View Full Version : Appreciate some info...

07-24-2005, 05:11 PM
Want to increase my knowledge base on the reaction to bullet impact - depending on location, systems hit.
Interested to know what you guys look for, what you feel are reactions to bullet hits on:
..nervous system - brain, spine
..respiratory system - lungs, oesophagus (Spelling?)
..circulatory system - heart, major blood vessels
..skeletal system - legs, shoulder only, hip only
..digestive system - also known as gut shots

What do you look for or have seen re classic chest shot, head-on shot, rear-ender, raking shots.
I have seen deer and caribou stand-up on their hind legs and flip over backward from a heart shot, stuff like that.

Please mention any pertinent info, critter, cartridge, distance, reaction, blood trail or lack of. Any big game species.

07-24-2005, 05:26 PM
I do not have the time to write a 1000 page book right now, but if you'll check back in about 100 years, I may find myself free enough to get on it:-)

Geez, you asked for a whole lot of info that may or may not mean a thing in the end--for a lot of VARYING reasons. Lots of complexities that may or may not be involved here.

07-24-2005, 07:22 PM
Just want to confirm some observations and opinions from my past hunting and game killing experiences. Have seen some reactions that were meaningfull, low-bent-knees forward dash on heart shots for instance. Looks like animal's body is angled downward as it makes the fast rush in whatever direction he happens to be pointing. But this is not always the result of a bullet that happens to hit the well protected heart.

I have seen a lot of critters die and feel that the knowledge of what to look for immediately after bullet impact is valuable knowledge to share with other hunters. Don't expect volumes, just some interesting opinions on how animals react after fatal and non-fatal shots.

I believe that there are some repeatable actions that occur, wonder if some guys can see an animal shot and immediately know where the bullet hit - other than from visual impact through a spotting scope.

07-25-2005, 01:30 AM

Ianm, here's a link to part of an interesting set of articles, a bit technical but well worth a read, good other links and refs also. (Got the original link from GS Custom Bullets http://gscustom.co.za )


07-25-2005, 05:05 AM

The only type of hit I have personally seen consistent results on is the obvious one, the nervous system. Most of these were neck shots--three whitetails shot with a .270 or .30-06 all at around 100 yards went down immediately and stayed down.

One whitetail shot in the neck with a .50 caliber roundball at 30 yards, same effect.

One cow elk, shot high on the shoulder with a .50 caliber 350 grain conical at 130 yards, same effect; one cow elk shot in the neck at 30 yards with a .50 caliber 400 grain conical, same effect.

The only other time I've seen an animal drop immediatley was a heart-shot whitetail at 150 yards, .30-30, 150 grain flat point.

There was an interesting article by one of the gun writers in Outdoor Life or Field and Stream a few years back, talking about "knock-down power." I forget who it was, I think it was the guy from Outdoor Life. Anyway, the article talked about different shots on different animals with varying effects, i.e., why does one heart-shot whitetail run 100 yards before collapsing while another drops on the spot. His theory was that it's the timing of the bullet impact, in terms of the animal's heart beat,that makes the difference. The theory is,if the bullet strikes just when the heart is beating and blood pressure is at it's peak, the hydrostatic shock is magnified and the whole circulatory system is whacked, and the animal drops instantly. Interesting theory, never read about that anywhere else.

My .02.

BTW, did a little shooting this weekend, it was 105 degrees I need to talk to you about some problems I was having with mirage.

07-25-2005, 08:12 AM
The only reactions to being shot that seemed to correlate well were brain or spine shots where the animal predictably dropped instantly. In all of the other shots I have seen, the animals reactions couldn't be linked to the shot placement IMO. Standing animals that are at ease do seem to have a more pronounced reaction to the hit than animals alerted and moving. I have seen mortally hit animals make virtually no reaction (such that a miss was indicated until the animal was autopsied) and I have seen animals lung shot drop like stones. Can't say that I can put a reaction to a shot placement at all based on what I have seen.

08-09-2005, 12:50 PM
I'd have to agree with snakey.Sometimes they drop sometimes they don't. I normally takelung shots, most have been with a .243 using 100 grain power points others have been with a 30-06 using 150 grain. This has been on whitetail and most of the time they drop in their tracks, but not all of the time. Also we use alot of buckshot in my area. The results are the same. I feel a relaxed deer is more apt to drop on impact than a running deer. I have the some results with blackpowder guns. The only neck shot I've ever taking was on an elk, and he dropped in his tracks.

08-10-2005, 09:54 PM
Connect with the nervous system forward of the shoulders (neck/head) and they will drop like a bag of bricks. Butchered lots of cattle in my youth and we used a 22LR or 22 Magnum on larger beasts straight to the noggin. The little well placed round drops 'em stone cold. I've witnessed and performed this task many times but still find it a tad unsettling at just how fast the lights can turn out forever.

Now, heart shots (at least for me) have not generated a lot of activity from animal. I shot a large bodied 4X5 at 175yds downhill with a .30-06 pushing some federal 180gr bullets square through the heart three times. I though I heard the thump, but the first shot to his right side resulted in absolutely no reaction. He just stood there like a rock. I'll remember it forever, he just stood there with his head held up like a magnificent b@stard daring whoever had shot at him to come on and bring it again! So, I proceeded to do so and sent another round through him. With this shot there was a definite thump and I thought I saw some fur jump but still no reaction other than him turning around and slowly making his way back down the mountain from whence he came. Not wanting to have to track him down in the country I knew he was heading for, I touched off another round at his other side. With that, he shakily walked a couple steps up to a little spruce and layed down to rest. Upon further inspection, the first two shots were an inch and a half apart and the third in the identical place on the opposite side barreled through and passing out through some tissue on the right foreleg. All shots connected but the last two simply drove through mush that the first shot must have made.

Another strange one, I shot a 3X3 in the EXACT same geographic location (I've taken four in the same little "secret spot" game funnel!) and watched it flip over backwards and fall @ss over tea-kettle down the hill about 20-25 yards or so where it came to rest with its feet sticking up out of some small juniper type scrub bushes. I thought he had passed on. As I stood and began walking his direction, he thrashed around considerably and then jumped up and sprinted up the hill about 15 yards above where he'd been shot. By the time I re-shouldered my rifle and got a bead on him he fell one last time. Through and through lung shot very close to the superior vena cava. If there is a vet on the board, I'd like to know if their is any truth to shock waves traveling up major blood vessels and knocking an animal out. I've always wondered if that's what happened in this particular instance.

All my other shots on game animals have been behind the shoulder lung shots resulting in a brief, "humped up", semi-panicked run before finally laying to rest.

08-12-2005, 09:18 AM
Bushcraft- I shot an elk with almost the very same reaction. About 40 yards with a .300 win mag. and a dead rest. First shot no reaction at all, 2nd shot no reaction then a few steps trying to locate me, 3rd shot not reaction the a few more steps. Thinking I had missed (don't really know why I thought that except for absolutely no reaction) I shot him in the neck and dead. Dressing out showed the first three shots in a 2 inch cluster which had removed the top half of his heart and a bunch of lung before exiting or stopping just under the hide on the off side. I have great respect for their tenacity and still can't believe it.

08-12-2005, 10:29 AM
I'll play here have been my obsevations in order as you have them posted above.
1-usually a bang flop response would also include neck shots in that catagory.
2-usually my prefered shot , on all animals it look as if they swallowed the shot with a slight arch in the back bone , on WT usually rear legs kick up on other animals not so.Usually not a very long tracking job to do.
3-Same reaction as above , with even shorter tracking job.
4-I never shoot for legs so wouldn't know. Rear hip and front shoulder shots are my 2nd least desireable unless circumstances absolutely dictate that I anchor that animal right then and there for some reason. It usually puts them down imediately but requires a follow up to expedite a humane kill. In my opinion it caused way to much P&S to the animal and I don't care for it.Also I don't take Texas heart shots.
5-Gut shots are not a shot I look for at all , they do not leave any blood trail to speak of for the most part. I will take a hard quarting shot entering through the gut but only if I feel confident that I will have enough penetration to enter into the boiler room. Typical reaction is a hunch and slow leap forward .

Agian these are just my observations , others may vary.Each animal will be different elk moose and bear are a lot tougher than deer. I put an inch and a half hole into both lungs of an elk with my bow from 12 yards away. He ran up hill chased another bull off into AZ then came back to his cows and bugled for 28 minutes before he expired right in the same spot I shot him. Unbelivable....
Out of all the game I have shot over the years I think caribou are the easiest of NA game to put down.

08-12-2005, 08:04 PM
Thanks for some great info, same to the other guys. This intrigues me as we kill a lot of animals and I cannot say that I consistently see reactions to bullet impact, other than the bang-flops. Partner could hear the sucking chest wound on a big mulie once from 325 yards across a coulee, but he did not act hit till the we hit him again.
Another interesting occurence is a difference in the sound of the impact of the bullet. I have heard head-shots that made a distinctly different smack than chest shots. Have also felt that I could tell a duller, sodden-like sound to a gut shot compared to a chest shot - but darn hard to say for sure.
What makes the sound what it is? Have heard some suggestion that part of the sound is the metal disrupting as the bullet mushrooms - obviously the impact on bone and tissue is the primary cause. When we shoot our clay bullet recovery blocks the sound is identical to what I hear when I shoot a critter. Shoot wet phone books and it seems different to my ears.
I appreciate the contributions above, thanks guys. Any more would be great.