Anyone here use downloaded rounds for humane dispatch?

Shootist

Well-Known Member
This is an unknown area for me so I'm just asking, but with a bit of knowledge on the ballistics side.

From time to time I read of people acquiring pistols for close range humane dispatch. IIUC, this is pertinent to a deer that has been shot and not killed, often in cover or an unsafe position to use a full power round. I have often made use of downloaded rounds in centre fire rifles. By way of illustration, I have downloaded all of the following calibres. .223, .308, 30-06, 7.5x55, 6.5x55. My preferred powder is 'Unique' and the load varies from about 7 grains to 20 grains. Especially if using a lightweight bullet the effect is such that shooting, for example, a 30-06 feels and sounds like shooting a .22 rifle.

I believe that the police are often reluctant to permit such a pistol to the casual deer shooter so if there is no pistol and such a situation arises, what is there to do? It has occurred to me that, to use a .308 as an example, a few rounds of such handloads would serve well for this purpose. As an example, the Hornady 100 grain semi jacketed bullet would appear ideal if placed in front of about 7 grains of Unique would provide a relatively low powered round for close quarters dispatch of a wounded deer with minimal ricochet hazard, given the circumstances. This round would be easily identified by feel alone (And of course, the shooter could also look at it before loading!) so not mistaken for a full load.

For anyone unfamiliar with downloading handloads and who fears bad things happening I have researched this to hell and back and if done properly, i.e. with fast powders (It's the slow powders that detonate and blow up rifles) it is perfectly safe.

Please bear in mind the first line of this post.
 

Druid

Well-Known Member
There are quite a few target shooters who use downloaded centre fire rifle rounds for use on indoor ranges and the like, where a full house rifle load would be way outside the range limitations, not to say unpleasant!
It seems fairly common with fans of old enfields etc
important to note though that as far as I am aware the powder would not normally be the same as used in a 'proper' load.
 

Shootist

Well-Known Member
There are quite a few target shooters who use downloaded centre fire rifle rounds for use on indoor ranges and the like, where a full house rifle load would be way outside the range limitations, not to say unpleasant!
It seems fairly common with fans of old enfields etc
important to note though that as far as I am aware the powder would not normally be the same as used in a 'proper' load.

At risk of repetition, you are correct. Trail Boss is an excellent powder for such use, or Red Dot, Bullseye (Used for very many years by the US Army to load 'guard rounds') or my choice, Unique.
 

Druid

Well-Known Member
At risk of repetition, you are correct. Trail Boss is an excellent powder for such use, or Red Dot, Bullseye (Used for very many years by the US Army to load 'guard rounds') or my choice, Unique.
Pistol powders I believe? Not reloaded pistol cartridges myself so not too familiar. Your downloaded ammo sounds like an interesting option though. I can think of a couple of occasions where they may have been useful.
 

Highlandsjohn

Well-Known Member
Pistol powders I believe? Not reloaded pistol cartridges myself so not too familiar. Your downloaded ammo sounds like an interesting option though. I can think of a couple of occasions where they may have been useful.
I have used H4895 to good effect if it suits the round and caliber.I steer clear of pistol powders in rifles rounds although there are a lot of folk use it.
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
I have delivered several close quarters shots with full power 270 and 300wm loads without ricochet concern

deer shot in the wild tend to land on soft stuff

RTA's most often don't
I would still want a much lower power round or a .410 for things lying on tarmac

Trouble is frangible bullets don't fragment at lower (subsonic) velocities so the risk is still there
 

Orion

Well-Known Member
Trail Boss is an excellent powder for such use, or Red Dot, Bullseye (Used for very many years by the US Army to load 'guard rounds') or my choice, Unique.
Trail Boss is a good powder for reduced velocity loads in rifle cartridges due it's volume:weight ratio and it will almost fill a .308 case 100% while delivering a subsonic result with a suitable bullet - Google for advised methods of working up a load.

I would still want a much lower power round or a .410 for things lying on tarmac
Yes, although I had a SIG228 9mm pistol on ticket my most employed methods would be (where appropriate) knife, .22 pistol/rifle, .410 shotgun - centre fire rifle hardly ever.

Trouble is frangible bullets don't fragment at lower (subsonic) velocities so the risk is still there
I'm experimenting at the moment with subsonic .308 Win rounds over Trail Boss using the Hornady 170gr FP InterLocks, which are designed for use in the 30-30 at generally lower than .308 velocities. Initial results are promising and may well be suitable for my intended purpose.
 
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Border

Well-Known Member
For humane dispatch of roedeer over here most would use a shotgun.
For bigger deer including moose a regular sp bullet like a Sierra / Hornady is often used. This to try and limit over penetration/ richochet danger.
As always safety being paramount.
 

Shootist

Well-Known Member
The observations about humane dispatch of deer on a road, or with a shotgun etc. are accurate but I was more interested in the stalker who has not been granted a pistol, or who doesn't want to hump a shotgun around with them, who finds himself faced with the situation I describe. While all possible solutions are available for consideration, as has been stated, safety being paramount, I thought it a useful solution for those who reload.
 

Vipa

Well-Known Member
I have delivered several close quarters shots with full power 270 and 300wm loads without ricochet concern

deer shot in the wild tend to land on soft stuff

RTA's most often don't
I would still want a much lower power round or a .410 for things lying on tarmac

Trouble is frangible bullets don't fragment at lower (subsonic) velocities so the risk is still there
+1 .410 hushpower
 

long_range_rob

Well-Known Member
With that littlefast burning powder in such a large case volume I would be concerned about detonation! Do you use a case filler as well shootist?

P.S. pinemarten will you need a 3D printer for these ammunition downloads?
 

oneeyeopen

Well-Known Member
I have enjoyed downloading. I would suggest a cast bullet in your chosen calibre, one with a wide meplat. If your using .308 then something like the Hornady 30cal jacketed pistol bullet (90gr xtp) would be good for dispatch in a download.
 

Lupus

Well-Known Member
Unless your bullets are highly frangible you may get a nasty surprise using downloaded rounds, if ricochet reduction is your goal. Subsonics bounce around like rubber balls! High impact velocity is more likely to break up bullets than low velocity. Not saying it's not a good idea, just be aware of the risk. Shotgun would be my preference, or a round/bullet I was confident wouldn't exit.

Long Range Rob, little risk of detonation using powders like Trail Boss or Tin Star. They have a high volume to weight ratio. They sell 1/2lb in normal 1lb tubs, and they're nearly full to the brim. No filler required, in 308 sized cases at least. More risk of using too light a load and getting a bullet stuck in the barrel.

Wolfie
 

oneeyeopen

Well-Known Member
Perhaps a swaged lead ball over some unique or trailboss might be worth a try. The low weight/ sectional density would reduce the likely hood of over penetration. I used 180gr jhps in my .44mag pistol and ran them at about 900fps. They didn't exit on two fallow bucks when shot in the head face on. Both were lodged in the spine. However this was rutting season so the necks were pretty thick.
 
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Shootist

Well-Known Member
With that littlefast burning powder in such a large case volume I would be concerned about detonation! Do you use a case filler as well shootist?
The received wisdom is that fast burning powders will not detonate. It's the slow burning powders that if downloaded will be liable to do this. One reason given is that a low load can leave an air gap over the powder for the length of the cartridge case which will allow a flashover effect that can cause detonation. There may be other reasons too. Check out loading manuals and you will generally see more emphatic warnings about small loads with slow powders. There is a lot of info about on the web that gives info on downloaded rounds.

I have read elsewhere that filler in a cartridge case can cause pressure problems which can bulge a barrel so I never use it. This is from semolina up to assorted wadding or tissue.
 

8x57

Distinguished Member
I believe it was Steve Bowers who experimented with producing a special cartridge for humane despatch some years ago and which he displayed at the Midland game fair. The cartridge was basically a solid brass case near identical in external dimensions to your usual rifle cartridge but with only a very small internal cavity to take the powder charge (fast pistol powder I think ?) and of course a pocket to take the primer. I'm not sure on the type of primer used. You then pushed your usual rifle bullet or a light weight bullet of the correct calibre into the nose of the cartridge. The idea was that you carried a couple of these special despatch cartridges in your pocket to deal with short range despatch if it were ever required.

I don't know if his experiments were successful but you also have to remember that at the time the law was far more restrictive as regards the methods used for humane despatch so possibly wasn't regarded as a lawful solution at the time and therefore he disregarded the idea.

Personally I've been tempted to experiment with chamber inserts that are fairly common in Europe and that allow you to shoot for instance a .32 S&W cartridge through the barrel of my 8x57 rifle. Lothar Walther is one company that produces such devices in a variety of calibres and cartridge configurations but their prices put me off the idea. I did own a .22 adapter some years ago (Ace U.S.A.) that allowed me to shoot that ammo through my .222rem rifle the thought being it could be used for cheap practise but accuracy wasn't exactly great but it certainly would have been suitable for HD in the right situation.
 

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