The conclusion, based on these results: Don’t trust your bullet to remain on course if it encounters any obstacle, and the thicker the debris, the more your bullet will veer.
Check it out:
The bull is standing broadside just behind that screen of brush. Do you shoot through the limbs and hope your bullet punches home? Or do you wait for a clear shot, even if it means the elk might get away?
Most of us answer that question by referring to some vague understanding of cartridge-box ballistics. “I’m shooting brush-busting bullets,” some might reason. Others might justify their decision to shoot by telling you that their big-bore rifle hammers right through obstructions, or that bullet deflection is inconsequential.
But after testing a variety of calibers and bullet types in both brushy and grassy environments, I’m convinced the only ethical answer to the question is: Wait for a clear shot. Not only do most bullet types deflect when they encounter brush and grass, but many also tumble, losing their aerodynamic efficiency and terminal effectiveness.
THE DEFLECTION TEST
My brush-deflection test was designed to mimic, as closely as I could, real-world hunting conditions. With my Ruger Scout Rifle supported on a bipod, I fired five-shot groups through a 38-yard-wide screen of red-willow saplings about the diameter of my pinkie, using both soft-point hunting bullets and hollowpoint match ammunition in two different classes of caliber: .308 Win. and .223 Rem.