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 Up North Airgunner / 428 Views /  28-12-2019

When using the AirForce Texan .45 or any other big bore airgun for that matter, how important is slug expansion when hunting Deer? ANSWER: It is a balance of penetration AND expansion!

I spent my first year big bore airgun Deer hunting with my AirForce airguns Texan .357 frustrated with the lack of blood trails and pass throughs I was getting from my slugs. I tried all sorts of options to include casting my own ammo. The gun had more than enough power, but our ammo selection up to that point wasn't the greatest.

Reading all the info on the forums I kept hearing this mantra, "you want to dump all the energy into the game animal for maximum take down power". I have found this to be COMPLETELY false when it comes to big bore airgun hunting. Maybe for birds or rabbits or squirrels and other little fury critters, but Deer? NOPE!

One of the biggest lessons I have learned along this journey chasing the crazy high foot pound of energy (FPE) numbers shooting ridiculously heavy ammo shot from big bore airguns was just an exercise in physics to show bragging rights numbers. What you really want is a flatter and faster trajectory COMBINED WITH the FPE needed to get a full passthrough on a Deer. The AirForce Airguns Texan carbon fiber series gives me both!

Based on the number of Deer I have shot, depending on the distance and angle of the shot - you want above 400-500 FPE (roughly). Again, this is going to differ based on the situation and where you hit the Deer because bone (rib / shoulder) impact changes things a bit with the terminal ballistics of your slug.

Using a clean broad side vitals zone shot, that 400-500 FPE number is going to get you through and through and get you the expansion you are looking for in your ammo if you can get your slug zipping up around 900 FPS. With the AirForce Texan .45, that additional FPE will also compensate for if there is a situation where you have to take a less than ideal quartering or even straight on shot (the worst angle possible in my opinion).

Based on my experience I have learned it is better to give up some upper end FPE and shoot medium weight slugs to gain velocity and get over or close to 900 FPS in order to get your slugs to expand as much as possible. Plus you will have a much flatter shot out to 100 yards. Doesn't 6 inches of drop sound better than 12 inches of drop at 100 yards? Takes a lot of guesswork out of your shot placement. Win - Win!

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