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Heavy for Animal Calibers

27 Jun 2016
@ 10:42 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

I wonder if many of you typically hunt lighter animals with medium bore rifles. I just finished building a 338-06 that I'm so excited to have for Nilgai Antelope; Elk, Red Stag; and similar game animals. I think I can also use it for longer range hunting of hogs.

My question has to do with your experiences in using a caliber of this type for hunting lighter animals like whitetails, axis deer, etc. I'm excited to try it (you Kiwi's would say "keen on trying it I think) and wondered if there were those of you who have done the same?

I like the idea of using a larger diameter bullet sometimes. Normally I go with speed, the 25-06 being my caliber of choice, but I've just got that itch to try something different this year.

Thanks! BTW I love the international perspective that you get here with so many people with different experiences in different terrain with different animals. Lots of fun.


28 Jun 2016
@ 02:15 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Heavy for Animal Calibers
Have a look through the knowledge base for 338/06 among many others.
01 Jul 2016
@ 09:32 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Heavy for Animal Calibers
Welcome Lane. I have just had a 30-06 re barrelled by Grant at True-flite to make a 35 Whelen. A few of us mad kiwis have been getting into .358 calibre rifles thanks to Nathan snorting about the 35 cal . Thomas has now got a very sexy 358 cal 303 Lee Enfield
(35-303) look back or search in the search bar at the top of the web page and see what you think of our 358 adventures. As Bryan said check out the knowledge base article for information on the 338-06.
01 Jul 2016
@ 10:18 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Heavy for Animal Calibers
Hi Lane, I think the key here is to make sure we can match bullet construction to the job at hand. When switching from fast light loads to the slow and heavy style, the key is to find a bullet that is soft enough to do the job without sacrificing too much penetration. It also requires a subtle shift in expectations.

Besides bullet construction, the other thing we can manipluate is SD. This is taken to the extremes in the .358 bore where we have very heavy bullets but can also have very low SD's which ensures maximum energy transfer. You will find the same by toggling (for example) between the .338 200 and 225gr SST bullets at various ranges. The 225gr for example, can prove to be more emphatic on larger body weights. If you anneal these (as I underestand you are), they can make for great allrounders and at mild impact velocities. But there are also times when the lower SD 200gr can prove more versatile if for example, we find that regardless of Elk hunts, 80-90% of our hunting is for light framed game.

The key factor for you, will be to monitor speed of killing as you reach out, step by step. In this instance, I believe that if you have printed drop charts, you need to mark 2000, 1800fps and 1600fps on your charts, then take note of speed of killing relative to these impact velocities on your local game body weights.

If your intention is to start with the annealed 225gr SST, I believe you will find that penetration is ample (vitals will be destroyed) unless you deliberately take Texas heart shots. So speed of killing is the sole concern.

If all else fails (to please), you have access to the Rocky Mountain 225gr bullets.


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