Blood trail follow up

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dsayer

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I started to post a question about the lack of a good blood trail in the other thread with my Alabama deer but figured it might be better as a stand alone topic.

I was using my elk hunting load this deer season because I didn't have time to get to the range enough to dial in a PRB load, which I prefer for whitetail deer. So I was using 100gr of 2F Graf's and 380gr REAL. The entry and exit would looked identical, which suggests to me that the bullet just blasted straight through with limited/no expansion. It hit a rib on both sides. I've experienced this no/poor blood trail on one other occasion with a TC Maxi Ball and a similarly hot powder charge (T7).

Has anyone else experienced this? I'm thinking the hot load and conical projectile had 1) too much juice to cause sufficient expansion and "shock on contact" but 2) not enough energy for the type of shock one usually sees with modern rifles. I've just never had this issue with PRB over a more moderate powder charge. The vast majority of the deer I've shot with PRB have been DRT.

Combined with a shot in the upper third of the cavity and I think a poor blood trail is the result.
 
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I believe you are right on with the pass through, As you are aware the white tail is a tenacious animal with the will to survive that equals or bests any animal on earth in my opinion. I have harvested a few with flinters and percussion rifles alike. The longest shot one was 90 steps from my blind used a .54 cal CVA mountain rifle percussion, a huge 9 point that now graces my wall. 80 grns. 3 f goex , .530 round ball, 15 thousands patch. deer bled very little and went about 100 yards. Double lung shot found the ball on opposite side from whence shot right next to the hide, flatted about 1/4 size of original ball, no bone strike. There have been others dropped straight down with both black powder and the other type rifles. I like the 80grn loads and all shooting is done with 3 f, round ball with the softest lead you can find. I find with a bit of tinkering in load development this load with minor grn. variations works for me from 50 cal. up to the 62 cal. rifles. Never bought into the 100-110 gr. loads. And as always shot placement.
 

hanshi

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I don't think I've ever shot a deer with a muzzleloader that didn't leave a blood trail, often a huge one. Often the deer (recovered ball) bled more than many of the pass-throughs. Of course I hunt exclusively with ball and have no experience with conicals.

A few of the blood trails were light but still easily tracked since none ran far at all. Some leaked so profusely it was puzzling how they could even move out of sight. For a ball/bullet to expand it must be soft and achieve high (for a muzzleloader) velocity. Anything from the 1600 to 1800 fps range should leave a blood trail that at least can be followed.
 

renegadehunter

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Just my opinion based on my hunting experiences, but I'd say the higher hit is more to blame. The higher the hole the more blood required to fill the chest cavity and start running out onto the ground from the high hole(s).
I shot one with a .54 cal Hornady Great Plains Bullet with 100 2f charge about 3/4 of the way up. High hit due to a branch I was trying to avoid as well as pulling the shot a bit. At the point of impact there was some blood on both the entry side and the exit side and also a small bit of lung, but then none all the way to the deer 75 yards away. Lots of blood in the chest cavity when I cleaned it, but not enough to fill it up clear to the high holes I had put in it. The exit hole was about the size of a golf ball so there was definitely some expansion.
100 grains is simply what the rifle shot the best with the GPB conical and thus why I use it, but higher velocity should result in more tissue damage and expansion of the projectile rather than less. Ever seen what a really fast unmentionable does to a ground squirrel even if not using a HP?
I just feel that with a lower velocity projectile that doesn't create the shock wave/tissue damage that a higher velocity unmentionable does we need to shoot them lower in the chest cavity so that it doesn't take much blood for it to start running out.
Your shot placement is perfect for where I like to hit them with an arrow, so that I can avoid that arrow stopping shoulder socket if I pull the shot a bit, but I find that it does take a bit longer from the POI before I start finding blood on the ground.
 

brewer12345

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I shot a yearling doe this Fall with a 54 PRB over a stout load of Black MZ. It was about a 50 yard shot and the doe ran off after I fired. Within a minute or so of the shot I heard thrashing and underbrush being broken, so I know that she died pretty quickly after I fired. I found some blood and a bunch of hair where she was hit, but the blood trail was almost nonexistent. Other than where she was standing where hit, I saw a couple tiny splatters. Luckily I saw the direction she ran off in and just kept doing expanding semi circles in that direction. Found her about 100 yards away, with tons of blood on the ground in a 10 foot trail leading up to the carcass. The ball appears to have flattened somewhat on entry given the size of the entrance wound, and there was a ton of blood in the cavity. I hit her a little farther back that was optimal, but the ball wrecked the deer: lung, liver, kidney, etc. I don't know why there was minimal blood trail, but I had pretty much the same experience.
 

bud in pa

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I've told this before, my buddy shot a doe from his tree stand. He was about 15 feet above the ground. His .600 cal. ball pushed by 80 gr. of 2 F entered the back between the shoulders and out thr bottom of the chest. NO BLOOD! I was on my hands and knees and could not find a speck of blood. We made ever widening circles and found her about 100 yds. away! Go figure!
 

Britsmoothy

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These are low velocity firearms.
Forget shocking, concentrate on bleeding.
Deer shot with anything in the high chest/ just under the spine area can run a while without losing blood.

Lord Nelson was struck by a musket ball from above, possibly a .680" ish ball.
He hung on for ages but I bet a deer has twice his strength!
 

30coupe

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I have a lot more experience with bow kills than muzzleloaders, but I can tell you a shot above the centerline of the chest will put very little blood on the ground with either one. The chest cavity will generally be full, but there won't be much leakage. There may be some fine spray from the nose on a lung shot, but most of the bleeding will be internal. The good news is they rarely get far with a hole in each lung, be it from an arrow or a ball.
 

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