Will someone help me understand Solids?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by chongo, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. chongo

    chongo AH Member

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    I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around the use of solids. I just completed my first trip to Africa in July for PG and am working my butt off to get back as soon as possible in hopes of going after a buffalo.

    I say all that just to give me experience level hunting Africa. As I understand the use of solids, they are not designed to expand rather penetration is the goal. What I do not understand is I would think the expansion of a round nose bullet would deliver the energy of the round and provide more damage and stopping force than a solid. Obviously I am incorrect since the use of solids on DG is appears to be universal. I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around this. Could someone please break it down Barney style and explain it to me, I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks
     
  2. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Chongo,
    First off, I don't claim to be a buffalo expert, but I have taken three. (Two Cape and one Asian) This post is sure to generate different opinions...here's mine. In the "old days" the construction of expanding bullets left a lot to be desired. Lack of penetration and reliable expansion caused more than it's fair share of wounded and lost game and a few "lost" PH's I'm sure. Thus the push to use non-expanding or "solids" on the likes of buffalo mainly. (Solids should always be used on elephant due to heavy hide and bone) The bullet manufactures have just about corrected all of the bad issues associated with the unreliable designs. Today, the use of Barnes Triple Shock, Woodleighs, Swift A-Frames etc...are pretty much accepted by most. I personally, load the Barnes Triple Shock as the first shot and follow up with the Barnes Solids in the magazine. Reason being, on the follow-up shots, he will probably be moving away and I want the guaranteed penetration of the solid. My first buffalo was shot dead in the chest as he was facing me at 80 yds. The .416 Rigby, 400gr Barnes Triple Shock took out the top of his heart, lower lungs and was recovered in the rear hindquarter. It had mushroomed perfectly and all "petals" were intact. Devastating! They have repeated this performance every time I have used them. When following up all of the buffalo (all had only gone a short distance) I felt better with the solids loaded and ready to go whether they came toward me or headed away from me. On a side note, the solids are great for the small stuff when you come across them while carrying the big gun.
     
  3. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    The short version answer to your question:

    No amount of shock ever killed an animal, much less a Buffalo. Good bullet placement through the prime vital area does. No use having a good soft that does not reach the prime vital area from ANY angle.
     
  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Splatter all the energy in the world on the outside of a tank and it still keeps moving.

    Armour piercing rounds get the job done.
     
  5. chongo

    chongo AH Member

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    Thank you for the responses - I swear there was a wall up between me and understanding the use of solids. Buff, your explanation really helped. Brickburn, your analogy made it simple.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. greyfox

    greyfox AH Veteran

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    Chongo,
    I had the exact same issue as you.
    Part of the problem in my mind, is that in America we think of "solid" as non-expanding, full metal jacket, illegal to hunt with in most places for big game. Think Hornady 375 300 gr FMJ solid. the orund hits and goes through with out deformation or expansion.
    Often, in Africa talk, (world talk too) solid is One piece construction, think Barnes TSX and Swift Solid, the expand and petal, but solid is One piece, No core. No jacket to seperate.

    Works in my mind, and that's all that counts!!
     
  7. chongo

    chongo AH Member

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    greyfox you are exactly right, it just took a little explanation from others for me to wrap my head around the concept.
     
  8. redriver

    redriver AH Member

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    solids stay together and break large bones. From big calibers they will often give 2 blood trails where softs usually stay inside. I have seen where solids used on follow up shots go from the back of an animal and travel up into the chest cavity. That said the quality softs that are around today retain most of their weight and do alot of damage. I like the woodleighs myself but I have read that some solids can be hard on barrells.
     
  9. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    In Africa we refer to a solid as a non-expanding bullet. Not like the Barnes X. Any of the X type bullets from Barnes will still be and expandable one. The Barnes Banded Solid is a true solid because it does not expand, it keeps it's original shape and it penetrates in a straight line even after encountering heavy bone.
    The solid is the only type of bullet you will find in a PH's rifle (if he has been around a while) when hunting large animals like Elephant, Hippo, Rhino and Buffalo.
    An expanding bullet will do a marvelous job on a Buffalo if shot broadside or full frontal. If how ever the animal turns and presents a quartering towards shot or there is brush in the way then a solid is the only bullet that will do the job and not might do the job.
     
  10. MT Griz

    MT Griz AH Member

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    I'm pretty sure you have your answer...but I will throw my two cents in as well.

    Solids are all about penetration, and are used on buffalo for the second shot or any additional shots needed to finish the job.
    The first shot is usually a high quality expanding bullet.....the first shot is taken (or should be) in a more controlled situation, on the sticks, close range, buffalo standing broadside, good open shot at the point of the shoulder, etc. If done correctly it should be the only shot you need....
    After the first shot you no longer control the situation...the buffalo is going to move, run, disappear or if your lucky drop dead.
    When he moves you may not have the perfect angle anymore so with your solids you now have the ability to reach the vitals from any angle.
    Solids can do damage through thick hide, muscle and bone.
    Hope this was of some help.
    Good luck on your quest for buffalo!
     
  11. chongo

    chongo AH Member

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    Thank You MT Griz, I liked the explanation using the controlled vs uncontrolled scenarios.
     
  12. joester

    joester AH Veteran

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    2 more quick notes re: solids

    1. Solids can be FMJ (usually copper coated solid lead) or monolithic (made entirely of a single metal or alloy)

    2. re:African hunting, if only taking one rifle in a DG caliber, solids are good for small critters like honey badgers, dik diks, etc. Ideally they will drill a small hole through the animal, saving the hide for taxidermy. Above all, try to avoid hitting major bones, rib shots are usually ok.
     

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