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Bison Loads Examined

In my post about hunting the bison, I mentioned that I was shooting appr. 100 gr. of 3Fg powder with a .595 roundball (chewed up with a rasp) and wadded with prairie grass. The “chewed ball” idea is one that I gained from discussion with David Hobbes about 10 years ago at Ft. Ticonderoga. For more info on the idea, check out Nate Kobuck’s blog post here. This proved to be a fairly accurate load both in practice before the hunt and definitely during the hunt. On thing I was worried about was penetration power. Because of this, on my first 2 shots, I avoided the shoulder and shot behind it to get to the vitals. In retrospect, there is plenty of penetration with this load, and I should have beared down heavy on the shoulder. Vitals would have easily been hit AND the bison would likely have gone less distance with broken bones.

Here is an image of two balls that I recovered from the bison while skinning and butchering. The ball on the left is one that our guide, Bronc found while we were skinning. It had passed through soft tissue only (meat and organs), and the skin on the other side was elastic enough to slow the ball the rest of the way instead of allowing full pass-through. This is likely from my second shot (70+ yds. running). The ball is only SLIGHTLY flattened on one side. The other ball I found up against a shoulder while butchering. This one that is splayed open, went through shoulder bone on one side, through a rib (making a nice hole completely through the rib) through lungs and then through the rib cage on the other side before stopping at the other shoulder.

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