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Mr Free Market will like this..

Terminal Ballistics

These pages are intended for a serious examination of the subject of terminal ballistics as it applies to the hunter (principally). Necessarily, some of the details of the discussion involve matters which some minds may regard as gruesome, possibly even disturbing. While there are no graphic depictions of wounds on this site and its associated pages, the effects of bullets are discussed in graphic (albeit scientific) terms. Anyone who finds the whole subject of hunting and guns to be unsettling may well want to depart without perusing the contents of this site. I accept no responsibility whatsoever for any psychological traumas, mishaps, misfortunes, or bad karma alleged to result from viewing this site, whether real, imaginary or pretended. On the other hand... if one's mind is not frozen in prejudice (or alternatively, absorbed by perverse morbidity), then I would invite newcomers to the world of sport hunting to examine these pages and discover the non-sensationalized real face of modern hunting. I hold very high ethical standards and one will find that ethics is a recurring theme on this site.


.....loved it.....chicken soup for the hunter

I loved it too. An intellectual feast for the hunter, to be sure.

Ulfhere's explanation of why the term "hydrostatic shock" is misleading and ought to be replaced by "hydrodynamic impulse" is persusive.

I did find myself balking when he says, " let me concede that there may be some merit to the idea that hydrodynamic (not hydrostatic) impulse created by bullets which have a high kinetic energy and generally exhibit violent cavitation, can cause some secondary effects due to pressure on the nervous system or heart. It is possible to kill manually by nerve "strangulation". In this case actual damage to the central nervous system is not caused, but the signals governing the heart or diaphragm are shut off, resulting in instantaneous unconsciousness or even death."

I object to his claim that "actual damage...is not caused..." This is bizarre. You have effectively eliminated the functioning of a system vital to life. The vagus nerve, for example, is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, and if you disrupt it's functioning via bullet, loud shouts, magic spells or anything else, the animal dies at once. I call this "damage." The system never "comes back on", so to speak. You have effectively removed it. That is damage. I think he means that the nerve itself is not damaged, just "turned off." I am not sure how one woulf verify that the nerve really suffered no damage, but, even if one could, surely disupting the system itself constitutes "damage." If you could instantaneously remove any of the systems needed to make you car's engine run, I'd say you'd damaged the engine.

Also, when he discusses the South Carolina Game study at Cedar Knoll, he concludes, " Southern whitetails are not the appropriate game for the use of controlled expansion bullets. I have gotten complete penetration with Ballistic Tips on shots through the shoulder and spine at close range. Nothing more robust is called for."

Well, that is semi-hemi-demi true. You can, indeed, get complete penetration with BTs through the shoulder/spine on deer at close range, say 10 to 20 yards, BUT only if the deer weighs less than say, 130 lbs. Southern deer are smaller than northern deer, but, even so, many bucks will go 175, quite a few will go, 200, and 225 lb is far from unheard of. The average southern buck probably goes about 120 lbs, but that means there are a Hell of a lot of heavier ones. The shoulder bone, the scapula, just gets too thick for close range BT penetration when the deer gets bigger than average. At longer ranges the BT will penetrate, presumably because it has slowed down.

But a close range BT shoulder shot on a 130 lbs plus deer will fragment into, to use scientific terminology, the itsy-bitsiest, teensie-weeniest pieces that you have ever not seen.

The deer will still die, but you will have a tracking job of 25 to 200 yards facing you, and tracking a deer that far in the jungle that is the South can be daunting, and you can lose the deer.

If you were pretty sure that you were going to have a close range shot because of thick cover, a controlled expansion bullet might not be such a bad idea. I'd pick the Nosler Partition, though some might not quite think of it as controlled expansion anymore these days.

The yards travelled stats from that Cedar Knoll study are problemmatic, by my lights. It doesn't mention over/through what kind of terrain the animals travelled. It makes a big difference. If those yards travelled refer to the flat, smooth grassy fields of Cedar Knoll, that is one thing.

I'd just like to know if they included Hellish cut-overs, thick second-growth timber, etc. Strictly speaking, for comparative purposes only such information may not be necessary. But for helping hunters see the big picture, you really do need that info.

I was glad to see the praise given to Dr. Marvin Fackler. That guy knows his stuff.

They are discussing this article over on Kim du Toit's site now - 15 June 04 - over ther for more.

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