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biscuit jake 08-26-2006 12:13 PM

knockdown power... fact or myth?
I see the term used from time to time but I am not sure how useful a construct it is for me. It seems like sometimes the beasties run, and sometimes they seem to know they are done and ker-plop. The brainshot piece I grasp, but those are highly accurate shots and poachers can use 22 Hornets for those.

mauser06 08-26-2006 02:26 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
like you said....sometimes they drop....sometimes they run. once i shot a deer at a couple FEET away. i was hidding behind the right tree as it ran up the mountain. absolutely drilled it. the exit was bigger then my fist no joke. it ran 100yds. i dont know how it did it. only stopped because it ran smack into a boulder. bullets transfer alot of shock and energy..(kinetic energy) but tend to pass through most of the time once you go so large in caliber size..wasting some energy into the backstop. i had guys tell me that NO lung hit deer will drop..i say fooie to that. ive dropped more then 1 with solid double lung hits. the ones that run for me are heart hits. but they dont make it far. neither do double lungers that run. i dont think its a big deal if the deer doesnt drop. no deer around is going to make it far with a blown out heart or both lungs with big ole holes in them. factor in the shock and trama from the bullet and they shouldnt go more then 100yds. if i dont see them fall ill wait 15 minutes before i take up the track just to be safe.

Paul L Mohr 08-26-2006 04:35 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
Nock down power is a myth. No bullet carries enough energy to the target to actually knock down a deer sized animal. A bullet kills by causing trauma to the vital organs. Sometimes a rifle will transfer enough energy if hit in the right spot to shock the nervous system and the deer will collapse from it. But you really didin't nock it off it's feet.

I shot a deer last year with a 600 grn slug at 20 ft. Probably a couple thousand ft/lbs of energy from that load at that distance. It punch right thru the deer and it ran 90 yards before it died. I took out the top of the heart and destroyed both lungs.

Here is an excellent link if you want to read all the information on it.

Terminal Ballistics


Duffy 08-26-2006 05:32 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
A very interesting link. I did not read it all but saved it to study later. Many hunters base their opinions on the "performance" or a cartridge or bullet on a small number of experiences with it. "I once shot a deer with a "X"and it fell dead right away"! or "I saw a fellow shoot an elk through the heart with an "X" and it ran away andwe never got it".

There are so many factors about 1. the condition and state of mind of the animal. 2.The the angle and location of the bullet entering and traveling in the animal. 3. The construction of the bullet, its velocity and how it acts in the animal.

I think we have to define what we mean by "knock down power" before we can say flat out it is a mith.

Robin down under

Paul L Mohr 08-26-2006 07:50 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
There is a study they did in that link where they shot several deer with different calibers and noted the reactions. None of the calibers were consistant at dropping game on the spot.

I believe when one talks about knock down power they want something that drops the deer in its tracks. Unfortunately there is no weapon that does that everytime. And a lot of it depends on shot placement. And many actually believe that a rifle can take a deer off from it's feet and litterally knock it down.


JagMagMan 08-26-2006 08:08 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
I think the most common confusion would be the "mythical, knock down power" and energy! Energy is important, but shock, organ damage and blood loss is what kills! Nothing "knocks them down."
With the same cartridge, bullet, and shot placement, some fall, and others run. I've seen deer stand there and act as if they didn't get hit, and then keel over dead, others that run straight forward, are not "knocked off stride!"
In the world of velocity, the bullet has long since passed through them before they even think about running!

Ideaman 08-26-2006 09:02 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
Not exactly to the point but something I think plays a part. I had a friend that ran a home animal shelter, she called one day to have me dispatch and process a doe that had been brought in with a broken neck. The deer was alive but paralzed, you could clearly see the bulge in the neck and it did not move anything but its eyes and ears. However, if you startled it the animal would attempt to run while lying down, all four limbs would would take a running motion at full power. It was explained to me by her that the deer had a flight reflex that was like a subconcious event. was she correct, I don't know, but I saw what I saw.

I almost never kill an animal in its tracks. I use 270, 7mmSAUM, and 50 cal mz loader and shot placement is almost always behind the shoulder within a couple of inches of the crease defineing the shoulder. Because of this I now use heavy constructed bullets to insure exit wound. I know what someone will say(if you shot a lighter constructed bullet, with no exit all energy expended in animal, more dead-in-tracks kills, but I have alredy been there and don't agree). The biggest difference I see in a heavy constructed bullet and light, with my usual shot placement is that theyrun about the same distance but with no exit wound are harder to find.

If I use the technique of hitting shoulder or leg bone as it passes through the chest the animals seem to lie down immediately, but too much meat is damaged.

So is it the breaking of bones, or the shock that is transferred through the skeleton that in my experience takes down the animal. I guess shock, deer with broken hooves or even lower legs are common around dog hunters and they move very well on three legs.

Point 1 - Shot placement seems to me to make a big impact on Knock-Down.

I have read articles and thought quite a lot on bullet diameter vs knock down power. Easy math says that a larger diameter bullet will impose more energy to be expended at the moment of impact. I think this quick burst of energy to the mass of an animal hasa "Stunning" value, the larger the diameter the more "Stun", and remember area formulas, a minor diameter increase will be a large surface area increase.

Point 2 - Surface area of bullet on impact will dictate how much energy is transferred at that time.

I am glad you brought up this point, I plan that my next purchase will be a big bore, but used for southern whitetails.

C. Davis 08-26-2006 09:48 PM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
A cannon ball at about 100 fps would probably knock a deer over, and the closest thing to that that I have hit a deer with is a 460 gr. slug out of my muzzleloader at about 12 or 1300 fps. The deer stood there for a brief second as the bullet punched through it like it was a piece of cardboard, and it ran 30 yards and died.

Even in hydro-shock kills, the deer really isn't "knocked over". Even though I have had a few of those, I'll take a bullet that provides a good blood trail to follow any day over trying to deliver all the energy into the deer. A good blood trail is insurance for me.

C. Davis

Anthony T. 08-27-2006 01:12 AM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
Theres no caliber that can give knockdown everytime. But I do think the more shock and kinetic energy, not to mention expansion, can give better odds of a knockdown. That or shooting the spine, which should never be done on purposse IMO. Theres too many variables, but it could have something to do with whether the deer in on guard or relaxed, shot thru the shouder blades.

DANTHEHUNTER 08-27-2006 07:47 AM

RE: knockdown power... fact or myth?
First of all a deer doesnt know its been shot to the extent that we do. We look at from our view and think the deer should too.They feel pain and run unless terminally hit as has been discussed. I saw a friend try to kill a dog he shot it with a pistol and made a bad hit. Its eye was hanging out of its head, it still ran back to his house and want him to pet it. It just freaked me out !!!! So why am I telling you all this story it didnt know it was shot it was hurt and went to where it was safe.
Now as far as knock down power , there was a myth busters show about this that explained it in detailto me . They shot a manquin with various caliburs and up to the legendary .50 bmg. None of them made any difference to the impact of the test. SoI always had the thought that it was a myth but that test proofed it to me. So what do I like in a bullet design-- wound channel and static shock. I want the animal to bleed and bleed fast if its not going down right away. Now as far as static shock I normally like big bore rounds (.44 mag,.444,45/70 ) I just like that big bullet frontal,it seems to make a great big wound channel and they expire quickly.The other thing I want is a good hit so I practice alot and on deer targets ,not bullseye targets. I feel alot of people can shoot the bullseye but when looking at a deer and no bullseye they tend to shoot at the whole animal.This causes alot of bad shots, the oh sh_t where do I shoot syndrom.
I dont believe in Knock down power just good bullet preformance and good shooting skills

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