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Brush Gun Bullistics

Old 11-20-2018, 08:32 PM
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Default Brush Gun Bullistics

This question will probably get a lot get a lot of heated answers, so here it goes...

I still hunt and stalk deer in the norther hardwoods of Minnesota. When I say still hunt, I mean I walk very slowly and stand all day in the thick brush. This allows me to sneak up on the deer and most of my shots are within 20 yards. A really long shot for me is a 100 yards, which I don't get very often. I used to use a Winchester model 94 30-30. I loved that gun and took many deer with it. For about the past 15 years I have been using a 7mm-08 Rem Ruger Hawkeye compact rifle with a 2x7 nikon scope. I have found this to be the ultimate brush gun setup, for me and the style of hunting I do.

Half the time the deer drops instantly. 30% of the time they run 20-40 yards before dropping and about 20% of the time they run forever if I don't get a good shot. The problem is when they run, I don't get a blood trail anymore. I used to, but with the newer ammo these days, there is almost no blood trails. Last week I shot a deer and got a perfect shot, through and through and split the liver in half. The deer ran right towards me and I got a perfect chest shot and the deer ran about 15 yards before drooping. There was no blood for trail and I just assumed that I missed the deer on the first shot because I couldn't find any holes in the chest or stomach area. When I butchered the deer I found the entry and exit wounds.

My question is, why am I not getting blood trails any more. My brother and a friend also use a 7mm-08 rem and all 3 of us have noticed the same lack of blood trails the past few years. Why is that or are we just imagining this?
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:00 AM
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How much expansion are you getting out of the bullet, how big is the exit hole. A liver shot is not a perfect shot and doesn't pump blood out like a double lung shot does. I
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:19 AM
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mntmn 69 are you using those pointy bullets? i have read on this site more issue's with the pointy bullet's @ short distance's not opening up go in like a pencil & exit wound comes out like a pencil.i now use hollow point bullets in my rifles when i can use them.i like the barnes 300 gr in my 45-70 & 44 mag yes they are expensive 50 bucks for box of 45-70 but i never have lost a deer to them & they leave a blood trail that stevie wonder could follow. in my 450 bushmaster i have now switched to the remington accru tips seem a liitle better than the hornady's they are still a pointy bullet but man do they expand. here in oh we are only aloud to use straight walled cartridge's
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Old 11-21-2018, 04:30 AM
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What bullet are you using?

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Old 11-21-2018, 06:31 AM
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have to point out a fact that all too many guys either ignore or never considered,
the projectile does ALL the work and damage! where you hit on the animals anatomy,IS CRITICAL
rapid lethality depend on where you place the projectile and how much damage is done.
and how much damage to vital organs and/or skeletal structure,being done,
should obviously be considered the major factor in potential lethality expected.
small fast expanding projectiles are devastatingly lethal... IF placed correctly,
IF THEY destroy the heart/lung area but the deer can still run very fast and
well for up to 10 seconds or so , and they may not leave much of a blood trail,
larger more heavily constructed projectiles, like a 180 grain 30 cal, or a 250 grain 358 bullet open slower and in a far more controlled manor ,
they may not do as much damage to the lungs,initially but they are 100% lethal if shots are well placed.
and frequently leave a blood trail.
and they do tend to be much more consistent and reliable at busting skeletal structure,
provide deep penetration through muscle and they do tend to leave exit wounds more often.
if you hand-load you can custom fabricate ammo specifically matching your requirements.
traditional brush cartridges like a 45/70 or 444 marlin can provide exceptional penetration,
(especially if loaded with heavy for caliber cast bullets,)(these can be depended on to exit deer )
or be loaded with fast expanding hollow point bullets to give rapid expansion.

(1) where you place the shot is critical (know the games anatomy)
(2) use of a heavy for caliber projectile tends to greatly aid deep penetration
(3)the larger caliber and heavier the projectile, used the more consistent deep penetration
(4)deep penetration is a plus only if you use it to destroy vital organs,(heart/lungs)
and critical structure like spine and shoulders, (see #1)

Ive used or seen guys I know use most common caliber rifles
if your using anything pushing a premium quality bullet that has a .210 or higher sectional density,
to over about 2300 fps
that weights at least 100 grains, and not getting decent results, on deer,
your issue is related too less than ideal shot placement in most cases



Last edited by hardcastonly; 11-21-2018 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:42 AM
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In reality there is no such thing as a "brush gun". Any caliber can and will deflect if it hits an object between you and the intended target. Obviously some calibers will do better than others but none will be 100%. I use 130gr Hornady SST's in my .270. Very accurate bullet and has very good expansion and energy transfer. With good shot placement most fall in their tracks and have never had one go more than 50 yards with a really good blood trail. The downside is if it hits any type of a limb it will either deflect horribly or kind of explode. On the other hand, if you opt for a bullet that is much harder it may penetrate brush and limbs but have little or no expansion when it hits the deer. Years ago I tried Barnes X bullets. They were actually intended for much larger game than deer. Entry and exit wounds were identical and I found the heart to be split in half with a small pencil sized hole through the middle. Deer went about 70 yards with lots of blood. Had it not been a dead center heart shot this deer would have likely run forever with no blood trail. Haven't used those bullets since.

This year I will be hunting with a Ruger Super Redhawk 44 magnum using 240gr Hornady XTP bullets in handloads. The area I will be hunting offers no more than a 50 yard shot so only time will tell but this combo seems really good. Hope to find out soon.

Like the others, I would like to know what ammo you are using.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:25 AM
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If the bullet killed the deer than it did what it was supposed to do. Bullets react differently depending on what they hit. There is a major difference between hitting soft tissue and hard bone in the way the bullet will function. Personally I am not a fan of a lot of the new bullets they are putting out. Nosler Partitions have been my go to bullet for years and I see no reason to try any of the "ballistic tip" type bullets.

In reality there is no such thing as a "brush gun". Any caliber can and will deflect if it hits an object between you and the intended target.
True words in the above comment. No such thing as a brush gun that cannot be deflected. Once in South Africa I was playing with the rifle a PH buddy of mine carries. It was a 450 Rigby firing a 500 gr bullet with more than 6000 ft lbs of energy. My buddy does some elephant culling in Kruger and uses this rifle. I took a shot at a blue wildebeest cow that had been injured and they wanted put down and the bullet hit a twig about the size of a pencil and deflected so badly that the animal was missed completely. Second round dropped her on her chin. If a 45 caliber rifle with 3 tons of energy isn't a brush buster then nothing is.

​​​​​​​Just sayin....

Last edited by flags; 11-21-2018 at 08:51 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:58 AM
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anything in a 257 roberts to a 458 LOTT works if your a good shot and use a high sectional density slower expanding projectile,
but you must know the games anatomy well and be able to place shots precisely
favorite deer hunt combos
45 grains of h4350 under a speer 100 grain in a 257 roberts
21 grains of H110 under a 310 grain cast bullet in a 44 mag marlin carbine

Ive found a 150 grain 270 hornady bullet over 53 grains of H4831 in a 270 win,
165 grain speer over 55 grains of WW760 in a 30/06 sprng
a 250 speer in a 358 win over 44 grains of IMR3031
and a 405 grain remington or speer bullet over a charge of 50 grains of IMR 3031 in a 450 marlin

Last edited by hardcastonly; 11-21-2018 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:28 PM
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To keep the deer from running, after I take a shot at him in a crowded hunting woods filled with hunters...I'll shoulder shoot him --- that's where a bunch of nerve bundles are located.
But I would try not to shoulder shoot a bear on the first shot.

Could be...that the deer in your area are so fat, that the fat clogs the entry and exit wounds.

Just sayin...

Last edited by Erno86; 11-21-2018 at 12:30 PM. Reason: removed a word
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ballistictip
This year I will be hunting with a Ruger Super Redhawk 44 magnum using 240gr Hornady XTP bullets in handloads. The area I will be hunting offers no more than a 50 yard shot so only time will tell but this combo seems really good. Hope to find out soon.

Like the others, I would like to know what ammo you are using.
I use the 240g XTP Mag in 45 cal for my muzzle loader and they are devastating on deer. With proper shot placement, you should have good blood trails with the XTP's. That's been my experience with them.
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