21 replies [Last post]
Location: Namibia . Africa
Joined: 04/08/2008
Posts: 6
Rifle ballistics

Hi all fellow shooters

Been reading the letters regarding ballistics here and its very interesting , please allow me to also add my piece .

Just wondering if there are fellow shooters out there who have a similar opinion about rifle ballistics as me.

Over the years I have hunted and shot with many rifles and reloaded many types of calibers .

Have experimented with different loads , propellants , bullet weights , bullet seat depths ect .Compared ballistics tables with the true field performance of calibers .

Needless to say that most of the times the calculations did not match the actual performances and the outcome was totally different from what was predicted .

I have seen animals got wounded and got away when shot within the trajectory and ballistic range of a specific rifle and others that dropped dead in their tracks shot with a so called “inferior “ caliber .

All the hundreds of articles on the net , in magazines , reloading manuals relating to rifle ballistics make real good reading and contain very interesting stuff .Lot of research went into developing formulae to calculate bullet drop, muzzle energy , killing power ect .

Just as interesting are the campfire talks about one caliber being superior to the other. At times the guys get really worked up and the discussions can get quite heated about the matter .

But does it all really matter ? Is there really such a big difference between calibers of similar diameter ? Does say a 30-06 really perform so much better than a 308?

I agree that there will be a difference in performances if comparing a ,243 to a ,375 H+H . So will be the difference in performance between a solid and soft nose bullet fired from the same rifle .
Also a 150 gr bullet will drop less than a 300 gr projectile at a long distance fired from the same rifle.
I also agree that one should select a suitable caliber for a specific specimen to ensure a clean kill. It will be a little unwise to go hunt elephant with a ,22.

But do all ,2 calibers differ a lot from each other ? Do the 30 calibers differ very much in performance ?

Does all this matter in the hunting field and does it make a difference whether the deer or whatever is shot with a well placed shot , with a suitable projectile from a .308 , 30-06 , 300 mag .

Eventually I have made my own conclusion .

Dynamics tell us that momentum / energy = mass x velocity

So if you want to increase the energy or impact of your rifle it leaves you with 2 choices ; either you increase the mass of the projectile or increase the velocity . The make , model , action , barrel length , head space – name it , will make no difference

Sure - if you stick to factory loads straight off the shelf , then you might experience a difference , but with home loads you can tailor make your rifle to perform just as well as that master piece that your hunting partner bought and for which he had to take a second mortgage on his house to pay for it.

Lets look at the 30 calibers for example : And lets select a 308, 30-06 and a 300 mag .

If you carefully and safely reload them paying attention to the following:
• Using the same propellant
• Using same primers
• Making sure that the same make and weight of bullet – say 180 gr is used
• Selecting the powder charge so they all move at the same velocity - say 2800ft/sec

If you now take your 3 rifles to the range you will find that there will be no difference in performance at all.

Will the deer know it was hit by a 308 , 30-06 or by the 300 mag?

I am also sure the deer will not lay a charge against you at the animal protection authorities for using a 308 instead of the ‘superior‘ 300mag.

Anyway – I love reading all the articles about the various calibers and their performance , but out there in the hunting field I am sure that all does not matter much .

Well that is just my own opinion and experience about the topic . Am by no means a ballistics expert , just a keen hunter.

All the best and good shooting

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