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Arrow verses a bullet

Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior MemberPosts: 2,438 Senior Member
edited October 2018 in Hunting #1
Had an interesting conversation the other day with a customer after our meetings who is a die hard bow hunter.  Putting aside the kinetic energy part of the equation of a bullet verses an arrow hitting an animal.  The question was asked what actually does more damage and kills quicker a .30 cal bullet with great expansion or an arrow with an inch plus broad head.  

Now I know there's a ton more that goes into this and kinetic energy is huge, as well as shot placement.  Bullets smash through bones but so can an arrow.

Oh well let the discussion begin!
Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

John 3: 1-21
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Replies

  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,746 Senior Member
    C'mon Jeff, your leaving out a lot of your OP! (And i know your know B) )

     What .30 cal bullet, from a .300 Wby Mag or a .30 carbine? What do you consider great expansion? Bullets that turn into frisbees or maintain a classic mushroom and maintain their weight. What Bullet weight? Target size? What draw weight of bow? Arrow head type? What range? Any obstructions in the way? Identical shot placement?

    I suspect these things came up in your discussions so why are you leaving us guessing?
    ;)
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    Gotta go with cpj. I've stuck arrows in a few critters over the years and even the best, most textbook arrow placement won't make for a "bang flop". An arrow slices up organs and tissue and you wait for the animal to bleed out where a bullet does this along with transfering a huge amount of energy to the nervous system along with hydrostatic shock to organs. (I don't mean to sound like Dan) From my experience, a bullet will kill an animal much more quickly and humanely than an arrow.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,370 Senior Member
    cpj said:
    Bullet. Hands down. 
    Arrow slices a clean inch wide (varies with blade size) hole. 
    Bullets turns the heart into hamburger. 
    Theres literally no comparison. I’ve hit several deer in the heart with an arrow. NONE have dropped on the spot. 
    Exactly what I was going to say.  While we all know animals shot with a bullet don't always immediately go down, we have also seen animals drop on the spot and never move again.  I've never seen an animal hit with an arrow drop when it's hit. 
  • Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior Member Posts: 2,438 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    C'mon Jeff, your leaving out a lot of your OP! (And i know your know B) )

     What .30 cal bullet, from a .300 Wby Mag or a .30 carbine? What do you consider great expansion? Bullets that turn into frisbees or maintain a classic mushroom and maintain their weight. What Bullet weight? Target size? What draw weight of bow? Arrow head type? What range? Any obstructions in the way? Identical shot placement?

    I suspect these things came up in your discussions so why are you leaving us guessing?
    ;)
    Hey, I got the pot going on this. Everyone has an opinion, thus I left mine out!  This is pretty much how our after meeting conversation went.  Lots of opinions and try as we may, we couldn't escape the energy part of the equation.  Bullets hit with a ton of energy and the shock factor the critters system is way more than an arrow would ever do.

    What the bow hunter was driving at was the actual wound channel and which was more devastating.  

    popcorn is almost done!


    Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

    John 3: 1-21
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    One only needs to look at Einstein's formula for energy. E=MC2'.

    A 30cal bullet @ 2500+fps delivered to the proper anatomical location imparts so much more energy than an arrow that it can't be contested.

    Now, if one were to examine the carcass of two deer for comparison. It would certainly be discovered that both were quite dead.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,746 Senior Member
    One only needs to look at Einstein's formula for energy. E=MC2'.

    Exactly, Einstein's famous Energy on Deer Equation doesn't lie!


    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,370 Senior Member
    Spk said:
    One only needs to look at Einstein's formula for energy. E=MC2'.

    Exactly, Einstein's famous Energy on Deer Equation doesn't lie!



  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,146 Senior Member
    I shot an arrow in the air, where it went I know not where.

    We shot some bullets from the air; _____     _____  became aware.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,746 Senior Member
    NN said:
    I shot an arrow in the air, where it went I know not where.

    We shot some bullets from the air; The Deer -- Too late, became aware.
    To paraphrase Longfellow ;)
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,398 Senior Member
    Depends a lot on the bullet.

    I've been hunting with Barnes coppers because California is going to require it from the 2019 season forward, but they and the cast, flat-nosed solids I'd LIKE to hunt with behave a bit like a broadhead in that they don't fragment and will leave a channel 1-2" wide - - though I've witnessed about 4" of hydrostatic splaying of lung on one diagonal shot with a Barnes .30 that would have been impacting somewhere around 2800-2900fps.  Distances traveled after the hit that I've witnessed have been 0-10 yards with solid boiler room hits (one bang-flop that impacted the heart and a leg bone), and one that went 36 yards with a 7mm Barnes placed a little bit higher than optimal.

    None of that is likely all that different than you'd see with equivalent broadhead hits, but there's no question that the things that bullets CAN be designed to do will produce a more dramatic effect, though personally, I'd take a fairly easy 20-yard tracking job from a broadhead-like bullet over an instant kill caused by setting a fragmentation grenade off inside my steaks.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,746 Senior Member
    edited October 2018 #12
    ...

    What the bow hunter was driving at was the actual wound channel and which was more devastating.  

    ...
    OK, let's suspend all the other factors and ONLY look at the permanent wound track caused by contact with the bullet or arrowhead (No pressure wave effects aka cavitation -- No remote wounding from vascular hydraulic effects and no other neurological effects from the act of getting hit -- pain effects). What are we left with? The permanent wound track only. Right? (Of course, I know you already know)

    Assuming a .30 bullet expands as designed, it'll be about what, .60 caliber?

    And rotating very fast! With a frontal area less than (.2827 in^2.<) Assuming a through and through shot (Frontal Area x Length = Vol.) That a lot of tissue!

    Versus an Arrowhead.

    A great deal less frontal area since cutting (not gross crushing) is the main mechanism of injury. The conical portion in the middle suspending the blades and the shaft are more likely to push tissue aside and not crush it (lack of velocity), that's what the blades are doing on a small scale.

    Unfortunately for the deer, it's not so easy to run with a long pointy stick protruding from your chest cavity (neurological effect) but we're not considering that for now. In time, they'll bleed out (with proper shot placement) but that's off the table also. (actual wound channel only)

    Just from a damage point of view the bullet still wins. Arrows don't usually go through.

    The one thing an arrowhead has over a bullet (nullifying all other effects) is that "cutting" results in better bleeders than "crushing". Of course, if you crush enough tissue it'll swing the other way.

    Yeah, I know, you're just stirring the pot.... So am I. ;)

    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    edited October 2018 #13
    I agree that a bullet is going to generally do more damage than an arrow by a large margin.  It’s just the nature of kinetics.  However, as a regular bowhunter, I need to dispell a few myths floating around this thread.

    1) Full penetration with an arrow (particularly with a fixed blade broadhead) is the rule rather than the exception.  Unless you hit a shoulder blade or other heavy bone, that arrow is going to completely penetrate that deer like a hot knife through butter.  The exception to this are the cery large cutting blade mechanicals (e.g. Rage) that offer an enormous cutting surface at the expense of penetration.

    2). You absolutely can get massive holes - larger than the blade diameter of the broadhead by a good margin - from an arrow.  A few years back, I posted an entrance hole photo from a deer that I hit with a Slick Trick that was roughly the size of a baseball.  



    3)  A deer double-lunged by an arrow is just as dead on its feet as a deer double lunged by a bullet in that the breathing mechanism is toast either way.  The organ are no longer getting blood because the lungs can’t draw air the instant they are perforated.  The bullet has the advantage in that it can knock the deer unconscious by causing a massive blood pressure spike and hemmohaging blood vessels in that brain.  I have arrow struck deer deer hit the turf with seconds after they were hit.  My friend arrowed a doe in Iowa a couple weekends back that didn’t go 20 yards after the shot.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    Ive got a picture from my Dad of s deer he took with an arrow. Big hole. Arrows are very efficient, no doubt about it.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,746 Senior Member
    Just re-posting. Thanks for the photo.
    I suspect, and I'm only guessing, that the deer will introduce tearing as they bolt away. Also, tissue is slightly elastic and along with muscle contractions, this might make the hole larger than expected.

    As you point out, dead is dead, that's why I had to be specific about negating all those other factors and consider tissue destruction alone. (Bleeding is a huge factor!)

    The bow hunter I've gone out in the field with does use very large broadheads that are something to look at :#  (I don't know what they are -- brand)   His arrows don't normally pass through. They go about about 3/4 or so and stop (arrowhead too big or draw weight too low? I don't know.)

    But I know this. The deer don't go very far at all and lots of blood. He's very effective with his setup at close range. I suck with a bow so I'll stick to my rifle. :wink:


    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,565 Senior Member
    Both effective and efficient within their limits. I’ve used both and there is NO comparison to the trauma and damage caused by a relatively speedy 168gr A-Max or ELD-M on medium game. 

    And I used to use the 3” Vortex expandable broadhead. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,772 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    Both effective and efficient within their limits. I’ve used both and there is NO comparison to the trauma and damage caused by a relatively speedy 168gr A-Max or ELD-M on medium game. 

    And I used to use the 3” Vortex expandable broadhead. 
    Wouldnt something with a fairly unsubstantial jacket like an A-Max or ELD-M act more like a varmint bullet upon impact?  I would think this could potentially cause excessive meat damage, but I could be wrong there.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,617 Senior Member
    Both will kill a deer, absolutely dead.  Arrows have killed deer 12,000 years before bullets were invented.  And before that the atlatl (in America.)  It's without question that bullets, if well placed, will do more internal damage, but that doesn't mean a DRT.  A deer can run for six seconds on blood in its system before the brain says it's time to die. 

    Although it's hard to understand, the bow and arrow was unknown in the Americas before 600 AD. Which is why true arrowheads are relatively rare...yet they survived because they could make what they needed to survive.  If I was in a survival situation, being a couch monkey, I'd go with a bullet.  If I had only 20 rounds.  If in the wilderness in a  long term environment, I might rely on weapons I could resupply myself.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,565 Senior Member
    mitdr774 said:
    Zee said:
    Both effective and efficient within their limits. I’ve used both and there is NO comparison to the trauma and damage caused by a relatively speedy 168gr A-Max or ELD-M on medium game. 

    And I used to use the 3” Vortex expandable broadhead. 
    Wouldnt something with a fairly unsubstantial jacket like an A-Max or ELD-M act more like a varmint bullet upon impact?  I would think this could potentially cause excessive meat damage, but I could be wrong there.
    No. They are not that fragile. I usually get full penetration with exit on all but the most quartering of shots. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,772 Senior Member
    That is interesting to hear.  The Hornady description would make it seem as though the bullet would just come apart on game.  After seeing the recovered ELD-X from my dad's elk, I dont trust the ELD-X to stay together.  He found jacket, but the core was no longer in it.  Most of the jacket of the bullet was flattened but the front seemed to have just shattered.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,565 Senior Member
    I have no experience with the ELD-X. But, have been effectively killing things with various A-Max and ELD-M bullets since they were released. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
    Its possible for a bullet to perform greater than its intended purpose incidentally.

    Its also possible for a bullet to fall short of expectation incidentally.

    Analysis of impact results in the field can get confused. Changing angles due to movement and animal reactions to sound versus impact versus other sensory stimulus can create impressions that are hard to gauge.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    edited October 2018 #23
    cpj said:


    Knife is at the exit, hand is through the entrance. That’s not. .30, but a .429 at around 2300 FPS. An arrow would not  do 1/10 of that 
    Keep in mind that I used the 265gr FTX on my bear while you used the 225gr FTX... mine was going 2100fps and was rated for .444 Marlin velocities while your 225gr was supposedly for 44mag velocities-- I got a huge entrance wound myself. Nothing like that, but enough to easily confuse it with an exit wound. Both of us got smaller exit wounds out the other side. I wrote Hornady about it, but they could not explain why. Just something that happens with that style bullet, I guess. The bullets didn't fail-- they seemed to kill the ever living hell out of the game and penetrated through the other side on a broadside shot.

    Nothing to do with broad heads, but we were talking about this earlier, so it was worth mentioning.  
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,746 Senior Member
    edited October 2018 #24
    Keep in mind that I used the 265gr FTX on my bear while you used the 225gr FTX... mine was going 2100fps and was rated for .444 Marlin velocities while your 225gr was supposedly for 44mag velocities-- I got a huge entrance wound myself. Nothing like that, but enough to easily confuse it with an exit wound. Both of us got smaller exit wounds out the other side. I wrote Hornady about it, but they could not explain why. Just something that happens with that style bullet, I guess. The bullets didn't fail-- they seemed to kill the ever living hell out of the game and penetrated through the other side on a broadside shot.

    Nothing to do with broad heads, but we were talking about this earlier, so it was worth mentioning.  
    Did the bullet hit bone beneath the skin as the bullet went in (rib-cage)? The 265 FTX is  a relatively fat bullet with a flat nose, unlike a lot of it's .30 caliber cousins.

    At high enough velocities, you have another phenomena to consider known as radial velocity.

    II. D. Mechanics of Cavitation

    .....

    "Hydrodynamic pressure causes damage from the pressure induced radial velocity extending from the stagnation point at the point of the bullet in its axis of travel to the outer edges of the bullet. The tissue velocity is zero at the infinitesimal point of the bullet nose, where the hydrodynamic pressure has its highest value. The velocity with which the tissue is displaced by this pressure is a function of the angle between the axis of penetration and the bullet nose (see the figure below). If the angle is small, the radial displacement velocity is small." --  rathcoome.net

    http://www.rathcoombe.net/sci-tech/ballistics/mechanics.html



    In the photo above, you can, clearly, see how the entry point (left) is stretched well beyond the diameter of the bullet.

    I'm guessing this has something to do with what you've seen.  If the bullet is slowed enough, in a large target, the exit wound could well be smaller than the entrance wound.

    Just my 2 cents.



    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    It hit a rib going in, but that was it. The shoulder was still intact. Pretty typical broadside shot.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Yea, but Zee pushed the 240gr .430 Hornady XTP well beyond stupid fast and it worked pretty damn good. Your bullet was very effective. It killed the crap out of the deer, but it wasn't very pretty.

    Looking at Chirokid's results, I am starting to think us goobers have better science than the manufacturer.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,565 Senior Member
    You guys remember that deer BigBoreShooter got with me and my .404 Jeffery?

    Entrance wound was MASSIVE!  Hit the bone at the point of the shoulder quartering towards at about 20 yards. Blew thoracic organs and stomach content out the entrance hole the size of my fist. Then, plowed on through with little damage to the intestines and poked a rather unobtrusive caliber size hole through the off side ham and out the back. 

    Ranch13 swore up and down we were lying and that he had shot the deer up the butt. Claiming the entrance was the exit. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,565 Senior Member
    edited October 2018 #28
    Yea, but Zee pushed the 240gr .430 Hornady XTP well beyond stupid fast and it worked pretty damn good. Your bullet was very effective. It killed the crap out of the deer, but it wasn't very pretty.

    Looking at Chirokid's results, I am starting to think us goobers have better science than the manufacturer.
    My 240gr XTP load is running 2,354 fps MV.  About 150 fps over the factory recommended speed of 900-2,200. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 1,772 Senior Member
    That is cooking along for a .430" bullet.  I dont know how quickly it looses velocity or how much cushion Hornady buids into the "muzzel velocity range", but I have to imagine that its close enough to the 2200 FPS at impact that it would perform fine even if a closeish shot.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    You guys remember that deer BigBoreShooter got with me and my .404 Jeffery?

    Entrance wound was MASSIVE!  Hit the bone at the point of the shoulder quartering towards at about 20 yards. Blew thoracic organs and stomach content out the entrance hole the size of my fist. Then, plowed on through with little damage to the intestines and poked a rather unobtrusive caliber size hole through the off side ham and out the back. 

    Ranch13 swore up and down we were lying and that he had shot the deer up the butt. Claiming the entrance was the exit. 


    Your results are completely believable and replicable.  I had similar results on a doe hit with a 7mm-08 using a Barnes TTSX.  Massive entrance wound with a bullet-sized exit.  I thought I had gone crazy and called Barnes the following business day to see what they had to say.  Basically, their response was something to the effect of, "yup. That happens from time to time.  Our bullets open faster than some people give us credit for, and sometimes the internal organ mush decides it want out of the body cavity before the exit wound allows and blows out of the entrance hole en masse...hence your results."   

    As you allude, bullet performance - like kill shots - isn't always predictable.  Sometime a perfectly hit deer runs.  Sometimes it drops dead right there.  Sometimes a bullet leaves a small entrance wound and large exit wound.  Sometimes it's the opposite.

    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,928 Senior Member
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