Thread: Bullet choice
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Old December 6, 2019, 04:04 PM   #29
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Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 13,886
Energy numbers alone are useless
A year or so ago, I was ridiculed on this forum for saying that foot-pounds are essentially meaningless. They are not the correct unit of measure for what you are trying to determine, i.e. "what kills animals". There is no quantifiable way to determine how much energy gets delivered inside the animal's body outside of a laboratory, or what that energy does at the moment of impact.

Over the past 50 years that I have been involved in hunting and shooting, I have read of several other methods to try to determine which cartridge or bullet has an advantage and will kill quickly and humanely. Momentum calculations and formuals like Taylor's KO Index, among others, favors slower, heavier bullets. Kinetic energy formulas favor speed over weight of the projectile (the whole "1/2 mass X velocity squared" thing). The typical discussion between two or more hunters usually sounds like "heavier bullets kill better" vs "higher velocity kills better". In my experience, there is a sweet spot for both velocity and bullet weight, somewhere around 130-180 grains of weight going 2,300-3,000 ft/s. There are dozens of cartridges that fall within those ranges that are recognized as "good killing rounds", from 30-30 to 375 H&H. Any faster and there is too much meat damage, any slower and there is no hydrostatic shock to create a good wound channel.
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But what do I know?
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