Bullet diameters and bullet design has more to do with killing/stopping power than speed. The best hunting bullets are the ones that perform over the widest range of velocities, leave the largest permanent wound channel, will not brake apart when they hit heavy bone and will consistently exit the animal on a broadside shot.
On big game larger heavier bullets kill better than smaller faster ones.
At close range, a flat-nosed 540 grain bullet fired from a .45-70 at 1,550 FPS has far more stopping/ killing power than any of the .30, .338 or .375 magnum. But at the same time a projectile with a flat trajectories is easer to make good hits at longer ranges than the slow moving 540 grain slug from the .45-70.
Faster bullets do give better trajectory and extend the range we can make good hits at. A good hit with a smaller caliber is always better than a poor hit with a larger caliber
For consistent kills on big game, the larger caliber bullet the better and the heaviest bullet for a given caliber will have the best knock down power.
For the first third of my guiding career I thought that perfect bullet performance was to find the bullet in the hide on the far side. That way all the energy has been absorb by the animal. . Over the years I changed my opinion for the following reasons
1. Exit wounds leave a lot better blood trail.
2. Granted, most shots taken are broadside but if a bullet cannot punch through an animal with a broadside shot and exit the animal then it does not have enough penetration to go end to end on an animal. You do not always get broadside shots while hunting and rarely get a broadside shot on a charging or fleeing critter.
3. I want my bullets to be able to break heavy bone and continue to penetrate deeply afterwards.
4. I no longer believe that it is the energy that kills but the size of the wound channel.
There is no best bullet (or caliber) for hunting. Even the best designed bullet will occasionally fail to do the job it is intended to do, Poorly made or poorly designed bullets will conversely give spectacular killing results from time to time.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Interesting Piece on Terminal Ballistics
From an unlikely source, The Survival Blog. It comes down on the biggest bullet is better side of the fence, but shot placement trumps everything: