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Thread: Shooting through light foliage

  1. #1

    Shooting through light foliage

    Hello!

    I stalked a nice 6 pointer (roe) the other evening, got to 75yds and was in prone position with bipod. Buck came out and was standing broadside, but with a small/thin conifer branch hanging out and partially covering the vitals area.

    I decided not to take the shot, as my mentality has been to always wait until perfectly clear and broadside shot; however, I have started to question in my mind, wether from this distance a few conifer needles, literally right next to the deer, would have been able to deflect or mutilate the bullet.

    Also, getting on with late spring/early summer, the grass is getting quite long - if there's slight foilage or grass just in front of the deer, would you consider a shot? am I being too careful in my approach and thus missing opportunities, or am I being a good moral stalker?

    any thoughts?

  2. #2
    I come accross this all the time in the summer.
    The truth is you shouldn't shoot but as summer progresses than things may get where you just are not shooting any deer.
    From my experiences .243/2506 are very liable to deflect as is any fast light bullet.
    My summer buck round is for my 6.5x55 with a 156RN bullet and it will get there through bracken and briar but is a very short range round about 140m's max.
    Its long length round nose and slow speed seem to allow it to reach its target.
    I am not suggesting you throw caution to the wind only thats my choice in the summer months.
    regards john.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by www.yorkshireroestalking. View Post
    I come accross this all the time in the summer.
    The truth is you shouldn't shoot but as summer progresses than things may get where you just are not shooting any deer.
    From my experiences .243/2506 are very liable to deflect as is any fast light bullet.
    My summer buck round is for my 6.5x55 with a 156RN bullet and it will get there through bracken and briar but is a very short range round about 140m's max.
    Its long length round nose and slow speed seem to allow it to reach its target.
    I am not suggesting you throw caution to the wind only thats my choice in the summer months.
    regards john.
    If you were unsure, then not taking the shot was absolutely the right thing to do. If the only obstruction between you and the deer was a couple of bracken fronds or a pine twig right next to the deer then you may have been ok with any calibre above 243, but if you had mis-hit the deer or even worse, lost it, you would have been unsure if it was your shot that was at fault, or if it was as a result of striking the obstruction. In short hitting anything heavier than a leaf or couple of grass blades before the deer always puts you on dodgy ground.
    You can't say muntjac without saying, Mmmmmm.

  4. #4
    Contrary to popular believe there are no, to use a American term “bush bucking bullet”, the NRA in the US did extensive tests in the 70s using deer bullets of different weights and shapes, round nose, splitzers etc for the range of deer hunting cartridges in common use.

    Using a 160gn bullet over a 100gn bullet will make little difference, think about it logically how much does a tree branch weigh as a percentage when compared to the weight of a bullet and the heavy bullet is not traveling that much quicker.

    NRA conclusion was the best chance of a successful shot was to look for a clear path to the animal. The only cravat I would add is we are talking deer bullets here; thin jacketed varmint bullets driven fast will brake up on contact with foliage.

    I still have to make myself think logically about this, because it is a bit counter intuitive, but a 160gn 6.5mm bullet is not a heavy bullet, most 308 uses are using 150/155gn bullets. I still think if you were to compare a 750gn 50 cal with a 50gn 22CF that the would be a noticeable difference, but the test were with commonly used deer cartridges so I would think 6mm to 8mm range.

    Personally if there is grass/ferns just in front of the deer’s body no problem with a heart lung shot, never had an issue yet. Now waiting out cry from the “theoretical experts”.

    ATB

    Tahr

  5. #5
    Norma did a big study as well some time ago and found the same.
    When I said a heavy bullet I meant heavy for calibre.
    As i said I wasn't condoning shooting through cover but that is my bullet of choice and i have never had issue with this in bracken or bramble.
    But have seen many .243 and 25 cal rounds just not get there in similar circumstances even when "touching" a single frond.

  6. #6
    I don't think it's just a question of calibre. Bullet design and speed is probably the deciding factor. I normally use a 100 grain ballistic tip out of a 25.06 going at about 3300fps which is great with a clear path but will fragment as soon as it touches pretty much anything. I had one bad episode at last light with a Muntjac at about 35m. I went for a heart/lung shot but didn't see a small green holly branch about 1cm across which was about 10m in front of the animal. It went down but screamed for a few seconds before expiring. Bit strange I thought? When I got up to it I couldn't believe the mess! The whole carcass was shredded, guts exploded, haunches and saddle all ruined! Had to bin the lot. I wouldn't fire through any cover now with that set up. You might get away with it with a more penetrating head but it is a gamble. If the cover is just in front of the animal you stand more chance of success than if the cover is just in front of you!

  7. #7
    So are you saying that the Norma and the NRA studies have got it wrong?

    The thing is I am shooting a fast 6mm admitally using a 100gn heavy for calibre bullet without issue.

    ATB

    Tahr

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Thar View Post
    So are you saying that the Norma and the NRA studies have got it wrong?

    The thing is I am shooting a fast 6mm admitally using a 100gn heavy for calibre bullet without issue.

    ATB

    Tahr
    No are you??
    I have just told you MY findings.
    The norma study was shooting through birch twigs which are a little different to bracken.
    Cannot comment on the NRA study.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by www.yorkshireroestalking. View Post
    No are you??
    I have just told you MY findings.
    The norma study was shooting through birch twigs which are a little different to bracken.
    Cannot comment on the NRA study.

    there is a chap on here who may have carried out some interesting work on this theory. he has not replied to date and i will pm to see if he has seen it.
    i think this may end up been a case off there is always one round that does something different.
    the problem is with scopes is depth perception you may never see the twig and heh who knows over the years you may have shot through twigs and bracken and never known....

    f.

  10. #10
    MS i had the same with my 243 a good many years back it was a greart rifle if every thng was clear but when there were blades of grass in front it was a night mare Lamping foxes in the summer April may when the grass was up had them running for long distances before they fell and like you say what a mess. Had a similar episode on a deer and that .243 varmint round went the road of a few other rifles that were not suitable. But if you think there bad try the .222,s They are in no way sutable for pushing through grass. For me it s a heavy bullet i keep away from the 50grn to the 120 grn they just donr do it at this time of year.

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