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If we all face facts, I think we have to admit that it is somewhat diffucult to choose a BAD cartridge for side shots at deer, elk and even moose. Even on elk and moose, the marginal cartridges like the .243 and .30-30 can be used effectively on such side shots and many calibers are sufficient and will penetrate deeply enough to anchor the largest of North American and Scandinavian big game. Poor bullet designs for big game certainly exist, and a certain amount of knowledge is required to make sure the correct bullet is chosen for each caliber, but side shots and specifically behind-the-shoulder lung shots are not the test that separates the calibers.

But what about strongly angling shots?

I do not believe a cartridge must be capable of performing from all points on the "moose clock" but it is always nice to know what a round is capable of doing when an angled shot is presented or demanded {as when a badly hit or wounded critter is "heading for Montana"}.

What can we expect from a critter giving us this presentation?

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/042907GutShotTestShotAngle.jpg

You hunters know that a critter heading away at approximately 5:00 or 7:00 on the Moose Clock presents a challenge for any cartridge. It is easy to misplace a bullet directly into the ham where it is anybody's guess as to what effect it will have, but let's assume a well-placed shot slipping in front of the heavy hind-end bones and behind the ribs, angling toward the heart. Will it get there? Certainly it is hard to say. Anybody who has examined an animal's full rumen knows that a bullet that fully penetrates it AND EXPANDS must be a superbly-designed bullet and one well-balanced for the cartridge firing it.

So my son and I attempted to set up a test to get some idea what would happen to a bullet challenged with just this shot.

We assumed a sort-of averaged-sized elk and attempted to construct such a critter from some readily-available materials, arranged on the target board in such a way as to hopefully duplicate the anatomy facing our bullet when it strikes at 5:00 or 7:00 on the "Moose Clock".

The media were as follows:

A dried deer hide was first soaked for several days in a stock tank to soften it. It was placed to meet the bullet. Following it was placed a piece of rubber inner tube to act as the belly muscle and then followed two compartments made of 4-ply plastic garbage bags filled with water-soaked mowed grass {the stuff looks just like what fills a critter's rumen}. After filling, each of the two compartments was given another gallon of water.

Here I am mixing the contents of the "Rumen":



Following these bags was placed another sheet of rubber {the "Diaphragm"}, then was placed the target goal {"Heart"} , a water-filled milk jug.

After this milk jug two 1/2-inch sheets of plywood were placed {"Ribs/Sternum"} and then a piece of rubber {Chest Muscle} and then another piece of deer hide. Here is the setup:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/042907GutShotTestSetup.jpg

Before shooting, the hide was wrapped over the top and the whole affair was squeezed together by forcing the side boards inward to provide further hydraulic tension as would occur in a living elk. Here is the "5:00 Elk" ready to shoot:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/042907GutShotTestSetupReadyToShoot.jpg

And here is Sonny putting the .270 to work:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/042907GutShotTestShooting.jpg

Since this arrangement demanded a lot of time to reconstruct after each shot, only three rounds were fired.



Left to right as follows:

6.5x55 140 grain Remington PSPCL shot at 2590 fps. This bullet penetrated the hide, belly muscle and stopped just inside the rumen sack at the diaphragm. Though it did not penetrate the diaphragm, it ruptured a hole in the heart that initially caused me to expect to find the bullet inside the jug. Total penetration approximately 26 inches. Little noticeable jolt to the setup upon bullet strike.

.270 130 grain PMP factory load shot at 2932 fps. This bullet made it to the middle of the second rumen bag. Total penetration about 18 inches. The first bag wound track was severe and there was a noticeable jolt to it when the shot struck.

9.3x57 285 grain Prvi Partizan shot at 2106 fps. This bullet performed similarly to the 6.5x55, causing the exact same rupture in the heart. However, it was found about 2 inches back from the diaphragm, causing me to believe it was tossed back after "bouncing" off the diaphragm. "Shock" to the whole setup was noticeably more severe with this shot, causing the wood sides to be shoved laterally a couple inches and the whole setup reacted to the shot with a dramatic shudder.

So what, if anything does this test demonstrate?

Nothing new for most of us, probably.

Cartridge and bullet do matter. The .270/130, while making a severe wound to the first rumen sack, simply didn't accomplish much else and it takes little imagination to conjure up occaisions where an elk might take such a shot and simply keep going, only to die much later.

Both the 6.5 or the 9.3 shots however, demonstrated the possibility that though a bullet might not actually make it to the heart themselves, sufficient damage might occur to either drop the animal or cause fairly quickly lethal internal bleeding. On the other hand, this test might help explain those circumstances where a critter might drop at th shot, only to get up and run off if not shot again.

All-in-all, this whole exercise reinforced my closely held opinion that strongly angling shots on big game are best left for followups and are not to be depended on under most circumstances on larger game.





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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.

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Edited by - LeeSpeed on 04/30/2007 07:25:20 AM

foudufoot
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1030 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 07:02:05 AM
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Interesting test, Lee. But what about the liver? I read in a recent issue of hunting that a liver shot will usually cause massive bleeding and shock in short order. I would expect the intestines to offer little resistance before the bullets tears into the liver from that angle. Dan

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You're not buying another gun, are you...!?!?!



LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 07:46:33 AM
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foudufoot:

Actually, as my son said, the time of day will effect the performance of the bullet quite a bit...depending on how much material is in the critter's gut. For example, we fast a sheep before butchering to make the process a bit neater. Makes a difference.

I think the issue here is that where a guy might have years of dependable service from a caliber/bullet combination such experience might cause him to think more highly of his weapon than he ought.

The shot angle we attempted to duplicate would not necessarily guarantee a hit in the liver. If the liver is not hit the intestines and stomach can absorb one whale of a lot of bullet "Oomph" {technical term }.

The .270 and 6.5x55 are frequently compared. Pitting the 150 grain .270 bullet against my favorite 140 Remington 6.5x55 load might make for a more fair comparison. However, around here various .270/130 combinations are used on elk with great effect for the simple reason that on side shots many 130 grain bullets can be quite decisive elk-killers. But this little test demonstrated to us that the bullet we used would not be one I would want to use on a going-away elk. We wanted to see how that load would stack up against the "littler" 6.5. Nothing we saw in this test would change my preference of the 6.5x55 over the .270 in general, though I am sure the .270 can be loaded with bullets that would do pretty much as well as the 6.5.

Finally, bullet choice obviously makes a big difference. I was impressed with the performance of my favorite 6.5x55 load, as usual. I really expected the 9.3x57 to penetrate the deepest. When it comes to ballistics, shooting sometimes beats up a guy's best held hopes...

The whole affair peeked our curiousity about how the .375 H&H Mag would fare and how the .243 Win would do also and reinforced our high regard for the Pee-Wee 6.5x55.

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


Husky Varmit
Gunboards Member



USA
10 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 2:30:19 PM
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As usual you have come up with an interesting little project. But, first I have to ask - have you ever traced your lineage? I swear there must be a link to Dr. Frankenstein, Stephen King or some other creative, slightly skewed individual. (Trash bags full of wet leaves? That is creative beyond belief!)

You are 100% correct that this is a VERY selective and small scale comparison. Also, it is hard for many of us to stomp down our prejudices for our favorite hunting selections. I think you are right when you state that the 150 would be a more logical comparison instead of the 130 grain in the 270.

There are very few elk and/or moose here in Texas, but we do have a really nice game animal in the feral hogs.

Most of my hunting in this area is coyote/bobcat. Because of that,, the normal firearm is the 223. But when I am headed to an area that I know is populated with heavy concentrations of pigs, the Husky 270 goes in the back of the truck. Since the sought quarry is a small predator the first round in the chamber is a 100 grain with the next rounds 150 grain Core-Lokt. This allows me to have a high velocity, light bullet for the smaller prey followed by something with a little more 'oomph' for that unsuspecting boar that wanders into the line of fire. The best part is that for the first 150 - 160 yards they keep their POI within about an inch of each other. Thanks, Husky.

Now, why did I go through all that? Merely to relate some experience with the 270 150's. It is fairly frequent that a pig gets hit with a 100 that only ticks them off and provides an almost surface wound - but it slows them down enough to follow up with some stopping power. The 150's have successfully brought down 400+ lb boars from unique angles. Anyone who hunts in this area is familiar with the defamatory description known as 'The Texas Heart Shot'. Sadly, the term is based in truth. I will admit that I have placed a few of these shots myself, although I will deny it under oath and swear that someone else wrote this.

The 150's consistantly penetrate these big old pigs and the Core-Lokts maintain enough of their initial weight to create a horrendous wound channel. The few times I have carried the 130 Core-Lokts, the results have been less than stellar - particularly on frontal, quartering shots. Including a few that required multiple follow-up shots. I haven't formally tested the 270 150's against my 7mag with 160's but informal field results appear similar.

I know all of this is anecdotal and does not even come close to reviewing many variables, but it does show a snapshot of field effectivity.

Just to be VERY clear. There is no way I am demeaning your information or the quality of what you are kind enough to share with us, just trying to add some supplemental 'real world' perspective to what you ahve already presented.

Keep up the good work.

Bob


NiklasP
Gunboards Premium Member



101 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 3:23:02 PM
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Nice results!

Be nice to see performance of 160 grain bullets from 6,5X55, as well as the 150 or heavier 270 bullets. Folks I hunted elk with in Montana in years past much preferred the 160 round nose in 6,5X55 or the 175 Nosler in 7X57. They liked the really deep penetration.

Thanks,
Niklas


gil
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1107 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 7:36:11 PM
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In my limited experience moose are very tough animals, harder to kill than elk are. An ethical hunter will let game that cannot be killed cleanly walk away. 9.3 would be my first choice of the above listed cartridges.
gil

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the other one


LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 9:16:01 PM
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Posted merely for your entertainment and to reinforce {I suspect} many of our views that going-away shots varying much from 4:00 on the "Clock" are to be avoided, I hope nobody took my little test to be a condemnation of any particular caliber.

Truth is, bullet construction, caliber and weight all contribute to expansion and penetration as we all know. Fellow Idahoan Bob Hagel years ago demonstrated for all of us in his excellent books the fact that high sectional density in-and-of-itself is no guarantor of deep penetration, using the ancient, 300-grain .333 Kynoch bullet as an example of a L-O-N-G bullet that nevertheless fragmented badly in heavy game.

I must admit though that the performance of the little 140 grain Remington bullet in the Svensk 6.5x55 up against the heavy also-Svensk 9.3 was very impressive though not surprising considering what its done on the couple elk and several deer I've shot with it!

I hope to get a chance to continue these shooting endeavors on the grass-filled bags. I suspect all they will do for me is make me even more conservative than I am already in placing my shots and picking my calibers. If I can in any way help others head that direction also and thereby avoid losing a head of game they might otherwise lose it'll all be worth it!

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


sbhva
Moderator



USA
1477 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 10:38:13 PM
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Lee Speed,

I would think the 156 gr Norma load is more appropriate for the 6.5x55 when hunting Elk. I also think it would be the best penetrator of the group and of course I would love to see the results in your test rig.

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Steve




LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 04/30/2007 : 11:55:30 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by sbhva

Lee Speed,

I would think the 156 gr Norma load is more appropriate for the 6.5x55 when hunting Elk. I also think it would be the best penetrator of the group and of course I would love to see the results in your test rig.

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I couldn't hazard a guess as to how it would compare as I am not familiar with it but I'd like to know as well. Do you know what the actual chronographed velocity of that load is?

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


kriggevaer
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1709 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2007 : 01:00:34 AM
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Lee Speed, just took a look at my Norma reloading manual which lists three 156 gr Norma bullets, Alaska, Oryx, and Vulkan. With Norma MRP and MRP-2 powders the velocities are running right at 2,500 fps, without being max loads.

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kriggevær

"Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun..."



Onsite
Gunboards Member



22 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2007 : 01:19:35 AM
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My experience with a quartering shot on a running deer taught me alot! Was hunting with a HVA in 308. Out in a large clearcut just walking along when a nice buck started up from where he was bedded down. He was approximately 40 yards away and was quartering away from me. When moving he was half jumping to clear the ground debris so I had to hold at the midway point of his up and down. When I shot, I saw him flinch and just keep bounding away another 40-50 yards and then he dropped over a little rise and I saw a bush shake. When I approached the area he was down by that bush and dead. As I investigated what dropped him I saw that the shot had hit his right hind leg and shattered the bone at the knee joint. After that I really couldn't tell what happened. Well it all came together after I gutted him out and got the heart out and found a hole in that with the jacket of the bullet in the middle. So that shot hit the hind leg shattering it, then angled in behind the ribs and hit the heart. No gut sack or intestine rupturing. No other massive internal damage could I ascertain. The bullet was a Nosler 165 B-tip. I was somewhat dissapointed in its disintegration at the time but in retrospect I guess it worked just right. Onsite


LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2007 : 8:39:53 PM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Onsite

I was somewhat dissapointed in its disintegration at the time but in retrospect I guess it worked just right. Onsite

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I've been there too, asking myself why I'm disappointed when there is a critter lying at my feet...!

One of the advantages of the long bullets like the 156-160 6.5 is that there is just that much more material the bullet can afford to lose before it disappears. I've shot lots of game with the 300 grain .375 that fits into the category of busted-up bullet and dead animal.

If anybody has any and wants to part with a few 156 Normas of any ilk or persuasion I'd be happy to load them up, chronograph a bullet and send another thru the gut bags!

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


sbhva
Moderator



USA
1477 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2007 : 9:30:40 PM
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I have some Norma factory ammo I would be willing to donate to the project. Send my your address via email [email protected]

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Steve




SD Hunter
Gunboards Premium Member



USA
104 Posts
Posted - 05/01/2007 : 11:46:49 PM
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Lee Speed,

I would like to compliment you on the amount of energy and thoroughness that you put into your project. I believe that your results are very sound. I really appreciate your sharing the project and conclusions.

SD Hunter

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Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone. John Quincy Adams


Mauser22
Gunboards Super Premium Member



USA
396 Posts
Posted - 05/02/2007 : 08:09:31 AM
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Only have one real world contribution to add on the 6.5x55.

Whitetail buck standing quartering at just over 200yds looking at me (not quartering away). 140 Winchester Super-X entered behind left shoulder and went right down the spine (destroying the backstraps) angling across and exiting just forward of opposite hind quarter. It was a large whitetail and would have to have been at least 18" of vertibrae and flesh. I would have bet that any such hit would have fragmented the bullet to the extent nothing would have been left but fragments and if exiting at all would have gone out at an angle.

The buck absorbed so much energy he virtually "flipped" upside down and landed where he stood on his back.

We all have mental pictues such as this, but this occasion forever endeared me to this cartridge for whitetail deer. Not to mention it was the best deer I ever killed at what has been the extreme limit of my range.


LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 05/02/2007 : 08:55:07 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Mauser22

I would have bet that any such hit would have fragmented the bullet to the extent nothing would have been left but fragments and if exiting at all would have gone out at an angle.

but this occasion forever endeared me to this cartridge for whitetail deer.

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I have not used the 6.5x55 on as much game as I have several other calibers but it just so happens that every shot I've taken with it on game has endeared it to me also! Around here, many years ago in the '50's and then recently when more came in in the '90's, the 6.5x55 in sporterized 96's developed quite a following and these rifles can still be found, highly prized by their owners. As has been said so often, a rifle chambered in 6.5 Swedo-Norsk just doesn't "feel" like a giant-killer when it goes off, but its dependability is truly legendary.

I believe one of the reasons for this successful performance around here was the use of Norma factory ammo and then, more recently, the Remington 140 and, I suspect tho I have no experience with them, the Winchester 140 grain factory bullets. The big ammo makers have the budgets and technical ability to produce superb bullets and sometimes they actually do.

Gary Sciuchetti's amazing article and shooting tests covering darn near every .30 cal 180 grain bullet then made {published in June-July 1998 HANDLOADER} show the Remington and Winchester factory bullets to be the most reliable in terms of expansion at a wide spectrum of velocities, and holding together as well. These bullets were, admittedly, .30 cal only but they highlighted a fact it is hard to avoid; buying "premium" bullets does not guarantee "premium" performance. The big companies have large R&D departments and it should come as no surprise that they make good bullets...often, but not all of the time, and in mass quantities...

Does this guarantee that a product from Remington, Winchester/Olin or Norma is going to outclass Hornady, Speer, A-Square, Bitterroot, Sierra, Barnes, Hawk or "Billy-Bob's Big Blob Bullets"? No, but before a guy overlooks them as "generic" or in the case of the Rem/Win products, "cheap", some comparative testing is probably worth the effort.

This test of mine here, I believe, demands quite a bit more from a bullet than it is faced with when striking almost any deer from the theoretical angle. That it demonstrates similar performance in depth of penetration and expansion to that which I've seen in the woods with my "Little Stinger" makes me glad to be an owner of a 6.5x55.

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


W.R.Buchanan
Gunboards Member



USA
33 Posts
Posted - 05/02/2007 : 11:55:10 PM
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Leespeed:
I have read several articles on bullet penetration at Beartoothbullets.com, and garrettcartridges.com. About penetration versus bullet velocity. One of the tests cited a .45-70 420gr cast flatnose bullet at 1600fps penetrating 48" of wet newsprint, in the same test a .458 Mag.500gr solid at 2100fps only went 44". One would have expected the 500gr solid to "still be in flight out of the state", rather than being stopped early, however this was not the case.

There is obviously a shock wave imparted to the target however, typically it has been seen to be expanding out from the wound, and generally behind the bullet. In other words the bullet preceeds the shockwave.

The think was, after this test, that there is a substantial component of the shock wave, that preceedes the bullet. This shock wave is in fact detrimential to ultimate penetration,(IE: NO bullet expansion present) and the magnatude of the wave has some relationship to the speed of the bullet. Thus a similar bullet traveling at a substantially slower speed ,20%,can penetrate further,(even thought it has the same frontal area, less mass, and speed, and therefore less momentum), because it is effectively generating less resistance in front of it, due to a smaller shock wave. This could be why there is illogically different levels of penetration present in the test.

You have a very "Empirical Mind", as exibited by the thoroughness this test. Dr Frankenstien would be proud.

It's good that you look for answers yourself. I imagine you have swallowed less BS than most of us. Randy


LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 05/03/2007 : 08:56:31 AM
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WR:

Thanks!

I agree there must be something going on with this theoretical shockwave. SOMETHING is happening when that 9.3x57 or .375 H&H bullets hit the test media to make the whole table jump and jolt.

I have to admit, the more testing I do myself, the quieter I get in arguments about catridges and bullets. When somebody says something WILL or WON'T happen when a gun goes off, I like to ask how they now that. Particularly with the service handgun crowd where my years of shooting butcher stock has simply erased a whole lot of preconceived ideas about "stopping power" {in my experience...lack there-of} of Ball-loaded pistols.

Funny you should mention the old .45-70, too.

On the ranch here over the years I've had some strange opportunities to use my guns "in the service of humanity" Some years ago {I think I've mentioned this before} I shot a big, lanky, car-injured range cow that charged me from about 30 yards as I attempted to get very close to her and put her down. I shot her in the head, placing the bullet 2 inches below a line drawn between her eyes. Rifle was a Ballard-rifled Marlin .45-70 loaded with a wheelweight-cast Lee 402 grain Hollow Point driven at 1640 fps. At the shot she crashed to the ground, dead as Clinton's honor.

That bullet was later found between the shoulders, having traveled a measured 24", smashing skull, vertebrae and all on the way. That same load I used on a number of deer and a bear with really amazing results every time I pulled the trigger.

Reason I bring it up is simply this: Would I choose the 6.5x55 over the .45-70 for deer and elk? I absolutely would, and do, though a sensible person might ask why in light of the really tremendous performance of that Lee HP bullet on everything I've shot with it.

My reasons would be the reasons put forth by thousands of hunters over the years and they are obvious: flatter trajectory for those 200-225 yard shots, easier shooting ergonomics, lighter recoil allowing differing placement of the rifle on the shoulder depending on the shot presented, etc. AND the 6.5x55 has really sufficient killing power for deer, bear and elk.

Having to track down that old cow again though, I'd stick with my now-scuffed-up .45-70...

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.
 
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