Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
We have all read articles along these lines for years. Round nose bullets at moderate velocities busting thru brush better than spritzer shaped bullets would do. Is there any truth in this or is it just a myth?
Many years ago I got interested in this and decided to do some experimenting. I bought some of the archery deer targets that were very popular at that time. They were full color prints of actual deer printed on heavy paper. They weren’t life size, but plenty big enough for my purpose. I took these out into the woods and tacked them to trees. Next I would back up and get some brush in the way and try a shot at my deer target.
I shot thru thin brush, thru heavy leaves that the frost had took, blackberry briars, young sumac about the size of a pencil, you name it, and I shot thru it. The main thing I learned was that the biggest difference came from how far it was from the brush to the deer target. If it was only five or six inches from the brush I was shooting thru to my deer target, a lot of calibers and bullet styles did reasonable well. Sometimes, if I was using a spritzer shaped bullet and hit a small oak sprout about the size of my little finger at just a little angle they would go into my deer target key holing. Larger bullets of both more diameter and weight wasn’t as prone to key hole on target.
I also learned that round nose as well as flat nose bullet styles cut thru blackberry briars and this brush very well, but the biggest difference was the distance from the brush to the target. If it was something like six feet, then nothing worked very well.
Out of all this experimenting, my favorite was the 45-70 with 300 gr. HP/FN Pro-Hunter bullets #8900. If the distance thru this brush was short to the deer target, it would plow thru an amazing amount of brush and still hit within a couple of inches of my aiming point.
Years later after all this experimenting I had a chance to put this to work. Just after daylight on the first day of deer season I had a buck stop just behind a tree top that had snapped on a young elm tree. This brushy top was hanging down still attached the main trunk. I could see thru my scope that this deer was standing tight against this brush. I put the crosshairs in the center of his lungs and touched off a shot. There was a shower of thin dead limbs hitting the ground, and the buck took three jumps and fell. It truly pays to experiment.