View Full Version : "Ruining meat"

Art Eatman
December 2, 2007, 12:27 PM
I wanna know what folks are doing, such that they worry about some particular cartridge "ruining meat".

Are they just sorta shooting at any old where in a Big Brown Blob? I thought you were supposed to pick out a vital spot away from the eatin'-meat part of a deer. You don't shoot 'em in the backstraps or hams, or even the shoulders, which is about 90% of the eatin' meat.

God put a neck on Bambi for a reason, along with the heart and lungs. How bloomin' big a target is needed?

Or do folks just get so excited they forget everything they ever heard about a proper kill shot?

:), Art

December 2, 2007, 12:38 PM
Well, some cartridges are just meat-ruiners waiting to happen, IMO, no matter where you hit the critter.

A friend of mine used to shoot 150 gr. in his .300 Win mag. What that thing did to a 200 lb. mulie was just wrong.........bloodshot meat everywhere.

We convinced him to go to 180 gr. bullets, and things are much better, although I still think a .300 Win. mag is overkill for mule deer.

December 2, 2007, 12:49 PM
Or do folks just get so excited they forget everything they ever heard about a proper kill shot?

You're saying that "God put a neck on Bambi" and then criticizing someone for putting a bullet through the front shoulder of a deer and saying it isn't a proper kill shot?


Here's a picture illustrating where the proper kill shot is:


Please note where the heart + lungs are located.

December 2, 2007, 12:56 PM
People don't practice enough and when they do its sitting at a bench instead of on the ground, unsupported instead of with a sling and at 100 yards instead of varying ranges. So naturally with a 2moa deer rifle and a 4 moa hunter there is difficulty with accuracy. Problem isn't made any easier by the magdum cartridges which then introduce a few more moa due to flinching. (I've read that the 30-06 is about the maximum that most people can withstand without developing flinching. Give you a .338 magdum and 100 rounds of practice ammo and I'd bet even you would flinch after a while.) It worsens when they cost over $2 per shot for practice ammo which then leads to even less practice.

But you can't say that neck shots are prefect either, now can you? I've seen them tend to bleed back into the meat even with light .243 and 6.5mm bullets. When the deer is facing me I prefer shots into the part of the deer which would be under the collar bone if deer had collar bones (that little x on the non existent frontal deer map;)) but they introduce a risk of hitting the rumen. Heart shots? Sometimes you have to shoot through a front leg to hit the heart. Been there. Done that. Several times.Threw away less meat with a slow bullet. Side shots into the lung? Sometimes if the deer is standing at a little bit of angle its a choice between the rumen and the shoulder. Many choices on that big brown blob.

We had discussion a long time ago when I was wondering about whether the .35 Remington was enough of a cartridge for deer. I think it was predicated on my then-perception that unless you had a three inch exit wound and a massive blood trail a cartridge was inadequate. Several deers later I agreed that it worked just fine.

We all go through these phases where we are overconfident then chastised then overconfident again then chastised again until we get to where we're going. Everybody stop and take a deep breath and say Om Namah Shivaya.

December 2, 2007, 04:16 PM
Something to remember is that there are many different types of hunting situations and what is almost always possible in one type of enviroment may not be in another.

For folks hunting out of perminant stands in open woods, along fields or over food plots, there is am much better chance that they can "place" their shots perfectly. Especially when you factor in the availability of a rest.

For those of us hunting in the thick woods from the ground, or from portable climbers, the situation is most likely very different. We've often times got only a small window of opportunity, and no stedy rest. And with the deer moving around in thick cover you can't just wait for him to turn sideways as he may be behind something most of the time.

Now admitidely our shots will be closer but the conditions are VERY different.

I'm a meat hunter and am very careful not to just blast at the "brown" as you say. And I will not shoot at a fast mooving hog or deer unless I've already put one in him and I'm concerned that he is not going to drop quickly.

Shot a lot of deer, and hogs, with a 25-06, quite a few with a .44 mag, about 20 with a .35 Rem and a couple with a 45-70. Always clean them myself.

So what I've noticed is that the larger diameter, slower, heavier, bullets kill just as cleanly but do not "blood shoot" as much meat when they hit a little off. The 25-06 with 117 Sierras was deadly, and accurate, but in close like we hunt it would just MUSH a bunch of meat if you hit wrong.

This is not to say that the .44 mag and the .35 Rem did not mess up some meat when a bone was hit just that it seemed to be less messed up.

I can't pass judgment on the 45-70 as of yet but the two hogs I shot last week both looked about the same as when shot with the .35 Rem or .44 mag.

December 2, 2007, 04:47 PM
.338 magdum

Say what ?????

December 2, 2007, 04:58 PM
There are so many deer around here that if one doesn't give you a good broadside shot you just wait till the next one comes along.If you hit a shoulder with any high powered rifle it is going to ruin most of the meat. But, there is little meat on the shoulder of a deer anyway. Try not to shoot him in the loin or the butt. I find the whole meat damage argument a little silly myself.

December 2, 2007, 06:00 PM
I find the whole meat damage argument a little silly myself

You'd probably feel otherwise if you'd ever seen a nice mule deer buck hit with a .300 Win. mag. slug going around Mach 8. Depending on shot placement, there can be serious meat damage, believe me.

December 2, 2007, 06:57 PM
Say what ????? Yup, 338 magdum aka .338 Franken Magdum, invented in 1993 in northern Minnesota. The cartridge is about the size of a 22 ounce coke bottle and it pushes a .338 caliber 225 grain all copper boat tailed hollow point at 5200 fps. Usually these rifles come with muzzle brakes as well as a mercury brake and Jake brakes but even so they will set fire to your shooting jacket in dry weather. Last deer I ever saw shot with one ended up as just a smudge, not even worth taking home. Blew him completely out of his hide so that even the coyotes didn't want to touch him. Turned his horns inside out.

December 2, 2007, 07:31 PM
LMFAO...But at $2.00 a round thay aint half bad! :D

December 2, 2007, 07:41 PM
if you'd ever seen

I have shot several whitetails with a 300 WBY, a handful with a 280, and a bunch with a 30/06. If you hit the animal in the shoulder with any of these you can plan on throwing it away.

Rather than trying to base my cartridge selection on meat damage, I try to wait on and make a better shot. I'll admit that I have lost a shoulder or two over the years, but it is a very small percentage of the useful meat on a deer.

Hey Meek, didn't they call that a Supermagdumhyperblitz?

December 2, 2007, 11:08 PM
I find this thread interesting because I have always thought that my .270 ruined way more meat than I thought it should. I have used 130 to 150 gr. bullets from Sierra, Speer, Hornady, Remington, and Nolser and they have all inflicted more damage on meat than I wished. My .270 has been my main deer/elk rifle for almost 20 years. I have used a 30-06 from time to time and this was my first year using a .340 Wby on elk.

Shot a 5x5 elk this year with the .340 225gr partition @ 150 yds. Shot placement was through rib cage, lung shot. The elk went about 15 ft. Took out both lungs and broke several ribs. No significant meat damage.

Shot a 5x5 muley this year with .270 140gr Hornady SST at 175 yds. 1st shot was at the base of the neck just in front of shoulder and the deer just stood there like nothing happened. 2nd shot was in the mid neck at same distance and the deer again did not act like it was hit but trotted down the hit about 20 yds. 3rd shot was a lung shot in ribs deer took a couple of steps and went down. Most of the front of the deer was blood shot even though no shoulder was hit.

I also shot a 10 point white tail this year with same .270 load. Lung shot through ribs. The bullet ricocheted off of the ribs into the spine and resting under the skin in the upper abdomen. Again no shoulder was hit but the blood shot damage ruined on entire front shoulder.

Sorry for the long post but this is a common occurrence with my .270 over the years. No matter were I hit the deer there is more damage than I would like. I have come to the point were I will probably use a 30-06 next year for deer because there has been less excessive damage from my experience. I almost used the .340 on the last deer after the muley experience. Side note: all game was taken on public land.

December 3, 2007, 12:26 AM
No matter were I hit the deer there is more damage than I would like.That's why I shoot a 7X57.

Are they just sorta shooting at any old where in a Big Brown Blob? I thought you were supposed to pick out a vital spot away from the eatin'-meat part of a deer. You don't shoot 'em in the backstraps or hams, or even the shoulders, which is about 90% of the eatin' meat.
True, but a lot of people learn that the hard way, or they don't really care to begin with because they just want a dead deer, edible or not.

December 3, 2007, 08:18 AM
I use a 30-06 and always try for heart/lung shots but if it's not possible I for one don't worry about it. If the best I can get is a shoulder shot that's good enough. I generally don't fool with shoulders anyway. I keep them in case somebody wants them but to me they're not worth the effort. I won't take a head on through the body shot. I generally won't take a neck shot unless he's fully facing away or towards me with his head turned. I definitely won't shoot one up the butt no matter how big his rack is.

Art Eatman
December 3, 2007, 08:31 AM
Beretta16, lemme rephrase it as "kill shot without ruining meat". That doesn't include the shoulder shot.

Look: I'm not talking about true perfection on every shot taken. Okay? I figure any of us are gonna be off a bit, occcasionally, on a walking or running deer. What I'm talking about is the idea that some cartridge/bullet will apparently ALWAYS ruin meat, as if it doesn't matter where the deer is hit.

And I've never ruined any choice meat with a neck shot. Neck meat is okay for deerburger for spaghetti sauce, but the coyotes like it a lot better than I do.

IMO the real deal is to aim at a specific point on a deer and not just somewhere in the brown...

Wild Bill Bucks
December 3, 2007, 10:30 AM
I take a lot of abuse about taking neck shots, but I agree with Art. A well placed shot in the neck leaves no busted insides to mess with when gutting, and wastes hardly any meat to speak of.

Most people don't trust their shooting ability, or their rifle sighting enough to take a neck shot, but it is by far the most deadly shot. If the neck is shot properly, there will be absolutely No tracking, since the deer will be in the same tracks you shot it in.

December 3, 2007, 12:08 PM
Meat Damage ("blood shot" meat, "bullet bruising") results from hydrostatic shock- the shock wave of energy transferred from the bullet to watery living tissue- and lacerations from bullet and bone fragments. To kill an animal, you have to damage one or more of the systems that keep it alive.

The quickest kill shot is the brain (instant lights out), but considering that a deer's brain is smaller than your fist and well armored (a glancing shot won't do any more than stun it), it's not a great target.

The neck or high shoulder shot is next on the sudden death list......... damage to the spinal cord from bullet or bone fragments USUALLY results in instant paralysis belos the point of injury, and MAJOR Arteries and Veins run just underneath it. The problems with the neck shot is it is small in the vertical plane (shoot 3 inches high and you missed, 2 inches high or 4 inches low and you have a wounded deer you won't likely recover). Not only that, but the neck is wrapped in MEAT, which for me, is the whole object of the excercise. The neck is not the tenderest part, but it makes good burger and roasts........

The high shoulder shot puts deer down quickly, but shattering shoulder bones and the spine messes up a lot of good meat...... and if you shoot 4 inches high, you MISSED.

It doesn't take a lot to kill a deer. A 100grain broadhead through both lungs is invariably fatal. It just takes 30 seconds or so...... and the heart/lung area is a HUGE target when compared to the spine. You would hace to miss your mark by more than 6 inches on a broadside shot not to have a fatal hit. A modern high powered rifle bullet in the boiler room will put them down soon enough. You may have to trail them a whole 50 yards..... and unless you have a hankerin to eat the heart and lungs, you won't waste more than an ounce or two of meat.

December 3, 2007, 12:58 PM
I've used a .270 WIN to take deer from 15 feet to (laser range finder) 460 yards. I have not had any problem ruining meat. I took 2 bucks this year, both under 30 yards, both deer facing me straight on. Neither of the SIERRA Gameking 150grain BTSPs (leaving at @ 2925 f/s)penetrated the diaphram. Both made hash out of the lungs........ the first deer went down immediately, but started to get up when I ran up to him. A pistol shot to the base of the skull put him back down. The second buck ran 25 yards, hit a tree an was stone dead by th time I walked over to him.

The worst I have ever messed up a deer was a button-buck I tried to get cute on a few years back........I had an open sighted 30/30 and tried to shoot him "between the eyes" at 25 yards as he was looking straight at me. The 170 grain Nosler Partition passed through his left eye, hit him high on the left shoulder, tearing up the front 2/3rds fo the left backstrap, crossing over the spine without cutting it and exiting out the right backstrap. I trailed him 150 yards through deep snow, caught up with him as he was limping away, and put another bullet through him on almost the same axis, only going the other way! The second one clipped his spine and put him down, but I still had to shoot him in the head........ what should have been som of the best venison I ever had was pretty much destroyed........ I have avoided controlled expansion and bonded bullets ever since. Hitting a deer in the front of the chest with one of those is virtually guaranteeing a bullet that passes through the guts..........messymessy:barf:

Wild Bill Bucks
December 3, 2007, 01:18 PM
I had an open sighted 30/30 170 grain Nosler Partition

Now that's interesting.:confused:

Can't get them around these parts.

December 3, 2007, 01:42 PM
I still have the Box...... 30 Cal. (.308)-170-Grain Round Nose 16333

Price tag says $20.85 for a box of 50 bullets............ (not cartridges- I'm one of the few, the proud, the Handloaders....):D

If Nosler has discontinued this bullet, I can see why...........

I have also heard a rumor that Sierra has put plastic tips on their Gameking 150 grain .277 bullets......... I'm still going through th 400 of them I bought when I first developed the load......

December 3, 2007, 04:19 PM
Any caliber capable of taking down a deer will ruin meat it is a matter of hitting the deer in the right place.

You can shoot a deer in the arse with a .223 and have it run away and never find it and ruin all the meat or shoot a deer in the arse with a .270, knock it down and get another one into it in a place where one may actually want to shoot a deer.

The thing to do with this operation would be to go out and shoot a deer in a reasonable place such as the heart or lungs, kill it effectively with the first shot.

December 3, 2007, 04:40 PM
170 grain Nosler Partition

Now that's interesting.

Can't get them around these parts.

Wild Bill Bucks
December 4, 2007, 10:05 AM
Thousand Pardons guys. All we can get in a factory round in .30-.30 here is the old round nose 150 grain bullets. I hadn't thought about it being a hand load. The caliber here is so popular that they are cheap enough that no one reloads for it, that I know of.

Just something I have noticed, I have used the Ballistic tip silver tips for a long time in .308, and have noticed that the bullet performs completely different between 2800 fps and 3000 fps. If I keep them loaded at around 2800 they perform really well, but if I try to drive them any faster, they tend to blow up on impact, and the wound looks a little like a hand grenade went off inside. At 2800 the bullet goes in one side, in a small hole, and comes out the other through a hole about the size of a tobasco bottle bottom.

The partition might be the same way. Might try bringing the charge down a little, and get better results.

December 4, 2007, 10:56 AM
Yin and Yang. People complain because they lose an animal and suspect the bullet did not perform properly or was not sufficiently powerful. People complain because the bullet levels the animal on the spot, but there is too much meat damage. Cake anyone?

December 4, 2007, 11:02 AM
If Nosler has discontinued this bullet, I can see why...........
I hope Nosler never discontinues the Partition; it is the standard by which all bullets are judged. Partitions are not necessary for hunting deer with a .30-30, but might be nice to have if going after elk/moose with the same rifle. I’d stick to regular round nose/flat nose bullets for going after anything deer sized and smaller with a .30-30.

If I keep them loaded at around 2800 they perform really well, but if I try to drive them any faster, they tend to blow up on impact, and the wound looks a little like a hand grenade went off inside. At 2800 the bullet goes in one side, in a small hole, and comes out the other through a hole about the size of a tobasco bottle bottom.

The partition might be the same way. Might try bringing the charge down a little, and get better results.

A Partition will not gernade. They were designed to stop the gernade factor when the first Magnum rifles came out that pushed bullets beyond the limits of what was available at the time. Partitions might shed their petals when impacting game above 3000 fps but the base will continue to penetrate through the animal retaining around 75% of the bullet weight. The great thing about the Partition over some of the newer bonded core and solid copper bullets out today is that it will still mushroom fully around 1800 fps. That is the great thing about Partitions is the velocity range in which they work.

As far as ruining meat, I like the full on broadside shot so that the only meat damage I get is in the ribs. The only animal I've ever shot intentionaly through both front shoulders is my bear. I didn't want to track a bear in the woods, I wanted him DRT so that is the only time I aimed for a high shoulder shot. It did the job shattered both shoulders and spine with a 200 grain Partiton out of a .30-06 at 202 yards DRT.

I'll take out a shoulder if that is the only shot presentable, but I only try to take one. If it is the near of far sid shoulder that presenst the best shot I'll take it because I know the animal will go down. If the deer gives me a full broadside shot I will not aim for the shoulders even though I know it is instant death, because that deer is just as dead with a double lung and or heart shot.

The caliber I've found that ruins the least amout of meat out of any of my rifles is my .50 Cal with round ball. I've never recovered a round ball from any of the deer I've shot, and you can pretty much eat right up to the hole on both sides. Something to be said for heavy and slow movers.

December 4, 2007, 11:31 AM
Bambi is small in our neck of the woods. Not too much meat on the shoulder. If i don't feel confident w/ the neck shot, I go for smack in the shoulder. I don't shoot behind the shoulder, cuz I hate it when bullets fragment on bone fragments and cuts the gut...:barf: So Neck or smack in the shoulder, and the trail is short. Done it w/ 300win mag, 7mm rem mag, 270, 25-06, 243, 22-250, 357 magnum, and bow and arrow. All wound up in the freezer just the same, including the 22-250, shot in the shoulder, and dropped dead in it's tracks. the longest trail w/ a rifle, about 50 yds. Longest trail w/ bow, about 75...BTW, I stick my arrows right in the middle of the shoulder as well....on deer and hogs. Shot 2 javelina w/ one shot through the shoulders @35yds. My wife watched me do it.

Tom Matiska
December 4, 2007, 12:40 PM
Just ruined a few more pounds than I would have liked this weekend. Slow mover, in the brush, missed a clean lung shot by few inches and did a number on the far side shoulder. Not a bad "miss", and my 307 isn't exactly gross overkill, but pushing blunt 30-30 bullets the extra few hundred fps does have issues on close range shots.

Here in PA we get a ration of one buck per year, and apply for limited doe tags. Combined buck/doe harvest is about one third of the 900,000+ hunters. Some in this thread live in a state with a 4 deer limit, and enjoy higher success rates. Erring on the side of overkill isn't necessarliy erring. But here, ruining a quarter or more of edible meat (before sharing with 2 hunting buddies) isn't my first choice... waste not want not.....

December 4, 2007, 12:46 PM
live in a state with a 4 deer limit

Don't want to put salt in the wound, but in NC this year if you use your six tags you can apply and they will send you two more doe tags.

December 5, 2007, 04:19 PM
In SE Nebraska( Blue Management unit) they give a bonus Antlerless deer on every tag. It is possible to get like 8 deer (2 buck Limit) during firearm season as long as permits don't run out for the area......... there is talk of next year requiring hunter to take a doe before they can take a buck in some of the special management areas............ to many deer, tomany car/deer interfaces, to much crop damage, and not enough meat hunters.

December 5, 2007, 04:40 PM
Castnblast - How much weight are you pulling on your bow? I have never heard of anyone actually arrowing the shoulder blade on purpose.

December 5, 2007, 04:41 PM
What's a deer tag?:p:D:D We can take three of each legally but we don't have tags. So if nobody sees you with one................................;)

December 8, 2007, 12:58 PM
70lbs. These are South Texas deer, about 150 live weight tops. The mid shoulder blade really isn't that tough to shoot through. I use Chizle point broadheads. Done it with both fixed and mechanicals. Some of the deer shot w/ mechanicals have broken a blade, but at least the other two stay intact. Next year I'll go back to the muzzy's. My kids will be older, and I won't have to worry about them sticking their fingers in my quiver, which is the only reason I went to mechanicals the last couple years.

The two javelinas I shot last year off my back porch were shot at 37 yds. the arrow went completely though all 4 shoulder blades and exited. I use heavy arrows thought. 10.1gr. per inch. Not the ultra light arrows. Makes a huge difference, and I shoot 100 or 125 gr. broadheads.

December 8, 2007, 02:42 PM
I've never had a single instance of meat ruining with my .30-06 nor has anyone I've hunted with.