Bullet choice for dangerous game

njc110381

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Since joining AH I've been getting lots of really good information from you all. I've had some remarkable replies to my posts, no effort spared to explain things to me and for that I'm most grateful. Reading other posts on the forum as well as my own, I've stumbled across something else I really feel the need to ask! I've been doing a lot of asking and have made a plonker of myself once or twice, but hey, I'm here to learn! So here goes...

How come a rifle is generally loaded with an expanding first round, followed up with solids?

I've read through the ammunition performance post - it's good to see the results you're all having even if some reviews are mixed. I couldn't see an answer to this. It doesn't make much sense to me when a good expanding bullet will crack through a shoulder, churn up the heart/lungs and come to rest in the far side of the animal, maybe even exit? I suppose the solid is more likely to enter through a hip and make it to the vitals of a tough animal but by that point, how much damage will it do if it's not moving quickly and hasn't expanded?

Another thing I'm wondering is when shooting through heavy bone with modern bullets, is it essential to shoot the heaviest bullets available? That seems to be the case with most factory rounds. 300gr in .375, 400 in the .40's and 500 in the .45's. Is there a minimum BC that suggests a bullet is suitable? Assuming the correct construction of course.
 

Adrian

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A soft expanding round first will generally leave a bigger hole and cause more rapid blood loss than a solid which will leave a small hole and not much blood loss.
You will most likely first shoot a buffalo for example when it offers a premium aiming point so you slot your soft point into the vitals.
If it then turns and runs you have a shot into it's rear end and a solid will break the pelvis for example and still drive on to the vitals.
Also if shooting from a group of animals a soft nose is less likely to pass through whereas a solid can and may cause injury to non target animals.
Each to their own though, softs can be used for all your shots and different hunters and PHs will each have their own thoughts and preferences.
 

Ridgewalker

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I’m certainly no expert, but I’ll get this started. Please correct me anyone if I misstate this explanation.

Second question first...it is SD (sectional density) that gives you penetration and not BC (ballistic coefficient). Good SD in a penetrating bullet is usually considered .305 or more.

Now the first question...use to be the theory was the first bullet should be an expanding bullet placed as close to the heart/lung as possible. Exception-elephant. The second, backup up bullet, then would be a solid for as you suggested penetration to reach the vitals as the animal ran away.
Today bullets have vastly improved. The all copper bullets expand and penetrate deeply maintaining most of their weight. The TBBC, Rhino, NorthFork, etc bullets which are bonded lead up front for controlled expansion and solid copper in back like a solid to keep penetrating deeply.
The newest generation of solids that are “cup” point are another alternative. They don’t expand, but instead they create a shock wave from the cup causing massive damage, but not losing any weight consequently SD so they penetrate deeply.

Hope this helps?
 

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First off it depends what you are hunting. And the caliber and gun you're using.

That general recommendation you referenced would be the old standby for buffalo, maybe hippo. That solid was especially important when the old cup and core softs were the only soft available. Today's bonded and TSX bullets hold together to maintain weight yet expand reliably. Other than some older designs still marketed, such as the older Hornady DGX. So if you are shooting factory ammo in an older cartridge, it may only be available in a cup and core type soft so following that with a solid may be advisable.

As mentioned above, a solid is not the best choice for a first shot on buffalo as it will pass through and could likely hit another animal. However on a departing buffalo, a solid will penetrate the length of the animal. But if using modern quality bullets, many people load all softs these days.

As for Dangerous game, you be using only solids for elephant or rhino. Only softs for the cats, and I would think crocodiles, buffalo and hippo being the ones you may want to load both.
 

njc110381

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That makes sense, thanks. It is SD not BC, I stand corrected. That's what happens when I don't pay attention to what I'm typing! I was half way through looking at down range energy and looking up BC's of various bullets and got muddled up - turns out my 6.5x55 has more ft-lbs behind it than a 500gr DGS from a Lott at 1000 yards.... They shed energy at an amazing rate.

With those figures the 450gr Barnes TSX looks like a good bullet to load. SD of .306, it should shoot just a little flatter than the 500gr whilst still getting in deep enough for anything I want to be killing.
 

tarbe

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With those figures the 450gr Barnes TSX looks like a good bullet to load. SD of .306, it should shoot just a little flatter than the 500gr whilst still getting in deep enough for anything I want to be killing.

The 450gr TSX at 2,250 +/- 100 should be great for Cape Buffalo.

Not sure how important drop at extended range is for a bullet that heavy! 75 yards is a long shot on DG.

If you are talking PG, the 450 is unnecessarily heavy.
 

njc110381

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The 450gr TSX at 2,250 +/- 100 should be great for Cape Buffalo.

Not sure how important drop at extended range is for a bullet that heavy! 75 yards is a long shot on DG.

If you are talking PG, the 450 is unnecessarily heavy.

General opinion seems to suggest I should stay away from swapping between rounds. Just pick one that does it all and go with that. I'll probably shoot 350gr TSX if they'll let me have it for deer here. In the UK we are told what we are allowed to use our guns for and the Lott is a bit big for deer.
 

tarbe

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General opinion seems to suggest I should stay away from swapping between rounds. Just pick one that does it all and go with that. I'll probably shoot 350gr TSX if they'll let me have it for deer here. In the UK we are told what we are allowed to use our guns for and the Lott is a bit big for deer.

Ok, understood. In such a case, the 450gr is perhaps your best compromise...and certainly, the compromising must be on the PG side of the ledger, not DG!

I am still struggling myself over whether to bring a second rifle to Zimbabwe in August.

Primary target is Cape Buffalo, which will be hunted with a bonded 400gr in my No. 1 450/400.

I'd love to take my Henry 45/70 and hunt some PG with it, but it seems a little impractical to lug a peep-sighted 45/70 all the way to Zim when I have a scoped 450/400 that will do everything the Henry can do, times 2. I am a hopeless romantic...but I still have a living ember of practicality glowing within me.

Good luck with your decisions. There is a best answer (maybe) but there are probably several pretty good answers.

Tim
 
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WAB

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I’d take it Tim. Once the buff is in the salt go to the 45-70 and have fun with it. They will both fit in one pelican with no problem.
 

njc110381

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I’d take it Tim. Once the buff is in the salt go to the 45-70 and have fun with it. They will both fit in one pelican with no problem.

I agree with that. If you can fit the second rifle in the case then just take it. Even if you don't use it, at least you have it there. I don't understand the hunting routines enough to comment on when/where you can use it but if your PH knows you want to and it's there I'm sure something could be arranged? You clearly have a sentimental attachment to that rifle, so use it as much as you can.
 

Nhoro

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I'd love to take my Henry 45/70 and hunt some PG with it, but it seems a little impractical to lug a peep-sighted 45/70 all the way to Zim when I have a scoped 450/400 that will do everything the Henry can do, times 2.

Tim

Tim isnt that why you own your rifles, to enjoy them ? I figure that two guns through airports and customs is the same trouble as 1 gun, so bring it over to Zim and enjoy it !
 

njc110381

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I'm just reading more about the Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets. My application for the Lott wasn't approved so I'm now looking at .416 Rigby options.

Given that these all copper bullets don't shed weight, would that mean that a SD of under .305 could be more acceptable as it doesn't drop off on the way through? The 350gr TSX and TTSX have a SD of .289 - nearly there but not quite. I'd like to use the same bullet for everything including use at home if possible, and I need to achieve 2450fps here to be deer legal. Much easier with the Rigby than the Lott!
 

Hallgeir Gravråk

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I asked my PH about what to bring with me of ammo in 470 NE, and which make are there to prefer.
If Buff are in the thick, the monolithic is the way to go. Soft nose rounds when confronted with Jesse or similar tend to open and break up and inherently you’ll lose penetration. I would stick to the monolithic. It’s not to say that the Aframes and the Woodleighs don’t work. Out of experience though.
Most definitely solid, especially considering that some shots can be taken in the Jesse (thick bush)
 

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.............. I'd like to use the same bullet for everything including use at home if possible, and I need to achieve 2450fps here to be deer legal. ............


You have me confused on this requirement.
I assume BASC is telling me the truth when they state the minimums for hunting deer in the UK.
I don't see your suggestion anywhere. Where are you hunting at home?
Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 07.45.13.png



To that end.
.416 - 350 grain TTSX - BC .444 - 2490 FPS has 4750 Ft Lbs of energy . It gets close to the minimum energy at 640 yards out.

Theoretically, you could load it down to 1500 FPS and achieve the 17oo Ft Lb minimum.
Football passes have less arc than this load would.
 

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............I'm now looking at .416 Rigby options.
. I need to achieve 2450fps here to be deer legal. .....

What am I missing?
 
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cagkt3

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upload_2019-2-25_12-20-16.png


Could the table mean you must meet both 1750 foot pounds of energy as well as 2450 fps??

Edit: For Scotland that is
 

Eric Anderson

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I'm just reading more about the Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets. My application for the Lott wasn't approved so I'm now looking at .416 Rigby options.

Given that these all copper bullets don't shed weight, would that mean that a SD of under .305 could be more acceptable as it doesn't drop off on the way through? The 350gr TSX and TTSX have a SD of .289 - nearly there but not quite. I'd like to use the same bullet for everything including use at home if possible, and I need to achieve 2450fps here to be deer legal. Much easier with the Rigby than the Lott!
No offense, but this is why UK gun laws are BS.
Forcing hunters to use completely inappropriate calibers because of artificial constraints on what you can own, how many rifles, ect.

I have 6 different firearms for just Eastern US whitetail.

Op, I would go .375
I honestly don’t see an expanding .416 bullet going over 2450 FPS being anything but a bloody mess hunting a 150 lb animal.
To me it is like using a 30-06 on a raccoon. You can do it, but I would not recommend it if you were planning on eating it. Any hit to the vitals in the chest is going to end up rupturing the GI tract as well.

If you are going to use absurdly big and heavy bullets for a game animal, they should be slow.

To bad your Lott application got denied.

Just out of curiosity, why would the Lott be denied, but not the Rigby?
 

njc110381

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Just out of curiosity, why would the Lott be denied, but not the Rigby?

Have a guess, it'll be as good as mine because I have no idea!

I have other rifles for deer. 6.5x55, 7STW, 8x60/16g drilling, .45-70 (although I'll probably sell that when the Rigby arrives). Without the freedom to hunt deer with it I am restricted to government approved ranges for target shooting and I would really like to be able to just go to my land and peg out a few targets to practise on. The nearest range is nearly an hour away. I can get to usable land in under ten minutes. So the deer thing is a formality that will allow me to handle the gun and practise with it regularly without having to travel far or pay a range fee.

English deer law says a minimum of 1700ft-lbs and .240 calibre with no velocity limit. Scotland is 1750ft-lbs and 2450fps muzzle velocity. Again don't ask because I have no idea why! For local use I can develop loads accordingly, but there may be times I want to use it in Scotland just because I can.

You'd be surprised how little damage a bonded large calibre bullet does to a small deer. They're generally in and out before they've started to expand. I've shot a number of muntjac with my .338 Win Mag and they're smaller than a labrador. They fall over quickly enough but none of them were ruined. A .243 does more damage.
 

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But what bullets to use on lion....lets say in .375H&H and ,470NE..?

I am thinking Woodies...with lots of lead visible....but anyone..?
 

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A lot of good advice so far, so I'll just join in with my 2 cents worth.

The rule of first shot soft followed by solids started before we had the variety of premium bullets that we have today, and the thought was the first shot should do maximum damage in the chest cavity, and subsequent shots may have to penetrate much deeper to reach the vitals from a rear end hit on a running away Buffalo. I'm of the Keep it Simple school, so by only using one type of bullet I don't clutter up my head with multiple points of impact with different bullets.

I've been to Africa a number of times, and I only took two rifles once. I took my .375 RUM for Buffalo and my 7 mm RM for plains game. I ended up shooting several PG animals with my .375 because that was the rifle that I was carrying at that time. On another trip I only took my .375 RUM and shot everything from Steenbok to Eland with it.

For Buffalo I used the Barnes 300 grain TSX bullets that I handloaded at 2830 fps. Again to keep things simple, I zeroed my rifle for those bullets, and those were the only bullets that I took for that rifle. On the second trip with that rifle that was just for plains game, I used Barnes 270 grain TSX bullets handloaded at 3040 fps. The Buffalo only took one bullet that went in the left shoulder, through the chest cavity, and stopped in the right shoulder. He ran less than 50 yards.

The only other dangerous game animal that I've shot was a Mozambique Leopard that I shot with my .300 Weatherby with Barnes 168 grain TTSX bullets handloaded at 3316 fps. That was a 50 yard shot with the bullet going through both shoulders. With the help of Brickburn's Star Wars Light Saber, we found my Leopard 19 paces from where he was standing when I shot him. And also thank you Wayne for taking my avatar picture!

I don't spend a lot of time worrying about bullet Sectional Density because unless the bullet is a solid, the bullet tip will start deforming the instant it hits the animal and the SD value will immediately drop in direct proportion to the amount of tip expansion and bullet weight retention. Yes, a heavier weight bullet should penetrate deeper than a lighter weight bullet of the same caliber.

As to the question in previous post about what bullet to use for a lion, just before our brilliant Fish and Wildlife service banned the importation of lions into the US, I was thinking about a lion hunt. I would be using my .375 RUM and I worked up a sub moa load with 300 grain Nosler Partitions at 2900 fps. Now, if they ever drop the import ban...
 

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