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

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    never hunted brush
    whats the best cal for killing them
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  2. #42
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by white eagle View Post
    never hunted brush
    whats the best cal for killing them
    A Brush Hog really mows them down. http://brushhogmowers.com/

  3. #43
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    Years ago Pete Brown,Warren Page or Jack O'Conner did a test of shooting various calibers through brush. EVERYTHING that hit twigs was deflected. If an animal was close to the brush you might get a lethal hit. If the brush was half way between you and the target you would probably never know where the bullet went. Shot gun slugs and big heavy bullets all deflected like light fast pointy bullets. First deer I ever shot was with a 6.5x55 swede mt carbine with a Williams peep sight, 140 gr Norma soft point. Deer stopped behind a small shrub and I shot it. Broke both front legs. Second or third shot dropped it. Can't remember, it was a long time ago. Anyway a brush gun is a caliber with a reasonablely flat trajectory and a scope that lets you see brush and twigs and find hole to shoot through. The common sense that big heavy bullets go through brush is the same common sense that says the world is flat.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master OnHoPr's Avatar
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    It was not conclusive, even though some of his actual speech seem to wander to it, but he mention that it wasn't conclusive a number of times. It was a good vid. He has a Youtube channel and fills it with all kinds of info, issues, and general gun talk which is fairly decent. This vid is just at the hunting season when all are around the table or camp fire shootin the $h]t about all things deer hunting related. What was good is that he was using real brush. Most of real brush is on the green side and not kiln dried dowel rods placed in a particular fashion under a lab type setting. Any of these type of test are really un-conclusive as well. Just like water jugs and ballistic gel are really not conclusive to hitting a little bit of hair, maybe a green rib, then a couple of lungs which is mostly air (it is a pneumatic system if you haven't realized yet), then a green rib and some hair. The water and ballistic gel are used basically to catch pretty looking mushrooms of projectiles for the manufacturer or hunter mind.

    To get back to the brush gun, depending on what you have is a brush gun. I knew a guy that used a 22-250 and would pick the holes to shoot through and then there is the buckshot hunter as well as the big and heavy like the 444 Marlin. It probably depends on if you are hunting your own 100 acres in your raised blind or traversing through multiple terrain and woods/bush types with intermittent clearings like on PL.

    Seems strange or maybe hypocritical that probably 80% of the shooters on this site use irons in some type of fashion and a pretty good hunk of the percentage of deer taken are in the low light situation of morning and evening. BRUSH DISAPPEARS using irons and in lower light situations at brushy terrain scenarios no matter how good you think your eyes are. So, hitting brush is always the possibility. I have hit brush that I haven't seen using a scope. My all around weapon of choice was the 760 06 as my hunting scenarios consisted of PL and all of its terrain changes from so thick you can't see you dock to a 5 year old whole section clearcut.

    Now, when it comes to the truly best brush gun I suppose that would depend upon the user and his/her decisions on making the shot. One might find a hole, where the other may try to carefully plow through the stuff. There are most likely successful and unsuccessful shooters in both categories. Lately since I have been hunting more brush using the shotgun and mzzldr it has brought questions on which would be the better projectile for each weapon. I cast up a few Lee 44 310s and WD them hard to test going through a lot of the elderberry thickets where I have been hunting lately. I have shot the 44 mag a bit and seen what those bullets do when they hit a sand berm, instant half a dollar shape which doesn't seem like it would be productive after hitting brush. But, in the vid you saw where the 444 was being used and factory loadings are usually with pistol bullets. Those bullets seem to soft or fragile at 444 speeds. I think the stouter the bullet up to the velocity of the firearm would be the better choice in that narrow spectrum of the brush shootin concepts debates.

    The topic is a century old deer season camp fire discussion. All the brush I hit on the way to a deer still hit the deer and good. I would also shoot through the brush, or at least certain brushes, to shoot a deer. But, there is that in field decision like I probably wouldn't shoot through three clumps of elderberry, but would definitely shoot through a couple of flimsy white pine bows when the deer is just 10 on the other side of them. It all depends on what type of tag or tags that you have as well. If I have horn and bald tags with no point restrictions then all I need to see is a deeper chest and get the wrapping paper out.
    May you hands be warmed on a frosty day.

  5. #45
    Boolit Mold
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    A "brush" gun is one that handles easily, you shoot well and will penetrate the animal hunted from any angle and leave a good blood trail. I never shoot through any intervening brush on purpose. Deer and hogs often don't give much time before they take off and sometimes the angle of the shot forces you to rely on penetration to get the job done. The brush hunting I do generally makes it impossible to see 75 yards and many of the shots I do get are at 30-50 yards.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    'Tis a debate for the millennia and it won't be settled here I think. M-Tecs and others have offered wisdom tempered by experience and testing that illustrate random variability in a bullet's flight. It mirrors much of what has been done many times and is perfectly reasonable. There is no sure thing when it comes to the outcome of a shot taken thru brush in that regard. Never will be with rifles or handguns.

    I dunno what a brush gun is actually. I hunt local swamps and have history hunting river/creek bottoms in Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. I still hunt. Locally a long shot is measured more accurately in feet rather than yards, but 20-25 yards is fairly common. The following image is representative.



    I could argue as others have that short, light, handy is the hallmark of a "brush gun", but won't do so. One of my favorite stalking rifles is a flintlock with a 42" barrel. It does not impede my movement in any regard.

    If inclined to take a stand on what gun/load is most versatile in heavy cover I would probably fall back on a 20 ga Ithaca 37 that has been in the family for over 50 years loaded with #3 buckshot. Near 80 hogs, a 'yote and several deer have fallen to that combo with never a second shot required nor any tracking. It does right well on quail with #8 shot...
    I have danced with the Devil. She had excellent attorneys.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    Looks like you hunt where I do..

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  8. #48
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    theres a beautiful idiot video of a guy testing surplus Romanian 8x57 on trees at 20 yards. half the bullets came out of the tree at a 90 degree angle to impact direction.

    that's deflection.... no brush gun will deal with it.. brush gun is a political way of telling the wife you want to buy a 18" carbine.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke4320 View Post
    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
    I have seen the exact opposite results printed in an article by (I think, might be wrong) Jack O'Conner in Outdoor Life. Would have been 1969 or 70, so, memory could be faulty.
    USMC 6638

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckiller View Post
    Years ago Pete Brown,Warren Page or Jack O'Conner did a test of shooting various calibers through brush. EVERYTHING that hit twigs was deflected. If an animal was close to the brush you might get a lethal hit. If the brush was half way between you and the target you would probably never know where the bullet went. Shot gun slugs and big heavy bullets all deflected like light fast pointy bullets. First deer I ever shot was with a 6.5x55 swede mt carbine with a Williams peep sight, 140 gr Norma soft point. Deer stopped behind a small shrub and I shot it. Broke both front legs. Second or third shot dropped it. Can't remember, it was a long time ago. Anyway a brush gun is a caliber with a reasonablely flat trajectory and a scope that lets you see brush and twigs and find hole to shoot through. The common sense that big heavy bullets go through brush is the same common sense that says the world is flat.
    Yes, that's the one, and the only correct answer to this question. Whether the bullet gets through has to do with the proximity of the brush to the deer. I remember it as the spitzer's were more likely to get through than the fat flatnose, but that neither were really any good.
    USMC 6638

  11. #51
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyFlatline View Post
    Looks like you hunt where I do..

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    If per chance you refer to Gulf Hammock, that would be very near where the pic was taken. Hunt the Hammock now and then as well.
    I have danced with the Devil. She had excellent attorneys.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master
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    Reminds me of a squirrel hunt I experienced. I shoot a subsonic 22lr suppressed from a long barreled bolt action, so it's about as silent as you can get! One day I spotted a fat fox squirrel cutting a hickory nut just hanging out at about 65 yards away my first thought is "this one's in the bag"! The scope was on 4x, I took a good rested aim, pift, the squirrel just went on cutting, I took better aim, repeat first shot, again, the same X3! I cranked up to 9x and then I saw I was shooting through a cluster of tiny twigs! I dropped to a knee to shoot under the twigs and took him home with the fourth round! I would have never believed that I could have 3 deflections in a row cause a miss each time, but those tiny twigs did just that! Funny thing is I didn't see twigs until I cranked up the magnification!

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    About 20 years ago I was hunting deer at Ft. Benning, GA (I'm retired Army) with a Browning 1885 .45-70 with a 405 RNFP Boolit at about 1,500 fps. I was perched on top of a rusted out armored personnel carrier that had been shot up by troops learning to use 106mm recoiless rifles many years in the past. I had a very nice for the area 8 point pass within 25 yards and offer the perfect heart-lung shot, which I carefully took. At the shot the deer did the whitetail crouch and sprung up almost vertically and took off, never to be seen again. I searched the area and found no sign of a hit whatsoever. I even looked down the bore to make sure the boolit had exited. Then, looking towards my perch from where he had been standing I saw about a 3/4" horizontal scrub oak branch with a very .45 caliber looking notch in the top side. The boolit had hit it less than 8 feet from the deer and 6 feet up and had diverted to parts unknown. I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself. GF

  14. #54
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    I did almost the exact same thing on a doe shooting a .348 Winchester with a 250 grain Barnes original. At the shot she took off, much to my amazement. Then, I saw something white just hanging in space. It was the hole through an inch thick sapling that I hadn't seen through the Lyman peep in the waning light of evening. There was no blood and no hit.
    USMC 6638

  15. #55
    Boolit Master Cold Trigger Finger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
    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.
    +1. I don't want to have to go on a tracking job . just want a dead animal where it was standing just prior to the rifle firing. Also, unless I'm having too much rain problems. I want a low powered variable on that rifle.
    You are being watched.

  16. #56
    Boolit Man
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    Many good observations made here. I have been fortunate to have lived long enough and hunted almost always in the woods where it is often "brushy". My first and favorite rifle for years was a 270 Winchester. I made both amazing shots and had some puzzling losses .Most of us here understand ballistic coeffecient and standard deviation and it's effect on making good groups on paper. I believe that sectional density is the item to look for in a brush cutting bullet.that is the measure of a bullets ability to penetrate. A straighter bullet without much ogive as previously pointed out presents less angle on its tip to cause it to deviate when it catches against the side of a twig.
    A neighbor of mine fired at a large deer from a tree seat in a very thick environment and it was getting into a dim light situation. He had a "shooting lane " cut out but he misjudged where it was. He was using a 12 gauge slug at about 25 yards. He missed because he was looking over the top of the barrel and not using the sights. The shot went low. What impressed me was that the slug passed straight through and then cut partial diameters out of six or more alders 1.5-2" in diameter in a straight line all the way to the impact point. Heavy and slow with a straight sided projectile will go through brush better than a high speed bullet if it touches anything on its way to the target .

  17. #57
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Totally agree blue, big, slow and heavy wins this race every time.

    Small and fast only works if it never touches anything.

    Not much beats shotguns and slugs in this department in my opinion.
    I have seen several deer harvested that in the space of one jump went from being visible to being invisible. And the slugs went through that stuff and did their job.

  18. #58
    Boolit Master Tenbender'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.
    Correct !

  19. #59
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    I think one of the reasons this argument will never be settled, is the simple variability of the results. All I've been able to determine from what I've seen, is that each shot is a one-time event, and it all depends on exactly how the bullet hits the limb or blade of grass or whatever it is between it and the intended target. I once shot at a deer only 6 FEET behind a pine bough. Its chest was directely behind the soft white tip with a lot of pine needles sticking out. I shot at the center of the chest, which was marked by that white pine tip, that I knew to be very soft, and when I shot, the deer froze, and began looking around, antlers swaying with its head. I could not believe I'd missed. Was using an '06 with 165 gr. Speer PSP bullet. 6' is probably further than the deer actually was behind that limb, and I just KNEW I'd hit that deer. But I didn't! Now, what to do? There I was with a VERY alert deer in front of me at @ 65 yds., and swiveling its head around looking for me. Not having any confidence it'd work, I just very, Very, VERY slowly moved my hand to the bolt, and raised it, then slid it back just as slowly as I'd moved it to the bolt knob. When I knew it was far enough that it was about to "ping" the case mouth against the front receiver ring, I eased my left hand back on the forearm and stuck the tip of my pointer finger on that hand in far enough to keep the case from pinging the receiver and surely scaring the buck off. Then, I pinched it and eased it out without making any alarming sounds. By now, I was sweating, because I saw a very thin chance that I might actually get a 2nd. shot! With the spent case in my left hand, cradled, I moved that hand back to the forearm, and eased the bolt closed on a new ctg. This was a real piece of work, and one of my probable "masterpieces" of stealth and judgment in the woods (there've been plenty of the "other kind!"). Amazed I'd actually have yet another chance, I finally brought the gun to cheek, again so slowly you'd fall asleep watching what I did, while that buck stayed there, still waiting and watching, sure he'd identify what had made that sudden, loud sound. And he was alert aplenty! Continuing to swivel its head, sniff the air, etc. He even stomped his hooves a time or two in an effort to "out" the offending entity. It had stepped forward a couple of small steps, and now, its chest was showing with NO intervening brush. It dropped at my 2nd shot, and after a few quivers, laid still. I couldn't believe I'd actually gotten this deer! I guess most would have broken their arms patting themselves on the back, but I could only sit there in amazement!

    Another case I remember now, a friend was hunting with a Ruger .44 mag. auto down deep in the woods near the river in some thick woods. They'd found a really good and very well used deer trail, and his stand sat maybe 50 or so yards from it - far enough they could move a little without being seen very readily. Sure enough, a nice young buck came by, and he raised his rifle, with a scope mounted on top, and aimed, and fired. The deer fell dead as a wedge! But on pulling the rifle down, he noticed a nearly 1" dia. hanging branch with a bright, whitish hole in it, directly in his line of fire! He'd put his bullet through that limb, and it had gone at least 40 yds. and STILL got that deer!

    This is the kind of seemingly mutually exclusive events that make discussing this subject so challenging. All sorts of things happen when a bullet hits ANY sort of brush. Even a blade of grass can open up some varmint style, very thin jacketed bullets. I've seen it happen. And yet, occasionally, someone can shoot through an amazing amount of brush and the bullet will STILL hit his quarry! But the odds are VERY much against that happening. But I guess enough folks get excited and shoot no matter whether it's a good shot or not, and occasionally, connect. I've long wondered if some of the poorer shots don't miss, and yet, have the brush deflect the bullet so it makes contact with the deer? None of us can claim to have "seen it all" with respect to "brush busting bullets," but I for one have surely seen enough to know that shooting through brush is a VERY low percentage shot, and I long ago concluded that it's better to pass up the shot and come back again, than to try to press a bad shot and likely wound the deer, if it's hit at all.

    If we got a deer every time we went out, would we really call that "hunting?" Sometimes, I think that it's good that we let the deer win, and do so gracefully and with honor. It makes our successes so much sweeter and more fulfilling when we show a little character in the woods, I think. But then, I hunt mostly from stands, and do my real "hunting" when I pick the spot and construct the stand. The rest is just the waiting part. Folks who stalk their deer typically have to take a running shot, or go empty handed. For that, I'd pick a big, flat pointed, slow moving bullet, such as my friend with the .44 had in his Ruger carbine. Odds are, they'll stay at least significantly straighter if the deer's not all that far behind the brush. Pointy high speed bullets do NOT generally fare very well. Since woods hunting is usually at comparatively closer ranges, that lets us listen to footsteps approaching, which allows us to decide where the best place is to take our shot. With a little patience, that can make the difference between eating venison, and fish from the supermarket.

    It'll always be the hunter who determines whether a "brush shot" is a good one, or a risky stab at trying to get some venison. And the saddest part is, most of those who rush their shots, and miss our wound, could probably have held their shot until it hit an opening, and killed it cleanly. When I first started hunting, I decided the best way to deal with the excitement of first seeing a deer, was to sit stock dead still, and get over the excitement before I move or twitch a muscle. That's worked well for me. If I ever stop getting a thrill when I hear footsteps coming my way, I'll quit hunting. I doubt that'll ever happen, though.

    In every human endeavor, from the simplest to the most complex and critical, we have to THINK if we're to get good results. If we don't think, and do it as a habit, we err easily and lots more often. It's that way in hunting, too. We just have to think more, and observe more closely, and evaluate more logically. Figuring you "HAVE" to take a "brush shot" is usually just wishful thinking and a result of lack of patience and judgment. In the woods, patience wins many, many battles that would otherwise be lost. That's all I've been able to make of it, at least. You guys who typically stalk have to be REALLY sneaky! Here, it's like we're walking on rice crispies! And we don't sneak up on many deer that way. I've done some when I had mostly pine needle beds to walk on, and seen a few deer that way, but they were mostly approaching bedding areas. If we didn't hunt from elevated stands here, we'd probably see very few deer, I'm afraid. But I've tried it anyway, just to test myself and see. It all depends on whether the ground/leaves are wet enough to make walking fairly silent or not. Sure is fun, and here, one decidedly fine challenge! I love doing it. Every step is a new excitement and challenge! Now that I'm older, I doubt I COULD do any effective stalking, though. I sure loved trying when I was younger, though! Just try really, really hard not to think you "HAVE" to shoot through brush, and you'll likely eat more venison, and leave a lot fewer carcasses out in the woods to die a very sad death.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    I think one of the reasons this argument will never be settled, is the simple variability of the results.
    The results really are not that variable. It's easily tested with a proper setup. With a proper test it needs to be 100% repeatable. Randomly shooting into brush with a target behind it is not repeatable and tells you very little.

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