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Bullet Deflection #14267369 11/09/19
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fortymile Offline OP
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I recently missed a big bull elk on a public land muzzleloader hunt in Utah, at a range of only 24 yards (measured the next morning when I went back to the spot). I was watching a waterhole when the bull came in right at sunset. He stopped almost broadside, but his body was partially obscured behind brush. I thought his neck was clear, and at that range, with a scoped inline muzzle-loader, I knew I could kill him with a high neck shot. Unfortunately, my bullet hit a limb that was about 6 yards from me (limb from a dead, fallen juniper tree that I wish I had moved when I set up the ambush). Apparently even a 250 grain Barnes bullet from a muzzleloader at about 1970 fps can deflect when it hits a limb. The bull was completely unscathed. He just turned his head and looked at me for a second, then spun around and departed quickly. I had no chance for a second shot, obviously. I checked thoroughly, there was no hair, no blood, nothing - that bullet probably went right under his neck. It was my only opportunity as bulls in that country are few and far between. Anyone else have experience with bullet deflection on brush or limbs? Photo below tells the tale:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

300 BP

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14267374 11/09/19
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Man that sucks

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14267399 11/09/19
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Had a 300gr Barnes deflect when I hit a briar about 1/2” thick. Complete miss

The briar was right in front of the muzzle.


Had a 200gr Rn 358” bullet from a 35 Rem deflect off some small limbs I didn’t see. The limbs were close enough to the deer it turned the bullet into the neck and I got another shot into him.


When I die I hope I don't start voting democrat.
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14267415 11/09/19
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Sorry about the miss.

I was in a brush blind at a waterhole in Namibia and a troop of Baboons came in. I wasn't going to shoot one but after they blew multiple stalking efforts I had a grudge with them. Shot three times and blew a hole in the blind, after two shots I had cleared a shooting hole and I hit the big male on the run at 200 yards, dang lucky shot. First two were deflected, these were 175 grain Barns X bullets which should be good brush whackers, but that's a myth. I'm just glad I didn't do that with a 60"+ Kudu. I also had a shot deflected by either the fore end contacting a rock or from dust in the barrel or both. Hit a big Cape Hartbeast in the "back" shoulder. A sort of Texas broadside shot. 2nd shot anchored him on the spot.


"When you disarm the people, you commence to offend them and show that you distrust them either through cowardice or lack of confidence, and both of these opinions generate hatred." Niccolo Machiavelli
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14267426 11/09/19
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cas6969 Offline
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Missed a head on deer with my 300 Whisper Contender on a "gimme" shot of about 25 yards. Sitting with my back to a tree, a solid rest off my knees and all the time in the world. The deer ran off unharmed. I couldn't figure out how I could have possibly missed. About half way between me and where the deer had been standing I found a "hit" on the limb of a tiny sapling, which couldn't have been more than 6mm or so thick. The limb wasn't shot off, barely even hit enough to hang down, but it was enough to send the 125gr Ballistic Tip wide of it's mark. frown It doesn't take much.

Alpha

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14267851 11/09/19
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Idaho_Shooter Online Happy
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Ain't no such thing as a brush gun, or a brush bullet, except in the fact that an 18 inch barrel is easier to maneuver than is a 30 inch barrel.

Write ups from actual test attempts indicate that a long skinny bullet with high RPM is actually more resistant to deflection than the old brush busters touted by hunter"s mythology.

I have only dealt with the phenomenon once. I punched a five point pull elk from broadside and twenty degrees above in elevation at 380 yds with a Ruger #1 in 7 STW. The load was a 162 Hornady spbt at 3200 fps mv..

The bullet entered behind the shoulder, about mid height on the ribs, and passed through the aortic arch. The bull took two jumps uphill, then turned and walked down the trail to rest behind a willow patch. I could make out his silhouette through a 12x Burris, and he was standing in the trail with his front feet wide apart, and his nose in the dirt.

The last thing I wanted was for the bull to run off a couple hundred yards into the canyon he had just come up out of. It was going to be tough enough to get the horses to him as it was.

So I took another shot through the brush. And another down through the loin when he came into the clear and turned turned his butt to me. At that point he walked out of sight below a ridgeline. I found him about fifty yards from where he was at the last shot.

All three shots ended up right in the boiler room, and the bull was still walking.

But this was about deflection. The willow tree was only ten feet from the bull. But the bullet impacted about a foot from POA. Most importantly the entrance wound looked much like an exit wound with a two inch hole, and bloodshot meat around it. And there was a fist full of elk hair pulled into the wound . I do not know if the bullet entered the animal sideways, or just partially expanded. But it was definitely upset.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14268179 11/09/19
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When I was about 15 I shot a little basket rack 8 pointer at about 70 yards with my CVA .50cal Missouri Rifle and a 410gr flat point Buffalo Bullet. About 5 steps in front of him was a little oak sapling about 2” in diameter. That bullet hit that sapling just barely left of center and left a 3/4” hole through it before hitting the buck right where I was aiming.

He turned around 180 degrees and flopped over dead. I didn’t even know the tree was there or that I’d hit it until I walked up to the deer. Not knowing any better I became an instant believer in the “brush buster” theory and it was some years and a couple magazine articles before I figured it out.

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14268723 11/10/19
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That is one large hole in the limb in the photo. Be Well, Rusty.

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14268854 11/10/19
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Pappy348 Offline
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The closer to the muzzle the deflection occurs, the wider the miss.

I have my own tale of woe, involving a TC Hawken, a Maxi Ball, and a nice buck I thought was in the bag.

Idaho_Shooter has it right; any bullet can be deflected. Pass on those shots, unless the obstruction is very light, and very close to the target. Even then stuff can happen. Your little disaster is one that's hard to avoid because stuff up close is almost invisible through a scope. You were lucky to get a clean miss.


What fresh Hell is this?
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: Pappy348] #14268995 11/10/19
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The most interesting deflection I've seen occurred with a 250-grain Nosler Partition on a bull eland 20 years ago. Had been chasing (sometimes literally running) after three bulls with my PH for a while, when suddenly one of the bulls was standing broadside, feeding, about 200 yards away. The one problem was that a scrawny little thorn-branch, no thicker than my little finger, was right in front of the pocket right behind the bull's shoulder. But I knew I couldn't hit the branch with a box of ammo, so aimed at it, and when the reticle steadied down a little, shot.

The bull immediately disappeared behind some nearby brush, but we'd heard the bullet-thump and seen dust fly from the right spots. In fact, the PH turned and shook my hand heartily. We waited a little while, then followed up--finding the bull still standing, but head down after 100 yards or so. I quickly shot again, and the bull dropped.

When we walked up, there were two bullet holes, one round hole in the center of the lungs (the second shot) and one perfect silhouette of a 250-grain Nosler Partition, surrounded by little swirls in the fine hair, where the thorn-branch had actually been whipped against the bull's body by the bullet.

Don't know how far the sideways Partition penetrated. It didn't exit (wouldn't have expected it to), while the point-on second shot did. Would have really liked to recover it, but between the two bullets the chest cavity was pretty torn up, and the first was never found.


“Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans.”
John Steinbeck
Bravo

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: Mule Deer] #14269219 11/10/19
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Originally Posted by Mule Deer
The most interesting deflection I've seen occurred with a 250-grain Nosler Partition on a bull eland 20 years ago. Had been chasing (sometimes literally running) after three bulls with my PH for a while, when suddenly one of the bulls was standing broadside, feeding, about 200 yards away. The one problem was that a scrawny little thorn-branch, no thicker than my little finger, was right in front of the pocket right behind the bull's shoulder. But I knew I couldn't hit the branch with a box of ammo, so aimed at it, and when the reticle steadied down a little, shot.

The bull immediately disappeared behind some nearby brush, but we'd heard the bullet-thump and seen dust fly from the right spots. In fact, the PH turned and shook my hand heartily. We waited a little while, then followed up--finding the bull still standing, but head down after 100 yards or so. I quickly shot again, and the bull dropped.

When we walked up, there were two bullet holes, one round hole in the center of the lungs (the second shot) and one perfect silhouette of a 250-grain Nosler Partition, surrounded by little swirls in the fine hair, where the thorn-branch had actually been whipped against the bull's body by the bullet.

Don't know how far the sideways Partition penetrated. It didn't exit (wouldn't have expected it to), while the point-on second shot did. Would have really liked to recover it, but between the two bullets the chest cavity was pretty torn up, and the first was never found.


I’ve seen the same thing. 400 - 450 yards across a canyon in North Idaho. We could see a few bulls standing in some timber during the late morning and there was one directly across the canyon from me, broadside, looking towards my left. I was shooting Factory 225 gr Federal Power Points in my .338 Winchester so when I found a suitable rest against a tree, held about 3 or 4 inches above his back and touched it off. I could tell that there was considerable brush in front of him but could basically see the whole elk and figured it would be ok.

At the shot, he crumbled. Straight down on his belly and thrashed his way down the hill and out of sight. The bullet had hit within a couple of inches of his shoulder crease and when we got to him it was all knife work.

When we cut him up, we found the bullet in the opposite shoulder, completely un-mushroomed, and seemingly 100% in retention weight. The wild part was that the bullet was bent just like a banana. There was no part of the bullet that wasn’t bent. My assumption has been that the bullet flew the 400+ yards across the canyon, touched a piece of the brush hard enough to yaw dramatically, and then slammed into the side of the elk pretty much sideways. I’m guessing it hit like Thor’s hammer.

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14269360 11/10/19
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My only possible experience was when, as a relatively new hunter, I forgot about the 1.5" difference between scope height and muzzle exit. Walking a little 2 track in PA, I saw a doe about 40-50 yards uphill, unaware of me. Instead of firing offhand, and figuring the deer didn't know I was there, I took a knee for a shot. Of course, there was some small brush between the wheel tracks and as I was in the far one from the deer I was behind them. Needless to say, no hit on the deer. Shot sure looked clear in the scope. whistle

Geno


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In it is contentment
In it is death and all you seek
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Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14269367 11/10/19
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I shot at a nice 8 point in pretty heavy brush and down he went at the shot which I was happy with, but kind of puzzled because I was holding for lungs and deer usually run a little. I couldn't find a body bullet hole until I lifted his head and found that he had a broken neck. The 160 grain NP had brush deflected and hit the buck in the neck going in sideways with a perfect key hole shape in the hide on the neck. Another time I got a buck on the run, but not before a 180 grain NP from a .300 WM center punched an ash tree about 6" in diameter. It was one of the times being grossly over gunned for a whitetail paid off nicely. That NP went through the tree making splinters out the back side then through the deer lengthwise. I found the bullet in the buck's front chest muscles. Unlucky deer.

Hitting stuff below the line of the scope reminds me of a buddy who was going to use his .270 to gun a big snapping turtle in the creek under an iron bridge. He snuck up to the bridge and the scope cleared the iron girder, the bullet didn't. BONG. Didn't get the turtle either, but rang his own bell pretty well.


My other auto is a .45

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Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14270014 11/10/19
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In Colorado one year,I rested my forehand on a fence post and squeezed off a shot at a nice 5x5 bull elk that was standing broadside along the fence line, about 150 yards away. I was shooting a 180-grain Partition in a .300 Win Mag. Everything looked exactly right when the rifle went off, and even though the bull jumped and ran, I was sure that I would find him dead not far away.

I couldn't find any blood where he was standing, but there was about 3 or 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. I could see where his feet dug in and the first big jump that he made. It was easy tracking, and I tracked him almost three miles through thick aspens and mixed conifer stands--all the way to the other side of the ranch I was hunting. He had jumped the fence and kept going in the same direction. I had never seen any blood and I didn't have permission to be on the next ranch, so I reluctantly gave up.

I walked back to the place from which I had shot, and looked up the fence line in where he had been standing. About five or six feet in front of the fence post on which I had rested my hand, there was a sapling about the size of a pencil oozing sap, with the top six or eight inches hanging by a thread of bark. My scope was a 3-9X variable that was set on 6X, and the little sapling was not even a faint blur in my scope!


Ben

Some days it takes most of the day for me to do practically nothing...
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: Windfall] #14270048 11/10/19
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Windfall,

On an "industry" prairie dog deal many years ago, a guy on his first PD shoot put two .223 rounds into the hood of a rental SUV. He was, of course, using a scoped rifle, and resting the forend on some sort of pad.

The first shot never even kicked up dust near the PD he was aiming at, but made a "weird sound." So he shot again. Same deal: no dust, weird sound. Only then did he see the two parallel grooves in the hood.


“Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans.”
John Steinbeck
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14270252 11/10/19
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Yep, a tall 4x4 is the perfect height to rest a rifle over for load testing or simply zeroing a scope.

I creased the hood of a 3/4 ton 65 GMC working up loads for my first wildcat, a 30-06 AI cobbled together from an old Venezuelan Mauser 98 tanker carbine combined with a take off H & R barrel in 308.

Then, many years later I put two creases across the hood of a 75 Dodge 3/4 ton Power Wagon. I don't even remember which rifle that one was. Just the confusion when the first shot completely missed the target backer.

After that, I did learn to park the off side front tire in a badger hole so the hood would drop away from me when using the vehicle for a rest. And then I built a table which actually hangs from the trailer hitch.


My ideal as a conservative:

That each person may reap as he/she has sown.
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14270788 11/10/19
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200 grain Barnes X 35 cal.bullet in the 35 Whelen.

Sot off a fence post at a buck about 280-300 yards away.

Lane looked clear but the bullet hit him in the neck and cut his throat.

I walked the lane and found a small limb about a 1/2 inch.

The deer didn't go far and had no blood inside at all.

Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14270875 11/10/19
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"Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but bullets will never touch me."


"You can lead a man to logic, but you cannot make him think." Joe Harz
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14271050 11/10/19
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My 2016 bull moose was less than 20 yards away locked up with another bull in a willow swamp. I got too close because I foolishly thought I could find a shooting lane.

I shot high in the shoulder to get above the brush and because I was so freaking close thought "It has to work!" Barnes 168gr TTSX, 30-06. At the shot the bull stood straight up and fell over backward. I sneaked in closer to put in a finisher, then looked up to see the other bull giving me a seriously mean stare. I backed out of the area and into a small copse of stunted spruce.

On autopsy there were three entrance and exit wounds on each side. High enough to clip the top end of the backstraps about where the neck starts. The fragments took out serious bone in the dorsal processes and kept on going. The holes looked like the bullet went through side ways and through a serious chunk off each end.


Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.
Re: Bullet Deflection [Re: fortymile] #14271056 11/10/19
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In the late '70s in Eastern WA I shot a coyote on the opposite side of a tall woven wire sheep fence. I have no recollection of the bullet, but it was a Ruger 77-V 243 at about 150 to 200 yards. The coyote went down instantly. Watching through the scope I could see something moving and tried to understand it. When I walked up to the coyote the motion was still there. A vertical run of wire had been hit and one end was still twirling around the horizontal wire warp. The bullet had blown up mostly, but one big chunk hit neck, another ribs. There were a number of fragments all over the side.


Mark Begich, Joaquin Jackson, and Heller resistance... Three huge reasons to worry about the NRA.
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