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Thread: Hunting the woods...what is a brush gun?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    Hunting the woods...what is a brush gun?


    NOTICE (EDITED AFTER THE FIRST 6 POSTINGS)...This video is NOT about shooting blindly through brush and not identifying your target.

    It is NOT about purposely choosing a shot through the brush with an identified target.

    IT IS ABOUT...which caliber has a CHANCE of staying on trajectory after hitting brush that you did not know was there.

    Iraqveteran8888 is only trying to compare caliber, weight of projectiles, profiles and their speed...THAT IS ALL.

    IF YOU ARE INTERESTED AFTER THIS, HAVE A LOOK...IF NOT, THEN I'M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR COMMENTS.










    We all have our choices for hunting our particular neck of the woods...as a youth in South Texas I preferred the old Marlin 336 in .444 .
    But regardless what our preferences are...it leaves me wondering what's truly a best choice.
    Iraqveteran8888 has a flick out that addresses this in a cursory sort of way but it's very interesting to see actual empirical results...
    It's a short flick...but it's interesting, give it a look.

    What is a Brush Gun? - Duration: 17:15. Iraqveteran8888 14,932 viewsNew
    Last edited by OS OK; 12-01-2016 at 02:56 PM.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I have to worry about shooting at SOME THING Ican not positevely identify. My grand dad drilled tthat into me as a preschooler . If I can notsee the target I Do NOT shoot.

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    Indeed target identification is important. But we do identify targets most of the time, or we wouldn't be there. So assuming we can...

    Many people consider a big, blunt bullet essential for use in undergrowth. But this can be a mistake. You can often identify a target clearly enough through a thin mesh of twigs, and a small calibre gives the best chance of getting through without touching anything. Also even woods hunting can require shots where the mid-range trajectory of a big, slow bullet is inches above the line of sight. A high velocity bullet may be less likely to hit branches you didn't even know were in the way.

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    Boolit Master OS OK's Avatar
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    OMG...I knew this comment would land here eventually, just didn't anticipate it first! "Thank you for pointing out the obvious!"

    What this is about is...the one single twig that causes an errant shot.
    a m e r i c a n p r a v d a

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    just, "watch your 6" .

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    For me a brush gun is something light and short that doesn't get hung up while clawing my way through the thick stuff and is quick on target... caliber has little merit to me for this task as the idea of a "brush gun" is not a bullet that will shoot through brush/twigs/limbs to kill the critter on the other side.

  6. #6
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    Short(relative) barrel, open sights in a larger caliber. The larger caliber is not to break through the brush to hit the target. It's to put more energy on target and anchor the animal. Last thing I want is for it to take off and have to track it through thick brush.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have and use the .35 Remington, 358 JDJ and 45-70 in 14" TC Contender barrels. They ARE used as "brush" guns, BUT I still identify my target before shooting. I have seen where "hunters" have mistaken dogs and or people for deer in the woods. I have been mistaken for deer on occasion, fired at twice but they never hit me. In both cases I was over 6 feet tall and 225 +pounds. One case was on private property that I was the only one with permission to hunt , the other happened on public lands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OS OK View Post
    We all have our choices for hunting our particular neck of the woods...as a youth in South Texas I preferred the old Marlin 336 in .444 .
    But regardless what our preferences are...it leaves me wondering what's truly a best choice.
    Iraqveteran8888 has a flick out that addresses this in a cursory sort of way but it's very interesting to see actual empirical results...
    It's a short flick...but it's interesting, give it a look.

    What is a Brush Gun? - Duration: 17:15. Iraqveteran8888 14,932 viewsNew
    yes, i watched it. he did kinda the same thing that john wooters did, expect wooters used dowel rods. (read it sometime ago when there wasn't a internet, for you youn'uns, it was a long time ago when we used stone tablets!, like the 1980's)

    i wonder if anyone does a cast boolit article, one that uses a wide meplat. i gave up on the gun rags(had to be the late 90's) and outdoors tv, which i rarely watch.

    i've used lever, bolt and a single shot while going thru the brush. a jacketed bullet that uses a round nose or a flat point kills deer no matter what caliber is used(243-45-70). i have never missed one because of brush tho. i have taken deer when i use the nosler bt in brush, but i try to avoid the brush and little twigs when i'm taking my shot. i've only killed one deer with a cast boolit. it was 93 yards in the field, so brush wasn't a factor. i figure the boolit(165gr ranch dog in 30-40 krag) had to be going around 1600-1700fps(around 1800fps at the muzzle) when it smacked the deer. it was drt. my 444 marlin (tc encore with 23" MGM barrel) goes roughly 2000fps with a 275gr ranch dog and my 45-70 handi does roughly 1400fps with a 405gr fbfn. i expect both of them to work. i've never shot thru the brush because it looked like a deer, instead i try to make sure(100%+) it is a deer. quite a few have gotten away from me, but you can't shoot what you might see, esp if it turns out that "it" might be another hunter.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master UKShootist's Avatar
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    An interesting video. Thanks for posting the link. The more you know about shooting the better you can do what's right.
    The lion shall lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mica_Hiebert View Post
    For me a brush gun is something light and short that doesn't get hung up while clawing my way through the thick stuff and is quick on target... caliber has little merit to me for this task as the idea of a "brush gun" is not a bullet that will shoot through brush/twigs/limbs to kill the critter on the other side.
    This is the actual answer.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Fast handling -distances are usually close (under 100 yards). Set-up for off-hand shooting - most shots will be taken off-hand though sometimes kneeling allows for a more clear and steady shot. An extremely crisp light trigger to support off-hand shooting and rapid target acquisition. A 'low-powered scope' 2.5 to 4 (I like 3 power - thats where I set the variables I use.) A low-powered scope allows one to pick a hole, again PICK A HOLE through the screen of brush - not chop wood with your bullet. Lots of power - a 100 yard run can make finding a dead critter difficult to impossible in tough terrain - a big exit hole helps tremendously when they don't fall down at the shot. A fast second, third,fourth shot - not because you missed, but because it DID NOT FALL DOWN. Rifle weight and length ? Whatever is fast handling to you. Lots of off-hand practice, taking rapid multiple shot. Shooting 1/2" groups from a rest means nothing. 2 shots in a 6" circle at 100 yards - from carrying position under 2 seconds is really good.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mica_Hiebert View Post
    For me a brush gun is something light and short that doesn't get hung up while clawing my way through the thick stuff and is quick on target... caliber has little merit to me for this task as the idea of a "brush gun" is not a bullet that will shoot through brush/twigs/limbs to kill the critter on the other side.
    This!

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    not going to nitpick the errors but it does show that the speedy pointed bullet did deflect and the much larger /heavy bullets punched thru
    so info is usable
    all it takes is one branch to throw off a shot with the wiz bang super duper magnums
    Last edited by Smoke4320; 12-01-2016 at 05:30 PM.
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    Boolit Master adcoch1's Avatar
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    A brush gun to me is small/short enough to be easily maneuvered through brushy environments. I commonly use an sks as a brush gun when the shooting will be short due to line of sight limitations. Once though i met a deer at about 12 feet away and snapped a quick aimed shot at it. The bullet lodged in the vee of a scotch broom bush between me and the deer, and just below line of sight through the sights. Weird problem, so i stood a few inches taller and shot the deer that was standing there shaking the powder from the last shot off and down it went. I am glad the first bullet didn't shoot through the brush or i wouldn't have had a tasty deer to take home. Don't plan on ANY bullet effectively hitting a target after coming in contact with brush on it's flight path...

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mica_Hiebert View Post
    For me a brush gun is something light and short that doesn't get hung up while clawing my way through the thick stuff and is quick on target... caliber has little merit to me for this task as the idea of a "brush gun" is not a bullet that will shoot through brush/twigs/limbs to kill the critter on the other side.
    Agreed. In Michigan use a Winchester 100 carbine in 308. Plenty of power and a quick follow up if necessary. I also bring along a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington in case something happens to the Winchester.

  16. #16
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    In the mid 70's I did a much more detailed test. I built a rest and a holder for wooden dowels. This allowed me to compare different calibers (22-250, 243, 6mm Rem., 7mm Rem., 30/30, 308 30/06, 338 Win, 444, 45 Colt, 45/70 and 50 cal. muzzleloader) and the same hits on the dowel.

    HV rounds with high bullet RPM deflected less than big and slow, however, the HV sometimes disintegrated whereas the big and slow would hold together.

    In all cases the bullets would start a cork screw path to the target. None of the bullets could be depended to hit the target much behind the dowel but the higher the bullet RPM the less it deflected.

    If I am doing a drive or stalking I use the traditional short handy type rifle. If hunting out of a stand in heavy brush I use a rifle with a higher power variable scope. Since the shot will be at a standing or slow walking animal I have the scope at 10 power. I can see ever twig and branch have no problem sneaking the bullet through. No more poke and hope shots. I have killed around a 100 deer in very heavy brush out of a stand using this method.

    The reason big and slow have the reputation that they are brush busters is simple because the bullets hold together and they may bounce into the target but every bullet deflects greatly when it hits even a small twig.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 12-02-2016 at 02:04 AM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the video! Very interesting.

    I've seen it debated whether or not a blunt bullet busted through brush better. Guess this shows that it does.

    For me a brush gun is short and light. For my first muzzleloader I decided on a Lyman Deerstalker as it has a 24" barrel and weighs 7.5 lbs.

    I'd be curious how a .308 Win or .30-06 Sprg with a 180 grn RN does in comparison.

  18. #18
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    IMHO that video shows and proves nothing since their is ZERO consistency in if and what type of brush is hit. In my test the dowel was about three feet in front of the muzzle. I could control how the dowel was hit. Nothing I tested would give dependable hits on a deer size target at 20 yards beyond the dowel. I did test 30 cal 150 grain, 165, 180 and 220 grain bullets. None did well and I don't remember if one was better than another but I do remember being surprised by the 220 grain blowing up more than the lighter bullets.

    better tests here:

    http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/hun...src=SOC&dom=fb

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/brush_bucking_bullets.html

    http://chuckhawks.com/woods_rifles.htm

    http://www.theboxotruth.com/the-box-...e-box-o-truth/ center punching the dowel or a side hit has a large effect on bullet deflection.

    https://www.shootersforum.com/ballis...eflection.html

    The bottom line is none of the normal hunting calibers handle brush well.

    I shoot a lot of prairie dogs from prone. Even a blade of grass will deflect bullets.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 12-01-2016 at 08:15 PM.

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    Not even a big round ball from a ML will get through. Just can't hit anything between.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master KYCaster's Avatar
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    I did a similar test years ago and came to a completely different conclusion.

    My target was similar to his, but I was aiming for a 8 in. dia. "vital zone" and didn't consider a hit anywhere on the target as a "humane kill". I also tried to find the limb/twig/brush that the bullet struck so I could try to evaluate what happened between twig and target.

    The bullets I used were...358-180-WFN at ~1150fps. from a .357 mag handgun, a .358-200-FP(Lyman 35857) from the same handgun. A RCBS 35-200-FP and a Win 200RN PowerPoint, both at a hair over 2000 fps. in a Marlin 336 35Rem. A 44-240-SWC(Lyman 429421) and a .431-270-WFN, both from a Ruger SRH 44 mag., both of these at about 1150 fps.

    The single biggest factor I found in my testing was....LUCK!

    Was I lucky enough to get through the brush to the target without hitting anything between? Was I lucky enough to hit the twig dead center rather than on the edge?

    I didn't bother to do any extensive testing because it was clear from the start that a bullet that hit brush would be affected. If I was lucky enough to hit the twig dead center then the hit on target could very well be somewhere near the POA, but would most likely tumble and may have been deformed, thereby changing the terminal effect.

    Any hit other than centered on the twig resulted in various degrees of deflection. The most dramatic effect was a 35857 that hit a 3/8" dia. ironweed about 30" in front of the target. It left a perfect half bullet diameter notch on the left side of the stem and struck the target 19" left of POA.

    So my conclusion is, pick your brush gun based on how well it handles in the heavy cover, not how well it shoots through brush.....because it doesn't!

    Jerry
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