Thursday, May 28, 2009

Terminal Ballistics and Hunting

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
Terminal Ballistics and Your Hunting
(Or why I like big bores so much.)

Weatherby Eurosport in 30/06,
my light rifle.

One of those things that I’ve never understood is how someone could spend hundreds of dollars on a rifle, spend the same and sometimes more on a scope, and then pick up a box of the least expensive ammunition they can find. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with such an approach, but when a hunt can cost you thousands of dollars in incidental costs, what’s twenty more dollars?

With that in mind I thought I would discuss terminal performance.

What a bullet should do:

There are two ways that a bullet works, either by punching a hole through a vital zone or disintegrating inside and destroying the same. The fact is that given sufficient disruption of a primary system, death will occur, therefore a projectile works by stopping or damaging a vital life support system and causing death by suffocation, shock, or central nervous system shut down.

A bullet should reach its target unerringly, penetrate and do what is desired of it. Varmint hunting prefer to have the projectile blow up inside the target and expend its energy within. Medium and big game hunters vary in their desire for controlled expansion. Bullets shouldn’t be expected to do everything regardless of circumstances. At close range some bullets just won't hold up. At long ranges some won't do what they're designed to do.

For handloaders, there is one bullet that qualifies for the do-all-to-end-all. (In my opinion anyway!) That would have to be the big-bore hardcast LBT style bullets. Close range to long range they make a hole and keep on going. Just ask the buffalo runners of yesterday.

Image Credit: Tonyolm
270 Winchester FMJ, Pointed Soft Point, Ballistic Tip

Today the trend is towards deep penetration and retained weight. Originally, the Nosler Partitions, and now the Swift A-Frames, and the Failsafes are the yardstick by which all other bullets are measured. I will get to solids shortly. Since I am predominantly a hog hunter, I can speak with some confidence as to what works and what doesn’t. If we limit our discussion to larger pigs of 225 lbs or more, the need for quality bullets becomes apparent. I have observed that at about 150 lbs hogs start to develop the shield and by the time they are about 225 the shield is now a hardened gristle deposit.

Imagine, if you will, a hollow-pointed bullet hitting that. The expanding bullet drives into this dense, inelastic material. The bullet expands rapidly in this material and loses velocity. At some point it starts to shed pieces and loses mass. Without additional mass driving it from behind, penetration slows dramatically. In all probability it never penetrates past the gristle layer. What you get is a surface wound, little to no blood trail, and no hog.

160gr Soft Points
The reason the 30/30 has taken so much game, is that it throws a 150gr softpoint at a moderate velocity. It hits, expands, and the long bullet shank goes on its merry way. If you shot the same bullet out of a 30-06, at the same ranges as a 30/30, it might not hold together. Too much speed and not enough jacket strength. So it is also important to match the projectile to the cartridge parameters.

A non-partition softpoint doesn’t expand, as much as it is disrupted by the initial impact. In this case, mass directly determines penetration. The heavier the softpoint, the more likely it will penetrate deeper. The original Barnes made its money with its softpoint line. Heavy for caliber bullets (How about 600gr 458s and 250gr 308s!), driven at moderate speed disrupted well, retained 80% of their weight and drove deep. The only problem the Barnes Soft Points ever suffered from was over-expansion and the commensurate deceleration, which limited penetration, and on very large game sometimes the softpoints failed to smash through bones.

XP3 Bullets
Now if you will, try the same scenarios with a Failsafe or XP3. The momentum afforded by the encased base allows the bullet to continue through the gristle and bone, and drive into the vitals.

Solids work by penetrating deeply and displacing tissue. Certain designs are meant primarily to drive through bones or large masses of flesh and muscle, like the Woodleigh Sledge Hammer, Barnes homogenous, and the AGS by Speer, which I understand is the best solid commercially available. These bullets are designed to drive deep, drive straight, and smash their way through anything intervening. In the hands of an excellent shot, a solid will reach the target it is intended to. “Karamojo “ Bell used solids almost exclusively in his .265 and .275 for all the game he took, dangerous or otherwise.

The latest take on solids, is the LBT style hardcast lead bullets. They are heat treated to make them tougher than they would otherwise be. They penetrate deeply, creating massive wound channels. They are accurate within their own parameters, and are available in number of calibers from 30 to .510. I use them in my 45LC and 458WM.

It has always been my preference to lean in the direction of greater penetration. Since I’ve always been suspect of my abilities, and hope to never lose an animal, I plan for the worse, and only take shots that I am certain of.

The Weatherby line up.
In the late fifties and early sixties Roy Weatherby thought that if he could push bullets fast enough, the “hydrostatic shock” of the projectile moving through the muscles and tissues of an animal would be sufficient to cause instantaneous death. Two things worked against Roy’s theory. One, bullets at that time could not withstand the then phenomenal speeds at which the Weatherby rifles/cartridges shot them. Secondly, hydrostatic shock doesn’t work on large elastic masses. On the minimal mass of a prairie dog, it will, on hippos, no. It has been conclusively proven that bullet placement, not energy, is what kills. In the end it is the hunter’s ability to accurately place a bullet in the right spot that determines whether he is successful or not.

Stopping Power:
Image Credit: Jobe Roco
Classic, Old School Stopping Power!

Stopping power is directly related to the caliber.

Stopping power is directly related to the caliber.

There, I’ve said it twice. In other words, the bigger it is the more likely it will settle hash right then and there. As long as it has enough velocity to penetrate and all other things being equal, the larger the cross section, the more powerful the knock down capability. Empirical evidence suggests that weight, velocity, and the cross section of a bullet, determines its ability to knock down, that is to stun or immediately kill an animal. Pondoro Taylor and Hatcher both devised formulae and tables to estimate the knockdown power of any given projectile. They both weigh in heavily in favor of the bigger bores.

If you peruse the cartridge tables, you will notice two things, one, the big bore cartridges are slow, and two the projectile weights are high. When velocity is low you need mass and frontal area. Again empirical evidence suggests that when you are confronted with a mad Brownie, a 45-70 is better than say a 338WM. Otherwise why would so many Alaskan bush pilots prefer the Guide Gun and the Alaskans? The answer is the ability of a slightly souped up 405gr, .458cal solid bullet being able to traverse, end for end, an 800lb bear, smashing everything in its way. Wound channels are commensurately large in proportion with frontal cross section. As caliber goes up, the area goes up exponentially. A 30caliber bullet has a frontal area of .074 square inch versus .165 sq in for a .458, more than twice the area.

Image Credit: Keefs
Martini-Henry 577/450


You can never be certain as to what conditions will be when you have to put a bullet into the vital zone. The ability of the projectile to penetrate through any intervening meat, bone or viscera, into the vital zone is directly related to construction and design. Range and impact velocity also are variables to contend with. The lines are blurring slightly when one has to choose between a light quick bullet and a heavier slower one. Due to the better qualities of the newer bullets, it has become easier to drop in weight, add velocity and be confident of retained terminal weight. The 30-06 loaded with 150gr Failsafes shoots as flat as a Remington 7mm Magnum and will retain almost all of its weight. But retained momentum and energy are diminished substantially as the bullet weight goes down.

How should you decide? I am convinced that 90% of all game is taken inside of 100 meters. In the end all that matters is whether a bullet penetrated and did sufficient damage to kill quickly. If I was hunting Florida whitetails exclusively, and limited my shot to reasonable ones, I wouldn’t hesitate to use any of the commercial soft points. I would only choose the brand that gave me the best accuracy. Florida deer are small, and considering I do most of my non-hog shooting with a 30-06, there is no real need for a deep penetration. That’s a personal preference; at the ranges I am capable of shooting to, you could cut the end of the bullet off with bolt-cutters, and it would still hit the target close enough to point of aim. But if I were going to Africa (plains game), or to Arizona for elk, even white tails in Texas, I would use nothing less than Winchester Failsafe/XP3 or Remington Swift A-Frames. I would limit myself to shots inside of 150 yards, where I could be absolutely sure of where my bullets hit. I would familiarize myself with the game animal until I could visually dissect it and know where every vital organ lies. I’ve killed enough pigs to be almost certain of every shot’s terminal trajectory on them. “Karamojo" Bell did this with much success when meat shooting North American game in Alaska, and then in Africa where he made his fame shooting elephants for ivory. But even though I can visualize where the pig’s heart, spine, and liver lay, occasionally I am still surprised. Recently I took a shot at a small hog, aiming for the box made by the eyes and ears. Imagine my surprise when I recovered him and found that instead of a frontal head shot, I had made a side brain shot.

450gr LBT's
If you are picking your shots, and not picking fights or trying to stop them quickly, then it is reasonable to use any cartridge and rifle combination that is suitable for the game at hand. For instance, I think I am a reasonably capable shot with my Weatherby 30-06. Anything inside of a couple of inches is in eminent danger of being ventilated at 150 meters or less. With that in mind, I would not hesitate to use it with 180gr A-Frames against brown bears, and here is the operative phrase, if I had to. But I think I would feel better with my 458WM. At 100 meters I can keep all my shots within 3 inches. 450gr hard cast LBT type bullets at 1800fps, will double lung any grizzly, bust both shoulders, or traverse the grizzly end for end.

And If things somehow got ugly and I have to end a fight, I’ll be confident that between the 458 and I, we can swat one down flatter than a stray aluminum can on the expressway.

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

HSUS on the Grill

The HSUS Attempts to Stifle Free Speech

As promised, the ABC Atlanta WSB-TV exposé video that HSUS is trying hard to suppress.

Yeah, I got my sources too.

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where Do the HSUS Donations Really Go?

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Where Does all that Money Go, HSUS?
Image Credit: macropoulos

My position on the HSUS is clear. I have no use for an organization that promotes animal rights over human rights. In my recent post How to Support Animal Rights Activists, I felt that there was more left to uncover, than the little bit I mentioned. Boy, that is an understatement.

On Thursday May 14, 2009, an ABC affiliate (WSB-TV Channel 2 Atlanta) investigation finally looked into the millions of dollars in donations given to the Humane Society of the United States. This is the first investigative report ever done on the fund raising practices of the largest and best funded animal rights organization.

WSB-TV, the Atlanta GA affiliate for ABC published an article and video segment titled “Where Humane Society Donations Really Go“. Using information gathered by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)directly from HSUS's own tax returns, WSB-TV reporter Amanda Rosseter found that HSUS has a very troubling and repeated record of raising money for one cause and spending it on unrelated issues, namely lobbying and pushing legislation.

Interestingly by Friday evening the transcripts and video were removed from the WSB-TV archives, and many internet based location, siteing a copyright issue. ALERT! Something smells rotten in the Internets.

But never fear, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles is never without friends.

Friends firepower, and friends with smarts and capabilities.

My friend John at "For Your Entertainment" is an Animal Welfare advocate who agrees with me on the real agenda of the HSUS, and he has a copy of the video at More on the HSUS. John also has links on his post for permanent links to the data stream. John has put his money where his mouth and heart are, and works daily with lost and abandoned cats and dogs. Nothing better than that in my opinion.

Now to the point. Why was the video removed from the WSB-TV archives? Why is it being chased off every server found? (By the way, if I ever figure out how to post the clip here, they can open up that can of worms themselves if they think they can pull it from my blog.) That should be an interesting skirmish...

And here it is my friends:

When asked where does all the HSUS's donated money go, David Marposko with the Center for Consumer Freedom said, “It goes to lobbying, it goes to political contributions, it does go to pay huge staff salaries and benefits." (Every year HSUS spends more than $20 million on salaries and $2 million on travel expenses.) The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. Though they are funded by several anonymous large business concerns, at least they back all their data with facts.

They do their marketing very well, that's for sure,” said Trey Burley of PAWS Atlanta.

Critics say the national organization takes advantage of people who think they are giving to local shelters. DeKalb's "PAWS" shelter says there is no regular funding help from the $100 million HSUS budget.

“I think that some of the folks who donate to the national organization may be under the false pretense that that money is going to a local cause,” said Burley.

In many cases HSUS mobilizes the resources for a "rescue" using its substantial power and influence to garner national media attention, but then leaves the local shelters and animal welfare groups holding the bag.

“They may initialize the resources for a rescue, but again the animals go to a shelter somewhere in the country,” said Richard Rice, VP of the Atlanta Humane Society.

It is important to note that the HSUS has little to no affiliation to any local shelters or local Humane Societies. Even though many agencies have names that seem to suggest that the HSUS is the parent organization.

A very small percentage of donation the HSUS collects are given to local shelters or Humane Societies. In 2007, less than 6 million dollars were given out as grants That is less than 4% of the total taken in which was $120 million. A large percentage of those grants were given to organizations that do not provide care to animals that are in need of aid.

A truly egregious example occurred after hurricane Katrina. If you remember, HSUS's very well paid CEO Wayne Pacelle promised on national TV to reunite pets with their owner, making an eloquent plea for funds and donations, and consequently raised $34 million for the cause. An investigation was launched because even to the most reasonable person it was obvious little had been done by the HSUS to help in any way shape or form. Of the $34 million dollars, $18 million could be rationalized as being used for post Katrina activities. Under stricter scrutiny only $7 million could be allocated with certainty to reuniting or assisting pets in Louisiana.

The Louisiana attorney general launched an 18-month-long investigation, when it looked like the HSUS was going to have its rear handed to it, they negotiated and the HSUS offered to build the state a new shelter in return for charges being dropped.

By the way, Pacelle just penned an agreement with the disgraced football player and notorious dog fighter Michael Vick. Los Angeles Times has the disgusting details if you are so inclined.

When Channel 2 and Amanda Rosseter attended a local HSUS meeting, they found the 2 hour discussion to revolve around activist planning and lobbying efforts. This was further confirmed by Cheryl McAuliffe, Georgia Director for the HSUS. “I think that in all of our literature, it is very explicit as to what our campaigns are and what we are doing,” said Cheryl McAuliffe, Georgia Director for HSUS. “We help where we can and focus on our programs, which are national and international.” Ms McAuliffe was also very clear that all budgeting was directed from the Humane Society of the United States at their Washington headquarters

“We have long believed that many HSUS donors think they are helping local dog and cat shelters,” said Bud Pidgeon, president and CEO of the US Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We think this confusion actually diverts funds away from that purpose and actually funds campaigns to restrict hunting rights and common farming and livestock practices.”

Besides the fact that HSUS is disingenuous and deceitful, the fact that an ABC affiliate caved to them is indicative as to how powerful and capable of mischief and mayhem they are. It is imperative that this information is disseminated and their agenda shown in the light of day.

This is The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles' opening salvo, call it a shot off the bow if you will. We are going to start to dig, and dig deep. In addition to the HSUS main offices in Maryland and DC, the organization’s tentacles stretch over a global network which includes control over a substantial number of legal corporations. We are going to shed some light on the cockroaches and see which way they scatter.

More on Animal Rights Groups and activists: How to Support Animal Rights Activists

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Image Credit: BL1961

"As a representative of the United States Military, it is my high privilege to present you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation this nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one."


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yo! Homey! Jump Around!

Folks this is too funny!
Very clever!

Bollywood Jump Around!

You see the guy's face? It's priceless!

Completely meaningless, and definitely not news worthy, but worth turning the volume up on and teaching the kids a thing or two!

And I've learned yet another thing I can do with Blogger!

Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...