View Full Version : Bullet energy

November 15, 2007, 06:46 PM
G'day all,

I'm sure I've read this somewhere before, but what is the recommended amount of energy a bullet should strike with to ensure reliable, ethical taking of deer? (Mulies & Whitetail) It seems to me that it was 1000-1200 pounds....can anyone confirm or refute?

November 15, 2007, 07:47 PM
I've heard from various sources as low as 800 lbs and as high as 1200 lbs for a minimum. However you can kill a deer with a .223 out to 200 yards if the shot placement is right and you pick the right type of bullet, I've personally witnessed this from a 7 year old.

November 15, 2007, 07:51 PM
I've seen various figures thrown around. I find it hard to believe you can find one number that will work for everything from an 85 pound hill country buck up to a 400 pound mulie.

Even if you pick an energy figure that would "ensure reliable, ethical taking of deer", as stated above, the most important things are to have a bullet that will do the job and put it in the right place.

As to the right place, a spine shot won't require near the power or penetration as trying to go through a shoulder.

Formulas just don't work for this, IMO.

November 15, 2007, 07:52 PM
true enough.....I'm a big believer in shot placement as well. I'm just looking at some of the published data for bullet energies and can't remember what the "ideal" was for deer sized game.

November 15, 2007, 08:05 PM
Bitmap :

The figure I had in mind was a published minimum. I'm using it as an additional element in deciding on a caliber decision for a rifle project. As an example, I can choose a caliber, decide on which bullet I want to use, wait for my shot and ideal bullet placement but if the animal is at 400meters (just a number pulled out of the air) and my choosen combination doesn't deliver anymore than 700 pounds of energy at that distance then my combination would be weak (assuming that the recommended enegry is in the 1000 pound range) This all comes as I am contemplating a mid-range rifle using something in the 6mm class.....

November 15, 2007, 08:30 PM
For this reason, I've always when I go hunting pick a caliber were if I spot something far away I don't have to sit and wonder if my shot will be enough. I admire people who hunt northern whitetail with .243 and .25-06 and such calibers, but my favorite deer hunting rounds are the .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, and the .300 Win Mag, I call it extra insurance to make sure a get a clean quick kill and so I don't have to trail the deer for more than 20 yards. I find most hunters either like to hunt their respective game with the minimum calibers or people like me like to go 5 cailbers up on the todum pole. For instance if I were to ever take up bear hunting, knowing they can weigh 1,000 pounds you wouldn't find me with anything less than a .338 Win Mag. For instance a 150 grain 7mm Rem Mag produces around 3,200 lbs of energy out of the muzzle, to be safe let's say it takes 1,000 lbs of energy to kill a deer cleany, that is 3 times the energy needed out of the muzzle for terminal energy. Obviously though this wouldn't work for bear, if 3,000 lbs of energy is recommended then by this formula you couldn't hunt bear with anything less than a M82A1 Barret shooting 700 grain .50BMG.

roy reali
November 15, 2007, 11:40 PM
I think that bullet energy is an over-rated and over-used number. If you want to go by energy alone, then a .22-250 is superior then a .45-70, at least in the old load. Which would you rather have if you were to face a charging bear?

November 16, 2007, 07:27 PM
The point isn't what would you rather have, the point is that bullet energy figures play a part in what caliber, what load and at what range you hunt a specific species. Of course you would want the 45-70 for a charging bear (the very reason I carry a .450 Marlin in grizzly country). The 22-250 has more energy at a given range due to the velocity in whch it is travelling, true, but you can't compare the two bullets. Both are used for completely separate applications. In my instance I want to build a rifle to hunt at medium ranges of 300-600 meters. With a maximum range placed upon myself of 600 meters, if the rifle/caliber/bullet combination doesn't meet the recommended standard for the game species then I know that combination isn't the best choice to use. Thus the reason for the question of "what is the recommended amount of energy for deer".