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Why not solids for everything?

This is a discussion on Why not solids for everything? within the Firearms & Ammunition forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; Hello all, By way of disclosure I'll say that I haven't hunted with a rifle in many years. I've been ...

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    Mr.Magoo is offline New Member
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    Default Why not solids for everything?

    Hello all,

    By way of disclosure I'll say that I haven't hunted with a rifle in many years. I've been hunting with a longbow for years and have put a truckload of deer in the freezer with my Howard Hill 'Big Five'. In any case, the gun bug bit this year and I pulled the .375 H&H out of the safe for kicks.

    I've killed deer in the past with the 30-06 and Winchester Fail Safes (165gr) and recall them being very effective. I'm going to load-up some rounds for the .375 for deer season here and remember reading Capstick and Ruark sing the praises of the solid. In fact, I pulled out Capstick's "Safari" wherein he has a chapter entitled 'A Solid Suggestion' where he says the solid is perfectly suitable for just about everything.

    Now from my archery experience I know I want 2 holes in whatever I shoot. I also know sometimes my blood trails are great, sometimes sparse from very similar shots, it just depends on what you cut.

    I can't imagine that a hit from a 300 gr. solid through both shoulders or through the boiler room at more than 2000 fps is going to just poke a .375 hole in a deer, but figured I'd ask to see what the folks with the experience have to say.

    Does anyone shoot solids for plains game? If so, has your experience been good or bad? Thanks for the help.

    - Dave

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    Folks use .375 solids on the small guys to keep excessive damage down.
    If you used an expanding round on a Red Duiker, for instance, your taxidermist would not be happy.
    Practice whispering before you leave for Africa!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magoo View Post
    Hello all,

    By way of disclosure I'll say that I haven't hunted with a rifle in many years. I've been hunting with a longbow for years and have put a truckload of deer in the freezer with my Howard Hill 'Big Five'. In any case, the gun bug bit this year and I pulled the .375 H&H out of the safe for kicks.

    I've killed deer in the past with the 30-06 and Winchester Fail Safes (165gr) and recall them being very effective. I'm going to load-up some rounds for the .375 for deer season here and remember reading Capstick and Ruark sing the praises of the solid. In fact, I pulled out Capstick's "Safari" wherein he has a chapter entitled 'A Solid Suggestion' where he says the solid is perfectly suitable for just about everything.

    Now from my archery experience I know I want 2 holes in whatever I shoot. I also know sometimes my blood trails are great, sometimes sparse from very similar shots, it just depends on what you cut.

    I can't imagine that a hit from a 300 gr. solid through both shoulders or through the boiler room at more than 2000 fps is going to just poke a .375 hole in a deer, but figured I'd ask to see what the folks with the experience have to say.

    Does anyone shoot solids for plains game? If so, has your experience been good or bad? Thanks for the help.

    - Dave
    hi mr magoo welcome to AH. as for your question on the use of solid bullets on animals that normally you would use a soft nose for i.e. plains game, or lion and leopard or your first shot on a buffalo, then unless you have a veterinary surgeons knowledge of the anatomy of every species you are going to hunt, and are capable of placing your shot with the same surgical skills they posses i wouldnt even think about it. a solid makes a very small hole and you can shoot an animal and be very close to vitals etc, and you would be convinced you had missed. i am not knocking capstick but please dont believe everything he wrote. his best books were his later biographies , but his earlier books were an amalgamation of stories that happened mostly to other people not him. i have seen animals shot with solids that didnt even appear to be hit, and also you are going to hit any 2 or 3 animals standing behind the 1 you are taking. as brickburn says solids are good for using on the small animals to minimise damage if you are wanting a full mount.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRICKBURN View Post
    Folks use .375 solids on the small guys to keep excessive damage down.
    If you used an expanding round on a Red Duiker, for instance, your taxidermist would not be happy.
    Solid advice.
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    I appreciate the replies. Regarding Capstick ... lots of creative license in his writing. You know, it took me years of shooting animals with broadheads to decide which worked best for me. 2 blades vs 3 or 4. Whether to crowd the shoulder or not. Whether 2 holes were better than one. I guess the only real difference here is that with a .375 two holes should be a given no matter what.

    I certainly know the anatomy of anything I'm going to shoot at, and if I weren't confident of being able to put my shots where I wanted them ... I wouldn't bother in the first place. I've hit animals that went completely A-Bomb at the shot, running as hard and fast as they could; others simply looked around while blood was pumping out of both sides and then fell over.

    No worries about hitting herd animals around here. I guess the proof will be in the postmortem.

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    I believe that solids on plains game in Namibia, is technically not legal.

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    I don't recommend using solids too much either. They are good for harvesting small plains game for taxidermy purposes, cape buffalo when nothing is behind it and elephant. I like expansion bullets...especially in the the lungs.

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    I agree with the consensus opinion...use soft points. I also was a bow hunter for years, but your example didn't take into consideration that, as bow hunters, we use broad heads on our arrows which provide a larger wound channels and promote the fast and humane death of the animal. We would never use field points, even if they were legal, as the results would certainly seem less certain, and the animal could escape and die a slow death.
    The solid has it's place, especially with heavy boned and thick skinned animals, but I believe the soft point is a better bullet choice for almost everything else.

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    Mr. Magoo, great topic, I would suggest solids for Elle, Rhino and small antelope ONLY, on the buff thing I have seen Swift - A -Frame as well as Barnes blow right through buff (broadside)...

    I am also of the opinion that no matter what you shoot Solids or softs or an arrow, make sure that there is nothing behind the target animals.

    I have always thought about it like this, let's say for arguments sake that I set up a 480gr arrow at good velocity and tipped with a field point, I should get penetration on a deer sized or antelope sized animal and puncture both sides on a broad side shot, yet this animal will go for miles, why is this?... Very simple wound channel, the secondary damage is vurtually nothing, and I only have a neat little hole punctured through both lungs.

    Tip the same arrow with a broadhead and you have a completly different result, with the same shot.

    Same with solids and softs, solids as we all know are non expanding rounds made specifically for penetration....., it does not create the needed wound channel to create maximum tissue damage in an animal, so while you might have 2 neat little holes on the impala it will go for much longer. Yes should you blow out a knuckle on the shoulder that will make it go donw quicker than what it would normally do with a solid but no quicket than with a soft.

    Softs are designed to create maximum wound channel and damage, with softs nowadays or rather expanding bullets there is virtually no need as in Capstick's time to take shots on larger plains game and buff with a monolithic, the bullet construction and materials that are used now is just so much better than what it used to be.

    Some softs or expanding rounds are better (harder) than others, pick the round suited for the quarry or the majority of species you are after,
    ie.
    I like soft expandables (soft, softs) for cats,..... as they are highly strung, and light boned and skinned and wound channel is of the utmost importance the bigger the wound channel on cats the quicker they die..

    For example on buff you would like a combination of a well constructed soft or expandeble (barnes) (harder soft) especially for the first shots, which will give you penetration but also wound channel it is the combination of these with hydrostatic shock that kills in the end.

    There are many good rounds out there finding the one that suits your target species is a good start and then the one that shoots the best from you rifle (if not hand loading).

    Once again great topic,

    My very best always.
    Jaco Strauss
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    Round nose solids were extremely popular for all game up until nearly WWII (many of the early soft points were a disaster). I have a .318 Westley Richards and the big slowish 250 gr Kynochs will kill anything from elephant to whitetail. With such good SPs on the market these days, the RN solid would not be my first choice, but I certainly wouldn't feel poorly armed. To Jaco's point, I still would rather have a .318 hole through and through than a single lung shot from too little penetration. The old Win Silver Tip was particularly eggregious in the mid range cals for expanding too quickly on stouter Afreican game. Not a problem since the creation of the partition and subsequent quality SPs.
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    True red leg all the more reason to pick the appropriate soft for the quarry, you will most definetely get more than single lung penetrtion, with a swift or barnes or trophy bonded bear claw with the appropriate calibre on a broad side buff.

    Quality of SP and expendeble rifle projectiles can not compare to what they were 3 - 4 decades ago, technology and bullet construction has come along way since then............

    BTW were the round nose solids on the .318 monolithic or FMJ with a lead core?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco Strauss View Post
    BTW were the round nose solids on the .318 monolithic or FMJ with a lead core?

    My best always
    Jaco in those days they were metal with a lead core. the metal on some wasnt even steel and caused problems with bending and disintigration, and in some cases lead to certain calibres earning a bad reputation on dangerous big game and being relegated to plains game use . rigby specified their solid bullets must have thicker steel casing at the nose and front of the bullet for extra strength and these worked well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco Strauss View Post
    I like soft expandables (soft, softs) for cats,..... as they are highly strung, and light boned and skinned and wound channel is of the utmost importance the bigger the wound channel on cats the quicker they die..
    ..100% I absolutely agree. I have never enjoyed going after a wounded cat.

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    Am I correct in saying that the rounds you are referring to tended to "fish tail" in ie. Elle skull and go off path so to speak with lateral or side ways movement?

    My best always.
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    i think so, but some had their casings made from hard metals other than steel, and they broke up on the heavy bones getting the calibre bad press when it was the bullet design/materials to blame.

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    Spike thanks we are on the same page, I do appreciate the extra info..

    Thank you.

    My best always
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    I used my PH's .375 H&H to shoot a zebra at about 80 yds. Unbeknownst to me, the bullets were soilds. I shot it through both shoulders but it meandered approx. 200 yds before dropping, still very much alive. From now on, its expanding soft points on plains game for me.

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    Mr Magoo I would not recommend using solids myself. But first let me ask where you plan to hunt with these solids? I know that you ask about using them on PG but it looks as if your suggesting using them on deer in NC where your from so my first recommendation would be to go to your fish and game agent and ask him/her to get the facts I know here in AL they are Illegal it is clearly written in our hunting regs that only mushrooming bullets can be used for deer hunting when hunting with a rifle and I'd sure hate to read a hunting report about how your 375 walked off with the Warden. Bob
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    In my opinion are normal pointed fmj solids totally crap to use on animals unless the caliber you use is very big for the animal it is used on.
    Sometimes the result is good, but other times the animal run far even with "perfect" shots.
    If you use a very rounded round nose bullet, the effect is much better.
    And even better still is a flat nose, but that is best used at short distances.

    From my experience, I can say that a round nosed solid that leaves the barrel at around 3000 fps or faster, can be very efficient if you place it where it should be.
    But I don't really see the point of using anything else than expanding bullets when hunting deer.

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    Solids are built expressly for penetration. For Buff I use a soft nose on the first shot and solids on subsequent shots because typically the second shot is going away and I simply want to drive the bullet as far into the animal as possible. The soft, (if placed properly) will at least break bone if not get into the vitals on dg. The second shot is more than likely not going to be a great angle and you are looking for nothing more than deep penetration to hopefully hit something vital in order to eventually put the animal down.

    With any bullet you are looking to expend as much of the bullets energy in the animal to create the greatest amount of damage. The perfect bullet is one that passes through vitals while expanding and stops just under the hide on the opposite side intact. This scenario expands every foot pound of energy of the bullet inside the animal doing the greatest amount of damage and hopefully resulting in a quick kill. A solid on pg will undoubtedly penetrate completely but will not expend the same amount of energy in the animal as a soft that stops short of exiting. In addition, with a solid if you miss a vital organ you have created nothing but a drain hole that could allow an animal to travel a long distance and suffer for a greater period of time that is ethically acceptable. Bullets are like any other tool. Each has its own proper time and place to be used.

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