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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

After reading a recent post where an individual recommended a slug to a novice shooter and stated that it had "plenty of power" to take a deer at a stated range, I was very surprised to see that this persons idea of "plenty of power" included energy levels averaging in the 800's and ending down in the high 700's ft'lbs range.

While it is very obvious that there are no absolute hard and fast standards for determining the minimum level of energy that is required to ethically harvest a whitetail, common sense dictates that there is a general range that hunters should us a minimum standard.

I know I personally would never consider recommending a slug load carrying only 700-800 ft-lbs as having "plenty of power" to a novice shooter. However, I would like to hear what other members use as a minimum standard when evaluating a slugs capabilities for their needs. Most whitetail hunting authors I have seen discuss this topic start with minimum requirements at a specified range of around 1000 ft-lbs of energy and it seems many of them hold their standards significantly higher, closer to the 1200 ft-lbs range.

So lets hear it guys...Do you consider a general energy level to be the absolute minimum to plan to ethically harvest a deer at a specific range with today's slugs. If you do, where do you set your standards on this issue?

JC
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No smitty...wasn't anyone here.

BTW...I am just looking to get an honest idea of the general concensus on this.

No right or wrong answer either way.

JC
 

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I didn't see the original post, but I'd recommend 2 3/4" Sluggers to a novice shooter. I'm new to shooting, and they worked well for me last season. Their energy is 1285 ft-lbs at 50 yards, and 1045 at 100 yards. Most rookies probably wouldn't shoot much over 50 yards at first anyway, so they have plenty of knock down power.
 

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Without taking bullet construction into consideration I would have to say 1000ft/lbs is a good general baseline.
Anything that can reliably penetrate the shoulder of the average deer in case of a slightly errant shot is enough.
Well constructed bullets may decrease that number.
 

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Personally, I start to feel undergunned at 1600, which is why I shoot a .300WinMag. "If a little bit is good ... a lot is better." :D
 

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I got to into a heated debate on another forum about long range shooting. Without getting into all the specifics, I pointed out that a .308 would only have about 500-600 lbs. of energy (at most) at 1,000 yds. How do snipers kill effectively out to those ranges? I guess it comes down to where you hit the target.
I guess 700-800 lbs. of energy is enough to kill a deer if you hit them in the right spot. The bottom line is that when you reach these low levels of energy, you are at the bottom of the trajectory line also. You are taking what I consider a low % shot.
 

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Hmmm What is
to ethically harvest a deer at a specific range with today's slugs.
First I think we need to define what an ethical harvest is (Being a bowhunter I feel I can ethicly harvest deer with consistancy @ 15 yards with as little as 35# recurve and a 2 blade arrow.
I realise we are talking about greater range than 15 yards but shot selection etc. still IMO needs to be defined.
If your definition of an ethical kill is near instant death due to hydrostatic shock it may well be another story and yet that goal still requires crital shot placement just like the guy with a bow.

How do snipers kill effectively out to those ranges?
In a military action a kill is not required a "Pasified threat potental is and a wounded man requires others to care for him thus reducing the fighting potenal of others along with a long drawn out death of a fellow can also be more demoralising to those around him we generaly try to spare deer and other game of this as out goal is ease of recovery and quality of meat and trouphy.
 

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I pointed out that a .308 would only have about 500-600 lbs. of energy (at most) at 1,000 yds. How do snipers kill effectively out to those ranges? I guess it comes down to where you hit the target.
That is why they invented the 50 caliber sniper rifle.
In a military action a kill is not required a "Pasified threat potental is and a wounded man requires others to care for him thus reducing the fighting potenal of others along with a long drawn out death of a fellow can also be more demoralising to those around him
;)
True except one wounded ties up 2 more guys if you are fighting us, the scumbags we go after don't quit to help the others in a fight. We traing to kill not wound. However I still agree with Jakes that you would need to know the estimated range of the animal you are pursuing and throw that into the mix before figuring kinetic energy. I think any modern shotgun slug has plenty of kinetic energy to take a deer at reasonable ranges in the hands of someone who cares enough to take the shots they have trained for. It is those that want to push the envelope of distance that really need to look at what kind of energy they are getting at the yardage they are trying to push.
 

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1000lbs,that has been the minimum reccomended for rifles for years so I would assume it would be the norm for slugs aswell,just my .02
 

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I believe a rule of thumb has always been the "1,000 ft. lb. energy" as the minimum. Shot placement to vital organs promoting rapid blood loss is still key.

To plagerize from Dr. Martin L. Fackler, the father and recognized expert in research of wound trauma and ballistics:

"The KE fallacy is so pervasive that it needs to be corrected as often as possible. The arrow is a good example: I think it helps to drive the point home if you mention how much KE a hunting arrow has (a 500 grain arrow traveling at 200 ft/sec has a KE of 44 ft lb). Thus the largest game in the world (including elephant) is hunted and killed with a projectile having only about 2/3 the KE of a .22 Short bullet. That should give pause to even the most ardent KE advocates."

While Dr. Fackler's studies initially centered around wound trauma and incapacitation in humans, a lot of this theory can be applied to game animals as well. Much of his research included tests on live animals to study the effects of wound channels.

Duncan MacPherson, is the author of the now-famous (within the wound ballistics community and other communities interested in the interaction between bullets and bodies) book: Bullet Penetration: Modeling the Dynamics and the Incapacitation Resulting From Wound Trauma. He had this to say about handgun bullets on humans, but I suspect the same theory can be applied to any projectile fired at game animals as well:

1) Newton's laws of motion describe forces and momentum transfer, not energy relationships
2) Damage is done by stress (force), not energy.
3) Stresses cause damage only if they strain body tissues above their elastic limits. Most expanding handgun bullets simply waste the kinetic energy used in producing the small temporary cavities they cause.


A good article on terminal performance can be found here as there are some similarities when comparing slow-moving muzzleloader projectiles to shotgun slug projectiles:
http://www.randywakeman.com/ballltd74.htm

I still adhere to the sage advice an old-timer told me once many moons ago; “It ain’t what you hit ‘em with, it’s where you hit ‘em.” I prefer a slug that will provide maximum penetration at realistic distances that I hunt.

Some of Fackler's old research, which can be found on the internet:
 

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Know your weapon and it's preferred load, know your limits, get up close and personal regardless of the weapon and make the first shot count, nothing else really matters.

"KISS" Keep It Simple Stupid.:D
 

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Energy is just a number. Momentum is just a number. Making a hole through the animal is what kills it.

As a guideline 1000 ft-lbs is fine for rifles. But thats for bullets in the 100-200 grain range.

Most slugs are 300-450 grains. A well constructed slug with only 500 ft-lbs will still have the momentum to go right through a deers shoulder and chest and out the other side.
 
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