Death of a Tree: The Tale of a Nosler Bullet by Bruce Tarleton

  

Category:  Fields and Streams

Via:  bruce-tarleton  •  7 years ago  •  26 comments

Death of a Tree:  The Tale of a Nosler Bullet by Bruce Tarleton

 

I consider myself a pretty damn good shot.   My eyesight isn’t the best, but that’s not the only variable in marksmanship.   It’s the one variable that is limited in how it can be corrected, but others can.   Like weapon, optics, and ammunition.

 

When I first moved to Missouri and took up hunting deer again, the first deer I killed was shot through the spine.   It died, but it suffered.   And that didn’t set well with me.   I was using an old British Enfield .303 which had been fitted with a scope.   And try as I might, I just couldn’t get the rifle to shoot a decent grouping.   So I bought me a modern bolt action rifle.   I fitted it with a quality American made Redfield Revolution scope.   And I began hand loading my own ammo, to get the best accuracy from the rifle/scope platform.  

 

l_accubond.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I load 130 grain Nosler Accubond bullets.   The Accubond is a lead core, copper jacketed hollow point with a plastic ballistic tip.   With the right hand load recipe, my deer hunting platform is accurate and deadly.

IMAG0909.jpg

 

 

So I was confident in my abilities as I headed out last Sunday to my tree stand about an hour before sunrise to hunt deer.   At 7:30 that morning an 8 point buck wandered into my kill zone.   I watched as he walked near my tree, waiting for him to present a good profile so I could shoot.   He finally turned just inside a tree line about 80 to 90 yards away, and I lifted the rifle and sighted in on his side at what I thought was the sweet spot.

 

BOOM!   The muzzle flash obscured my view through the scope, and when it died out, the deer was gone.   I heard him crashing through the woods for about 30 seconds, and then I thought I heard him hit the ground.   I safed my weapon, lowered in from the stand, and waited about 10 minutes, to make sure he wasn’t just resting before getting his wind back.  

 

 

I walked over to the spot where I shot, and began looking for a blood trail.   I walked around about 5 yards out from the spot, but couldn’t find any sign of a wounded deer.   I was confused.   Until I went back to the spot, and saw this.

IMAG0933.jpg

 

Yeah.   That’s a bullet hole in a 3” tree sapling.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMAG0938.jpg

 

This is the back side.   A testament to the expansion power of the Nosler bullet.

 

I was pissed.   I couldn’t believe I had missed this big deer.   I grabbed my rifle and headed back to the stand.   It was only 7:30, and I could still sit for a while until my designated time of 10:30 to come down.   After a half hour, the gun shot is a distant memory to any deer in the area, and others could still wander through.

 

As I sat in the tree stand, I began to reflect on the shot.   I raised the scope to where I now knew the sapling was, and realized that at that distance, the sapling was hidden from view in the scope by the crosshairs.   I put the scope on high power and realized that the hit was in a spot that SHOULD have hit the deer.  

 

 

 

 

At 10:30 I came down from the stand, ready to head home and prep for the afternoon hunt from a different stand.   But I wanted to get pictures of the tree shot, so I headed back to the site.   I snapped the pictures above and this one.  

IMAG0941.jpg

 

In looking at this angle, I noticed what appeared to be a trail directly behind the sapling.   I had assumed that the deer had run to the right, since that was the way he was facing.   So I walked directly back from the shot area, and 10 yards away I saw it.   A huge splatter of bright red blood.   I DID HIT THE DEER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bright red blood usually means a lung shot.   I walked a little further and found another big splatter.   That told me he was spraying blood with every breath.   Following the trail, I finally found him.

IMAG0917.jpg

 

I gutted him right where he fell.   One lung was completely collapsed.   The heart was intact, so this was a lung shot.   I found an entrance wound, but no exit wound.   I tried to find the bullet in the lungs, but no luck.   I dragged him out, and loaded him on the ATV and headed home.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I washed the blood off of me, the ATV, and from inside deer, I noticed a bulge on the opposite side of the deer, and realized that it was the bullet.  

IMGP3769.jpg   IMGP3768.jpg

 

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A 130 grain bullet had been reduced to 83.4 grains.   Which means the bullet retained 64% of its mass as it passed through the tree and into the rib cage of the deer.   It is a testament to the Nosler bullet that it didn’t fracture, and retained a substantial amount of mass to allow for a kill, through a tree.

 

The deer is at the processors, being turned into summer sausage and beer sticks.   The tree will probably die, and break off at the wound.   And me, I’ll keep loading Nosler bullets, confident in the ability of the ammo, and of my marksmanship.

 


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Uncle Bruce
Professor Quiet
link   seeder  Uncle Bruce    7 years ago

IMAG0927.jpg

 
 
 
Uncle Bruce
Professor Quiet
link   seeder  Uncle Bruce  replied to  Uncle Bruce   7 years ago

Note the blood on my pants and my brand new boots.  Damn it.

 
 
 
Cerenkov
Professor Quiet
link   Cerenkov    7 years ago

Impressive!

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
link   Mark in Wyoming     7 years ago

I have been loading nothing but Noslers ( admitted I found a guy locally that swaged some decent projectiles and his was up to par) for the better part of 30 years , I finally got my hands on some 180 grains for my 338 wm ( use to be the lightest I could get was 200 grn) and I am amazed at what those 180s have done . Lighter recoil due to less powder , and farther reach accurately  actually .

been loading 168 grn for my 06 for many a year and they have never failed to do what they were suppose to at the terminal end .

 
 
 
TTGA
Professor Silent
link   TTGA  replied to  Mark in Wyoming   7 years ago

Nice buck Bruce.  Hunting pants and boots aren't considered broken in until they have a few blood stains.

Mark,

The 168 Grain BTSP is really good in the .30-06.  I've found that it also works really well in the .308 Win.  High level of accuracy and a lot of punch.  Enough so that, over the years, I've taken 35 deer and never had to fire a second shot.  I won't publicly say how big the powder charge is, but the powder I use is IMR 4895 and it's not even a maximum load.

 
 
 
Petey Coober
Freshman Silent
link   Petey Coober    7 years ago

Who needs a gun ?!

Moose found frozen in Alaskan stream, locked at antlers in fight to the death

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
link   Hal A. Lujah    7 years ago

With one shot you killed an unsuspecting deer, and  a tree - but why stop there? Mammals are about half bacteria by mass, so you probably snuffed out a trillion of them too ... you badass.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
link   Buzz of the Orient    7 years ago

I've never gone hunting, but I read with interest your story, Bruce. Fishing is more my game. Right now I'm in the middle of a novel called "Goat Mountain" about a few people on a deer hunt so your story fit right in. However, in the novel, the 11 year old kid who killed the deer had to eat the liver and the heart after he gutted the animal which was his first kill to "become a man". Did you ever do that? LOL

I don't have any weapons, no guns or knives (other than the usual kitchen knives) but I was my high school marksman champion, shooting 10 bulls eyes in a row, two in each target (5 on the card) at 20 yards. We used Bren guns converted to shoot 22s, no scope of course. This is a photo of me at my school games day when that huge trophy (the biggest damned one in the school) was presented to me.  No, I couldn't keep it, but my name was inscribed on the base. My vision has certainly declined in the 61 years since then.

temp_ning_photo_file.jpg

(For some weird reason the photo stretches wide when I post this - can't fix it)

I guess that doesn't qualify me to belong to your new group.

 
 
 
TTGA
Professor Silent
link   TTGA  replied to  Buzz of the Orient   7 years ago

I guess that doesn't qualify me to belong to your new group.

Buzz, Fields and Streams is not a new group.  It's been around since I came here in 2012.  It just hasn't been very active, probably because of other things going on.  This looks like a really good time to start it up again, and I can't think of a better subject than the annual deer season taking place in most States.  You most likely would qualify.  It's not just about hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities are also cool.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
link   Buzz of the Orient  replied to  TTGA   7 years ago

That isn't Bruce's new group, Ttga.

 
 
 
TTGA
Professor Silent
link   TTGA  replied to  Buzz of the Orient   7 years ago

Okay, didn't know that he had started a new one.  Actually, you guys (and ladies) are lucky that I'm not so distracted by watching the grandkids that, when lunch time comes, I don't just make up a Hot Pocket for everybody on NT and send it through the internet.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
link   Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient   7 years ago

Impressive Buzz.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
link   Kavika     7 years ago

A quick story. When I first went into the military (17 YO) in basic training we were on the range and I fired all bulls eyes. The range master asked me where I learned to shoot and I told him I grew up with a rifle in my hand, but was even better with a long bow...LOL, he did not appreciate that at all.

Being left handed all the shell casing were hitting me in the face/throat or down the front of my uniform. I had more red marks then I can count. Of course the military weapons were all for right handed people. I also told him that trying to change me to right handed would result in mass casualties on the range. Again he didn't think that was funny at all.

I spent the rest of the day picking up everyone else's brass.

 

 
 
 
TTGA
Professor Silent
link   TTGA  replied to  Kavika   7 years ago

Kavika,

I fully understand the problem had by a left hander when learning to shoot a semi auto rifle or pistol.  Both my dad and my grandson are left handed.  It's also hard with a bolt action unless it's made for a left handed shooter.  My dad had all kinds of trouble learning to handle a Springfield when he was in Boot Camp.  Finally said, "To hell with it" and learned to shoot right handed.  When he got out, his deer rifle of choice was a Winchester Model 94.  It's not only totally ambidextrous but also throws the hot empties up and back, so they don't hit you in the face.  Grandson has been having fits trying to learn to shoot right handed with his .22 training rifle (bolt action single shot).  He's finally learning to take his right hand off the pistol grip to open the bolt instead of reaching over the rifle, trying to grab the bolt handle with his left hand.

The 1911 style .45 is pretty much ambidextrous in what it does with its cases.  It throws them straight up so that they come right back down on you, no matter what hand you're using to shoot with.  About one hot case in every three magazines goes right down the back of your neck, producing St. Vitus dance for the shooter and hysterical laughter from onlookers.  My six year old grandson got it even better.  His wrists aren't yet strong enough to really hold the .45 down, so the recoil brought it up to a 90 degree angle.  Case ejected right into his forehead and caused a perfectly circular bruise with the word Speer showing up  very clearly.  We were tempted to laugh at that one, but it's not good to laugh at a kid who's trying.  Instead, we steered him back to the Woodsman .22 for a year or so.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
link   Kavika   replied to  TTGA   7 years ago

The funny thing ttga is that I'm ambidextrous in everything that I do, eating batting, throwing etc with the exception of firing a long gun. For some reason I can shoot right handed now and not shoot the person next to me, but it simply isn't comfortable for me.

With a pistol it doesn't matter if I fire right or left handed.

I can really understand trying to switch to right handed from being a total lefty. It's automatic to reach over the weapon with your left hand...It's also funny to watch people struggling with the concept.

The 6 year old got a hard lesson, but he did learn how powerful the weapon is...Shame on grandpa.Laugh

 
 
 
TTGA
Professor Silent
link   TTGA  replied to  Kavika   7 years ago

Shame on grandpa

Hee hee hee.  Darned right.  I actually had a pretty fair idea about what was going to happen.  OK, what I thought was going to happen was that the piece was going to fly right out of his hand.  That's why I made sure that there was only one round in it.  His wrists were stronger than I thought and he was quite proud of the bruise.  It gave him bragging rights with his buddies.  After all, none of THEM ever had a bruise caused by a cartridge case (not my phrase, that's actually something that Greyson said to me).  I asked him if he was next going to jump out of the tree over at his friend Nathan's house because, after all, NATHAN never had a broken arm from falling out of the tree.  Luckily, Grey wasn't quite that full of six year old male bravado and decided to forego the broken arm.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
link   Kavika   replied to  TTGA   7 years ago

HAHAHAHA, bragging rights, dammed important to a 6 year old. The decision about not jumping out of the tree is a wise one for him. The jumping part isn't bad at all, it's the landing that's a bitch.

BTW, I  have to give Bruce a hard time. Shooting at a buck and hitting a tree, LOL, I wonder if it was a jumping tree or one of those stationary types. Did it shoot back, the possibilities are endless.

 
 
 
TTGA
Professor Silent
link   TTGA  replied to  Kavika   7 years ago

I wonder if it was a jumping tree or one of those stationary types.

Do you mean a jumping tree as in, "But offisher, I was just driving along, shober as a judge, when that tree just jumped right in front of my car"?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
link   Kavika   replied to  TTGA   7 years ago

Exactly ttga.

And he had a scope as well, how could I not see the tree officer, if'n it was standin still like 100% of all them trees, but then it jumped right into ma scope, I'm innocent I tell ya, innocent.

Latest update. The state of Missouri bans hunting within 5 miles of Bruce. Special agent Dookie Calhoun noted that ''we don't wants any more dead trees 'round these parts''.

The state legislature is trying to pass a new bill....December 1st through the 15th will be ''tree hunting'' season in Missouri. Named of course in honor of the great tree shooter hisself. Bruce the Birch Bark Warrior.

 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
link   Buzz of the Orient    7 years ago

Bruce is responsible for contributing to negatively affecting the environment and contributing to global warming. His destruction of a tree has reduced photosynthesis, the reduction of carbon dioxide, by perhaps an tiny tiny amount, so he might get a letter from Greenpeace for doing so. LOL

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
link   Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    7 years ago

Fabulous writing.  Fabulous tree assassination pictorial.  Fabulous shot (that you will be bragging about for pretty much ever).  But would it be possible to put a hat or sunglasses or a lovely Hermes scarf over the eyes of that dead animal before you make it stare at the camera?

Sincerely,

Sister Snowflake

 

 

 
 
 
Tex Stankley
Freshman Silent
link   Tex Stankley    6 years ago

Nice story Podjo.   Thanks.

I hunted Elk and Muley's for years with an old lend/lease Lee Enfield No.4 Mk.1 .   I do believe Savage made it.  Anyhow, though a battle rifle, and very good one, with accuracy befitting, I never had any trouble dropping critters quickly.   My only problem is that it is a right hand throw and I'm a southpaw.   One learns to overcome though.

Went to a Marlin 45-70 and Savage Model 99 in .308.  

Sadly, after shooting with my daughter I realized that I am going to have to scope my long guns.  My eyesight is getting rather poor.  

On the right with the Land Cannon. 

Jimmy  Cliff Murder Furry Mammals.jpgcliff 3.JPG

 
 

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