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Bows, Bears and BB guns!
Posted by Bigmnt on Feb 03 2005
I am posting this in reply to a thread that started about the effective use of a .44 Remington mag pistol and killing a grizzly bear.  The question was asked about the effective penetration of a bow and the ballistics of the arrow.  And I stated that a arrow of the same grain weight shot out of a forty pound bow would penetrate farther than a bullet shot out of a .460 Weatherby.  Another post stated that for this reason .460 Weatherbys are used for frontal head shot on elephants.  My reply:

Sand has and was and is used as a standard penetration medium in the science of ballistics for years.  Yes, thatís right, Silica or sand ! Sand has been used a lot longer than gelatinous mediums.  And yes an arrow, due to its physical characteristics will travel nearly four times the penetration in sand as a .460 Weatherby.  Try it four yourself, it an easy test. Oh if you do not have a .460 use your .300 or what ever you have.  

Lets us put a few thing in perspective here folks.  I am not talking about frontal head shots on elephants here, we are talking about a 44 mag pistol cartridge and killing bears...  I thought?  I know of a lot of people who have killed elephants with a bow, so I would not count bows out as effective weapon, however with that being said lets talk about killing shall we...  A bow and your .44 Rem. mag pistol, kill an animal by penetration and wound hemorrhaging or limited tissue destruction.  With both you are banking on your ability to dispatch the living creature by being accurate enough to destroy one of the critical life support system IE, nervus, pulmonary, cardio or more difficult, major structural system. Now does kinetic energy play a part?  Yes! Larger is sometimes better, but not always. In-the-case of most pistols cartridges and bows or anything used as a projectile traveling under 2300 FPS, the above applies. This brings us to the next section on why I may want to bring extra toilet paper while I hunt Griz with my BB gun.

Hydrostatic shock!  A projectile connecting with a living creature has the potential, if traveling over 2300 FPS to cause a condition know as hydrostatic shock.   Fluids have virtually no compression properties, thatís why we can lift and move heavy object with motors, fluids and rams.  When a bullet strikes an animal going at or over 2300 fps it causes the blood and other fluids to be put in a server erratic motion.  The reversing of blood in a blood vessels is not a good thing, it makes jell-O of organs and tissue and can cause the heart valves to be exploded along with the mess it makes in the brain. But lest we forget one thing? Remember the talk of how lethal the .458 Winchester Magnum is.  Oh but wait, it only shoots that freight train sized slug at 2100 FPS?  So what is the deal?

Kinetic Energy (KE) or ( M x V = KE). OK,  look at your Speer reloading manual, it is late.  Back in the days when the British were getting their lunch ate in Africa and Asia, shooting Enfield .310 rifles at the local wildlife, some poor buffalo- gored- sole come up with a rule of thumb on dangerous game and KE..    KE should be at least four times the weight of the animal you intend to shoot at any given distance.  I guess he figured that when you took that frontal head shot on a charging elephant, with the 500 grain slug out of your .458 Win Mag, and the slug bounces off the frontal lob, at least you stand a chance to nock it on itís a** , I mean butt. This may allow you time for a second fallow up shot if you are lucky.  Most sports writers tend to spue this from their mouth in columns and articles.  For non-dangerous game the rule is three times KE for the weight of the animal at any given distance.  OK, I am confused, and I am sure that I lost most of you by now, but lets wing it.  If I want to shoot a 700 lbs elk that means 3 X 700 = 2100 foot pounds of KE at any given distance.  What does this all mean?  It means that if you shoot a griz with your bow,  BB gun or .44 Rem Mag pistol you will most likely not knock it on its butt or cause its heart to explode.

When we hunt, and to give the hunter that added bit of insurance, we should have all of these factor working on our side, KE, Hydrostatic shock and penetration.  Most of my reloading takes this into consideration.  It only makes sense to put all that you can into that one time shot. Yes pistols, smoke poles and bows can and do kill bears. But?  You draw your own conclusions. Sorry for boring you to tears.

My two cents...

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