Home Main Category Hunting

It was a 6.5cal kinda morning. (Caution! Autopsy Photos!)

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 28,060 Senior Member
My friend had an invite from a land owner for us to go out and shoot some deer. This is a small 150 acre piece of land, which is long and narrow. We got there early and split up in the sleeting rain and 30 degree temp to find a spot to sit. He went to one end and I went to the other end of the property. I was using my built XP-100 in .260 Remington and he was using my built 6.5-284 Win on a Remington 700 action.

The sleet and rain fell and the temp dropped as the light rose to reveal a soggy surrounding. Just after first light, I saw a nice 7 point come out of the brush into the sendaro. He was as wide as his ears but not very heavy. No matter, I was after a doe anyways. He bopped in and out of the brush for a few minutes until I stopped seeing him anymore. Then, a doe came out. Now we were talking!

Watched her a few minutes and waited for her to present a broadside shot. I was using a BOG Gear PSR tripod with the pistol, so tracking her was no worries. Finally, she turned sideways and moved her near foreleg forward. BAM! At approximately 100 yards, she took a 130gr Berger Hunting VLD tight in the near shoulder.

At the shot, she jumped straight in the air, gained her feet, and took off. As she was entering the brush, I saw her front end start to sag and knew she was about to plow into the ground. Gave her about 15 minutes and went to look for blood.

At the empact location, there was a huge tuft of hair on the ground and dig marks from her hooves. No blood. I knew the direction she'd gone and with the damp soil, she was easy to track. Got to where she'd entered the brush and still had no blood. 10 yards into the brush, there she was. Not a drop of blood from impact to about 2 feet to her final resting place. There, I found 1 drop.

Now, that kinda perplexed me. No blood. Either way, she only traveled 25 yards and only lived about 3 seconds after the shot. But still........wierd.

65calHunt01-1313.jpg

Autopsy Photos

Entrance to body:
65calHunt01-1330.jpg

Entrance to front lobe of right lung, just above heart:
65calHunt01-1317.jpg

Entrance to aorta under front lobe of right lung:
65calHunt01-1323.jpg

Exit through aorta and left front lobe of lungs:
65calHunt01-1324.jpg

Nicked 1 rib going in and centered 1 rib going out:
65calHunt01-1342.jpg

Exit under left shoulder:
65calHunt01-1335.jpg

Exit out left shoulder:
65calHunt01-1333.jpg

You can see that there isn't much damage to the internal organs, but that the bullet really began to open up on the back side of the deer. Maybe she just wasn't wide enough? Maybe the velocity wasn't high enough out of the pistol? The bullet didn't fail because the deer died quickly and in a short distance. But, the lack of trauma has me perplexed.

This is the second time I've seen a Berger 130gr 6.5cal bullet fail to expand a fragment as advertised. Interesting.............


Deer #2 to follow..............
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
«13

Replies

  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    Congrats and great pics!
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • beartrackerbeartracker Senior Member Posts: 3,116 Senior Member
    Good shooting, bullet did it's job.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Good shooting, bullet did it's job.

    Yep, no bullet failure there. Still it is odd when you think of the brief time frame the bullet was in the deer, to not open then suddenly in an instant open violently. I dunno, I've never used those bullets you and Ernie are so fond of. I use partitions and they don't act like that in similar sized deer.
    Anyway the autopsy is always interesting and sometimes perplexing. To bad we rarely recover bullets from shots on game. Perhaps yours might have told the tale.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    My friend had only seen 2 yearlings so far. So, about 8:30 we met up and I was going to do some rattling and calling for him. He's only shot two deer before and both were does with me. Figured I'd try and rattle up a buck for him.

    We set up at a fence corner where we could see 300 yards to the front and to the right down the fence roads. I sat behind him with the horns and he placed the rifle on my BOG Gear SSR tripod this time (for rifles). He was aiming down the fence in front of us but could swivel the SSR to the right as needed.

    He'd never seen rattling done before. He didn't believe it would work. I told him they usually showed up between 5 to 15 minutes depending on how far away they were. So, I started my rattle/grunt/bleat sequence, waiting 5 minutes between each series. He was beginning to doubt me..........At the end of my third series and right at 15 minutes, I put my horns down and looked to my right. "Buck!"

    We'd ranged bushes at 150/250 yards in both directions.

    "To the right in the middle of the road."
    My friend pivoted the tripod to the right.
    "200 yards facing us. Hold center of his chest."
    BAM!

    At the shot, we heard the impact and the buck sagged in the front.......turned.......and staggared off into the brush. He only made it 30 yards.

    My friends first buck.
    65calHunt01-138.jpg

    I was ecstatic! He'd made a perfect shot using a borrowed 6.5-284 Winchester and 140gr A-Max handloads.

    Autopsy Photos

    Impact:
    65calHunt01-1344.jpg

    Entrance to sternum:
    65calHunt01-1352.jpg

    Bullet entered the Heart and passed through the length of the right lung:
    65calHunt01-1357.jpg

    Entrance to heart:
    65calHunt01-1378.jpg

    Exit to heart:
    65calHunt01-1377.jpg

    Good side:
    65calHunt01-1372.jpg

    Not so good side:
    65calHunt01-1374.jpg

    What was left of the right lung (top of photo):
    65calHunt01-1364.jpg

    Exit through diaphram and into liver:
    65calHunt01-1361.jpg

    65calHunt01-1369.jpg

    Only bullet fragment I found (just inside abdomenal cavity):
    65calHunt01-1359.jpg

    Entrance to liver:
    65calHunt01-1370.jpg

    Bullet lodged in flank just in front of right hind quarter:
    65calHunt01-1365.jpg

    65calHunt01-1368.jpg

    OUTSTANDING performance from the 140gr 6.5cal A-Max!!!! It penetrated, expanded, and caused a dramatic temporary cavity from 4-12". This blew the side of the heart out and shredded the left lung. Then, drove on through the liver, causing massive damage on it way. The rear of the bullet held together and continued to the flank through the stomach and intestines.

    This is the performance I've come to know and love about the A-Max.

    BUT..............the A-Max is a target bullet and should NOT be used for hunting! Riiiiiiiiiiight.

    (Note the serious case of sarcasm.)

    Pround of my friend.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    Although the critters are dead the, there has been two times now this season we have had bullet performance that has not been what we expected.
    Both with 6.5 130 grain Berger's.
    FYI-Berger is trying to find out what is going on with the 6.5 130's. Not sure if ours are from the same lot or not.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • beartrackerbeartracker Senior Member Posts: 3,116 Senior Member
    Interesting, will be cool to see what they come up with.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Dellrose TNPosts: 18,428 Senior Member
    On the 6.5 subject- - - - -got a question. One of the few items left on the Wally World reloading department's shelves today was a box of Hornady A-Max 6.5 MM 120 grain bullets. I bought 'em! After loading up a box of 20 for my brother's Swede Mauser, I did a little research on the bullet, and it seems it's a target bullet, not for hunting according to the Hornady website. Now, it's a conventional-looking boat-tailed jacketed bullet with a swaged lead core and a plastic tip- - - -what's it likely to do in a hunting situation? Drill straight through with no expansion? Blow up without adequate penetration? None of the above? I've been shooting 125 grain Nosler Partitions in the Swede for a lot of years with very good results. Should I reccomend he use the new loads for target work only, or take a chance on getting good results on Tennessee whitetails?
    Jerry
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Manistee Natl ForestPosts: 18,280 Senior Member
    Great report, nice pile of deer....no need to get sarcastic on the A-Max...you did that nicely as well....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Nice report! I will never again question the performance of an A-max on deer sized game. That hit bone first thing through the sternum and opened up pretty good, and had some damn fine penetration! I am impressed.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Great shot by your buddy, he put that right on the button.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    Although the critters are dead the, there has been two times now this season we have had bullet performance that has not been what we expected.
    Both with 6.5 130 grain Berger's.
    FYI-Berger is trying to find out what is going on with the 6.5 130's. Not sure if ours are from the same lot or not.

    Your antelope, my deer, and your friends antelope raise some questions as to that particular bullet's performance as expected.

    Unfortunately, the two pigs I've shot with that bullet were too late in the evening and an autopsy was not conducted. They died, but I'd have liked to see the terminal performance.

    At this point in time, I think the 140 A-Max is my go-to for the 6.5 cals. That one worked like a CHAMP!

    The A-Max has it's limitations, as any bullet does. I know them and use it within it's bounds. Because of that, it's been stellar in every caliber I've used it. I love that round.

    Hope to use my .280 Remington tomorrow with the 140gr Berger Hunting VLD bullets. Want to see how they perform in comparison to the 6.5 version.

    Hope for good weather tomorrow afternoon!!!!!
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Eastern NebraskaPosts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Great work all around. Only shame of the day is that the third one is pretty nice and would've made a fine hunt for somebody. Happens everywhere, every year though, so like you said: I'm not proud either and would've definitely salvaged him for meat as you did.

    Now, that bullet issue...I dunno man. I know I'm trampling on sacred ground here, but more than one person I've talked to outside of this forum has had issues with Berger on game. I can't recall which caliber/weights off the top of my head, but a guy at work has repeatedly accused them of merely rebranding their regular match bullet as "hunting" and selling it as such. Me? I have no clue. I have yet to shoot a Berger bullet at so much as paper, but I would love for someone to dissect one of each ("match" and "hunting" bullets in identical calibers/weights) with a saw to see if there's any outwardly obvious difference in construction.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    If someone would send them to me, I'll dissect them up and post pics.
    I don't have any Bergers, but I have a multitude of others that I can send your way in 6.5 and it could make a neat project. Text me your address again.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,696 Senior Member
    I think the lack of external blood from your doe is fairly easy to explain.

    First off, you center-punched the aorta (NICE shot, BTW!), which is the internal injury equivalent of letting go of the mouth of a balloon. The blood pressure inside that deer dropped to zero pretty much instantly, and the heart wouldn't be able to pump anything out of the body.

    My little buck from October was pretty similar - took a .30 caliber Barnes 168 grainer broadside through the back third of the heart, staggered in a small circle, and was down in under ten seconds. He blew some blood out of his nose, but really very little leakage from the entrance or exit - just a quart or more sloshing around in the chest.

    You know how when you open up the belly cavity during field dressing the guts tend to spring out at you slightly? This suggests "contents under pressure" from the outer musculature. Similarly, arteries and veins will be slightly inflated during normal operation. My theory is that when you blow a big hole through the pump, those stretched tissues will deflate, pushing their fluids toward that hole, causing a massive internal bleed. Skin, being stretchy, can tend to snap back over the holes and keep all that blood inside.

    Re the roadkill: You have proven yourself a true samurai. I would be honored to have you as my second.:worthy:
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    The man who'd hit the buck didn't want him, so we loaded him in our truck.
    I had to let this settle in for a second. You have got to see it from the other guy's perspective...

    He is shocked all to hell that he hit a deer with his truck. Suddenly, some wild looking (yet mansome) carny looking dude rushes out, pins the deer, and slits it's throat. He looks at your bloody carny looking butt-- knife drawn, and blood spurting in the road, and you ask him, "You want this?"

    Don't get me wrong... I would salvage a fresh roadkill just for the tenderloins, but you gotta see the other side of the coin here.

    Of course he let you have the deer!
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    I think the lack of external blood from your doe is fairly easy to explain.

    First off, you center-punched the aorta (NICE shot, BTW!), which is the internal injury equivalent of letting go of the mouth of a balloon. The blood pressure inside that deer dropped to zero pretty much instantly, and the heart wouldn't be able to pump anything out of the body.

    As soon as I saw the hole in the aorta, I immediately thought of just what you said. So, I was cool with the lack of external blood. There was plenty inside the chest cavity.

    My concern is still with the lack of trauma to the internal organs. What I want is a quick kill. What I like to see.........is dramatic trauma to internal organs. That usually leads to what I want.

    The result from the A-Max makes me happy, happy, happy.

    ;-)
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    Jermanator wrote: »
    I had to let this settle in for a second. You have got to see it from the other guy's perspective...

    He is shocked all to hell that he hit a deer with his truck. Suddenly, some wild looking (yet mansome) carny looking dude rushes out, pins the deer, and slits it's throat. He looks at your bloody carny looking butt-- knife drawn, and blood spurting in the road, and you ask him, "You want this?"

    Don't get me wrong... I would salvage a fresh roadkill just for the tenderloins, but you gotta see the other side of the coin here.

    Of course he let you have the deer!

    I just laughed out loud. Because............that's exactly how it happened!!!!

    Ha!!!!!

    The funny thing..........this wasn't the first time. I have an even better story from a few years back. But, that needs to be over the phone. ;-)
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    That is absolutely hilarious!
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ojrojr Senior Member New ZealandPosts: 1,341 Senior Member
    Excellent results with the amax and 6.5, but I'm a little bias I guess as, apart for the 120gr Bt's it's what I use in my 6.5's.
    The flight was uneventful, which is what one wants when one is transporting an Elephant.
     Reuters, Dec 2020.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    No surprises here with a knife in your hand :)
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    Six-Gun,

    No sacred ground here. I'm all about results. Brand loyalty has no place in reality. It either works, or it don't.

    If it works, I'll use it till it doesn't.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member WyomingPosts: 8,566 Senior Member
    Agreed.
    Another good bullet is the 130 AB.
    It has done well over variety of impact velocities.
    Match Berger's has a thicker jacket than the orange box (original VLD).
    Reason for the match bullets was that the originals were having some blow-up problems in match shooting.
    Berger is good about working on problems when they arise.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    I'm not giving up on Berger. They shoot too well. Hence, me using the 140gr Berger out of the .280 Rem tomorrow.

    I'm not easily convinced. Then again, I'm not easily deterred either.

    I need more data.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    ojr wrote: »
    Excellent results with the amax and 6.5, but I'm a little bias I guess as, apart for the 120gr Bt's it's what I use in my 6.5's.

    The A-Max is just such a beautiful bullet in many ways. Cheap, accurate, and effective.

    I've used the .30cal A-Max mostly. But also the 6mm and now the 6.5 as well. I use the 7mm 162gr A-Max as well. Just haven't killed anything with it yet. But, it's Hell on targets.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    I just laugh when people say you shouldn't use the A-Max for hunting because it's a target bullet. They will actually argue regardless the actual results on game.

    Idiots.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    ...the .280 Rem tomorrow.
    :popcorn:
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    Jermanator wrote: »
    :popcorn:

    If it's not raining. I'm not taking that pretty gun in the rain.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Sissy. Hunt that rifle!!! She will get you through the day. After that, pull her out of her stock, dry her out, put her back in, and torque her back down.

    Yes. She is pretty. She is a lady that wants to do lady things-- not a queen!
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 28,060 Senior Member
    The reason I have stainless/synthetic guns is so I don't have to take blued/walnut guns out in bad weather...........you Ninny!

    The .280 is the last of the guns that needs to kill something.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    The .280 is the last of the guns that needs to kill something.
    ...and you know that she wants nothing more than to make you happy yet you seem to want to set her on a pedestal. Quit treating her like a lady and make her a woman!
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Advertisement