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Thread: Failed bullet expansion at close ranges

  1. #1

    Failed bullet expansion at close ranges

    Hello everyone.

    I've been doing some research into different bullets as I'm preparing to start reloading for my 7mm-08, and one of the people I've been speaking to has been using some bullets that I was considering in his .270Win and his 7mm Rem Mag. He's in France and hunts mostly driven roe, which are shot at what we'd consider short ranges (10-50m) whilst on the move. Several roe that he's shot have run up to 100m before keeling over, some seemed not to notice the bullet impact. It seems to me that what he's describing may be the effects of a failure to expand properly. That said, they were all good and dead afterwards. These bullets are bonded soft points, 150gr in the .270, possibly 170 in the 7mmRM. Both of these calibres have considerably higher velocities than a 7mm-08, in the region of 100-200m/s faster. Would I be correct in thinking that the very high velocities so close to the muzzle could be behind the possible expansion failure, and that you'd be less likely to experience something like that at longer range, and with a slower projectile?

    Having sort of worked out loads and so on, I'm looking into terminal ballistics now. Don't jump down my throat please, I'm just asking!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Hello everyone.

    I've been doing some research into different bullets as I'm preparing to start reloading for my 7mm-08, and one of the people I've been speaking to has been using some bullets that I was considering in his .270Win and his 7mm Rem Mag. He's in France and hunts mostly driven roe, which are shot at what we'd consider short ranges (10-50m) whilst on the move. Several roe that he's shot have run up to 100m before keeling over, some seemed not to notice the bullet impact. It seems to me that what he's describing may be the effects of a failure to expand properly. That said, they were all good and dead afterwards. These bullets are bonded soft points, 150gr in the .270, possibly 170 in the 7mmRM. Both of these calibres have considerably higher velocities than a 7mm-08, in the region of 100-200m/s faster. Would I be correct in thinking that the very high velocities so close to the muzzle could be behind the possible expansion failure, and that you'd be less likely to experience something like that at longer range, and with a slower projectile?

    Having sort of worked out loads and so on, I'm looking into terminal ballistics now. Don't jump down my throat please, I'm just asking!
    10-50m range and "on the move" I tend to take it that you are describing the Battue... Never underestimate the power of adrenaline, a superb painkiller and chemically a fascinating motive force within a (hitherto) healthy animal.

    You'll seldom see our UK deer treated to a hefty dose of such a wonderful drug before being shot. We just don't usually do it that way...

  3. #3
    expanding bullets expand more the higher the impact velocity , I think the facts are as tamus describes personally.
    Right where's those stones , I'll start !

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tackb View Post
    expanding bullets expand more the higher the impact velocity , I think the facts are as tamus describes personally.
    Ah, so nothing to do with possible failed expansion, and more to do with stressed deer being surprisingly resilient. This leads me on to ask what exactly, in the physical world, "knockdown power" is.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Ah, so nothing to do with possible failed expansion, and more to do with stressed deer being surprisingly resilient. This leads me on to ask what exactly, in the physical world, "knockdown power" is.
    a made up phrase to try and explain 'killing' power but due to so many variables it really isn't that useful ?
    Right where's those stones , I'll start !

  6. #6
    it's a mix of two things, using a far too powerful rifle for this type of hunting (7mm rem mag for one) on such thin skinned game,and in turn, finding that bullets of traditional somewhat stout construction fail to expand at such close ranges,,and velocities probably north of 3000fps.

    ..and. of course, like tamus said, adrenaline.


    at close range driven game, you cannot accurately plan to put the bullet through bone to help initiate expansion, so as an ethical hunter, you have to pick a calibre and chambering, and load it to deliver a bullet which at this range, and on small thin skinned game, will expand readily if not put through bone.

    you will probably find a 120-150g partition in 7mm, loaded at a modest MV, will be an exceptional killer for this type of hunting.

  7. #7
    Thanks PKL, that's a better explanation of what I thought was likely to be happening. On a related point, they tend to really like calibres that we consider very powerful in France. The most popular by miles is 7x64, but after that it's 9.3x62 (heavy and slow, fine for driven shooting), .300 Win Mag is extremely popular too. 270WSM and 338WM are up there too. I have to say that if I was after a specific driven game gun, I'd go slow and heavy like the 9.3 or the 8x57JRS. Things like the 300WM are really for shooting at much longer ranges. Anyway, it doesn't sound like there's anything wrong with my planned bullet of choice. He's just using it wrong.
    Last edited by Pine Marten; 13-02-2014 at 13:27.

  8. #8
    PM,

    I think popularity over there is largely due to the old restrictions on military calibres, and the wish to be able to double up as a boar rifle,,for the obvious reasons.

    but yes, a stout bullet, delivered fast, on a thin skinned small deer, will only mean one thing...even a BT or similar explosive bullet would more often than not either A. explode on the shoulder, or B. pin hole (depending on what was hit on entry).

    the reason I mention the partition is it has fast expansion, and also delivers an exit wound for tracking in woodland...probably, IMHO, the best bullet ever made.

  9. #9
    All the above seem right. I notice the continental Europeans just can't seem to find hard enough bullets that in turn are supposed to create almost no meat damage. Reading German forums there are two main subjects ...."what calibre and what bullet creates the least meat damage" and "why do my deer run over 100m after a good hit?"
    If one has a big game bullet in say 7mmRM that is supposed to go through two shoulders and exit on a red deer sized animal one can guess what kind of energy is dumped into a narrow Roe deer if not even a rib is hit. In those conditions a varmint bullet out of a 223 would put the animal down quicker. I have seen running sika been hit by a 220 swift and just summersaulted. Same point of impact they ran over 100m shot with a 150gr SP from my 30-30.
    Hit any animal on the spine or close to it and they'll drop on the spot.
    At the end of the day the bullet must match the animal and where one shoots it.
    edi

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ejg View Post
    All the above seem right. I notice the continental Europeans just can't seem to find hard enough bullets that in turn are supposed to create almost no meat damage. Reading German forums there are two main subjects ...."what calibre and what bullet creates the least meat damage" and "why do my deer run over 100m after a good hit?"
    There's a guy on a French forum I use who mentioned that his hunting association forbids the use of rifles on roe. They have to use large shot instead, and it's specifically to prevent meat damage.

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