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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just browsing through Winchester's ballistics tables for different calibers and got to wonder if I could really cleanly take a deer with some of the old calibers I have in my '73's, '92's and '94's.

In fact I have a model '73 in 38-40 which is a candidate for this fall's hunt, but the 180 grain lead only has 399 ft/lbs of energy at 100 yds. The same dilemma comes up with the 44-40 I have which only produces 449 ft/lbs of energy at 100 yds. I would feel comfortable with the 38-55 caliber which respectfully produces 802 ft/lbs of energy at the same mark. To add to my questions, I have an eye on a brand new Winnie Trapper in 357 Mag. for my boy, but once again, the energy tables only put this caliber at 715 ft/lbs at 100 yds.

My questions are based on the fact that I have always read that 1000 ft/lbs were required to cleanly take a deer. Here in Quebec we frequently harvest 120-160 lb field dressed deer.

I would'nt feel undergunned with any of the calibers above, it's just that I like clean kills. I only take heart/lung/liver shots and I don't want to chase a wounded deer for hours on end. It's just not right in my mind.

I would appreciate your opinion or experiences for the above calibers and just to specify, I don't re-load and don't plan on doing it either, I already have half a dozen projects on standby, I'm not gonna start reloading for sure...maybe when I retire and finish the Fiat project, the landscaping project, the cottage project, the six Winnies on standby for a refurbish project...OH yes I almost forgot...the wife being happy because I'm so nice to her project and that whole thing about raising kids. :)

Thanx for your help!

Sport240
 

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If you shoot within 100 yards, all these calibers will take game. The bullets are large diameters and and carry enough weight to punch deer.
The .357 approaches the performance of the original loading of the .30-30, when it is fired through a rifle. The .30-30 was considered a super-rifle for its high velocity and lack of recoil, compared to the rifle calibers of the day.
I think new shooters are best served by using milder calibers. I have a friend who is now a crack shot, but he had to overcome the flinch he developed from shooting a .444 Marlin to do it. He went to a .243 for a while and has worked his way back up to a .270. My daughters and I used to take our pistol caliber lever actions out and shoot up hundreds of rounds of ammuniton in an afternoon. It was great fun and no one ended up with a sore shoulder. They are now both good shots.
Pick one of the guns you like and shoot several hundred rounds between now and hunting season and you should be in better shape than some guy who is carrying a magnum with a 6x24 scope and a flinch. Especially, have your son shoot a lot , preferably a few rounds each day, and both of you should stand a good chance of making meat this fall. Bon chance!
 

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sport240-

Don't worry too much about energy levels for deer hunting. A well placed hole in a deer's vitals will work very well. If you make sure of your own abilities, and stalk to within range of sure shot placement, your tracking job should be over within 60 yards with any of those rounds. The only animals I've seen drop at the shot were injured in the upper central nervous system, or else had a leg knocked out from under them. Bullet selection and shot placement trump energy every time.
 

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Like said above.. Dont worry to much about energy figures. They will kill deer under 100 yrds. Work up a good load and go do some testing yourself. Remember even though you grow them to a good size they are still thin skinned and not real wide.
Use wet newsprint or phone books , old carpet , plywood put together in various ways and see what your load will do at different distances out to the furthest you will shoot. Its the best way to gain confidence in what a particular load will do OR will not do other than shooting the deer.
After testing you will either be comfortable or not with your caliber and load and it will no longer be someone else said its ok or not ok...
Besides all that ITS FUN :grin:
 

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Inside 100 yards you are in fine shape. While they are far better through the lungs than through a shoulder, keep in mind that those nice wide bullets let a lot of blood out and lot of air in. The world may not drop from beneath them, but they will leave a trail that a one eyed man with trifocals could follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanx guys for all of the good advice...and I must say...the boost in confidence! Like I said, I don't really feel undergunned with any of these calibers, it's just that when you see and hear all that is out there about the bigger and faster calibers, one just gets to wonder if I'm going about this all wrong! I like the challenge of stalking deer within 100 yds, my favorite type of hunting is muzzleloading, so I figured that a 38-40 hunt could be just as much fun, especially with a "heritage" rifle (built in 1891).

I'll be shooting alot this summer and plan on letting you know how I do.

Thanx again all!

Sport240
 
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