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GUNS Magazine December 2011 Digital Edition - Page 16
• D A v E A N D E R S O N • except, it doesn’t matter. what really matters is… well, read on. eviewing hunting and shooting forums on the Internet, I R learned: (1) no one wants to read cartridge-comparison articles (contemptuously known as .270 vs. .30-06 stories), and (2) cartridge comparisons are almost always the most popular threads on the forums. People are funny. Actually, the only .270 vs. .30-06 articles in my extensive magazine files date to around 1950. Today, you have to go to Internet forums to find them. Well, it’s all good clean fun. If what you want is to use a centerfire rifle to kill big-game animals, cartridge choice is one of the least important issues. Here’s what matters (let’s take it for granted that safe gun handling precedes all else). Shooting ability: I know, we all shoot sub-MOA groups from the bench. A hunter also needs to be able to hit a reasonably-sized target, say 6" to 8" in diameter, in a reasonable time frame, while out of breath, cold, hot, tired, maybe a wee bit excited and with your hunting partner hissing these 180-grain barnes tsX bullets (above) were fired from a .300 Win mag and recovered from wildebeest and zebra. all expanded, stayed in one piece and retained virtually 100 percent of original weight. on lighter game such as deer they almost always exit. this is fairly typical performance from standard cupand-core bullets such as hornady interlock and speer hot core (below). core and jacket stay together though some of both are lost, these weigh around 50 to 60 percent of original weight. Deer hit solidly with such bullets at fairly high velocity generally drop quickly. CARtRIDGE X vS. CARtRIDGE y “Shoot! Shoot!” in your ear. As an old African professional is supposed to have said, “I don’t care if you can hit a pea at 300 yards. Can you hit a buffalo from 6'?” Rifles matter. The features I harp on in columns and gun tests, such as weight, balance, fit, reliability and trigger pull. Other subsets are knowledge of anatomy of the game you are hunting, so you know where to aim; hunting ability, and to get within range. Actually with the current high deer population (and current popular hunting methods) about the only “hunting” skill needed is the ability to stay awake and not fall out of the tree stand. Place the first shot accurately. this gemsbok was running hard at about 140-yards, angling away. Dave shot it with this ruger .300 Win mag with a 180-grain barnes tsX loaded by black hills. the bullet angled through and smashed the shoulder on the opposite side. Make the first shot good and you likely have your game. Wound with the first shot and the game gets a huge adrenaline dump. Adrenaline is what enables small-framed women to lift enormous weights, soldiers to stay up and fighting even with mortal wounds, game animals to run (or attack) even if the subsequent shots hit vital organs. If the first shot hits the heart/lung area the game usually falls on the spot, or after a short run. Break a leg with the first shot, get the adrenaline pumping, and a second shot in the lungs has little effect. Now you’re going to have to smash major bone structure, or keep shooting until the game finally runs out of blood. Then you’ll have a good story to tell about how it took seven shots from a .30-06 to kill a scrawny whitetail. What the heck, blame it on the bullet. You hear a lot of stuff about how species X is easy to kill, or species Y is hard to kill. Actually they are all easy 16 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • DECEMBER 2011