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Knockdown Power? Fuggeddaboutit!

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September 06, 2012

Knockdown Power? Fuggeddaboutit!

By David E. Petzal

When I was in my formative years I was addicted to gun magazines, which were a hell of a lot better then than they are now. One of the staples of these publications was the piece on killing power, or knockdown power, or whatever you wanted to call it, in which a writer who had been everywhere and shot everything (or had been almost nowhere and shot almost nothing) would prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that if you used his cartridge of choice, every time you pulled the trigger something would stand on its nose and then collapse in a heap.

I’m thinking about this stuff now because I’m going back to northernmost Maine where the deer are very big, the cover is very dense, and following a blood trail is very difficult. In addition, I’ll be watching a clearcut where I can get a shot at 300 yards, so what I want is a rifle that will shoot nice and flat and knock the buck flat or, if that’s not to be, put a big hole through and through so I can get a good blood trail to follow.

I’m sorely tempted to take a .338 loaded with 210-grain Barnes TSX copper bullets, which shoot very flat and will go through nearly anything. Or I can take a 6.5/284 loaded with 140-grain Nosler Partitions which shoot very flat and will go through nearly anything.

Killing power doctrine notwithstanding, there is no difference between the two, except that the .338 kicks more. Having killed who knows how many deer, both mule and whitetail, over the course of 40-plus years, with everything from a .223 to a .340 Weatherby, I can see no difference in effectiveness from one cartridge to another. Shoot them fatally and they will either drop on the spot or drop within 100 yards. Shoot them other than fatally and it doesn’t matter what cartridge you’re using; you’ve got a mess on your hands.

So, because I don’t like getting kicked as much as I used to, I will probably take the 6.5/284. Or a .270. There’s no difference.

Comments (97)

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from 1uglymutha wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

pretty much said it all. my philosophy has always been-hunt with the gun you have as long as it's legal. of course, there's nothing wrong with buying a new rifle. sometimes you just gotta have it.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Two seventy! (tu-seb'm'dy)
Man is that thing tough to beat!
G'luck Dave! I know you'll choose wisely(?)!

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from aferraro wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Ballistic tables don't mean much in the woods. Deer are just as dead from my 308 as the cannons some of my friends use and my ears and shoulder feel much better than theirs on Monday.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

As one person said, "All you have to do is let the air out of it"

After your previous misses on targets at long range, I suggest leaving the 338 at home ;)

140-grain Nosler Partitions?

The State of Main must have really tough and dangerous deer David, are they eating the leaves off the Kevlar plant

139-140 grain soft point would be perfect

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My vote would be the 140 gn partitions loaded on top of the 6.5/284. I would not want to come across the deer that could walk away from that recipe. Plus, I enjoy recoil about as much as I would enjoy getting hit in the face.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I've never killed a deer with a magnum caliber rifle. No wait, I have never taken one deer hunting either! Nor a caliber that had more than 3 digits... LOL

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I thing people got that silly idea about knockdown power from watching too much TV and movies. It's just bullcrap pure and simple. Dead is dead , no such thing as deader than dead. Take the .270, it will kill any deer in North America other than Godziilla buck lol. Put the bullet where it needs to be and have fun.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I think you have covered this topic before Dave. Confidence in your rifle and shooting ability is the best assurance that the critter will go down when you pull the trigger. Also, I vote for taking the .270, or you could invite me to come along, and I'll bring the .270.

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from HogBlog wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I appear to be stuck in a loop... is this groundhog day?

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from nehunter92 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

The fact is that while some animals might take quite a punch to "one shot" them, Whitetails really do not belong to that club. It really does not take that much to bring them down, especially when you put a round in "the boiler room." What HogBlog says does hold true though. In a perfect situation, you could kill a deer with a 22. Magnum. As anyone who has done it for long enough really knows though, deer hunting rarley gives us perfect scenarios. At some point, you will have to take tough shots from a bad stance at a less than perfect broadside target. At that point, having something a tad beefier than 223. will come in handy. That does not call for a 338. however. A 308. would do the job just fine. At 300 yards. 270. would do the job just fine. (In my opinion.)

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from Steward wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My question: How does the .308 stack-up compared to other rounds? I have used a .308 on all my deer, to date, and made 100+ yard shots with it, but I really don't know what it would do at 300 yards.

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from Steward wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My question: How does the .308 stack-up compared to other rounds? I have used a .308 on all my deer, to date, and made 100+ yard shots with it, but I really don't know what it would do at 300 yards; how flat it would fly or how much energy it would have (compared to other rounds).

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

No HogBlog! It's one of those, "Computers! Bah! Humbug!" days! LOL!

As far as exceptions go?
Whether it's a .22 Hornet or a .460 Wby, a blown shot is, well, a blown shot!
Like the old adage! "A rose by any other name is still a rose."
Will projectile diameter or speed compensate for, "Uh-oh!", is subjective at best. Kinda like "knock down" power.
Pick something you can shoot well and shoot it as best you can. If ol' Murf steps up to the plate, all bets are off!

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dave,

You are spot on. If I were you I would take the 6.5/284! I love 6.5 ballistics especially when you get into the 140 gr bullets.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dave, you talk about the mess in the field but overlook the mess in the butcher room. Take enough gun but not too much. That's why I have always used a 30-06. And why I have almost never taken a shot at anything more than 150 yards away.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shame on you DEP. You, as a 'Merican, should not be mixing a projectile measured in mm's with a brass casing previously associated with a projectile measured properly in thousands of an inch. Shame on you, sir.

I suspect that you are also a camouflage mixer; a plaid shirt over striped pants type of gentleman, or beer and whisky (not whiskey, dammit, regardless of what Spellchecker thinks) in the same evening type of guy as well.

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Well I logged in twice and waited patiently each time as usual for the miserable powers that be to allow me to state my opinion. Ce la vie.
DEP, of course, answered his own question. Back in the seventies I learned that my fantastic 6.5 x .284 was no better than my old .270 Win. when a friend acquired an Ohler chronograph. The fact is the same today as when stated to me by an old Montana rancher decades ago "Why hell son any rifle is a deer gun, don't be so particular, it's your shooting that counts".

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from Proverbs wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I've got a relative who was all about "knock-down" power. He talks about hunting far more than he actually hunts, and he shoots a .264 Win Mag with 140 gr. soft-points. He claims the speed of this magic bullet kills everything it touches because of the knock-down power. He once said he killed a coyote through sheer shock after taking a 600-yard shot and hitting it in the lower leg.

I stopping trying to reason with him after he used a Federal ammunition advertisement that showed a bulldozer hitting sand as his proof that "knock down" power is a real.

Then I guided him and another relative on an Arizona elk hunt. We had a 6x6 slowly quartering away at 35 yards, and his first shot castrated that elk, no kidding. The bull ran headfirst into a ponderosa and stood shaking, and I think it's brain was rattled by pounding that tree. The next three shots hit snow all around the elk, which was within 50 yards. He reloaded and proceeded to gut shoot the poor thing, which then hunched up. The next shot hit his buttock, then two more shots in the snow. I didn't have a rifle with me, but our other relative was cursing by now and raised his rifle and put the beast out of misery with one shot to the spine.

He hasn't said anything about knockdown power since then, which was about 10 years ago.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Proverbs,

I witnessed two yahoos put on a comparable shooting exhibition on a bull elk two years ago. They were up a steep hillside above the road when I stopped upon hearing the shooting. About a dozen shots later, the proud heroes came back down the slope and commented that they might need "bigger rifles than a .308 and .243". True, but they needed to learn how to &^$%@*& shoot, too.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Oh, give them a break, WAM. I mean, you wait for hunting season all year, and then only get to shoot once?

Not me. I'm getting my money's worth.

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I've killed all but 2 of my deer with my lil ol .270.
One deer killed with a.50 muzzleloader and one deer killed with my bow.
The bow shot deer dropped straight down in her tracks...spined her.
9 of my rifle shot deer dropped dead in their tracks...shot through the shoulder, one shoulder shot deer "wheelbarrowed" forward about 15 yds, another deer shot just behind the shoulder went about 20 yds.
the buck killed by muzzloader ran about 35ys uphill with a huge gaping hole just behind his elbow.

I'm not nearly as experienced as some of you guys,...but I think this "knock-down power" thing is a tad overrated.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

RipperIII

Since you are not very experienced, I will offer my services, in no particular order:

1. You do not shoot deer with a bow. You use an arrow.

2. A 270 is pretty big..way bigger than an 7mm mag. 270-7 = 262. That's a lot bigger.

3. Deer do not have elbows.

4. I do not know what you mean by "wheelbarrow." Based on my experiences, you must mean that when you tried to use the deer, it had a flat front tire for which it was impossible to locate an inner tube, forcing you to borrow your neighbor's deer. When you tried to borrow your neighbor's deer, he let you know that the deer you with the flat was already his deer, which you borrowed last year.

Luckily, you have a brother-in-law.

5. Deer do not have front tires.

6. Deer rarely drop straight down in their tracks, unless you have very small deer with very large hooves.

7. Any deer shot with a .50 cal muzzie is going to have trouble running uphill for 35 years. Especially if he has an elbow.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer,

You just about outdid yourself this time ! ROTFCGU

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from hunterandfarmer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I have shot about 10 deer with my .243 and never had one run more than 50 yards. As for shot placement I hit all of then in the heart/lung area except for two I hit in the spine. I use 100gr. soft points.

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from Walt Smith wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shot placement is everything. Every deer I've ever shot in the neck just below the head have simply dropped in their tracks, three have sat right on thier butt before tipping over. Most are scared of it because they've heard horror stories by those who obviously can't shoot straight in the first place. My longest neck shot was 220 yards and the deer dropped so fast I wasn't sure where it wentuntil I glassed and seen it in a heap.

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from fordman155 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dave--any chance of hunting with the 700 Thunderf#&@er this year? I've seen some impressive, big-racked bucks in central Kansas.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer/WAM,
You guys are killing me. I'm at work and it's all I can do to not laugh out loud!!! It has been said many times..."It's not the arrow it's the Indian". Deer aren't that tough but you have to hit them right. .270 Win will kill any deer period. However, if you gut shoot one or shoot for the neck and blow their jaw off you will have a mess on your hands.
Steward,
A .308 is an excellent deer caliber...you can take a deer at 300 yards as long as you know what you're doing!That means lots of practice at 300 yards.

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from LeVan Goodey wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Steward, if you do your part a 308 will kill deer at 300 yards. My best friend who was on the Marine rifle team when he was in the Marines shot a deer at 1000 yards in front of two witnesses. Most rifles can kill game farther than most people can shoot.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My choice for knockdown power is a 5-lbs hammer. Hit Bambi between the running lights and he goes down every time.

Of course, the trick is the stalk.

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from coachsjike wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

dave,
what about the .308 win? there's a reason why the military used it as a sniper rifle round all of these years. mild recoil,somewhat flat trajectory, with lots of knockdown power at decent distances.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

ken.mcloud said it best! “So, I think that the superior killing power of larger rounds is largely in our heads.(likely testosterone induced) A flat-shooting round that you can accurately place will produce as many if not more "bang-flop" kills as a heavy caliber round.”
-
On the other hand
-
"We have not heard from Ken McCloud in ages hope he was not carrying a fast stepping small caliber rifle and ran into a testosterone laden elephant that could not spell hydrostatic shock. Just teasing Clay. Kindest Regards"
-Happy Myles

Happy Myles? (bite tongue)

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Safado

308 or 30-06 loaded with Hornady 130's is one of the best dear loads I know of. A tad less kick than 150's, flat shooting and puts the wallop on Monster Mule Deer and doubles for Coyotes!

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from HogBlog wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Steward, no disrespect and not trying to sound superior... BUT...

300 yards is a LOOOONNNNGGG shot.
The .308 is capable, but for that kind of shooting, you really need to make sure YOU are capable. It is not as simple as getting good at 100 yards and sort of guesstimating where to hold. It's not the kind of thing you learn from the forums or a ballistics calculator. Get out with that .308 and do some shooting at 300 yards. Then see what you think.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Well Petzal, once again you have wow-ed the masses with saged wisdom earned with years of hard huntin`. (Please accept this as a HUGE compliment,Dave, as intended!)

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from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I think that in the past, before there were so many excellent bullet designs, there was greater need to increase caliber as the size of game increased. I don't think that applies nearly as much these days.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Mr. Ripper 111
Has old dave been feeding "Amflyer" gun powder.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

300 or even 200 yards is a long way out there and beyond the capability of many hunters. But certainly they are easy shots under the right conditions for practiced shooters. 300 yards is a chip shot for a good marksman but a real challenge for most, even in ideal conditions. You have to know when to hold or fold.

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Your fired.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To WA Mtnhunter;
The hardest part of growing old,at least for me, is to reconize your limitations.

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

No self respecting gun writer would (in his wiser years) basically regurgitate Jack's 270 wisdom, and expect to draw a paycheck from a billion hours of debate that fuels the ammo industry. I'll tell you what Dave since we both have been drinking and typing I will let this slide, but if I can't hit the broadside of a lung at 50 yards with my superior newly ordered SBL vs my flat shooting A-bolt 243, I will have to stop reading your post and watching your mediocre tv show until deer season is over and I have little better to do. In the meantime, I send the best to you and yours. WPS! Whoop Bama. Cheers. PS My cousin has done quite well with his 270 no worse than with most the guys with their beloved 7mm Rem Mags.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer,
I'm still laughing...I use the 'getting my money's worth' line on the golf course...too often!

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from Safado wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Clay,
I shoot Barnes 130 gr XXX and TSX in my .308...I live in lead free California. Haven't used Hornady since my rifle likes Barnes and Nosler Partitions. I tend to shoot 110's up to 168 gr in my .308 and heavier in my 30-06.

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from Carney wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I'm going coyote hunting. Using an avil for extra knockdown power.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Hog Blog; I was beginning to wonder if you had been shooting "Enough Gun" a little too much lately. It looked like maybe you were flinching everytime you hit the "submit" button...

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

The scenario you put forth cries out for your 338 with the aforementioned Barnes X-bullets. That’s what I would do. You want that deer to stop right where you can see it, and I think the 338 has the best chance to do that of the three rifles you have mentioned.
Just my two cents worth
AKX

Sorry for the late post but I live in Alaska and it's 4 hours later here...

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal;
I would argue the opposite of most of these fellows, but I have been drinking fine whiskey while typing and before that I have been shooting "Enough Gun" a little too much lately.
This part of the post was supposed to go on top but for whatever reason (Pick one: Fine Whiskey, Shooting "enough-gun" too much, or being 4-hours slow)I didn't include it in that post, so I will include it here for comic relief.

Carney: I loved the anvil joke, that was awesome, use a piano or a jet-pack if you run out of anvil.

AKX

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

will the opinions change if we change the setting to Africa?

what about the article by Randy Garrett (he of the powerful .45-70 loads fame) that says the greater the horsepower of a .45 rifle, the less penetration? is he just trying to sell us Garrett .45-70 ammunition?

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I think it was Massad Ayoob who wrote the story of how a 'Western' type gunwriter once told him the reason the .357 125-grain load performs so well in the Ed Sanow tests is because the noise and flash it makes (it is the noisiest and flashiest of the .357 loads, visible even in bright daylight) causes enough shock to knock down [human] targets. Ayoob then offered that if that is the case, cops should be loading their revolvers with .357 movie blanks, which produce even more bang and flash.

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from Treestand wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

You Boys are something! I have used a 243W for more then 20+ years on New York Deer in 1959 Winchester Ammo came out with a 105Gr/243pill, but i have found that the 80Gr pill will drop them in there tracks(good bullet placement and Hyder shock Ammo atleast 3,000+ FPS will do the job)I have tried the 100Gr and the 105Gr and had to track them!
Deer are thin skined Game. In 1985 I switch to my 7MM/08 only its faster(the need for speed)We have larger Deer in Fl.then in NY, 225#+.

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from jim in nc wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

DP:
Whereabouts do you go in Maine, and how has your luck been (tho I suspect luck has little to do with it) the last few years?

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from SL wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Yeah, a .223 will kill a deer as will a .340 Wtby, but I'd still stick with a caliber somewhere in the middle between these two extremes. Giving a .223 or even a .243 in many cases to a young hunter without much shooting experience is looking for trouble in my opinion. A poor hit will be a poor hit, but a marginal hit with something over .25 caliber has a better chance of putting the animal down than something smaller. The small calibers should be left to the experts, while everyone else should stick to something a bit more potent. The standard .308, 30-06, .270 type deer cartridges aren't standards for no reason.

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from IowaGuy wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Always said would you rather get shot in the head with .22 or the little toe with a .45?

Placement is king, caliber is second

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@ AJMcClure,

You must have watched Obama's speech last night with all that hope to the future razzamatazz if you think your Pigs are going to beat 'Bama! The location of the barbecue just changed, not the end result! RTR

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@ dale freeman,

Ain't it the truth! I'm not as good as I once was, but as good once as I ever was...

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@Amflyer...maybe you should step away from the bottle...boredom will get you in trouble

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To Jim in NC: I go way up north, right near the Canadian border. There are usually around ten people in our camp, and in a decent year we'll take three deer. Five is a hell of a good year. In the best of times there are not a lot of deer around, and when you get a bad spring it really hammers them hard.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To Jim in NC: I go way up north, right near the Canadian border. There are usually around ten people in our camp, and in a decent year we'll take three deer. Five is a hell of a good year. In the best of times there are not a lot of deer around, and when you get a bad spring it really hammers them hard.

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from MReeder wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I absolutely could not agree with DEP more (including about the magazines being better back then).
Once you start shooting something bigger than a prairie dog or a jack rabbit there is nothing smaller than a Howitzer than can be guaranteed to knock anything off its feet either by bullet weight or ultra-high velocity. Any one who believes otherwise is basing their conclusions on isolated incidents that do nothing but mislead. The only way to guarantee something goes down right now is to shoot it through the brain or the spine.
Things are killed by putting a well-designed bullet into a vital area. Sometimes the animal drops like it was slammed by Thor's hammer, sometimes it stands there wobbling a minute or two and sometimes it takes off on a dead run for 200 yards before falling over dead. But if the bullet penetrates through the vitals and creates enough tissue damage oxygen is cut off to the brain and the animal dies. Pondoro Taylor's mathematical knockdown formulas and Roy Weatherby's notions of hydraulic shock are equally irrelevant. Penetration is the key and bullet construction and sectional density are far more important than size or speed.
By the way, despite those who try to pigeon-hole him into the small caliber, high velocity group, Jack O'Connor's actual position on "killing power" was exactly the same one I just enunciated here.

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from retoohs wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

As the late Col. use to say"There Ain't one Thing That a Man can't fix with a twenty dollar bill and a 30.06"

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from Bizzydays wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Every month I receive more outdoors, shooting, and gun magazines than I can easily read. Field & Stream is where I come for common sense reading on guns. The older I get the less grumpy Petzel seems as I am having more fits myself with mall crawlers wearing expensive work wear that has never seen dirt. So let's talk killing power. When Winchester was still in the centerfire rifle business (RIP Pre 64 Model 70) we bought our hunting ammo at the hardware store. You took the bullet weight they had and often as not the brand as well. An awful lot of Springfields and Krags with cut off stocks were being used. If your deer trotted off you were a bad shot, with iron sights no less, but your ammo was just fine. No one used scent lock and if you showed up in camo no one would share a tent with you. Petzel is right, put your bullets where they belong.

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from MCHunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
Certainly a .270 Win or a 6.5/284 is more than adequate for deer hunting. I concur, who needs a .338 for deer? It's overkill. However, I will take exception with you on there is no such thing as knockdown power. If that is the case, let's all just hunt with .22's. For example, why was the .45 invented? Hmmm, something to do with knockdown power. The .38 could penetrate, but not knock 'em down.
There is no substitute for accuracy and judgment as when to take a shot and when not to - as you and many others here point out. That certainly is key. A cannon is not needed, but...
Regardless, good luck deer hunting.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Aww, I was just having some fun Ripper. Life is too ludicrous to take seriously more than necessary. Apologies if you felt slighted in the least.

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from deerdawg wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I have used a .243win. for 40 years of deer hunting using a good ole' 100grain remington corelok. Anything within 150-200 yards is no problem. Anyone who shoots whitetail deer farther than that is a shooter not a hunter. Actually most of my deer has been within 50 yards.

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from mcrumrine wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shoot what you're comfortable with. I have killed deer with a 7x57 with 140gr NP, .338 with 220gr NP (my usual elk rifle) and a .270 with 140gr Win Silver tip Balistic, Remington Core Lokt 130gr, and Winchester Power Point 130gr. The reason the .270 are all factory loads is I no longer have access to hand loads, round of choice would be 130-140gr NPs there also. Ranges have been between 20 and 300 yds. Nothing has run further than 100 yds. Usually about 10-20 if they don't drop in their tracks.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To MC Hunter: If you can find it, there's a great article in one of the 50s or 60s Gun Digests called "Knock Down Nothing," by the legendary, nearly mythical, Warren Page. Warren made two points, if I can recall. First was that any rifle that could knock down a 150-pound deer would also knock down the 150-pound hunter who pulled the trigger. This is courtesy of Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion, which says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Second, what we think of "knocking down" is collapse brought about by bullet damage. The reason I don't hunt Cape buffalo with a .270 is because the bullets are not big enough to cause enough damage in an animal of that size and toughness to keep me from getting stomped. You don't knock down old nyati with anything, but a big enough bullet will do enough damage that he will fall down--eventually.

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from omarfishesalot wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer if field and stream gave a funniest comment of the decade award you would be a shoo in,in my eyes too funny.as for caliber doesnt matter its all shot placement I have seen mature big-bodied bucks fall from heart shots from a .243 and does although old that were small bodied run away from a poor placed "neck shot" with a high caliber by a yahoo relative of a close friend of found the poor gal later and put her out in due season.

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from omarfishesalot wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

*friend of mine

*doe

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from wingshooter54 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I took two bucks last season; one with a 25-06 and 100 gr. Barnes TSX @ 3,250fps, the other with a 250-3000 and 100 gr. CoreLokt @ 2,800fps. Both bucks were slightly quartering toward me and bullet impact was the junction of neck and shoulder. Both went down in their tracks and I can't tell you which hit the ground faster. Shots were around 150 yards. These were deer that would field dress around 180lbs. A 45-70 wouldn't have done it any better. I love to go in a gun store and ask for some 250 Savage ammo....the usual response is "Whut?"

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from MCHunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
Thank you for your reply. I will look for the article to which you refer. I understand penetration and how destroying vitals kill. I was bear hunting with my brother once and we were after a bear. The bear was on the opposite side of a downed log on a trail. When the bear stood up, my brother shot him with a .44 Mag. It was a 5 yd shot. It picked the bear up and put it on its back. Is that not knock down power? I cannot see how it is not, but will continue to research the topic. Thanks again.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Ya"WAM, the first sign of getting old is when you can still hit the target at 250 but you start missing the toilet.... Author Unknown

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Found this target and I uploaded it just for you WAM. LOL!

www.fieldandstream.com/photos/trophyroom/recent/single?pnid=1001476199#1...

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago
from shane wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I heard recently that a .30-06 could possibly kill a deer up to 300 yards if ya been practicin'.

Perfect for that there clearcut you'll be dozing off to while one shows up at 297 1/2 yards 3 minutes before dark on the last day when you forgot your flashlight.

It'll be a 4 1/2 year old 8 pointer that weighs 404 pounds on the hoof and scores 117.

Don't try to drag it yourself. Bring matches.

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from Ken Cuff wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Good old gun magazines, you must be related to Jack O he really really like the .270, Remember?

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from troll53 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Based on a sample of one...myself...I would both agree and disagree.

Yes, with the right placement any "deer sized" ammo will do the job.

However my experience says that a 30.06 has better knock down power than a 6.5X55. I use both, hunting in the Northeast where the range is usually 50 yards or less. While my Swede is more accurate than my 700, over the course of my hunting career half the deer I shot with the 6.5 required a follow up shot, whereas only a quarter of the ones tagged with the '06 needed "one more."

Do they both work? Yes.

Which one would I pick if I was traveling across the globe on a "hunt of a lifetime?" No decision, would use the largest caliber I could comfortably shoot.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I know you detest ballistic tip bullets because of the damage to the meat, but they seem to drop deer in their tracks better than any other bullet I have tried. If you are going to hunt in thick woods as I do, dropping the deer fast is of utmost importance. If it runs 150 yards it can cross a hill and someone else will be tagging your deer before you can get out of the stand. Just saying...

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

WAM

DAV, VFW etc. restroom, PRICELESS!

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I was present one time when a companion made a shoulder shot on an antelope at 100 yards with an old Winchester .38-40. The animal was not knocked down, but it ran off and required several more shots to finish it off.
The post mortem revealed that the first shot was stopped by the shoulder and failed to penetrate the boiler room.
The final shot was made at close range through the ribs.
Draw your own conclusions.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Boys, I really like when you been "squeezing" the vine.
thanks for the laughs.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

When I hunt for elk on ranches that are surrounded by "tree-hugger" landowners I reach for a bigger gun. You know those guys who charge a $1500 tresspass fee to recover your elk that has strayed over the property line before expiring,(and hold a memorial for it)?
When faced with this scenario I use a 375 Ruger Alaskan. I have also shot 3 deer with this rifle (gun in my hands at the time)and they usually don't go far. Meat damage is minimal. When hunting deer in a similar situation I use a 338 Win Mag, because I don't want them to leave the area. Nothing has ever been "knocked over" by these cartridges, but a lot have stayed put, just once a mulie buck made it about 100 yards when I hit him above the lungs but didn't hit the spine.
I realize that the confidence I have in these rifles has something to do with my success with them, but I also belive if you want something to stop where it is, plan to do a lot of damage.
AKX

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal;
Warren Page was "All That",he did it and then he wrote about it, in a pre-computer age.
I wish he was still with us. I look for old (really old now) gun magazines and books (Gun Digest) at garage and estate sales to read his writings.
I wish you got more than a page to tell us everything that "torques you off" every month.
AKX

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from Carl Huber wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I am NO expert. BUT. Best Deer cartridge is like asking my three kids what they wanted for dinner. I usually get four reguests. I would say my answer is in what geography is said deer standing and coming from a less varied menu of cartridges 30-06 or 30-30.

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from elmer f. wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

well Dave, i have to agree with you on the "shoot them fatally. and they will fall over, or run less than 100 yards, and fall over." of course, there are always exceptions to this rule.my wife shot an 8 point, that just flat out refused to die, until there was no more blood in him to supply oxygen to his muscles. he went over 1/2 of a mile. and he was shot thru one lung, and the heart. for longer distance shots, i have always thought of my 300 win mag as very capable. but i have never had a 300 yard to prove it. what i do know is it packs a heck of a wallop on deer. the only deer i have had go anyplace at all was hit after the bullet passed thru a 4" oak tree. and he went about 40 yards before piling up. i know it is an age thing. i am starting to not like the push of my big guns. but i am not quite ready to back down yet. another 3 or 4 years perhaps. but i really like not chasing deer. pulling them out is bad enough. let alone crawling thru a swamp first to find him.and don't they ALWAYS go to the nastiest place they can find to die?!

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from Iklwa wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To my mind, there is never too much gun if (and here is the one caveat) if the marksman can hit well with it. I am known to hunt whitetail, even small Texas Whitetail, with the 375 Holland and Holland Magnum. I apply my “standard” load (for everything from crows to large bears) of the Sierra Game King 300 grain spitzer boat tail over 77 grains of IMR4350.

I have yet to see anything take another step (or flap as the case may be) after being hit with this combination. I also aim for the shoulder and not for the heart. Tracking is not a skill I want to become proficient at.

If I were going out beyond the 300 yard mark, I would be using the 7mm Remington Magnum with a hard, heavy, streamlined bullet like the Barnes, Nosler, Sierra or Berger projectile.

My question is: For a hunting rifle, how many kicks do you expect to endure?

If we were discussing target or varmint platforms, a more gentle set up would be appropriate.

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from Del in KS wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Guys,

Glad I decided to give this thread a look. Thanks for the laughs. WAM, where can we get the Hanoi jane urinal target. Actually I would prefer to whiz on the real thing.
Last Fall on opening day used my Vanguard 2 in 300 Roy on a Mizzoo 8 pt at 265 yds and hours later my Kimber 25-06 on 2 does at 170 yd. All with Barnes TSX bullets all resulted in dead deer. None were flattened in their tracks but neither did they move more than a few yds. However, if I want a big blood trail the 300 would be my pick. No, never have noticed the recoil. That rifle has a well designed stock and is not a featherweight.

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from Bernie Pressman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

....anyone here care to explain HOW a bullet kills instantly when it strikes the thoracic cavity of a quadrapedal mammal..?
do just say "knockdown power" or ""it stuns the nervous system" or "massive blood loss".

What happens, and what does it do to the corpus animale????

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from Bernie Pressman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

...I will share the answer after the break......you might be surprised...

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Del in KS,

I hope to report how the .300 Weatherby performs this year. First time hunting with it. I know what the 7mm Weatherby will do with the TTSX, so I'm sure that it is more than adequate. I made a misstatement in my first post. I have hunted a couple of times with my .30-06 and it does have more than 3 digits. I've only had it 10 years and only taken one cow elk and a big mulie with it, both inside 100 yards. Thud.

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@amflyer,...no worries, I should have been more clear in my OP,...shot placement I believe has much more to do with the "shot, drop, flop" than caliber.

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from Bellringer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Jim Carmichael wrote an article wherein he opined that if a bullet strikes the heart at the moment of peak contraction the pressure increases to the point that it ruptures brain vessels and causes a bang flop to occur.

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from srlarson wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shot placement is key.....I grew up hunting in SW Wisconsin with lots of Pressure, Grandpa had the best advise.....forget the fancy shots you see on TV and Put it on the front shoulder and break something, they don't go real far after that.

I have taken many deer with a shotgun, but for the woods I love my 30/30...longest is 250 yards with my 308, now only hunt with my bow and muzzleloader.....so advise be confident with what you are shooting and depending on circumstances put the shot where you want it....and fire up the grill!!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

99 the best a$$ wopen I ever had at a Turkey Shoot wuz back in 75 down in Gravette Arkansas by an Ol'Salts with a 38-40 at 100 yards against my 22-250. That 38-40 wuz dead center with every shot!

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I once attended a live turkey shoot (3 shots for $10), in which the shooter had only the turkey's head to aim at. The turkey's body was behind sandbags. If you drew blood, the turkey was yours.
One shooter just grazed the turkey's neck with a shot and was awarded a live turkey. Someone suggested that he take the turkey to a vet for treatment, and keep it as a pet.

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

A .308 will serve you well.

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from duckdog07 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Split the difference and use a 300 win mag preferably one of the new winchester model 70 super grades and a Nosler 180gr accubond they open up quick and stay together should your 300yd shot become a 50yd shot.Come on Dave, get the magnum its a rifle not a woman how dangerous can it be?

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from shane256 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My anecdotal experiences (unlike troll53's) after using a .30-06 for many years and recently switching to a .260 Remington is that both perform about equally well. Shot placement is king. I've never had to shoot a deer twice with my .260 and none have run over about 30yds with most under 10yds if not dropped in their tracks. I've had to shoot one deer with my .30-06 twice and have had more deer run farther, but then, I've killed more with my .30-06 because I hunted with it longer so my .260 sample size is smaller. My .260 is my go-to gun... the .30-06 pretty much only goes to the range with me anymore unless I lend it out to friend/family.

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from Dpomella wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Use a Sako L61R in 25.06/REM and never had a Michigan whitetail run more than 30 yds. Shot placement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Oh, give them a break, WAM. I mean, you wait for hunting season all year, and then only get to shoot once?

Not me. I'm getting my money's worth.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Proverbs,

I witnessed two yahoos put on a comparable shooting exhibition on a bull elk two years ago. They were up a steep hillside above the road when I stopped upon hearing the shooting. About a dozen shots later, the proud heroes came back down the slope and commented that they might need "bigger rifles than a .308 and .243". True, but they needed to learn how to &^$%@*& shoot, too.

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from MReeder wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I absolutely could not agree with DEP more (including about the magazines being better back then).
Once you start shooting something bigger than a prairie dog or a jack rabbit there is nothing smaller than a Howitzer than can be guaranteed to knock anything off its feet either by bullet weight or ultra-high velocity. Any one who believes otherwise is basing their conclusions on isolated incidents that do nothing but mislead. The only way to guarantee something goes down right now is to shoot it through the brain or the spine.
Things are killed by putting a well-designed bullet into a vital area. Sometimes the animal drops like it was slammed by Thor's hammer, sometimes it stands there wobbling a minute or two and sometimes it takes off on a dead run for 200 yards before falling over dead. But if the bullet penetrates through the vitals and creates enough tissue damage oxygen is cut off to the brain and the animal dies. Pondoro Taylor's mathematical knockdown formulas and Roy Weatherby's notions of hydraulic shock are equally irrelevant. Penetration is the key and bullet construction and sectional density are far more important than size or speed.
By the way, despite those who try to pigeon-hole him into the small caliber, high velocity group, Jack O'Connor's actual position on "killing power" was exactly the same one I just enunciated here.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

300 or even 200 yards is a long way out there and beyond the capability of many hunters. But certainly they are easy shots under the right conditions for practiced shooters. 300 yards is a chip shot for a good marksman but a real challenge for most, even in ideal conditions. You have to know when to hold or fold.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

RipperIII

Since you are not very experienced, I will offer my services, in no particular order:

1. You do not shoot deer with a bow. You use an arrow.

2. A 270 is pretty big..way bigger than an 7mm mag. 270-7 = 262. That's a lot bigger.

3. Deer do not have elbows.

4. I do not know what you mean by "wheelbarrow." Based on my experiences, you must mean that when you tried to use the deer, it had a flat front tire for which it was impossible to locate an inner tube, forcing you to borrow your neighbor's deer. When you tried to borrow your neighbor's deer, he let you know that the deer you with the flat was already his deer, which you borrowed last year.

Luckily, you have a brother-in-law.

5. Deer do not have front tires.

6. Deer rarely drop straight down in their tracks, unless you have very small deer with very large hooves.

7. Any deer shot with a .50 cal muzzie is going to have trouble running uphill for 35 years. Especially if he has an elbow.

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from Proverbs wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I've got a relative who was all about "knock-down" power. He talks about hunting far more than he actually hunts, and he shoots a .264 Win Mag with 140 gr. soft-points. He claims the speed of this magic bullet kills everything it touches because of the knock-down power. He once said he killed a coyote through sheer shock after taking a 600-yard shot and hitting it in the lower leg.

I stopping trying to reason with him after he used a Federal ammunition advertisement that showed a bulldozer hitting sand as his proof that "knock down" power is a real.

Then I guided him and another relative on an Arizona elk hunt. We had a 6x6 slowly quartering away at 35 yards, and his first shot castrated that elk, no kidding. The bull ran headfirst into a ponderosa and stood shaking, and I think it's brain was rattled by pounding that tree. The next three shots hit snow all around the elk, which was within 50 yards. He reloaded and proceeded to gut shoot the poor thing, which then hunched up. The next shot hit his buttock, then two more shots in the snow. I didn't have a rifle with me, but our other relative was cursing by now and raised his rifle and put the beast out of misery with one shot to the spine.

He hasn't said anything about knockdown power since then, which was about 10 years ago.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To MC Hunter: If you can find it, there's a great article in one of the 50s or 60s Gun Digests called "Knock Down Nothing," by the legendary, nearly mythical, Warren Page. Warren made two points, if I can recall. First was that any rifle that could knock down a 150-pound deer would also knock down the 150-pound hunter who pulled the trigger. This is courtesy of Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion, which says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Second, what we think of "knocking down" is collapse brought about by bullet damage. The reason I don't hunt Cape buffalo with a .270 is because the bullets are not big enough to cause enough damage in an animal of that size and toughness to keep me from getting stomped. You don't knock down old nyati with anything, but a big enough bullet will do enough damage that he will fall down--eventually.

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from Carney wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I'm going coyote hunting. Using an avil for extra knockdown power.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer,

You just about outdid yourself this time ! ROTFCGU

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from ishawooa wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Well I logged in twice and waited patiently each time as usual for the miserable powers that be to allow me to state my opinion. Ce la vie.
DEP, of course, answered his own question. Back in the seventies I learned that my fantastic 6.5 x .284 was no better than my old .270 Win. when a friend acquired an Ohler chronograph. The fact is the same today as when stated to me by an old Montana rancher decades ago "Why hell son any rifle is a deer gun, don't be so particular, it's your shooting that counts".

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My choice for knockdown power is a 5-lbs hammer. Hit Bambi between the running lights and he goes down every time.

Of course, the trick is the stalk.

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from HogBlog wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I appear to be stuck in a loop... is this groundhog day?

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from HogBlog wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Steward, no disrespect and not trying to sound superior... BUT...

300 yards is a LOOOONNNNGGG shot.
The .308 is capable, but for that kind of shooting, you really need to make sure YOU are capable. It is not as simple as getting good at 100 yards and sort of guesstimating where to hold. It's not the kind of thing you learn from the forums or a ballistics calculator. Get out with that .308 and do some shooting at 300 yards. Then see what you think.

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@Amflyer...maybe you should step away from the bottle...boredom will get you in trouble

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from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I thing people got that silly idea about knockdown power from watching too much TV and movies. It's just bullcrap pure and simple. Dead is dead , no such thing as deader than dead. Take the .270, it will kill any deer in North America other than Godziilla buck lol. Put the bullet where it needs to be and have fun.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dave, you talk about the mess in the field but overlook the mess in the butcher room. Take enough gun but not too much. That's why I have always used a 30-06. And why I have almost never taken a shot at anything more than 150 yards away.

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from shane256 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My anecdotal experiences (unlike troll53's) after using a .30-06 for many years and recently switching to a .260 Remington is that both perform about equally well. Shot placement is king. I've never had to shoot a deer twice with my .260 and none have run over about 30yds with most under 10yds if not dropped in their tracks. I've had to shoot one deer with my .30-06 twice and have had more deer run farther, but then, I've killed more with my .30-06 because I hunted with it longer so my .260 sample size is smaller. My .260 is my go-to gun... the .30-06 pretty much only goes to the range with me anymore unless I lend it out to friend/family.

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from Safado wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer/WAM,
You guys are killing me. I'm at work and it's all I can do to not laugh out loud!!! It has been said many times..."It's not the arrow it's the Indian". Deer aren't that tough but you have to hit them right. .270 Win will kill any deer period. However, if you gut shoot one or shoot for the neck and blow their jaw off you will have a mess on your hands.
Steward,
A .308 is an excellent deer caliber...you can take a deer at 300 yards as long as you know what you're doing!That means lots of practice at 300 yards.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I've never killed a deer with a magnum caliber rifle. No wait, I have never taken one deer hunting either! Nor a caliber that had more than 3 digits... LOL

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago
from Del in KS wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Guys,

Glad I decided to give this thread a look. Thanks for the laughs. WAM, where can we get the Hanoi jane urinal target. Actually I would prefer to whiz on the real thing.
Last Fall on opening day used my Vanguard 2 in 300 Roy on a Mizzoo 8 pt at 265 yds and hours later my Kimber 25-06 on 2 does at 170 yd. All with Barnes TSX bullets all resulted in dead deer. None were flattened in their tracks but neither did they move more than a few yds. However, if I want a big blood trail the 300 would be my pick. No, never have noticed the recoil. That rifle has a well designed stock and is not a featherweight.

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from Tim Platt wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I know you detest ballistic tip bullets because of the damage to the meat, but they seem to drop deer in their tracks better than any other bullet I have tried. If you are going to hunt in thick woods as I do, dropping the deer fast is of utmost importance. If it runs 150 yards it can cross a hill and someone else will be tagging your deer before you can get out of the stand. Just saying...

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from Jerry A. wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I think that in the past, before there were so many excellent bullet designs, there was greater need to increase caliber as the size of game increased. I don't think that applies nearly as much these days.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Hog Blog; I was beginning to wonder if you had been shooting "Enough Gun" a little too much lately. It looked like maybe you were flinching everytime you hit the "submit" button...

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal;
I would argue the opposite of most of these fellows, but I have been drinking fine whiskey while typing and before that I have been shooting "Enough Gun" a little too much lately.
This part of the post was supposed to go on top but for whatever reason (Pick one: Fine Whiskey, Shooting "enough-gun" too much, or being 4-hours slow)I didn't include it in that post, so I will include it here for comic relief.

Carney: I loved the anvil joke, that was awesome, use a piano or a jet-pack if you run out of anvil.

AKX

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from shane wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I heard recently that a .30-06 could possibly kill a deer up to 300 yards if ya been practicin'.

Perfect for that there clearcut you'll be dozing off to while one shows up at 297 1/2 yards 3 minutes before dark on the last day when you forgot your flashlight.

It'll be a 4 1/2 year old 8 pointer that weighs 404 pounds on the hoof and scores 117.

Don't try to drag it yourself. Bring matches.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shame on you DEP. You, as a 'Merican, should not be mixing a projectile measured in mm's with a brass casing previously associated with a projectile measured properly in thousands of an inch. Shame on you, sir.

I suspect that you are also a camouflage mixer; a plaid shirt over striped pants type of gentleman, or beer and whisky (not whiskey, dammit, regardless of what Spellchecker thinks) in the same evening type of guy as well.

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from Amflyer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Aww, I was just having some fun Ripper. Life is too ludicrous to take seriously more than necessary. Apologies if you felt slighted in the least.

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from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I think you have covered this topic before Dave. Confidence in your rifle and shooting ability is the best assurance that the critter will go down when you pull the trigger. Also, I vote for taking the .270, or you could invite me to come along, and I'll bring the .270.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Well Petzal, once again you have wow-ed the masses with saged wisdom earned with years of hard huntin`. (Please accept this as a HUGE compliment,Dave, as intended!)

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from srlarson wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shot placement is key.....I grew up hunting in SW Wisconsin with lots of Pressure, Grandpa had the best advise.....forget the fancy shots you see on TV and Put it on the front shoulder and break something, they don't go real far after that.

I have taken many deer with a shotgun, but for the woods I love my 30/30...longest is 250 yards with my 308, now only hunt with my bow and muzzleloader.....so advise be confident with what you are shooting and depending on circumstances put the shot where you want it....and fire up the grill!!

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from elmer f. wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

well Dave, i have to agree with you on the "shoot them fatally. and they will fall over, or run less than 100 yards, and fall over." of course, there are always exceptions to this rule.my wife shot an 8 point, that just flat out refused to die, until there was no more blood in him to supply oxygen to his muscles. he went over 1/2 of a mile. and he was shot thru one lung, and the heart. for longer distance shots, i have always thought of my 300 win mag as very capable. but i have never had a 300 yard to prove it. what i do know is it packs a heck of a wallop on deer. the only deer i have had go anyplace at all was hit after the bullet passed thru a 4" oak tree. and he went about 40 yards before piling up. i know it is an age thing. i am starting to not like the push of my big guns. but i am not quite ready to back down yet. another 3 or 4 years perhaps. but i really like not chasing deer. pulling them out is bad enough. let alone crawling thru a swamp first to find him.and don't they ALWAYS go to the nastiest place they can find to die?!

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from retoohs wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

As the late Col. use to say"There Ain't one Thing That a Man can't fix with a twenty dollar bill and a 30.06"

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I've killed all but 2 of my deer with my lil ol .270.
One deer killed with a.50 muzzleloader and one deer killed with my bow.
The bow shot deer dropped straight down in her tracks...spined her.
9 of my rifle shot deer dropped dead in their tracks...shot through the shoulder, one shoulder shot deer "wheelbarrowed" forward about 15 yds, another deer shot just behind the shoulder went about 20 yds.
the buck killed by muzzloader ran about 35ys uphill with a huge gaping hole just behind his elbow.

I'm not nearly as experienced as some of you guys,...but I think this "knock-down power" thing is a tad overrated.

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from Bizzydays wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Every month I receive more outdoors, shooting, and gun magazines than I can easily read. Field & Stream is where I come for common sense reading on guns. The older I get the less grumpy Petzel seems as I am having more fits myself with mall crawlers wearing expensive work wear that has never seen dirt. So let's talk killing power. When Winchester was still in the centerfire rifle business (RIP Pre 64 Model 70) we bought our hunting ammo at the hardware store. You took the bullet weight they had and often as not the brand as well. An awful lot of Springfields and Krags with cut off stocks were being used. If your deer trotted off you were a bad shot, with iron sights no less, but your ammo was just fine. No one used scent lock and if you showed up in camo no one would share a tent with you. Petzel is right, put your bullets where they belong.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

No HogBlog! It's one of those, "Computers! Bah! Humbug!" days! LOL!

As far as exceptions go?
Whether it's a .22 Hornet or a .460 Wby, a blown shot is, well, a blown shot!
Like the old adage! "A rose by any other name is still a rose."
Will projectile diameter or speed compensate for, "Uh-oh!", is subjective at best. Kinda like "knock down" power.
Pick something you can shoot well and shoot it as best you can. If ol' Murf steps up to the plate, all bets are off!

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

will the opinions change if we change the setting to Africa?

what about the article by Randy Garrett (he of the powerful .45-70 loads fame) that says the greater the horsepower of a .45 rifle, the less penetration? is he just trying to sell us Garrett .45-70 ammunition?

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

No self respecting gun writer would (in his wiser years) basically regurgitate Jack's 270 wisdom, and expect to draw a paycheck from a billion hours of debate that fuels the ammo industry. I'll tell you what Dave since we both have been drinking and typing I will let this slide, but if I can't hit the broadside of a lung at 50 yards with my superior newly ordered SBL vs my flat shooting A-bolt 243, I will have to stop reading your post and watching your mediocre tv show until deer season is over and I have little better to do. In the meantime, I send the best to you and yours. WPS! Whoop Bama. Cheers. PS My cousin has done quite well with his 270 no worse than with most the guys with their beloved 7mm Rem Mags.

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from mcrumrine wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shoot what you're comfortable with. I have killed deer with a 7x57 with 140gr NP, .338 with 220gr NP (my usual elk rifle) and a .270 with 140gr Win Silver tip Balistic, Remington Core Lokt 130gr, and Winchester Power Point 130gr. The reason the .270 are all factory loads is I no longer have access to hand loads, round of choice would be 130-140gr NPs there also. Ranges have been between 20 and 300 yds. Nothing has run further than 100 yds. Usually about 10-20 if they don't drop in their tracks.

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from aferraro wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Ballistic tables don't mean much in the woods. Deer are just as dead from my 308 as the cannons some of my friends use and my ears and shoulder feel much better than theirs on Monday.

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from Treestand wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

You Boys are something! I have used a 243W for more then 20+ years on New York Deer in 1959 Winchester Ammo came out with a 105Gr/243pill, but i have found that the 80Gr pill will drop them in there tracks(good bullet placement and Hyder shock Ammo atleast 3,000+ FPS will do the job)I have tried the 100Gr and the 105Gr and had to track them!
Deer are thin skined Game. In 1985 I switch to my 7MM/08 only its faster(the need for speed)We have larger Deer in Fl.then in NY, 225#+.

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from IowaGuy wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Always said would you rather get shot in the head with .22 or the little toe with a .45?

Placement is king, caliber is second

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from Ken Cuff wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Good old gun magazines, you must be related to Jack O he really really like the .270, Remember?

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from Bellringer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Jim Carmichael wrote an article wherein he opined that if a bullet strikes the heart at the moment of peak contraction the pressure increases to the point that it ruptures brain vessels and causes a bang flop to occur.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Safado

308 or 30-06 loaded with Hornady 130's is one of the best dear loads I know of. A tad less kick than 150's, flat shooting and puts the wallop on Monster Mule Deer and doubles for Coyotes!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Found this target and I uploaded it just for you WAM. LOL!

www.fieldandstream.com/photos/trophyroom/recent/single?pnid=1001476199#1...

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My vote would be the 140 gn partitions loaded on top of the 6.5/284. I would not want to come across the deer that could walk away from that recipe. Plus, I enjoy recoil about as much as I would enjoy getting hit in the face.

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from duckdog07 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Split the difference and use a 300 win mag preferably one of the new winchester model 70 super grades and a Nosler 180gr accubond they open up quick and stay together should your 300yd shot become a 50yd shot.Come on Dave, get the magnum its a rifle not a woman how dangerous can it be?

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from nehunter92 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

The fact is that while some animals might take quite a punch to "one shot" them, Whitetails really do not belong to that club. It really does not take that much to bring them down, especially when you put a round in "the boiler room." What HogBlog says does hold true though. In a perfect situation, you could kill a deer with a 22. Magnum. As anyone who has done it for long enough really knows though, deer hunting rarley gives us perfect scenarios. At some point, you will have to take tough shots from a bad stance at a less than perfect broadside target. At that point, having something a tad beefier than 223. will come in handy. That does not call for a 338. however. A 308. would do the job just fine. At 300 yards. 270. would do the job just fine. (In my opinion.)

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from Safado wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Clay,
I shoot Barnes 130 gr XXX and TSX in my .308...I live in lead free California. Haven't used Hornady since my rifle likes Barnes and Nosler Partitions. I tend to shoot 110's up to 168 gr in my .308 and heavier in my 30-06.

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from Iklwa wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To my mind, there is never too much gun if (and here is the one caveat) if the marksman can hit well with it. I am known to hunt whitetail, even small Texas Whitetail, with the 375 Holland and Holland Magnum. I apply my “standard” load (for everything from crows to large bears) of the Sierra Game King 300 grain spitzer boat tail over 77 grains of IMR4350.

I have yet to see anything take another step (or flap as the case may be) after being hit with this combination. I also aim for the shoulder and not for the heart. Tracking is not a skill I want to become proficient at.

If I were going out beyond the 300 yard mark, I would be using the 7mm Remington Magnum with a hard, heavy, streamlined bullet like the Barnes, Nosler, Sierra or Berger projectile.

My question is: For a hunting rifle, how many kicks do you expect to endure?

If we were discussing target or varmint platforms, a more gentle set up would be appropriate.

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from troll53 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Based on a sample of one...myself...I would both agree and disagree.

Yes, with the right placement any "deer sized" ammo will do the job.

However my experience says that a 30.06 has better knock down power than a 6.5X55. I use both, hunting in the Northeast where the range is usually 50 yards or less. While my Swede is more accurate than my 700, over the course of my hunting career half the deer I shot with the 6.5 required a follow up shot, whereas only a quarter of the ones tagged with the '06 needed "one more."

Do they both work? Yes.

Which one would I pick if I was traveling across the globe on a "hunt of a lifetime?" No decision, would use the largest caliber I could comfortably shoot.

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from omarfishesalot wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer if field and stream gave a funniest comment of the decade award you would be a shoo in,in my eyes too funny.as for caliber doesnt matter its all shot placement I have seen mature big-bodied bucks fall from heart shots from a .243 and does although old that were small bodied run away from a poor placed "neck shot" with a high caliber by a yahoo relative of a close friend of found the poor gal later and put her out in due season.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To Jim in NC: I go way up north, right near the Canadian border. There are usually around ten people in our camp, and in a decent year we'll take three deer. Five is a hell of a good year. In the best of times there are not a lot of deer around, and when you get a bad spring it really hammers them hard.

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from davidpetzal wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To Jim in NC: I go way up north, right near the Canadian border. There are usually around ten people in our camp, and in a decent year we'll take three deer. Five is a hell of a good year. In the best of times there are not a lot of deer around, and when you get a bad spring it really hammers them hard.

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from Walt Smith wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Shot placement is everything. Every deer I've ever shot in the neck just below the head have simply dropped in their tracks, three have sat right on thier butt before tipping over. Most are scared of it because they've heard horror stories by those who obviously can't shoot straight in the first place. My longest neck shot was 220 yards and the deer dropped so fast I wasn't sure where it wentuntil I glassed and seen it in a heap.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@ AJMcClure,

You must have watched Obama's speech last night with all that hope to the future razzamatazz if you think your Pigs are going to beat 'Bama! The location of the barbecue just changed, not the end result! RTR

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@ dale freeman,

Ain't it the truth! I'm not as good as I once was, but as good once as I ever was...

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Del in KS,

I hope to report how the .300 Weatherby performs this year. First time hunting with it. I know what the 7mm Weatherby will do with the TTSX, so I'm sure that it is more than adequate. I made a misstatement in my first post. I have hunted a couple of times with my .30-06 and it does have more than 3 digits. I've only had it 10 years and only taken one cow elk and a big mulie with it, both inside 100 yards. Thud.

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from wingshooter54 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I took two bucks last season; one with a 25-06 and 100 gr. Barnes TSX @ 3,250fps, the other with a 250-3000 and 100 gr. CoreLokt @ 2,800fps. Both bucks were slightly quartering toward me and bullet impact was the junction of neck and shoulder. Both went down in their tracks and I can't tell you which hit the ground faster. Shots were around 150 yards. These were deer that would field dress around 180lbs. A 45-70 wouldn't have done it any better. I love to go in a gun store and ask for some 250 Savage ammo....the usual response is "Whut?"

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

The scenario you put forth cries out for your 338 with the aforementioned Barnes X-bullets. That’s what I would do. You want that deer to stop right where you can see it, and I think the 338 has the best chance to do that of the three rifles you have mentioned.
Just my two cents worth
AKX

Sorry for the late post but I live in Alaska and it's 4 hours later here...

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

When I hunt for elk on ranches that are surrounded by "tree-hugger" landowners I reach for a bigger gun. You know those guys who charge a $1500 tresspass fee to recover your elk that has strayed over the property line before expiring,(and hold a memorial for it)?
When faced with this scenario I use a 375 Ruger Alaskan. I have also shot 3 deer with this rifle (gun in my hands at the time)and they usually don't go far. Meat damage is minimal. When hunting deer in a similar situation I use a 338 Win Mag, because I don't want them to leave the area. Nothing has ever been "knocked over" by these cartridges, but a lot have stayed put, just once a mulie buck made it about 100 yards when I hit him above the lungs but didn't hit the spine.
I realize that the confidence I have in these rifles has something to do with my success with them, but I also belive if you want something to stop where it is, plan to do a lot of damage.
AKX

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from AlaskanExile wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal;
Warren Page was "All That",he did it and then he wrote about it, in a pre-computer age.
I wish he was still with us. I look for old (really old now) gun magazines and books (Gun Digest) at garage and estate sales to read his writings.
I wish you got more than a page to tell us everything that "torques you off" every month.
AKX

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from jim in nc wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

DP:
Whereabouts do you go in Maine, and how has your luck been (tho I suspect luck has little to do with it) the last few years?

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from RipperIII wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

@amflyer,...no worries, I should have been more clear in my OP,...shot placement I believe has much more to do with the "shot, drop, flop" than caliber.

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from SL wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Yeah, a .223 will kill a deer as will a .340 Wtby, but I'd still stick with a caliber somewhere in the middle between these two extremes. Giving a .223 or even a .243 in many cases to a young hunter without much shooting experience is looking for trouble in my opinion. A poor hit will be a poor hit, but a marginal hit with something over .25 caliber has a better chance of putting the animal down than something smaller. The small calibers should be left to the experts, while everyone else should stick to something a bit more potent. The standard .308, 30-06, .270 type deer cartridges aren't standards for no reason.

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from FirstBubba wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Two seventy! (tu-seb'm'dy)
Man is that thing tough to beat!
G'luck Dave! I know you'll choose wisely(?)!

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from O Garcia wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I think it was Massad Ayoob who wrote the story of how a 'Western' type gunwriter once told him the reason the .357 125-grain load performs so well in the Ed Sanow tests is because the noise and flash it makes (it is the noisiest and flashiest of the .357 loads, visible even in bright daylight) causes enough shock to knock down [human] targets. Ayoob then offered that if that is the case, cops should be loading their revolvers with .357 movie blanks, which produce even more bang and flash.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Mr. Ripper 111
Has old dave been feeding "Amflyer" gun powder.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

To WA Mtnhunter;
The hardest part of growing old,at least for me, is to reconize your limitations.

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from dale freeman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Boys, I really like when you been "squeezing" the vine.
thanks for the laughs.

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from Drew McClure wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Your fired.

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I was present one time when a companion made a shoulder shot on an antelope at 100 yards with an old Winchester .38-40. The animal was not knocked down, but it ran off and required several more shots to finish it off.
The post mortem revealed that the first shot was stopped by the shoulder and failed to penetrate the boiler room.
The final shot was made at close range through the ribs.
Draw your own conclusions.

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from 99explorer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I once attended a live turkey shoot (3 shots for $10), in which the shooter had only the turkey's head to aim at. The turkey's body was behind sandbags. If you drew blood, the turkey was yours.
One shooter just grazed the turkey's neck with a shot and was awarded a live turkey. Someone suggested that he take the turkey to a vet for treatment, and keep it as a pet.

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from 1uglymutha wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

pretty much said it all. my philosophy has always been-hunt with the gun you have as long as it's legal. of course, there's nothing wrong with buying a new rifle. sometimes you just gotta have it.

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from LeVan Goodey wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Steward, if you do your part a 308 will kill deer at 300 yards. My best friend who was on the Marine rifle team when he was in the Marines shot a deer at 1000 yards in front of two witnesses. Most rifles can kill game farther than most people can shoot.

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from Steward wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My question: How does the .308 stack-up compared to other rounds? I have used a .308 on all my deer, to date, and made 100+ yard shots with it, but I really don't know what it would do at 300 yards.

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from Steward wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

My question: How does the .308 stack-up compared to other rounds? I have used a .308 on all my deer, to date, and made 100+ yard shots with it, but I really don't know what it would do at 300 yards; how flat it would fly or how much energy it would have (compared to other rounds).

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from Gtbigsky wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dave,

You are spot on. If I were you I would take the 6.5/284! I love 6.5 ballistics especially when you get into the 140 gr bullets.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

As one person said, "All you have to do is let the air out of it"

After your previous misses on targets at long range, I suggest leaving the 338 at home ;)

140-grain Nosler Partitions?

The State of Main must have really tough and dangerous deer David, are they eating the leaves off the Kevlar plant

139-140 grain soft point would be perfect

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

ken.mcloud said it best! “So, I think that the superior killing power of larger rounds is largely in our heads.(likely testosterone induced) A flat-shooting round that you can accurately place will produce as many if not more "bang-flop" kills as a heavy caliber round.”
-
On the other hand
-
"We have not heard from Ken McCloud in ages hope he was not carrying a fast stepping small caliber rifle and ran into a testosterone laden elephant that could not spell hydrostatic shock. Just teasing Clay. Kindest Regards"
-Happy Myles

Happy Myles? (bite tongue)

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Ya"WAM, the first sign of getting old is when you can still hit the target at 250 but you start missing the toilet.... Author Unknown

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

WAM

DAV, VFW etc. restroom, PRICELESS!

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from Clay Cooper wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

99 the best a$$ wopen I ever had at a Turkey Shoot wuz back in 75 down in Gravette Arkansas by an Ol'Salts with a 38-40 at 100 yards against my 22-250. That 38-40 wuz dead center with every shot!

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from Carl Huber wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I am NO expert. BUT. Best Deer cartridge is like asking my three kids what they wanted for dinner. I usually get four reguests. I would say my answer is in what geography is said deer standing and coming from a less varied menu of cartridges 30-06 or 30-30.

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from fordman155 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Dave--any chance of hunting with the 700 Thunderf#&@er this year? I've seen some impressive, big-racked bucks in central Kansas.

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from coachsjike wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

dave,
what about the .308 win? there's a reason why the military used it as a sniper rifle round all of these years. mild recoil,somewhat flat trajectory, with lots of knockdown power at decent distances.

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from deerdawg wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I have used a .243win. for 40 years of deer hunting using a good ole' 100grain remington corelok. Anything within 150-200 yards is no problem. Anyone who shoots whitetail deer farther than that is a shooter not a hunter. Actually most of my deer has been within 50 yards.

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from Bernie Pressman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

....anyone here care to explain HOW a bullet kills instantly when it strikes the thoracic cavity of a quadrapedal mammal..?
do just say "knockdown power" or ""it stuns the nervous system" or "massive blood loss".

What happens, and what does it do to the corpus animale????

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from Bernie Pressman wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

...I will share the answer after the break......you might be surprised...

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from Safado wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Amflyer,
I'm still laughing...I use the 'getting my money's worth' line on the golf course...too often!

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from hunterandfarmer wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

I have shot about 10 deer with my .243 and never had one run more than 50 yards. As for shot placement I hit all of then in the heart/lung area except for two I hit in the spine. I use 100gr. soft points.

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from omarfishesalot wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

*friend of mine

*doe

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from MCHunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
Certainly a .270 Win or a 6.5/284 is more than adequate for deer hunting. I concur, who needs a .338 for deer? It's overkill. However, I will take exception with you on there is no such thing as knockdown power. If that is the case, let's all just hunt with .22's. For example, why was the .45 invented? Hmmm, something to do with knockdown power. The .38 could penetrate, but not knock 'em down.
There is no substitute for accuracy and judgment as when to take a shot and when not to - as you and many others here point out. That certainly is key. A cannon is not needed, but...
Regardless, good luck deer hunting.

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from MCHunter wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
Thank you for your reply. I will look for the article to which you refer. I understand penetration and how destroying vitals kill. I was bear hunting with my brother once and we were after a bear. The bear was on the opposite side of a downed log on a trail. When the bear stood up, my brother shot him with a .44 Mag. It was a 5 yd shot. It picked the bear up and put it on its back. Is that not knock down power? I cannot see how it is not, but will continue to research the topic. Thanks again.

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from Dpomella wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Use a Sako L61R in 25.06/REM and never had a Michigan whitetail run more than 30 yds. Shot placement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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from Bioguy01 wrote 1 year 32 weeks ago

A .308 will serve you well.

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