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#4867696 - 01/27/11 How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range?  
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How much energy is generally required to kill an elk with any given caliber? What is the cut off to stop shooting at an elk and expect it to die when hit in the heart and lungs?


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#4867717 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: DayPacker]  
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I believe that 1,500 foot pounds of energy delivered at the target is traditionally considered minimal. I read this in P.O. Ackley's writings, but this was before the wide-spread use of modern controlled-expansion bullets.

Of course, folks have used 243 Winchesters and 30-30's and been successful - can only guess at the wounded game rate.

#4867738 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: djs]  
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no minimum.....if the bullet punches deep enough to disrupt the plumbing the critter dies......the whole minimum energy thing becomes real stupid once you realize ppl kill the damn things with arrows......[bleep] up the plumbing and you have a dead elk.....


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#4867739 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: djs]  
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I'm no expert, but I've seen plenty of long range videos showing elk dropping in their tracks from the little 6.5x284.

Then again, they probably don't publish their wounded/lost footage.


#4867749 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: wadevb1]  
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If you are 3 miles from the truck, it's 20 below and uphill over talus slope to the truck, it takes a bunch of energy

#4867763 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Royce]  
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I believe energy is irrelevant , you put a hole through both lungs and let the air out and they won't go far regardless of cal or energy.


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#4867851 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: bea175]  
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This is one of those questions that has no answer- It's similar to asking "How much gas does it takes to get to the grocery store" without knowing where the person lives, what he drives or which grocery store he goes to.

#4867865 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Royce]  
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I think its velocity not energy that is the key metric. You need enough to expand your bullet when it hits. If you carry enough velocity/energy to expand a hunting bullet you likely have enough for a broadside shot on most animals. Some bullets may require a little less but I would say a good bullet in a reasonable caliber at 2000fps should kill most things hit well.


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#4867874 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Royce]  
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I managed to drop a 650 lb, 11 yr old cow elk, with a 165 grain 30 cal Ballistic tip, at 175yds that left the muzzle at 2250 fps.

destroyed both lungs, cut the esophagus and blew up the upper half of its liver.

it was at a dead run and made it another 60 yds or so, and then collapsed.

don't think we were dealing with big energy figures there..


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#4867895 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: noKnees]  
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Originally Posted by noKnees
I think its velocity not energy that is the key metric. You need enough to expand your bullet when it hits. If you carry enough velocity/energy to expand a hunting bullet you likely have enough for a broadside shot on most animals. Some bullets may require a little less but I would say a good bullet in a reasonable caliber at 2000fps should kill most things hit well.


Good concept for centerfires but doesn't apply to 400-grain .50-caliber bullets from muzzleloaders at around 1500-1600 MV, with well under 1,000 ft.-lbs at reasonable ranges.




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#4867904 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: smokepole]  
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The well-placed shot is the key to it all, instead of worrying about "energy" start worrying about your marksmanship and hunting skills used to get close enough for a sure-thing clean shot. Bowhunters and flintlock shooters kill elk, but they know how to hunt and shoot.


#4868004 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: jnyork]  
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As has been said on this thread:

Energy is a poor indicator of killing power.

The key is to punch about a 1/2" or larger hole through vital plumbing.

With spitzer type bullets, penetration is remarkably constant over a pretty broad operating range. If impact speed is in that range, it does not matter whether the bullet came from a 30-30 or a 300 RUM, the result will be essentially the same.

Most standard cup and core bullets need at least 2100 FPS at impact, and no more than 2800 FPS at impact. Partitions, for example, open at 1800 FPS and make about the same length wound channel to over 3200 FPS. Pay attention to keeping your bullet's impact speed within its design range, and you'll get pretty uniform results.

Use a standard bullet for a close in shot at 3000 FPS, and you're begging for problems.

More muzzle velocity does not get you deader critters. It gets you a longer, flatter trajectory.



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#4868016 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: bea175]  
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above you.....
Originally Posted by bea175
I believe energy is irrelevant , you put a hole through both lungs and let the air out and they won't go far regardless of cal or energy.
I concur, its all about bullet construction and placement...energy smenergy.


#4868020 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: rattler]  
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Originally Posted by rattler
no minimum.....if the bullet punches deep enough to disrupt the plumbing the critter dies......the whole minimum energy thing becomes real stupid once you realize ppl kill the damn things with arrows......[bleep] up the plumbing and you have a dead elk.....

You can't compare a bullet to an arrow. The mode of killing is totally different. An arrow cuts as it goes through and penetration is much more unless it hits a big bone.

An arrow lacks the energy of a bullet, but it has much more momentum because of it's much greater weight.


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#4868099 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Rock Chuck]  
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Originally Posted by Rock Chuck
An arrow cuts as it goes through...

A bullet rips and tears as it goes through....


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#4868136 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: DayPacker]  
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Originally Posted by DayPacker
How much energy is generally required to kill an elk with any given caliber? What is the cut off to stop shooting at an elk and expect it to die when hit in the heart and lungs?



The amount of energy is a moot point, because energy numbers will not rate terminal performance. A better question to ask is "How much penetration is required and how large of a wound channel to effectively take an Elk"




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#4868141 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: smokepole]  
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dont shoot beyond your limitations, and use a suitable caliber.

thats how much energy is required.


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#4868147 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Rock Chuck]  
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Originally Posted by Rock Chuck
Originally Posted by rattler
no minimum.....if the bullet punches deep enough to disrupt the plumbing the critter dies......the whole minimum energy thing becomes real stupid once you realize ppl kill the damn things with arrows......[bleep] up the plumbing and you have a dead elk.....

You can't compare a bullet to an arrow. The mode of killing is totally different. An arrow cuts as it goes through and penetration is much more unless it hits a big bone.

An arrow lacks the energy of a bullet, but it has much more momentum because of it's much greater weight.



The mode of killing is the same wheather arrow or bullet, they both kill by massive hemorage and or by taking out the cental nervous system. No magic




I got banned on another web site for a debate that happened on this site. That's a first
#4868148 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Royce]  
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Originally Posted by Royce
If you are 3 miles from the truck, it's 20 below and uphill over talus slope to the truck, it takes a bunch of energy


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#4868205 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: jwp475]  
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Originally Posted by jwp475
Originally Posted by Rock Chuck
Originally Posted by rattler
no minimum.....if the bullet punches deep enough to disrupt the plumbing the critter dies......the whole minimum energy thing becomes real stupid once you realize ppl kill the damn things with arrows......[bleep] up the plumbing and you have a dead elk.....

You can't compare a bullet to an arrow. The mode of killing is totally different. An arrow cuts as it goes through and penetration is much more unless it hits a big bone.

An arrow lacks the energy of a bullet, but it has much more momentum because of it's much greater weight.



The mode of killing is the same wheather arrow or bullet, they both kill by massive hemorage and or by taking out the cental nervous system. No magic



yep, end result is the same, drop in blood pressure to the brain....arrow or bullet, interrupt blood flow to the brain and the critter dies......both get the exact same result just use different methods of propulsion to get there.....


A serious student of the "Armchair Safari" always looking for Africa/Asia hunting books
#4868233 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: rattler]  
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The arrow cuts through the blood vessels and nerves. A bullet blasts it's way through. I heard of a guy who killed an elk with an arrow on a really lousy shot - he hit it in the lower leg. It bled out and he recovered it several miles away. I doubt you'd find most animals that badly hit with a bullet.


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#4868238 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: Rock Chuck]  
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Originally Posted by Rock Chuck
The arrow cuts through the blood vessels and nerves. A bullet blasts it's way through. I heard of a guy who killed an elk with an arrow on a really lousy shot - he hit it in the lower leg. It bled out and he recovered it several miles away. I doubt you'd find most animals that badly hit with a bullet.



I've seen animals hit in the ham bleed out rather quickly when the femal artery is crushed by a bullet



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#4868241 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: smokepole]  
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Answer may depend upon whether you are going to shoot it in the eye/brain, through the gut, or somewhere in between. IMHO, placement is much more important than any specific fps or terminal ft. lbs.


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#4868247 - 01/27/11 Re: How much energy is needed to kill an elk down range? [Re: DayPacker]  
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As has been stated earlier, bullet construction is more important than energy figures. Deer season '09, I had a harder time killing a deer at 30 yards with a .308 loaded with 150 grain SSTs at 2800 fps at the muzzle, than I did killing a deer at 236 yards with a .30-30 loaded with 170 grain FPs at 2184 fps at the muzzle. There was a vast difference in the amount of energy at impact, but the .30-30 still made a through and through hole, with signs of expansion. The SST blew up on impact.

The following year proved a change of bullet in the .308 was all that was needed.

With Elk, it's important to choose a bullet that will drive in deep and break things. (cough, cough, TSX, cough) Elk are more demanding of bullet integrity than a Whitetail deer.

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