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Best "Brush Busting" Cartridge? Put on your thinking caps!

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Spitpatch, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Constitutional carry ,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    ****,I was there... Elmer? Is that you?
     
  2. rusobr2

    rusobr2 prineville,or Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    i'm going to have to stick with my 30-30 marlin w/ 150 gr.--i grew up in puyallup , and just a few miles from hunting grounds---hunting season was always in the roughest thicket,and i was still able to get my game----and folks that was w/ open sites,most times you couldn't use scope cuz of the thicket !!--never hunted elk on the west side . that was always on east ocanogan country w/ bar in 7mm

    just my exp.,..........steven
     
  3. Sagaba

    Sagaba Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    7.62x39 is on par with 30-30, the classic "brush hunting" caliber. Pair that x39 with a 16" paratrooper SKS and you have one very pointable carbine in your hands, in semi auto for extra/follow up shots....what you didnt say is what are we hunting? deer, dangerous game...men? with soft point bullets the x39 is fine for deer. not great (30-30 isnt either by todays standards) but could be a lot worse off. thats my choice anyway.
     
  4. rusobr2

    rusobr2 prineville,or Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    sagaba--i'm with you on the semi--i'm "62" we didn't have these type guns when i was grown up--the best gun i owned for small game was my 30-30--deer,2 black bear,and a few porcupines now and then--oh -ya- there was also 1 octipus,2 halibut--(a little big to be putting in the boat before i new they were dead)--
    i now own-- 2 mac 90's ,1 para sks,1 sks w/20" brl, and ak 47--plus my hunting rifles --i haven't hunted in the thicket of washington for over twenty five yrs. you state you live in fed.way area--i'v taken deer out of where "COSTCO" sets in fed.way---that was in the early "60's" the 30-30 would still do good there, as you could shoot through at least 3 cars to get to your game !!

    steven
     
  5. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    titsonritz, MarkW, MaderG, and Saread (and some others) went with the conventional thinking, and that thinking is based on myth. Salmonriverjohn, with his mighty double-gun .45-70 knows it to be a myth. Guy who consumes nut-eating rodents knows it to be a myth. Here's the evidence:

    The old myth that a heavy, slow moving large diameter slug "busts brush" better than other pills was well put to rest quite a long time ago. It is simply not true.

    Jim Carmichael (shooting editor for Outdoor Life after Jack O'Connor), and a man of more than moderate experience tested this theory years ago. He constructed a "brush barrier" of dowels, randomly glued into a drilled plank (actually had to build this new each time a new cartridge was tested). Shot at a target behind the "brush barrier". Checked for accuracy delivered to the target, along with expansion upon arrival. I remember him complaining about how labor-intensive this was, and how careful he was to duplicate the barrier each time.

    Keep in mind this was done in the mid-70's, and keep in mind what cartridges were "all the rage" for that time period. He tested all the old standbys for "good brush buster": .35 Remingon, .338 Magnum (heavy bullet), 444 Marlin, as well as garden variety stuff: .30-30, .270, .30-06, etc., etc., This example list is not all-inclusive of what he tried. All with factory loads, and with the heaviest bullets offered. Round nose when available (since this bullet style had the "reputation" of a brush buster). (Even did rimfire for the benefit of squirrel hunters trying to get ol'bushytail out of a tree.)

    Jim Carmichael suspected just from personal experience, that the cartridges with "brush buster" reputations weren't really all they were cracked up to be, and his opening hypothesis was that NO cartridge is a good brush buster: NO shot at game should ever be taken when the target is obscured by brush, as there is NO cartridge that will not be severely affected as to bullet accuracy and terminal performance. His original hypothesis was generally borne out, and his conclusion after the testing was exactly that: NO CARTRIDGE CAN BE COUNTED ON TO MAKE ITS WAY ACCURATELY TO A TARGET OBSCURED BY VEGETATION, AND UPON ARRIVAL, RELIABLY EXPAND! Sorry, Rodell, not even a 12ga slug.

    Jim's initial "champion cartridge" for the test was the old .45-70 Govt., in the factory 405g jacketed loading. A slow moving freight train if ever there was one. This pumkin-roller just had to drive right through all those wimpy dowels and arrive powerfully on target, right? Alas, it was not to be. Severely deflected by sometimes the very first dowel, and often to the point of keyholing a foot or a yard off target! Other members of the reputed "Brush Busting Cartridge" club fared similarly: .444 Marlin, .35 Remington (and .350 Remington), 358, etc. Yes, 12ga and 20ga slugs were tried, and slugs were so severely deformed by their trip thru the dowel forest, that sometimes they would not even arrive on the backing board. Yes, Rodell, they went though the wood, but went through to where?

    Things got a bit better when High-velocity, smaller diameter stuff was tried, but the results were still miserable. The ol' .30-06 220g roundnose would sometimes get through and arrive on the paper, but just as often, it would arrive already expanded (as evidenced by the hole in the target). Other times it would keyhole, and more than once, no impact point could be discovered. Other garden variety North American cartridges gave similar results, with the ol' .30-30 holding its own against cartridges of greater "Brush Busting" reputations. (They ALL did crappy.) The light stuff (.223 wasn't a popular civilian offering yet, so .222 Magnum, .22-250, etc), all had their bullets blowing up on the first or second dowel they smacked, rarely arriving on target.

    And here's where Ma Duce gets the consolation prize: There was ONE cartridge/bullet combo that seemed to get through the dowel forest almost every time, but accuracy was ALWAYS AND WITH EVEN THIS CARTRIDGE severely affected. (Deflections in the 8-10" range for this best example). Also, more than one recovered bullet showed that the dowels had damaged the bullet in flight so much, that its expansion qualities were negated. (In other words, even if the bullet did hit a deer's ribcage, it would not expand.)

    The winner? (And remember, we use the term "winner" loosely: all the cartridges failed Jim Carmichael's criteria for a good "Brush Busting" cartridge: to be able to punch through foliage, arrive somewhat accurately on target, with good expansion delivered.):

    The .264 Winchester Magnum, in the factory Winchester 140g loading. Jim's theory for its "sucess" (again a term used loosely), was exactly as Ma Duce deducted: That bullet is very, very long, and very, very fast, but not as frangible (easy to break up), as some other fast long bullets tried (like .257 Roberts 100g, .243, etc.). Jim could not believe the result, and so repeated some testing with this cartridge, especially against the 7mm Magnum in the heavy roundnose "Brush Busting" bullet weight. The .264, for some reason continued to do less miserably.

    Again, the lesson here is that NO cartridge does this task well. Next time somebody talks about their "brush buster", if it is not a .264 Magnum, they are urinating into the wind. If it is a .264, they are merely standing downwind from their own farts.

    Thanks guys. This was fun.
     
  6. GFO

    GFO WaCo, Oregon Active Member

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    The myth of the Brush Gun.
    Test the myth, with your caliber of choice. I've shot a beer can with a 41 rem mag shot through a 4x4 fence post without any noticed change in direction(just to prove this point to someone). If the twig is close to the target, any good caliber will still hit the target, if the twig is close to the barrel, move an inch to the right(or left). The faster bullet, and the heavier bullet will have a better chance at going straight through, that is the physics of it. If you can see your target in the crosshairs, your bullet will find the target. If you see a tree in your crosshairs, move.
    Try it, play with the myth. Take several different calibers and some 4x4 blocks or dowel rods or whatever next time you go plinking. You will be suprised at what you can hit shooting through wood. Be safe, make sure you have a good backstop and have fun with it. (and clean up your mess)
    Will I choose to shoot a deer standing behind a tree, no. Did the 3x3 buck think he was safe because he was behind a bush, we'll never know because he dropped 10ft after getting hit with 150gr. and yes there was a broken branch.
    A good brush is a gun that is short and light so it doesn't get hung up while you are packing out your game.
     
  7. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Anecdotal experience is often viewed as solid evidence for those involved. Fortunately, GFO knows the difference. Carmichael's experiment was admittedly flawed in several respects, and he said so throughout. But it remains as the very best solid evidence, with effort to be fair and encompassing.

    He established criteria that each bullet evaluated must have impacted at least two dowels. (He was not testing "branch breaking", but rather "brush busting".) He gave no allowances for those that happened to strike more than two, and admitted this flaw in absolute consistency, while knowing nothing could be done about it, save years of testing.

    For the limited "success" of the .264, he attributed the length of the bullet (like a long arrow, less apt to change flight by outside influence), the "pointiness" of the bullet (flatnose and roundnose bullets generally did worse), relatively small diameter of the bullet (less apt to smack a dowel directly) and high velocity combined with adequate bullet integrity. He admitted these conclusions were based on speculation, but they were the characteristics that set the .264 apart from all else. The 7mm Magnum did not do as well, even though its bullets were long and fast. Carmichael theorized there was a dividing line according to bullet diameter. Perhaps the 7mm might have done just as well, or better, had the dowels been a different diameter.

    Rimfire? If ya gotta smack through fir boughs or oak leaves to get to that Silver Gray, your best bet is the .22 Magnum in the 40g FMJ offering, according to Jim's test.
     
  8. GFO

    GFO WaCo, Oregon Active Member

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    FYI most dowel rods are made of hardwoods like Oak and gluing them into a board kind gave the dowels an advantage.
     
  9. GFO

    GFO WaCo, Oregon Active Member

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    And I still won't choose to shoot "through" but I'm not not going to if the cover isn't to think and I can see the game clearly.
     
  10. raf7

    raf7 lemont,pa New Member

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    NRA did an article on this long ago. Set up the brush situation, very large targets at difference distances from the brush. They found bullets of high sectional density set up the smaller spiral, so since the 7mm is the most efficient cal. and the 175 gr. is plentiful, and will distort least it gets my vote.
     
  11. Sagaba

    Sagaba Federal Way, WA Active Member

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    That is sir, is an awesome story. I cant imagine being able to hunt ANYWHERE around here now. I have to drive past olympia or tothe east side just to get private places to target shoot.