from FMJ's and get a suitable soft point.

For the 308 Win, most standard 150 grain soft points will be fine. No matter the caliber you choose, shot placement is king! Practice with your chosen combination and use that for your hunt. Good advice on the sighting in. You have to know where its going to hit and be comfortable with it. Whether you choose your pistol or go to a rifle, I recommend practicing on a paper plate or whatever with a 4 inch circle drawn on it. Your max range will be the distance you can keep all your shots within that circle.

The kill zone on a deer is a bit larger, but trust me, if you are going to be walking the woods, you're going to be bit tired and the shot may be a quick one. Combine that with the energy release you'll have when Mr Bucky shows out of nowhere, you'll find the amount and kind of practicing you do will pay off.
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Old August 10, 2006, 11:41 AM   #6
john in jax
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Shot Placement is Critical

Having one drop in it's tracks is very rare, unless you can pull off a head or spine shot. The trick is to take your time and make a good lethal shot, then wait QUIETLY for +/- 30min. before making any racket that might spook the deer. Usually the deer/hog will wander off a little ways and lay down and die - - easy to track and find. But if spooked they can easily manage to run a long way through thick cover you can barely make it through.

In rifles I'd choose the .308 over the 7.62x39. The .308 shoots flatter, has more power, and will take just about any game in the U.S. While the 7.62x39 is a great brush round the .308 is "more lethal" at +/-50 yards and allows you to reach out to 200 yards if needed, it is much more versitile than a 7.62x39.

Your .357 should work fine in close. Just my oppinon, but I prefer a cast core or jacketed soft point (JSP) bullet over any kind of hollow point for hunting. Winchester makes a couple:
http://www.winchester.com/products/c...Z251bQ==&use=1
and Federal has a 180 cast core that should preform very well.
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Old August 10, 2006, 12:17 PM   #7
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I'd go with the .308 too. It'll have a larger selection of hunting bullets, allow longer range shots (if you're up to it), and hunting ammo in 7.62x39 isn't going to be any cheaper.

About bullet weights, I've heard (not experienced firsthand) that, with a given caliber, using a heavier bullet will reduce meat damage because of the decreased velocity. Maybe someone who's played around with different bullet weights can shed some light on this idea.
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Old August 10, 2006, 03:44 PM   #8
gr8gun
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. Looks like the .308 is the way to go.
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Old August 10, 2006, 03:58 PM   #9
DAVID NANCARROW
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Nico-that has been my experience with 270 Win, 30-30 and 308. The heavier weight bullets will carry energy out a little farther, and they are constucted for deeper penetration, all else being equal.

My hunting buddy got kind of grossed out when I jumped a white tail at 80 yards and shot it in the side of the head. One of the few times I was using factory ammo-winchester white box with 150 grain softpoints. Blew the off side of the deer's head clean off! I take great caution in those kinds of shots, as it can wound but not kill if you are a bit off. One thing about it though-if the brain pan is empty, they aren't going anywhere!
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Old August 10, 2006, 04:10 PM   #10
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For the .357, I use a 110 gr. Jacketed hollow point. Practice a lot. If you buy a rifle, use a good soft point. You don't necessarily need a heavy bullet, but not the lightest either. Look at ballistics charts and see which one seems to be optimum. i.e. trajectory. never mind muzzle velocity, you are not shooting at point blank.
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Old August 10, 2006, 04:54 PM   #11
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I feel that a 110gr bullet is far to light for deer. Look for a round designed for deer-sized game. You'll probably find that they are closer to 180gr than 110gr.
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Old August 10, 2006, 05:04 PM   #12
nico
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Quote:
I feel that a 110gr bullet is far to light for deer. Look for a round designed for deer-sized game. You'll probably find that they are closer to 180gr than 110gr.
not necessarily. 270win in 130gr is one of the most popular rounds for deer and is more than adequate.
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Old August 10, 2006, 05:47 PM   #13
gr8gun
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The .357mag ammo I have on hand is 158gr soft point. The scope is dialed in at 50 yards, and it's very accurate at that range -- but FOR ME this gun absolutely requires something very steady to lean on. Off-hand with zero support or something to brace against, at any distance over 25 yards or so I'm not "hunting accurate" with this gun. Which is why I would rather use a rifle this first time out. Honestly with a rifle the longest shot I would take (at this point) without some support would be about 50 yards. I'm practicing shooting while leaning on one knee, and bracing against vertical objects (like tree trunks), but I know my current limitations. My personal goal is to know I'm capable of a 3" group with any given distance/stance/gun combination before I'd hunt with it.

The only other option I currently own - and what I've been practicing with - is a Mosin Nagan M44 I sporterized. It's scoped and accurate enough, from a bench I managed a 2" group @100 yards. It was a fun project as an attempt at an inexpensive deer gun, but, it still has its inherent limitations: long trigger pull, awkward safety, and most disconcerting to me is a difficult stiff bolt that I can't operate effectively while the gun is shouldered. With 180gr SP, it's got some serious kick to it. I'll keep practicing with it though, while I save up for a Rem. Model Seven SS/.308. Who knows, if I find with practice I can become competent with the M44, I may just use it this first time out.
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Old August 10, 2006, 05:54 PM   #14
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To go back to the original question, lets put it like this. Why dont we use .373H&H for everything? Well, with more than enough gun we can expect excessive recoil, which will result in flinch and loss of accuracy, we can expect massive muzzle blast and flash which is not conducive for good hunting and they are more expensive to shoot.

I totally agree with a .308.
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Old August 10, 2006, 06:09 PM   #15
gr8gun
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Quote:
To go back to the original question, lets put it like this. Why dont we use .373H&H for everything? Well, with more than enough gun we can expect excessive recoil, which will result in flinch and loss of accuracy, we can expect massive muzzle blast and flash which is not conducive for good hunting and they are more expensive to shoot.
Thanks Death from Afar, that's what I was originally wondering about. I just didn't know if in hunting situations, there are specific reasons for not using large loads -- comparable for instance to the issues of "over-penetration" when choosing HD ammo. I was liking the idea of the CZ 527 because after a few extended range sessions with my M44, something milder that would do the job just as well was sounding appealing. But since for now I can probably only swing one rifle purchase, I think the .308 will be more versatile, and I'll just get used to it.
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Old August 10, 2006, 06:30 PM   #16
charlie in md
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managed recoil ammunition

I just checked remington's site. They make a managed recoil load for the .308
(125 gr soft point)

this might be something you want to try.
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Old August 10, 2006, 07:26 PM   #17
gr8gun
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Thanks for the heads-up Charlie. I found that MidwayUSA has Federal "low recoil" 170gr .308.

Wow, $1 per round, I've never gone there before.
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Old August 10, 2006, 08:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
not necessarily. 270win in 130gr is one of the most popular rounds for deer and is more than adequate.
Let me qualify that: In .357mag 110gr is, I feel, to light for hunting deer. In a higher velocity rifle, you can use lighter bullets.

Elmer Keith was a proponent of big/slow bullets, and I'm not one to argue.
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Old August 11, 2006, 11:02 AM   #19
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Have you seen what a 110 gr. hollow point bullet does to deer? I wouldn't want to get hit with one. You are talking close shots, less than 50 yds. When handgun hunting, you are looking for maximum tissue damage, not necesarily a pass through, allthough the 3 deer I killed with this round did get pass throughs. Bullet fragmentation/bone fragmentation is key. He mentioned the deer were small, so I'm guessing he is talking about deer around 110lbs or less. I wouldn't want to get hit with this round.
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Old August 11, 2006, 11:08 AM   #20
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The simple answer would be No, not in terms of killing power - generally the wider the bullet the better, and the heavier the bullet the better, without regard to velocity. Velocity is not always better - it usually is up to a point and then you get diminishing returns, or worse, reduced bullet performance. But a bigger, heavier bullet is almost always better, if not always better, in making quick kills, all other things being equal.

The more complicated answer is yes, all things are a tradeoff. The tradeoff is (1) more meat damage from the shock/hole of the bigger bullet, (2) more recoil, (3) more noise & muzzle blast, and (4) more ammo expense typically. That's why the most popular calibers represent such a good compromise - a sweet spot between the tradeoffs - calibers like .270, .30-06, etc. There's a good reason they are popular.
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Old August 11, 2006, 11:21 AM   #21
Wild Bill Bucks
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Dead deer on the side of the road is proof positive that slower and heavier works.

FF, I live real close to the brewery at Krebs,(home of the best Italian food outside of Italy)

Does your brother get around Krebs much, or stay mainly in OKC?
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Old August 14, 2006, 06:09 PM   #22
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Hey Wild Bill, I don't think my brother has actually gone down to the "Choc" beer brewery in Krebs, but that IS where they make his beer brand. We're both here in OKC, and that is one of only 2 breweries in the state, in my understanding, due to our jacked-up restrictive alcohol laws. I can't wait to get down there to try some of that great Italian food - which place should I try and eat at first when I come down? I REALLY can't wait until I draw into the McAlester AAP traditional bow hunt. I bought a PSE recurve couple days ago on the hopes that I will draw in one of these years soon! I keep saying I'm gonna go to the Gaines Creek area for hogs, but haven't yet. You got the scoop on where to go in Gaines creek to find the hogs?
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Old August 14, 2006, 07:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
Is there a down-side to too much bullet?
Other than more felt recoil... no...

It is the construction of the bullet that makes it retain original weight... so there is noe meat damage with good retention...

Remember the old timers commonly used 50 caliber muzzle loaders and the meat was precious to them...

Of course they placed their shots quite well so the point may be moot...
But, the .50's didn't explode the head either...

Many elk hunters use large bores like .458's and such... These are limited to a couple hundred yards... but, they anchor the bulls pooty good!
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Old August 15, 2006, 09:49 AM   #24
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Choc Beer company , is right down the road from my business, Prichards own it,. They run a great eating place called Pete's Place, next time your in town go there.

Gaines creek has hogs all up and down it, but are continually moving, from water hole to water hole.(Rain been pretty scarce here lately) Best bet is to find holes with wollows in it and set up.

The bow hunt at the base is pretty wild. They take the string from your bow when you get there, and label it. When they take you out to your area in the morning, they give it back to you. You have a designated hunting area, so you can't stalk much. Never tried it myself, but they have a pretty good success rate. They have lots of deer on the base. Hope you get a big-un.
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Old August 20, 2006, 11:02 PM   #25
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This is a huge can of worms with all hunters.

Many seem to think that a very light, very frangible bullet like the 110 grain HP out of the .357 mag is just the ticket, but he has never hit the shoulder or tried to run a bullet up to the vitals while looking at a 3/4 away shot. The .357 is the very bottom, like the .223 in the having enough horsepower for deer. yes it will work. most of the time. But I have seen deer shot with soft 140 speer HP's that just blew all the meat off the shoulder and left the deer in agony but still running. I saw a LEO try 4 125 grain silvertips to put down a struggling road hit deer. Not one of them seemed to reach the needed areas to HUMANELY kill the deer.

That same .357 loaded with 158 softpoints would have made it much better for killing game. A .357 carbine loaded with 158's or 180's makes a darn fine brush hunting gun. light, fast handling and with enough penetration to punch thru when shot at a bad angle, the work fine up close.

The 30-30 or 35 remington lever makes a great gun for this type of hunting, but you are practiacally limited to about 150 yards. If you are hunting deep woods, with no logging clear cuts or roads or powerlines to sit on, they work just fine and have killed millions of deer. if you are hunting deep woods but are going to have that chance at the clear cut shot or the powerline shot, then consider moving up to a 7-08 257 308 class of cartridge.

Also be aware of the fact very very few deer drop dead at the shot. Almost all run a little ways. I have had them run a half mile with one lung still laying on the ground where it was shot out of the side of the deer. I have had them run 200 yards straight up hill into a thicket when the bullet has cut the heart and lungs right off at the aorta and pulmonary artery. If you are hunting really thick woods, having a bigger heavier bullet that just plows on thru and out the other side does make trailing them a lot easier, blood drains faster when you punch a hole and a vent into the deer. I have an uncle who always hunting the really really thick stuff of the finger lakes region of NYS and in Penn. He always used the .35 remington because the 200 grainers always left the body. two holes, twice as much blood. He claimed to have never lost a deer he shot with that gun. If you look around now, you can probably find a nice marlin or winchester 94 for not a lot of money right now. I was just looking at a Marlin 336 A rifle at the shop for $175 that has the longer barrel but it is a nice gun. Add a peep sight or a 1-4 x scope and that is all you should need.
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