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Thread: 15 BHN vs 22 BHN

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    15 BHN vs 22 BHN

    I know this topic is a dead horse that has been thoroughly beaten but I do have some questions that I could not find answers to.

    I am strictly interested in the hunting performance on game aspect, I understand that leading is a whole separate discussion and I don't want to get into that here.

    Question #1: Assuming a large bore caliber like .452 with bullets that have LARGE meplats (80%-95%), is it advantageous or disadvantageous to have the bullet deform on deer/hog size game?

    Question #2: Will there be any significant deformation on deer/hog sized animals if a 15 BNH bullet such as those described above is fired at ~1300 fps on close range (<20 yards) shots?

    thanks!
    Mat

  2. #2
    Boolit Master smkummer's Avatar
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    It’s been over 27 years since I lived in TX but hunted deer and hogs outside SanAntonio. Never a 45 caliber but 44 magnum/44 special. The deer were not as big as ND or IN/KY area. Maybe in your area, they might get bigger. Anyway from my limited experience, it doesn’t matter one bit. A 44 or 45 doesn’t need to expand but holy smokes, these bullets just blow holes in the game you described. If you get a good shot, you’re really more concerned about wreaking good meat. You go for head shots or neck so as not to ruin meat. My suggestion is know where your gun prints and what alloy is accurate at certain ranges and go from there. Just my .02.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would go as soft as you can stand and hit bone. I did the hard as hell thing for a long time. You hit bone and it doesn’t matter.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy atfsux's Avatar
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    Without trying to be snarky or avoiding the question,...the real answer is that if you put the bullet where it needs to go, none of that matters. Therefore, of far more importance is how accurate is the ammo in question, and the weapon, and the shooter.

    I would not stress over this. Use whichever alloy hardness produces best accuracy results and fuggedaboudit.
    When democracy becomes tyranny, those of us with rifles still get to vote.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    It's always better to get expansion until you start hunting game so large that expansion limits penetration too much and that pretty much means only the largest species in Africa or our very largest bears. For a 45 caliber bullet hunting deer and wild pigs at those velocities I'd go as soft as I could. The popular 50/50 mix of Clip on Wheel Weights/Pure lead plus 1 or 2% Tin is perfect in my experience. I've killed 9 deer so far using that alloy. Now having said all that, a 45-caliber bullet with large meplate is going to take a pretty good blow on the nose to deform much and it's questionable whether or not 1,300 ft/sec can do that.

  6. #6
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    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    That close, and on a Texas white tail..... all that matters is accuracy and shot placement.
    There are lots of folks out there hoping their boolits will expand to what a .45 does on entry.

    Don't worry about over thinking this, splitting hairs over meplats,
    or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
    Not to be rude, or harsh, but but for what you want a .45cal. boolit to do---it's a fool's errand.
    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.


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  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Appreciate the opinions and feedback. This forum is a great resource.

  8. #8
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    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasAg11 View Post
    Appreciate the opinions and feedback. This forum is a great resource.
    Good luck on your hunt.

    Thanks for your questions and concerns. Folks here are glad to help.
    It gives us something to do, and helps keeps us out of those crooked BINGO parlors.

    You'll see guys here worry themselves sick splitting hairs over different meplats.
    I usually point them to look at the ammo for the dangerous game rifles used in Africa--- the Nitro Express & Rigbys-
    They are made and time proven for doing some serious killing..... And they are pretty much all shooting Round Nose.
    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.


    OK People. Enough of this idle chit-chat.
    This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE!
    Back to your oars. The Captain wants to waterski.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Both choices are to hard imo. I use 40/1 pure and pewter alloy with a harness of 7.5 BH in my 44 mag Rifle using a HP boolit between 1600 and 1750 fps. I used a 15 bh alloy at 1750 fps on three deer and the HP cavity never expanded. Looked like I shot the deer with a FMJ… accept for the one I hit heavy upper back bone with. The bone shattered and acted like a fragmenting bullet. I was enough to drop the deer but it still kicked around for 2 min before giving up its ghost. Hundred yard plus before the other two dropped with no blood to follow even with exits. Both broadside heart and lung shots. If you want a hunting alloy use the softest your gun or pistol shoot accurately. There’s gonna be zero hydrostatic shock because of how slow you’re shooting. I would suggest to use some soft alloy so you get some type of expansion and energy transfer for a quicker kill and bigger exit hole for a blood trail. Slow 1300 fps speeds I’d rather shoot animals with a hornady XTP and save cast for plinking and practice. If your using that hard of alloy I’d tell you to at lest aim directly at the should bone to brake it down. If not it’s going to sail right though with very little energy transfer. The two deer that ran both stood there like they weren’t even shot. A second later both ran off. They acted like I shot them with an arrow with a field point. That’s also what it looked like inside them when I field dressed both. No a fan of “HARD” non expanding cast for hunting. I’m a hollow point cast shooter for hunting because I want to drop animals where they stand or close to it. The load in my avatar is from a 200 grain HP. It drops deer like Thors hammer. Imo it’s the faster 2100fps that gets it done vs the 44mag at 400 fps slower speeds. Don’t get me wrong your boolits will kill just fine but not as quickly as a faster, softer, and energy dumping hollow point will.

    Question #1. You want expansion so there is energy transfer. Question #2. No expansion in a thin skinned deer. To hard of an alloy. Maybe an elephant or rhinoceros you might get expansion if you hit hard bone.lol
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 11-28-2023 at 09:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Cast10's Avatar
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    I’m shooting a .375 caliber, 38-55 at 1577fps using 11.2 BHN. Recovered bullets in soft dirt show nice expansion and a good amount of heel left. This past weekend was the first hog kill. 60 yards broadside in the upper shoulder/neck area. Bullet did not go through, but he fell where he was. What a “WHAP” when it hit! He was wet and nasty, and I didn’t feel like a necropsy; He was dead.

  11. #11
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    I agree with the "both alloys are too hard comment." No need or benefit to that hard at those velocities, limits expansion and wastes tin and antimony. Even a softer bullet is not going to expand much at those velocities unless it is almost dead soft.

    You did not say what bullet weight, not sure it matters but heavier bullet will get you more penetration even if it expands.
    Tim
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  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Here is my first go with deer using 15.4 BH hardness at 1750 fps on close range deer with no expansion. The third one I hit heavy bone and the bone fragments acted like a rapidly expanding bullet.

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...my-devastators!!!



    Imo you would have to aim for shoulders to get bones to fragment for quick kill like I’ve found out using to hard of an alloy… and that was using a HP to boot! To be fair I still have to shoot a deer with the softer 7.5 BH 40/1 alloy HP driven at 1600 fps and see how more effective the softer alloy is. Antlerless only season is next week so if I see brown it’s down. I’ll report back with pics if I down one with the soft alloy. Just not a fan of slow pistol calibers for deer when there are better options to drop them quicker in my arsenal. Don’t get me wrong. I like the challenge of making my own boolits and harvesting game with them but after less than stellar performance with the slower rifles with pistol caliber cast boolits I quickly learned that running cast HPs out of my 35 rem at 2100 fps will drop deer like Thors hammers vs a slow and heavy non expanding pistol caliber that I get 100 yard plus tracking jobs with little no blood to follow with the same heart and lung archery shot placement. I took my vaquero out on trap line with 255 grain lee’s. A shot between the eyes with a 22lr is way more knock down killing power than the same shot placement using trail boss loads and the 255 grain .452 lee on raccoons I quickly found out. Same with my muzzle loader and 300 grain TC shockwave bullets that are around 1950 fps. They sail right through deer. Most run 60 yards or more on average after being shot. Imo it’s a combination of soft alloy and velocities 2100 or over that will consistently anchor animals more times than not. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen deer go over a 100 yards with magnum rifle shots. Like I said 2k worth the velocity and soft alloys. I like 10.5 bh at 2100 fps in a HP.


    If the OP needs hard alloy .452’s. I have piles of GC and PC lee 300 grain FN’s color coated in 1 grain increments I’d love to sell or trade for? I used them in my 450 BM American till I got rid of the gun. They are round 16/22bh if I remember? Very accurate. I was a hair over MOA at 100 yards with them.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 11-29-2023 at 01:15 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master ACC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasAg11 View Post
    I know this topic is a dead horse that has been thoroughly beaten but I do have some questions that I could not find answers to.

    I am strictly interested in the hunting performance on game aspect, I understand that leading is a whole separate discussion and I don't want to get into that here.

    Question #1: Assuming a large bore caliber like .452 with bullets that have LARGE meplats (80%-95%), is it advantageous or disadvantageous to have the bullet deform on deer/hog size game?

    Question #2: Will there be any significant deformation on deer/hog sized animals if a 15 BNH bullet such as those described above is fired at ~1300 fps on close range (<20 yards) shots?

    thanks!
    Mat

    I hunt feral Dogs and Hogs out in Poth Texas and all my bullets are 13 to 15 BHN and they deform but still get the job done. I don't hunt deer out there but my boolits should work on them as well.

    ACC

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    My suggestion would be to go with the softer alloy. In general I use nothing harder than 12 BHN for most CF rifles, except that I paper patch with pure lead. It is accurate and deadly.
    I have danced with the Devil. She had excellent attorneys.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have taken many deer with cast bullets.

    My experiences are wide meplat at moderate to high velocities will cause way more disruption in flesh or deer or hogs or elk and so on. Unlike Africa you don’t need super deep penetration because deer are not as tough as a cape buff. (Why a RN is used it is all about penetration to the vitals) Veral Smith put out a phenomenal book talking about cast bullet design and effects in game. LBT Guide to Cast Bullets. Not easy to find anymore but if you can get one read it.

    Last Sunday I shot a big doe with a 338 Federal Handgun with a cast 250 grain WFN it was cast hard running 1800 FPS the entrance hole was bigger and more damage than the exit. The deer did the flutter dropped over back wards dead. I could literally give you 50 more examples. That 45 with a wide meplat driven at moderate or higher velocities through the boiler room at any angle will results in a harvested animal.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Castaway's Avatar
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    As WingerEd said, a 45 starts out at what a 30 caliber want to get to. I’ve shot my share of pigs and deer with wheel weights and they perform great. You don’t have the velocity of a high power rifle, nor do you have the mass of a big 45-70 bullet. At 1,300 f/s, with a 255+ grain bullet, you don’t want to try and push a parachute through an animal with a bullet too soft. My advice is to go with a large meplat such as the Lee RNFP 255 grain bullet or a 250+ grain Keith bullet. Too large of a meplat is likely to give you cycling problems in a lever action

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Answer to question 1; IMO there is a definite advantage to deformation in that more energy is transferred to the target before the boolit exits the opposite side. This is aside from the obvious advantage of the bigger hole resulting in more tissue damage.
    Answer to question 2; From my own terminal ballistics tests at 40 yards into soaked, compressed phone books, boolits of various sizes definitely expand well at a terminal velocity of about 1300 fps with remarkable weight retention up to 95% by the end of the path. When I cast harder alloys up to 22 hardness, little expansion occurred while pieces either sheared off or disintegrated. Those harder boolits often tumbled in the media, not something I would want it to do if I intend to eat the critter.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    #1. The way the FBI prioritizes is: accuracy first, adequate penetration second, and so long as those aren't compromised, take all the diameter you can get. Whether expansion is good or bad will depend on what kind of sectional density you're sending. A too light bullet that turns into a parachute on impact won't reach the Tootsie Roll center of the Tootsiepop.

    #2. The Goldilocks issue on hardness is that alloy which expands may not give you accuracy if driven very hard.

    15 BHN (AKA Lyman #2) is not going to expand at 1300fps, but the good news is that is widely regarded as a 2,000fps gascheck/rifle alloy, so you can certainly go down to a softer mix. I've had good luck expanding (granted, into water, not meat) and 100 yard rifle accuracy with 20-1 lead/tin near your velocity projection, but it tends to come unglued not a great deal faster.

    #2.5. A large meplat of 75% or more on a .45 is going to tear a pretty nasty hole even if it doesn't expand, and will penetrate very consistently in that condition at varied ranges, where expansion of same will often depend on impact velocity which will often depend on distance. Since you're planning to play just outside of knife range anyway, this reduces the number of things you need to think about, but there is a certain simplicity to a non-expanding bullet with a large hammer-face in front of a load that shoots it well.

    #3. The super large meplats can begin to have accuracy problems at distance anyway, so that may further simplify your alloy choice. It's worth remembering that the soft alloy 250 grain .45 Colt loads of @900 fps were considered adequate to literally take care of not only you, but also the horse you rode in on.
    WWJMBD?

    In the Land of Oz, we cast with wheel weight and 2% Tin, Man.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master TurnipEaterDown's Avatar
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    Hard cast bullets w/ wide meplats driven 1300+ at muzzle simply do not need to expand to open very generous wound channels.
    For years I cast mine 22-25 BHN, and they did not shatter for me in game, on rocks in clay banks, nor in soaked newsprint expansion media.

    Soft / soft nosed bullets will deform, which in some instances isn't desirable at all for straight penetration.
    Over expanded bullets will loose rotational speed, and can destabilize, and rounded noses follow tissue demarcation lines (muscle groups, tendon sheaths, bone/muscle interface, etc.) much worse than flat noses that hold their shape.

    There are postings here of bullet performance in expansion media w/ recovered bullets that display several of these aspects.

    I still believe what John Linebaugh told me when I bought my first gun from him: Pistols don't need expanding bullets, make it flat, wide and heavy and it will do all you want. Deceased Deer to Bison back this up for me.

    If you want a link to some testing I did and posted on this site, where I compared expansion cavity characteristics from soft and hard alloy on a wide meplat 44 bullet, I can add it rather than reiterating.
    Last edited by TurnipEaterDown; 11-30-2023 at 08:01 AM. Reason: Missed word, changed the intent of sentence

  20. #20
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Dan View Post
    My suggestion would be to go with the softer alloy. In general I use nothing harder than 12 BHN for most CF rifles, except that I paper patch with pure lead. It is accurate and deadly.
    Deer sure dont need a bullet that is going to act like a FMJ regardless of the size of the Meplat.
    It makes no sense to sacrifice Bullet expansio for that type of Game Animal.

    I Remember talking with JD Jones of handgun Hunting Fame And Owner of SSK industries umpteen years ago about using a Hard cast bullet for deer and he said why use a solid when a bullet with more expansion will Kill much faster.
    This came from a man who killed Elephant's and a slew of other big, dangerous game.
    And there has Been a LOT of Deer,Elk,Moose ,Buffalo that Has been Taken with pure Lead bullets throughout the years.




    Everyone that has Killed with HARD cast will say that it just kill's 'differently' than a bullet that gives Great expansion and enough penetration.

    That is just a fancy way of saying a bullet with no expansion Kill's slower.

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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