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Thread: Shooting through brush?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
    badbobgerman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whelenshooter View Post
    Hunting in a pine plantation in Mississippi once. About sunset I'm at the end of the pines looking over an oak flat. Deer blows behind me. I turned there was a doe standing in the same lane I was in at about 30 yards. Sure meat! She was standing mostly head on, so small profile, but short shot, easy hit. I fired the 308 with a 150 grain jacketed bullet spire point. She just stood there and looked at me. I bolted the gun, by that time she had moved into a different lane and I never saw her again. What the heck? Between me and her at about 15 yards was a hardwood sapling that was about the size of my pinky finger that I never saw, the bullet took the side out of it and then the bullet never saw her. It would have been good shot placement had the sapling not "helped me".

    David
    should a used the 35 whelenshooter , it probably would have had the mass to push through...
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master nekshot's Avatar
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    I learned the hard way many years ago with a 30-06 and 180 hornady bullet. I shot a deer walking behind a bush and I tried shoving bullet thru. It was a long tracking in snow but all that was in the deer was a third of the copper jacket in the lung, with out snow I would have lost that deer. Now if the going is thick I use the 444 with 310 lee and smile when it roars. I don't consider any thing we can comfortably carry as a brush buster but this one comes close. Ask my buck from last year. I shoved the slug thru brush and it split in 2 and one piece took out the lungs the other turned up and went up thru the neck. Looked like I shot it twice. Plenty of lead in one slug goes along way if divided!
    Look twice, shoot once.

  3. #23
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    Suo Gan's Avatar
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    There have been several extensive studies done on this. Te best was by Francis Sell in art of successful deer hunting. It seems to me he found the greater sectional density the better. And a velocity of about 2300 fps.

    I distinctly remember him saying that 45-70 was one of the worst performers and they "went wailing like banshees through the forest". When shooting through light screening.

    3006 35 rem, 6,5 swede, 358 win, 270, 150 grain, were some of the best. Seems like he said that the 30-30 did alright.

    Test it out. Put some targets up behind some brush at various distances and see what you find.

    Some calibers performed much better overall than others. I have shot deer through brush and they died. I shot one I thought in the neck and the bullet was deflected.

    This can be sketchy. I think it is one of those areas where someone is an expert until it happens to them.
    Last edited by Suo Gan; 11-15-2013 at 10:37 AM.
    Lotta people die in bed: Dangerous place to be!

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  4. #24
    Boolit Bub
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    My wife shot a nice whitetail buck last year with her .260 rem Model 7. Shooting factory rem core-loks, It was a generally clear shot, but she must have hit a popple sapling because the deer didn't react too much. She shot it again and dropped it on shot two.

    Upon skinning the dear I found jacket fragments embedded in the front shoulder below the skin but above the meat, well away from the second shot. Seems that the bullet must have come apart hitting some brush on the way through. A boolit or better J bullet may have performed better, who knows

  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy
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    Shot gun and double oo buck,and go for it.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master CastingFool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d garfield View Post
    Shot gun and double oo buck,and go for it.
    I beg to differ. I live in a shotgun only zone, and have close to 39 yrs hunting deer with a shotgun, slugs is the way to go. Buckshot has an effective range of only about 40 yds, and you better have a full choke on your barrel. Even with slugs, which I don't claim to be better at going through brush, I would rather pick my shots instead of taking a chance on only wounding a deer, or worse, lose it. JMO

  7. #27
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    Well, this is my experience from a year ago.

    Shooting a 45/70 with a 465gr WFN cast at 1650fps.

    Laying on a hill side waiting for a critter to come in.

    One did, close likely under 100yds.

    I'm on my belly, rifle rested over my fanny pack, perfect behind the shoulder hold, squeeze off the shot and watch the deer run away.

    No blood, no sign of a hit.

    Between me and the deer was a light screen of field grass, probably 5 - 10 feet in front of me.

    So light I was watching the deer through the grass and sighting with the scope through that light screen.

    There have been enough tests done all with at best iffy results, and enough experiences related here to clearly show that you should not take the chance, no matter what the firearm.

    No ethical hunter would on purpose take a shot knowing there is a possibility of wounding an game animal.

    Never would I have thought that such a light screen of grass would do what it did, but even with grass, I know better now.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

  8. #28
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    Crusty I killed many deer shooting through brush. I lost one, don't believe I even scratched it either. It was an easy forty yard shot and he was standing slightly uphill behind a real light screen of brush. His body was obscured, but his neck was mostly clear. I shot and he ran off with the herd seemingly unhurt. I just knew I hit that deer I trailed them for half an hour and gave up. When back to the scene with my partner and tried to piece it together. He was about three feet opposite on the far side of the bush relative to me. We found where my 25 caliber bullet had indeed cut a small twig about twice the size of a pencil lead and some leaves.

    Nary a drop of blood.

    I have held off since then. Since I am about fifty pounds overweight, I guess I don't need them as much as a starving man would. So I demoted myself from expert to student once again.

    In a pinch I sure would shoot through brush to collect some meat. Probably eat rats and garbage too.

    Funny how life does that to a guy. It is a good thing too. I like being humbled. It happens all to often.

    I would bet that Francis was right. But I have not done his test. It is a pretty good book too.
    Lotta people die in bed: Dangerous place to be!

    I buy and sell reloading, shooting, casting, equipment in bulk...$5 to $5000. Old scopes, receiver sights, old knives, dies, molds, 310 tools, Lee Loaders, etc. etc. Give me a PM.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master L Ross's Avatar
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    I did a fairly serious test of round ball from 50, 54. and 58 caliber rifles, and 28, 20, 16, and 12 bore smoothbore trade guns and muskets. Even targets only 18" behind a substantial screen of live hazelnut brush were often completely missed. It convinced me that no shot through brush was ethical with a traditional muzzle loader.
    It was a pain to continue the test through all of the various combinations because it was obvious right from the start that round balls were radically deflected.
    Duke

  10. #30
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    Inadvertantly did a test Wed afternoon. Deer came up behind me , close REAL close. She didn't wind me so just gave me about a 20 yard berth. Problem was she was to my right and I am rt handed. Head goes behind a tree the flintgun gets flipped over so I can shoot left handed. Next tree mount the gun and hunt up the sights , deer comes out and stops at about 20 yards broud side. Sights locked on her shoulder and pressed the trigger. Deer trots off about 30 yards and looks at me ! How did that happen ? after the smoke cleared I saw that I had splintered a sappling about the size of your thumb 10 feet short of the deer. .490 PBR hit left side and deflected. It actually hit about 6 inches left of my hold and hit her in the throat. Another inch of deflection and it would have missed ,a half inch rt on my hold and the ball would have hit the sappling on the rt side and been in her gut! As it was there was no sign of a hit until 25 yards down the trail and she went 300 yards in the dark. 9 Pm the meat was in the ice but that possibility of he gut shot just gives me the creeps. I never saw the sappling ,was so focused on the deer I looked right thru it! Just not worth the risk to me. It happens enough even when we think it's a clear shot. Put up some targets at various distances behind the brush and see how your gun performs, 10 to 20 shots to get a good feel! Only you can decide , so get some pertainate data to help with your decision.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I'm reading every bit of this and soaking it up. I'm hunting on my aunt's farm in Elliott county tomorrow, very hilly and lotsa brush. I'll be taking my trusty Glenfield 30, loaded with 150 grain Sierra Pro Hunters at 2000 fps or so. Very accurate so I should be able to pencil one through the twigs. I can see how grass would totally foul up a shot. It tends to be more dense and doesn't break cleanly like brush does. If I decide to take a brush shot it would have to be "transparent" brush, not completely opaque.
    Currently loading: .32 Long/Magnum/Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    Deflections are real, so that's a minus. More importantly to me is a clear line of sight and knowing #1 - the target, and #2 - what's around it and behind it. Obstructed views are a big deal for me. Safety first.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master



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    If I can see it I don’t try to shoot through it. I did some testing in the 70’s. A 1/8” twig will deflect your 150 grain Sierra Pro Hunters significantly.

    Early on I tried shooting through brush. It didn’t work well so I did testing and was amazed at how little it takes to do major deflections on bullets. To date I have killed 160 plus deer with a rifle and 30 plus with a bow. I have lost one with the rifle and one with the bow and that is two to many for me so I only will shoot when I have a clear shooting lane.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    I am planning to do some testing of boolits in brush in the off season. With that particular rifle if there is an opening for a shot I can find it.
    Currently loading: .32 Long/Magnum/Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    Any brush will cause a bullet to deflect. Best way to shoot through brush is with a scope. Doesn't need to be real powerful. 2X to 4X works fine. The scope lets you find a small hole where there is no brush. Tired old eyes with scopes see much better than young eyes with iron sights.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    I shot at a doe standing about 45 yards from me, but with a lot of brush between us. I saw the 6mm bullet clipping twigs and stuff and the doe standing still. The bullet completely missed that deer! I decided to test the deflection "theory" for my self. I made a "peg board" for 1/4 and 3/8" hardwood dowels. Cut them to about 6" long and stood them in the board. Being an intelligent sort, I placed the board at 10 feet from the target and shot it with various caliber guns and bullet weights. The 45-70 /300, 405 and 500 grain slugs at both high and low velocity DID deflect LESS than 6mm 85,90 and 100 grainers. BUT not much, if you only counted the slugs that made it THRU the pegs. The farther from the pegs to the target the more deflection you get. The 30 calibers with both cast and Jacketed did no better. The pegs were set up so ANY projectile HAD to hit 3 or more pegs to get thru to the target side. The BEST results were when the target was AGAINST the back of the board. Even in a survival situation, I'd think twice before taking a shot thru brush. I might take a neck shot though, IF it was clear!

  17. #37
    Boolit Master Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    One time my buddy and I had just gotten through the gate onto some CRP ground, when a decent buck jumped up about fifty yards away. When I shot he was about 65 yards, no sign of a hit. Buddy dropped him shortly thereafter. I was shooting a 6.5-06 with a 140 grain Hornady in front of a fairly hefty charge of RL-22.

    Neither one of us could see any reason for me to have missed the deer, we had just checked the zero of our guns that morning. It got to bugging me that night how I missed him, so I went back the next day and found what I actually hit-- a sumac sprout that was almost 3/8" in diameter roughly halfway to the deer. Right where the main "trunk" split into three branches was a 6.5mm hole.

    To this day I have no idea where that bullet went after it hit the sprout.

    Robert

  18. #38
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    For a cast boolet thread, I'm surprised at the number of responses, citing j-words. I expected most of you to be hunting with boolets! Pointy bullets and high velocity doesn't mix, when it comes to brush!! Use flat points and large calibers, at moderate velocities, in thickets.

    Winelover

  19. #39
    Boolit Man randy_68's Avatar
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    I always look for a hole or wait for the deer to move into a better position. I lost a giant one time when I tried the "shoot thru brush" tactic. It didn't work. I was using a shotgun with the big cast 1oz slugs and the deer was maybe 20' behind the wall of brush with only his head and legs showing facing me. I figured I could send the slug thru there and hit him square in the chest. No such luck. I found where it hit a branch about 3/4" thick and took a notch out of it deflecting it down. My nephew saw the same deer a few weeks later but never had a shot at him. That was 25 years ago and now I either pass them up or wait for a better opportunity. I've still lost a couple with what I thought were great shots on calm deer but never found them. I don't take chances anymore.
    Life member NRA since 1976

  20. #40
    Boolit Buddy

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    Years ago while muzzleloading hunting, took a shot at a buck probably 30 yds. Smoke cleared and the buck was still standing there looking at me. Started to reload and he took off, wondering how I missed couldn't find any blood, went back where I had shot from and retraced my steps and found I had hit a small 1/2 " bush. Using open sights just couldn't see the bush. Quit hunting with the muzzleloader after that.

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