Effects of FMJ bullets on big game. Thoughts?

Huntnut60

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Been thinking about this and have a question. If the only bullet's you can get are something, you detest; would you give up hunting or learn to use the bullet you can get?
Let me clarify. Things may have to change with the way things are done with a not “favorite” bullet. Might have to adjust maximum range if not as accurate or might have to pay more attention to animal position if penetration is questionable. A lot of animals hit the ground before premium bullets were even around.
 

buffybr

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FMJ bullets are not designed to expand, thereby transfering maximum energy to flesh targets and IMO they therefor are not a good choice for a big game hunting bullet.

Yes, if one hits an animal's central nervious system it can result in a quick kill, and a shot with one through the heart or lungs will probably result in a dead animal, but the question is when and where the animal will die.

I have used them successfully both here at home and in Africa on small animals where I don't want to put a large hole in the hide, but a coyote is not an elk.
 

ImBillT

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Whether the FMJ will yaw on impact depends on its stability(think about rifling twist). Marginally stable bullets can yaw on impact, and that’s what happened with the original M-16’s and original 5.56ammo. With a tighter twist, that goes mostly out the window. FMJs can still fragment at high velocity if the jacket is thin enough. With cheap plinking ammo, that is sometimes the case. Other FMJs were designed to stay together, and thus have thinner jackets.

Honestly I think if it didn’t hit bone the elk would live. Plenty of deer have survived being double lunged by both poor bullets and dull arrows. As a percentage, I can’t say, but there are enough reports out there to suggest that it does happen.
 

ImBillT

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I can opine on this subject as I have a bit of actual experience with solids on big game, and used FMJ bullets extensively in the service many, many years ago. A good solid does not usually change direction or deform much when used for big game, but often they will pass through and not be recovered. The better solids have a fairly flat point on the bullet. They work quite well for the big stuff. I have taken game as small as steenbok (maybe 40 lbs. on the hoof) with them with good effect.

The bullet points on modern military type FMJ bullets are quite different, as they are shaped as a spitzer. The old ones that I used (M16 with a triangular handguard) had quite the reputation for losing stability upon impact. On a sunny day you might me able to see the sun glint off the bullet as it tumbled if firing at longer ranges. I have had a couple of 20 year old fellows assure me that this was not possible, but my eyes have seen it. The FMJ bullets fired from a 30 cal. (M60) did not seem to have this problem.

Guys hunting with military type FMJ bullets could be a problem, but a well designed solid is very different.
The original twist in the M-16 was too slow for the bullet they were using. The changed the bullet and twist not too many years later, but plenty of both were around for quite a while.
 

FairWeather

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I believe it was The Hague convention that “outlawed” deforming projectiles, as the damage that they imparted was considered inhumane. Gotta remember at that time militaries we’re still using lead RN rounds. There’s a reason the Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in US history. Those big, heavy, soft projectiles destroyed everything they hit inside a person. That’s why FMJ became the military standard, because anything else is technically a war crime under The Hague.

That said, all is fair in love and war, and that rule has largely been broken and/or unenforced. Hell, when I was in Afghanistan our SDMs had M14s with hollow points.

I’ve been curious about FMJ 5.56 for nutria, simply because the ammo is plentiful and those critters are invasive and considered “unprotected non-game” here, which pretty much means F&W doesn’t regulate them at all. I hear they taste pretty good, too. Nevertheless, it’s only worth shooting something if it’ll actually kill it quick and clean.
 

Don Fischer

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I believe it was The Hague convention that “outlawed” deforming projectiles, as the damage that they imparted was considered inhumane. Gotta remember at that time militaries we’re still using lead RN rounds. There’s a reason the Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in US history. Those big, heavy, soft projectiles destroyed everything they hit inside a person. That’s why FMJ became the military standard, because anything else is technically a war crime under The Hague.

That said, all is fair in love and war, and that rule has largely been broken and/or unenforced. Hell, when I was in Afghanistan our SDMs had M14s with hollow points.

I’ve been curious about FMJ 5.56 for nutria, simply because the ammo is plentiful and those critters are invasive and considered “unprotected non-game” here, which pretty much means F&W doesn’t regulate them at all. I hear they taste pretty good, too. Nevertheless, it’s only worth shooting something if it’ll actually kill it quick and clean.
Killing quick and clean depends on shot placement with the bullet your using.
 

IdahoNick

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There is quite a bit of false information on this thread.

It isn't unethical to use a solid bullet. It may be illegal in some states. It may not be the best choice for every application, or many applications, but it is plenty lethal.

I shot an elephant with a monolithic solid through the lungs and it went like 80 yards, fell over and died. This is completely normal. It was a 375 h&h 300 grain bullet. It was in perfect condition to reload in the offside skin.

That's a 300 grain solid bullet on a 10,000 pound animal. You can't tell me a 150 grain solid bullet on a 250 pound deer or 800 pound elk will not kill it quickly...or that it will just run forever before dying.
 

ImBillT

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There is quite a bit of false information on this thread.

It isn't unethical to use a solid bullet. It may be illegal in some states. It may not be the best choice for every application, or many applications, but it is plenty lethal.

I shot an elephant with a monolithic solid through the lungs and it went like 80 yards, fell over and died. This is completely normal. It was a 375 h&h 300 grain bullet. It was in perfect condition to reload in the offside skin.

That's a 300 grain solid bullet on a 10,000 pound animal. You can't tell me a 150 grain solid bullet on a 250 pound deer or 800 pound elk will not kill it quickly...or that it will just run forever before dying.
Flat nose?
 

ImBillT

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Yes. Norma solid.
Not quite the same as a spitzer.

Try to push a sharpened pencil through some jeans, then turn it around and see how you do with the eraser. That flat nose moves a lot of meat and creates a lot of hydraulic shock. Kinda the same way a hollow point does when it deforms.

Take a .30cal spitzer profiled FMJ to Africa and tell me if your PH let’s you shoot anything big.

The bullet you shot in Africa and the bullets being discussed in this thread are apples and oranges.
 
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IdahoNick

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Not quite the same as a spitzer.

Try to push a sharpened pencil through some jeans, then turn it around and see how you do with the eraser. That flat nose moves a lot of meat and creates a lot of hydraulic shock. Kinda the same way a hollow point does when it deforms.

Take a .30cal spitzer profiled FMJ to Africa and tell me if your PH let’s you shoot anything big.

The bullet you shot in Africa and the bullets being discussed in this thread are apples and oranges.
300 grain bullet - 10,000 pound animal.

There is no "shock" that is doing anything to that animal unless you're using artillery, flat nose, pointed, whatever. I understand the physics, but that bullet did nothing more than poke a hole in a set of lungs bigger than truck doors and it went less than 100 yards. And that is not an anomaly. The majority of PHs in Africa who have DG experience would have clients use all solids on buffalo as well if they weren't herd animals (they pass through)...because they know they can kill and they know how they will perform. Bell shot plenty of elephants and buffalo that were not head shots with a .276 and .256 and had the same result. It isn't a fluke, it's common knowledge

150 grain solid bullet (flat, round, pointed, whatever)- 200 pound deer ... plenty of juice to humanely kill a deer.

You can believe whatever you want and try to change the argument mid-way through the conversation. The OP was about solids vs. softs....the false presupposition was that it is unethical to use solids because they are not lethal.

They aren't the best choice in many and most applications for non-dangerous NA game animals, but to question their lethality is silly.

Go ahead and show up with only softs on an elephant or rhino hunt and see what the PH says about their lethality...
 
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ImBillT

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300 grain bullet - 10,000 pound animal.

There is no "shock" that is doing anything to that animal unless you're using artillery, flat nose, pointed, whatever. I understand the physics, but that bullet did nothing more than poke a hole in a set of lungs bigger than truck doors and it went less than 100 yards. And that is not an anomaly. The majority of PHs in Africa who have DG experience would have clients use all solids on buffalo as well if they weren't herd animals (they pass through)...because they know they can kill and they know how they will perform. Bell shot plenty of elephants and buffalo that were not head shots with a .276 and .256 and had the same result. It isn't a fluke, it's common knowledge

150 grain solid bullet (flat, round, pointed, whatever)- 200 pound deer ... plenty of juice to humanely kill a deer.

You can believe whatever you want and try to change the argument mid-way through the conversation. The OP was about solids vs. softs....the false presupposition was that it is unethical to use solids because they are not lethal.

They aren't the best choice in many and most applications for non-dangerous NA game animals, but to question their lethality is silly.

Go ahead and show up with only softs on an elephant or rhino hunt and see what the PH says about their lethality...

The OP asked about elk and FMJ’s, not deer and large flat nosed solids. I’m not the one who moved the goal post or changed the conversation in the middle.

Your bullet poked a hole through the lungs, and that hole was roughly the diameter of the bullet. A spitzer profiled bullet will poke a hole smaller than the diameter of the bullet. You also shot a very large bullet whose nose is as large in diameter as a lot of expanded bullets after they expand. Again, I’m not changing the discussion. You are. The bullet and cartridge that you shot, is not what the OP was asking about.

And yeah there’s shock. Have you never seen high speed video of ballistic gel? I’d wager that a lot of capillaries rupture that were not severed by the bullet’s path. Whether the temporary stretch cavity in ballistic gel is a good indicator of exactly how far away from the wound channel tissue damage occurs, I don’t know.
 
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IdahoNick

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The OP asked about elk and FMJ’s, not deer and large flat nosed solids. I’m not the one who moved the goal post or changed the conversation in the middle.

Your bullet poked a hole through the lungs, and that hole was roughly the diameter of the bullet. A spitzer profiled bullet will poke a hole smaller than the diameter of the bullet. You also shot a very large bullet whose nose is as large in diameter as a lot of expanded bullets after they expand. Again, I’m not changing the discussion. You are. The bullet and cartridge that you shot, is not what the OP was asking about.

And yeah there’s shock. Have you never seen high speed video of ballistic gel? I’d wager that a lot of capillaries rupture that were not severed by the bullet’s path. Whether the temporary stretch cavity in ballistic gel is a good indicator of exactly how far away from the wound channel tissue damage occurs, I don’t know.

Solids - the only ethical (and legal) rounds that can be used for either body or brain shots on 12,000-pound elephants, 8,000-pound hippos and 4,500-pound white rhinos.

Solids - on 400-800 pound elk, unethical because they lack killing power.

Got it.
 

ImBillT

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Solids - the only ethical (and legal) rounds that can be used for either body or brain shots on 12,000-pound elephants, 8,000-pound hippos and 4,500-pound white rhinos.

Solids - on 400-800 pound elk, unethical because they lack killing power.

Got it.
Never did I ever say that a .375” flat nosed SOLID would be unethical on an elk. Frankly I never said that a .30 cal FMJ was unethical. I did say than if an FMJ(which is not the same thing as a solid, and is typically a spitzer profile, and TYPICALLY .30cal or smaller[there are .50cal FMJs and probably .338s] went between ribs on both sides and hit no bone that I believed there was a chance the elk would live. I don’t think you’d get the same result with flat nosed solid, especially a .375” diameter flat nosed solid. Pointy FMJs and flat nosed solids = apples and oranges. The big solid is going to be far more lethal. You’ll probably get more pass throughs on deer and elk with sharpened field points than with some broadheads, but you won’t cut as many capillaries. You’ll damage a lot more tissue with a .375” flat nosed solid than the kind of bullets the OP was actually asking about.

I have pretty broad ethics when it comes to killing stuff. if you’re not intentionally trying to torture it, I’m probably not going to call you unethical, even if I do think there’s a better way to do it. You’re not going to find the word “ethical” in my posts in this thread. You’re not going to find in many of my posts in other threads either.

A flat nosed bullet and spitzer profiled bullet absolutely do different things on impact. Whether you want to acknowledge that or not does not change reality. Your average solid has a flat nose for more than one reason.

I don’t even know how you think that I disagree with you that large, flat nosed, solids work. My disagreement is that I don’t think your average FMJ in a common North American cartridge should be compared to a .375” flat nosed solid.
 
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Cheesehead

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LOL, I’m with @IdahoNick, reading this whole thread I’m thinking about Bell shooting around a thousand elephants with a 7x57 with solids

I wouldn’t overthink it
 
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