View Full Version : Since I am fired up about the hunt, I will throw this out there to the lions.

Will Beararms
November 8, 2002, 01:59 PM
We are told there is no such thing as a Brush Gun. I will tell you my older brother has shot four or five nice buck at 40 to 50 steps through honeysuckle vines with a 150 grain Remington core-lokt 30-30 caliber from a Marlin 336W. It has always been too dicey for me to do this but I have seen him do it more than once. So I must ask the question, is the 30-30 a brush rifle or does it just perform in those conditions better than other cartridges? You make the call.

November 8, 2002, 05:42 PM
I'd call it a bush rifle, definitely. Slower moving 30cal that'll plow through the brush for the target. 308 or 30-06 will plow brush fine too, but at the relatively shorter ranges of bush huntin the higher powered cartridges have a tendency to pass through the target cleaner, thus causing a long staulking afterwards. 30-30 velocities are definitely better suited for closer range.

Velocities compare at around 1200fps for 30-30 and 2500+fps for 308 or 30-06, if that helps you any in your decision. Slower fps at shorter ranges equal better wounding.

November 9, 2002, 09:41 PM
I think bullet shape has a lot to do with it. A flat nosed bullet or semi-wadcutter will cut through because of the large frontal area, where a spitzer may have a tendency to deflect more due to a very small nose and hitting the longer angle of the bullet. The calibers always mentioned as "brush guns" tend to be used in lever actions (heavy flat or round point bullets).

Art Eatman
November 9, 2002, 10:40 PM
About every ten years or so, some gun writer gets into the "brush gun" question.

I've never seen it differ: The amount of deflection varies with the distance the target is behind the brush. That is, if a target is more than ten or fifteen feet in back of a clump of brush, the odds are greatly against hitting it.

Omitting the explosive combos like the centerfire .22s, e.g., it doesn't matter if it's a pointed bullet, a round-nose or a flat-nose. It doesn't matter if it's a 6mm or a .45-70.

And, of course, a bullet can travel through some brushy stuff and not hit much of anything at all...

An oddball personal experience happened to me when I shot at a deer's heart through what I thought was one prickly-pear leaf. In reality, I shot through FIVE leaves! A piece of the bullet curved off-path to the deer's ear, and he fell. I dunno; maybeso ten yards worth of spaced-out pear leaves...

In other words, I'll take luck over skill, anyday.

:), Art

November 9, 2002, 11:16 PM
I think that half the idea of a brush gun is a rifle so short that you can carry it in heavy brush. In that case the Marlin is perfect.

A 30/30 can take a 180 grain can't it? I know that given the choice of 150 and 180 in brush I'd sooner have the heavier slower bullet.

BTW, what Art calls "leaf" is actually a cactus pad about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. So shooting through five leaves is about the equivalant of shooting through a 3 inch pine sapling. ;)

Tom Matiska
November 10, 2002, 02:58 AM
Heavy schmevy. Stability matters just as much if not more.

Hit a heavy enough branch with any weight bullet and all bets are off. The only difference worth considering is what happens when a bullet hits the thin stuff. Avoid photon torpedo loads that blow too easy, and marginally stable heavies that are looking for an excuse to tumble.

Short flat base 150's out a a 1-10" Marlin barrel are probably the most over stabilized bullet on the market, and most likely to stay true to course than heavier (but less stable) loads that some talk themselves into.


Art Eatman
November 10, 2002, 09:12 AM
Yeah, I gotta agree with M&M about short and handy. If I'm gonna hunt in thick cover, my 26" barrel Weatherby ain't the ticket.

The thing about shooting through brush is that a deflection can mean a gut-shot, escape and loss instead of a clean kill. My cactus deer was in an open area and close enough that I'd have been able to get in a second shot--which still doesn't excuse it, really. I should have taken the slightly more difficult neck shot.


Navy joe
November 10, 2002, 09:55 AM
Going out tomorrow. It seems that stomping/crawling through bedding areas midday there are spots where 10 yds is a long shot. Brush to the point where one can't stand up. I believe a 12ga slug will suffice to punch through a little foliage.

Will Beararms
November 11, 2002, 11:54 AM
'Popped an 8 Point Sunday at 0630 with the Winchester silver box 150 grainers. He was walking down a grown over logging road that seperates a hardwood bottom from a pine field right to me. I had a clear shot on this one at 75 steps. He would not give me a broad side shot so I ratcheted the 2-7 up to seven and put one in the area right between the neck and chest. He dropped in his tracks and the only thing that moved was his tail.

I took a risk up in a box stand but he started to wind me and I had practiced the exact shot the after noon before about 50 times before I found out the gun shop had not tightened the rings on the Leupold VX1 adequately. I have never owned a nice scope and at 38, I decided it was time. The scope did make the difference not to spam Leupold in any event.

I was thankful he did not suffer. He was dead in three minutes if that. The whole weekend was surreal. I hit a big buck with my van on Saturday and between that and getting my scope dialed in, the day was shot. Heck, Sunday, I was on the stand at 0600, deer bagged at 0630 and in Church with Dad at 1045 :D. Thank you Lord for another one.

I will tell you that I got just as excited on him as I did when I killed that 20" spread, 175 pound 8 point in 1994.

November 11, 2002, 07:22 PM
I don't personally believe in brush-busting bullets, period. The old-timers try to tell me othewise, but I doubt a small-caliber, high-velocity round is worse than a large-caliber, low-velocity round. And here in the hilly New Hampshire country-side, we have plenty of brush. Short, light rifles are actually less common than big-bore magnum reach-out-and-touch-something rifles. My personal rifle is a .260 Remington 700 Mountain Rifle. Light, half-minute accurate, and short enough to manuver through brush. Have yet to take any game with this rifle, but Saturday I sure will try!

Ole 5 hole group
November 13, 2002, 11:20 PM
Art, you're on the right track. I just found this site and thought I’d wade in here as I’ve read a few studies by DOD and others who are “thinkers” and not necessarily hunters or rifleman. They site physics; laws of kinetic energy etc :confused: and I or others have always found their conclusions to be “right on the money”. So here’s the real deal based on “science”. ;) There is no such creature as a "brush gun" except in a typewriter of someone needing to take up space in a magazine. When any projectile/bullet hits an object close to the barrel and ricochets off, it will be farther off target than that same bullet striking an object say 20 feet from the target and ricocheting off, everything else being equal. Same goes with wind gusts – the closer to the barrel the cross wind is the greater the drift will be. Same principle applies. If one is fortunate enough to hit a branch or twig square on causing no ricochet then you will hit your aiming point unless the bullet expended too much energy penetrating the object and/or deformed greatly resulting in a low shot or even failing to reach the target area! If it deformed greatly, all bets are off on its new trajectory. :mad: As for the bullet weight, shape etc. studies were done decades ago showing the spiral point to actually have less deflection upon hitting an object than a round nose everything else being equal. As for bullet speed – the faster bullet spends less time in flight, therefore, it has less time to deflect than a slower bullet, all else being equal. A heavier bullet deflects at a lesser angle than a lighter bullet everything else being equal. The heavier/lighter bullet arguement has a twist to it. The heavier bullet is normally the slower bullet so with the faster bullet deflecting at a greater angle but spending less time in flight both arrive close to the same off-target location. :eek: I am a hunter and what this has always meant to me is only shoot through heavy brush if you have an opening in the brush to shoot through!!!:D

November 16, 2002, 03:36 PM
Someone I think the Shooter's Bible had an article where someone did a controlled test to see if slow moving bullets were really less deflected than fast ones. They set up a box with 1" dia wooden dowels, and a target behind, to measure if there really was a difference. They tried many popular calibers, everything from .243 to .375 H&H. "Brush busting" calibers included the .444, .35 Remington, and .30-30.

They found the "brush busting calibers" indeed made it through the wooden dowels with little deflection, but the bullets often made keyholes in the target. The fast moving cartridges tended to keep the bullet moving straight, but they were deflected off line. The best performing cartridge was the .375 H&H, the worst the .243 Duh!:rolleyes:

The findings? Avoiding shooting through brush, regardless of caliber!