Is a 30 cal big game rifle needed anymore?

Shraggs

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May also want to read this.

Then this

This is not directed entirely at you however given your thorough response, which I appreciate, this is directed here as well to everyone else that has provided their opinion.

Saying ballistic pressure is a part of incapacitation is confirming the existence of energy and its affect on the target and tissue. "It exists and does contribute" is all we need to read from that portion of the paper to know. Furthermore the paper continued to reference ballistic pressure waves, calculations of energy, and transmission to surrounding tissue including the brain at impact. Think about when you spine an animal and it drops dead on the spot. The energy transfers through the spine and into the brain, causing a rupture at the medula and instant death.

So whether we discuss higher pressure waves, frangibles, or blunt force trauma - physics has proven through mathematical calculations that have been peer reviewed and verified through multiple outlets too numerous to quote - the existence of it energy in projectiles is proved. The amount is also proved depending on the size and speed of the projectile.


In simple terms, if you shoot an elk in the back hip with a 223 will it kill? Probably not. If you shoot an elk in an a vital area with a bullet that perhaps deviates from its original path, do you have a better chance of a kill by creating a hole PLUS a significant pressure wave - absolutely and without argument YES

Here it is in its simplest form

1. How does energy transfer occur in ballistics? In ballistics, energy transfer occurs through the transfer of kinetic energy from the bullet to the target. When the bullet strikes the target, the kinetic energy is transferred to the target, causing damage or penetration. e.g. "ringing steel"
2. What factors affect the transfer of energy in ballistics? The transfer of energy in ballistics is affected by several factors, including the mass and velocity of the bullet, the density and composition of the target, and the distance between the bullet and the target.
3. How does momentum play a role in ballistics? In ballistics, momentum is the product of an object's mass and velocity. It plays a crucial role in determining the trajectory and impact of a bullet. The greater the momentum of a bullet, the more force it will exert on the target upon impact.
4. What happens to energy and momentum after a bullet impacts a target? After a bullet impacts a target, the energy and momentum are transferred to the target, causing damage or penetration. Some of the energy and momentum may also be transferred to the surrounding environment, such as the adjoining tissue, in the air or in some cases pass to the ground.
5. How is the transfer of energy and momentum in ballistics calculated? The transfer of energy and momentum in ballistics can be calculated using the laws of conservation of energy and momentum. This involves measuring the mass and velocity of the bullet and the target, as well as the distance and angle of impact.

Reference: https://www.physicsforums.com/threa...of-energy-and-momentum-in-ballistics.1014644/


HITS - HORNADY INDEX OF TERMINAL STANDARDS - Yes HORNADY​

You can effectively calculate the impact of a bullet via the following series of steps.

Collect the required information for the ammunition under consideration. You will need to know the bullet weight, measured in grains, which is listed on the ammunition box. You must also know the velocity the bullet is moving at impact. Each ammunition manufacturer publishes ballistic tables for their ammunition. These tables will normally list the bullet velocity at the muzzle of the gun and at intervals of 100 yards out to the useful range of the ammunition (usually 300 yards or so). For distances between the listed increments, you must estimate.

Ammunition manufacturers typically measure rifle bullet velocities using a 24-inch test barrel. As a rule of thumb, for every additional inch of barrel length beyond 24 inches, the velocity increases by 20 feet per second. Likewise, for every inch of barrel length below 24 inches, the velocity decreases by 20 feet per second. For example, if your rifle barrel is 20 inches long, then subtract 80 feet per second from the manufacturer's stated velocity. There is no such rule of thumb for pistol ammunition.

You also will need to know the bullet diameter. Precise diameters can be found in tables published by ammunition manufacturers. Otherwise you can use the bullet caliber as an approximation. A 30-06 bullet has a diameter of 0.308 inches, but you could use 0.300 inches in your calculations without significantly compromising accuracy.

Calculate the energy the bullet will deliver to the target on impact using the formula

𝐾𝐸=𝑤𝑏𝑣2450,437KE=450,437wbv2
In words, the bullet energy KE (in foot-pounds) is equal to the bullet weight (in grains) wb times the square of the bullet velocity v (in feet per minute) divided by 450,437.

Calculate the Hornady Index of Terminal Standards (HITS) number using the formula

𝐻𝐼𝑇𝑆=𝑤𝑏2𝑣700,000×𝐷2HITS=700,000×D2wb2v
In words, the HITS number is equal to the square of the bullet weight (in grains) times the velocity (in feet per second) divided by the square of the bullet diameter (in inches) divided by 700,000.

This is why energy is also listed on nearly every single box of ammunition you can buy, to guide the hunter is picking a bullet that has the HIGHEST probability of exerting the amount of energy to kill, in addition to making the hole.

Once again, the transfer of energy by projectiles is a fact. The amount is variable based on many factors. To say it does not have an affect is - to use a term folks use here all the time - "fuddlore"

Late chime in.

I thought we all knew this information as hunters and other weapons professionals. How we interpret it that seems to be different.

I’ve never heard or read the advocates for low caliber, low recoil, high fragmenting bullets state energy does not exist.

The “advocates” have stated that foot pounds of energy alone is not a predictor in anyway of a bullets lethality in any caliber. This in response to the opposition of a 223 with high fragment, heavy for caliber bullets. Obviously with substantial evidence now.

We all can point to lethal kills on deer/elk below 1000/1500 ft lbs of energy.

Advocates have stated and now shown that bullet type can have a greater impact on determining lethality. This is also clearly shown/written in your first link and as McIntosh has so summarized.

To the 50 bmg, bullet type scales up in its damage. Which is the point of small caliber low recoil enabling better shooting accuracy; I would not shoot an elephant with 233/77 but I could envision devastating tissue damage if a 50 cal tmk existed, I could tuck a shot tight broadside and not a brain hit at spitting distance!

Wound channels from a 308 165 GR at the same speed would be different from a fmj, an accubond and a tmk - yet energy is identical…

To me, the answer would be simple to the original post. I’d recommend a lower recoiling caliber that isn’t intimidating initially to become proficient and have fun with, available ammo and encourage real and often practice. This isn’t going to be a 30 cal and certainly not a magnum.

Recently got two friends into rifle had them each get man buns… 😊. Each considered and tested magnums. They are very happy with the suggestion over the mags. I have full faith that 140 eldm is very lethal well past there skill level. Yes a 300 mag with accubonds arguably is the equal or greater but this was an easier first step.
 

brolo

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Oct 22, 2022
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If you haven't shot an 80 pound doe at 25 yards with a .338, you're missing out man.
I saw this once, except the deer was much smaller than 80 lbs and only had 3 legs. The shot was was a center punch which helped jump start the gutting process.

devastating: yes
Bigger wound than pictures on .223 thread: nope

Edit: the .338 bullet was a “deep penetrating dangerous game bullet”, marketed to retain its weight and minimize fragmenting
 
Last edited:
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Late chime in.

I thought we all knew this information as hunters and other weapons professionals. How we interpret it that seems to be different.

I’ve never heard or read the advocates for low caliber, low recoil, high fragmenting bullets state energy does not exist.

The “advocates” have stated that foot pounds of energy alone is not a predictor in anyway of a bullets lethality in any caliber. This in response to the opposition of a 223 with high fragment, heavy for caliber bullets. Obviously with substantial evidence now.

We all can point to lethal kills on deer/elk below 1000/1500 ft lbs of energy.

Advocates have stated and now shown that bullet type can have a greater impact on determining lethality. This is also clearly shown/written in your first link and as McIntosh has so summarized.

To the 50 bmg, bullet type scales up in its damage. Which is the point of small caliber low recoil enabling better shooting accuracy; I would not shoot an elephant with 233/77 but I could envision devastating tissue damage if a 50 cal tmk existed, I could tuck a shot tight broadside and not a brain hit at spitting distance!

Wound channels from a 308 165 GR at the same speed would be different from a fmj, an accubond and a tmk - yet energy is identical…

To me, the answer would be simple to the original post. I’d recommend a lower recoiling caliber that isn’t intimidating initially to become proficient and have fun with, available ammo and encourage real and often practice. This isn’t going to be a 30 cal and certainly not a magnum.

Recently got two friends into rifle had them each get man buns… 😊. Each considered and tested magnums. They are very happy with the suggestion over the mags. I have full faith that 140 eldm is very lethal well past there skill level. Yes a 300 mag with accubonds arguably is the equal or greater but this was an easier first step.
I think to be fair I do believe it’s been stated that KE is meaningless at other times on this forum. Which as a metric to determine how effective a specific bullet is I wholeheartedly agree with, but as something that exists is obviously false. My perception (right or wrong) is that conflicts often arise from people looking at the raw energy numbers and thinking that more=better closely related to hydrostatic shock, and marginal shots would dictate that the more energy transfer is always preferred.

Story time about hydrostatic shock/temporary wound cavity: my brother shot a small buck last year at 160yards( a long shot for our part of Arkansas) with a 308 using 150gr Norma whitetail ammo. He didn’t listen to me when I told him what dope to use at that distance and shot the buck low. It was quartering too us hard facing downhill. The bullet entered through the sternum, missed the heart, exited, bounced and re-entered at the rear leg breaking it and stopping there. The buck didn’t make it 20 yards. The recovered bullet was a mushroom with very little to any weight loss. The buck expired before we reached him, but with no significant blood loss and no apparent organs hit. I fully believe, with my limited diagnosis abilities, that the buck died from the temporary cavity effecting the heart(since it traveled just past it). The heart was whole although obviously swollen, had he been shooting an ELD or even an SST I don’t think there would’ve been much heart left. I also think it would’ve traveled further had the bullet not broken the rear leg. He got a good lecture and learned some lessons that day that will hopefully stay with him.
 

RobHazmat89

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You missed yet again. The square means small changes in velocity have huge impacts. Much much more than similar changes in grain size.

ie. A 10% change in velocity has orders of magnitude greater impact on energy than 10% change in mass.

This doesn’t even begin to take into account that 10% increase in size of bullet causes negligible increase in tissue damage or energy transfer to animal. It doesn’t take into account the 25-50% increase in felt recoil that causes less practice, less accurate shooting.

That’s as simple of math as you get. You are dead wrong in this path. Pick another

Swing and a miss
Like I said, feel free to do the math and post it. Show me what you come up with lol
 

omicron1792

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Like I said, feel free to do the math and post it. Show me what you come up with lol
Use round numbers. Percentages still work out.

Energy = mass x velocity ^2

energy = 10 x 10 ^2

energy = 1000

Let’s change mass 10%

Energy = 11 x 10^2

Energy = 1100

Let’s change velocity 10%

Energy = 10 x 11^2

Energy = 1210

I think I learned this in 2nd grade
 
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I think to be fair I do believe it’s been stated that KE is meaningless at other times on this forum. Which as a metric to determine how effective a specific bullet is I wholeheartedly agree with, but as something that exists is obviously false. My perception (right or wrong) is that conflicts often arise from people looking at the raw energy numbers and thinking that more=better closely related to hydrostatic shock, and marginal shots would dictate that the more energy transfer is always preferred.

Story time about hydrostatic shock/temporary wound cavity: my brother shot a small buck last year at 160yards( a long shot for our part of Arkansas) with a 308 using 150gr Norma whitetail ammo. He didn’t listen to me when I told him what dope to use at that distance and shot the buck low. It was quartering too us hard facing downhill. The bullet entered through the sternum, missed the heart, exited, bounced and re-entered at the rear leg breaking it and stopping there. The buck didn’t make it 20 yards. The recovered bullet was a mushroom with very little to any weight loss. The buck expired before we reached him, but with no significant blood loss and no apparent organs hit. I fully believe, with my limited diagnosis abilities, that the buck died from the temporary cavity effecting the heart(since it traveled just past it). The heart was whole although obviously swollen, had he been shooting an ELD or even an SST I don’t think there would’ve been much heart left. I also think it would’ve traveled further had the bullet not broken the rear leg. He got a good lecture and learned some lessons that day that will hopefully stay with him.

Is it safe to say that bullets are designed to perform in certain ways with "KE" in mind?
 

jimh406

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It just depends on who you want to believe to determine if 30 cal is necessary/advangeous or not.

One school of thought is larger calibers with more energy is good while the other school says nothing it doesn't matter. Obviously, both came up with what they believed based on what they saw/experienced.

Most of us use what's worked for us and only change if there is a reason. I don't think there is anyway to prove either school of thought although some try.
 
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Is it safe to say that bullets are designed to perform in certain ways with "KE" in mind?
I know this will sound like semantics, but I think it depends on how the designers approach the problem. If they say, we need to design a bullet that transfers 600lbs of force in the first 12inches of penetration I would say yes. If they say, we need to design a bullet that has a permanent wound channel of at least x cubic inches in the first 12 inches of penetration after passing through plywood I would say no. I don’t have a clue how they approach it with hunting bullets but with duty ammo I would assume it’s the second way. Sometimes I think hunting bullets are designed with the look of the recovered bullet in mind.
 

eoperator

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I'm just here to say kudos to those with the time and patience to write up these long winded responses. 🥂
 
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RobHazmat89

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Use round numbers. Percentages still work out.

Energy = mass x velocity ^2

energy = 10 x 10 ^2

energy = 1000

Let’s change mass 10%

Energy = 11 x 10^2

Energy = 1100

Let’s change velocity 10%

Energy = 10 x 11^2

Energy = 1210

I think I learned this in 2nd grade
Now use numbers based on actual projectile weights and speeds lol
 
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Use round numbers. Percentages still work out.

Energy = mass x velocity ^2

energy = 10 x 10 ^2

energy = 1000

Let’s change mass 10%

Energy = 11 x 10^2

Energy = 1100

Let’s change velocity 10%

Energy = 10 x 11^2

Energy = 1210

I think I learned this in 2nd grade

*KE = 1/2mv^2
 
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