Is a 30 cal big game rifle needed anymore?

KenLee

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@Article 4 , thanks.
I actually have read that. It says exactly what I had understood, which is that energy absolutely does matter, but with a caveat, the caveat being that the exact form of how the energy is applied makes a huge difference, and also that bullet fragmentation is on top of the basic energy, ie it is an additional mechanism of wounding that is addative with the energy you are referring to. I think this debate always gets overly simplified, but if you look at the folks who are leading the charge on advocating for smaller cartridges, they are very specific that they are only referring to very specific bullets, and when they say the small cartridge is sufficient, they are only making a comparison between “Small bullets with maximum damage potential” (ie explosively frangible lead bullets, ie energy PLUS fragmentation damage leading to a large-for-caliber wound channel), compared to “large bullets with minimum damage potential” (ie bonded lead or mono with a small-for-caliber wound channel). The same people are providing photos of large caliber wounds utilizing the same frangible bullets, which in most peoples opinions seem to cause excessively more damage than anyone wants—NO ONE in this debate that has been really following it is claiming that a small cartridge creates the same wounding effect as a large cartridge if the same bullets are used.
Overall, I guess where I’m going from this, is that the studies you provided and the quote you provided, do not contradict what the small-cartridge folks are saying. That citation doesnt have any specifics, but at the level of specificity provided it only reinforces the point that so many people here are saying, ie a small optimised bullet causes about as much damage as a large minimized bullet, and from a wounding perspective it doesnt really matter if your baseline is a .308 cal bonded lead or mono bullet.

In other words, use a .30cal if you want, it clearly works…it’s just not NECESSARY.
I couldn't help myself and had to comment my experiences with 2 similar rounds. One being a 30 caliber.
I am a readily admitted half ass shooter, as I have posted the same often on this forum. I bought an a-bolt ii in 270wsm the year they came out. 2001 I think it was. As I often hunted fields and powerlines, I bought 2 cases of 130 gr Winchester silvertips. Same as NBT with a little lubrication added. 150 gr 270wsm factory ammo was not available at that time.
About 10 years ago, I bought my first x-bolt 300wsm and a bunch of 150 gr NBT.
I have killed about 60 deer with each of the combinations and many with sub optimal shot placement.
The 150 gr from the 300wsm absolutely wrecks em compared to the 130 gr 270wsm.
Half or less the distance traveled on similar shot placement on bad shots.
Yes I got alot of DRT from the 130gr, but if the shot was off, it wasn't nearly as forgiving. Heck often deer don't move out of their tracks with bad shots from the 300wsm.
The lighter 270wsm bullets were a little faster, but didn't make up for weight/girth.
 

Bluefish

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I think one thing people forget or for new shooters have never experience, there were not the same selection of bullets when the laws and rules on energy were created. If everyone was limited to 1960’s bullets, yes bigger would do a lot more damage. There were not any tmk bullets to make a 22 work back then. You either had fmj or varmet bullets. Neither would take a deer effectively and repeatable.

In the end, energy matters, but only the energy transferred to the animal.
 

ElPollo

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I interviewed an expert in smack down power (the junior high school kid that picks up dog poop and mows the lawn) and thought what he had to say was quite convincing that more power is in fact more deadly.

Through the ring doorbell I simply asked, “What would hurt more, one of your sisters smacking you in the face, or both doing it at the same time?” No question about it, even someone without a high school diploma who has risen to the title of head dog poop picker understands clearly and without a doubt, double the energy makes a difference.

:)


View attachment 724682
I’m glad you finally decided to come out of the closet and show us a selfie. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to put on a persona. Rokslide is an open, accepting community. Just be yourself. It will be okay. I feel like we really shared something today and I’m proud of you.
 

TaperPin

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I’m glad you finally decided to come out of the closet and show us a selfie. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to put on a persona. Rokslide is an open, accepting community. Just be yourself. It will be okay. I feel like we really shared something today and I’m proud of you.
There is something comforting about communicating through the doorbell. Just when you thought the pizza delivery guy showed up. . . Surprise! . . . I’ll be there. “Is that the mailman?” Nope, just me wanting to talk about calibers or cartridges.
 

Lou270

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I would never tell a new hunter to get a 300 magnum. A 30 cal like .308 Win would be about perfect as would many others like 270,
6.5cm, etc. I personally would be leery recomemding something like a 22 or 24 cal to a newbie. As others have mentioned you have to be more specific on bullet choices and that can be confusing or not practical in these days of shortages. Pretty much any “hunting” ammo you get for a 308, 270, 6.5 cm is going to do ok. As many have proven a 22 cal or 6 with right bullet does great but what happens if can’t find that load and newbie has to pick something else. Basically you can cover a lot of ground with a 308 or 270 with fudpa’s corelokts or power points when you can’t find something fancy. There is a reason these rounds super popular for hunting.

Lou
 
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I
Cause that Mossberg kicks like a god forsaken Tikka.
Mossberg, Ruger American, Tikka all kick like a pissed off mule for caliber.
Had a 270 Tikka ultralight with a wood stock. It kicked pretty good til I put a full pillar bell and Carlson on it. Then it hurt to shoot it. After it burned I replaced it with a 7 mag ultralight with a flimsy plastic stock, it shoots amazingly well. The kick isn't bad at all and it makes clover leafs at 100 yards every time
 

BigNate

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In the end, energy matters, but only the energy transferred to the animal.
This.

The cited document even states it. It went on to quantify the energy level as a measly 500ft lbs. Nowhere did it suggest a specific caliber had anything definitive to do with acceptable energy transfer. Those cool pictures of ballistic gel in motion are demonstrating energy transfer.

Energy numbers mean very little by themselves.
 
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Jack O. and Winchester had it right for the past 70 years. The 270 Winchester is the rifleman's rifle. It's just as good as any 6.5 PRC at any reasonable range of 600+, light recoil, the ammo is less expensive and everywhere. Jack killed everything on the NA continent with that 270 and ammo/bullets are far better today.
I see you, KING!!
 

RobHazmat89

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Really not sure where the hang up is. You’re arguing for a specific caliber minimum and maximizing energy, yet the study you referenced states much less than that. So back to your original post of what’s needed, the study answers that pretty well.
This.

The cited document even states it. It went on to quantify the energy level as a measly 500ft lbs. Nowhere did it suggest a specific caliber had anything definitive to do with acceptable energy transfer. Those cool pictures of ballistic gel in motion are demonstrating energy transfer.

Energy numbers mean very little by themselves.
Well to be fair, that 500ft lbs was in regards to humans, and not big game.

Secondly, it's alot easier to get more energy with a larger, heavier caliber.
 

Bluefish

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Well to be fair, that 500ft lbs was in regards to humans, and not big game.

Secondly, it's alot easier to get more energy with a larger, heavier caliber.
It has to be less than 500ftlbs to be lethal on a human as most handguns are well below that threshold.
 

omicron1792

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I’ve always thought if the bullet doesn’t pass through it dumps all of the energy in the target. If it does pass through it doesn’t.

For killing game it’s all about tissue damage, mainly by bullet fragmenting or mushrooming and tearing blood vessels. Much less on energy dump.

I think only time energy matters is for large dangerous game where bullet doesn’t pass through and you might need to stop a charging Cape buffalo.
 

Bluefish

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Interesting that the airgun world doesn’t talk in velocity, but instead talks about energy. I think it’s due to the fact that they all shoot the same basic lead blob. No way to change lethality without going faster or heavier. Turns out a squirrel or rabbit don’t need much energy to be lethal. Only 20 ftlbs or so.
 

RobHazmat89

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I’ve always thought if the bullet doesn’t pass through it dumps all of the energy in the target. If it does pass through it doesn’t.

For killing game it’s all about tissue damage, mainly by bullet fragmenting or mushrooming and tearing blood vessels. Much less on energy dump.

I think only time energy matters is for large dangerous game where bullet doesn’t pass through and you might need to stop a charging Cape buffalo.

I’ve always thought if the bullet doesn’t pass through it dumps all of the energy in the target. If it does pass through it doesn’t.

For killing game it’s all about tissue damage, mainly by bullet fragmenting or mushrooming and tearing blood vessels. Much less on energy dump.

I think only time energy matters is for large dangerous game where bullet doesn’t pass through and you might need to stop a charging Cape buffalo.
Can't really have tissue damage without energy lol
 

Macintosh

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Just re-reading this, and thought I would pull out a bit more, as I think its really relevant to the topic, even though its very general info:

IMG_4596.png

So here’s the recommendations from this paper based on the finding that a “ballistic pressure wave” exists, and likely contributes to incapacitation:
Minimum penetration requirement of 12” in ballistic gelation” : so hunters need a minimum penetration requirement as well. Is more better? Maybe, it does not say so.

Maximizing pressure wave effects requires transferring maximim energy in a penetration distance that meets this requirement”. Key word being “TRANSFERRING”. In other words, a bullet that passes through on most shots in order to be able to take wacky off-angle shots, is going to carry a lot of its energy out the other side…ie that energy is NOT TRANSFERRED, ie it has NO BENEFIT until it is transferred. Also, it it’s “enough” energy for the “normal” shots, then we should quantify that and discuss the “enough” concept relative to smaller cartridges.

“In addition, bullets that fragment and meet minimum penetration requirements generate higher pressure waves than bullets which do not fragment”. Self explanatory, ie take two bullets that are identical in caliber, weight, shape, etc except that one fragments and one doesnt…the one that fragments generates more ballistic pressure wave. OR, the same thing means that a smaller bullet that fragments can make an equal ballistic pressure wave as a larger bullet, by virtue of its fragmentation.

The rest is speaking specifically to defensive handguns, but seems very transferrable to hunting.
No wounding mechanism can be relied on to produce incapacitation 100% of the time in the short span of most gunfights”. Ie no bullet will get a DRT 100% of the time, which is relevant when basing decisions on small sample sets such as “I used x and it worked great” or “I used x and it ran off, never again”.

“Selecting a good self-defense load is only a small part of surviving a gunfight. You have to hit an attacker to hurt him, and you need a good plan for surviving until your hits take effect”. Sounds to me like they are advocating for shootability, and this is a good argument for being able to make fast, accurate follow-up shots.

Get good training, practice regularly, learn to use cover, and pray that you will never have a lethal force encounter armed inly with a handgun”. Hmmm, training. Maybe something inexpensive, easy to shoot in some
volume would be a good choice for a friend with a “one-gun” situation to amke practicing easy and likely??

This paper also doesnt say if ballistic pressure wave is a SIGNIFICANT part of incapacitation, it only says it exists and does contribute. Is it 90% of incapacitation? Doesnt sound like it. Is it 10%? No idea. But depending on how large of a role it plays it should dictate how large of a priority we place on creating a ballistic pressure wave. If it isnt a MAJOR factor, it might make sense to prioritize other factors in picking a cartridge??
 
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RobHazmat89

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It’s a lot easier to get more energy transfer with correctly designed bullets regardless of caliber.
Not true at all. Energy = mass x velocity. Any bullet you can design for lighter projectiles you can also do with a larger projectile. No advancement in bullet design is going to make a .223 hit as hard as a .50bmg
 
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Just re-reading this, and thought I would pull out a bit more, as I think its really relevant to the topic, even though its very general info:

View attachment 724948

So here’s the recommendations from this paper based on the finding that a “ballistic pressure wave exists, and likely contributes to incapacitation:
Minimum penetration requirement of 12” in ballistic gelation” : so hunters need a minimum penetration requirement as well. Is more better? Maybe, it does not say so.

Maximizing pressure wave effects requires transferring maximim energy in a penetration distance that meets this requirement”. Key word being “TRANSFERRING”. In other words, a bullet that passes through on most shots in order to be able to take wacky off-angle shots, is going to carry a lot of its energy out the other side…ie that energy is NOT TRANSFERRED, ie it has NO BENEFIT until it is transferred. Also, it it’s “enough” energy for the “normal” shots, then we should quantify that and discuss the “enough” concept relative to smaller cartridges.

“In addition, bullets that fragment and meet minimum penetration requirements generate higher pressure waves than bullets which do not fragment”. Self explanatory, ie take two bullets that are identical in caliber, weight, shape, etc except that one fragments and one doesnt…the one that fragments generates more ballistic pressure wave. OR, the same thing means that a smaller bullet that fragments can make an equal ballistic pressure wave as a larger bullet, by virtue of its fragmentation.

The rest is speaking specifically to defensive handguns, but seems very transferrable to hunting.
No wounding mechanism can be relied on to produce incapacitation 100% of the time in the short span of most gunfights”. Ie no bullet will get a DRT 100% of the time, which is relevant when basing decisions on small sample sets such as “I used x and it worked great” or “I used x and it ran off, never again”.

“Selecting a good self-defense load is only a small part of surviving a gunfight. You have to hit an attacker to hurt him, and you need a good plan for surviving until your hits take effect”. Sounds to me like they are advocating for shootability, and this is a good argument for being able to make fast, accurate follow-up shots.

Get good training, practice regularly, learn to use cover, and pray that you will never have a lethal force encounter armed inly with a handgun”. Hmmm, training. Maybe something inexpensive, easy to shoot in some
volume would be a good choice for a friend with a “one-gun” situation to amke practicing easy and likely??

This paper also doesnt say if ballistic pressure wave is a SIGNIFICANT part of incapacitation, it only says it exists and does contribute. Is it 90% of incapacitation? Doesnt sound like it. Is it 10%? No idea. But depending on how large of a role it plays it should dictate how large of a priority we place on creating a ballistic pressure wave. If it isnt a MAJOR factor, it might make sense to prioritize other factors in picking a cartridge??
To be fair, it’s almost as if the FBI came up with a test medium to compare bullets in that correlates to live tissue. They also decided to determine metrics that were important and specific ways of measuring them. Caliber and raw KE( or ballistic pressure waves for that matter) don’t seem to be among those metrics.

I’m not convinced that the FBI test protocols aren’t just as relevant for hunting NA big game. Especially when you take into account some of the barrier tests.
 
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