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Thread: Marginal hunting loads????

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy

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    This year I plan to shoot my deer(s) with my S&W model 25-2. I have assembled the loads using Starline .45 Auto Rim brass and a Mihec 454423 clone boolit, cast of 50/50 for a weight of 245 gr.

    The load itself is right out of the Lyman 3rd edition Cast Bullet Manual and shows a pressure of 13,000-14,000. Marginal? Not from the perspective of my "poor mans ballistic gel" tests so far, It penetrates through 8+ one gallon water jugs and blows the first couple up nicely.

    My self imposed max range with a handgun is 25-30 yards and groups are around 2-3" at that range.

    Health permitting, I'll get to find out soon, whether or not the .45 AR is marginal on deer.

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    "Treetop"
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    “The Second Amendment was not written to protect your right to shoot deer.
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master


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    LAst year I was meat hunting during our early two day antlerless season. I hadn't prepared very well, but it didn't matter, I had a stand up for years in a honey hole spot I was sure I'd see deer. Kind of at the last minute, I decided to use a 1907 Winchester I had been working with half heartedly, but not much lately. Anyway, long story short, I killed two good does both of which dropped where they stood using a cast bullet of about 180 grains and pushed to about 1700 FPS.

    Several guys on here supportively and sarcastically said 'guess nobody told those does the .351 wasn't powerful enough for deer hunting". Truthfully, I never once considered that I might be undergunned, at least not in those conditions. I had the deer patterned and new the shots would be very close, I saw them coming down the exact path I anticipated and the shots were very close. Had they been 100 yards away. I might have been out of luck.

    It boils down to knowing your capabilities and limitations and working within them.

  3. #23
    Boolit Buddy
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    My grandfather had a story that when he was 16 (1916) he hired on as a camp boy in Canada. The only rifle he owned was a 22WCF and the hunters gave him the gas that might be big enough for grouse, but nothing bigger. After the hunters left camp for the day he went down to the lake to fetch water and standing on the edge in the lake was a big bull moose. He waited until the moose stuck his head down to grab some food and shot it in the head. That evening when the hunters came back to camp he asked them if they would help him get his moose out of the water. That ended the ribbing.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    The marginal is somewhat similar to the avid although they occupy different habitats. I have heard rumors of avid marginal hybrids in the few areas their ranges overlap. While I have hunted for more that a few seasons I have yet to encounter the elusive avid or a marginal. With milder winters I have heard some gun shop rumors that the range of both the marginal and the avid may expand into central Illinois but I will believe it when I see it. Rumor has it that both the marginal and the avid provide excellent table fare if properly processed.y
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  5. #25
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    Expert: ex = has been; spurt = drip under pressure. Experts usually know a lot of stuff that isn't true.
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  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    Web all know a 22 has taken plenty of deer, so going by that my 222 should be fine for moose. lol

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    My primary weapon for furred, bristly or hairy game for 40 years has been recurve bows of various designs; except for the last 10 years my ammo was homemade cedar arrows. Draw weights from 45 to 60 pounds with a cast velocity from 160 to 185 fps. 10 grains arrow weight per pound of draw. So on average 170 fps cast with a 550 grain arrow. Yeah I made some crappy shots along the way, but generally 3" either side of the middle of the airbags is a pass-through arrow stuck in the ground on the other side of the deer. Lost count some years back but call it 75 deer and 250 hogs, most all the hogs from the ground. According to most I was way "undergunned." Oh I love to bang 'em too but that mostly involves shotguns these days. Hunt with what makes you happy friends, a dead deer doesn't care what you killed him with.
    "My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
    Leonard Ravenhill

  8. #28
    Boolit Master

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    O that one hit home , Minuteshaver 3006 + a full charge of imr 4350 under a 130 Speer hp has been my favorite hunting load since the mid 90s . I didn't know that's a new thing I don't read gun magazines but I found that bullet to be the most accurate out of my particular rifle . The deer around here are not very large but as big as I want to load in my truck .

  9. #29
    Boolit Master

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    Many years ago I was in Canada bear hunting and as it happens from time to time we were checked by a game warden.
    He was friendly and full of talk.
    One of the stories he told was of hunters finding moose with .22 bullets under the hide of these animals when harvested legal.
    He said, that th Cree didn't like the moose eating their garden vegetables, so, they would shoot them in the antlers to "ring their bell" or shoot them in the rump with 22 shorts to move'm along. One old Cree woman shot a large bull moose in the chest with a 22 short and dropped it right in the middle of her garden.
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  10. #30
    Boolit Master


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    A man I knew growing up, who was a farmer and thus spent a lot of time outside in a place with more deer than you could shake a stick at and a very long deer season with essentially unlimited bag limits used to use a Remington 722 in .222 for everything. He was one of the best field shots I ever knew, very calm and steady nerved. He bought that rifle when they first came out as a young man and got the best glass he could afford, Zeiss as I recall, and proceeded to use it for everything that didn't require a shotgun. He was a meat hunter and could wait until a perfect shot presented itself but he killed a lot of deer every year and they were all instant drops hit at the base of the skull.

    Now, I don't have the amount of chances he did, so not gonna chance those shots, but the way I hunt mine are almost always real close and completely unaware of being in danger, and it doesn't take a lot of gun to do the job like that. A .30 caliber cast at 1600-1800 FPS works fine.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master


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    Those who can shoot, can place shots such that less energy is needed. Those who can hunt, get close enough such that making the kill shot is easier and less energy is needed. Those that do both, can use almost anything to kill.

    Now, most people out there can not hunt but they can use bait and stands to get close to game.

    Most are less than stellar marksmen shooting at targets never mind under the excitement of hunting. They are not capable of making accurate shots repeatedly under field conditions. They may benefit from having a caliber that is more forgiving wrt range estimation and/or delivers more energy to the animal when a less than perfect shot is made.

    What works for you, and your skill set, may in fact be marginal for someone else....unless they get lucky.

    If you have never missed a shot, and never wounded an animal, keep doing what you are doing. Do not fix what is not broken.

    If you have not been successful with every shot, determine if using another caliber would have altered the result. If not, then examine your abilities and judgement.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  12. #32
    Boolit Master


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    "Now, most people out there can not hunt but they can use bait and stands to get close to game."

    I don't bait, but I do have a few tree stand sights that have proven track records and I disagree with your assessment that I can't hunt. I didn't figure out how to do it overnight, and nobody did it for me. It takes some field skills to be able to scout and figure out movement patterns of game then plan an ambush accordingly to get one within bow range. It also takes as much discipline to stay still and quiet to make that happen as trying to sneak up on one.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    A good shot with anything beats a marginal shot with everything. I've killed a deer with a .17 Remington and a .358 Norma and lots in between. The only time I ever had trouble was if I made a bad shot. I have a 22-250 in my truck 24/7 and please don't try to tell me it's marginal. Eighteen one shot kills prove otherwise.

  14. #34
    Boolit Man dbarry1's Avatar
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    Just compare the energy of any of those "marginal" modern loads with a blackpowder load. Opinions (especially in forums such as this) are many, and you got to take them w/ a grain of salt. Shoot what you like and what works for you.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master

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    With everything said here, you can conclude that there are NO marginal calibers, only marginal hunters!
    Last edited by Hickory; 12-17-2017 at 12:57 PM.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
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  16. #36
    Boolit Master ammohead's Avatar
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    A bunch of guys that use cast bullets for hunting big game having a discussion about cartridges that may or may not be considered marginal. Heck we "marginalize" every cartridge we shoot. We are not the average Joe of the hunting world and have knowledge and experience about what will work that most hunters don't. I have been told that all cast bullets should be used for target shooting and are marginal at best for hunting big game. To which I always reply "Have you seen any bison lately"?

  17. #37
    Boolit Bub Surfdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Those who can shoot, can place shots such that less energy is needed. Those who can hunt, get close enough such that making the kill shot is easier and less energy is needed. Those that do both, can use almost anything to kill

    ...If you have never missed a shot, and never wounded an animal, keep doing what you are doing. Do not fix what is not broken.
    dverna, I think you are right on, for the most part.

    This skill of the hunter plays a significant amount in whether or not the hunter will be successful regardless of their chosen caliber of rifle, pistol, bow...etc.

    Many, many years ago I started deer hunting with a recurve bow, and had some excellent advice from people who mentored me to the point that I actually had opportunities to shoot deer at under 20 yards. I missed my first shot completely and realized that I needed practice shooting under the pressure I felt.

    I recall moving to a compound bow for better accuracy a year later. I’d gotten to the point where I could put myself within 20 yards of a deer on a daily basis...and at the end of bow season I made a poor shot on a doe near the last day of the season. Looking back, I was an ok hunter but a marginal shot. I tracked that deer as far as I could...found half of my broken arrow (which I still have as a reminder). For years afterwards I had other opportunities to shoot the doe that survived my poor shot, but I would not shoot at her again. She lived with a limp that was caused by my poor shot, and I learned that no amount of technology would help me with shooting under pressure.

    Today, I probably shoot target archery in the neighborhood of 10,000 shots a year...most practicing and some in local and national tournaments. Experience has taught me when I’m not ready to shoot...be it target or game, and I don’t take the shot unless I know it will be good. It is unfortunate that I learned some of my lessons the hard way, but I have learned.

    My hunting skills have continued to improve to the point that I consistantly put myself within bow distance when I hunt, be it still hunting, stalking or hunting from a stand (usually a climber that I set each time I hunt).
    There is skill in choosing the right spot for a climber in deep woods, and in knowing when it will work or not, especially if you are bow hunting. To me, it seems very different than shooting from an elevated stand near a clearcut...which maybe what dverna is referring to regarding stand hunting. When I see people on TV shooting from the elevated platform, they don’t seem like they are hunting to me as much as shooting their rifles.

    The hunting skill I’ve learned through bowhunting has made me a very thoughtful and successful gun hunter. I hand develop all my loads to the point I am confident in the accuracy for what I’m hunting, and I stay well within the limitation of the cartridge. I know the bullet trajectory through experience...not just a ballistic application. I know the anatomy of my quarry, and can easily place the shot where it needs to be. Most importantly, I know my limitations and hold myself to a high standard out of respect to the game I am hunting...and I am still learning.

    Marginal loads are only marginal if used by people without the experience to know the limitations of the load and their own abilities.

    Surfdog
    Last edited by Surfdog; 12-17-2017 at 01:14 PM. Reason: spelling errors

  18. #38
    Boolit Buddy LAKEMASTER's Avatar
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    I was once told the 30-06 was only good for Alaskan jackrabbit, and that it's not a "competition worthy caliber" in today's modern calibers....

    Good thing I hunt cotton tail rabbit, at least I'll have enough fire power.....
    Lee Loadmaster - Lee O-frame - Lee Melting Pot - Lee......... EVERYTHING

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy LAKEMASTER's Avatar
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    Archery taught me to hunt with accuracy, rifle shooting taught me how to be efficient.
    I hold the same accuracy standards between the 2. But rifle let's me take a kill shot out 10x further
    Lee Loadmaster - Lee O-frame - Lee Melting Pot - Lee......... EVERYTHING

  20. #40
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by starmac View Post
    Web all know a 22 has taken plenty of deer, so going by that my 222 should be fine for moose. lol
    Fifty years ago as a teenager, the second deer I ever got was with a 222 out of a Savage 24v which I still have for sentimental reasons. The large buck dropped like a stone from a distance of 50 yards. Because of the bullets of that day, I downloaded the 222 to an MV of 2300 so the frangible bullet would get better penetration and it did. Would I do the same today? Probably not since I have better calibers and boolits.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check