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Blood trails and caliber #15313378 10/15/20
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I’ve killed about 30 whitetails, mostly with a 243, 270 30/06, and 300 WSM. I seem to get better bloodtrails with the 30 calibers than the others. Does anyone else notice better bloodtrails once you reach a certain caliber size?


Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313420 10/15/20
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Dunno. I haven't killed a deer with less than 35 cal. in 20+ years and all but one fell where they stood. The one exception was a muley forkhorn. He turned around before he fell.


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313422 10/15/20
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Yes. On average, thirty seems to begin leaving more red stuff on the ground and .35 more, lots more but, not as much as .45.

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Joe] #15313463 10/15/20
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Originally Posted by Joe
Yes. On average, thirty seems to begin leaving more red stuff on the ground and .35 more, lots more but, not as much as .45.


I haven’t noticed much difference between 243 and 270, but I have with 30.

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313509 10/15/20
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Originally Posted by Docbar
I’ve killed about 30 whitetails, mostly with a 243, 270 30/06, and 300 WSM. I seem to get better bloodtrails with the 30 calibers than the others. Does anyone else notice better bloodtrails once you reach a certain caliber size?


On average, I see better blood trails with .30, .338, and .358 stuff than I do with the smaller chamberings, but it is expected. There are outlying incidents, of course, but on average, the larger bores seem to produce larger exits, which often equate to more leakage.


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313622 10/15/20
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12 gauge slug guns spill a fair amount of barn paint wink

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313632 10/15/20
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Am content w .35 rem in the timber. Spillage is rather soon and the deer is usually dead just over there (75 yards max).

I have a new .3006 to try, and snagged a .308 win last week

Only shot one deer w 243 win and it zipped through and the BT was minimal. I watched him walk off and tip over.
Worked, and 1 data point aint enough to make a call.

Killed a couple w .44 mag. Works but not impressed

I changed a few yrs back, when running lower V stuff, to break at least one shoulder. Kinda diggin neck shots these days. Bang flop.

Do enjoy blood trailing though.

Last edited by hookeye; 10/15/20.
Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313641 10/15/20
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In my experience the best blood trails come from full penetration with exits from hits at the mid line or lower and especially when the bullets are relatively low in their velocity.
My old friend Cy Moorhead, a trauma surgeon in Korea and Vietnam and also as a civilian doctor with over 30 years of practice explained it to me. He said the platelets in the blood are released instantly when red blood cells are ruptured by the attempts to compress the liquid. Liquids can't be compressed, but the semi-solids can be, so they rupture. The process turns part of the blood into a substance called fibrin which is what causes clotting.

Hits with bullets over about 2600 FPS do this instantly to the blood, and that why we see the:"jello" on the inside when we dress the game. Low velocity hits don't do it to the extreme that high velocity hits do. Blades don't rupture the cells at all and the process of clotting is much slower with deep cuts than it is with high velocity bullets. Bullets do a lot of damage to organs around the wound because if the shock they produce, which we don't see with blades, but nothing bleeds more freely then a cut with a blade.

Back to bullet wounds:

So the shock we see from the magnums is not as pronounced in the mid velocity hits. Real high velocity rounds tend to drop game in their tracks most times if your bullet doesn't fail, but there are always a percentage that seem to run off, and run farther then those hit with the older rounds that throw bullets at around 2500 FPS (which strike at even lower speeds) and give exits. Cy told me as a man with 50+ years as a hunter and also a surgeon with a 47 year long job before he retired, hits with projectiles that impact at 2100 FPS and lower bleed out a lot more then those that clot fast from the dump of fibrin due to hydrostatic shock from hits at 2600 and faster. Heavy pistol bullets cause bleeds that seem very voluminous, with blood trails looking like they come from a hose. The reason is that the hits don't rupture any red-blood cells due to hydrostatic compression so fibrin is formed too slow to stop the blood flow.

Looking back on my 50+ years of killing game and seeing game killed, I see what he was talking about. But I have seen some weird performances with mid velocity hits a few times too, so there are no formulas that are without exception.

Kills on game with large bullets from "slow rounds" like 8X57s with 170-180 grain bullets, 300 Savage with 180s grains, 35 Reminton with 200 grains, 303 Brit with 180s, 30-40 Krag with 220s, 30-06 with 220s, 45-70s with cast bullets, 44 magnums with hard cast flat point bullets ---and so on.........all seem too be extremely deadly with chest hits and yet many times the game runs a short distance after such hits, leaving a blood trail a blind man could follow. But such runs are very common and they are short because the game bleeds out REAL fast and can't go very far.

Kills with fast rounds like 270 with 130 grains, 30-06 with 150s grains 7MM mags with 140-150 grains, 300 mags with 150 and 165 grain and so on, usually drop game almost instantly about 90-95% of the time, but when you get to the last percentage, the ones that run..........they can and sometimes do run a long ways. The reason is the bullet caused it's one clotting and the brain is not cut off from blood pressure as fast as those that lost all the blood in the body cavity and on the ground.

Those hit with super fast bullets that break up can add another factor. Wounds that sometimes don't go very deep or that turn off-line to an extent you don't hit the things inside you wanted to hit, and/or do as much damage as you intended.

But these observations are generalities, not immutable laws.

I have seen low velocity bullet do weird things a few times and I have seen very poorly made bullet kill like lightning. But in general trends what Cy told me is consistent with most of the kills I have seen in my 56 years of killing game.

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313676 10/15/20
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All the same bullet?

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: szihn] #15313716 10/15/20
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Originally Posted by szihn

Kills with fast rounds like 270 with 130 grains, 30-06 with 150s grains 7MM mags with 140-150 grains, 300 mags with 150 and 165 grain and so on, usually drop game almost instantly about 90-95% of the time, but when you get to the last percentage, the ones that run..........they can and sometimes do run a long ways. The reason is the bullet caused it's one clotting and the brain is not cut off from blood pressure as fast as those that lost all the blood in the body cavity and on the ground.

But these observations are generalities, not immutable laws.


It seems that if the heart is wrecked by a high speed impact the blood pressure would then be zero, never mind clotting or any other mechanism.


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15313721 10/15/20
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IME the bullet brand/type makes more of a difference then the caliber. I have shot most of my deer with a 243 and 30-06 using Corelokts. I've never had a bullet not pass through and the amount of blood seems about the same. My son shot a doe (low lung shot) with his 30-06 loaded with a 165gr Hornady flat base and the exit hole was huge but we didn't find blood for 60 yards. Then we found a lot of blood.


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15314116 10/15/20
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Probably the most impressive blood trail I ever saw was from a 45-70 with a 405 grain Remington on a mule deer doe at 60 yards. I had a doe tag for one of the Eastern Washington units and decided to try my luck with the Marlin that day. It was pretty cool and the ground was frosty. I happened on to several does about 60 yards away. They were kind of clustered except for one so took the shot at her since there was no chance of a pass through injuring another doe. At the shot, she spun and took off. Briefly. She made it about 30-40 yards and collapsed. The trail of blood between where she was standing and where she dropped looked like it was rolled on that frosty grass with a six inch paint roller.


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15314139 10/15/20
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I've killed 'em with a 2 bladed broadhead and recurve bow, a .50 cal roundball, a .223 to a .300 WinMag and haven't really noticed much difference in blood trails. Shot placement matters more than caliber in my experience.

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: hookeye] #15314205 10/15/20
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Originally Posted by hookeye
12 gauge slug guns spill a fair amount of barn paint wink
Sometimes it looks like a red 3' stream of water from a garden hose!


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: hookeye] #15314255 10/15/20
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Originally Posted by hookeye
12 gauge slug guns spill a fair amount of barn paint wink



LOL that is funny!



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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15314291 10/15/20
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A sharp two bladed broad head put in the right spot makes the most impressive blood trail I’ve seen.

Last edited by JoeBob; 10/15/20.
Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15314296 10/15/20
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Two holes leak more than one and exit holes bleed a lot more than entrance wounds. The specific bullet makes a lot more difference than the caliber.


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15314412 10/15/20
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Yes I do


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Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: JoeBob] #15315086 10/15/20
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Originally Posted by JoeBob
A sharp two bladed broad head put in the right spot makes the most impressive blood trail I’ve seen.


I like the big old 3 blade Snuffers

Re: Blood trails and caliber [Re: Docbar] #15315359 10/15/20
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With over 30 kills on Tennessee size deer with 243, I have never had a GOOD blood trial. Fortunately I seldom need one as most deer drop instantly or run very short distances. I am using 243 in open fields or very thin woods. If hunting fields with high brush or heavy timber around the field, I take the 270 or 7-08. The 270 produces more drop where they stand results.

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