If I’m gonna sit here with this thing in front of me clicking, and you’re gonna sit there reading, I’ll try to make it worthwhile. What follows is shit I learned and figured out from loading manuals and experience, good and bad. Rimfire cartridges and weapons are excluded from these ramblings.
The question of “which gun?’, or “which caliber?”.
What is your intended target? (that’s what we all gotta know)
I understand that the majority of members here are military or law enforcement.
Bear with me. If you are “issued” ammo, you have what some panel or committee deemed as “meeting the requirements”. You have bullets and velocities designed to stop a human threat.
If a human is your intended target, then carry what the police and military use.
If you are shooting game or targets and good enough is good enough, use the handy little graphics on the ammo box to see what animals you can “humanely” kill. If you have ball ammo, shoot paper, ball ammo is NOT for taking game animals. The lack of expansion and over penetration only ensures a slow and painful death for Bambi.
Varmints. I consider most any animal under 80 lb. to be in this category. This requires little muzzle energy and lots of accuracy. Varmint bullets are lightly jacketed to promote rapid expansion and transfer of energy. If you want to blow Mr. Prarie dog to pieces, you gotta be accurate and explosive. If I hit a coyote in the leg with a FMJ .223, I’ve got a pissed off, still very mobile yet suffering canine. If I hit said coyote with a 40 gr hollow point thin jacket .223 at a reduced velocity, yep, in the leg, the bullet will expand rapidly and fragment. I still have a chance at a fatal wound or clean kill. A coyote is a much larger target also, torso shots are easy and humane with the right combination of velocity and energy. (I can hit Mr. Gopher in the leg and blow him to pieces). I use Sierra Varminter 40gr bullets, Winchester 748 powder and Remington small rifle bench rest primers. ½ inch groups at 100 yds.
Medium sized game. I consider this to be around 300 lb, deer, feral hogs and big cats (North American) These require higher muzzle energy (1000 ft lbs) and a less fragile bullet. These bullets will have a thicker jacket and much less expansion. I look for a bullet that will triple in diameter and retain over 90% of mass. Accuracy also weighs heavily for me with this class. I would not hesitate to shoot my .243 at an elk or moose that was stationary at 200 yds or less. All the deer I have killed have fallen to my .243 and I always get an exit wound of over 1” diameter. I would also aim for the neck of the moose or elk, a .243 does not have the energy to penetrate the rib bone of a moose or elk and still cleanly dispatch vital organs. In my .243 I use Nosler ballistic tip bullets 95 gr, IMR 4064 powder and CCI large rifle primers. .60” groups at 100 yds.
Large game, no experience whatsoever. Next up, I’ll share some of my quest for accuracy experiences. Yep, comments are welcome and questions are expected. (especially the “you idiot!” ones)
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!