Terminal ballistics and truck skinning

Got some pictures, some are kind of graphic – if you don’t like images of meat processing or bullet holes, don’t click.

All images can be clicked on for a bigger image.

Basic scenario – He was uphill from me, and a slightly quartering angle, about 30 yards away. The bullet entered his left shoulder missing bone, then the left front ribcage, passes through the chest cavity with fragments hitting heart, liver, and pulping the left lung, then exiting the right side a bit further back, with the remaining 85 gr bullet remains (started as a 180 gr bullet) failing to penetrate the skin on the right side.

OK, first the pucker:
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This is where the bullet remains got trapped by the skin on the right side.

Here is the bullet, compared to an unfired one. Clearly less than perfect performance from a mass-retention view, but the net effect was acceptable in this case:
BulletMushrooms 004 BulletMushrooms 002

Here is a normal shoulder, outside view of his right side (his head would be to the right of the picture if it were still attached):
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The leg bones do a pair of sharp turns in the meat, approximately as drawn, with the triangle being the scapula.

Here is the inside of the left shoulder (his head would be toward to top of the picture if it were still attached):
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Here are the left-side ribs, showing the entrance wound:
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Here is heart and liver:
HeartLiver (2)

Here is right side rib cage, from the inside:
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Here is the deer with the preparations for “truck skinning.”
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Hide is ringed around the neck, split down his front, out to his legs. A flap is pulled back, and a baseball-sized rock put inside. A rope is tied around the rock to hold it, and that rope is run to a truck. Another rope is tied either around the neck, or around the antlers. (NOTE: Use something small in diameter, like 550 cord, and tie it close to the base of the antlers; otherwise the leverage might break the antlers. Also note: if you have slit his throat to drain him, the neck might not be strong enough and get pulled off.) A tarp is placed under the deer. The truck pulls slowly, and with perhaps a small bit of assistance from a knife, you just peel it off all in one fell swoop. Then hang him up to butcher him normally. The wound shown on his right side here is the exit hole.

At the range I shot him, the bullet was still going north of 2600 fps. I think that when it hit, it failed just because of the muscle and skin, not a bone. It was falling apart before it hit the left-side rib. The remains of the base of the bullet continued across, past the heart and out the right side rib cage.  I’m still amazed at the amount of crud that got sucked into the wound. In any case, he’s a tasty one, the son is liking venison too, and the dog liked the rib bones. Made another biology lesson for the kids while butchering: ligaments vs tendons, “sinews,” organs vs muscles, heart valves, ball vs hinge joint, etc.

The daughter is having fun with the acorns I picked up, making “survival food” with it like she has read about when studying the native Americans and early explorers.


4 thoughts on “Terminal ballistics and truck skinning

  1. Nice. It’s a lot of work, but it’s always worth it. There’s nothing like having your own home-harvested venison with home-grown vegetables. Cheers!

  2. Back when I used a modern rifle to hunt, I had the same thing happen to me with 150 grain Winchester Silvertip ammo out of a .30’06. I switched to Federal Premium loaded with the 165 grain Sierra GameKings, and never had a problem with bullets blowing up at short range again. Now I use a .54 caliber flintlock to hunt. Lead balls weighing 230 grains at 1,600 fps don’t “blow up”.

    • I have a .54 cal smoke-pole, too. Percussion, though. The problem is that the area I hunt in has some close-range stuff (like walking between the oak scrub clumps), but also a lot of open areas where it’s 200 yards plus, with no easy way to stalk. The far edge of the saddle (straight across) I was hunting is more 250 yards away. Iron sights over a slow lead ball at that range isn’t a high-odds recipe for a clean kill. I’ve used it one year, but never got a shot I was comfy with making a clean kill on, so no deer that year. I’d love to get one with it, but… *shrug* Maybe next year if I still have a lot of meat in the freezer from this year, I’ll use it again.

  3. I’ve taken all my deer so far with a 50 cal percussion front stuffer, but the shots usually range from about 15 to 45 yards, with the longest shot so far being about 85 yards. I’d use modern, but then I’d be limited to three point minimum and there are more hunters in the field during that season. During ML season it’s three point min. or antlerless, so my options are greatly increased. Half the time I’ve gotten does, which are just as good eating as young bucks. The one time I got a mature buck with a nice rack, there was a little more meat but it was tougher and a little gamey.

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