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August 15, 2006

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Packing a Wallop: More on the Myth of Knockdown Power

This week I had an interesting and reasonably testy exchange with a reader who claimed that his .300 Winchester Magnum, loaded with bullets that I’d recommended, didn’t “wallop” African game the way he liked. He had to shoot them multiple times, and nothing dropped in its tracks. But on the other hand every critter expired, and he didn’t lose a one.

I told him that you don’t wallop anything in Africa or here for that matter; that animals go down from lack of oxygen to the brain or damage to the spine, and not from bullet impact. Here are a couple of cases in point:

The first day of a safari, your PH will say something like: “Let’s go collect an animal for dinner, bwana.” But what he’s really saying is, Let’s see how well you can shoot.  This is your debut, and how the safari is conducted will depend largely on how competent or otherwise you prove yourself to be.
So in 1987, in Zambia, I had a PH named Abie DuPloy, and we went through this drill, and presently came on a herd of puku, which is a stocky, tough antelope of about 400 pounds. I was shooting a .338, which has plenty of wallop, whatever that is, and put the crosshairs on an attractive bull and pulled the trigger.

We heard the bullet hit, but the bull showed no interest in the proceedings at all, and the herd closed in around him, so I couldn’t shoot again. Abie and the trackers gave me the hairy eyeball, and I sat there sweating wondering how the hell I had missed when I was sure it was a good shot.

Five minutes went by—I timed it on my watch—and then the bull shivered and collapsed, deader than truth in government. He was shot right through the shoulders, dead on his feet, and no sign of it. Was he walloped? Probably not.
On that same trip I shot a zebra at 75 yards with a .458, shooting the old Bear Claw 510-grain bullets. I hit her right in the lungs with 2 1/2 tons of bullet energy, and she did a mad dash for 100 yards before piling up. Was she walloped? Probably not.

Maybe if I used a .50 BMG….


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Mark: If it's not asking too much, would you mind sharing your 35 Whelen info with the rest of us? Seriously, it's been weeks since we've seen anything on an actual rifle cartridge in this blog.


P.S. BTW, if anyone has any reloading info - or a good source for same - on the 6.5x.284, it would also be much appreciated.

Ed J


Reloading info for the 6.5x.284 try Hornady Handbook of reloading or Nosler reloading manual and the Sierra reloading manual. I have all three and the info it's in there.
I have a 98 mauser action in my cabinet and am thinking of building one.


Ed J:
Thanks. I have the current Nosler and Hodgdon manuals and am waiting on the 2007 Hodgdon (from Cabela's). The new #6 Nosler won't be available till July. I've got some info from the gunsmith that built my 6.5x.284 and I'll try to remember to post it tomorrow. You won't be sorry if you build that 6.5x.284 - awsome round. If you put a good barrel on that M98 the accuracy will amaze you. I had mine built (M700 action) strictly as hunting rifle, and it's the most accurate rifle I own. And that's with Nosler Partitions and the old Rem. Core-Lokts. Thanks again.


Ed J:
Amazing. I remembered. OK, the October 06 issue of Guns & Ammo has an excellent article by Chub Eastman (G&A Reloads) on the 6.5x.284 along with his loads. My gunsmith's loads are as follows (all for 140 gr. bullets): 47 to 50 grs. of IMR-4831, 51 to 53 grs. of H-4831, 48.5 to 52.5 grs. of RL22, 47 to 50 grs. of H-4350. His personal load (in his rifle) is 49 to 49.5 grs. of H-4350. ALL OF THESE LOADS come with the usual "work up from below in your rifle" warning. I have not tried them all, but I'm getting there, as I have lots of H-4831 and it works very well in my rifle (M700 action). If anyone knows of any other articles w/ loading info, especially utiliting IMR-7828 or RL25, would appreciate a "heads up". Good Luck.

Puge Henis

Maybe if you were to use a 20 x 110 mm Hispano cannon you'd get soem wallop. Or shredded venison.

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