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Thread: Hunting with a subsonic (30Apache) rifle

  1. #1
    Member kimjon's Avatar
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    Hunting with a subsonic (30Apache) rifle

    It all started with an impulse buy off Trademe where I clicked buy now on a .30cal Trueflite barrel and a set of 30Apache dies. A phone call to a mate and I soon had a Weatherby .223cal donor rifle (that was completely shot out) to use for an action.


    Donor Rifle


    Parts all coming together


    Custom stock

    Fitted a rem700 trigger guard (Weatherby one was pugly)

    I made a custom stock for it out of well seasoned walnut. It was a reject blank that my brother gifted me, it had a lot of faults and made for hard work trying to work around them. But I got there in the end.


    Stock getting final fit and bedding.

    Next was to develop a load for subsonic use. The subsonic idea was not new to me as I’ve dabbled with the 300 Whisper and .38spl subsonic rifles in the past so I had an idea of what to expect, but this cartridge appealed as it was a very simple process to form the brass. All you had to do was neck up a standard .223 cartridge...that’s it.


    30Apache next to a .223

    After a bit of google work, I settled on using the 240gr SMK as my subsonic projectile of choice. But after an outing looking for some goats I found the results to be very unspectacular. And that’s where it sat until last week when I had a brainwave idea about how to get some expansion – cut some longitudinal ‘’flutes’’ into the copper jacket?


    Standard 240gr SMK, with longitudinal ‘’flutes’’ cut into jacket

    Loaded round: 11gr of ADI 2205 behind the 240gr SMK giving a velocity of 1020fps

    To test this new idea I had to find some game to shoot. I’ve tried various other ways of checking for expansion etc - but it only tells part of the story, so unfortunately this only left one option and this meant some animals had to die. I decided to take a day off work and check out one of my old stomping grounds to look for some goats.



    After a bit of a slog to top of the bluffs I soon got that ‘’lovely’’ smell of goat wofting up from beneath.


    View from the top of the bluffs

    It took a look over the edge of a vertical bluff and saw a couple of goats tucked in tight. Instinctively I raised the rifle and popped a nanny in the head – bugger down she went....down....down....down! Okay, lets try that again, the second nanny got the same treatment, so did the third but with a quick neck shot.


    Head shot nanny – entry hole through the eye, exited out bottom of jaw


    I skinned the neck area to reveal the damage!

    I was pretty happy with those results, so cut out of that area and head to the other side of the block for a change of scenery. Along the way I bumped into this fulla, a quick shot from the 30Apache and he was down.


    A little bit of over kill perhaps?

    I’d like to say I marched up the hill in no time flat - but that would be a lie. I huffed and puffed like a freight train, as my fitness is currently at an all time low after spending far too many days in the office of late. Anyway I managed to get my sorry arse up the other side and broke out onto this nice slip.



    No goats here, very disappointing! Down but not out I continued on along the ridge and soon heard that funny ‘’sneeze’’ sound that an alarmed nanny will make. I snuck in to find a couple more goats tucked away in a shitty gut. I thought I’d try chest shots this time...and nocked over two more nanny's.


    Exit hole – very small (skin removed by me to show wound)


    No real damage to ribs, obviously no expansion!


    And no shock to lungs, just a very small hole.

    The other nanny didn’t fare much different, with minimal damage i.e. no shock value or expansion from projectile and a prolonged death which I ended up intervening (I used a knife to finish off) for humane reasons.




    Thoroughly disheartened by that experience I continued on hoping that I would get better results next time. I got back on the ridge which was covered in stunted wind-blown head high crap bush that you have no other option than to just block out the pain and push through. It was shithouse, but at least the view was nice?



    I soon spotted some more goats on a slip, so worked my way around to them. I had to get the wind right as the 30Apache is a close range weapon with a trajectory like a rainbow. Basically the trajectory is comparable to a .22lr, so you get the idea. After a wee stalk I knocked over this nanny with a high shoulder shot:



    Minimal damage from high shoulder shot.

    The internal damage wasn’t impressive at all, but she died cleanly and very quickly which was a blessing. I also managed to neck shoot a Large billy, but to my disbelief he ran off? I tracked him for a further 210m down hill into a dark gully before finally catching up with him and finished him quickly with a head shot.


    Death was instant as you’d expect from anything hit in the head by 240 grains of lead!

    I really enjoyed using the rifle, its a pleasure to shoot and soooooo quiet, but in conclusion IMO the 30Apache or any other 30 cal subsonic (30Blackout, 300Whisper, .308win etc etc....) is not an empathetic killer of game when using a 240gr SMK or modified 240gr SMK like I tried unless head shots only are taken. I would strongly advise not using this calibre (in subsonic) for hunting if you intend to take shoulder shots - unless you have a much better projectile to use?
    The concept is way cool, but the reality is disappointing. I hope that with all the interest in the 30Blackout a better projectile comes about, but until then I’ll only use it for select uses where I’ll pick my (head) shots very carefully, or only use it with supersonic loads.

    kj
    Normie, Kiwi Greg, Bryan and 1 others like this.

  2. #2
    Almost literate. veitnamcam's Avatar
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    Great report cheers for posting:thumbup:

    Sent from my GT-S5360T using Tapatalk 2
    "Hunting and fishing" fucking over licenced firearms owners since ages ago.

  3. #3
    Member stug's Avatar
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    Interesting. I was thinking about doing something similar with a 140 corelokt in my 7 08. Cut about 5mm off the tip and then cut some slots down through the nose. Probably won't work. Might stick with the 110gr Barnes.

  4. #4
    ebf
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    very clever about the flutes

    what distances were the shots ?
    Viva la Howa ! R.I.P. Toby
    Black rifles matter...

  5. #5
    Member kimjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stug View Post
    Interesting. I was thinking about doing something similar with a 140 corelokt in my 7 08. Cut about 5mm off the tip and then cut some slots down through the nose. Probably won't work. Might stick with the 110gr Barnes.
    Only one way to tell? How are the 110gr barnes working out?

    Quote Originally Posted by ebf View Post
    very clever about the flutes

    what distances were the shots ?
    The flutes may work, but maybe I need to drill a long hollow point to further aid the rapid expansion? On the ''other Forum'' someone posted a pic of a Woodleigh(?) projectile that looked freakishly similar to what I'd made, but it looks monolithic with more aggressive ''flutes'' and a massive hollow point. So the idea may have merit...just needs more work?

    kj

  6. #6
    ebf
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    maybe a bit more experimenting, either flutes closer to tip or hollow point

    soak an old yellow pages and do some tests

    did you recover any projectiles ? be interesting to see what they look like
    Viva la Howa ! R.I.P. Toby
    Black rifles matter...

  7. #7
    Member stug's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=kimjon;117966]Only one way to tell? How are the 110gr barnes working out?

    The two goats I shot on Sunday were both DRT. A nanny, front on chest shot at about 100 yds and a young billy neck shot at same range. Have also taken a red spiker at 150 yds this was a quartering away shot. Hit at the back of the ribs and exited out the front of the chest between the neck and front leg. This one ran a bit, he had been alerted by us shooting his two mates.

  8. #8
    Member Ground Control's Avatar
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    Great thread , and I'll keep watching with interest .
    I am experimenting with the whole sub-sonic thing and have taken a different path than you .I chose the 44 mag as my cartridge for two reasons frontal bullet size and weight ( I'm trying 300gn bullets ) and easily available commercial bullets designed for lower impact speeds due to it being a handgun round .
    All of this is great in theory but I've struck a problem with accuracy from the Ruger 77/44 I'm using . I'm just about pulling my hair out trying to find a load I'm happy with . I'm thinking it's the gun , because these Rugers don't have a great reputation .
    Anyway good luck and happy shooting .

    Ken
    FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NUMBERS , NOT THE IDEA

  9. #9
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    Iv heard people struggle with accuraccy with the heavier bullets in the 77/44s a mate gave up and sold his due to this.

    If its only frontal area that you are intersted in then any of the 44 cal bullets will work the energy will just be less, In my mind energy transfer needs to be the goal so a bullet that replicates the 22 subsonics bullet with an agressive hollow point will be the go.

    retained energy is worth jack shit if its only used to dig a hole in the bank behind the goat

  10. #10
    Member kimjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebf View Post
    maybe a bit more experimenting, either flutes
    closer to tip or hollow point
    soak an old yellow pages and do some tests

    did you recover any projectiles ? be interesting to see what they look like

    Total pass throughs.

    Keep up the feedback, some good info is coming out of this.

    Kj

  11. #11
    Sending it Gibo's Avatar
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    Awesome read!

  12. #12
    Member kimjon's Avatar
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    Braking news: Version 1.2 is now out!!!!

    I filed the tip off, turns out the jacket material is very thick. Then I drilled a very long hole, and did my ''flutes'' as well, followed by using a primer flash-hole deburring tool to put a nice bevel on the inside of the hollow point.


    Puling the bullet


    Drilling the massive hollow point hole (20mm deep)


    Cutting the flutes


    Deburring tool used to open up the front of hollow point


    V1.2 V1.1 and standard 240grSMK for comparison.


    Now I just need some more time to fully test it again - fingers crossed?

    kj

  13. #13
    Sending it Gibo's Avatar
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    Now that looks deadly mate!!

  14. #14
    Ex stick thrower madjon_'s Avatar
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    KJ,whats the twist?
    Real guns start with the number 3 or bigger and make two holes, one in and one out." -

  15. #15
    Member stug's Avatar
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    I reckon put 4 small cuts in the very tip (in line with the cuts lower) as well to give a point for the jacket to start tearing.
    Gibo likes this.

 

 

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