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Thread: 15 BHN vs 22 BHN

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Rapier's Avatar
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    With the 35s-45s with cast bullets, placement is way more important than expansion with the 200-250 grain bullets. So I concentrate on best accuracy, and my best accuracy comes with hard cast. Here lately with powder coated, base up, without gas checks.
    “There is a remedy for all things, save death.“
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  2. #22
    Boolit Master

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    I have taken a lot of deer with 44 and 45 pistols and pistol cal rifles from 20-60ish yds. I used the same loads in both and got about 1100fps in pistol, and 1300fps in rifle usually. I used coww with a little tin for 12ish bhn. Boolets have been 429421, a gas checked version of a similar boolet (429244?) in 44, and in 45 I've used 270saa and a gas checked 250 gr swc that is by Lyman but I don't remember the no (452244?). So far, I've been lucky enough to get all shots well placed. Every time there has been a complete pass through (some have been quartering), and if the deer ran, it wasn't far and bled copiously to the outside. My point is, you don't have to jack large bore pistols up much if at all to get them to kill well and wfn boolets are ok, but not necessary in my experience. Swc do just fine, as was proven decades ago.

  3. #23
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    OP as others have stated, boolit hardness is not really a factor. Until you get up to a HUGE hog in size where a harder alloy MIGHT penetrate more. MAYBE. What matters is shot placement.

    My "hunting" alloy is generally 50/50+2%. Without reading Linebaugh, I unknoingly but instinctively use the widest meplat I can get, alloyed so I can scratch it with a thumbnail, and a heavy 300+ grain GC'd 45 caliber boolit.

    The last two deer I shot with a 300gr XTP in 44m the bullets fragmented and drove jacket and lead fragments all through the meat near the wound b/c it hit bone. No more XTP in this camp.

    Ruger gave us a perfect tier 2 45 Colt platform with the medium framed vaqueros and BHs. I wanted to build a tier 2 load that would take advantage of the gun's abilities and let me match the load to our thin skinned 80lb to 100lb size deer.

    Using QL I developed a load in 45 Schofield brass for a 250gr WFN or the 250gr OWC over 21.5gr H110 with WLP primers, that will make 1200fps and stay under the Vaquero's pressure ceiling of 23,000psi. I also reamed a 45 ACP cylinder to 45 Schofield, this pretty much "matches" the gun and the ammo to the game it is intended to take.
    Last edited by DougGuy; 11-30-2023 at 10:44 AM.
    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throats honed? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? 480 Ruger or 475 Linebaugh cylinder that needs the "step" reamed to 6° 30min chamfer? Click here to send me a PM You can also find me on Facebook Click Here.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

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    Just my experience, I could never tell the difference in alloys (.44 and 45 cal) with a nice meplat, on deer. Boolits went clean through leaving a thumb-size exit, animal went usually 50 yards or less, or just dropped.

    I got away from the harder alloys over the years, and now use a ACWW or ACWW+pure lead, probably 10-12 bhn. Powder coating made things a lot simpler for me.
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting

  5. #25
    Boolit Grand Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    50 yards means a loss deer onto my neighbors property depending on where I shoot it. I sit about a 100 yards off my property line. If I use cast I want a soft fragmenting boolit that dumps most or all of its energy inside the animal with the best chance of it dropping on the spot or going a few feet before dropping. A hard cast bullet for me means it will travel a good 100 yards which I don’t have that luxury of going after it. I have a couple hundred yards on each side of me and then its neighbors on surrounding sides that don’t give permission. If I’m bow hunting they stay on my property after being hit 99.9% of the the time. Gun season is 30-06,35 whelen, and 300 RUM so deer DROP 99.9% of the time with the shot. I’d rather watch my deer drop on the spot and loose a little meat. Don’t care about loosing a couple inches of meat around the hole. I have 12 extra doe tags that give to us automatically when buying a license so I am afford to loose a little meat with a fragmenting boolit. I still haven’t shot a deer this year becuase I have a few deer in the freezer from last year. Ive seen an average of 9 deer a day during rifle season. My best day with archery this year I saw 13 bucks chasing doe in one morning. All within arrow range. I’ve. Passed up dozens of really nice bucks on property during rut. I hit a branch the first week of November and the 14” tined 8 pointer got away with a hair cut. The other buck I was after with drop tines the neighbor kid who has been been hunting for 2 years got lucky and it walked under him at light on opening day. Just bad luck this year. I’ll go out this afternoon with my muzzle loader and probably shoot the first little buck that walks buy since “Horn” season with a smoke pole ends Wendsday.


    I’m sure with pigs you can use harder alloys since they have a lot tougher hides, bones, and tough shoulder plates vs a thin skinned deer. Seen the Australian guy here use straight wheel weights on pigs with my HPs and lee 300’s with excellent results. The HP cavities fragmented off. He was shooting them out of a 44 mag rifle at 1600/1700 fps range if I remember. He has sone recovered boolits that hit the hard shoulder plates that had text book expansion. He also had miles and miles of land to track them down after the shot as well.


    After I had runners with the 44 mag at 1750 fps using 15.4 bh and a non expanding HP. I switched to a group buy 200 grain HP in my 35 Rem at 2100 fps at 10.4 BH. It drops deer in their tracks.

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...n-HP-group-buy!
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 11-30-2023 at 11:20 AM.

  6. #26
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    I love this forum because everyone is very polite, very knowledgeable, and genuinely looking to help people out with their journey. Much appreciated.

    As a bow hunter my brain is hard-wired to open up a large wound. This is because every animal runs 30+ yards typically and in Texas brush a 50-100 yard run can be a problem without a good blood trail, especially on a hog with thick hair. My single experience with a 22 BHN WFNGC .45 at ~1000 FPS, while resulting in a clean kill, left literally no blood on the ground. This makes the bowhunter inside of me nervous haha.

    Agreed that shot placement and penetration (two holes) are more important, but assuming these two are optimized i do plan to optimize my load for wound size.

    I plan to test all of this stuff out for myself and plan to report back what my experiences are. Not to sound heretical but i have heard great things about the Barnes XPB and Swift A-Frame bullets as well and plan to Critter-Test these as well.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master Castaway's Avatar
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    Deer are like rifles. They all react differently to different loads. I’ve double lunged and jellied the heart of deer with 420 grains of putty soft lead moving in excess of 1,800 f/s and I’ve still had them run 100 yards with blood squirting with every leap. The only way to guarantee a pig or deer staying where it was shot is to lasso it before you pull the trigger

  8. #28
    Boolit Grand Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I’ve used swift a frame factory loaded 30-06 silver cased ammo when they offered it back in the early 90’s. Very little to No expansion with broadside heart and lung shots using the 180 grain version. If I hit shoulder they dropped on the spot. I’m sure they are a great shoulder plate hog hammer. To expensive now imo to use with todays prices and imo a plain old hand loaded 180 grain core loct drops deer faster for me. All copper Barnes never grouped well enough in over a dozen guns I ladder tested them in to use for hunting. From what “I’ve read” most animals act like they were hit with a FMJ or 20 plus BH hard cast bullet and run a good ways before dropping unless a shoulder is hit.

    As castaway said heart shots equals runners. I shot one with a 300 RUM in the heart 2 years ago and it went a 110 yards with a blood trail a blind man could follow. If I broadside double lung shoot they normally drop on the spot. Shot placement is key no matter what alloy, caliber, or speed. Shot a deer the next day with a 243 and 90 grain ballistic tip. It dropped like Thors hammer and never flinched. Broke both shoulders and took out the lungs. Bullet was resting on the outside of the offside shoulder and under the hide. Lead was sitting in the jacket and separated. First deer with a 243…I was impressed! It was 20 yards max and loaded .5 grains over max book load so it was moving!
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 11-30-2023 at 02:26 PM.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master

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    I've shot several deer with a ML and pure lead round balls. If they hit bone the flattened ball was usually found under the skin on the far side. I've also shot some deer with my .45-70 using very soft bullets (I didn't test). They always went through, even the HP ones after hitting bone. Just my experiences.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    I agree with Castaway. If there was one magic caliber, one guaranteed bore diameter, bullet design, velocity level, hardness, then after 300 plus years of use SOMEBODY would have lucked into the holy grail. Use anything mentioned by folks here long enough and under the wrong circumstances, you will eventually be disappointed. Then you’ll try something else that has already been tried over and over. That’s my story anyway.
    Reading can provide limited education because only shooting provides YOUR answers as you tie everything together for THAT gun. The better the gun, the less you have to know / do & the more flexibility you have to achieve success.

  11. #31
    Boolit Bub Anchorite's Avatar
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    Lots of experience in this thread and even more anecdotal advice based on that experience. I can’t really add anything except to say, IMO, somewhere along the way “we” got obsessed with hard cast bullets being “hard.” Perhaps too hard.
    It’s placement first, then bullet “construction,” and within those parameters one has to decide if they want expansion or penetration.

    Personally I lean toward penetration for the simple fact that that means 2 holes coupled with some level of disruption to the system and blood pressure of the quarry.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    I've shot plenty of deer with 350 grain pure lead boollits out of muzzleloaders at 1,200 fps and always expected the death run. Sometimes the did drop on the spot but extremely rare. Big heavy slugs from rifled shotguns have obliterated lungs, turned hearts into lasagna, and still they've run 60 yards. The solft 420 grain WFN boollit out of the 45/70 leaving the muzzle at 1,600 fps might flatten the deer, or incite it to run a bit. Try as we might, we cannot always turn off tge animal's switch every time. But I'll cast softer rather than hard for hunting year in any year out.

  13. #33
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    I've killed deer/hog with Hornady A-Tip, J-words but mainly cast (low BHN), fine line between obturation, penetration and shot placement. "Bigslug" ironed it out with what the FBI does (one of the few things they do right!).
    The unexamined life is not worth living....Socrates
    Pain, is just weakness leaving the body....USMC
    Fast is fine, but accuracy is FINAL!....Wyatt Earp

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcraig View Post
    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.

    Dead is dead for me dead is what every animal up to and including elk with a 44 mag were and a hard cast WFN.

    This shouldn’t be controversial use what works not everything works all the time. I practice with I hunt with and casting WFN is not as expensive as a box of Nosler Partition PB or even Hawk custom soft nose bullets. So the economics of practice and consistency comes into play for me as well. Jacketed bullets are sky High in cost.

  15. #35
    Boolit Grand Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Yep, hard or soft...it will still kill. I just like soft so the expansion will tensfer energy along with making larger entry and exit wounds for a better blood trail...if needed. My experience with hard cast is I don't get blood trails...or very poor ones. Soft I haven't needed to track as most drop in their tracks. I'm sure I'll have a deer with a will to live some day with soft alloys but none yet to date. Stay tuned.lol. to me soft alloys are like mechanical broadheads. If they work like they should you'll get bigger holes, igger blood trails, and a shorter tracking job. I'll get out Wednesday and try my 7.5 BH 260 grain Lyman Devastator hollow point driven at 1600 fps put of 77/44 on the first after less deer that walls by and see how it does vs the Same boolit casted at 15.4 bh.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 12-04-2023 at 12:09 PM.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master TurnipEaterDown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramjet-SS View Post
    ... So the economics of practice and consistency comes into play for me as well. Jacketed bullets are sky High in cost.
    My thoughts and practice as well.

    FWIW: Everything I have experienced is large meplats must hit hard to really open the wound channel well over bullet diameter.
    1300 - 1500 fps impact and I have seen holes in game and media easily 3-6 times bullet diameter.
    The 'mushy' cavity can be well larger.
    I shot a WT doe in the ham from the rear once (offhand - meant to go in at base of tail, but I dorked it) w/ a 475 WFN doing 1650 at muzzle. The deer was ~ 25-30 yds. I could easily close and roll my fist around inside the ham once I got my hand past the entrance.

    If the meplat isn't really flat (slightly rounded), they just don't work nearly as well.
    Cavitation of the media from bullet intrusion contributes to the cavity generation, and this works better if the meplat is flat and sharp edged.
    The hardcast helps retain this shape.

    If the nose is soft, leading to deformation and rounding at impact, they don't work as well in expansion media either.

    The modeling and explanation of how Hydrostaticly stabilized solids by Woodleigh work gives some useful imagery on the functioning mechanism of the large meplat bullets as well.

  17. #37
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplebeards View Post
    Yep, hard or soft...it will still kill. I just like soft so the expansion will tensfer energy along with making larger entry and exit wounds for a better blood trail...if needed. My experience with hard cast is I don't get blood trails...or very poor ones. Soft I haven't needed to track as most drop in their tracks. I'm sure I'll have a deer with a will to live some day with soft alloys but none yet to date. Stay tuned.lol. to me soft alloys are like mechanical broadheads. If they work like they should you'll get bigger holes, igger blood trails, and a shorter tracking job. I'll get out Wednesday and try my 7.5 BH 260 grain Lyman Devastator hollow point driven at 1600 fps put of 77/44 on the first after less deer that walls by and see how it does vs the Same boolit casted at 15.4 bh.
    The mechanical broadhead analogy is an interesting one and makes a lot of sense to me.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnipEaterDown View Post
    My thoughts and practice as well.

    FWIW: Everything I have experienced is large meplats must hit hard to really open the wound channel well over bullet diameter.
    1300 - 1500 fps impact and I have seen holes in game and media easily 3-6 times bullet diameter.
    The 'mushy' cavity can be well larger.
    I shot a WT doe in the ham from the rear once (offhand - meant to go in at base of tail, but I dorked it) w/ a 475 WFN doing 1650 at muzzle. The deer was ~ 25-30 yds. I could easily close and roll my fist around inside the ham once I got my hand past the entrance.

    If the meplat isn't really flat (slightly rounded), they just don't work nearly as well.
    Cavitation of the media from bullet intrusion contributes to the cavity generation, and this works better if the meplat is flat and sharp edged.
    The hardcast helps retain this shape.

    If the nose is soft, leading to deformation and rounding at impact, they don't work as well in expansion media either.

    The modeling and explanation of how Hydrostaticly stabilized solids by Woodleigh work gives some useful imagery on the functioning mechanism of the large meplat bullets as well.
    Really good info here, much appreciated. Yeah i was surprised when i shot my deer how little blood there was. The hide had a .45ish sized hole but the front quarter was over an inch. Im guessing the wide meplat doesnt really start working its magic until it hit something that is denser than the outer hide.

  19. #39
    Boolit Grand Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    Imo it doesn’t work ANY magic unless hard bone is hit and the bone fragments litterally “explode” everywhere acting like a ballistic tip does causing several wound cavities and shock. That’s what happened to the third little doe in my 44 mag post above (that's why the guys here who shoot hard cast tell you to aim high shoulder so bone is hit) You can see chunks of bone missing and a large entry and exit on my 3rd deer in the post. The bone fragments literally went in every direction. Chunks of bone fragments all over inside the deer. It still didn’t kill it immediately or on the spot with all that trauma. The bone fragments shattered and went in every direction causing trauma and shock. I’m my expert of No bone is hit a hard cast boolit will sail right through like a FMJ or arrow with a field point. Everyone has their own opinion. Ive tested both on deer and can tell you soft HPs only for me. Just cast up both and shoot a few deer with them. You’ll quickly form an opinion and pick which alloy you like the best.
    Last edited by Tripplebeards; 12-04-2023 at 09:11 PM.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master

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    My experience has also proven to me, that sometimes no matter what you hit the animal with, you will experience little to no blood loss displayed on the ground, even with a clear pass-through. A lot depends on the angle of the shot and how high or low it is in the body cavity.

    I have hit deer with mechanical broad-heads that open up to 2 inch diameter (2 and 3 blades) cutting immediately on impact, and if the arrow is mid-line in the lung cavity, sometimes no blood trail at all, as the blood pools in the lower part of the chest cavity, never getting up to wound hole, yet the deer runs maybe 30 to 50 yards and drops dead before any blood is expelled. With the chest cavity and lungs perforated with a 2 inch diameter hole through and through, there is no vacuum or air pressure to "blow or exhale" any blood. The animal is simple running dead, all the blood contained in the bottom of the chest.

    If the arrow enters high on one side and exits low on the bottom of the chest, (a elevated tree-stand shoot), the blood has an easy exit and floods the ground, it looks like a red carpet as the deer runs.

    A 2 inch diameter cut by a razor sharp broad looks like someone drove a medieval sword through the deer. Yet sometimes, there may be little to no blood trail, or other times it looks blind man could track the deer with his bare hands.

    Jacketed expanding bullets and cast with good meplats can act similarly, depended on how high or low the shot hits in heart/lung cavity.

    One just never knows...does one do!
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting

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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